Schizopolis

Phew.

After a couple of weeks of emotionally draining films that forced us to confront some dark aspects of humanity, the Collection serves us up a heaping helping of...something completely different.

The nadir of Stephen Soderbergh's career, Schizopolis seems to be an attempt to excise all of the bad ideas he was having and put them into a single film that also doubles as a sort of 8 1/2-style self-reflexive critique. 8 1/2 is an infinitely better film by any meaningful objective criteria, but Soderbergh is a lot more self-aware than Fellini. Or at least a lot more willing to make an honest acknowledgement of his mistakes. And that, coupled with the film's taking refuge in absurdity, makes this a very worthwhile watch.

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Traffic

Stephen Soderbergh not only directed his 2000 drug drama Traffic, but stepped behind the camera as well in order "to get as close to the movie" as possible. That is a weird metaphysical way of describing it, but sure. The film itself, based in part on the Channel 4 series Traffik, paints a sprawling portrait of the US drug trade as it stood -- and in many ways still stands -- at the turn of the century. Other films may do better to condemn the failure of the War on Drugs, but Soderbergh manages to drive home that the current angle just doesn't work.