Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Eee Oh Ele...Uh...Thirteen

Watching OCEAN'S 13 tonight, it occurred to me that I don't remember a damn thing about OCEAN'S 12 or OCEAN'S 11. Or the original Rat Pack OCEAN'S 11, for that matter. Truth is, I have stronger feelings towards MAUDLIN'S 11 than those other films. But that's as it should be. After all, they were made as frothy romps, and if I was still thinking about them a week later, they really wouldn't be doing their job.

OCEAN'S 13, now out on DVD, is pretty much the same old same old, but very skillfully done by director Steven Soderbergh, who receives tremendous support from composer David Holmes, who delivers a deliciously jaunty score. To get back on a mean hotel magnate who cheats trusting Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould) out of his fortune, causing Reuben to suffer a stroke, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) pulls his caper team back together for revenge. The hotelier, Willie Bank (Al Pacino), is holding the grand opening of his new Vegas casino on July 3, and Ocean means to bankrupt him by, among other things, staging an earthquake on the premises.

The first half-hour or so is way too complicated for its own good. Or maybe I should say "confusing," because complicated doesn't have to mean "difficult to follow." Eventually, the screenplay starts to settle down, and you get a fix on the caper, but Soderbergh and his writers, David Levien and Brian Koppleman, have a lot of characters to juggle...I count at least seventeen major characters.

Frankly, no matter what happens in OCEAN'S 13, it's hard to pass up a movie with this cast. You've got Clooney and Brad Pitt and Matt Damon and Pacino and Ellen Barkin (reunited from SEA OF LOVE) and Andy Garcia and Elliott Gould (still wearing those huge fucking glasses) and Carl Reiner and Bernie Mac and Don Cheadle. Casey Affleck and Scott Caan are, again, very funny as bickering brothers. Eddie Izzard and Vincent Cassel are back. Julian Sands. David Paymer is here. It was incredible to see Bob Einstein, of all people, being hilarious as usual. Everyone wears nice clothes and engages in witty banter and nobody gets hurt, not even Pacino really.

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