A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 43 – Ocean’s Thirteen

Ocean’s Thirteen – April 12th, 2010

Back to the heist movies tonight. Now, this movie starts with a shitty thing happening to Reuben. And I hate seeing shitty things happen to characters I like. But instead of what the second movie does – kicking every single character in the ribs and then making them work to get back on their feet – it gets everyone else together to team up and get revenge. And I do like me a good revenge plot. See, a casino developer named Willy Bank has screwed over Reuben and the crew gets together to first offer Bank a chance to make things right, then ruin his new casino and hotel when he refuses. When it comes to the ruining, that’s where things go over the top. They’re out to bring him down and bring him down hard and the viewer is meant to enjoy every unbelievable moment of it. I’m willing to put up with the ridiculously over-the-top unrealistic stunts the crew pulls in this movie, because it’s done on purpose.

And ooh boy, the stunts are over-the-top. The flipping dice and the Malloys and the strike in Mexico? The Greco? The magnetron phone? The Chunnel drill? There’s more. Lots more. Everything in this movie, really. Seriously, it’s ridiculous. It’s hilarious. And they knew it when they wrote it. The movie is a hell of a lot more light-hearted than the last one was. It may be a matter of Reuben’s health, but no one’s out to kill them. No one’s aiming for their heads. They’re in charge and you know it and they know it and the only guys who don’t know it are the guys you don’t like. I’m all for that. The one guy who gets screwed over and doesn’t deserve it is the poor hotel reviewer they mess with to ruin the hotel’s reputation, but they pay him back (even if he doesn’t know it) and they make a point of saying they feel bad about it.

Really, I sort of feel like I shouldn’t like this movie as much as I do, but it’s fun. It gets back a lot of the spirit of the first. Maybe it’s because this one’s set in Vegas again instead of a variety of European locales. Maybe it’s the revenge/fun thing instead of the life-or-death thing. Maybe it’s because while they hit snags and impossible tasks, you never get the impression that they actually can’t do it. There’s no one actively out to screw them over. The screwing over already happened. Andy mentioned to me the other day that he’d heard that the script for Ocean’s Twelve wasn’t originally supposed to be an Ocean’s movie. I think it shows. Not that the middle movie is bereft of all humor and spirit, but it just doesn’t feel right and this one does. The laughable and unbelievable stunts play okay to me because they’re played with the slick humor I love. The characters are all still great performances, including Benedict (brought in to help fund the revenge because he hates Bank too) and Roman, who make the titular Eleven into the titular Thirteen. They bring back cameos from Bruiser and Toulour (both of whom get precisely what you want them to get) and have yet another trick from Linus’ family, which I love.

Now, this one isn’t as good as the first, but it’s definitely miles and miles better than the second. It all plays as larger-than-life as Bank’s casino, and while it’s got a few rough moments (for example, much as I love Don Cheadle as Basher, his encounter with Bank makes me cringe a tiny bit), for the most part they pull it all off pretty dang smoothly.

April 12, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , | Leave a comment

Ocean’s 13

April 12, 2010

Ocean’s 13

I’m having trouble reviewing this movie today. Because I’m spending all my time actually watching it. See, we haven’t seen this movie as manytimes as as Ocean’s 11, and it’s full of great moments that I don’t want to miss. I’m trying to take some quick notes as I watch, but it’s hard.

This movie fixes all the problems I talked about in my review of the second film. Gone are the bad times, the dark days and the muddy confusing plot. This time around Danny Ocean and his team are in command from the very second they start their big scam. And we’re back from the European vacation, solidly back on Danny’s turf in Las Vegas.

There’s a new bad guy for this film: a mean spirited bastard called Bank (played with his usual scenery chewing by Al Pachino – and here it works quit well) who has muscled Reuben out of his attempt to get back into the casino business. So evil is Bank, and so thorough is his betrayal, that Ruben almost dies from a resulting heart attack. So Danny and all the rest of the team, to help Reuben recover his spirits, set out to exact revenge upon Bank. And what total, beautiful and entertaining revenge they do bring!

This time around it’s very much an all boy’s show. Tess and Isabel are not involved (“It’s not their fight” says Danny.) The only female in the movie is Ellen Barkin as Bank’s ruthless right-hand-man Abigail Sponder. And she’s not a love interest (though there is some entertaining stuff between her and Linus, who Matt Damon is still playing here as a naive apprentice to Danny and Rusty.) So there’s no relationship stuff mucking things up – it’s just straight into the fun of the heist.

And that’s what this movie is all about. The fun of it. It’s the puff pastry of cinema. The empty calories. It’s a wonderful ride, and it’s all sparkly and full of moments that make me grin and squeal with delight. The direction is full of amazing moments of flash and fancy. The action is fast paced and the patter is quick. Blink and you’ll miss something cool. But that’s okay, because when it’s done you’ll want to jump right back in line and get back on, so you’re going to be seeing this movie again.

Is it better than the first movie? Not really. It’s a slightly different beast. In the first movie there was some tension and some suspense. This movie is Ocean’s Light. And I love it for that.

April 12, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , | Leave a comment