Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Player

Robert Altman, 1992 (9.2*)
[This is an updated repost of one of my favorite films about films]

Tim Robbins portrays a film producer looking for that next major hit project, who, through an anonymous blackmailer that sends him threatening postcards, becomes involved in a mystery, and his character degenerates into one who may actually stop at nothing to protect his ego and his wallet, and perhaps find love as well.

With the always delectable Greta Scacchi in his sights, who could blame him? He inadvertantly gets involved with her, with completely unforeseen events, through a screenwriter whose script he rejected. I liked the performance of Cynthia Stevenson as Robbins' low-key girlfriend within the studio, who often travels with him 'on business' - and who seems to be the perfect cynical match for her boss.

The Player is a perfect modern complement to Sunset Boulevard, as each presents the cynical and parasitic side of Hollywood and its shallow, self-centered denizens. Robert Altman's best film (for me) includes dozens of famous cameos (around 75), including 16 Oscar® winners, the most of any feature film (of course not including clip films like That's Entertainment). In fact, the dvd has a special menu of all the cameo scenes so you can quickly jump to the one you're seeking.

As another homage to cinema, the opening tracking shot is one of the longest in cinema history as a couple of film buffs argue in one shot of that about the longest tracking shots in cinema history. That has a pleasing circularity to it that will likely go over the heads of most viewers.


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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