Sorry. Somehow it seemed necessary.
+ "A Prairie Home Companion": We haven’t has a chance to see Robert Altman‘s latest yet, but we probably will, as by most accounts it’s a joy. It inspires Roger Ebert to drippiness and the quoting of F. Scott Fitzgerald: "There is so much of the ghost of Scott Fitzgerald hovering in the shadows of this movie that at the end I quoted to myself the closing words of ‘The Great Gatsby.’ I’m sure you remember them, so let’s say them together: And so we beat on, boats against the current, drawn back ceaselessly into the past." It inspires Rob Nelson, at the Village Voice, to the fanciful: "The dialogue here doesn’t overlap so much as cascade; the zooms don’t suggest a biologist squinting through a microscope, but someoneâ€”an old man, I might as well say itâ€”leaning in for a tiny kiss."
At Slate, Michael Agger reads the film through the legacy of the Keillor radio show and largely pleased with it; at the New York Press, Armond White is dismissive of said show but is euphoric with regards to Altman’s filmmaking, comparing him to Jean Renoir and eulogizing him so fiercely that it’s almost a shame that the director is still alive and kicking and in talks to next make a narrative adaptation of "Hands on a Hard Body."
LA Weekly‘s Ella Taylor, also thoroughly enchanted, notes that "Nothing much happens, unless you count life (a pregnant stagehand is ready to drop her baby), love (unrequited) and death (‘The death of an old man is not a tragedy,’ the Angel whispers)." David Edelstein at New York observes that there are a few off notes, but still salutes the "unruly vitality of this marvelous film."
And a few naysayers…well, hardly, but there are a few who aren’t fully won over â€” The New Yorker‘s David Denby thinks the film could have used a bit more of that vitality: "Dramatically, itâ€™s mellow to the point of inertia. There may not be any sweat, but there isnâ€™t any heat, either." The New York Times‘ A.O. Scott declares it minor Altman, but still concludes that "It’s not a perfect movie, and it does not aspire to be a great one. It’s just wonderful." Kristi Mitsuda at Reverse Shot expresses "displeasure and discomfort with its dramatic constructs," particularly the meta-noir characters played by Kevin Kline and Virginia Madsen, though in the end she also likes the film.
And how is La Lohan?
Agger: "Lohan is very natural, even though her big song doesn’t quite come offâ€”it’s too Disney."
Chris Wisniewski (of Reverse Shot): "[T]hough we’re supposed to take her somewhat seriously, Lindsay Lohan is disastrously miscast as Yolanda’s daughter Lola."
Adam Nayman (of Reverse Shot): "In a great bit of casting, it’s Lindsay Lohan (as the daughter of the veteran chanteuse played by Meryl Streep) who gets to sing the final song of the broadcast: stumbling over the lyrics to an ancient my-boyfriend-is-a-bastard ditty, she nervously inserts some of her own words (she’s a bookish, vintage tee-wearing poet, contemporary in every way) and wins over the staunchly traditional studio audience."
+ "Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul": Fatih Akin, who directed the superb, bruising Turkish-German romance "Head-On," follows it up with this documentary on contemporary Turkish music, with Alexander Hacke, the bassist from the industrial band EinstÃ¼rzende Neubauten (and a contributor to the "Head-On" soundtrack) as our guide. The New York Times‘ Manohla Dargis calls the film "infectiously enjoyable," suggesting that it "feels like something of a gift, as if the director had decided to burn some of his favorite songs for his newfound friends, the world-cinema audience." R. Emmet Sweeney at the Village Voice notes that
There is a general fear among the film’s subjects that local traditions are dying amid the rush to modernization. This uncertainty is rendered sublime by national icon Sezen Akzu in her command performance of "Memories of Istanbul," evoking the city’s rapidly disappearing past with impossibly noble resignation.
And Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir concludes that "Whatever you think you know about Turkey, ‘Crossing the Bridge’ will change your mind. With a dynamite album of music from the film in simultaneous release, I smell a ‘Buena Vista’-style crossover hit."