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Ron Mann’s Robert Altman doc: ‘Affectionate but inch-deep’

2 hours ago

A new documentary attempts to grapple with the late, great American auteur. You’d learn a lot more by rewatching his films…

I wish that Ron Mann’s affectionate but inch-deep Altman was the great documentary biography that Robert Altman warrants, but it isn’t. Mann’s biopic would make a fine accompanying documentary to my fantasy box set of The Complete And Utter Works Of Robert Altman, and its use of clips from a solid majority of the director’s movies makes it a mouth-watering appetiser for anyone eager to reacquaint themselves with the master’s entire oeuvre. Sadly, its main effect is repeatedly to seize the viewer with the urge to press eject and slot in any one of the Altman movies invoked – major or minor (still a fluid distinction) – and watch the real thing in lieu of the largely third-hand and obvious insights here gathered.

Related: Robert Altman »

- John Patterson

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The film that makes me cry: Steel Magnolias

3 hours ago

This salon-centred tale is an unexpectedly complex study in the power of female friendship and the perspective-enhancing powers of a new hairdo

Last week I went round to my grandma’s house for a cup of tea and a catch-up. The house hasn’t changed much since I was born, and neither, to my recollection, has my grandma. Last week, as she has done every time I have been at her house before, she finished getting ready for the day by standing up in front of the big mirror in the living room, holding a huge can of Elnett hairspray aloft and, aiming it at her newly tonged curls, asking me about my love life.

It’s something that has always baffled and amused me about my grandmother. She survived having her house blown up during the Blitz, bereavement, raising two kids, the cold war, the three-day week, several car »

- Sophie Zeldin-ONeill

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