Column | Jul 19, 2014 | 5:00 PM
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Column | Aug 1, 2014 | 3:37 PM"Altman" (Epix, Wednesday). Ron Mann, the director of the documentaries "Twist" and "Comic Book Confidential," has made a movie about Robert Altman. There is no American director working in my lifetime whose work has meant more to me than Altman, and not just the big, accepted successes like "MASH," "The Player" and "Gosford Park," but also "Brewster McCloud, "Buffalo Bill and the Indians" and "Prêt-à-Porter" and "A Prairie Home Companion," films full of life and a love for humankind in its sometimes horrifying, but always wonderful, variety. Ten years ago, on the occasion of an election-year rebroadcast of his groundbreaking, life-meets-art mockumentary HBO series "Tanner '88," I wrote of him, "In spite of the occasional unexpected crossover hit, Altman is the least accommodating of American filmmakers, with an abiding disinterest in popular notions of clarity and narrative, image and sound. Instead, with his long lenses and overlapping dialog, he makes little symphonies of chaos, teeming with incident -- the film equivalent of a Brueghel painting." That is, his work was lifelike, and made in the service of life; endings were almost incidental -- something new may be starting at the right of the frame while something old is concluding at the left.
Column | May 30, 2014
Column | Nov 21, 2012 | 10:33 AM
Story | Jan 11, 2010 | 9:34 PM
Wasn't the singer-songwriter Freedy Johnston always pretty much middle-aged? Midwestern and spectacularly unflashy, apparently born with a receding hairline, the Kansas-born, Hoboken-launched singer-songwriter won critics' hearts and some fame in the...