A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
This talky, amusing film makes for a worthy swansong for a legendary filmmaker. Centered around Garrison Keillor's real-life radio show of the same name, A Prairie Home Companion is all about tribute and nostalgia, which in retrospect seems very appropriate. The film has time for the things modern entertainment cuts past, and Altman and his ensemble cast present it with warmth and gentle humour. Combining Keillor's (more or less) real-life persona and staff with some pleasant characterizations from Hollywood stars (notably Reilly and Streep/Tomlin as two colourful sisters) works well, and the film is at its best when Altman crosscuts his different characters as they alternate between working their vaudeville numbers and chit-chatting about the little things in life. Where A Prairie Home Companion doesn't quite work, however, is with the inclusion of its noir mystery. The Virginia Madsen-character is too much symbolism and her scenes seem out of place. This by no means Robert Altman at his best, but it is an enjoyable little film that might attract some new viewer's to the vast catalogue he leaves behind.