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Jul. 14 2009 - 12:20 pm | 82 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

Steven Soderbergh, Director of ‘Traffic” and ‘Ocean’s Eleven’: ‘I can see the end of my career’

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How refreshing that a film director of such standing as Steven Soderbergh, whose cinematic output has been an array of topics and styles while still bearing his individual stamp, can recognize, or even consider, that his interests might no longer coincide with those of the movie-going public. His biopic, Che, starring Benicio del Toro as Che Guevara, was a box office failure despite its ostensibly popular topic and $58m pricetag. Soderbergh’s exit, if he in fact chooses to follow through on his provocative statement, will be a great loss to Hollywood, whose biggest hits lately have been vacuous affairs featuring dim-witted-but-lovable douche bags (The Hangover, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Role Models, etc).

Soderbergh’s last film, the stylized The Girlfriend Experience, took a chance by featuring Sasha Grey, a real-life hard-core porn actress, as its lead. The movie felt more European in its subtlety and stands as proof that Soderbergh can do big-budget Hollywood in one breath, and a modest art film in the next.


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    If the man wants to save his career he should think twice about spending $58 million on a biopic of a communist activist whose claim to fame was the Cuban revolution and a hip Obama like poster. (Or Obama used a hip Che poster), confusing, but I hope you get my point. I’m a guy who had one of those T-Shirts…and I passed on the DVD…I don’t think anyone gives a crap anymore.

    The man’s a decent director and launched Miramax with an on screen orgasm but some of his outings have been downright silly. A black and white post WW2 film? Someone was smoking too much dope. Ocean’s Eleven, another bloated pig of a movie that could have been made for half the money…but for those expensive phone it in performances. Ah but that made money so that must mean it is an artistic piece of cinema. No wonder he is confused. Great idea what Hollywood needs, a new rat pack. Maybe he should stop looking back for inspiration.

    So he’s new outing is French inspired however it may be too late to revisit that country’s film industry since every action film in America is copied from the head of Luc Besson and every decent comedy a pumped up french romantic farce.

    But I hope the man finds his course and if he does maybe he can share it with Hollywood where I hear they are working on an action version of Chutes and Ladders.

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    Soderbergh is a refreshing and great spirit to watch in American cinema. I have seen both his arty features (e.g. Kafka and Bubble) as well as his more lavish Hollywood productions like the Oceans’ series. To have someone who can navigate across these realms, and do so with some risk-taking, is a great value. I hope his statement is one more of frustration and thinking-out-loud in the moment than a final note.

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    My bread and butter comes from booking and managing indie rock bands. Being a consummate music nerd, I enjoy this job more than any other I've had. The rest of my time I devote to the art gallery I operate out of my apartment in San Francisco. Check me out: partisangallery.com

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