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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Freshly released from jail Danny Ocean begins to recruit key players to put
together a job as daring as it is dangerous - the safe that holds the money
for 3 casinos belonging to Terry Benedict. As well as splitting the $150
million between the gang, Danny also plans to steal back his ex-wife Tess
who is currently dating Benedict.
The first movie wasn't exactly brilliant - only really interesting because it brought the whole rat pack together onscreen for the first time. This could have easily fallen into the same trap - trading purely on the stars' names rather than an intrinsic entertainment value. However it manages to take what worked from the original and give it a great modern shine. The story is daft of course, but it moves forward with a sort of slick illogical cleverness that appears wonderfully clever but is, of course, highly unlikely! The story unfolds in an entertaining manner, the build up is great with no dull moments as we meet the characters and find out the details of the job bit by bit.
The job itself is well handled. It is so slick that you don't mind that it couldn't possibly work in real life, but instead it just appears so clever! The romantic subplot I found to be a little redundant and I didn't think that Clooney and Roberts had good chemistry - compared to Clooney and Lopez in another great Sodenberg film `Out of Sight' where the screen crackled! However it takes up little screen time and compliments the heist quite well. Sodenberg handles the film well and doesn't allow his direction to be slick without substance - the editing is clever and Las Vegas internally and externally looks great.
Clooney is fantastic in the lead - his strength is that he has great charisma which means he doesn't have to ham it up. Instead he does his stuff but allows others to try and shine while he is comfortable with a constant warm glow. Pitt does likewise - he doesn't try to hog the glory but hangs around being smooth for most of the time. This allows Pitt and Clooney to be the two leads without taking away from the ensemble feel - they also have a good relationship going here. Roberts is OK but didn't convince me that Clooney would risk so much for her. Affleck and Cann are good in a sort of comedy double act role - they don't have a lot of scenes but they are funny. Old hands Gould (so good to see him on the big screen) and Carl Riener effortlessly steal all their scenes and Matt Damon seems happy to be on a smaller part than the other stars and has a rookie sort of role. Andy Garcia has a poor role as the bad guy and doesn't manage to bring him to life - although he does make him unlikeable when next to Clooney. However, Don Cheadle, a great actor, needs a real kicking for ruining things with a terrible cockney accent that makes Dick Van Dyke sound genuine. Happily he doesn't actually have that many lines - and he only has two scenes where he has to say more than 2 sentences at a time - but really he is just terrible. Someone please explain - why his character is English? Then someone explain - why they just didn't get an English star to play it?
Overall any criticisms against this are minor and are missing the point. It's not meant to be a classic or get Sodenberg more Oscar nominations. Instead it's a slick little package that is kept afloat by a starry cast, a cool soundtrack and a nice (if silly) plot. Sit, watch, chill, enjoy, forget.
Ok, so maybe the original 1960s film was just an excuse for Frank and his
buddies to hang out and make some money out of it, but it was still a
hit. Lets face it, if they had all just been sitting there doing nothing
would still have been a highly successful film. People would have paid to
see them organise their sock draws. However, this time around with a brand
new script and an immensely prosperous cast and crew we have ended up with
film ten times better than the original.
In the case of this adaption we are safe in the knowledge that the actors at least wanted to be there and that they all had fun making it. Firstly because of the fact that they all took pay cuts so that it could happen and secondly because it comes across on screen. The easy friendship between Clooney, Pitt, Roberts et al shines throughout the film and seems to draw the audience in to their inner circle. We know they had a good time filming it just as we are having a good time watching it.
It is easy to say that this is THE coolest film of the year. From the phenomenal script and direction from Steven Soderbergh to the impeccable easy going performances of the 'stars' - yes every single one of them! With so many big names you would expect some rivalry yet there is no scene hogging in sight. It is clear to see that they are all willing to share the limelight. The fact is that there is no main character or personality. They are all in it together - reflecting the sense of the film in real life. This is the first concept the audience sees from the poster. The names are printed in alphabetical order. Nobody is given priority. Clooney plays Danny Ocean with the same self - confidence, composure and unmistakable coll that hasn't been seen since Sinatra himself. All the other characters are brand new, that is except for the character of Tess Ocean (Julia Roberts). In the 60s original Tess, played by Angie Dickinson, is Ocean's defender (to some extent). However, Roberts' re-vamped character is more self assured and unmoved by Ocean's charm. Rusty (Pitt) is rarely seen without snack in hand and the suit are certainly something to look at. He may be a new character but he is still played in the carefree manner typical of the Rat Pack.
It is refreshing to sit and watch a film such as this and not have to suffer the usual barrage of swearing and violence. The lack of such profanities only increases its wide appeal. It just goes to show that it can be done and that films do not neccessarily need it.
Ocean's Eleven is not your typical heist movie. To start with there are eleven people working together all with specific, indispensable jobs to do. Yet the mood is still light hearted which makes it even more compelling to watch. The inspired direction and flowing script assure that there is never a dull moment and that every scene is important, as is every character. There are also a couple of cameo appearances from some other big names to look out for.
Admittedly there is a bad side as there is in every film. In this instance it is Don Cheadles's cockney accent. Nice try but not quite right!
This is a film that will keep you fascinated the entire time you are watching. It does not conform to the conventional values of the genre that we have come to expect. The twists and turns guarantee that by the end you will be sitting there thinking 'that was really clever'. Perhaps it isn't quite what you would expect from such a star studded cast and an Oscar winning director. But that is why it is so much better than the archetypal Hollywood blockbusters that we have come to expect.
This is no run of the mill film. It was not about money or self promotion. It was about having fun and enjoying the job. Ocean's Eleven is not a film that will be forgotten seconds after you have seen it. It will live forever as the epitome of cool for years to come.
Steven Soderbergh's remake of `Ocean's Eleven' is a stylish heist picture
featuring some of the brightest stars in moviemaking today. The cast
includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and Matt Damon from the
A-list, as well as such established veterans as Andy Garcia, Elliot Gould
and Carl Reiner in there playing along with them. Coming right off the
heels of two highly acclaimed, award-laden serious dramas (`Traffic' and
`Erin Brockovich'), it's understandable that Soderbergh might have been in
the mood for something a little lighter in tone right about now. Well, he
has certainly found it with this property, which sails along smoothly like a
well-oiled machine, with no angst-filled messages or heavy-handed themes to
gum up the works.
Taking the basic premise from the original 1960 film (which featured a who's-who of Hollywood stars of its own day), Soderbergh has updated it to reflect the advanced technological realities of the 21st Century. In this film, recently paroled Daniel Ocean (Clooney) has decided to mastermind the robbing of not one but three major Las Vegas casinos all owned by the nefarious Terry Benedict (Garcia). The rub is that Benedict has also recently added Ocean's ex-wife, Tess (Roberts), to his list of assets, which gives Ocean additional incentive to take Benedict for everything he's got. One of the amazing things is that the filmmakers use an actual casino as their target (the Bellagio) rather than devising a fictional one for their story's purpose. One might think it could give certain audience members the wrong ideas. Be that as it may, the director does a fine job exploiting the Vegas setting, taking us right into the heart of casino operations.
A film like `Ocean's Eleven' stands or falls on the charisma of its stars, the intricacy of its plotting and the plausibility of its actions. Luckily for the audience, the film pretty much succeeds on all three counts. Scenarist Ted Griffin does a fine job gathering together the men who will participate in the heist, allowing each a moment or two to define his character and to become part of the team. The details of the plan itself are explained in very clear terms so that we rarely feel as if we are not able to follow the action. There is even an inspired use of `Clair de Lune' near the end of the picture to lend an air of romanticism to the accomplishment, for who would deny that such large-scale thievery has often carried with it a certain element of idealism and romance? After all, look how many books and films have featured robbers as heroes. It perhaps explains why Tess can go from being a principled, law-abiding citizen at the beginning of the film to being an accomplice in crime at the end, all for the love of a man and we cheer her for it.
Unlike in Soderbergh's other films, we do not find hidden depths lurking beneath the shining handsome surface of this movie, and we certainly carry no nutritious food for thought away with us from this film as we did from the others. In fact, `Ocean's Eleven' is all ABOUT shining handsome surface and it makes no pretension of being about anything else. It's cinematic junk food of the highest order, but, then, since when has junk food not been satisfying?
A rarity--a remake that's better than the original. 11 men led by Danny Ocean (George Clooney) prepare to rob a vault linked to 3 casinos in Las Vegas. His partners in crime include Brad Pitt, Carl Reiner, Elliot Gould, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon and Scott Caan. Also, the casinos are owned by Tery Benedict (Andy Garcia) who is romancing Ocean's ex-wife Tess (Julia Roberts). Fun, engrossing, just simply the most enjoyable film of 2001. It moves smoothly, the entire cast plays it cool and easy and Steven Soderbergh directs it with flair and intelligence. Yes, it's light; yes, it's a trifle but it's so FUN! I really loved this film. Affleck and Caan are hilarious as bickering brothers. My only complaint--Julia Roberts (the only woman in the cast) is shot very cruelly. She's beautiful so why does she look so bad? Aside from that this is a fun movie. Just sit back and enjoy.
What a tasty prospect for a film: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon,
Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts and for the young at heart amongst us, Joshua
Jackson of 'Dawson's Creek' fame in a cameo role -all directed by the
winning Steven Soderbergh!
George Clooney plays Danny Ocean who soon after being released from prison, puts together a team of eleven to undertake a robbery of the three biggest casinos in Las Vegas in an attempt to bring in a reward of $150 million. What soon becomes clear is that it's not the money which will give Danny the ultimate satisfaction, but the opportunity to get revenge on the owner of the three casinos he is robbing -Benedict (Andy Garcia) who just happens to be the new beau of Danny's ex, Tess (Julia Roberts).
Some of the gang of eleven are more memorable than others -especially the Chinese acrobat, the explosives expert with a dodgy cockney accent and the medallion wearing Reuben -aka Monica Gellar's dad! The cast are brilliant at acting cool -even if all Brad Pitt is doing is snacking on the screen (he does this a lot!), you are still transfixed by him because he looks so good on screen.
What makes the story so intriguing is the fact that Danny's mission seems so impossible: security in the casinos is paramount and the route to the reward is littered with obstacles. The number of close calls that the gang is faced with is great fun and one can't help but root for these crooks throughout the film. It is also refreshing to watch a film which is dominated by male stars and is not filled with macho swearing. Instead, we have a banter between the stars which is indicative of their camaraderie.
'Ocean's Eleven' is a welcome option in the choice of movies available at the moment which is dominated by Oscar nominees that are not going to be everyone's cup of tea. With this film, it's simply a case of sit back and enjoy the fun!
Ocean's Eleven is a very easy-going and purely fun movie to watch. The
film is loaded with celebrities such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt,
Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, and Matt Damon. Ocean's Eleven is very
"loosely" based on the original Ocean's Eleven starring Frank Sinatra.
Steven Soderbergh did a fabulous job directing this movie and having
all the characters to connect to Danny Oceans group of 11. The plan is
to steal 160$ million dollars from three Las Vegas Casino's. Sounds
wacky? The planning time took up most of the movie, and you almost
believe that it could be done after you see this. Andy Garcia did a
fabulous job playing Terry Benedict, the owner of the Casino's where
Ocean (Clooney) plans to rob. Brad Pitt plays and interesting role as
Danny Ocean's sidekick. The plot flows quickly and some parts leave you
laughing on the floor. Each one of the eleven characters had its own
story behind them and it is seen when Rusty Ryan (Pitt) and Danny Ocean
(Clooney) first go to recruit them to plan this heist. I have to say
Julia Roberts didn't have a flexible character but nonetheless her
presence in this film as Tess, Danny Ocean's ex-wife, is apparent.
Ocean's 12 is due out in December with the same old cast and it
promises to be a hit. This movie is one of my favorites because the
premise is great and the actors are great.
**** out of *****
Ocean's Eleven contains one of the best casts ever in my opinion. It's
got comedy, romance, played, clever tricks and more. Soderbourgh
directs and shows why he got 2 Oscar nominations in 2001. I'm skipping
on the plot because most of us already know about this great film.
Let's meet the eleven shall we?
1- Danny Ocean (George Clooney). The leader of the gang. Had quite a grudge on Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) after stealing his ex-wife (Julia Roberts) while he was in New Jersey prison.
2- Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt). One of the main leaders. Plays as a great con-artist and at one point during the film did a fine act in front of the gang.
3- Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon). Another con-artist and made a living off of pulling off cool ways of pick-pocketing the public.
4- Frank Catton (Bernie Mac). Con-artist and hired as a casino black jack dealer during Ocean's stay in jail.
5- Yen (Shaobo Qin). Someone who didn't talk much English until the end. He's the acrobatic extraordinaire for stunts that could only be pulled off by someone as small as him.
6- Virgil Malloy (Casey Affleck). Him and Turk have always annoyed each other for the longest time. Con-artist.
7- Turk Malloy (Scott Caan). Him and Virgil have always annoyed each other for the longest time. Con-artist.
8- Basher Tarr (Don Cheadle). Plays as the hilarious English-accented explosives specialist. Early in the movie, we see a hilarious bank heist gone wrong.
9- Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould). The money source.
10- Livingston Dell (Eddie Jemison). The computer/electronics specialist. At one point, he needs to overpass security cameras with his skills.
11- Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner). A great con-artist who can play a guy his age but as a different culture and such.
Together, they all form a heist to steal $160 Mil and the whole story is very entertaining. Andy Garcia plays the rich guy who owns his own casino and steals Ocean's ex-wife, played by Julia Roberts.
Being so impressed by Ocean's Eleven, I wanted there to be a sequel. I must have seen this movie about 20 times. It turns out the day I bought the DVD, I found out that they would be making Ocean's Twelve three years later. Now in 2004, we only have to wait a few more weeks for Ocean's Twelve. The sequel looks promising and is definitely the #1 movie I must see this winter.
My Rating: 10/10
There is just something about this movie that makes it so great.
There's nothing truly outstanding about any one aspect of the movie;
nothing that will blow you away. However, everything is put together
Personally, I have a theory that any movie that absolutely blows you away the first time you see it, will lose its entertainment value very quickly. Not necessarily because the movie was not good, but because it just seems to get old too fast. This is NOT one of those movies.
This is the kind of movie that will be enjoyed countless times. The dialogue is slick, and always to the point. There are few (if any) overdone scenes and/or lines that tend to become annoying over time.
This movie flows exceptionally well. Personally, I couldn't quite figure out why until I watched the "behind the scenes" footage on the DVD. I didn't really notice all of the work they put into using as few shots as possible. The extra features on the DVD really explain it all. Almost every scene uses considerably less shots than you would think it takes to convey all of the activity going on. The music punctuates the flow of the movie and the shots extremely well.
The cast is almost all big names. It's great to see actors like Pitt and Clooney and Damon come together in a movie and interact so well, without having to be the pretty boys or bad-ass heroes of the movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Throughout the past 6 months, heist films have been protruding our
screens at a sporadic rate. 'The Score' starring Robert De Niro was one
the first out the gate last July, while David Mamet's highly praised
was just released last month. Now, the Holiday season plays host to one of
the most enjoyable films this year 'Ocean's 11'.
Steven 'Do No Harm' Soderbergh's latest opus in a nutshell is
absolutely fantastic. Watching the film I could see Warner Bros. tagging
lines for upcoming promos from all the reviews such as 'the most fun
have at the movies' and 'the year's best film'. For once, I would agree
those promos. This is an absolute great piece of film. That is not to say
that Soderbergh has not included a couple of clichéd crowd pleasing
segments, but that takes hardly anything away from a superbly acted,
and directed film.
George Clooney stars as Danny Ocean, who after just released from
plans to concoct a daring caper to rob 3 Casinos for more than 150$
in cold cash. He therefore sets out to recruit, train and execute the plan
which these three verbs respectively describing each of the film's three
acts. First for recruitment is Brad Pitt who plays Dusty Ryan, a
food-obsessed criminal who leads the plan with Clooney as they recruit
Damon, Carl Reiner, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck and many more. Hence the
title; 'Ocean's 11'.
With his newest film, Soderbergh seems to return to his roots with
'Out Of Sight' style he created when Jennifer Lopez and Clooney
on that film in 1998. From the opening sequence when the camera tracks
Clooney out of the prison gates, to the cutthroat dialogue in the same
as 'out of Sight', I knew Soderbergh was onto something. The result is a
great, fun, fast paced film that moves so fast at some parts that if you
blink, you'll miss it. The opening 20 minutes have Danny and Rusty
recruiting all over the U.S. with great scenes that prove to be the some
most memorable. Who can forget Elliot Gould's character Rubin Tischikoff
he tries to talk the men out of the heist by providing examples of the
successful Casino heists ever achieved - which turned out all to be
Those who saw the film know that the aforementioned scene is just one
of the many scenes that work. If we look at the film in a dissecting
fashion, we can clearly see that the film works on many levels. The first
act quickly, easily and 'non-challantly' introduces us to our characters
a subtle detailed manner while simultaneously mocking the teen cover boys
acting industry. Pitt is first approached from Clooney while he teaches
stars on how to play cards. None other than Joshua Jackson, Holly Marie
Combs and Topher Grace appear in this scene. While the stars' presence
actually detract from what is another great scene in the film, just when
finish digesting that memorable scene, the film takes off a mere minutes
after it starts with the recruitment of the Danny's 11 man-crew.
The 'training' act explores several sub plots including the introduction of the Julia Roberts character Tess Ocean. She plays Ocean's ex-wife who is currently dating one of the Casino owners they are trying to rob. The incredibly underrated Andy Garcia plays the film's unconformist villain with suave sophistication who seems to convey the notion of fear with his droopy-eyed close ups. Tense scenes between Garcia and Clooney while rare, are simply a treat to watch. Furthermore, romantics will certainly enjoy the love subplot that is truly predictable that as clichéd as it is, is still effective as only Soderbergh can create it to be.
The third act is completely mind-blowing as the 'execution' of the robbery is filmed in such a dizzying, comedic yet suspenseful manner that makes this film stick out from all the other heist movies. The film's robbery sequence set during a Lennox Lewis fight is epic, grand and deserves to be viewed more than once to take it all in. While some might say the film ends in a clichéd, predictable ending; I ask you, what did you expect? You are not going to get a sad ending with one of the best ensemble casts ever assembled for a motion picture. Furthermore, as a testament to Soderbergh's craftiness; witness the second to last closing scene. After all the frenzy, after all the comedy, and after all the intensity, Soderbergh assembles his cast right in front of the casino. The whole crew watches in a perverted sense of pride and accomplishment as they study the Casinos they just robbed with nostalgic music playing in the background; glamorizing their illegalities as only pure Hollywood magic can. They all take one last look at the Casinos, and slowly walk away one by one, each with a gaze of joy as they separate themselves from the 'job'. Truly an incredible scene that I played back in my mind repeatedly while writing this review, that one scene captures the true essence of the film. It still has to be seen as to whether or not any other film this year will come close to its' suaveness, its' look, its' style or its' satisfying effect it gives you when exiting the theatre. Pardon my colloquialism, but this film was damn cool. Notable mentions include the outstanding wardrobe. Seems as if Soderbergh simply wanted to make a film, put his actors in lavish sets and dress them up as good as he can. While some costumes may be outlandish to fit the character, Pitt's and Clooney's are simply stunning and had me looking through my GQ when I got home. Therefore, see it on the big screen and see it more than once to take in all the great elements this absolutely fantastic film had to offer.
Giancarlo's Rating: ***1/2
A remake of a rat pack film, this was a brave venture to take on, and
thank you Steven Soderbergh for this valiant effort.
Retaining a good cast, Soderbergh has modified this movie to fit with the times, and he has helped create a very slick and stylish thriller.
Danny Ocean, wants to pull off the crime of the century, by ripping off three Casino's at the same time, while at the same time settling a score or two with the casino's owner. With the help of ten others, he might just do it. Or is he not quite as smart as he appears to be.
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