Frank Barhydt

Frank Barhydt

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Quintet Review


Bad
Wow. If you've ever wanted proof that goiod filmmakers are capable of turning out junk from time to time, look no further than Quintet, Robert Altman's existentialist story about a game that the remaining survivors of an unspecified holocaust are forced to play. It's like Chinese Checkers, sort of, only it features real people who lose their lives when their piece is eliminated.

Alas, if you're expecting a taut thriller of who'll-survive-the-madness, think again. This is messy, roundabout filmmaking, full of cryptic dialogue, pregnant pauses, and symbolic imagery, all of which end up signifying absolutely nothing.

Continue reading: Quintet Review

Short Cuts Review


Very Good
While one could argue that Robert Altman's 1993 film Short Cuts was simply an updating of his 1975 classic Nashville, with a much higher quotient of star power and slightly more prurient subject matter - an attempt to keep the once iconic filmmaker from straying into the shadowy irrelevance like so many of his '70s peers - and while that argument could very well be true, that doesn't deprive Short Cuts of any of its power, or disprove the fact that it's ultimately a better film.

Spinning together a series of short stories from the master of the form, Raymond Carver, Altman takes some 20-odd Los Angelenos and twists their lives together seemingly just for the fun of how their individual little lives play out and connect up, like a puppetmaster who can't stop adding new puppets to his repertoire. To flesh out his tapestry of early '90s Southern California life, Altman has a fine batch of actors and actresses, including everyone from the best of their generation (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Robert Downey Jr) to the solidly respectable but not terribly exciting choices (Julianne Moore, Matthew Modine, Madeleine Stowe) to oddly effective musician stunt casting (Lyle Lovett, Tom Waits, Huey Lewis) to one lordly presence (Jack Lemmon).

Continue reading: Short Cuts Review

Kansas City Review


Weak
Every time Robert Altman makes a movie, it becomes the thing to do for the Hollywood acting community. It happened with The Player. It happened with Short Cuts. It happened with Ready to Wear. And it happened with Kansas City.

The only problem is that The Player was the last of his films that was really all that great. While Kansas City marks a slight improvement over Ready to Wear, that ain't saying much because, after all, so does Showgirls.

Continue reading: Kansas City Review

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Kansas City Movie Review

Kansas City Movie Review

Every time Robert Altman makes a movie, it becomes the thing to do for the...

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