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Scott Z Burns

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ENTERTAINMENT
September 4, 2011 | By John Horn, Los Angeles Times
Before you see a single frame in "Contagion" you listen to a cough, and by the time the movie is just a few minutes old Gwyneth Paltrow's Beth Emhoff — the character heard hacking off-screen — suffers a fatal seizure (relax, it's in the trailer). MEV-1, the fictional virus with the starring role in director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns' pandemic thriller, is nearly as deadly as 1918's Spanish flu (an estimated 50 million killed worldwide), but the filmmakers are less interested in mass graves than epidemiological war rooms.
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ENTERTAINMENT
February 7, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Steven Soderbergh - who's indicated, not for the first time, that he's tired of filmmaking and may retire - has had a most unusual career. His persistent ennui has led him to all manner of narrative experiments, benighted projects like "Schizopolis" and "The Good German" that were doubtless more involving for him to make than for audiences to experience. But, as successes like "Erin Brockovich," "Out of Sight" and his new film, "Side Effects," demonstrate, when Soderbergh is willing to play it on the square, he's as good as anyone at bringing intelligence and verve to straight-ahead material.
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ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 2010 | By Noel Murray
The Informant! Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99 Boundary-pushing director Steven Soderbergh temporarily abandons his cinematic experiments (sort of) for the rollicking corporate intrigue comedy "The Informant!," which stars Matt Damon as real-life whistle-blower Mark Whitacre. Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns use a funny Damon voice-over to help explain the ins and outs of price fixing and FBI stings, while also exploiting the viewer's natural sympathy with Damon to do a clever bit of sleight-of-hand with the plot.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 9, 2011 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
It starts with a cough. It ends with death on an unimaginable scale. "Contagion," the new thriller by Steven Soderbergh, tells a story for our time, a story of raging menace and out of control fear. It offers us thirtysomething days in the life of a global pandemic, a lethal virus that travels like the wind and kills without a trace of mercy. This may not fit any conventional definition of entertainment, but it certainly keeps your eyes on the screen. Soderbergh, who divides his career between unwatchable vanity projects and crackling mainstream fare, has never been the warmest of filmmakers, and that coldness and distance serve him well here.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 9, 2011 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
It starts with a cough. It ends with death on an unimaginable scale. "Contagion," the new thriller by Steven Soderbergh, tells a story for our time, a story of raging menace and out of control fear. It offers us thirtysomething days in the life of a global pandemic, a lethal virus that travels like the wind and kills without a trace of mercy. This may not fit any conventional definition of entertainment, but it certainly keeps your eyes on the screen. Soderbergh, who divides his career between unwatchable vanity projects and crackling mainstream fare, has never been the warmest of filmmakers, and that coldness and distance serve him well here.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 7, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Steven Soderbergh - who's indicated, not for the first time, that he's tired of filmmaking and may retire - has had a most unusual career. His persistent ennui has led him to all manner of narrative experiments, benighted projects like "Schizopolis" and "The Good German" that were doubtless more involving for him to make than for audiences to experience. But, as successes like "Erin Brockovich," "Out of Sight" and his new film, "Side Effects," demonstrate, when Soderbergh is willing to play it on the square, he's as good as anyone at bringing intelligence and verve to straight-ahead material.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 8, 2011 | By John Horn, Los Angeles Times
At one point in Steven Soderbergh's pandemic thriller "Contagion," Dr. Ally Hextall (Jennifer Ehle) gave herself an injection in such a rush that she doesn't even roll up her pants. Dr. Ian Lipkin, one of the film's science advisors, took one look at the scene and started, well, needling the filmmakers. "They tried to persuade me that it was OK — that she's in a real hurry," said Lipkin, the director of Columbia University's Center for Infection and Immunity. "And I said, 'No, no, she's not in that much of a hurry.'" At Lipkin's urging, Soderbergh reshot the sequence.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 11, 2007 | Robert Lloyd
Two great, thoroughly inhabited performances -- by Paddy Considine and Oscar Isaac -- drive "PU-239," a dark, sometimes funny, often violent HBO movie about fatherhood, set in the lawless Wild East of a cutthroat, capitalist Russia. Written and directed by Scott Z.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 2013
"Side Effects," Steven Soderbergh's tightly wound mind game, is definitely worth playing. It stars Jude Law as Dr. Banks, a psychiatrist counseling a suicidal young woman named Emily, played with great detachment by Rooney Mara. Emily gets only worse, until the doctor switches her meds. The upside, the depression lifts; the downside, Emily may have killed someone while sleepwalking, the result of a rare side effect. Soderbergh allows us to get as comfortable with the facts as Banks. Then he devilishly pulls the rug out from under us. It's fascinating to watch the doctor scramble to unspool what really happened.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 7, 2006 | Tina Daunt
"AN Inconvenient Truth," a documentary about global warming, is being marketed as "the most terrifying film you will ever see." And indeed the message, delivered by Al Gore, is scary: We have just 10 years to clean up our acts before the Earth's climate system falls into a tailspin of epic destruction. The film -- which opens in Los Angeles and New York on May 24 -- is based on a slide show Gore has been giving to audiences since 1990.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 8, 2011 | By John Horn, Los Angeles Times
At one point in Steven Soderbergh's pandemic thriller "Contagion," Dr. Ally Hextall (Jennifer Ehle) gave herself an injection in such a rush that she doesn't even roll up her pants. Dr. Ian Lipkin, one of the film's science advisors, took one look at the scene and started, well, needling the filmmakers. "They tried to persuade me that it was OK — that she's in a real hurry," said Lipkin, the director of Columbia University's Center for Infection and Immunity. "And I said, 'No, no, she's not in that much of a hurry.'" At Lipkin's urging, Soderbergh reshot the sequence.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 4, 2011 | By John Horn, Los Angeles Times
Before you see a single frame in "Contagion" you listen to a cough, and by the time the movie is just a few minutes old Gwyneth Paltrow's Beth Emhoff — the character heard hacking off-screen — suffers a fatal seizure (relax, it's in the trailer). MEV-1, the fictional virus with the starring role in director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns' pandemic thriller, is nearly as deadly as 1918's Spanish flu (an estimated 50 million killed worldwide), but the filmmakers are less interested in mass graves than epidemiological war rooms.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 2010 | By Noel Murray
The Informant! Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99 Boundary-pushing director Steven Soderbergh temporarily abandons his cinematic experiments (sort of) for the rollicking corporate intrigue comedy "The Informant!," which stars Matt Damon as real-life whistle-blower Mark Whitacre. Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns use a funny Damon voice-over to help explain the ins and outs of price fixing and FBI stings, while also exploiting the viewer's natural sympathy with Damon to do a clever bit of sleight-of-hand with the plot.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 16, 2014 | By David Ng
For someone who has retired from his main gig of directing movies, Steven Soderbergh has been keeping a busy schedule. In addition to working on the new cable mini-series "The Knick" and publishing a novel in tweet form, Soderbergh will direct a new play starring Chloe Grace Moretz that will open at New York's Public Theater in April. "The Library," penned by frequent Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z. Burns, will start performances at the Public on March 25 and will have an official opening on April 15. The world premiere at the Public is scheduled to run through April 27. Moretz will play a student who survives a deadly shooting at her high school and then struggles to tell her story to her parents and the authorities.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 1, 2012 | By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Contagion Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99 Director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns take a novel approach to the medical-crisis thriller, mixing a spooky post-apocalyptic look with flat docu-realism. The film falls halfway between "Dawn of the Dead" and the old TV series "Emergency," with more than a little "Towering Inferno" thrown in — what with an all-star cast that includes Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet and Jude Law. Soderbergh and Burns relay in chilling detail how a deadly epidemic could spread across the world within weeks, then speculate on how society might change in its wake, as medical professionals race to find a vaccine.
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