Our final Soderbergh U.N.C.L.E. footnote

Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh

We watched the Steven Soderbergh-directed (and photographed and edited under aliases) Side Effects because it was the movie he did after dumping a film version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in late 2011.

Overall, we’d give it a B grade, with maybe an A after a slow first 20-25 minutes. It was one last chance to get an idea of the U.N.C.L.E. that never was. While we had a better time than we expected (after the director’s Contagion in September 2011 and Haywire in January 2012), we still had the feeling that, despite a long drawn-out soap opera, things ended up for the best.

Among the reasons: This was one more chance to view Channing Tatum, one of the actors whose name was floated as a Napoleon Solo for Soderbergh. He’s a hot star now but…no thanks. He even shows up in one scene in a tuxedo (not uncommon for Solo on the 1964-68 television series) but he looks more like now-retired NFL linebacker Ray Lewis than Solo.

Also, Side Effects was written by Scott Z. Burns, who, based on recent comments, we’re not sure really gets what makes U.N.C.L.E. tick. While we don’t expect any future U.N.C.L.E. movie to be a clone of the TV show, it still helps to have an idea of the core ideas. Put another way: The various Marvel Comics movies that have come out since Iron Man in 2008 aren’t clones of the original comics, but they successful take the basics and update them well.

Essentially, Side Effects is like a theatrical movie version of Law & Order, the 1990-2010 television series where many episodes look simple but run into twists. Except that Side Effects includes a Rooney Mara-Catherine Zeta-Jones love scene that you didn’t get on the TV show. Meanwhile, Jude Law is effective as a psychiatrist who becomes a dupe in a murder plot.

Finally, watching Side Effects provides another footnote — to Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film. The score is by Thomas Newman, who scored an Oscar nomination for his Bond work. Newman’s Side Effects score is much closer to his past work than Skyfall was. Newman’s music for Side Effects contain the Hans Zimmer influence from director Christopher Nolan’s three Batman movies.

UPDATE (Feb. 10): Side Effects finished a distant No. 3 in the U.S.-Canada box office for the Feb. 8-10 weekend with an estimated $10 million in ticket sales, according to BOX OFFICE MOJO. The No. 1 movie was the comedy Identity Thief with an estimated $36.6 million.

Guy Ritchie may direct U.N.C.L.E. movie, Deadline says

Guy Ritchie, the one-time Mr. Madonna, may end up directing a movie based on The Man From U.N.C.L.E, according to Nikki Finke’s Deadline entertainment news Web site.

Very brief excerpt:

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is making a deal with Guy Ritchie and his new partner Lionel Wigram to come aboard The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the film that Steven Soderbergh left just recently over budget and difficulty with casting after George Clooney dropped out….The intention is for Ritchie to direct the film.

The 43-year-old Ritchie is a hot property after directing two Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Given the curse
that seems to hang over attempts to revive U.N.C.L.E. (created by Norman Felton and Ian Fleming, with writer-producer Sam Rolfe, who got a “developed by” credit, doing most of the heavy lifting), we can’t get very excited just yet.

UPDATE: Even if Ritchie actually ends up directing, don’t expect Robert Downey Jr. to play Napoleon Solo. The actor is developing a Perry Mason movie and is committed to reprising the title role in Iron Man III.

Bookies already taking bets on Craig’s replacement as 007

You can’t keep a good bookie down. An excerpt from the Digital Spy Web site:

William Hill has started to take bets on Daniel Craig’s James Bond replacement following news that the 23rd 007 movie has been postponed indefinitely.

So naturally, bookies are taking bets on potential replacements for Craig as James Bond:

Bookmakers William Hill have installed Avatar’s Sam Worthington as the 5/2 favorite to land the role, with Will Smith and Christian Bale both 7/1 to be the next actor to portray the secret agent. Ewan McGregor (25/1), Jude Law, Robert Pattinson (both 33/1) and Tom Cruise (50/1) also have odds listed.

To view the entire post, just CLICK HERE.

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