Movie A Day #121: Oceans 11
A great remake of the old Rat Pack feature. The cast and performances - outside of Don Cheadle's irritating British accent - is note perfect.
Review courtesy of Dark Horizons
Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon,
Andy Garcia, Carl Reiner, Don Cheadle, Elliot Gould, Scott Caan, Casey Affleck
Synopsis: A Steven Soderbergh-directed remake of the classic Frank Sinatra movie. Dapper Danny Ocean (Clooney) is a man of action. Less than 24 hours into his parole from a New Jersey penitentiary, the wry, charismatic thief is already rolling out his next plan. Following three rules don't hurt anybody, don't steal from anyone who doesn't deserve it, and play the game like you've got nothing to lose Danny orchestrates the most sophisticated, elaborate casino heist in history. In one night, Danny's handpicked 11-man crew of specialists including an ace card sharp (Pitt), a master pickpocket (Damon) and a demolition genius (Cheadle) will attempt to steal over $150 million from three Las Vegas casinos owned by Terry Benedict (Garcia), the elegant, ruthless entrepreneur who just happens to be dating Danny's ex-wife Tess (Roberts). Coincidence or motive? Only Danny knows for sure. To score the cash, he'll have to risk his life and his chance of reconciling with Tess. But if it all goes according to Danny's intricate, nearly impossible plan, he won't have to choose between his stake in the heist and his high-stakes reunion with Tess... or will he?.
Fast and Well-Written
Occasional failed joke
Film Review: After two major critical and box-office hits last year, Director Steven Soderbergh returns with the smart idea of trying a whole new field - instead of a very serious documentary-style take on the drugs war he's given us a pure flashy heist caper blockbuster whose only aim is to entertain and it works - it works VERY well. The new "Ocean's 11" does exactly what it sets out to do, be a thoroughly enjoyable hoot. The cast is a true ensemble, every one of them gets a fair go and each adds a key element - no egos dominated this baby (due also in part to a tight and well layed out script). Clooney is enjoyable, Pitt more fun than usual, Garcia chews the scenery to great effect, and Carl Reiner proves a great comic talent. On the flipside Damon seems kind of awkward in a rather unusual role that isn't really explored, Roberts and Gould do the best with what material they have available, Cheadle is stuck with an annoying accent, and Caan & Affleck don't get to show off much despite decent air time.
The heist itself is an excellent sequence which is very cleverly executed in technical terms, suspense and comedy whilst the setting and gorgeous clothes of course provides its own source of amusement and glamour. The only downside I could find is that some of the more deliberate attempts at comedy (e. "You've been practicising this speech haven't you") don't work, whilst others from the teen celebrity poker game to the little touches such as the "Take my Breath Away" song playing in the background during the 80's failed heist flashback are used with brilliance. This is far from deep stuff, but as shallow films go its great. If more blockbusters were of this quality, there wouldn't be the cries against Hollywood about turning out mediocre crap. This is just damn cool fun. - Garth Franklin