Robert Altman was by his nature a gambler, and when the commercial and critical success of The Player made him a bankable commodity again in Hollywood, he wasn't afraid to bet the house on his follow-up; based on a handful of short stories by Raymond Carver, Short Cuts was one of the most ambitious films of Altman's career, with twenty-two principle characters and nine different stories darting in and out of the narrative arc. It was also one of Altman's greatest creative triumphs, and the Criterion Collection have given the movie an appropriately loving presentation in this two-disc DVD release. Short Cuts has been given a widescreen transfer for this release, letterboxed on conventional televisions at the aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16x9 monitors. The transfer was supervised by Geraldine Peroni, the film's editor, and was approved by Altman; the results capture the look of the film flawlessly, and is the next best thing to seeing a good print projected on a big screen. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 Stereo, and the fidelity is superb, capturing the rich detail that was typical for an Altman soundtrack with excellent clarity. The dialogue is in English, with optional English subtitles but no multiple language options, though one can listen to just the music for the picture on an isolated music track. The bonus disc is a treasure trove for fans of both Robert Altman and Raymond Carver. Along with three deleted scenes (nice to watch but hardly revelatory), the disc includes Luck, Trust and Ketchup: Robert Altman in Carver Country, a 90-minute documentary on the making of Short Cuts that includes extensive behind-the-scenes footage as well as interviews with Altman, Carver's widow Tess Gallagher and many members of the cast and creative team, along with an installment from the BBC series Moving Pictures that explores how one of Carver's stories was adapted for the picture. Also on board is To Write And Keep Kind, an hour-long PBS documentary on Carver's life and work, and an audio-only interview with Carver which was conducted in 1983. Altman and actor Tim Robbins are featured in an on-camera chat in which they talk about how Short Cuts was made, and three demo recordings by Dr. John of songs he co-wrote for the movie appear in audio-only form. Several trailers, television spots and posters are featured in a section on how New Line Cinema tried to sell such a complex work to the mass movie-going audience. And finally, the accompanying booklet includes a short appreciation of Short Cuts by critic Michael Wilmington as well as extensive credits. (An earlier edition also included a book with the Carver stories adapted for the film; it's not available with the 2008 edition, but Carver's original collections are still in print.) Until Short Cuts is released on Blu-Ray, this is without question the definitive presentation of one of the best American films of the 1990's, and anyone with an interest in Robert Altman's work would be well served by having this in their collection.