Robert Altman Collection
Robert Altman’s honorary Oscar may have been the high point of the recent Academy Awards ceremony (although Paul Haggis comparing himself to Brecht surely rates a close second), but as anyone who’s ever sat through the dreary likes of Images or The Company can testify, the man’s cinematic oeuvre has been wildly uneven. This four-disc box offers yet more proof, packaging the formally groundbreaking (and previously released) MASH (1970) with three lesser-known titles from the late ’70s: the romantic comedy(!) A Perfect Couple; A Wedding, which raises the bar on Nashville by cramming a preposterous 48 characters into its two hours; and the turgid Quintet, featuring an understandably bewildered Paul Newman wandering through a post-apocalyptic ice age.
Elevator to the Gallows
Louis Malle’s first feature makes its belated Region 1 debut. Criterion’s typically generous supplements include interviews with stars Jeanne Moreau and Maurice Ronet and a video discussion of the film’s jazz score with musician Jon Faddis and longtime Voice critic Gary Giddins.
While not quite the return to form that some have claimed, this London-set reworking of Crimes and Misdemeanors is, more or less by default, Woody Allen’s best film in about a decade. Surviving a meandering opening act and a flat lead performance from Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Match Point builds to a suitably operatic conclusion, propelled in no small part by a never more beguiling Scarlett Johansson.