REVIEW: Gosford Park [2001]

“I’m the perfect servant: I have no life” Watching Gosford Park again conjured thoughts about it being quintessential Robert Altman, thoughts I couldn’t conjure in 2001 considering it was my first true experience watching one of his films. It proves the perfect evolutionary end to a way of filmmaking he began over twenty years previous with A Wedding‘s sprawling cast, overlapping dialogue, and class strife. Its Agatha Christie-type whodunit conceit lends itself perfectly to his sensibilities and aesthetic, but we can thank Bob Balaban for enthusiastically asking to collaborate for…

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REVIEW: Prêt-à-Porter [Ready to Wear] [1994]

“Taking advantage of others’ insecurities” I didn’t love The Player as much as I thought I would. Sometimes Robert Altman utilizes too many characters within a story that cannot sustain them as perfectly as we’d hope. It often works best in one-locale work like A Wedding and Gosford Park where the satirized theme is cohesive and everyone interacts with everyone else. The reason his Hollywood roast did succeed enough for me to enjoy, however, is that it had a lead. We followed Griffin Mill around the studio lot as the…

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REVIEW: The Player [1992]

“… with a heart” When thinking about a satire on Hollywood, the idea to glorify its luck, ego, and excess rather than vilify probably wouldn’t be the direction your mind gravitates towards. To some extent this may ensure the exercise will prove pointless because the message shifts from showing everything wrong that needs fixing into everything wrong that you can also enjoy if the opportunity to join the hedonistic fun ever presented itself. You wouldn’t necessarily take the time to lambast if you weren’t angry at the status quo and…

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REVIEW: A Wedding [1978]

“Death is a four letter word” It’s unfathomable to think that a film as elaborately sprawling as Robert Altman‘s A Wedding was given birth out of a joke, but that’s exactly what happened. Having some fun with an interviewer during publicity on 3 Women, the director exclaimed that his next work would be “a great big fancy wedding” and ultimately made good on the promise. He, John Considine, Patricia Resnick, and Allan F. Nicholls crafted their epic to the tune of two full months of production on an eighty-acre estate…

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INTERVIEW: Richard Ayoade, cowriter/director of The Double

I didn’t know who Richard Ayoade was until 2010 and boy was it the perfect time to find out. My introduction was courtesy of the brilliant British television show “The IT Crowd” and his fantastically drawn Maurice Moss. I had tried watching the show a couple years previously only to forget about it after the pilot. This time, however, I mainlined the first three series and eagerly awaited the fourth only to see co-star Chris O’Dowd journey to mainstream acclaim with Bridesmaids less than a year later. When would Ayoade’s…

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INTERVIEW: Timothy J. Cox, star of Simple Mind, Choosing Sides, and more

Becoming a working actor is hardly an easy career path chosen lightly. For character actor Timothy J. Cox the journey towards independent film began by accident in 8th grade yet became a calling it would seem he was born to follow. Still, it took him almost a decade of living in New York City before making the decision to focus his professional efforts onto the film set above the theatrical stage. Whether performing in student thesis projects, indie shorts, contests, or features, Cox has made a name for himself through…

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REVIEW: The 10 Commandments of Chloe [2012]

“See the transient beauty of the dairy freeze queen” One of the great things about independent cinema is how filmmakers on a small budget can find themselves taking audiences to places studio projects have no interest in visiting. While Nashville, TN isn’t some hole-in-the-wall dump no one knows about—Robert Altman did make a movie there in the 70s and current pop culture seems to enjoy “Nashville” on TV after all—glimpsing the city through soundstages and glamour shots doesn’t equate to the street level personality endearing it to the common man.…

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REVIEW: The Air I Breathe [2008]

“Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow, Love” First-time director Jieho Lee has brought us the next installment of the multiple stories genre threaded together as though fate and coincidence are the name of the game. This type of narrative has been around for a long time, most definitely before Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, but at least there is an example from 15 years ago, and I can’t rack the brains for an earlier one at this time. The most well known to those out there today is of course Oscar-winner Crash. Lee’s The…

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REVIEW: There Will Be Blood [2007]

“I will bury you underground” There Will Be Blood is a staggering work of genius. Paul Thomas Anderson has, if he hadn’t already, cemented himself as the director of the present and future. While his previous work compared to the great Robert Altman, this entry is by all accounts his Kubrick picture. At every turn I could think of nothing else but comparisons to Stanley Kubrick’s body of work. The cold, detached artistry of it, the gorgeous visuals bolstered by powerhouse performances, and the patience with which to allow a…

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REVIEW: Jindabyne [2007]

“Your granddaughter had her first murder” Guilt and how it affects the lives of those it surrounds seems to be a big factor in the writings of Raymond Carver. A few of his short stories were interweaved together a while back by Robert Altman in his masterpiece Short Cuts. One of those stories caught the attention of Australian filmmaker Ray Lawrence who’s very Aussie Lantana was an enjoyable film that came out six years ago. With this new entry, Jindabyne, Lawrence has taken this tale, about a group of fisherman…

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