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Short Cuts

Robert Altman's inspired cinematic adaptation of Raymond Carver's short stories is a poetically charged contemplation of lust, adultery and luck or a lack thereof amid a distinctly California milieu. Julianne Moore, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Chris Penn, Robert Downey Jr., Tim Robbins, Francis McDormand, Jack Lemon and other gifted actors contribute greatly to the 22 character ensemble mosaic that resonates with brittle accuracy off of every ray of human emotion as it is nakedly revealed. "Short Cuts" exceeds Altman's other masterpiece of epic modernist cinema "Nashville" due to the rich source material of Carver's work that the group interpret in existential performances that allow for and convey the random quality of their characters' morally rudderless existences. Generous special features in this glorious DVD include an exclusively printed softcover collection of Raymond Carver's short stories that the movie is based on, a second DVD with a videotaped conversation between Robert Altman and Tim Robbins, a feature-length making-of documentary, a PBS biographical documentary about Raymond Carver, a segment tracing the development from script to screen, a one-hour audio interview with Raymond Carver in 1983, demo recordings of the original songs used in the movie, deleted scenes and a segment about the marketing of the film. Aspect ratio is 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with sound delivered via a choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0. (Movie - Five Stars, DVD features - Five Stars) Rated R, 189 mins. + extras (The Criterion Collection)

August 24, 2005 | Permalink