Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Ocean’s Eleven

posted by rkumar
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
Profanity:Brief strong language
Nudity/Sex:Mild, considering that it is set in Las Vegas
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking and smoking
Violence/Scariness:Tension, peril, some violence (no one hurt)
Diversity Issues:Multi-racial characters work well together
Movie Release Date:2001

Almost everyone knows the original “Oceans 11,” but almost no one remembers much about it except that Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, and Joey had some plan to knock over casinos in Las Vegas and that they had more fun making it than anyone had watching it.

This loose remake kicks it up several notches with enough genuine Hollywood star power to light all the neon signs in Nevada. George Clooney plays Sinatra’s part, Danny Ocean, this time just out of prison (in the tux he was wearing when he went in) with an idea about robbing three casinos of $150 million. The only problem is that the vault that holds all of their cash is “a security system that rivals that of most nuclear silos.” But Danny figures if he can get a good team together and a bankroll for some equipment, he can make it work.

So this is one of those movies in which we spend 40 minutes meeting the cast, 20 minutes setting up the robbery, and 40 minutes breaking into the vault, “Mission Impossible”-style. It’s done with a lot of panache and is good old-fashioned, Hollywood heist film fun.

Part of the pleasure of the film is its low-key style. The echo of the Rat Pack version is the way that everyone on screen has enough confidence to pull back a little and underplay the scenes to create a kind of intimacy. We feel that we’re listening in on real conversations, and find ourselves leaning forward as though each of us is in on the deal with them.

One problem, though, is that there are just too many goodies on screen. It’s hard for us to adjust our expectations for star turns by the high-wattage cast. There are so many stars that we don’t get to spend enough time with any of them. Matt Damon’s role is criminally under-written (just think of him as “the kid”) and we want to know more about Cheadle’s cockney demolition expert, the bickering brothers played by Scott Caan and Casey Affleck, Garcia’s casino owner, and especially about Tess (Julia Roberts), formerly married to Ocean, and now involved with Garcia’s character. Old-timers Elliott Gould and Carl Reiner are magnificent in small roles, and a couple of young TV stars drop by for a slyly hilarious cameo.

It is fitting that in a heist movie someone could steal the show, and in this movie it is Brad Pitt in a walk. I give Pitt a lot of credit for wanting to show off his considerable acting chops by staying away from glamour roles and often working against his natural appeal. His performance in “12 Monkeys” was as good as any Oscar-winner on his best night. But here he just relaxes and shows us that he can turn in a performance of effortless charm, subtle and witty, completely in service to the character and the movie and yet completely movie star mesmerizing, the most appealing he has been since his breakthrough performance in “Thelma and Louise.”

Parents should know that the movie has some strong language and some violence (no one hurt). The main characters are thieves, con men, and just plain crooks, and we are expected to be on their side.

Families who see this movie should talk about why heist films are perennially popular. How do the writer and director make us root for the crooks? What is it that we enjoy so much about seeing a robbery? Is it the fantasy of instant millions? The fun of seeing how they solve the unsolvable logistical problems? Watching them respond on the spot to the unexpected? Which character did you like the most? Why?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy other heist films like “Topkapi” and “The Lavender Hill Mob.”



Previous Posts

Heaven is for Real
A movie like "Heaven is for Real" requires two different reviews, one for believers/fans of the 1.5 million-volume best-selling book, one for those who are unfamiliar with the book and whose views about faith and heaven and proof may differ from the evangelical beliefs of the Wesleyan pastor who wro

posted 6:00:04pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Heaven is for Real: The Real Story
"Heaven is for Real" opens tomorrow, with Greg Kinnear as Todd Burpo, a Nebraska pastor whose four-year-old son says that he visited heaven during surgery for a ruptured appendix.  It is based on a best-selling book Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back,

posted 3:59:56pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Movie Critic Ann Hornaday Comes Out as...a Christian
Washington Post movie critic Ann Hornaday wrote a brave and very moving essay about being a writer sustained by Christian faith and how that affects the way she approaches all films and especially those with religious themes. As a critic, my first obligation is to assess each of these films not as

posted 3:59:22pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Gone Girl with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike
Take a look at the very creepy trailer from director David Fincher for the upcoming "Gone Girl" based on the best-seller by Gillian Flynn. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esGn-xKFZdU[/youtube]

posted 2:33:38pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

SFX: The Foundry's Dazzling Reel of Special Effects
From top special effects firm The Foundry.  Enjoy! [iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/91528664" width="500" height="281"]

posted 8:00:16am Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.