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.
The ensemble for Ocean’s Eleven can stand against pretty much any film ever made, containing EIGHT Oscar-winning/nominated actors and actresses (Elliot Gould, Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, and Andy Garcia) and that doesn’t even count NINE-time Emmy winner and legend Carl Reiner in his final major role or the Golden Globe and Emmy nominated Bernie Mac. That’s a cast! Unfortunately YouTube was unable to give me the whole assembling of the 11, so I cobbled it together the best I can from four clips. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Ocean’s Eleven (2001) “Putting the Team Together”
Steven Soderbergh used to be one of the most interesting directors in Hollywood, producing thought-provoking, big dramas like Traffic or Syriana to turning that same style on its head for fun and mayhem in the Ocean’s 11 trilogy. Lately though, the same skill that once had him weaving huge casts and multiple plot threads together to perfect cohesion has fallen flat. Soderbergh has, on multiple occasions, said he’s retiring from directing following either a disappointment or an effort by a contemporary that he’s said makes his work seem inferior. So that all being said, guess who has a new movie opening on August 17th?
Logan Lucky is about a group of misfits attempting to pull off a heist during the middle of a NASCAR race. Starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, and Daniel Craig, it definitely seems to be channeling the Ocean’s spirit. After SPECTRE, Craig has some making up to do to me (yes, personally) and really all he needs to do…is just be whatever the heck this character in the trailer is for two hours and I’ll be happy.
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.