8th February: Side Effects released (US)
15th March: Side Effects released (UK)
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Released: 8th February (US)
BEHIND THE CANDELABRA
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NEW & UPCOMING DVDS
Now available from Amazon.com:
Now available from Amazon.co.uk:
DVDs that include an audio commentary track from Steven:
Clean, Shaven - Criterion Collection
The Graduate (40th Anniversary Collector's Edition)
The Third Man - Criterion Collection
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Sex, lies and digital video
Atlanta-born director stages 'Full Frontal' attack on reality
By BOB LONGINO
(Atlanta Journal Constitution, July 28, 2002)
Ozzy Osbourne owes a lot to
movie director Steven Soderbergh.
Before Soderbergh's 1989 indie groundbreaker "sex, lies, and videotape,"
reality television was more a fascination of the egghead fringe. There was
PBS' "An American Family," with the divorce-erupting, gay-revealing
Loud clan, and comic Albert Brooks' "Real Life," an often bizarre
spoof that had guys with large cameras strapped atop their heads dogging
the characters' every move.
"Sex" might not have been a reality show, but its voyeuristic,
taped character confessionals about sex, anger and personality quirks were
a somber precursor of much of MTV's "The Real World," which debuted
three short years after Soderbergh's movie became a mainstream media
"I'm not so sure about Ozzy," a humble Soderbergh says of his early film's
possible influence on "the Dad" of MTV's "The Osbournes." "I know I
am responsible for Anna Nicole Smith," he jokes about the Playboy playmate
turned reality-show bimbo.
The born-in-Atlanta Soderbergh is a reality TV junkie. The 39-year-old
director digs the hard-core ones: "Cops," "American Justice,"
Dick Wolf's "Law & Order" franchise "Crime & Punishment."
Can't get enough of them.
Which brings us to Soderbergh's newest film, the often funny, thoroughly
experimental, faux-reality "Full Frontal," a sort of sequel to "sex"
that could accurately be dubbed "sex, lies, and digital video."
Opening Friday at Phipps Plaza and Kennesaw's Barrett Commons 24, the
R-rated "Frontal" features an ensemble cast (among its many stars
are Julia Roberts, Blair Underwood, David Hyde Pierce, Catherine Keener,
David Duchovny and Brad Pitt). The people they play have nothing to do
with the original "sex" characters. The film is part wry spoof of a
mainstream Hollywood romance and part dizzy spin on an indie relationship
flick. It includes several moviemaking in-jokes and, despite the title,
contains very little nudity.
A 'Cops' obsession
In a single day in movie-mad Los Angeles, the "Frontal" characters
live out their harried lives and expose their inner quirks and demons.
It's a world of the Internet and cellphones, road rage and hashish
brownies. Where everybody wants to know your porno name (in some cases,
it's your middle name paired with your pet's moniker). Where you could
lose your magazine job for sipping beer from a glass instead of drinking
it from a bottle. Sex is in it, too. They talk about it, fret over it and,
a couple of times, simply do it.
It's pretty much shaped as a movie within a movie within a movie, and one
that, in the vein of Soderbergh's Oscar-winning "Traffic," has him
operating as both director and on-the-go cinematographer. He shot part of
the movie on film and the rest with an indie-hip, hand-held mini-digital
"This whole movie is me working out my 'Cops' obsession,"
Soderbergh says. "It's a normal movie, but like 'Cops.' You know --
chasing the characters around."
Traditional Julia Roberts fans will probably be agog.
Filmed in 18 days for $2 million ("sex" was made in 30 days for
$1.2 million), "Frontal" has more in common with the experimental
works of Mike Figgis (the digitally filmed, real-time, split-screen "Timecode"
and the art-film-gone-mad "Hotel") than with any of Soderbergh's
more mainstream hits. "Erin Brockovich," his twist on the typical
"chick flick," it ain't. And it's the opposite of his glossy "Ocean's
"This is more of a complicated, challenging film" than "sex, lies, and
videotape," Soderbergh says. "It has a lot more going on and is a lot
more demanding on the viewer. That's a reflection of my having made films
in between. I can ask more of an audience."
"Frontal's" screenwriter, Coleman Hough, fully believes that
mainstream audiences will be shocked.
"If they don't like it, they can walk out," Hough says. "I think we've
become so formula-oriented. It's almost like a baby feeding from the
breast: We don't feed from the breast anymore, we're given formula, and if
anything strays from that formula, we spit it out, we cry, we burp, we
can't deal with the breast anymore."
A world converging
Soderbergh says he's curious to find out whether the public will buy a
non-mainstream movie that features ultra-mainstream stars.
"Will these actors mitigate this kind of aesthetic? We are about to find
out," he says. "I've been trying to get people not to [try to] figure this
movie all out. My experience in life is that things don't always make
The point, however, is for moviegoers to explore relationships conveyed in
different ways by both Hollywood and independent films.
"What constitutes real?" the director wonders. "And why do you accept one
style more than another when they are both lies?"
In a way, "Full Frontal" came to be because Soderbergh wished he
could redo "sex, lies, and videotape," which won the Cannes Film
Festival's top honors, starred James Spader and Andie MacDowell and
revolved around four people, their deceptions and one man's fetish for
interviewing women on videotape talking about sex.
"This grew out of that idea, because I realized that I would do it very
differently," Soderbergh says. "Even if you gave me that same script, this
is more the form it would take."
It's more of an enigma. Faster. More complicated. And, ultimately, more
Life just moves faster than it did 13 years ago in "sex, lies, and
"And we'll be sicker still 13 years from now," Soderbergh says. "The world
is converging toward some sort of critical point. There are too many
things happening to process. Life is more complicated than it was even a
year ago. And it's not going to stop."
As even a shirtless Ozzy Osbourne said to his family while an MTV camera
focused in on every movement of his tattooed self: "I love you all. I love
you more than life itself. But you're all [expletive] mad."