Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ocean's 13

(Movie Review)

Yet-another-summer blockbuster I'm seeing on video because we don't have a decent movie theater out here in Nakatsu.

Actually Shoko, who is a big fan of these movies and their Hollywood cast, proposed one summer night to drive out to Oita city to see the movie.
I wish, i wish i wish i wish I would have just said, "Okay honey, if it's important to you to go out and see this movie, it's important to me too."
Instead, I tried to do a cost/ benefit analysis of how long it would take us to get out to Oita city and back versus how long the movie would be, plus factored in the cost of highway tolls, gas and movie tickets. Stupid stupid stupid me. Hopefully next time I'll be a little bit wiser.

Needless to say that evening didn't end well. But now that "Ocean's 13" is out on video, Shoko and I could enjoy a nice quiet evening in our apartment watching it together. (Very quiet as it turned out. She fell asleep halfway through the movie and I was the only one who stayed up to watch the ending.)

I suppose I better start out talking about the Star Power in these Ocean's movies because, let's face it, if it weren't for the impressive cast I don't think anyone would be talking about these movies at all, and I highly doubt it would have gotten to 2 sequels.
I remember when the first "Ocean's 11" came out. I was in Japan already, but a friend e-mailed me about a new movie that had just came out which stared George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia (and the rest of the cast made up of up and coming famous actors, old famous actors, and relatives of famous actors).
And of course I had the same reaction most other people did. "Is such a thing possible? To have all those famous actors in one movie? This movie will stand as a landmark for future generations to look back upon and marvel at our Hollywood star power."

Since then, I've noticed when ever I rent an older movie, how many old classic movies are just packed with screen legends. I swear in the golden age of cinema you couldn't even make a film unless you had 7 stars signed up for it. Go ahead and have a look yourself, if you want, to put this "Ocean's 11" phenomenon in perspective. Cruise down the classic film section of your video store and see how many famous names are packed into each film.

But that's not to say these films don't have their charms.
On the plus side:
* I enjoyed the retro feel in the credits and the music. I never got into the old Rat Pack movies, but you know me I'm a sucker for anything with an old retro feel.

*I was glad to see my favorite British Comedian Eddie Izzard was back with an expanded role in this movie. He doesn't have any particularly funny lines or anything, but I'm happy just to see him breaking into Hollywood.

* I thought the sub-plot about the two members infiltrating the factory in Mexico, and then become involved in leading the strike, was pretty funny. The references to Zapata also gave me an opportunity to pretend I was smart and use some of my useless knowledge to explain to Shoko who Zapata was.
And then of course I realized that I was sitting with a full belly in a warm building in a nice apartment laughing at working conditions in Mexico. And that made me feel pretty guilty. (Ah, ineffective liberal guilt).

And last what else can I say? I enjoy seeing all the big stars on the screen as much as everyone else.
Despite the fact that these films are overly reliant on their star power there are a lot of genuinelly funny moments mixed in. And I always enjoy seeing how they will pull their capers off. (Even if the plot about ripping off a Casino did seem a little bit too familiar from the first movie).

At times I felt the writers cheated a bit. Using seduction as a tool is a bit of a low brow move, and they use it twice in this movie: once to seduce the powerful business woman and once to seduce the daredevil stuntman, so at least they're equal opportunity offenders.

Al Pacino did a great job acting. He resisted the temptation to just crest along on the star power of this movie, but he didn't over-act either. Hit it just right.

Link of the Day
Ford Media Coverage Redux

1 comment:

Whisky Prajer said...

"No love for the Rat Pack movies" you say? I'd be curious to read your thoughts on the original Ocean's 11. I'll just state for the record that I'm rather fond of it, 'cos the whole thing is retro Vegas: everything looks flashy and cheap, except for the clothing. The presence of Angie Dickinson is always a plus, and the undercurrent of post-war GI disaffection feels (I think) surprisingly genuine. Now that the US is getting its latest wave of GIs returning to the daily grind of cheap affluence, you'd think the topic would have resonance with a director like Soderburgh. Beats me why he gives these films so lightly when he clearly has the chops to inject actual substance into his chosen material.

Anyhoo, it's food for thought.