CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
When I expressed excitement over the fact that Robert Altman’s stunning “Nashville” was being released in a Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition a few months back, a colleague asked me why I loved the film and I had trouble verbalizing my feelings about Altman’s sprawling, brilliant tapestry of characters. Watching the excellent new documentary about the making-of the film on the Criterion release makes it clear that I’m not alone.
CHICAGO – One of the most remarkable things about Robert Altman was his refusal to give in to the pressures of pleasing an audience. He made films for himself. There may be no better example of this than “3 Women,” a film that defies too much examination in part because it’s purposefully vague as it was based on a dream of Mr. Altman’s. He had a dream, woke up, and turned it into a treatment, from which they shot the movie. It’s surreal, bizarre, and totally mesmerizing, and is one of the newest Criterion Blu-rays.
CHICAGO – Robert Altman made very few films that didn’t have at least a few redeeming qualities and often much more than that faint praise. Even Altman’s relative failures were often fascinating in their own way. Such a film is 1970’s “Brewster McCloud,” a work nowhere near as beloved as some of his ’70s comedies but that definitely warrants a look on its newly remastered DVD, available exclusively through the WB Shop online.