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HTF REVIEW: "Ocean's 11" (2001) (with screenshots) (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

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Ocean's 11

"You're either in or out. Right now"
Comparing this Ocean's 11 to the original
1960 film is like comparing a row of Dunkin'
Donuts. It's the same cake, but contains different
filling. In fact, this supposed remake only
vaguely resembles the original and everything else
becomes the problem.
ocean3.jpg

This new revamped Ocean's 11 starts with
Danny Ocean (George Clooney) being released from
jail. He's a paroled master thief whose plan it
is to rob a trio of the biggest casinos: The Mirage,
The Bellagio and the MGM Grand. All three are owned
by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), who just happens
to be intimately involved with a fine lady named
Tess Ocean (Julia Roberts). It's amazing that
Ocean sells the idea upon his right-hand con man
Dusty (Brad Pitt), explaining his reasons simply
as "Why not?".
ocean4.jpg

To pull off a caper like this, you need a group
of the craziest individuals you can round up.
The 10 who are chosen for the job include Frank
Catton (Bernie Mac) and Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner),
bankroller Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould),
safecracker Basher Tarr (Don Cheadle), "greaseman"
(Shaobo Qin), Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon),
Livingston Dell (Eddie Jemison) and tech geeks
Virgil Malloy (Casey Affleck) and his brother
Turk (Scott Caan).
All miraculously agree to an impossible feat
with losing odds: simultaneously rob $150 million
from three major Las Vegas casinos during a big
boxing event on New Year's Eve.
ocean7.jpg

The original 1960's version was darker, seedier
and gushed with the charisma of Sinatra, Dean Martin,
Sammy Davis Jr., and Peter Lawford. It was about a
group of old war buddies coming together to rob
five casinos in one night. In this version, the
new cast is comprised mainly of misfits that the
audience really doesn't care about.
ocean6.jpg

Though the movie is certainly stylish and at
times entertaining, it remains a lightweight film
full of holes. The movie seems to want to show us
how cool George Clooney can look walking in and
out of situations wearing his tux rather than give
us the intricate details of how the heist gets
pulled off.
The only performance I felt that shined above
all others was that of Andy Garcia. He plays
the role of a mega-rich multi-casino owner so
convincingly that I just couldn't get enough
of him in this film.
How is the transfer?
ocean5.jpg

As expected, the 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen
(2.35:1) transfer is excellent. All the colors
you would expect from sin city brilliantly shine
throughout. There are beautiful deep reds and
blues that dominate the film's color palette.
You'll be amazed how red Julia Robert's dress
is when you first see her walk down a staircase.
The picture remains crisp, focused, and with
only the slightest hint of video noise.
The only problem I saw with the film itself
is that some of the day shots look overly bright
and washed out. I don't put the blame on the
transfer, as it is evident that this is the way
the scenes were filmed.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital surround is rather lacking.
During the opening credits, for instance, one
would expect to hear the surrounding sounds of
a casino as George Clooney walks on through. The
rears remain silent. In fact, the only time we
hear the rears come alive is either to accent the
musical score, or, during the film's louder
explosive passages. One of the most exciting
sonic experiences comes in the brief ringside
sequences shot during an actual Lennox Lewis fight.
The entire sound field becomes blazingly active
as you, the viewer. are placed directly in the
midst of a roaring cheering crowd.
One thing to note here also is the active LFE
channel that becomes dominant in one of the film's
quietest scenes. Towards the beginning of the
film, Dusty is teaching movie stars how to play
poker in a casino back room. My SV SUBWOOFER was
pounding away with the sounds of surrounding casino
action. It actually felt as if you were in a room
inside the casino.
Special Features
It's important for me to warn you in advance
that Warner Brothers has released two versions
of this film on DVD. Both versions have the
exact same artwork. A RED band across the top
of the DVD notes a WIDESCREEN EDITION. A blue
band notes a FULL FRAME edition. Please be
certain you carefully look for these notations
before buying this film, otherwise you will buy
a version you don't want.
ocean1.jpg
ocean2.jpg

This is the first time in recent remembrance
that I have seen such a classy animated menu
sequence from Warner Brothers. When you pop
in the DVD, you are greeted with a numbered
countdown from 11, with each of the faces of
the selected heist men shown within the numeral.
When you make your menu selection, an animated
dice rolls, and a dealer's stick clears the chips
that are strewn across the screen as slot machines
clang away in the background. Very neat!
There are two feature-length audio commentaries
included on this DVD. The first is with stars
Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Brad Pitt. The other
is with Director Steven Soderbergh.
ocean8.jpg

Can Julia Roberts be lured to make a film
for $20? You'll see how in The making of
Ocean's 11, an HBO special that introduces
us first to the cast members who talk about their
attractions to the script, not to mention the
attraction of working with such a well-known
cast ensemble. Director Steven Soderbergh talks
a little about the story as each of the cast
members talk about their individual characters.
Though there are a few brief glimpses of
behind-the-camera tomfoolery, we never really
get an idea of how this movie was filmed. This
14-minute featurette remains nothing more than
the usual fluff promotional pieces that HBO
puts together.
ocean9.jpg

The Look of the Con introduces us to
Costume Designer Jeffrey Kurland who talks
about the fashions used for this film, and
how important it was to make the actors feel
comfortable and confident in them. If you
ever had any questions about clothing vs.
costumes used in a film, Jeffrey Kurland will
explain it all to you. There is an interesting
photo shoot with all the cast members, recreating
a photograph taken of the original Ocean's 11 cast.
As they all pose in a group, Sid Avery photographs
them. We are shown original costume design
drawings that were made for each character, as
they are compared to what is seen on film.
This is a very interesting 8-minute featurette
for the mere fact that it is not often we get
to see this sort of insight into a costume
designer's contribution to a film.
The film's incredible original trailer is
included as well as two teaser trailers. I
say incredible, because this is one of the best
trailers I have seen recently, and it goes to
show how an audience's expectations can be
heightened by a trailer that makes the film
seem more hip and funnier than it really is.
Every single one of the film's finest lines
and moments are shown in this trailer.
A Cast and Crew biography is also
included.
The included DVD ROM content includes
a game called In or Out. The first part
is a challenge to see if you make the team. You
are asked a bunch of questions regarding the
proper way to pull off a heist. You can't lose,
as the answers are already highlighted for you.
This ensures you make it to the next level --
a blackjack game where you must create a
diversion in order to get to the casino safe.
I played a few rounds of the very realistic
looking game of blackjack before I bowed out.
Think I'll just keep to stealing time.
The rest of the DVD content deals with
Special Events through the Warner Brothers
website as well as signing up for a movie
newsletter.
Finally, Warner Brothers is offering a
Las Vegas Vacation plus $5,000 or one
of hundreds of other prizes. An enclosed
leaflet inside the box will tell you how
you can log into a special website and crack
the safe.
Final Thoughts
What if all these stars came to a party
and nobody was interested? This is sort of
how I feel about Ocean's 11. It's
a star-studded cast of Hollywood heavyweights
starring in a lightweight film. All of them
pull off this caper as if they were simply
walking into a 7-11 stealing a pack of gum.
The movie also makes a point in seemingly
saying that it is not how you pull off the
crime of the century, but how good you look
doing it.
Not to say that Ocean's 11 is a bad
film. It's just not a great film. It's well
worth seeing, and it will certainly entertain
you in the process. However, you'll ultimately
have no doubt that Director Steven Soderbergh
should have studied his blueprints a little more
carefully before attempting to pull off a remake
like this.
Release Date: May 7, 2002
 

Robert Crawford

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Ronbo,

Appreciate your comments and though I'm a big fan of the original film, this remake was one of my favorite films I've seen in the last year. I had fun watching this tongue in cheek film and I'm glad the dvd captures the film's essence.

Crawdaddy
 

Nate Anderson

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I also really enjoyed the movie, and appreciated the cheeky tone of the film...I will agree that the film is pretty fluffy, but still plenty of fun.
 

LukeB

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I was just today thinking it was kind of strange no word o the DVD yet. Good to hear it's a solid DVD effort from Warner, and I agree with Robert that it was one of my favorite movies from last year. Completely enjoyable entertainment and a DVD that will definitely wind up in my collection!

In a side note, it's pretty depressing that the FullScreen crap Disc is outselling the Widescreen version at Amazon. Which just goes to show you that adults buying comedies are as much to blame for ruining our DVD format as the "family titles" (HP widescreen is ahead of the Fullscreen disc).
 

Brian_J

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I also strongly disagree with your somewhat mediocre opinion of this film. I really enjoyed this movie.

In this version, the

new cast is comprised mainly of misfits that the

audience really doesn't care about.
Also dont agree with this statement. This is a purely character driven film.

Opinions will differ I guess.

Brian
 

Robert_eb

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Messages
965
I liked the film but the breakin and theft of the money went way to easy. It might have been a little better had they not made this heist look as if a group of 12 year olds could have done the same thing.


That's just my $.02
 

Niko Nykanen

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Messages
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LOVED Everything about this movie and i´m gonna get my hands on this ASAP..
:)
One question though: How are the commentarytracks?
 

Alex Spindler

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I loved this film. It certainly is a style over substance film, but it was so much fun to watch that this is an easy purchase.
BTW, as he stated, check this thread for a real bargain on Ocean's 11 at BestBuy. It will end up costing you about $24.10 and give you a $10 coupon. $14 net. And if they drop the price at the time of release, which it is assumed they will, that gets even better.
 

Mike Graham

Supporting Actor
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Aug 31, 2001
Messages
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This is definitely one of the coolest films to put be out in a while. I think nowadays we turn a much more cynical eye towards newer films like this, but we're willing cut the originals and films like them from that time period a lot more slack.

Truthfully, when I was able to take in the movie theatrically with a few friends, all of us had a blast and everyone seemed to leave with positive things to say about the movie. I found myself laughing throughout the film, and found the stylish photography, score and actors to work towards its favour.
 

josh4040

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Ron, I am glad I saw this before reading your review. If I had read your review before seeing this in theaters I probably wouldnt have seen it. Fortunately I have seen it and I loved it, but then again I am just a whore for those big star based movies, I just love ensembale casts and this movie while not a great movie was a lot of fun
 

Mathias Klemme

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The original film was a mess. It clearly showed that the people involved were more into partying till late at nicht than shooting this movie. However good the script might have been, the director had to work with whatever scenes Sinatra & friends decided to show up for. It's boring and uninspired, but I guess that's what happens when you're making a film with a bunch of guys who simply don't care.

The "remake" improves on every level, though most of the actors (except Garcia) are on autopilot, and there's no real sense of danger or excitement. A mediocre film, but still so much better than the original.

-Mathias
 

Paul_D

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Wow. Ron, you like every crappy (IMO) movie that comes along, and then you give Ocean's 11 a bad review!
the new cast is comprised mainly of misfits that the
audience really doesn't care about.
Obviously this is down to each individual viewer, but to me, for a lightweight film like this, I was totally invested in them and their scheming.
Glad you thought the transfer was good! :)
When this arrives, I'll be using my copy of Moulin Rouge to prop it up on my display shelf! :D
 

Robert Crawford

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Ronbo,
Just because you're the forum owner doesn't give you the right to give "Oceans 11" a mediocre review. How dare you have a disagreeable opinion about this film. I bet you think film reviews is about giving subjective opinion based on how that piece of art affects you? Tisk, tisk, you need to work on tolling that company line, especially when many others obviously love a certain film which means everybody else needs to do the same. Disagreement in film opinion is not allow in the ranks of HTF.
:D
Crawdaddy
 

Bjoern Roy

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Joined
Oct 15, 1998
Messages
315
I cross my fingers that those aren't actual screenshots done the same way you usually do them, Ron, because they look absolutely horrible. Every shot except the 3rd is WAY to dark, totally lacking ANY shadow detail. Its like the lower 30-40 IRE are completely clipped to black.

If the transfer looks anything like those picture indicate, it will be absolutely unwatchable. I really hope that something went wrong before you uploaded them.

I really liked the movie until just before the end. I will refrain from further judgement until i have watched the film a second time, because there where quite a few open questions in my mind when the credits rolled.

I found this movie to be of great style and loved almost all of the performances. Like Brian said, this is a completely character based movie and i think the casting was excellent. Heck, IMO half of the cast deserved an oscar more than Denzil did, or Crowe for that matter.

The story telling, cinematography, editing and character development was very Guy Ritchie inspired, which is a good thing because his 2 movies Snatch and Lock, Stock are in my Top 5 and i consider him to be the best newcomer Director/Writer of the decade.
 

Niko Nykanen

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I cross my fingers that those aren't actual screenshots done the same way you usually do them, Ron, because they look absolutely horrible. Every shot except the 3rd is WAY to dark, totally lacking ANY shadow detail.
Maybe they are snapshots of the SVCD that laying around on the Internet??
:D
 

Matthew_S

Second Unit
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Jan 11, 2001
Messages
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Totally disagree with the review of the film. (Does this even need to be included with a review of the dvd? I mean, we're looking at this to see if the disc is good, not a film review? Am I alone here?) Anyway, I thought the film was fun and entertaining.

Glad to see the commentary specs on this, though...looking forward to hearing those. Looks to be a good release for fans of the movie.
 

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