Robert Altman

The Gingerbread Man (Blu-ray)

Robert Altman directed this John Grisham tale that begins at a party where Savannah attorney Rick Magruder (Kenneth Branagh) celebrates his successful defense of a man who shot a local cop. The partygoers include his ex-wife Leeanne (Famke Janssen), the mother of his two children; his law partner Lois Harlan (Daryl Hannah); and caterer Mallory Doss (Embeth Davidtz). After Mallory finds her car stolen, Rick gives her a ride home where things turn sexual.

Gosford Park (Blu-ray)

Maverick American filmmaker Robert Altman takes a witty and absorbing look at the foibles of the British class system in this intelligent murder mystery set in the early '30s. Sir William McCordle (Michael Gambon) and his wife Lady Sylvia (Kristin Scott Thomas) are a pair of wealthy British socialites who have invited a variety of friends, relatives, and acquaintances to their mansion in the country for a weekend of hunting and relaxation.

Images (Blu-ray)

A woman walks a razor's edge between reality and madness in this impressionistic drama written and directed by Robert Altman. Cathryn (Susannah York) is a woman who begins to suspect that her marriage to Hugh (René Auberjonois) is falling apart after receiving a mysterious phone call from a friend who tells her Hugh has been having an affair.

Short Cuts: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray)

In one of his most ambitious cinematic undertakings, director Robert Altman folded no less than ten of Raymond Carver’s short stories into this sprawling 1993 comedy-drama -- an audacious, star-studded epic that encompassed no fewer than 22 significant characters. Short Cuts reveals the variegated, unaccountable ways people react when fate hands them unexpected challenges, victories, and defeats.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray)

The greatest of Robert Altman's '70s genre revisions (which include The Long Goodbye and Thieves Like Us), McCabe and Mrs. Miller is a film steeped in '60s counterculture idealism that lays to rest heroic myths of the Old West. Warren Beatty stars as McCabe, a slightly dim but goodhearted gambler who, with the help of a no-nonsense, opium-smoking madam, Mrs. Miller (Julie Christie in an Oscar-nominated performance), sets up a successful brothel in a Pacific Northwest mining town.

The Player: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray)

Half the fun of The Player is watching director Robert Altman and screenwriter Michael Tolkin repeatedly and enthusiastically bite the hands that feed them -- or, in Altman's case, stopped feeding him: it was his first film for an American studio in seven years, marking his commercial and critical comeback after some interesting but inconsistent pictures. The Player can be read as an indictment of the amorality of all American business in the 1980s and 1990s, but it's Hollywood that takes it on the chin.