on 10 August 2003
'Ocean's Eleven' is a stylish, cinematic delight. Merely from the all too familiar/famous cast list a would be viewer can appreciate the pure genius the directors must have to create a film that attracts the superb acting abilities of the likes of Julie Roberts, Andy Garcia and Brad Pitt. The story line involves twists and turns, coinsidences and a need to pay attention to the little details all of which make the film far more captivating than your average mind numbing films.
The class and richness of Las Vegas is all captured in the bright casino halls and the costume design all adding to the overall enjoyment.
The cast and director commentary featured on the DVD edition gives the viewer a chance to go beyond merely what they see on the screen. They allow an insight into not only the making of the film but the rapport that is clearly present between the cast and crew. There is something quite surreal abour listening to Brad Pitt and Matt Damon reminice about their time on set!
'Ocean's Eleven' is a film well worth viewing more than once, if only to pick up on small, yet often vital, details missed the first time around.
on 2 March 2004
As with many of this director's works, this film is all about being cool; George Clooney is cool, Brad Pitt is cool, they wear cool clothes and do cool things. There's nothing else to it; its's cool. However, it's also a very good movie to boot, and a definite improvement on the Ratpack original. The casting is impressive, with a number of A-list stars and competent support (George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Matt Damon, and Don Cheadle), and they each play their parts well (not to mention being cool). The heroes are rogueish, the villain is suitably snide and smug, and the action is entertaining. It won't go down as a classic, but it's a very enjoyable, and cool, couple of hours.
If you are going to do a remake of a film it is perhaps wise to ensure that the originally is not a universally loved piece, or a critically acclaimed masterpiece. Soderburgh shrewdly chose a film that was neither. The original features a daring heist by some war buddies led by Sinatra as Danny Ocean of three Vegas casinos in one night, whilst this central premise is kept, everything else is thrown out and replaced by a more coherent, slicker plot and rather than a tired looking Rat Pack we have an all star cast (Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Garcia, and a radiant looking Julia Roberts) at their very best.
The plot is simplicity itself – Danny Ocean (Clooney) forms a team of experts in their field to rob one of Vegas’s biggest casinos which holds the proceeds of three. It is this process that proves to be the most fun, as each of the eleven is introduced though a series of well thought out scenes (the best being Rusty’s (Pitt at his most effortlessly cool) attempt to lure Con artist Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner) out of retirement thanks to some crisp dialogue (“I saw you before you got out of bed this morning”). Perhaps because these are so good, it was inevitable that the heist itself would not have the same fizz, and because it is executed so neatly the tension fails to really build where it should – so it cannot be said to be in the same league as classic robbery films (see in particular Rififi, where the scenes of the robbery drip with tension). That quibble aside the film is tremendously good fun, with Soderburgh drawing excellent performances from his stellar cast and adding a professional sheen that was missing entirely from the original.
This is a great Hollywood film, we are offered nothing more here than an entertaining heist movie. If you are looking for anything deeper I would suggest Soderburgh’s barnstorming first effort ‘Sex Lies & Videotape’ or his more recent (and utterly brilliant) ‘Traffic’.
The DVD is great value for money, as despite some moans about the extras there are many more here than on other standard releases (all to often we have to wait for a special edition before we see what we are offered here). There are two great commentaries, and other assorted features on the film and DVD ROM content. This is perhaps not the sort of film that requires (or perhaps even deserves) a great deal in the way of extras to provide insights – what we have here is a very slick package. Just like the film then.
on 3 November 2002
Admittedly, I was a little sceptical about this film, as I had known about the original version for a long time, yet failed to motivate myself to watch it. But one Saturday night, I sat down to watch the 2001 version, starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt, and I really found it very enjoyable.
The theme of the movie is about a small group of relatively experienced crooks and villains who decide to do the unthinkable - rob three casinos in the same night. Danny Ocean is the leader of the pack and wants to get revenge on the man who stole his wife, the man who just so happens to be the owner of these 3 casinos.
Cue a lot of action packed drama and feisty frolics as the 11 accomplices go about their arduous task of getting past the extremely high-level security which protects the casino's cash in an underground cell.
This is a good film, one that keeps you hooked in suspense from start to finish.
on 29 October 2009
Regardless of your feelings for Oceans Eleven (I admit, I quite enjoyed it, despite it being quite a light-weight bit of cinema), I'll be skipping over the movie to get down to the quality of the Blu ray disc:
Oceans Eleven is a product of style, and it's a grainy style at that. While it's never going to be the sort of film that will leave you awed, it has to be said the picture is a big leap from Warner's standard DVD. It's sharper, more vibrant and picture crawl that dogged the original release is gone. A definite improvement. Picture: 3/5
The audio is again outstanding, but only a subtle improvement over the original DVD. The music mix is immersive, and drips "cool". The range has also improved and the spatial effects are more defined, especially in the casino scenes. Again, not a jaw dropping improvement, but not bad at all. Audio: 4/5
The extras are pretty much what you got the first time around on standard def, but if you haven't already bought it on DVD, they are worth the purchase. For everyone else, you should probably think twice about upgrading unless you can get the Blu-ray disc for around a fiver. Extras: 3/5
Samsung LCD 40" Series 6 100mhz, 1080p
Sony STDR-850 5.1 surround sound amp)
on 4 September 2003
This up to date remake of the the rat pack classic is superbly directed and is one of the most intriguing, exciting and well acted of present day films.
The actors are so well chosen to fit their roles and the chemistry between all the charcters is brilliant, and occassionally laughable (e.g. between daniel ocean - george clooney - and rusty - brad pitt).
Being a huge george clooney fan, i can honestly say that this is one of his best performances; he makes the film come to life - the perfect lovable rogue.
Would recommend to anyone, it's easy to watch even though it has a relatively complex plot and all is revealed and explained in the end.
on 30 August 2004
It's one of my most favourite movies. I remember watching it a few times in a cinema and being unable to get my eyes off a glamour of Las Vegas. Later on I bought a DVD and watched the movie a few times since then.
The first thing I thought of before writing this review was a script. I thought: "Goodness, surely I wouldn't be able to write like that!" The script-writer seems to know everything about robbing casinos! In general, the idea isn't completely new, but the strongest part of the script is all the details. The idea of a team of 11 people is superb.
The movie is also brilliantly directed - every little detail is thought over. Steven Soderbergh, the wonderful Oscar-winning director, doesn't disappoint his audience. I was sooooo impressed by the scene of entire Danny's (George Clooney) crew walking one by one after him as soon as he says: "...Otherwise come with me!"
Robbing casinos - is it a crime? Oh yeah, don't you doubt it, it's a crime all right. Tell me then, why on earth does the audience love all these criminals and sympathize them? It's not a totally new idea, but again - how well thought! Who will NOT like the unbeliavably charismatic, smart and elegant men who just want to get some money... well, not some, but a very handsome sum of money out of a ruthless casino magnat Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia)? He's most definitely more a criminal than them, and his another sin is that Danny's ex-wife Tess (Julia Roberts) preferred him to Danny. Well, talking about a woman being behind every crime! Cherchez la femme!
One more brilliant thing about the movie is, no doubt, its cast. It couldn't be better. Stunningly talented actors add their glamour to all the luxury of Las Vegas. What else could the audience dream of?
I would like to mention the Brad Pitt's part specifically. Rusty Ryan, Danny's right-hand man, the man Danny wouldn't do without. Fabuluously smart, highly professional cold blooded cheater. The viewers can't help admiring him.
George Clooney is terrific. Danny is everything: good-looking, well-mannered, well-dressed, clever, sexy and so on. Terry Benedict may be all this as well, plus - he's magnificently rich. However, Danny really loves Tess, and Tess eventually realizes she really loves Danny. Whatever happens to Danny's fantastic project - he's a winner, this man!
One final fantastic thing about the movie - Ocean's 12 is on its way. I couldn't be more excited about it. So far, the information I have just arouses my interest even more. The idea of filming in Europe, especially in such a fabuluous city as Rome, is even more fantastic. Well... All we can do just wait and see.
on 8 April 2005
Its got to be said that this film is going to annoy some people due to its position as a remake of what might be considered a great film by some viewers. But the main point is, it does a good job, even if its a slightly different type of film.
The story is built around the premise that the recently released major gambling thief Daniel Ocean is building a team of 11 crack thieves all with specialist skills to pull off the greatest ever Casino robbery. The ultimate robbery that has never been conceived before. Oddly enough he builds his team, some of whom appear to be misfits and begins to plan the job.
The good thing about the story is that, unlike some others, they don't actually let you in on the whole plan, you don't know quite how the job is going to come off. Now building the details of plans forms the basis of other films, so in this one they had to fill the story with other titbits to keep you off the scent. These include the love of Oceans life and his plan to woo her back, various mishaps along the way that threaten the job and buckets of humour. Ok, its not a comedy, but when you compare it to films of its type it has more than its fair share of laughs.
One of the striking features is the way the actors work from each other, it appears obvious they enjoyed themselves and it shines through. The quick punchy nature of the dialogue, the timing and the body language are beyond these actors to mimic if it had not been enjoyable.
Its a great film not to have to concentrate on too much, you can pick up at various points and not miss too much, its also one that can be watched more than once without losing too much appeal, I think you might pick up on new gags on the second viewing for instance.
George Clooney is the protagonist in Steven Soderbergh's improved version of the amazing (and more serious than this) film of the 1960's, directed by Lewis Milestone, starring Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford.
In this new version, Clooney is Danny Ocean, an ex - convict, accused for frauds and schemes. He is now released from Prison, and decides to rob three of Las Vegas's largest and wealthiest casinos, the Bellagio, the Mirage and the MGM Grand, owned by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), who now has a relationship with Ocean's ex-wife Tess (Julia Roberts).
With the help of his old friend Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), he gathers a crew of 11 people to help him rob in one night all three casinos, a plan never accomplished by any man: 1) Frank Catton (Bernie Mac), 2) Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), 3) Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould), inventor of the casino security systems and huge enemy of Terry Benedict, 4) Virgil Malloy (Casey Affleck) and 5) Turk Malloy (Scott Caan), twin brothers, 6) Livingston Dell (Eddie Jemison), electronics expert and qurrently working for the FBI, 7) Basher Tarr (Don Cheadle), explotions - munitions expert, 8) Yen (Shaobo Qin), "the grease man", 9) Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner), and 10) Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon), son of one of Ocean's best friends, plus 11) Danny Ocean (George Clooney), who is the 11th member and leader of the crew.
Ocean explains them his plan, smart enough but practically impossible to break the security system. So, they decide that the big night will be a night where a very important boxing game will be taking place, when the vault will be containing over $163 million.
On the dvd, you will find the following extra features: a) cast & crew list, b) behind the scenes footage, c) cast commentary (quite interesting actually), and d) filmmakers commentary.
After you watch this this movie, you will definetily want to visit Las Vegas, if you haven't done it yet!
All in all, with a cast like this one, what else could anybody ask for? Great Saturday night movie, and an excellent selection for your collection!
Five stars, no second thought!!!
on 27 February 2003
There's probably an rule somewhere, scribbled into some mysterious 'Great Book of Hollywood Rules', that you can never have too many heist movies. And it's a good rule, in my opinion, because you never can have too many heist movies. So as you can imagine, I didn't come to 'Ocean's Eleven' (another heist movie) with any trepidation at all. And I wasn't disappointed: Soderberg really does deliver, producing a movie about a robbery which is witty, well-shot, nicely paced, strongly acted (and with that cast, you'd be hard pressed to get weak performances), and overall, a joy to watch. Admittedly, it ain't going to win any prizes at any of the Big Prize Ceremonies, but these days you've got to do something really inventive like, well, feature Virginia Woolf writing, or a sad old mathmetician, to win prizes at Big Prize Ceremonies. So the lack of Big Prizes shouldn't be taken as a bad thing - 'Ocean's Eleven' is fantastic movie, and Steven Soderberg a fantastic director (if you want to see other good Soderberg and Clooney collaborations, 'Out of Sight' and 'Solaris' are probably worth a peek).
The characters played by George Clooney and Brad Pitt, put basically, bring together a band of their old friends to pull off an apparently impossible heist. With me so far? Then, they go about planning the heist. Still following? And then, to our amazement, they get the loot, get out of the joint, and go on (we presume) to live a life of rich, idyllic happiness. You get the point? This is a heist movie to a familiar template. 'Ocean's Eleven' isn't 'Buster', so don't expect a whole lot of social commentary on why theft is bad. That said, there is a nice touch at the end, where the casino-owner's hoods are seen following Clooney, Pitt, and Julia Roberts as they leave (Clooney has to serve a couple of months in prison, as a side-effect of the robbery - he had skipped bail to commit the crime) the prison to begin their new lives. But Soderberg isn't really saying: "their dream is going to be shattered". The point is lighter, more ironic than that - a little nod to the audience that he knows how these films usually ends, and wants to mix in something a bit different, to show you he knows. And the whole of 'Ocean's Eleven' works because
The narrative (excluding a few scenes at the beginning and end) takes place in a glitzy and flashy Las Vegas, shot not as the usual down-and-dirty seedy land of dead-beats and no-bodys, but as a daylight flooded land of oppurtunity (if you're a thief. It's a refreshing take on a city that has seen its fair share of film crews. And 'refreshing' can be applied to a lot of what Soderberg does right in this film. He is a film maker who knows a lot about the cinema, and as a result, knows how to surprise the audience a little. Soderberg wants to show the audience something a little different, a little more thought out than in your average heist movie.
The 'Ocean's Eleven' DVD is highly recommended, not just for the film, but also for the commentaries and documentry. The latter is your usual on-set thing, with some piss-take interview scenes from the cast, where you get a real sense that it was a fun film to make. The former, however, are the real treats. In the actor commentary, you get banter from some of the leading men, but it isn't as banal as these things can sometimes be, because the actors provide really intriguing insights into the film-making and acting process. The director-and-writer commentary is less witty, but even more intriguing on the production aspects. I rarely listen to both commentaries on these discs, but did in this case, and I wasn't disappointed.