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Thread: Altman cranks out generic dance pic

  1. #1
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    Altman cranks out generic dance pic

    The Company is far below the level of Robert Altman’s best efforts. In contrast with Gosford Park’s endlessly fascinating chatter weaving an intricate web of intrigues and secrets, there’s much stretching and dancing, but very little human detail. There’s hardly what you could call a plot. There are only a few strong characters. All you really get to hold things together somehow or provide some sense of continuity is a series of things that go wrong. . .

    Altman's casts are usually heavy with talent. This time there are only three leads, Campbell, McDowell, and Franco. Ironically only the least used, Franco, has any real appeal.

    . . .You will have a lot of trouble with this movie if you don’t like Malcolm McDowell, but you probably won't. As the “Italian” company director Alberto Antonelli, he is brusque, bossy, obtrusive -- really just a flaming asshole with a lot of power to abuse. Is this how dance companies work? Where’s the genius?

    . . .If you love dance and/or Altman you’ll doubtless have to see this picture, but you won’t be watching a particularly memorable ballet movie or getting Altman even at his average level.

    For entire review, go to http://www.chrisknipp.com/writing/viewtopic.php?t=234

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    The "Lost In Translation" of Dance

    It's difficult to see how one can try to compare Gosford Park with The Company as the two movies are so different in composition, intent, and subject matter. It is to the movie's credit that the stretching and dancing compose a nice backdrop, a strong backdrop to the actual plot of the movie. This is a movie where the backdrop of dance is just as important or more important than the actual storyline itself. I can't imagine that Neve Campbell ever intended to have this movie become some serious deep drama. Instead this slice of life movie is similar in tone and nature with Lost In Translation another more cerebral movie with Bill Murray provided a deep, minimalist acting performance.

    As a former high school modern dancer, I found The Company intriguing and compelling. This docudrama with light on the drama offers a fascinating touching glance into the life of dancers.

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    It's difficult to see how one can try to compare Gosford Park with The Company as the two movies are so different in composition, intent, and subject matter.
    I wasn't "trying to compare" them. I was merely saying this wasn't one of Altman's best, citing Gosford Park as one that clearly is.

    It is to the movie's credit that the stretching and dancing compose a nice backdrop, a strong backdrop to the actual plot of the movie. This is a movie where the backdrop of dance is just as important or more important than the actual storyline itself. I can't imagine that Neve Campbell ever intended to have this movie become some serious deep drama. Instead this slice of life movie is similar in tone and nature with Lost In Translation another more cerebral movie with Bill Murray provided a deep, minimalist acting performance.
    Your first sentence is more than obvious. What Neve Campbell intended is not irrelevant -- she played a role in the design of the film -- but Altman is the director, so he bears ultimate responsability. It's funny, first you say don't compare The Company with another of Altman's films, then you compare it with one byh Sofia Coppola that is totally unrelated in any way. So I don't know what to say. Is the dance setting a "nice backdrop," "a strong backdrop," or "more important than the actual storyline itself"? You seem to be making up your mind as you go along. Maybe if you had edited down these four sentences into two your point would have been clearer; you would have had a point.

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    The Company and Lost In Translation

    I feel that The Company and Lost in Translation share a lot in common in their intent as opposed to Gosford Park. It is possible I believe to distinguish significantly Gosford Park as a strongly plot, character driven drama storyline compared to The Company and Lost in Translation which both rely more on atmospheric, less on any actual storyline and instead use the storyline as a way to balance the visuals, the atmospherics and how they impact on the storyline. The background and the foreground in both these movies are equally important as opposed to Gosford Park that depend more on the foreground for its primary impact.

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    Yes, but as I said I was comparing Gosford Park and The Company only as to merit among Altman films, and I don't see particularly why you would bring in Lost in Translation. Why not another dance film?

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    The Company as Dance Film

    It's hard to compare The Company to other dance films, West Side Story, Shall We Dance, Saturday Night Fever, Flash Dance. In a way, The Company seems to stand by itself as a movie that really isn't focused singularly on the Romeo and Juliet, the longings of a dissatisfied middle age man, the disco fever phenomenon, or even the dramatic, theatrical laborer turned dancer.

    Instead, The Company, is its way is a docudrama with so much of the drama. More like Lost in Translation its about an experience, about a setting and how people in that setting live and perceive, hope and dream. The Chorus Line, my favorite broadway musical was terribly adapted for the big screen. But again, all the other dance movies sought to dramatize whereas The Company sought to underplay the drama and turn the movie into more of an experience, a voyage of discovery not of something strikingly shocking, tragic, or spiritually enlightening but only as a look behind the scenes of possibly real dancers, real feelings, real people tight together by a simple storyline.

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    The mix of documentary and fictional aspects contained within arouses my interest. I plan to watch it. Any interesting extras on the disc that you guys know about?

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    Nope

    Sorry, I was really breezing through Blockbuster when I picked up The Company before the No Late Fee days.

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    I saw it in a theater. I've already expressed my opinion of it, which is not high.

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    The DVD is pretty worthless if I remember correctly. I mean a little featurette that could be done without. The film itself is just second rate Altman, granted I wasn't as impressed with Gosford Park as everyone else, but this is still a step down. Wow, every so often it's interesting to spam a seemingly dead thread.

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    Dead

    wpqx: "The DVD is pretty worthless if I remember correctly. I mean a little featurette that could be done without. The film itself is just second rate Altman, granted I wasn't as impressed with Gosford Park as everyone else, but this is still a step down. Wow, every so often it's interesting to spam a seemingly dead thread."

    tab uno: The danger in "if I remember correctly," while helpful in a general way, doesn't contribute much in the way of meaningful discussion that this website is known for. I still think that it's possible after a long period of time to at least attempt to comment on the notion of background/foreground in movies or the connection or lack there of between The Company and Lost in Translation. I was hoping for comments about a movie that wouldn't dismiss a movie like some subjective food preference (I don't like hotdogs or some such thing, I least I might have commented that as I child I had food poisoning and therefore I developed a dislike for hotdogs).

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    I like hotdogs and I like Altman and I like Gosford Park a lot, but I think wpqx is on the mark in saying The Company is a step down. Altman's way of working always produces something multi-voice and colorful, and it's true that he gets the ballet background strongly into The Company, but other flms with a dance background have done the same thing just as well -- and developed their subplots more strongly. "As I recall" is a justificable phrase in speaking of a film not just seen, but doesn't mean the recollection is unreliable. I recall The Company quite distinctly, and I stand by my words. Altman's movies seem to me uneven. Why didn't The Company pan out so well? One of the likely reasons is that as I said, unlike most Altman efforts this one's cast is not "heavy with talent." The fact that the acting and the action in Lost in Translation are understated doesn't make it comparable. I think it's somewhat overrated, but clearly a more interesting movie than The Company. That said, I can understand that anyone who is seriously into dance or into Altman must see The company; they will just be a bit disappointed.

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    I love those fat sausage dogs with spicy mustard and dense bread they eat in Central Europe and wash it down with a Belgian or Czech dark beer, and I love Altman's 70s movies and I know not to expect anything remotely close from The Company but I'd bet this is the longest sentence in filmwurld history.

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    Yah! And of course I had to see this movie, whatever the critics said about it.

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    Talent?

    Chris Knipp: Why didn't The Company pan out so well? One of the likely reasons is that as I said, unlike most Altman efforts this one's cast is not "heavy with talent."

    tabuno: What's refreshing and compelling about The Company is "the talent." Unlike acting and actors, it appears that in The Company, the people in the movie were more in natural - in otherwise - weren't actors and were not intended to be. I had the feeling that what I was watching were dancers in the film production that lent the movie much more believeability and authenticity than most movies. What better way to produce and direct a film that really exposes what I again refer to as a "Lost in Translation" experience. "The Blair Witch Project" captured the imagination by its grainy almost all movie-like production. So too with The Company were are exposed to not the overly dramatic, the subtle performance of acting, but the real deal as in a docudrama without the drama. I'd almost call it soft drama, maybe even "real" drama.

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