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Short Cuts

Andie MacDowell , Julianne Moore , John Dorr , Mike Kaplan    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
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If aliens came down to earth to see if humanity was worth saving, showing them Short Cuts, Robert Altman's bluesy riff on life in L.A. in the '90s, would not be a good idea. Based on the stories of Raymond Carver (adapted by Altman and Frank Barhydt), this ambitious film is a devilish valentine to living in L.A., where happiness comes at a premium. There are at least eight separate stories that crisscross, most about people who choose not to relate to the lives they are living. Seemingly by design, none of the stories (nor the performances for that matter) have more impact than the others--this is a true mosaic film. The most representative plot deals with a group of friends (Buck Henry, Fred Ward, and Huey Lewis) who decide to keep fishing even after discovering a body in the river. The story works as a morose comedy and a flag holder for the movie: the inability to take the correct action. Others would rather talk about seeing Alex Trebek than discuss their faltering relationships. A huge and talented cast twists in the wind, bumping into moments of truth, sex, and passion. Some even come out all right in the end. The accidental nature of life--a common theme in many Altman films--has never been so maddeningly persistent, or absorbing. The score by Mark Isham with songs sung by Annie Ross (also a cast member) fuels the moodiness, as does the opening number in which Medfly helicopters spray the town to the tune "Prisoner of Life." Delivering the film a year after his biggest hit in two decades, The Player, Altman proved his artistic tenacity as an aged artist with the heart of a new filmmaker: he's not afraid of risking it all. --Doug Thomas

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Un film représentatif de Robert Altman Dec 19 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Un autre film chorale (à plusieurs personnages) de Robert Altman qui reprend une fois de plus des thèmes qui lui sont chers.

Croisement de destins d'hommes et de femmes qui vivent des moments d'amour, de chagrin, de querelle, bref une variété d'émotions comme seule la vie peut en procurer.

On aime ou on n'aime pas, mais on ne demeure jamais indifférent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Film - One of my top 10 April 11 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Well crafted film both funny and serious - almost perfect in all respects. This is the only Altman film I really like and boy is it good. More than just cameo appearances for a bunch of big stars here. Tom Waits and Lily Tomlin area great. Check it out if you can find it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Altman's singature classic with twenty two characters and ten nearly distinct tales. Imagine the ingenuity required to interweave all of that into a seamless whole, but Altman manages the feat deliciously.
While the individual threads may coax discussion, it is their blending that enables a variety of perspectives. Most of them are poignant, for instance the life of a pool cleaner and his wife who vocalizes orgasms on the phone in her job as a tele-sex worker while changing her kids' diapers. Or the life of a couple whose son has been in a tragic accident that brings their lives to an abrupt halt. Etc.
Be warned, many of these vignettes, while very tautly scripted and cleverly screenplayed, remain "unresolved," which may not work for some viewers. Personally I feel that films like this are more genuine reflections of the world in which we live: people often don't change, questions are frequently left unanswered, and unbecoming things do happen every day.
It's a pure pleasure to find a movie that weaves such a deep and intelligent tapestry of human lives, with all their idiosynchratic travails and triumphs. An absolute gem for you to own, not just rent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting! March 9 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This was a very interesting movie. I absolutely loved the story within a story concept. For this movie to have been as long as it was it held my attention. Just for curiousity, I had to watch because I was so interested in what was going to happen to the characters next. All in all, this was a good movie and I recommend it for a day that you don't want to do anything but watch a good movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars writen from a kendal college film class student Feb. 20 2002
By liz
Format:VHS Tape
For all the soap fan out there listen up!! if you like to stick your nose into other people's problems this is the film for you..it deals with all issues from sex, drugs, even death...it gives you in inside on how families really are...this will not panit that pretty picture of the beaver family for you...i highly recommend this movie to any one who likes to stay at the edge of there seats with surprises and loves to laugh. thanks for taking the time to reading the reveiw, liz g. a kendal college student (film class)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, if not quite great Altman April 23 2011
By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:VHS Tape
I certainly liked this film, especially after a 2nd viewing. But it's weak spots kept me from feeling it's one of Altman's very best. There are some less than great performances in key roles -- some actors are miscast, or playing caricatures, or are just not that brilliant. Some story lines seem facile, and the ending feels unsatisfyingly convenient and cute. Still, there's a lot that's funny, and a lot that's moving. It just never quite has the depth, or power or overall vision of it's earlier multi-character epic cousin, 'Nashville'. That said, most critics and people seemed to like it even more than me, and it's well worth seeing and deciding for yourself.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, if not quite great Altman April 23 2011
By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
I certainly liked this film, especially after a 2nd viewing. But it's weak spots kept me from feeling it's one of Altman's very best. There are some less than great performances in key roles -- some actors are miscast, or playing caricatures, or are just not that brilliant. Some story lines seem facile, and the ending feels unsatisfyingly convenient and cute. Still, there's a lot that's funny, and a lot that's moving. It just never quite has the depth, or power or overall vision of it's earlier multi-character epic cousin, 'Nashville'. That said, most critics and people seemed to like it even more than me, and it's well worth seeing and deciding for yourself.
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, if not quite great Altman April 23 2011
By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER
I certainly liked this film, especially after a 2nd viewing. But it's weak spots kept me from feeling it's one of Altman's very best. There are some less than great performances in key roles -- some actors are miscast, or playing caricatures, or are just not that brilliant. Some story lines seem facile, and the ending feels unsatisfyingly convenient and cute. Still, there's a lot that's funny, and a lot that's moving. It just never quite has the depth, or power or overall vision of it's earlier multi-character epic cousin, 'Nashville'. That said, most critics and people seemed to like it even more than me, and it's well worth seeing and deciding for yourself.
Was this review helpful to you?
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