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

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Apr 5, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    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.
    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?".
    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.
    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.
    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?
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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
    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
    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
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    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.

  3. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

    Jan 18, 2001
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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.
  4. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

    Apr 26, 2000
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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).
  5. Brian_J

    Brian_J Second Unit

    Mar 3, 2001
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    I also strongly disagree with your somewhat mediocre opinion of this film. I really enjoyed this movie.

  6. Robert_eb

    Robert_eb Supporting Actor

    Sep 14, 2001
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    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
  7. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

    Apr 26, 2000
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  8. Chris_House

    Chris_House Agent

    Jul 26, 2001
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    I also REALLY liked this movie, and will be sure to pick up the DVD.
  9. Niko Nykanen

    Niko Nykanen Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 20, 1999
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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?
  10. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

    Dec 4, 2001
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    I'm gonna buy this one sight unseen. I love caper films! Thanks for the review Ron.
  11. Christopher Cheadle

    Christopher Cheadle Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 8, 1999
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    Also one of my favorites from last year. I have already taken advantage of the $10 coupon/preorder at
  12. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

    Jan 23, 2000
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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.
  13. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

    Aug 31, 2001
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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.
  14. josh4040

    josh4040 Second Unit

    Jan 17, 2002
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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
  15. Jason Whyte

    Jason Whyte Screenwriter

    Jun 3, 1999
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  16. Mathias Klemme

    Mathias Klemme Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 25, 2000
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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.

  17. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

    Jul 28, 2001
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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!
  18. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    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.
  19. Bjoern Roy

    Bjoern Roy Second Unit

    Oct 15, 1998
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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. 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.
  20. Niko Nykanen

    Niko Nykanen Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 20, 1999
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