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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:09 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:24 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA
So, in my free time I curate a Tumblr called "Fuck Yeah Robert Altman," and over the weekend, I got a private message from none other than Mrs. Robert Altman herself, Kathryn Altman (or a bizarrely savvy Catfisher):

Quote:
Thank You for a fantastic web site -- my question is how and where do you get all this FANTASTIC information and photographs -- I just LOVE it -- Mrs Robert (Kathryn) Altman
http://fuckyeahrobertaltman.tumblr.com/post/93095160940/thank-you-for-a-fantastic-web-site-my-question-is

This is just about the coolest thing that could have come out of running this blog, barring a beyond-the-grave thumbs up from the man himself... just thought I'd share!


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 10:14 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
The Ron Mann documentary on him is on Netflix right now, and it's very good. Considerably short considering the breadth of his career, but it took a much more personal tone since it's mainly told in voice-over by his family.


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:45 pm
I enjoyed Mann's doc -- it's nicely minimalist in construction, and free of schmaltz -- but it wasn't anything exceptional really. And it was rather disappointing how little it touched on so many of his films; stuff like The Long Goodbye and McCabe & Mrs. Miller get just a couple minutes, tops, of somewhat superficial coverage, and 3 Women (my favorite Altman film) is virtually skipped over. Even Nashville doesn't really get the expanded, in-depth treatment I feel it, and many other films, should have. The whole doc is like this -- absorbing, well-made, interesting, but ultimately a surface gloss.


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 9:18 am 
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Location: Indiana
Two hours should be the minimum length for documentaries like this.


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 11:34 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:42 am
Did anyone see McCabe & Mrs Miller at MOMA 3 days ago, & if so, how did it look? Showing again Jan 2.

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:43 pm 
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cvarrick wrote:
Did anyone see McCabe & Mrs Miller at MOMA 3 days ago, & if so, how did it look? Showing again Jan 2.

Thanks.

Has it been restored?


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC
I did, as well as Gosford Park (which I posted about earlier) and The Long Goodbye. McCabe & Mrs. Miller looked great, it was MoMA's own archival print. Not new, but still in great shape.

It had been a while since I seen it, so I was a little stunned at how milky and light the shadows looked near the beginning, specifically when McCabe makes his entrance, sits down and starts a poker game. It's a very dark scene, and Warren Beatty is bathed in shadows, but again, all milky and whitish. Obviously a result of the "flashing" they applied to this film, but I wasn't sure if it was the result of a bad print until they lit a lamp that brought the room up in a warm glow, and then everything looked fine, the color and details were all intact.


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 2:30 am
Location: Philadelphia via Chicago
oh yeah wrote:
I enjoyed Mann's doc -- it's nicely minimalist in construction, and free of schmaltz -- but it wasn't anything exceptional really. And it was rather disappointing how little it touched on so many of his films; stuff like The Long Goodbye and McCabe & Mrs. Miller get just a couple minutes, tops, of somewhat superficial coverage, and 3 Women (my favorite Altman film) is virtually skipped over. Even Nashville doesn't really get the expanded, in-depth treatment I feel it, and many other films, should have. The whole doc is like this -- absorbing, well-made, interesting, but ultimately a surface gloss.


For me what was exceptional about this documentary, was that it was specifically about Altman himself, and didn't repeat what has already been said about his films. Perhaps my point of view is different than yours because I own everything he has on DVD/Blu, along with the wonderful Nashville Chronicles, Altman on Altman, and Mitchell Zuckoff's oral biography. I would suggest that if you wanted to know more about 3 Women, McCabe, Nashville and The Long Goodbye that you should listen to the commentaries. I've heard all those stories, and they couldn't be told any better in Mann's doc. I wanted to know about the man, and this movie gives us that...it's far from gloss. Somewhere out there is an AFI doc that does exactly that...

Still, I can never have enough time with Altman, and I would like to have had more time spent with those who spoke about him than the repeated question of what "Altmanesque" meant to them...

I would also like to give kudos to this amazing site by pzadvance: Fuck Yeah Robert Altman!

The new Altman book is essential for all fans of his work.


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:08 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:31 am
bearcuborg wrote:

Thanks for the heads up. I was completely unaware of that title. I hope it approaches the level of Patrick McGilligan's extraordinary
Robert Altman: Jumping Off the Cliff, which sadly ends around the production of Vincent and Theo


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:25 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:43 am
Did anyone catch California Split or Brewster McCloud at the MoMA retrospective? Film or digital?

I was able to catch 3 Women and HealtH. Grabbed a ticket for A Wedding but couldn't make it, so I bought the DVD on Amazon for $7.

Was surprised to find out that HealtH still hasn't been released on home video at all. Glad I caught it, even though the digital transfer wasn't anything special.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:33 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC
Jazz '34: Remembrances of Kansas City Swing

Caught this at MoMA today, and wow, was it enjoyable, moreso than the actual film Kansas City.

Hal Willner was there to introduce, and boy did he have a lot of anecdotes. Just to keep things focused on this film alone, Altman was trying to make this for a while, and previous musical consultants had dropped out, which is how he wound up working on the film. He handpicked the players from all over the jazz and r&b world, which created some on-set tension as the musical sensibilities of these individuals at odds with one another. Some quit early on, but things seemed to calm down once they saw themselves on screen.

They filmed a LOT of footage of these characters playing. Willner claimed that dailies would run for 6 hours a night, possibly an exaggeration but I don't doubt they shot a lot of footage given that there were multiple cameras (Willner claims five) and if they caught every minute of these extended jam sessions.

Each player was also assigned a real life character to emulate - Redman is obviously the Prez, Lester Young, and emulates his style beautifully, and Craig Handy is presumably Coleman Hawkins. In general, the entire group seems to be loosely based on the great Count Basie band of the late '30s, with some notable additions. (Notably, someone in the audience was very enthusiastic whenever bassist Ron Carter popped up.)

Outside of some added voice-overs to link numbers, this may be called a well-edited outtakes collection. I think all of these numbers appear in the film, but usually in severely truncated form. Having them cut together in their entirety is wondrous as these are all amazing players and it's even more entertaining to 1) hear them play together - as mentioned these guys don't typically play together, but they gel incredibly well because 2) they are also "acting" through their music, emulating an era and style they are not known for playing - at least 90% of the time, there are instances where I feel like they stray a bit from the '30s towards something more modern, but even these moments fit wonderfully.

I'm not sure how this film was originally distributed - I was under the impression it was broadcast on PBS - but they screened an actual 35mm print. It was a little beat up and scratched, and due to this film's obscure reputation, I doubt they will strike any more prints. Curiously, they didn't make this print from original 35mm footage - there are occasional artifacts that clearly give it away as a video transfer. Basically, this footage was shot in 35mm, eventually made into a broadcast-quality video master (I'm guessing BetaSP?) and then dubbed back on to 35mm film. This may have been for archival purposes, but regardless, if someone ever reissues this, I hope they go back to the original camera negatives and make a new transfer.


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC
fantasy wrote:
Did anyone catch California Split or Brewster McCloud at the MoMA retrospective? Film or digital?


I saw California Split, it's in 35mm, it's excellent and definitely catch it because it'll be the uncut version. They had some weird rights issue that led them to drop a bit of footage from the DVD, as well as swapping out a bit of music for some generic instrumental recording.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 5:51 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:20 am
Location: Guernsey
hearthesilence wrote:
Jazz '34: Remembrances of Kansas City Swing

I'm not sure how this film was originally distributed - I was under the impression it was broadcast on PBS - but they screened an actual 35mm print. It was a little beat up and scratched, and due to this film's obscure reputation, I doubt they will strike any more prints. Curiously, they didn't make this print from original 35mm footage - there are occasional artifacts that clearly give it away as a video transfer. .


I saw this at the London Film Festival when Kansas City came out (I can't remember if that was at the LFF too or was on general release by then) - and I'm pretty sure it was a 35mm screening as I don't recall it looking anything other than impressive. I'd agree as to the film as well - it's glorious and one I've been hoping to get on video / DVD / whatever since I saw it.


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:07 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 6:07 pm
hearthesilence wrote:
fantasy wrote:
Did anyone catch California Split or Brewster McCloud at the MoMA retrospective? Film or digital?


I saw California Split, it's in 35mm, it's excellent and definitely catch it because it'll be the uncut version. They had some weird rights issue that led them to drop a bit of footage from the DVD, as well as swapping out a bit of music for some generic instrumental recording.

California Split is also playing in 35mm on Friday in Austin through the Austin Film Society if anyone is in the area. Before CS, there is a screening of Ron Mann's Altman doc along with some Altman shorts. Ron Mann will be in attendance for both screenings.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:49 pm 
Bringing Out El Duende
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Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2004 6:53 pm
Location: New York City
No review of Ron Mann's Altman (2014)? It's currently streaming on Hulu+ but it seems they've killed the review feature. (imdb.com's rating feature is spotty, at best). Guess I'll just plow in. Anyone here seen it?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 6:27 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 2:30 am
Location: Philadelphia via Chicago
It sucks. Buy the Altman book instead.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:19 am 
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Location: Brandywine River
Very run of the mill 'Biography TV channel' sort of affair. Passable as a supplement but that's about it.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:39 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:31 am
bearcuborg wrote:
It sucks. Buy the Altman book instead.


Patrick McGilligan's Robert Altman: Jumping off the Cliff, not the oral biography that ignores many of his films and doesn't do a very good job exploring his pre-Hollywood years or working relationships with behind-the-scenes personnel.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:51 am 
Bringing Out El Duende
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Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2004 6:53 pm
Location: New York City
Yeah, it wasn't exactly impressive altough I I did enjoy the graphic transitions from one film to the next. Given that his wife (who I met in an odd encounter) narrated the film you'd think that the filmmakers would have incorporated more of his personal/imtimate life story with his professional activities. Or, as was mentioned above, if they were going to stick to the career story incorporate some aspects of his relationships with his long-time crew members. Atlman's wife's final comment about how the director was unexpectedly taken with David Lean's Brief Encounter as something other than merely a movie did intrigue me. (Naturally, I didn't have a copy and Hulu+, which is currently streaming this, is not streaming Brief Encounter (Criterion Collection my ass) so I'm off in search of it elsewhere.) Indeed, the film makes a fine intro but that's about all.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:49 pm
Location: Denver, CO
Kathryn Altman died this week.


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:29 am 
Bringing Out El Duende
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Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2004 6:53 pm
Location: New York City
Wow. A little spooky. May she rest in peace.


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:05 pm
Location: Connecticut
The Wisconsin Film Festival will be playing the following films in their "Robert Altman Rarities" series:

California Split
Corn's-A-Poppin'
HealtH
The Kathryn Reed Story
The Party
Pot au feu
Remember My Name


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:38 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:49 am
justeleblanc wrote:
The Wisconsin Film Festival will be playing the following films in their "Robert Altman Rarities" series:

California Split
Corn's-A-Poppin'
HealtH
The Kathryn Reed Story
The Party
Pot au feu
Remember My Name

Nice! The program specifies that California Split is "a restored and uncut 35mm print of the original theatrical version."


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:34 pm
Location: Stavanger, Norway
Killer App, an unreleases pilot from 1998, written by Garry Trudeau and directed by Altman, can be seen here. It stars Scott Campbell and Stephen Lang, among others. Never knew this existed.


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 Post subject: Re: Robert Altman
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:14 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:31 am
RobertAltman wrote:
Killer App, an unreleases pilot from 1998, written by Garry Trudeau and directed by Altman, can be seen here. It stars Scott Campbell and Stephen Lang, among others. Never knew this existed.


This is a phenomenal find. Thank you so much for the heads-up!


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