There is not much about his death in Soderbergh’s graceful assemblage of footage of Gray from throughout his life – in movies, on stage, being interviewed on TV, etc. A game ensemble, including Channing Tatum, Jude Law, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, is clearly up for anything Soderbergh dishes out. Paul Attanasio, a long way from his script for Robert Redford’s majestic Quiz Show, goes for intricacy but hits convoluted instead, adding revelations and subplots that drag down Soderbergh’s lean production. In truth, his debut is the very model of the Stunning First Feature, a groundbreaking planting of the flag that instantly cements a filmmaker’s name. Still, the director’s focus on Kelvin’s emotional struggle — how can he let go of a woman who killed herself when she literally won’t leave him alone? Steven Soderbergh is an incredibly prolific director: with his first feature film, sex, lies, and videotape, becoming a literally game-changing indie hit in 1989, Soderbergh has had a wildly successful career as both an indie and mainstream director, having produced 27 films since then and still directing–despite adamantly insisting that he’s retired. It may be the only truly nostalgic movie Soderbergh has ever made, and here’s hoping he never falls back again. 10 Weirdly Romantic Movies of the 21st Century. It’s the kind of mind that works hard and successfully for the people of Hinkley, but it’s also what begins to drive away George (Aaron Eckhart), her new neighbor and eventual boyfriend. Following a quick succession of box office and Oscar hits, the director got $2 million from the Weinsteins to play with the new, inexpensive DV cameras and make something completely different. The main thing Ocean’s Thirteen has over Ocean’s Twelve is the additions to cast. It’s no insult to say that, in the years since Sex, Lies, and Videotape first hit theaters, Soderbergh has rarely topped it — even as his style has evolved and his technique only grown more dazzling and inventive. An undervalued gem of the director’s 90s output that was resuscitated by its release on the Criterion label, King of the Hill now feels like one of Soderbergh’s most simple and satisfying tales to date. Soderbergh has fun with his West Virginia redneck characters, but the joke is never on them: They’re all smarter and more on top of everything than anyone — including, at times, the audience — might give them credit for. Thank goodness it wasn’t. In the aftermath of Kafka, Soderbergh must have realized that the overseers weren’t always going to have his back. A decade away from that, it’s a moderately interesting exercise — that word again — that gives Soderbergh a chance to cobble together a story about the working class and the rage that lurks beneath, using non-professional actors and mostly improvised dialogue. For those who glommed onto Arrival’s clever narrative trickery, this might become your holy grail, though Soderbergh is smart enough not to tie things up quite as neatly as Denis Villeneuve did. Watching it in the moment, there are stretches where Soderbergh’s plan seems to be “confuse them and then run,” but the overall feeling is that of refusal to play by the accepted dictates of narrative and frustration at its limitations, a feeling that fans of his should be used to. It’s difficult to discuss just what exactly is going on here, but it involves the relationship between a self-help drone and a dentist, both played by Soderbergh in a surprisingly resonant and anxious pair of performances. Saturday Night Fever (1977) 82% #13. Yes, it’s still as good as you remember. Those familiar with the source material or Tarkovsky’s film know where Soderbergh’s reinterpretation is going. 10 Movies That Deserve To Be Reevaluated Now That Times Are Different . Not only are they wildly different — they even vary in terms of Soderbergh’s intent. McConaughey has never been better, while Tatum demonstrated that he had the sex appeal, depth, and understated comic timing to be more than just the Step Up heartthrob. It has his smart, confident touch, it’s rousing without lapsing into sentimentality and, showing off perhaps Soderbergh’s most underrated trait, it points a camera at a movie star and lets them movie star their ass off. Lots of Soderbergh films involve cons, but the most intricate happens here: The true-life story of Central Illinois executive Mark Whitacre (Damon) is nothing less than the tale of a man whose entire life is an artful lie he’s constructing for the world — and for you, the audience. Shooting on an iPhone with a limited cast, led by The Crown’s Claire Foy, Jay Pharaoh, and Joshua Leonard, Soderbergh carefully yet exuberantly pulls a thread of bureaucratic paranoia as Foy’s Sawyer Valentini finds herself committed to a mental institution after admitting she has suicidal thoughts on occasion. Re-teaming with Coleman Hough, the writer behind Full Frontal, Soderbergh uses non-professional performers to bring to life this small and short tale of a murder in a small Midwestern town where a doll factory is one of the few viable employers left around. Best Steven Soderbergh Movies, Ranked for Filmmakers . Soderbergh meets Elmore Leonard and the sparks fly. We took all of the movies directed by Steven Soderbergh and looked at their Rotten Tomato Critic, Rotten Tomato User, Metacritic, Metacritic User, IMDB, and Letterboxd scores, ranking them against one another to see which movies came out on top. You want proof of Soderbergh’s commercial clout around the time of the Ocean’s sequels? This story was originally published in 2018 but has been updated to reflect Soderbergh’s latest films. Maybe that’s why Streep wanted to work with Soderbergh in the first place? Soderbergh’s posthumous tribute to Spalding Gray, made six years after his death, is another Soderbergh experiment, a documentary that has no narration or interviews. (Damon brings such sincerity and sweetness to the role that it’s a perfect counterbalance to his duplicitous turn in another Soderbergh effort, The Informant!) As former lovers still hung up on one another, Clooney and Blanchett exhibit some chemistry, but The Good German feels like it should be called Studio System War Drama: The Movie — everything about it is meant to reference back to an earlier, better film. A film shot during the build-up to the 2008 presidential election — not to mention the global financial meltdown — Soderbergh’s character study received a lot of attention initially because of its supposedly gimmicky casting of adult film star Sasha Grey as a high-class Manhattan escort. So, Soderbergh’s intent on rethinking Solaris, one of the bar-none most influential foreign films ever released, was a bit of a controversy before he even cast polished Hollywood star George Clooney as the space-bound psychologist on the mission to the mysterious Solaris, where memories, fears, and dreams become inseparable from reality. Before he aggressively undulates, gyrates, and throws himself all around the stage of the Xquisite Strip Club, the Mike of Magic Mike flexes his proverbial muscles elsewhere. It’s not as technically assured as sex, lies, and videotape or, for that matter, King of the Hill, Soderbergh’s next film, but even at an early age, Soderbergh revealed himself to be an antic, studied visual artist skeptical of repeating himself. And guess what, we ranked 'em all. You\'ll receive the next newsletter in your inbox. Al Pacino is giddily over-the-top as Willy Bank, a real estate mogul who cuts Reuben (Elliott Gould) out of a lucrative deal and sends him to the hospital. The language, courtesy of Gray and co-writer Renee Shafransky, is dense, hilarious, rhythmic, and detailed, and Soderbergh uses his framing talents sparingly here, giving just enough to remind you that he’s there without overshadowing Gray and his talk. Directed By: Steven Soderbergh #13. Based on Scott Thorson’s memoir of his time as Liberace’s boyfriend, Behind the Candelabra is also one of the infamously cerebral filmmaker’s warmest movies, showing how the aspiring veterinarian (Matt Damon) came into the orbit of the famously flamboyant performer (Michael Douglas). A straightforward study of how a killer virus would eradicate the human race, the movie has little of the hysteria or cheesy emotional moments of other disaster films. This remake of a not very good Rat Pack joint underlines the entire artistic philosophy of Soderbergh, utilizing a gang of barely reformed, low-level criminals to take down corrupt casino owner Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). Film profile for Steven Soderbergh, Director, born 14 January 1963. The general tone is more overtly goofy here and that’s appreciated in comparison to the half-baked notions about criminal responsibility in Ocean’s Twelve. The plot’s a little too twisty, though, particularly with a final act turn that sort of makes the rest of the movie pointless. This is mostly an odd trifle that, frankly, both of Streep and Soderbergh are better than. His natural habitat, however, is film, and in honor of his versatile career, I decided to rank all of Soderbergh’s films. Joanne Rogers, Widow of Fred Rogers, Dies at the Age of 92. In comes Danny and the cavalry to right this wrong, sending in Matt Damon’s Linus to seduce Bank’s right-hand woman (Ellen Barkin) while the rest of the gang tempt Bank into a scheme to take away the glory of his new hotel opening. The pair were married for 50 years prior to the television legend’s death in 2003. At the heart of everything in Magic Mike is a negotiation of labor. Roberts won the Oscar for her role here and if there’s a performance more worthy of the honor in her oeuvre, I haven’t seen it. Soderbergh raises the level of difficulty here by having flashback sequences feature a young Stamp from the 1967 film Poor Cow, but the real star is 1999 Stamp, who is all snarl and righteous menace as the former hitman bent on revenge. Soderbergh’s first film since his “retirement” feels like an old ballplayer stepping into the batting cage just to take a few practice swings, then proceeding to knock every pitch out of the park. War journalist Jake Geismer (George Clooney) is covering the Potsdam Conference in Berlin when he gets ensnared in the murder of his driver, the belligerent Tully (Tobey Maguire), who had a secretive connection to Geismer’s mistress, Lena (Cate Blanchett). In almost every measure, Steven Soderbergh is an economical artist. Justin Hartley and Chrishell Stause’s Divorce Is Finally Final, Cardi B Lands Her First Lead Movie Role in Comedy. It’s also true of his aesthetic style and the staccato rhythm of his editing: he never wastes a shot nor does he allow the plotting to overgrow gestural notes of character or telling deliveries. Still: These movies, all three of them, remain compulsively watchable. Of Course Bruce Springsteen Is Playing Biden’s Inauguration Special. Steven Soderbergh’s career as a filmmaker began with Sex, Lies and Videotape, a massive breakout that not only launched his career — it changed the industry of independent filmmaking in America.While struggling to find his footing after becoming a household name at the age of twenty-six, Soderbergh never let himself become frozen by his early success or some preconceived notion of … Every Steven Soderbergh Movie, Ranked August 18th, 2019 | Drew Taylor For the past 30 years, one name has dominated American independent cinema like no other: Steven Soderbergh. Mike likes the attention he gets from the ladies — and he especially likes the money — but he dreams of walking away from the business and doing something respectable, like selling custom-made furniture. I’m also impressed of his range as a director. The movie gets a little bogged down in its plot – the agent’s backstory is a bit labored, and as great as she is, Zazie Beetz’s character isn’t given enough to do – but there is something radical and revolutionary about what Soderbergh and screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight) are up to here. Soderbergh had just parted ways with Sony over its adaptation of Moneyball, and in the midst of his funk, the dejected director happened to catch MMA fighter Gina Carano on TV. In the 1990s, Brockovich, a single mother of three barely scraping by in the California suburbs, forced her way into a legal assistant job at Masry & Vititoe that, on paper, she was not qualified for at all. The most rousing, most conventional crowd-pleaser Soderbergh will ever make. Jude Law’s truther journalist is a drip, and Matt Damon’s uber-decent family man doesn’t have enough dimension to be the emotional center of this globe-trotting ensemble thriller. Matt Damon has done some of his funniest, most exciting work in Soderbergh’s films — let’s take a moment to recall how great he is as the kept man in Behind the Candelabra — but the apex of their partnership has to be The Informant! One of Soderbergh’s most popular movies, with good reason. As a seemingly final word on how the drive for a peerless narrative corrupts institutions, from art to the legal system, Side Effects is at once furious and eerily subdued, itself feeling like a complex, enflamed tangle of occurrences falsely straightened out and made clear in the name of mental digestibility. Soderbergh still pushes his writers and performers to lean on invention over all, so things remain surprisingly fresh but there’s no substance here whatsoever. The movie is tighter, and a little less meta than the last film, to its credit, as if Soderbergh heard the criticisms and decided to just go pure popcorn. Mrs. Taylor stabbed her husband (Channing Tatum) to death but doesn’t clearly remember the act, and she actively works with Banks to get her defense together and airtight. As an added bonus, Magic Mike ended up being one of Soderbergh’s biggest hits — maybe not as slick as the Ocean’s movies, but certainly more touching. Shown often in two parts, but shown gloriously as a piece in festival screenings, Che features Benicio Del Toro’s most lived in, deeply felt, gimmick-free performance as the rebel who is neither lionized nor demonized by Soderbergh. (Not surprisingly, Soderbergh considers this his favorite Ocean’s film.) Throughout film school, one is inundated with a list of “the masters.” Your Kubricks, your Scorseses, and your Tarantinos. He’s having an affair with his wife’s sister (Laura San Giacomo) when his old college chum (James Spader) comes to town, advocating a belief that talking about sex is actually more satisfying than the physical act. From the outset, there may be no more alarming sentence in modern filmmaking than “I want to remake a Tarkovsky movie.” It’s just not done, and for whatever the Russian master’s legacy as one of the great titans of the cinema, his films were never a box office draw on stateside. As such, Sex, Lies is an exquisite study of a married couple (Peter Gallagher and Andie MacDowell) whose sex life is on the blink. To be fair, he proves to be a veritable master at that very thing. The opposite of a message movie, Traffic is shot through with Soderbergh’s trademark detachment, which makes its chronicling of wasted lives and the endless hamster wheel of inefficient law enforcement all the more despairing. Menu. Logan Lucky may be the last true comedy on the list, but it holds its own against even the most prestigious of Steven Soderbergh’s movies. But ultimately, Side Effects feels a bit too mechanical, a bit too amused with its own intrigue, to feel like the proper sendoff. Why Are the Backstreet Boys Tweeting About QAnon? Brad Pitt tapping into the goofball antics of his early career to play a cool guy who’s also a bit of a lovable dope. But the man’s harsh assessment of the finished product is accurate. But once Tobey Maguire’s scheming soldier Tully is murdered, Jake uncovers a plan that involves high-tech weapons and a stormy prostitute (Cate Blanchett) whose husband may or may not be dead. This award-winning drama doesn’t pretend to have any answers, but it’s an exceedingly sober and intelligent look into how this unwinnable, maddening conflict ensnares so many lives and cuts across class and cultural barriers. Like Sawyer, we’re never quite sure what’s coming at us next. With Logan Lucky, the division of labor is just as important between Riley Keough’s ace driver, Daniel Craig’s bombastic explosives expert, and Tatum’s fearless leader. That movie is so entertaining and completely watchable at any time. An efficient, propulsive, and stylish little thriller that often gets buried amongst the taller peaks of Soderbergh’s 90s output. 19. Rarely has Soderbergh brought out as much character in a city as he does with Detroit, where Clooney’s thief must enter a deal with a local would-be kingpin (Don Cheadle) to rob the home of a corrupt banker (Albert Brooks). Forever quixotic, Soderbergh decided to do a movie about Franz Kafka that turns Kafka himself (a miscast Jeremy Irons) into a character in a story that seems like it would be written by Kafka but more feels like it’s written by someone trying to be self-consciously “Kafka-esque.” The result is a frustrating art project that’s intentionally off-putting. The result is a movie that goes off like a firecracker and has as little lasting impact. Instead, Soderbergh just worked with existing footage — Gray’s footage — to try and cobble together the life story of one of his heroes. Already a subscriber? Soderbergh squeezes out one last ounce of fun from the series in this finale, which drops Julia Roberts but adds a gloriously sleazy Al Pacino as a Steve Wynn-type who might actually be the best villain of the entire series. The Big Short showed how such an approach could work, but that movie was infused with righteous anger; The Laundromat seems to only have one foot in the game. To chill out a little bit? Everyone’s least favorite Ocean’s movie is better than it’s given credit for, and it might just be the most Soderbergh-playful: The scene where Bruce Willis thinks the character Julia Roberts is playing is actually Julia Roberts is straight out of the Soderbergh meta playbook. constantly flaunts its phoniness, which ends up being a perfect way to critique the story’s theme of the lengths ordinary people will go to construct new, better versions of themselves. Steven Soderbergh Movies Ranked. Soderbergh’s big reset — the whacked-out, crazy-ass indie that he made so weird and self-referential that it seemed to make sense only to him — Schizopolis is still pleasantly incomprehensible today, the gonzo button Soderbergh needed to push to get himself back on track after his struggles following the Sex, Lies, and Videotape breakthrough. Unlike his tactics in The Good German, the director envisions this remake of the noir classic Criss Cross entirely in his own style, even if it hadn’t developed much in the six years since sex, lies, and videotape. Its not an entirely memorable movie, aside from Debbie Doebereiner’s stunning lead performance, but it’s a hotbed of technical and visual ideas that Soderbergh deploys in a fever. True to form, Soderbergh followed up the hottest stretch of his career (Out of Sight/The Limey/Erin Brockovich/Traffic/Ocean’s Eleven) with a self-sabotaging, almost purposeful misfire. Soderbergh clearly saw something of himself in Gray trying literally every route but the most obvious one to cure himself, seeing his own challenges with using familiar modes of expression to get his point across as a storyteller in Gray’s medical dilemma. For the director, the movie offers a chance to experiment with non-linear storytelling in a distinctly ghostly setting – a spaceship manned by Clooney’s Chris Kelvin, Viola Davis’ Gordon, and Jeremy Davies’ Snow. The story of Mark Whitacre, a high-paid corporate stooge turned whistleblower against food processing giant Archer Daniels Midland, is rendered an utterly unique experience in Soderbergh’s take on upper management. (Inevitably, Andy Garcia’s Terry Benedict is now on their side.) A commercial dud that’s ripe for reappraisal — Moonlight filmmaker Barry Jenkins is a big fan — Solaris remains an interesting digression in the Soderbergh oeuvre that’s worth a second look, even if it’s trapped in the shadow of Tarkovsky’s grander, greater film. What follows is a uniquely brutal vision of female life controlled, contained, and bled of all joy by a system that, even when run by women, tends to protect and favor any given man. Eager for That 'Event Horizon' Ultraviolent Director's Cut? He was able to get Warner Bros. to make this knowingly old-fashioned World War II drama, which didn’t just ape film noir and Casablanca, but also utilized some of the same tools of the era. Side Effects brazenly pushes plausibility to its breaking point, making room for lesbian subplots and characters who are so diabolically ruthless that they barely seem human. Outwardly glassy but mournful on the inside, the film is a fairly overt expression of grief — one that’s even more acute coming out just a year after 9/11. The movie is more style than substance, but heavens, what style. Hotchner’s memoir of growing up on his own in Depression-era Missouri, Soderbergh’s third film confronts imagination run wild, as Jesse Bradford’s Aaron must survive without parenting or much of any supervision while still trying to make it through elementary school. ), Out of Sight manages to feel like a ‘70s crime flick, a hip citizen of Tarantino-land and a classic ‘50s dames-and-fellas fedora thriller all at once. *Sorry, there was a problem signing you up. There is only one major conflict in Contagion and Traffic – a lethal global pandemic and America’s unwinnable drug war, respectively – and the films come at them from a stratosphere of different political and economic perspectives. For a director who relishes the quirky and the peculiar, Soderbergh is refreshingly kind in Behind the Candelabra, understanding that these mismatched lovers probably won’t find their happy ending. Back when it was released in the early 1990s, reactions were primarily indifferent toward this fantastical twist on the life of Franz Kafka (Jeremy Irons) around the time he was writing “The Metemorphosis,” borrowing freely from “The Trial” and “The Castle.” Arriving in the aftermath of sex, lies, and videotape, it must have come off as a stray foul ball but today, Soderbergh’s conflation of texts and fantastical biography is a consistently intriguing prospect. Indeed, the great triumph of The Informant! The pacing is brisk and enveloping but much like Full Frontal, the whole movie feels like a loose stringing together of sketches about Ocean’s team, only about a third of which are worth anything. He’s a director who never makes anything terrible – he could shoot a coffee table for two hours and make it interesting – but always seems to hold a little bit of himself in remove. I think the hardest movies to make are ones that don’t tackle tough issues, or are “powerful”. “It’s just totally sleepy … This thing is just dead-on-arrival … I can’t say that I would recommend it to anyone.” Never let it be said that Soderbergh is deluded about the quality of his misfires: Those quotes were all comments he made about The Underneath, his deeply meh exercise in modern film noir. Soderbergh is amused by this quirky little subculture, but there’s also a lot of compassion for Mike, a hunky Peter Pan on the cusp of growing up. Soderbergh’s second post-retirement film is, like Logan Lucky, a fun little exercise made by a guy who hasn’t just said goodbye to the studio system but also the demands of living up to anyone’s lofty expectations of him being a revered, world-class auteur. Fairly conventional by his standards, King of the Hill is nonetheless a very affecting look at a young St. Louis boy (newcomer Jesse Bradford) who’s on his own after his mother is sent to the hospital for tuberculosis, his brother is shipped off to live with his aunt, and his father takes a job as a traveling salesman. For now, though: The best you can do are old grainy YouTube videos. A Shock Corridor for the #MeToo movement. Soderbergh stresses the struggles to maintain a job and a tame social life in the wake of addiction, which gives the film a splash of genuine curiosity and thoughtfulness, but more times than not, the filmmaker uses his time to hone his talents at building and diffusing tension. Steven Soderbergh’s 10 best films ranked in order of greatness - Swapnil Dhruv Bose “To me the director’s job is to leave it in better shape than you found it, literally.” – Steven Soderbergh American filmmaker Steven Soderbergh has … If this sequel to Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven is worth anything, its in the cast that the director assembles and his own cinematography under the moniker Peter Andrews, which together tests the limitations of polishing turds. Soderbergh reunited with The Informant! Tweet Share Post Bookmark ‘Unsane’ is the latest addition to a long and diverse list of Steven Soderbergh films. There’s no doubt that having George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Don Cheadle, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and the late Bernie Mac headlining your project helps the cause, but revisiting the movie, its as much about where editor Stephen Mirrione cuts or where Soderbergh, acting as his own DP again, decides to place the camera as it is about how Ocean’s team set-up the final brushstroke of their heist with the SWAT-team getaway. There are some standout moments, and Soderbergh, curiously, shoots the movie in as straightforward and linear a fashion as he’s ever shot anything. Shot in down-and-dirty Soderbergh fashion, this time entirely with an iPhone, High Flying Bird is basketball film with no actual basketball in it: It follows an NBA agent (Andre Holland) navigating a lockout while he both tries both to get his star rookie point guard paid and to change the entire financial structure of the sport. As such, it’s a waxworks, failing to generate much passion beyond a mild intellectual engagement in Soderbergh’s subversion of the earlier cinematic period’s tamer attitudes toward sex, violence, and cursing. Before he even turns informant on ADM with the help of the FBI, most prominently represented by Scott Bakula and Joel McHale, Whitacre (an uproarious Matt Damon) is seen as being obsessed with the pulse-pounding narratives of John Grisham and Michael Crichton novels and movie adaptations, and it’s seemingly the feigned anti-corporate tone of those books that makes him believe that he is separate from their price-fixing and general dirty deeds. The MCU’s unplanned drought comes to an end with a bold, intriguing deviation from the norm, but what’s all this building toward? The only film on this list that doesn’t reward revisiting is this 2002 experiment. 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