Robert Altman

Latest Articles


Days of future past

Science-fiction films have been with us since Edison’s 1910 version of Frankenstein , but they bloomed in the ’Nam era, nourished by a volatile cocktail of cultural ingredients.
'SF-1970' at the Harvard Film Archive
By MICHAEL ATKINSON  |  June 18, 2010

Reversal of fortunes

Timon of Athens is Shakespeare’s least characteristic tragedy, and the toughest to pull off.
Timon of Athens from Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Prelude to a Kiss from the Huntington
By STEVE VINEBERG  |  May 28, 2010

Mostly noir

The definition of film noir has become elastic through the years. Of the five movies included in the MFA’s series “Rialto’s Best of British Film Noir” only two, strictly speaking, are noirs: Brighton Rock, Graham Greene & Terence Rattigan’s adaptatio
And mostly masterpieces, at the Museum of Fine Arts from June 2-13.
By STEVE VINEBERG  |  May 28, 2010

Fast and loose

You're a cocky film-school grad with a drawer full of socko screenplays and Hollywood ambitions. But it's all California dreamin', as you're shivering in New England, cutting public-service announcements and digitizing educational videos, your only brush
Robert Altman's movie life
By GERALD PEARY  |  December 11, 2009

Crossword: ''Home slice''

Rolling in the dough.
Rolling in the dough.
By MATT JONES  |  November 13, 2009

Review: The Men Who Stare at Goats

Here’s a subject that really could have used a Stanley Kubrick or a John Frankenheimer or a Robert Altman. But are there any great cinematic satirists left, auteurs with the knack for black comedy and cold-blooded irony?
Bleating hearts tame Goats
By PETER KEOUGH  |  November 06, 2009


Hardboiled hub

When I was growing up in Roslindale a few decades back — among tribes of ignorant, second-generation immigrant kids whose favorite words began with “f” and “n” and who liked to torture small animals and beat up small children before they moved on to thei
The city’s gritty, criminal underbelly has redefined the dark, artistic vision known as Boston noir
By PETER KEOUGH  |  October 23, 2009

Review: Where the Wild Things Are

I can’t speak for the kids, but I would rate Spike Jonze & Dave Eggers’s adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s 40-page children’s picture book up there with Up and Wall•E as topping the recent renaissance in children’s movies. If pressed, I’d rank it cl
Jonze, Eggers, and Sendak aren’t kidding around
By PETER KEOUGH  |  October 16, 2009

Plain talk

Jesse Sheidlower, an editor-at-large of the Oxford English Dictionary , an expert in slang, and the author of The F-Word , can't stop talking about fuck.
Jesse Sheidlower gives the f-word its due
By JUSTINE ELIAS  |  September 18, 2009

Scholarship gigs

When in 1999 Björn Wennås moved from Sweden to Boston to study jazz guitar, he hardly imagined that he'd one day be playing in an ensemble that specializes in Italian folk music of the 12th to 19th centuries.
Newpoli and Steven Bernstein do their homework
By JON GARELICK  |  July 24, 2009

Review: In the Loop

Six years ago, Armando Iannucci's slick and merciless political satire might have drawn more blood, but even now it blows away the recent satiric competition with its sharp, sardonic screenplay and uncompromising cynicism.
Armando Iannucci wags the war
By PETER KEOUGH  |  July 24, 2009

William Friedkin at the Harvard Film Archive

However we may still praise, and therefore bury, the American New Wave, we do still run the genuine risk of slipping down the wormhole slicked by present-moment techno obsessions and amnesiac entertainment-media narcissism.
William Friedkin, the New Hollywood’s most daring pulp-realist provocateur.
By MICHAEL ATKINSON  |  February 10, 2009

Review: Waltz With Bashir

The so-called anti-war-film genre has lately "distinguished" itself with a flurry of Iraq-war flops featuring earnest polemics.
Dancing on the edge
By PETER KEOUGH  |  January 13, 2009

Review: Frost/Nixon

Dick gets off easy in Frost/Nixon
Tricky flick
By PETER KEOUGH  |  December 09, 2008

Paul Newman (1925-2008)

Paul Newman, who died last weekend at the age of 83, was that rarest of creatures, a movie star who turned himself into a great actor.  
Remembering a movie star who turned himself into a great actor
By STEVE VINEBERG  |  October 01, 2008

Vocation or vacation?

This past Wednesday, the fifth Coolidge Award, honoring a “film artist whose work advances the spirit of original and challenging filmmaking,” was bestowed on Jeremy Thomas.
Honoring independent cinema’s ‘tour guide’
By BRETT MICHEL  |  May 01, 2008


Holiday books

Okay, we admit, we went a bit crazy this year.
Coffee-table madness
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  December 03, 2007

The Sixties Photographs by Robert Altman

 Santa Monica Press | 192 pages | $39.95
By JAMES PARKER  |  December 03, 2007

Puppet government

When Stephen Colbert threw his hat into the presidential ring — before South Carolina threw it back — he was embarking on a remarkably recurrent pop-culture event.
Four-score-or-so years ago, Will Rogers began a comedic political tradition
By DAVID BIANCULLI  |  November 14, 2007

Armies of the light

Maybe the trauma of another intractable war has sparked the movies’ recent interest in ’60s headliners.
Norman Mailer’s primal screen at the HFA
By PETER KEOUGH  |  September 18, 2007

It’s a family affair

You'd think from the title that New Bedlam is committed to the broadly satirical.
New Bedlam offers a different kind of reality TV
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  August 28, 2007


Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman, who died Sunday, was one of the last of the great world filmmakers who came to fame around the mid century and changed the face of movies.
By STEVE VINEBERG  |  July 31, 2007

Dirty politics

The last resort of the true patriot is a fart joke.
Has the Right Wing hijacked raunch?
By PETER KEOUGH  |  July 27, 2007

Cinema of Shadows

It’s not likely, but Judd Apatow’s pitch for Knocked Up might have sounded something like this.
We’re five years into the Iraq crisis, and Hollywood hasn't made a film about the war. Or is  every film is about the war?
By PETER KEOUGH  |  June 06, 2007

Inside the mind

By now, the world down the rabbit hole has seen a lot of visitors.
Delving into the subconscious with Alice and her cohorts
By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  May 18, 2007


If you’ve seen Short Cuts , you’ll recall the fishing-trip segment in which Huey Lewis pisses into a stream.
Raymond Carver's human tragedy in near perfect form
By TOM MEEK  |  May 17, 2007


Delta Farce

Blue Collar Comedy mines the War on Terror . . . for laughs?
Blue-collar comedians mine the War on Terror for jingoistic laughs
By BRETT MICHEL  |  May 17, 2007

Hollywood Babel on

The Academy Awards is one of the few contests where the closeness of the race is in direct proportion to the lack of interest.
In a so-so Oscar field, the most pretentious wins
By PETER KEOUGH  |  February 22, 2007

Feel-bad cinema

This critic's been carping for decades about feel-good cinema, how lousy it makes me feel, and this year I got the misery I begged for.
Gerald Peary's year in movies
By GERALD PEARY  |  December 21, 2006

Goodbye, cruel America

Toward the end of 2006, we woke up to the glad news that Chile’s former strongman Augusto Pinochet had saved everyone the trouble of hanging his sickly carcass for war crimes and atrocities by dying of a heart attack.
An in-death eulogy for 2006
By CLIF GARBODEN  |  December 20, 2006