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Overall Rating

Awesome: 26.85%
Worth A Look43.06%
Just Average: 21.76%
Pretty Crappy: 5.56%
Sucks: 2.78%

15 reviews, 126 user ratings

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Ocean's Eleven (2001)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Soderbergh wasting his time and talent."
3 stars

Only a few years ago, Steven Soderbergh was an experimental artist who'd decided to hone his directorial skills on the whetstone of the mainstream; the result in his best recent work ('Out of Sight,' 'The Limey') was an old story with a new indie pulse. But how much dabbling in the mainstream can a director do before it stops being just dabbling?

Ocean's Eleven, a smooth and absolutely meaningless lark directed by Soderbergh, is the most dispiriting evidence yet that the filmmaker once responsible for such non-vanilla fare as Schizopolis and Kafka is long gone — perhaps killed by the Academy Award, perhaps stifled long before by the cruel verities of making art in an expensive medium.

The original Ocean's Eleven (1960) was by no means of any consequence, either. By remaking that piece of Rat Pack cronyism, Soderbergh hasn't exactly defiled a masterpiece; I've only seen bits and pieces of it — Frank and Dino and the boys, shooting pool and cracking vaults with roughly the same degree of lounge-lizard detachment — but I feel I've seen all I need to see. I also feel that, after this year's The Score and Heist, I've seen all the caper movies I need to see for a good long while. A screenwriter can toss in ornaments and complications, but these films boil down to two narrative beats: (A) A group of guys team up for the Big Score; (B) Either they get away with it, or they don't. At this point, unless you do an everything-but-the-actual-heist movie like Reservoir Dogs, it's a stale genre.

Working with a fairly witty script by Ted Griffin (also capable of writing meatier stuff than this -- see Ravenous, no pun intended), and working with his most star-stuffed cast yet, Soderbergh luxuriates in the sheer lazy pleasure of a straightforward big Hollywood vehicle. He drives it better than most, but this one stalls on him just the same. Two of his past stars — George Clooney and Julia Roberts — are here with him, more for comfort and camaraderie than for what they actually bring to the screen. Clooney, as ringleader Danny Ocean, who orchestrates a plot to hit three Vegas casinos (downgraded from the original's five), is suave and authoritative in exactly the same way he's been many times before; poor Roberts is handed a zero role — Danny's ex-wife, now involved with the owner (Andy Garcia) of the casinos — anyone could've walked through. Both actors have been far better before, for Soderbergh and for other directors.

Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle (another Soderbergh regular), Bernie Mac (totally wasted here as a card dealer), Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner, the tiny Chinese acrobat Shaobo Qin — they all drift in and out of the plot, making little or no impression (though Shaobo Qin, like any performer with physical gifts beyond the rest of us, becomes the near-wordless star of the film by default). Pitt has a funny scene early on, when he's coaching young movie stars (including Dawson's Creek's Joshua Jackson, as himself) how to play cards, but then he recedes. Ocean's Eleven is busy without being exciting; it showcases personalities to cover its own lack of personality. The heist itself, which gets pretty Mission: Impossible, isn't staged with any particular imagination; Soderbergh, again serving as his own cinematographer, is more at ease with the scenes of guys conspiring quietly in casino bars. (Soderbergh has a natural eye for tone and composition; if he wanted to quit his day job, he could probably gainfully shoot other people's movies.)

Ocean's Eleven might have been a vibrant case of alchemy — an artist starting with a hoary piece of pulp and transcending it — if Soderbergh hadn't been so tied to the rules of the game. Crisp professionalism only takes you so far; some of us are looking for more than that, particularly from the director of sex, lies and videotape. I don't think Soderbergh has sold out, exactly — I think that, in his way, he thinks he's still experimenting, in this case taking a nothing-special vanity project and trying to give it as much energy and gloss as he can. But in practice it's not a lot different from any other A-list Hollywood offering.

Perhaps without realizing it, Soderbergh has been gradually losing what made him vital and original — his sense of formal play, his eagerness to try on new clothes instead of old clothes that happen to be new to him. If his next movie is as empty as 'Ocean's Eleven' or emptier, someone's going to have to tell this emperor the truth about his wardrobe.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=3897&reviewer=416
originally posted: 02/01/07 22:41:26
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2005 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
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User Comments

10/29/13 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
1/12/09 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
4/26/08 Totir Alexandru It is a great movie and I really enjoyed watching it. The same for 12 and 13. 4 stars
11/18/07 Erica Munro Love it!!! 5 stars
11/10/07 cosmic conundrum Well, the cast did get reassembled.. not once, but twice 4 stars
10/20/07 Tiffany Losco This movie was great. And had all the hot guys in it!! Love Brad Pitt 5 stars
8/15/07 Quigley Excellent crime film with a great ensemble. Soderbergh's direction is superb. 5 stars
6/05/07 gr117 Love it! The cast is amazing. 5 stars
6/01/07 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
8/13/06 Cosmic Conundrum Entertainer with panache 4 stars
5/19/06 Kcaj Okay so I'd give it a C+ 3 stars
2/15/06 Indrid Cold Great chemistry and several funny moments, Soderbergh won't let you down. 4 stars
11/03/05 tatum Pure fluff, but well made fluff 4 stars
9/02/05 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
6/07/05 Agent Sands One of the three classic heist movies of all time. Class-A filmmaking. Clooney is a dream. 5 stars
5/21/05 Cham Dull remake of a terrible original. 2 stars
5/09/05 Carol Great movie 4 stars
5/05/05 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
4/23/05 Dan Awesome! 5 stars
4/23/05 Charlene Javier Excellent popcorn flick 4 stars
12/17/04 Theresa Wagner It's suspenseful in a kind of you know the bad guys will get away because they are supersta 4 stars
12/16/04 Ken Cenerelli Fun caper flick I enjoy watching over and over. I can always find something new each time. 5 stars
12/07/04 keithers.. great cast but it falls short entertaining non the less 4 stars
11/15/04 Naka Waaaaaay better then the original. A fantastic good time. 5 stars
8/08/04 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
3/03/04 Agent Sands Easily among my top 3 movies. Everything is fucking brilliant!!! 5 stars
1/03/04 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
5/30/03 JoeSco entirely amenable and Clooney as suave as ever 4 stars
5/16/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back Mo'Fos!) EXTREMELY entertaining, which makes up for its on&off seeming immorality. 4 stars
5/15/03 Piz Not mind-blowing but thoroughly entertaining. 4 stars
4/10/03 Jack Bourbon Lite, healthful entertainment. Contains plenty of Vitamin C but only some Vitamin B. 4 stars
3/08/03 Jack Sommersby Competently rendered but mechanical and empty. 2 stars
3/02/03 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
12/28/02 Ken Increibly entertaining. Doesn't fall into typical "Vegas-movie" stereotypes. 5 stars
11/22/02 Croweater its enjoyable & entertaining, a good crime caper film 4 stars
11/16/02 spacecowboy good stuff... 4 stars
10/25/02 sparks Loved everything but Julia Roberts. Completely useless. Did anyone else see her mustache? 4 stars
8/25/02 Sesco i love u 1 stars
7/26/02 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
6/28/02 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
6/16/02 FrayLo pretty damn entertaining, but hey, i'm fascinated by vegas 4 stars
6/11/02 hilarydsur awesome-but not to see a 2nd time 5 stars
6/03/02 Phoenix Enourmously entertaining. 5 stars
6/01/02 Chris A flawless film. You'll enjoy it so much it will blow you away. 5 stars
5/29/02 ‰‰‚Ĺ‘Ą‚é ‚ĚƒXƒeƒB[ƒuƒ“Eƒ\ƒ_[ƒo[ƒOŠÄ“‚ށAƒuƒ‰ƒbƒhEƒsƒbƒgAƒWƒ‡[ƒWEƒNƒ‹[ƒj[AƒWƒ…ƒŠƒAEƒƒo 4 stars
5/23/02 Matt Chez Good movie but could have been better, Pitt was excellent 4 stars
5/19/02 The Bomb 69 good popcorn flick 4 stars
5/13/02 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
4/28/02 David A. Very Boring. No fistfights, no ghosts, predictable stale humor, and no pretty ladies. UGH! 1 stars
4/09/02 Priscilla Postlethwaite Julia Roberts is wasted, but tilte gang is memorable and exciting. 4 stars
4/07/02 stoolie-bird cute....... but thats about it 3 stars
3/27/02 Chris żĄ 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
2/21/02 Jeff great movie 5 stars
2/20/02 speedy very good movie, can't wait until the DVD is out 5 stars
2/18/02 TLsmooth The rat pack were fags. 5 stars
2/07/02 sarahfar88 cool, funny, go see it 5 stars
1/22/02 Jimbo Just a movie (although i'm pretty sure i saw the cameraman's reflection in a mirror) 3 stars
1/19/02 natasha funny, smart, stylish -- pure entertainment 5 stars
1/18/02 Adam Voorhees Its not crap but its also no where near as cool as it shouldda been. 3 stars
1/16/02 Mister Char it was entertaining and interesting, julia roberts is too old to be sexy though 5 stars
1/16/02 Jockstud An action movie without action, a comedy without comedy, a drama without drama... 1 stars
1/15/02 ^ZuLu^ Quite entertaining - but nothing you'll remember in a year or two. 3 stars
1/15/02 King Krack Very entertaining. I fucked during the movie. 4 stars
1/14/02 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
1/11/02 Matthew Smirh a fast paced and very entertaining heist film 4 stars
1/08/02 Cherry Excellent, fun movie 5 stars
1/07/02 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
1/03/02 Matt Utt Senator Blutarsky you are right on the money man. Oreilly rules and Clooney is a pussy!!!! 5 stars
1/02/02 George Clooney..... JK!!!!! The movie was okay, I luv Brad Pitt. So what if he's married, he's wicked hot! 4 stars
1/01/02 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) This movie rocks! It has all the good actors and a good music score. I liked it. 4 stars
12/31/01 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
12/28/01 paul flashy and fun, but nothing new or exciting here... 4 stars
12/24/01 ryan good movie even w/ geroge clooney and julia roberts 4 stars
12/23/01 flick chick run of the mill 3 stars
12/20/01 Johnny Walker not a swanky caper flick like Snatch or tha Score was, but it was well acted n' coo' 4 stars
12/18/01 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
12/16/01 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
12/14/01 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
12/13/01 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
12/12/01 Grenamier This movie is a lot of fun and shows a great deal of cleverness. 5 stars
12/12/01 The Boy In The Designer Bubble Great Goddess, am I retarded? Hollywood hype at its worst. 3 stars
12/10/01 Xalt PFC. Pretty Fucking Cool. I liked the twists in the plot, and that was great acting. 4 stars
12/10/01 Emily awesome 5 stars
12/10/01 poetchuck Nobody dies or gets shot--just good fun 5 stars
12/10/01 Gibbo A very pleasant way to spend two hours - good fun, not too cerebral, worth a look. 4 stars
12/10/01 several commas good entertainment 4 stars
12/09/01 soapydog great cast great movie 4 stars
12/09/01 frosty Awesome movie, coulda used a better ending. 4 stars
12/09/01 Gary Boy is this a fun movie, even though the movie man and I agree, it is very rare! 5 stars
12/09/01 kishuta A very enjoyable movie. A heist movie done well. 4 stars
12/08/01 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
12/07/01 Jihan Not the best heist movie, but a damned good one. 4 stars
12/07/01 Emily awesome 5 stars
12/07/01 Monster W. Kung Nothing special. 3 stars
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  07-Dec-2001 (PG-13)



Directed by
  Steven Soderbergh

Written by
  Ted Griffin

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

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