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Rated NR

Comedy
Writer-director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Ocean’s 11) takes on the illusions and artificialities of contemporary Hollywood in this complicated ensemble drama that works well on so many levels one viewing may not be enough. Shot both on 35mm and digital video, it ostensibly tells the story of a fictional movie shoot. Julia Roberts plays an actress playing a magazine reporter and Blair Underwood plays an actor playing an actor. But we also get to see how their off-screen characters’ lives intertwine with those of other stars, the producer, the screenwriter, the screenwriter’s wife, the screenwriter’s wife’s sister and the screenwriter’s dog, among others. The film was made in 18 days with most of the cast—which includes David Hyde Pierce, Catherine Keener, David Duchovny, Mary McCormack, Brad Pitt, Nicky Katt—taking drastic pay cuts just to work with Soderbergh. If you love such movies-about-moviemaking as Day For Night, State and Main, Time Code and Shadow of the Vampire, this film’s for you. It’s a gem in which the flaws are just as beautiful as the facets.

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