Tag: Steven Soderbergh

Side Effects

February 7th, 2013 — 8:08pm

****Side Effects copy

Side Effects sp– Whenever there is  movie where the main character is a New York  psychiatrist (Jude Law) we become particularly attentive and critical since we are quite familiar with this world . In this case we are also initially confronted with psychiatric drugs, that are advertised to the public, may have side effects, are prescribed by psychiatrists who get money and free trips fromy the drug company etc etc. However Director Steven Soderberg (Sex Lies & videotapes, Erin Brockovich, Contagion) and screen writer Scott Z. Burns (Bourne Utlimatum and the  documentary An Inconvenient Truth) while fully capable of an expose type film had something else in mind. This is a classic thriller, which uses what they imagine to be the underside of psychiatry and psychiatrists to provide a complicated and well done plot.  An all star cast of Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vinessa Shaw was assembled although one of these star roles  was much shorter than others. Soderbergh must  take pride in creating a film which demonstrates in a subtle manner that it is inspired from classic films of the past. The photography and editing may seem familiar to movie buffs in the cuts, breaks and in other ways. The Director of Photography is listed as Peter Andrews which is the same name as Soderberg’s father and the Editor  is listed as Mary Ann Bernard the same name as his mother. Soderberg is known for using these pseudonyms as he takes on these other duties to put his full imprint on the film. As good movies of this genre do, it rivets you in your seat, taxes your intellect to follow the twists and turns  of the plot, and thrills you with excitement and suspense.  In the end we were not inclined to argue with any psychiatric depiction with which we might disagree but rather we were caught up thinking could this happen to us and what a great and tense experience we had watching this film.(2013)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Thriller


October 2nd, 2011 — 6:46pm



Contagion-rm  Shortly before we saw this movie we had our yearly flu vaccine. The news of  today happens to be reporting that cantaloupe from Colorado infected with deadly bacteria already have killed 10 people. We know about the SARS epidemic almost 10 years ago that killed almost 1000 people worldwide before being controlled. Certainly we are still in the midst of the AIDS epidemic that has killed many millions of people although our knowledge about this disease and our ability to offer limited treatment has allowed some control over it  (although there is still not a proven vaccine).  So many of us come to Contagion with a mindset that everything that we see in this movie could really happen including the deaths of millions of people. Director Steven Soderbergh depicts the events from different parts of the world as well as the activities inside the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta in a most realistic manner. This almost could have been a documentary film. Perhaps after we have something similar really happen in the future, people will look back on this movie and say they really nailed it . So we certainly  can’t put this movie in the science fiction category. If it isn’t a doc and it isn’t  sci-fi,  it must be a  drama without really much romance or mystery (they know they have  a disease and have to make the vaccine- no real mystery). Despite very fine performances by Matt Damon, Lawrence Fishburne, Kate Winslow and Gwyneth Paltrow, we found we didn’t really care very much about the characters. They were more or less stereotyped or perhaps  “cardboard” without any real dimensions to them. Perhaps that was the idea. They could be everyman or women who lives their lives and then gets a terrible infectious disease or are threatened with getting it. We saw people do desperate things to get the vaccine or food and supplies when they weren’t available but we didn’t really see anyone struggle with any ethical dilemmas. Elliot Gould has a brief appearance in the film as a scientist who was making some breakthrough research and then he was shut down because he wasn’t part of the elite CDC team and we never hear from him again!  Not everyone who may see this movie knows about the potential of infectious disease lurking around the corner that might not be controlled by “the authorities” Others who know better sometimes use a denial mechanism to avoid thinking about the dire possibilities. A movie such as this one might offer a big scare to such folks and who will then feel much better when it is over and they are safe as the walk out of the theater (for now). Perhaps this should be in the “ horror/thriller” genre, which often makes a great movie experience for many people. So if this seems right for you, go for it. (2011)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Thriller

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