Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Altman passes

I was thinking of posting my thoughts on the Kate Winslet film "Little Children". It's been really growing on me since I saw it a few weeks ago. Sometimes a film grows as it settles in my unconcsious, and sometimes it just sits there (like "The Departed").

Anyway, Robert Altman just passed away, and that seems a bit more important. Altman has directed a number of my favorite films, including most memorably M*A*S*H, The Player, and Gosford Park. (I'm going to skip quotation marks from here out of laziness.) M*A*S*H is his most famous, and it was quite a good film, but it was one of the few films in history that was completely outpaced by the TV show spun out of it. (In fact, I think it was the only film to suffer this fate that I can think of.)

The Player was a delicious dark comedy starring Tim Robbins as a film producer who finds new verve in his life after he kills somebody and realizes he can get away with it. And Gosford Park is IMHO the best ensemble film in the new century. I remember when I rented the DVD I watched it about five times. (Part of the justification for the multiple viewings was the assorted commentaries by actors, producers, and Altman himself.)

Altman directed a lot of films, and some were not as well received. Sometimes it seemed like he was over-dependent on the gimmick of having people talk over each other. Still, he should have won the Oscar for Best Director (over Ron Howard for A Beautiful Mind? Puh-leaze. Gosford Park was MUCH better.)

Altman's IMDB page here

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