McCabe & Mrs. Miller 4K UHD Is the Pick of the Week

To call Robert Altman a maverick is a grave understatement. His films were subversive, anti-establishment, funny and strange, inventive, and immensely influential. I haven’t seen all of his films, and I haven’t even liked all the ones I’ve seen, but I’m never upset that I spent time with them. When he was good, and he was often good, he had a way of transporting you to a world that seemed both utterly realistic and at the same time completely foreign.

One of his best films is McCabe & Mrs. Miller, an unconventional Western, or what they now call a revisionist Western. A sublime Warren Beatty plays McCabe a small-time, simple-minded gambler who thinks he’s an entrepreneur and a gun-slinging hero. Julie Christie is divine as Mrs. Miller, a brothel madam he goes into business with and falls completely in love with (though she still charges him for sex). When a mining company comes to town looking to buy everything out, McCabe overplays his hand and the company sends in hired killers to take care of him.

Altman gives the film an eerie, dreamy look and fills the soundtrack with songs from Leonard Cohen all the while turning the entire thing into a treatise on how capitalism kills everything it comes in contact with.

The Criterion Collection previously released McCabe & Mrs. Miller on Blu-ray in 2014 and now they’ve upgraded it to 4K UHD. All of the extras remain the same. Everything I’ve read about the upgrade is that it is completely worth the money.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Witness for the Prosecution: Kino Lorber presents this Billy Wilder-directed courtroom drama that stars Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, and Elsa Lanchester. It is based upon an Agatha Christie story so it’s full of great twists and turns, and the acting is impeccable across the board.

The Terminal Man: George Segal stars in this sci-fi drama from a Michael Crichton book about a man with terminal seizures who gets some experimental microchips implanted in his brain. The only drawback is that it causes him to derive pleasure from committing violence.

Burnt Offerings: Dan Curtis directed this movie about a family moving into a house of horrors. Read Joe Garcia’s review.

Waitress: The Musical: First there was Waitress, the movie. It starred Keri Russell as a pregnant, unhappily married waitress who gets one last shot at love. It wasn’t very good but they turned it into a Broadway musical. Now that musical has been turned into a movie. And the circle of life continues.

The Thomas Crown Affair: Norman Jewison directed this classic caper film about a rich man who has everything (Steve McQueen) who nevertheless decides to become a robber and the insurance investigator (Faye Dunaway) who tries to catch him all the while slipping into a romance with him.

Voodoo Passion: Jess Franco joint about a woman who moves to Haiti and dreams of voodoo and murder.

Mat Brewster

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