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Overall Rating
3.86

Awesome: 26.73%
Worth A Look43.32%
Average: 21.66%
Pretty Bad: 5.53%
Total Crap: 2.76%

15 reviews, 127 user ratings


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Ocean's Eleven (2001)
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by Collin Souter

"Stealing from the thieves...but not in a bad way."
4 stars

Next year, Miramax will be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Quentin Tarantinos post-heist film Reservoir Dogs, a movie that to this day I am still sick of (though I do like it). Once that media merchandise frenzy wears off, I would like to take an ad out in Variety that would basically say: Please! No more heist films! No more re-makes of heist films! No more anniversary celebrations of re-makes of heist films! I cant take it anymore! I may as well be specific. Believe me, it does no good to shout from the mountaintops, Stop with the re-makes!

I mean, why remake great movies when we have so many mediocre ones that need tidying? There doesnt seem to be much point in updating or re-imagining if the art in question stands the test of time by clearly conveying universal themes. A remake of the above sort just reaffirms everyones belief in the pure lack of creativity that lurks in the depths of shallow Hollywood. Just leave it alone, already. So, it comes as a relief that we have a remake (I cant believe I just said that) which uses mediocre source material: Oceans 11, the rat pack movie about a bunch of WWII veterans in colorful sweaters who decide to rob three casinos in Las Vegas.

Strangely enough, however, director Steven Soderbergh doesnt do a whole lot to lift the material up where it could be. It has the right ingredients for a fun heist movie, although we have already been bludgeoned to our skulls with heist movies this year. It has talented actors. It gets to the point. And it doesnt pretend to be something its not. It has many entertaining moments and I really did want to stay in my seat to see if these guys could pull it off. So, I guess I kinda liked it, but I sure wish I liked it more.

Soderbergh has every right to coast on a film. After his one-two punch last year with Erin Brokovich and Traffic, he decided to just gather a bunch of friends, throw a script together based on a no-brainer and have some laughs, perhaps just to celebrate everyones recent successes. Everyone in the castClooney, Pitt, Roberts, Damon, Cheatle, among othersseems to be at a career high (forget The Mexican for a moment). It seemed clear to me that Soderbergh and company made Oceans Eleven in the same spirit as the original Rat Pack. Just a bunch o guys having fun.

It starts off with George Clooney as Danny Ocean being released from prison. Without missing a beat, he tags along with Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) with a plan to rob three Vegas casinos, which happen to be owned by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), who is now married to Oceans ex, Tess (Julia Roberts). With Pitts help, Ocean recruits the best men for the job: A few hackers, a veteran (Carl Reiner), a bombs expert named Basher Tarr (Don Cheatle, using Cockney English to make his points), an acrobat for those hard to reach areas and a rookie named Louis Caldwell (Matt Damon).

The first half of the film sets up the heist. The second half is the heist. This doesnt differ that much from the original, but those who love the ending of the original will have to settle for something different this time. I wont give it away, but I will say that I liked the original ending better. I remember it as such a great slap-in-the-face punchline, that we have all these testosterone-laden, cocky tough guys and yet they walk out of the picture defeated. The original Oceans 11 certainly wasnt a great movie, but it did have that.

So, basically, were left with a standard heist movie. We do get a slight romantic interlude in the middle between Clooney and Roberts, but, as happened with Robert DeNiro and Angela Bassett in The Score, it doesnt have a lot going for it and it wastes Roberts in the process. She spends most of the movie pacing with a look of confusion on her face. In fact, the principals have very little to do here aside from smiling and making wisecracks. Pitt seems to have the best lines, but they have very little punch to them. Clooney, Pitt and Damon have very little to distinguish themselves from one another. This resembles the problem with the original. Too many characters. Sure, they all have an integral part in carrying out the plan, but we dont really care about them individually.

Oceans Eleven is the kind of film which gets by on the chemistry of the characters and the little twists and turns of the plot. It aims only to entertain, which I dont have a problem with at all, but the movie only occasionally achieves full lift-off. I enjoyed the opening where we see Pitt teaching a bunch of Hollywood up-and-comers how to play poker and black jack. Later in the scene, Clooney sits in. The two glance at each other, knowingly, as if they themselves, as veterans, are teaching the next generation of Hollywood hot shots. Its a nice touch, especially since Topher Grace (of That 70s Show and Traffic) plays himself. But this scene, like many others in the film, seem as though they belong in a slightly better movie.

Still, Oceans Eleven does know how to have fun. The plan for the heist has ludicrous written all over it (Dont most heist movies?). The boys go so far as to have an exact replica of the money storage room in order to practice their plan. A chase scene involving a van has a surprise turn of events that would have James Bond saying, Yeah, right. And when the chemistry between the actors works, it works wonders. Damon and Mack, in particular, have a hilarious fake-interrogation scene that one would swear had been improvised on the set. In another scene, Pitt looked as though he probably had a great time teaching Matt Damon how to act.

Im tired of heist movies in general. Perhaps the movie suffers a bit because of bad timing. I enjoyed The Score a little more because it really took advantage of the high caliber talent that it showcased. When you think about it, anybody can star in a heist movie. And Im sure everybody had a good time at this party as it happened. It certainly looks as though everyone had fun. And, really, the movie has a lot of fun moments. But at times I felt as though I arrived just a little late, just as the party started to wind down.

Still, I dont think anyone should go so far as to re-make it again in twenty, or thirty, or even forty years.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3897&reviewer=233
originally posted: 12/10/01 14:23:44
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2005 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

User Comments

6/05/19 Suzanne Lots of fun; Clooney and Pitt were a hoot. 4 stars
10/30/13 The Big D I endured this lame, boring thing because a friend talked me into going. 1 stars
8/12/13 rick original was a lot better 2 stars
6/09/10 Serge A modern classic, fantastic chemistry between all players 5 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. enjoyable. and ..what everyone else said, haha :] 4 stars
10/19/08 Samantha Pruitt lots of fun to watch, the cast is what makes it so good! 4 stars
4/27/08 Totir Alexandru It is a great movie and I really enjoyed watching it. The same for 12 and 13. 4 stars
11/19/07 Erica Munro Love it!!! 5 stars
11/11/07 cosmic conundrum Well, the cast did get reassembled.. not once, but twice 4 stars
10/21/07 Tiffany Losco This movie was great. And had all the hot guys in it!! Love Brad Pitt 5 stars
8/16/07 Quigley Excellent crime film with a great ensemble. Soderbergh's direction is superb. 5 stars
6/06/07 gr117 Love it! The cast is amazing. 5 stars
6/02/07 gcc awesome ending, great cast 4 stars
2/08/07 Raph Branca Lots of fun. Great summer film. 4 stars
1/23/07 Matt Should have been much better, but not the worst way to kill a couple of hours. Forgettable. 3 stars
1/05/07 Watch This Movie. Worth watching once, just to see the end. 4 stars
8/14/06 Cosmic Conundrum Entertainer with panache 4 stars
5/20/06 Kcaj Okay so I'd give it a C+ 3 stars
2/16/06 Indrid Cold Great chemistry and several funny moments, Soderbergh won't let you down. 4 stars
11/04/05 tatum Pure fluff, but well made fluff 4 stars
9/03/05 ES s'ok certainly better than the sequel, but star power a classic doe not make 3 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins The original is an infamous failure this is just too prefabricated. 2 stars
6/08/05 Agent Sands One of the three classic heist movies of all time. Class-A filmmaking. Clooney is a dream. 5 stars
5/22/05 Cham Dull remake of a terrible original. 2 stars
5/10/05 Carol Great movie 4 stars
5/06/05 Mind Junkie pretty good 3 stars
5/05/05 Kristi Achilleos great movie with excellent set of actors 4 stars
4/30/05 Chris Stephens Doesn't compare to the original, but is good 4 stars
4/27/05 chandrakanth k s A MUST WATCH 5 stars
4/24/05 Dan Awesome! 5 stars
4/24/05 Charlene Javier Excellent popcorn flick 4 stars
12/18/04 Theresa Wagner It's suspenseful in a kind of you know the bad guys will get away because they are supersta 4 stars
12/17/04 Ken Cenerelli Fun caper flick I enjoy watching over and over. I can always find something new each time. 5 stars
12/08/04 keithers.. great cast but it falls short entertaining non the less 4 stars
11/16/04 Naka Waaaaaay better then the original. A fantastic good time. 5 stars
8/09/04 john bale Good cast but the Rat Pack they're not. So why remake ? Another ho hum hi tech heist movie. 3 stars
5/11/04 J.Peckerfoot big names.cool dialogue.slick.safe.and great entertainment.critics need not apply. 4 stars
3/04/04 Agent Sands Easily among my top 3 movies. Everything is fucking brilliant!!! 5 stars
1/04/04 Littlepurch Enjoyable and surprising the first time. A bit repeative on repeat viewings. 4 stars
12/21/03 Matt Wow, everyone loves but me...oh well 2 stars
6/29/03 Rosalie I really enjoyed this one. 4 stars
5/31/03 JoeSco entirely amenable and Clooney as suave as ever 4 stars
5/17/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back Mo'Fos!) EXTREMELY entertaining, which makes up for its on&off seeming immorality. 4 stars
5/16/03 Piz Not mind-blowing but thoroughly entertaining. 4 stars
4/11/03 Jack Bourbon Lite, healthful entertainment. Contains plenty of Vitamin C but only some Vitamin B. 4 stars
3/09/03 Jack Sommersby Competently rendered but mechanical and empty. 2 stars
3/03/03 John What's so goddamn great about this movie?? 3 stars
1/04/03 R.W. Welch Compares favorably with the original, crisply done. 4 stars
12/29/02 Ken Increibly entertaining. Doesn't fall into typical "Vegas-movie" stereotypes. 5 stars
12/04/02 rob vegas IT DIVIDED THE AUDIENCES INTO THOSE WHO HATED IT AND THOSE WHO HATED IT! 1 stars
11/23/02 Croweater its enjoyable & entertaining, a good crime caper film 4 stars
11/16/02 spacecowboy good stuff... 4 stars
10/26/02 sparks Loved everything but Julia Roberts. Completely useless. Did anyone else see her mustache? 4 stars
8/26/02 Sesco i love u 1 stars
7/27/02 Punk_Ass I really enjoyed this film, very few gripes, Solid Entertaining. A good "Heist" movie 4 stars
7/15/02 Calvert Not bad, but lacking somehow 3 stars
6/29/02 Film Dude Top notch entertainment. 5 stars
6/28/02 Shelley Smith Aside from Julia Roberts, I absolutely love this film!!! Outstanding editing! 5 stars
6/17/02 FrayLo pretty damn entertaining, but hey, i'm fascinated by vegas 4 stars
6/12/02 hilarydsur awesome-but not to see a 2nd time 5 stars
6/04/02 Phoenix Enourmously entertaining. 5 stars
6/02/02 Chris A flawless film. You'll enjoy it so much it will blow you away. 5 stars
5/30/02 ő ̃XeB[uE\_[o[Oē‚AubhEsbgAW[WEN[j[AWAEo 4 stars
5/24/02 Matt Chez Good movie but could have been better, Pitt was excellent 4 stars
5/20/02 The Bomb 69 good popcorn flick 4 stars
5/14/02 Monday Morning Fun romp, very enjoyable. Needed to show Julia's tits for a "10", tho'. 5 stars
5/12/02 Matt All REDS!!!! : ) 4 stars
4/29/02 David A. Very Boring. No fistfights, no ghosts, predictable stale humor, and no pretty ladies. UGH! 1 stars
4/10/02 Priscilla Postlethwaite Julia Roberts is wasted, but tilte gang is memorable and exciting. 4 stars
4/08/02 stoolie-bird cute....... but thats about it 3 stars
3/28/02 Chris It's Great Fun. I Definatly recommend it. 4 stars
2/28/02 Chowie pretty good, but 'introducing julia roberts', she wasn't needed, so FUCK OFF JULIA! 3 stars
2/22/02 Jeff great movie 5 stars
2/21/02 speedy very good movie, can't wait until the DVD is out 5 stars
2/19/02 TLsmooth The rat pack were fags. 5 stars
2/08/02 sarahfar88 cool, funny, go see it 5 stars
1/23/02 Jimbo Just a movie (although i'm pretty sure i saw the cameraman's reflection in a mirror) 3 stars
1/20/02 natasha funny, smart, stylish -- pure entertainment 5 stars
1/19/02 Adam Voorhees Its not crap but its also no where near as cool as it shouldda been. 3 stars
1/17/02 Mister Char it was entertaining and interesting, julia roberts is too old to be sexy though 5 stars
1/17/02 Jockstud An action movie without action, a comedy without comedy, a drama without drama... 1 stars
1/16/02 ^ZuLu^ Quite entertaining - but nothing you'll remember in a year or two. 3 stars
1/16/02 King Krack Very entertaining. I fucked during the movie. 4 stars
1/15/02 thejames This movie sucks my fucking ass 1 stars
1/14/02 Glen Funny and Classy film. (best movie ever) 5 stars
1/13/02 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the smartest film i have seen in 2002 & it kicked ass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/12/02 parkallan Not oscar material, but a fun way to spend an hour and a half 4 stars
1/12/02 Matthew Smirh a fast paced and very entertaining heist film 4 stars
1/09/02 Cherry Excellent, fun movie 5 stars
1/08/02 Danielle Sharpe Amazing...From the many casino movies i've seen, this could possibly be the best. 5 stars
1/06/02 Ian Clavel Two reasons to see it: Elliott Gould and Carl Reiner 4 stars
1/05/02 mrgoddamnhair This film is goddamn awesome 5 stars
1/04/02 Matt Utt Senator Blutarsky you are right on the money man. Oreilly rules and Clooney is a pussy!!!! 5 stars
1/03/02 George Clooney..... JK!!!!! The movie was okay, I luv Brad Pitt. So what if he's married, he's wicked hot! 4 stars
1/02/02 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) This movie rocks! It has all the good actors and a good music score. I liked it. 4 stars
1/01/02 John Lyons Not as good as the original, but okay. J. Roberts sucked. 4 stars
12/30/01 Jim Heard Good movie. But sllllooowwwww.... 4 stars
12/29/01 Artist Freak Fun escapist heist movie, a little lowbrow for the man who brought us Traffic, but good fun 4 stars
12/29/01 paul flashy and fun, but nothing new or exciting here... 4 stars
12/25/01 ryan good movie even w/ geroge clooney and julia roberts 4 stars
12/24/01 flick chick run of the mill 3 stars
12/21/01 Johnny Walker not a swanky caper flick like Snatch or tha Score was, but it was well acted n' coo' 4 stars
12/19/01 Jimmy James plot holes big enough to drive trucks through 2 stars
12/17/01 Caiphn T'was alright. I'd watch it again. 3 stars
12/17/01 The king daddy Pot rating King As smooth as vaporized chronic 5 stars
12/17/01 Obi Wan Wow! Ticket prices dropped 4 bucks in my area at Loews! 4 stars
12/16/01 spaceworm THE RIGHT STUFF used Clair de Lune first - and better. Stop smirking, George. 3 stars
12/15/01 Justin Jaku Julia Roberts was fantastic. She left me satisfied and wanting more, much more! 5 stars
12/14/01 Gorge Duvidous Who said substance and pretense were the standards of quality? This movie is amazing, fun 5 stars
12/14/01 Axe Murderer i truly underestimated this one....this movie rocks... 5 stars
12/13/01 Thor-Leo Eric D Snider's review said it all... 4 stars
12/13/01 Grenamier This movie is a lot of fun and shows a great deal of cleverness. 5 stars
12/13/01 The Boy In The Designer Bubble Great Goddess, am I retarded? Hollywood hype at its worst. 3 stars
12/11/01 Xalt PFC. Pretty Fucking Cool. I liked the twists in the plot, and that was great acting. 4 stars
12/11/01 Emily awesome 5 stars
12/11/01 poetchuck Nobody dies or gets shot--just good fun 5 stars
12/11/01 Gibbo A very pleasant way to spend two hours - good fun, not too cerebral, worth a look. 4 stars
12/11/01 several commas good entertainment 4 stars
12/10/01 soapydog great cast great movie 4 stars
12/10/01 frosty Awesome movie, coulda used a better ending. 4 stars
12/10/01 Gary Boy is this a fun movie, even though the movie man and I agree, it is very rare! 5 stars
12/10/01 kishuta A very enjoyable movie. A heist movie done well. 4 stars
12/09/01 ajay the best 'lines' are in the previews, but I still enjoyed it. 4 stars
12/08/01 jaime this movie is definitely worth seeing 5 stars
12/08/01 Jihan Not the best heist movie, but a damned good one. 4 stars
12/08/01 Emily awesome 5 stars
12/08/01 Monster W. Kung Nothing special. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Dec-2001 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  10-Jan-2002


Directed by
  Steven Soderbergh

Written by
  Ted Griffin

Cast
  George Clooney
  Brad Pitt
  Julia Roberts
  Matt Damon
  Don Cheadle
  Andy Garcia



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