Friday, June 8, 2018


Cinematography & Directed By: Steven Soderbergh 
Written By: Coleman Hough 
Editor: Sarah Flack 

Cast: Julia Roberts, Blair Underwood, David Duchovny, Mary McCormack, David Hyde Pierce, Catherine Keener, Enrico Colantoni, Nicky Katt, Erika Alexander, Jeff Garlin, Terence Stamp, Brad Rowe, Rainn Wilson, Sandra Oh, Justina Machado, January Jones, Brad Pitt 

A day in the life of a group of men and women in Hollywood, in the hours leading up to a friend's birthday party.

Steven Soderbergh attached the following list of rules to the screenplay to his low budget ($2 M) film with a huge list of stars:

• 1. All sets are practical locations.
• 2. You will drive yourself to the set. If you are unable to drive yourself, a driver will pick you up, but you will probably become the subject of ridicule. Either way, you must arrive alone.
• 3. There will be no craft service, so you should arrive on set "having had". Meals will vary in quality.
• 4. You will pick, provide, and maintain your own wardrobe.
• 5. You will create and maintain your own hair and make-up.
• 6. There will be no trailers. The company will attempt to provide holding areas near a given location, but don't count on it. If you need to be alone a lot, you're pretty much screwed.
• 7. Improvisation will be encouraged.
• 8. You will be interviewed about your character. This material may end up in the film.
• 9. You will be interviewed about the other characters. This material may end up in the finished film. • 10. You will have fun whether you want to or not. If any of these guidelines are problematic for you, stop reading now and send this screenplay back where it came from.

This film proves to be a waster of time, money and effort. As the film seeks to say something about Hollywood but ends up seeming more like an insider joke for the cast to play around with. While Steven Soderbergh gets to experiment once again with formula and Hollywood stars and actors at his disposal.

As this seems more like an experimental film gone wrong. As other then the cast and crew don’t truly know who this film was made for or who it would impress. It’s like a Robert Altman movie without the charm.

The film is an ensemble comedy. Where the characters sometimes interact with one another in between their own side stories.

In one Blair Underwood plays in a movie within a movie. A romance between a movie star and a reporter where as in reality he is just an up and coming actor with the movie star played by Julia Roberts playing the reporter int heir movie. Though at least Blair Underwood gives one of the few noteworthy performances in a film which shows he has the talent, like and charisma to be a star, but he needs better roles then this movie. (Which seems to be a cruel joke unto itself)

The other two performances that are good are Enrico Colantoni as a theater director looking for Love and David Hyde pierce as a tightly wound husband of an exec. His outlets for anxiety are closed off and border on innocent sexual harassment.

The film seems like one big inside joke that the filmmakers cast and maybe the Hollywood community are having fun with, but as an audience member. I believe you will feel lost and realize that the film is essentially not about much or anything. Unless you want to see Julia Roberts play a warped version of herself (rather then a romantic one in NOTTING HILL)

While the film has bits of humor those bits don’t add up to become anything substantial or entertaining.

It feels like a power move for director Steven Soderbergh to show he can get a bunch of stars together for a film. Where he really doesn’t have a script just situations and let the actors improv. This was before Judd apatow but at lest Mr. Apatow casts funny and talented improvisers and usually has an actual structure and script with them To work around. Here it is just thrown together. Where it seems last minute and for a low budget.

I applaud Mr. Soderbergh for being experimental which seems to be how he likes to work. His own new wave taking chances with his craft, I only hope that if he must use it it is for a more worthy film.

While the film should have given certain stars room to shine. It shows how limited Their acting skills are, but actually gives the supporting actors room to shine and while that should be commended. It’s still a movie that’s hard to sit through. The film scenes.

The big budget ones are glossy and smooth. All the so called reality scenes which take place through most of the film are gritty and shot more with digital video. This was one of the first films to use that technology more for a realistic approach. After the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, Steven Soderbergh dropped a plot element about placards telling How to Survive a Hotel Room Fire, a phrase that he had also intended to use as the film's title. He also shot mostly hand-held with digital camcorders, which was very unusual at that time for a feature using Hollywood stars. Soderbergh was inspired by the Dogma 95 movement. Filming took only 18 days.

The film also Satirizes Harvey Weinstein in fact it was one of the first to make refrences to his more dark side.

The film seems to show a commonality at times with the work of Steven Soderbergh where it seems like him and the cast had more fun making the film rather then paying attention to the audience or their enjoyment of the material. Which makes it seem all the more pretentious.

 Grade: F

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