The Informant

Scott Z. Burns

Side Effects marks the third collaboration between screenwriter Scott Z. Burns and director Steven Soderbergh. They previously tackled the mind of a bipolar pathological liar with The Informant and a horror-esque “what if?” movie with Contagion. For Side Effects, they’re not taking on pharmaceuticals, but a twisty thriller in the vein of Fatal Attraction and Body Heat. This is the type of movie that drops a new piece of information in almost every scene, causing you to rethink most of what you previously saw. Burns accomplished that with a split narrative starring characters who aren’t exactly the most noble. An ensemble movie with characters one can’t really root for is something of a rare commodity these days, and from the sounds of it, it’s something Burns would like to see (and write) more of. Here’s what screenwriter Scott Z. Burns had to say about constructing ensemble narratives, how Russian literature inspired Side Effects, and some of his frustrations with the studio storytelling norms:

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After an unplanned week off, I am indeed back with another edition of This Week in Blu-ray. In this edition, we’ll take a look at great movies for the kid inside of us, of both the classic and contemporary variety. We’ll also have a go at some movies with questionable releases — films that deserved better — and at least one movie in which the world is destroyed. So bring your Wolfgang Petersons and I’ll bring my Roland Emmerichs, and we’ll have a party.

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Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves the tender moment between first kiss and the gentle unclasping of the bra. And yes, we said ‘moment.’ These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs. This week he takes look at The Informant!, Cirque Du Freak, Dead Snow, The Box, Sorority Row, and many, many more.

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Often “Best of” lists include a bunch of the Oscar bait roles that we hear about at the end of every year but in 2009 we had some great performances in big movies which sadly isn’t always the case. With this list I tried to balance the two opposing worlds of critical credibility and popularity by considering which roles stuck out in my mind most. This is what I came up with…

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It was once again Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs which dominated the weekend box office, with all the new releases Surrogates, Fame, Pandorum and all the rest coming up well short

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I often say it is “feast or famine” at the box office, and as has been the custom for the past several weeks, the trend held true as Cloudy with a Chance of Meetballs won the weekend with a healthy $30.1 million haul.

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Kevin Carr takes a look at this week’s movie releases, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Informant! and Jennifer’s Body.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

The Fat Guys take a look at Jennifer’s Body even though Fox (that’d be the studio, not the actress) didn’t screen it for them. They also chew on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, help Matt Damon squeal in The Informant! and avoid Love Happens like the plague.

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We’ve got some heavy A-list talent on hand this weekend at the theaters: Matt Damon! Jennifer Aniston!! Megan Fox!!! And in the end these folks may all end up losing at the box office to 3D CGI spaghetti and meatballs.

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MattDamonTheInformant

When an employee gets the FBI involved in a price fixing investigation, a witless goon and his mustache become the keys to a governmental investigation.

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CaranoSoderberghKnockout

With two down, Soderbergh is soldiering through after Moneyball fell through. Staying inside the world of espionage, it looks like he may have a gorgeous, talented MMA star by his side for Knockout.

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It’s time now to turn our attention to the fall though, and what’s traditionally known as Awards season, but nestled between the blockbusters of summer and prestige films of fall is a little dumping ground Hollywood calls September…

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The Venice Film Festival has announced it’s 2009 line-up this week, showing off the films that will make-up it’s 66th annual fest.

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Attention sinners! This year’s Toronto Film Festival to open with “Creation,” the Charles Darwin biopic starring Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly, and some other people who are obviously going to hell. Other movies include lies, pot, and Asians.

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See the trailer for Soderbergh’s comedy within. Wait… comedy?

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