Steven Soderbergh

How the Death of Mid-Budget Cinema Left a Generation of Iconic Filmmakers MIA

Earlier this year, John Waters — whose last movie, A Dirty Shame, was released a full decade ago — finally got the offer he’d been waiting for all this time. According to his hitchhiking chronicle Carsick, his very first driver was “Harris,” “an art school type” with a sideline in weed dealing who called himself a fan. They talked for a bit about movies before Harris asked the (five) million-dollar question: “How come you aren’t making a movie?” … Read More

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Amazon Greenlights Seasons of ‘Red Oaks’ and ‘Hand of God’

Amazon’s latest crowd-sourced pilot season has come to a near-close, and customer reviews decided that coming-of-age show Red Oaks and drama Hand… Read More

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Stop Calling David Fincher a “Control Freak”

As you may have heard, David Fincher’s terrific adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller Gone Girl premiered last weekend at the New York Film Festival. So your film editor was perusing some of the coverage of that premiere, like ya do, when I came upon Anne Thompson’s analysis of the “Three Reasons to Worry About Gone Girl.” She mostly examines the film’s chances at box office success and Oscar gold (ugh), but this is the line that jumped out at me: “Fincher was being typically controlling during the press conference, exhorting the press to hide Gone Girl plot spoilers — while the bestseller is still flying off bookshelves — and refusing to allow anyone to record the NYFF press conference.” It’s not often that you see three consecutive inaccuracies in the same sentence, but that’s what happens when you have to conform your facts to a preexisting narrative — in this case, that Fincher is some sort of cruel, demented control freak. It’s a narrative that’s been floating around for a while now, and the more you think about it, the sillier it is. … Read More

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Steven Soderbergh Turned ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ into a Black-and-White Silent Movie

Steven Soderbergh’s website Extension 765 serves several purposes, most of them commercial: he sells his artwork and… Read More

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How ‘sex, lies, and videotape’ Changed Indie Filmmaking Forever

It began with three brief items in his notebooks. “A film about deception and lost earrings,” went one. “Everybody has a past,” went another. And finally, “Friend on the couch. Affair with the wife.” The filmmaker jotted down those three ideas in 1986; three years later, the movie those three ideas spawned became the sensation of the nascent Sundance Film Festival, the winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and an international box office smash. The young writer/director was Steven Soderbergh, the film was sex, lies, and videotape, and its release 25 years ago was, author Peter Biskind would later write, “the big bang of the modern indie film movement.” … Read More

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Does Indie Film Have a Future?

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Soderbergh’s ‘The Knick’ Brings a Contemporary Eye to Old-Timey Medicine

When we compare films and television these days — and we shouldn’t, because (despite some obvious shared storytelling tools) they’re different beasts entirely, but we do — we tends to praise the larger canvas of a television series, the way that its creators can take their time to build a world and spin a yarn, playing the long game. But that’s an idealized take on the medium; thanks to recap culture and Twitter consensus, the viewing public can give up on a show in a mere episode (sometimes less than one) if it doesn’t deliver immediately. This is all a roundabout way of saying that The Knick, Steven Soderbergh’s new drama for Cinemax (premiering tonight) is a show that demands patience, and rewards it. Soderbergh puts his narrative on a slow simmer, and it takes several episodes to come to a full, rolling boil — and when it does, it’s brilliant television. But tonight’s pilot is not one of those inaugural outings, like Breaking Bad’s or Homeland’s, that grabs and shakes you; The Knick pulls you close, whispers quietly, and slides a dagger between your ribs. … Read More

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