Back before he was Steven Soderbergh, Hollywood’s Hottest Director, there was a time when he was just “Stephen who?” You know, the kind of guy who couldn’t get his phone calls returned. After peaking too fast by winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1989 with his debut feature “sex, lies, & videotape,” Soderbergh and his career began a long, slow slide into near oblivion. “Kafka” (1991), “King of the Hill” (1993) and “The Underneath” (1995): Each found increasingly smaller audiences.

Then, in 1998, Soderbergh somehow pulled out of his slump. Making good use of the chemistry between George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez in his adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel “Out of Sight,” the director proved to Hollywood that he was still a bankable talent. He’s been on the gravy train since, enjoying popular and critical acclaim with “Erin Brockovich,” “The Limey” and “Traffic.”

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