Robert Altman: Glossed Over
Will A. Seay | Memphis, TN United States | 12/01/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Let me open by saying I am a far cry from a professional or seasoned film critic or film theory enthusiast. But Robert Altman has remained one of my favorite directors since I saw The Player in 1992 and I have watched everything I've found about and by him. When I saw this documentary focused solely on Altman, I had no problems laying down the...asking price.I don't think I got my money's worth... The documentary is not much more than a chronological listing of his films up to Cookie's Fortune. The narrator wastes a lot of time simply reading titles and names of leading actors superimposed over a still of each particular movie. From time to time the narration is interrupted by some commentary from Altman and some featured actors, or key clips from the more successful movies, but not nearly enough time is spent on insightful behind-the-scenes or neat-o "never-before-seen" material.I wasn't looking for fully developed critiques of each film or any such thing, nor a drawn out monologue by Altman and/or some well-reknowned critics, but I really was hoping to gain a lot more insight into Altman and his view of filmmaking and I didn't feel I gained much of anything by the end of the feature.The interviews that do exist are interesting if brief, and do cover a decent breadth of reactions from different people who speak in a seemingly honest and introspective manner. That is, at least it wasn't a bunch of fan-actors only praising the lauded director in meaningless spurts. Granted, Altman has produced a goodly number of films in his day and to give all of them due coverage would not be practical for a DVD aiming to span his entire career. But I wish it were less of a simple list (that you can easily print out in greater detail from the IMDB.com) and more of a revealing look at a man many claim to be the definitive American director.The medium of DVD is also somewhat wasted here. No special features to speak of are included other than your standard Scene Selection menu and a static listing of his works and awards. It doesn't even give plot outlines or cast overviews or any such useful information. If you are a die hard Altman fan you might consider picking this DVD up, but otherwise spend your money on one of his actual films and I think you'd be much happier with your purchase."
This Biography Takes Too Many Short Cuts
C. Manson | Destin, FL United States | 03/08/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I'm glad I didn't purchase this DVD. Only some brief widescreen glimpses of the coming-soon "Buffalo Bill..." got a rise out of me. The big disgrace is the obscenely short amount of time devoted to "Nashville"--and awful pan-and-scan footage at that! And the other, lesser-known films are relegated to still photos and Cinema 101 Narrator. It's always fascinating to see the old guy comment on the "Gingerbread Man" controversy, but I'm not sure that Mr. Altman would be too pleased with a program that barely mentions his own (admitted) favorite "Kansas City."Worst of all, the "filmography" lists a movie called "Secret HARBOR" from 1984. Where do I send my resume?"