Ocean’s Twelve is probably the least regarded of the Ocean’s Trilogy, and while it does get a little too self-aware (having Julia Roberts play Julia Roberts who actually ISN’T Julia Roberts…yeah), it’s still more fun than most movies that ever get made. If the ensemble from the first one was star-studded enough, the sequel added Catherine Zeta Jones, Bruce Willis, Jared Harris, Robbie Coltrane, and Vincent Cassel to the cast. The heart of the fun, and the reason why the Ocean’s films are so rewatchable, is the real-life friendship between Clooney, Damon, and Pitt translating so well onscreen. In terms of their characters, the Ocean’s movies are elaborate heists that give Clooney and Pitt a chance to screw with Damon. Linus is trying so hard, and Rusty and Danny appreciate it, but it’s not really a heist if they can’t work him into a panic. One of their best “scare Linus for kicks and giggles moments” is when they meet with Robbie Coltrane’s character in a bar to set up what they need, and all three begin talking in complete nonsense phrases leaving Linus scrambling to try to work out to say…and that just goes very badly.
I loved RED. I thought it was ridiculous fun. Any film that makes Helen Mirren into an action star is gold and John Malkovich was just … well, I actually imagine him to be similar to how he is in these movies, but his amoral explosives expert stole the first film. The second film hits theaters on August 9, 2013. Synopsis below:
Retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device.
I thought RED was a blast. I really love the idea of old spies who can’t stop trying to kill each other out of pure habit. John Malkovich unhinged was particularly awesome as was Helen Mirren’s amoral sniper. The gang is back and even older and more jam-packed full of Oscar winners who want to run around waving high caliber weaponry at one another. RED 2 opens July 17th. Official synopsis below:
In RED 2, the high-octane action-comedy sequel to the worldwide sleeper hit, retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device. To succeed, they’ll need to survive an army of relentless assassins, ruthless terrorists and power-crazed government officials, all eager to get their hands on the next-generation weapon. The mission takes Frank and his motley crew to Paris, London and Moscow. Outgunned and outmanned, they have only their cunning wits, their old-school skills, and each other to rely on as they try to save the world—and stay alive in the process.
A couple of years ago when The Tree of Life came out, director Steven Soderbergh said that he was going to retire because he just felt so blown away by it. Leaving aside how absurd a thought that is in itself, Side Effects is the last of the director’s commitments and he says he’s done. I thought Traffic was fantastic. I love the Ocean’s trilogy. But, after seeing Haywire, his last film, and now Side Effects, yeah. I’m cool with him being done.
The film stars Rooney Mara as a depressed patient with a husband newly returned from prison (Channing Tatum). She begins to see a psychiatrist (Jude Law) who, after consulting with a colleague (Catherine Zeta Jones) puts his patient on a new antidepressant. Following the gritty and harrowing look at addiction I’d just watched in Flight, I thought ok, well now we’re going to tackle depression, the pharmacology cartels who run our health care system, and really meaty stuff. The sorts of things that Soderbergh tackled in films like Traffic. But we don’t. There’s a sort of medicated haze (intentional?) to the entire film. It’s so detached from it’s actors, who seem as equally detached from the plot, which zigs and zags all over the place. It’s tonally odd. If you’d told me the guy who made complex and vibrant, signaturely directed films like Traffic and Ocean’s 11 made this, I’d have asked for one of whatever you were on.
This isn’t to say the film is horrid. It’s not awful. It’s just one of those movies where you sit there, credits roll, and you say….well that just happened. Disappointing. Good cast. Used to be a great director. Average end result. 5.5/10.0