December 2006 News
As you may have heard, Robert Altman, my all-time favorite movie director (and pretty much my all-time favorite artist in any medium) just died. When a friend emailed me the news, I emailed back:
It's too bad, of course, but not surprising, and it makes him one of only two major directors I can think of who went out at the peak of his powers, after a long career, and with a final film which was fitting (in subject and style) to be his final film. John Huston is the other, and he knew and planned that "The Dead" would be his last. Altman's situation was different (he wasn't directing from a hospital bed, for one thing), but he obviously knew it was possible it would be the last one. He knew that, at the end of "A Prairie Home Companion," the person the Dangerous Woman was coming for might be him.
It's too bad there won't be any more, but there are a hell of a lot of good ones (and quite a few great ones) to look back on. Going out as he did, after a long life doing what he wanted, and doing it as well as anybody ever has, that's the best deal any of us can hope for.
So, see all his films, if you haven't (or even if you have), but most especially "McCabe & Mrs. Miller," "The Long Goodbye," "Nashville," "Kansas City," "Gosford Park" and "A Prairie Home Companion." My reviews of most of those, and a couple of others, can be found here.
March 2006 News
I just found out that The Dent (which I linked to when I linked to other sites) is going to end after 10 years of serving the Tori Amos community. That's too bad, but I completely understand why, given the enormous amount of work Mike Why has always put into the site.
Ten years seemed like a looong time, until I came over here and realized that this site has been up for almost seven years. Still, I obviously don't update much anymore, so the situations are not really comparable.
The main reason I leave this site up is for the Robert Altman and Orson Welles reviews (and Ghost Dog), which I think are pretty good. And speaking of which, I had mixed feelings about Altman getting the honorary Oscar this year. It's great that he's getting the recognition while he's still alive and still working, but the honorary Oscar is sort of a consolation prize for being really good but never getting a real one.
Of his five nominations (which were not always for his best work), the only one which really annoyed me was 2002, when Gosford Park (possibly his best film ever) was beaten by A Beautiful Mind (a very good picture, but not a masterpiece).
Anyway, this site may not be active anymore (though Altman has a new picture coming out in June, and if it's good enough I will probably review it), but I have not been idle on the web (though not as busy as MikeWhy, I admit).
November 2004 News
Well, it took a while, partly because I didn't want to post any spoilers (I don't know what the statute of limitations on spoilers is, but I think it's over by this time on Kill Bill).
So, here are some thoughts on Kill Bill:
Six things I like about Kill Bill (Volume One)
Six thoughts about Kill Bill (Volume Two)
Two things I dislike about Kill Bill
My favorite Kill Bill theory
October 2003 News
Well, there is a new review after all. I wasn't going to write any more, but when my favorite director (Robert Altman) makes one of his best movies ever (Gosford Park), you know I'll have a few things to say.
"Gosford Park" is not in theaters anymore, but catch it on video or DVD. If you have seen it once, see it again. It's a very different movie the second time around.
The DVD is especially interesting. It has two commentary tracks, one with Robert Altman, the other by the screenwriter Julian Fellowes, and both are worth hearing. There are also some deleted scenes (a whole subplot was removed) with Altman's commentary. His most usual reason for removing a particular scene? "Too sentimental." There is also a small feature about the research which went into making sure the period details were correct. A butler, cook and maid from that period (all quite elderly now, of course) were on the set at all times to make sure things were accurate.
Coming Next: All the secrets of The Ninth Gate revealed! (not approved by the Catholic Church)