Rainer's Review of Short Cuts
Generally, I like the idea of 3-hour dramas.
It's pretty easy to make a 3-hour epic or some monumental war flick but it needs some guts to stand up against the producers and fight your idea of people talking for three hours through.
Robert Altman did this numerous times. Short Cuts is one of his trademark films, which features a huge cast and a huge runtime.
I tend to like star-studded anthology pieces and although of Short Cuts' cast I only truly "love" Tom Waits and Robert Downey jr. I'm still impressed by the sheer amount of starpower.
Acting is pretty good indeed but my main point of criticism is the plot(s) anyways. Altman orchestrates nine more or less interrelated stories about matrimony and other relationships and a lot of problems that seem a bit artificial. In its structure you could compare it to P.T. Anderson's Magnolia - just that Magnolia is far superior.
As I wasn't fully convinced by the plot the film dragged along a bit. Merely any momentum builds, and so, we hardly get any suspenseful scenes and by jumping from one narration to the next all the time Short Cuts stays superficial for most of the time and it never gets really deep into any of the given relationships.
Not very suspenseful, not very dramatic but a runtime of three hours... You see the problem?
To further illustrate what I mean, I'd compare the film to a random three hour episode of a daily soap just with better production values and more skillfully made.