It takes a mimimum of three trains to get to Lincoln Center from Cinematical Headquarters in Brooklyn, and so on my trip uptown Monday morning for the first "real" day of NYFF press screenings, I had plenty of time to think about Steven Soderbergh.
I have a love/hate relationship with the guy. I love Sex, Lies and Videotape, Schizopolis, Gray's Anatomy, The Limey and (wait for it) Ocean's Eleven; I hate his Richard Lester book. I think Out of Sight is one of the best unclassifiable genre films I've ever seen; and yet, when on the morning of the Bubble screening Ryan calls his directorial output "wildly overrated", I wholeheartedly agree. But there was a run, right in the middle there - 1996-1999, from Spaulding Gray straight through to Terrence Stamp – where it looked like he might be on to something. Then came the truly puzzling flurry of attention over Erin Brockovich and Traffic, in the middle of which I will confess to having to lain awake one single, solitary night, worrying about Steven Soderbergh's career. Ocean's 11 didn't restore my faith that Soderbergh could again challenge and/or surprise me; it was more like a goodbye party, really. It was a splendid sendoff, but ultimately it was like permission to no longer care.