Friday, June 08, 2007

Movie Review: Ocean's Thirteen

*One of the rare occasions that Andy bought popcorns (not a big fan of the yellow crunchy stuff).
I was deciding between popcorns and the “Jumbo Dog”.
A coupon settled my decision with a free Coke to go with.
And I really outdid myself this time, popping those sweet little gold trinkets into my mouth continuously for 30 minutes non-stop, emptying the entire package right to the bottom.
Oh all right… that was a little exaggerated.
I actually took 35 minutes.
Ocean’s Thirteen took 3 minutes.
Oh OK… 3 and a half minutes. *Duh*

So they’re back, for a third time, after Ocean’s Eleven in 2001 and Ocean’s Twelve in 2004.
First they took out three of Terry Benedict’s (Andy Garcia) Las Vegas casinos at one go with a smart and clever plan in Eleven, then they had to pay it all back with interest to Benedict in Twelve by staging a different theft, now in Thirteen the team of eleven are back to casino stealing with a little help from again, Benedict.

The unlucky guy is Willy Banks (Al Pacino) who owns a series of highly rated “5 Diamonds” hotels.
The team is not in for the money this round but for revenge because Banks had done the disfavour of first knocking Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould), one of the Eleven, from a hotel deal causing the man a heart-attack and a sudden lost in zest for life.
You could say old Willy Banks had it coming for him because his ego was too big for himself.
He had without any regards dismissed the Eleven’s attempt for him to reinstate Reuben’s share of the hotel.

As it reads, “What are the odds of getting even? 13 to 1.”
It’s time to place your bet.

Good guys versus bad guys.
I cannot really call thieves good guys can I?
How about nice guys then?
These guys are nice. They have a sentimental heart. They watch Oprah.
These guys are nice. They have a heart of gold. They will do anything for a friend.
And these guys are cool, handsome and funny too.

Danny Ocean (George Clooney), Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon), Frank Catton (Bernie Mac), Virgil Malloy (Casey Affleck), Turk Malloy (Scott Caan), Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner), Basher Tarr (Don Cheadle), “The Amazing” Yen (Shaobo Qin), Livingston Dell (Eddie Jemison) and Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould) make up the Eleven.
Strong cast and strong performance is to describe the ensemble.

Let me re-familiarize you to the team.
Danny and Rusty are the mastermind and deputy.
Linus is the rookie turned master thief.
Frank is the professional dealer.
Virgil and Turk are brothers who are experts in everything (they kind of do everything and run everywhere).
Saul is the old and characteristic actor con-artiste.
Basher is the demolition and machinery expert.
“The Amazing” Yen is the well… the amazing Yen who is skilled in acrobatic.
Livingston is the guru in surveillance and an electronic geek.
And of course lastly we have Reuben who is the old man with the money and Danny’s mentor.

No worries if you can’t remember their roles.
You can’t be blamed for that.
There are after all eleven of them.
Just remember them as master of disguises.
Lots of that will appear in the film.

What make a film like Ocean’s Thirteen worth watching is watching all the characters.
It is fun to see all of them coming together in their own way to give the story its life.
The acting is in one word, superb.
And the actor who plays the bad guy, Willy Banks, Al Pacino is great.
The facial expression whenever the veteran actor appears on screen is beyond words.
Those eyes and that look, brilliant.
Banks right hand man, or woman, and the only mentionable actress in Ocean’s Thirteen is Abigail Sponder (Ellen Barkin), and she’s foxy.

The story is not that complicated and I can’t spoil it by telling.
It is basically the eleven taking revenge on Banks with a little help from Benedict.
There’ll be the usual witty dialogues, the underlying funny relationship among the team members and of course the all-important ploy of how to breach into ego Willy’s hotel casino on its opening night.
For a film of such fashion, the most interesting part will always be how smart the plan to steal is being done.
In Ocean’s Thirteen it is not bad and quite exaggerated.
For the audience I advise taking the consideration of logic out of the equation and just enjoy all the action on screen as they are.
There is no need to be too hard or too smart about it.
The main point to this film is to enjoy the humour.

The chill-out, atmospheric and ambient music by composer David Holmes is one of the factors that give this movie series its slick aesthetics.
Ocean’s Thirteen bettered its last effort of Twelve though not quite as clever, smart and interesting as Eleven.
A first tough act was always hard to follow but director Steven Soderbergh gave this one a decent account.

It is easier to enjoy the movie than to dislike it.
I like the small part about the hotel reviewer and the jackpot and felt it was a nice touch.
If I were to put the film more critically though, I would say that it is not as smooth and the flavour not as strong.
Sounds like I’m describing an ice-cream?
It is like ice-cream with all the actors and actress in this one.
Now who doesn’t like ice-cream right?

Any flavour will do as long as it’s sweet, cool and topped with some crunch.

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