MONDO EXTRAS

Staff Flick Picks

by The Editors August 16, 2007
The Movies On Cable We Can't Resist

--Lula Bean

Watching a movie with a twisty, complicated plot is fun the first time because you get to be surprised. Watching it the second time is fun because you get to see how it all works. Watching it the third time, you get to take an even closer look under the plot's hood and marvel at the fact that it works at all.

Steven Soderbergh's remake of Ocean's Eleven isn't just a heist movie, but a con movie as well. On first viewing, George Clooney's elaborate plan to steal from Andy Garcia not only $165 million, but also Julia Roberts, seems like a terrifyingly complex Rube Goldberg contraption with a truly ridiculous number of moving parts, the failure of any one of which would have gotten him and all his friends killed. But then on second (and third through fifteenth) viewing, you realize that there is absolutely no way it should have succeeded.

Yes, there are minor setbacks. Livingston gets lost planting a surveillance device in the forbidden bowels of the Bellagio. Saul gets recognized on the casino floor while undercover. Yen has to exit a casino lockbox without dropping the briefcase that's been placed on top of its lid. Don Cheadle has to lead a star-crossed expedition into California to steal a portable EMP device that hasn't even been invented yet. Somehow the heist gets pulled off anyway.

But all that's nothing compared to the stuff that could have -- and should have -- gone wrong. What if Julia Roberts hadn't heard the planted cell phone in her pocket that rang just as she was leaving a riot? What if Andy Garcia had just decided to have George Clooney killed the minute he first spotted him on the casino floor? What if he had noticed earlier that the compromised vault appearing on his security video monitors was an inexact replica? What if that non-existent portable EMP device had been stashed at MIT or Oxford instead of just one state away? There wouldn't have been an Ocean's Twelve or Thirteen, that's for damn sure.

Still, it's impossible to tear oneself away from the screen once the plan is in motion. Especially in the scene where Matt Damon and Bernie Mac conspire to lift Garcia's access card, Garcia seems more gullible every time. Which, given what an asshole Garcia is in this movie, is quite satisfying to watch.

But the main thing is that one is compelled to watch until one has figured out exactly why Brad Pitt and George Clooney pretend to have that big falling-out at the end of the second act, for the benefit of nobody but their accomplices. And when you've watched it that many times, let me know the number so I can know how many viewings I have left before I can stop.

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Staff Flick Picks

by The Editors August 16, 2007
The Movies On Cable We Can’t Resist --Lula Bean Watching a movie with a twisty, complicated plot is fun the first time because you get to be surprised. Watching it the second time is fun because you get to see how it all works. Watching it the third time, you get to take an even closer look under the plot's hood and marvel at the fact that it works at all. Steven Soderbergh's remake of Ocean's Eleven isn't just a heist movie, but a con movie as well. On first viewing, George Clooney's elaborate plan to steal from Andy Garcia not only $165 million, but also Julia Roberts, seems like a terrifyingly complex Rube Goldberg contraption with a truly ridiculous number of moving parts, the failure of any one of which would have gotten him and all his friends killed. But then on second (and third through fifteenth) viewing, you realize that there is absolutely no way it should have succeeded. Yes, there are minor setbacks. Livingston gets lost planting a surveillance device in the forbidden bowels of the Bellagio. Saul gets recognized on the casino floor while undercover. Yen has to exit a casino lockbox without dropping the briefcase that's been placed on top of its lid. Don Cheadle has to lead a star-crossed expedition into California to steal a portable EMP device that hasn't even been invented yet. Somehow the heist gets pulled off anyway. But all that's nothing compared to the stuff that could have -- and should have -- gone wrong. What if Julia Roberts hadn't heard the planted cell phone in her pocket that rang just as she was leaving a riot? What if Andy Garcia had just decided to have George Clooney killed the minute he first spotted him on the casino floor? What if he had noticed earlier that the compromised vault appearing on his security video monitors was an inexact replica? What if that non-existent portable EMP device had been stashed at MIT or Oxford instead of just one state away? There wouldn't have been an Ocean's Twelve or Thirteen, that's for damn sure. Still, it's impossible to tear oneself away from the screen once the plan is in motion. Especially in the scene where Matt Damon and Bernie Mac conspire to lift Garcia's access card, Garcia seems more gullible every time. Which, given what an asshole Garcia is in this movie, is quite satisfying to watch. But the main thing is that one is compelled to watch until one has figured out exactly why Brad Pitt and George Clooney pretend to have that big falling-out at the end of the second act, for the benefit of nobody but their accomplices. And when you've watched it that many times, let me know the number so I can know how many viewings I have left before I can stop.

Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13Next

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