Friday, March 13, 2009

Brewster Mccloud @ Charles Theatre this week

An 11-film Robert Altman series begins this Saturday at the Charles Theatre. This series offers the best of the miraculous streak of films that made his reputation in the 1970s, along with a selection of his later work, beginning with The Player, that marked the final, fruitful phase of his long career.

This week: Bud Cort and Shelley Duvall in BREWSTER MCCLOUD.

Saturday, March 14 at Noon
Monday, March 16 at 7 PM
Thursday, March 19 at 9 PM

(1970 Robert Altman) Bud Cort, Sally Kellerman, Michael Murphy, Shelley Duvall, Stacy Keach, Margaret Hamilton. 105m. 'Scope.

Fresh off the commercial success of M*A*S*H, Robert Altman had carte blanche when he made Brewster McCloud, and his unfettered freedom shows in every frame. It's a rarely seen cult delight that's by turns fascinating, whacky, frustrating, and charming. A fractured fairytale about an adolescent Icarus (played by the pre-Harold and Maude Bud Cort) living in the bowels of the Houston Astrodome, the film is stuffed with every off-the-wall idea the director could throw into it, from Margaret Hamilton (aka the Wicked Witch of the West) leading an all-black marching band in a cracked version of “The Star Spangled Banner” to a Bullitt-inspired car chase staged by Bob Harris, designer of the original. Beneath the whimsy there's a hard core of political satire; Brewster, like so many of Altman's '70s films, is haunted by the dark reign of Richard Nixon, and its humor, however giddy, is decidedly black, it's musings on freedom determinedly bleak. Overall, though, Brewster is a wild ride, and few films capture the glory days of '70s filmmaking better than this one.(Linda DeLibero)