Side Effects

Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-Jones | R |

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THRILLER

Surely there's a pill we can give Steven Soderbergh to make him want to keep directing movies. It's true: The Oscar winner behind Traffic, Out of Sight and the Oceans romps says this is his last feature film. That's the bad news. The good news is that faced with the choice to go big or go home, Soderbergh opted to do both. Side Effects is a clever, deeply satisfying corkscrew of a thriller about the lure of pharmaceuticals that offer a pain-free life-just before they hit you with a litany of possible adverse reactions from dry mouth to incontinence ... or worse.

Here's what worse looks like: Emily Taylor (Mara), whose husband (Tatum) just got out of prison, is deeply depressed. Her doctor Jonathan Banks (Law) puts her on a new drug that elevates her mood but makes her start sleepwalking. Then Emily does something terrible-and Side Effects turns on its axis. Suddenly the intimate close-ups are no longer of Mara, in her excellent foray into mental illness, but of Law, riveting as a man fighting to save his reputation, or what's left of it. Zeta-Jones also thrives as Emily's last therapist, one with her own agenda. To say one more word would be to commit an act of spoiler treason, so I'll tell you what: I'm going to shut up now, and you're going to go see Side Effects.

COMMENTS? WRITE TO ALYNDA: alyndasreviews@peoplemag.com

WHAT WAS THE IDEA BEHIND YOUR LOOK?

I'm pretty sure the concept was "office sex." I remember the studio was upset that I was wearing high heels. Tom and I didn't have any problem with our height difference, but Paramount did, at least a little bit. They also took serious issue with my red lipstick, but [director] Tony Scott put it in anyway.

IS THERE A DOWNSIDE TO STARRING IN A MOVIE WITH THE CULTURAL IMPACT OF TOP GUN?

For five years or so, strangers in the street would sing "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" to me. They thought it was hilariously funny. After about 100 times, I definitely didn't think it was that funny.

WHAT ABOUT THE HIT SONG "TAKE MY BREATH AWAY"?

For about eight years, I swear to God, every time I went to the grocery store, "Take My Breath Away" would be playing. How the hell do they know I am coming to the grocery store?

WHAT WAS TOM CRUISE LIKE BACK THEN?

Polite. He always made it a point to be kind and respectful. He was a really nice guy.

EVEN DURING THE SEX SCENE?

They shot that after I already started another movie, and they wanted me to cut and color my hair back to what it was. I told them I couldn't, so they shot it in silhouette. Honestly, any lovemaking scene in any movie with anyone is far from sexy.

-OLIVER JONES

WARM BODIES

The most fun zombie film since Shaun of the Dead, the wry Bodies stars Nicholas Hoult as a neurotic undead boy in love with a live wire of a girl (Teresa Palmer). It's funny and it has braaains.

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BULLET TO THE HEAD

Sylvester Stallone's thug teams with a cop (Fast Five's Sung Kang) in this witless action movie. Still, he does have a gnarly axe fight with Jason Momoa.

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Your kids can get into the spirit of awards season too, with the five animated shorts nominated for Oscars. Maggie Simpson battles a bully in The Longest Daycare (which played with Ice Age 4 last year), while Paperman (the intro to Wreck-It-Ralph) features a couple brought together by paper airplanes. The rest of the mini movies are a touch more experimental but no less fun. See them all together now in theaters, or on iTunes or On Demand Feb. 19.

VALENTINE MOVIES!

GHOST

Love, intrigue, sexy pottery-Ghost has everything, and since it's available On Demand (like all of these films), it's an easy holidate. I still get teary when the glowy orbs come for Patrick Swayze.

WALL-E

You can still be romantic, even if you can't find a baby-sitter. The love between bucket of bolts WALL-E and robot pinup EVE is as pure as it gets.

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE

Looking for action? (Ahem. The other kind.) Then follow George Lazenby where no other Bond dared to go-to the altar-with Diana Rigg as Mrs. Bond.

HOPE SPRINGS

Not many films take older adults and their sex lives seriously. Hope does it with humor, honesty and daring performances from Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones.

ONCE

Get swoony over this Irish film about strangers (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova) who make beautiful music together. By the time you hear "Falling Slowly," you'll be as in love as they are.