Steven Soderbergh

April 7, 2011

Steven Soderbergh

He really exploded the independent movement in the states. That’s not to say there weren’t independent American films, but he really caused people to take notice. And by people, I mean Hollywood (the indie scene hasn’t been the same since).

Sex Lies & Videotape – Won the big three at Cannes, and really helped invigorate the independent movement (for better or worse).
Kafka – This is a strange follow up to Videotape. I’ll have to see it again to see if I like it (if it ever comes out on DVD again).
King of the Hill – Not many have seen this one, but check it out.
Schizopolis – Wacky stuff. When you’re in the right mood, this film is pretty entertaining (and no, I don’t do drugs). Watch the commentary where Soderbergh interviews himself. The cajones on this guy.
Out of Sight – After a long dry spell and some weak movies, he comes along with this. Not only does he jump start George Clooney’s (Lexington, KY) movie career (we thought it was over after Batman & Robin), but he restarted his own. J. Lo was good too (what the Hell happened to her? She had potential). This was also the first time a character from two separate Elmore Leonard novels appeared in two separate films from different studios, but played by the same actor. Michael Keaton played Ray Nicolette in this and in Tarantino’s Jackie Brown.
The Limey – Wow. General Zod gave us a great performance. And ya know what, so did Peter Fonda (who knew?). And Barry Newman (Vanishing Point) was pretty great too. Soderbergh intercut scenes of the young Terrence Stamp from Ken Loach’s Poor Cow, to serve as flashbacks. Pretty darn clever I thought. And the non linear editing was very impressive (and this was before Memento).
Erin Brockovich – They shot the opening car crash not far from where I live. I used to drive through that intersection every day to work. Julia earned her Oscar on this. Albert Finney was great, and Aaron Eckhart was really good too.
Traffic – I thought this was pretty great too. Every one did a good job, even Topher Grace. Steven Gaghan (fellow Louisvillian) won an Oscar for adapted screenplay, but after I saw the British miniseries this was based on, I realized he only transcribed, not adapted. And upon seeing his subsequent work, he should give his Oscar to Steve Kloves for Wonder Boys.
Ocean’s 11 – I liked it, so there. It was fun. Don’t actually like the original.
The Girlfriend Experience – Actually not too bad. It’s a quick little character study that doesn’t go too deep and doesn’t moralize on what the girl does for a living (it’s no worse than the douchey boyfriend). Sasha Grey was fine, but she certainly needs to take some more Adler or Strassberg classes. She was best when she didn’t know the camera was on her, but she also had a good scene where she was sad.

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