Kansas City

"Weak"

Kansas City Review


Every time Robert Altman makes a movie, it becomes the thing to do for the Hollywood acting community. It happened with The Player. It happened with Short Cuts. It happened with Ready to Wear. And it happened with Kansas City.

The only problem is that The Player was the last of his films that was really all that great. While Kansas City marks a slight improvement over Ready to Wear, that ain't saying much because, after all, so does Showgirls.

Kansas City is Altman's homage to the 1930s in the titular city, with a plot revolving around a brassy young girl named Blondie (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who kidnaps the drugged-out wife (Miranda Richardson) of one of President Roosevelt's advisors named Henry Stilton (Michael Murphy). Why? Because Blondie's husband (Dermot Mulroney) is about to be killed by local gangster Seldom Seen (Harry Belafonte), and Blondie thinks Stilton can get him back before it's too late.

That's basically it as near as I can tell, mainly because the plot of the movie is given second billing to the scores of jazz musicians Altman populates the film with. The jazz is everywhere -- drowning out dialogue and action and just about everything else. Not that that's a bad thing, because without the music the film would be even worse than it already is. I just hadn't realized that Altman was making music videos now.

What's so bad about Kansas City? The main problem is that Altman tries to make this really dull, boring, and simple story into something that is unique, exciting, and intricate -- all of which he fails at miserably. It starts with some horrible acting performances from otherwise good actors, the worst of the lot being Mulroney, who just stands there for 90 of the 120 minutes, looking like a sheepdog. And there's Leigh, who acts like she's reprising that wretched role from Georgia, stumbling from scene to scene, and leading me to re-evaluate my opinion of her acting ability altogether.

Kansas City does have a neat ending, but it's far too little, far too late, and in retrospect, it doesn't even make a whole lot of sense. But at least it was something different. Oh well.

Good thing Leigh's mouth is closed -- you can't see the inexplicable black guck they put between her teeth.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 116 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th August 1996

Distributed by: Fine Line

Production compaines: Sandcastle 5 Productions, CiBy 2000

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Blondie O'Hara, as Carolyn Stilton, as Seldom Seen, as Henry Stilton, as Johnny O'Hara, as Johnny Flynn, as Babe Flynn, as Nettie Bolt

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.