Movie Review: Ocean’s Twelve (2004)

As I promised last week, I am still going through with reviewing the “Ocean’s” trilogy. So let’s jump into the second part in the series.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ocean’s Twelve”.

After successfully stealing 160 million dollars, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) decided to settle down and life an easy life with his wife Tess (Julia Roberts). But that relaxing life gets halted when Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), the man they stole from, threatens to kill Ocean and his friends unless they can give back those 160 million (plus interest). So Danny has to team up with his gang once again to pull some heists in Europe in hopes of paying back their debt. All while a Europol agent (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is on the hunt for them. So now we have our heist sequel plot. And it’s not great. It lacks the tightness and suspense of the first movie’s plot, often feeling a bit disjointed. It’s also pretty boring in a lot of parts. Admittedly this isn’t the worst plot ever, since there are some fun moments throughout to keep it from becoming absolute shit. It’s… meh.

The characters in this don’t really get any significant development, but what I can say is the returning cast are all still a lot of fun to watch as they share some damn fine chemistry. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Elliott Gould, Bernie Mac (R.I.P), Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Qin Shaobo, Carl Reiner, Eddie Jemison, Julia Roberts, they’re all fun. Even Andy Garcia who, despite a relatively small role, still gives a quietly intimidating and charming performance. Catherine Zeta-Jones is pretty good as the agent that the guys have to avoid throughout the movie. Again, not a lot of interesting character development here, but I did enjoy the cast.

David Holmes returned to do the score for this, and once again it is really good. It’s fun, energetic, and just helps bring something to the movie to keep it a little more interesting. The licensed tracks used throughout are also pretty good. Not the most catchy or memorable, but they still work pretty good within the movie.

As with the first movie, “Ocean’s Twelve” was shot and directed by Steven Soderbergh, and his direction is kind of what stands out here. While his direction can’t bring suspense to the heist like in the first one, I do admit that no shots he had were uninteresting. As a matter of fact, there are some shots in here that I thought were really good. Again, no real suspense is built here, but his directing is solid enough to keep me interested.

This movie hasn’t been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 54% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“Ocean’s Twelve” isn’t great, but there is some fun to be had throughout. It has a meh plot, good characters, really good performances, really good music, and good directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ocean’s Twelve” is a 6,12/10. While not great, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Ocean’s Twelve” is now completed.

“Ocean’s Thirteen” next week.

Movie Review: Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

With the release of “Ocean’s 8” being upon us (June 27th here in Sweden), I thought it was time for me to finally talk about the movies that preceded it. So today it’s “Ocean’s Eleven”. And over the next two weeks you can look forward to reviews of “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen”. Will I cover the 60s original? Probably not. With that out of the way, let’s get into the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ocean’s Eleven”.

After being released from prison, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) plans to pull a heist at a big casino owned by a man named Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). But he can’t do this alone. So with the help of his friend Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) he gathers up a crew of specialists to help pull this heist. It’s a basic heist movie formula that we’ve seen so many times at this point… but this movie is one of the better examples of how it should be done. Yes, we know the story beats (since they are repeated in so many movies), but “Ocean’s Eleven” does it in a way that makes it feel fresh. The twists and turns in here still catch me off guard despite me having seen the movie before. And this due to a brisk pace, genuine suspense, and a believably executed plan.

The characters in this are colorful, unique, and really entertaining. George Clooney plays Danny Ocean, the man with the plan who the movie is named after. He’s a charismatic and intelligent con artist with a troubled past. He may be cooler than ice, but he still feels fairly realistic (Clooney handsomeness aside). And Clooney is great in the role. Then we have Brad Pitt as Rusty, Ocean’s closest confidant and old time ally. Clever, cool, and with a devil-may-care attitude, it’s basically the heist movie version of Brad Pitt… and I’m okay with that. So yeah, Pitt is really good in the role. Next up we have Andy Garcia as Terry Benedict, the film’s antagonist and target of the heist. There’s a quiet intensity about him that makes him a somewhat intimidating guy whenever we’re in a scene with him. And Garcia is really good in the role. I will also not go in-depth with every character, because that would make this part too long. But I will say that the rest of the crew consists of Bernie Mac (R.I.P), Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Elliott Gould, Matt Damon, Carl Reiner, Eddie Jemison, and Qin Shaobo. Then we have Julia Roberts as Ocean’s ex-wife. So yeah, this movie is filled with cool people, and all of them do really well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by David Holmes, and I think he did a really good job. The score is very jazzy and bouncy, giving a very fun and energetic vibe to the movie. But it still never takes away from the suspenseful moments. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout and they work well in their respective scenes.

This movie was shot and directed by Steven Soderbergh and I think he did a great job with it. His direction here has a very fast and fun style that keeps it from ever feeling boring or slow. He also manages to build a lot of suspense here, with one sequence in particular almost making me curl up in my chair due to the level of suspense in that moment. And I usually never talk about this, but the editing here is as slick as it gets, often adding to the suspense or just overall fun of a scene. Speaking of fun, there’s some comedy sprinkled throughout this movie, and I found it to be genuinely funny.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“Ocean’s Eleven” is a fast-paced and fun crime caper with a very fun cast. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, great directing/editing, and great humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ocean’s Eleven” is a 9,86/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Ocean’s Eleven” is now completed.

Remember, “Ocean’s Twelve” next week!

Movie Review: Money Monster (2016)

Money. An essential part of modern society. Without money we could never really do… anything.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Money Monster”.

Lee Gates (George Clooney) is the energetic host of a finance show called “Money Monster” (roll credits). One day in the middle of his show a young man (Jack O’Connell) comes in and starts waving a gun around and then forces Gates to put on a bomb vest. So now we have a hostage thriller which is linked in some ways to financial issues. And overall I thought the plot was great. The hostage stuff was tense and it made everything a lot of interesting. And while the financial aspects of the movie could get a little preachy at times, I thought it was for the most part fairly well handled. So overall the plot is good. The hostage drama is great and the commentary on finances and the stock market is pretty good.

The characters in this movie are actually pretty interesting and surprisingly fleshed out… or at least the central three are. George Clooney is great as Lee Gates, playing  him with a good amount of energy while still keeping him serious and grounded. Julia Roberts plays Patty, the director of Gates’ show and she’s basically the one who’s trying to make sure everything going as smoothly as possible. And Roberts is great in the role. Then we have Jack O’Connell as Kyle, the young man who crashes the show and demands airtime and tries to get his will through. Not only is he the most compelling character in the movie (for reasons I will not get into because spoilers), but I would say that this is the best performance in the movie. O’Connell is fantastic as this troubled young man who isn’t just doing this to be an asshole, he has reasons that you find out throughout the movie, and I honestly understood where he was coming from with it all. We also get Giancarlo Esposito as a police captain who’s trying to stop this hostage bullshit and he’s really good in the movie. Caitriona Balfe is also really good in the movie. And Dominic West also does a really solid job in the movie. So even though the central three characters are the only ones who are interesting, the entire cast gives some really solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Dominic Lewis and I think it’s really good. It’s overall a tense and audibly interesting score that worked very well within the movie. While it leans very heavily on electronic stuff, it still sounds really good.

This movie was directed by Jodie Foster (Yes, THAT Jodie Foster) and I have to say that she did a pretty damn good job. She has a lot of flair in her directing and she makes scenes flow very well thanks to that. And the shots overall look pretty great.

This movie hasn’t been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 57% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 55/100 And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“Money Monster” is a surprisingly solid thriller. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. The only real problem is that the financial aspects of the plot aren’t always the most well handled, but it doesn’t detract from the movie too much. Time for my final score. *Some jingle plays*. My final score for “Money Monster” is a 9,23/10. So even though it is flawed, I’d still say that it’s definitely worth buying!

My review of “Money Monster” is now completed.

If you’re interested in watching this, try to avoid watching the trailer.

My Favorite Scenes: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind – Can’t Help Falling in Love

Hello people! I know, I know. Two posts the same day and also pretty tight on each other, it is annoying. But I felt like I had to share this one thing. As you know, this “series” was created for me to be able to share My Favorite Scenes from movies/TV with you guys. And I just reviewed a movie with an (in my opinion) incredible scene that I just had to share. It is a scene from the 2002 biographical crime-comedy “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” that features our main guy Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell) looking at his life while someone at his game show/talents show sings “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley (Pretty awfully if you ask me). But having the imagery in combination with the song jsut resonated with me so well that I couldn’t help falling in love with it (See what I did there?). I love this scene and I hope you do to… after you see the movie of course.
Enjoy!

Movie Review: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

gUzZ67mUtK4TTR7NAyLYmh2kh5a

Biographical pictures (Or Bio-pics for you lazy folks) is one of the touchiest subjects within movies. People always complain “Ugh, that shit didn’t actually happen!” or “He wasn’t like that, you portrayed him wrong!”. I can see why people have a tendency to complain about things like that. So that is why I have chosen to look at movies from the standpoint of seeing it as a movie and judging it as a movie rather than judge it based on how exact it is to the actual events portrayed. So let’s look at a bio-pic that seems like it couldn’t have been real in any way. But in some aspects it apparently was…

Ladies and gentlemen… “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”.

This movie is about ascent and eventual decline of game show host and alleged CIA hitman Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell). We get to see his life from his point of view as he tries to become a big and respected guy within the media industry while also being a hitman hired by Jim Byrd (George Clooney). We also get a look into his personal life with his girlfriend/future wife Penny (Drew Barrymore). The way this story is shown is through a mix of seeing the actors do what they are paid and then at a few points we get to see interviews with some people who have actually met Chuck. And all this help conjure up a very interesting and unconventional plot. I was very entertained by the plot of this movie and I loved seeing how it unfolded in this very unconventional style.

The characters are all very colorful, realistic and amazingly written. They all feel like real people in this big web of deception and entertainment. And I am so happy to say (like most times) that Sam Rockwell gives a terrific performance in this movie. He really brings Barris to life with a lot of energy, style and humanity. I mean, he shines in the scenes where he gets to show a lot of emotion in one way or another. And I can safely say that all actors in the movie were great.

The odd thing about this movie is that there is no original score for the movie. Usually you can find at least a few tracks that a composer has created, but there is no real “original score”. On the otehr hand there are a lot of licensed tracks from the era(s) that the movie is set in (Sidenote: The movie is set during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s). And the music used in the movie fits every scene perfectly and just helps set the mood throughout the movie. I loved listening to the music throughout.

This movie was directed by George Clooney and holy shit is it well-directed. I find it difficult to comprehend the fact that this was Clooney’s directorial debut. It is stylish and got a lot of falir and energy in it’s direction.  One example I can give where the direction combined with music and acting just shined and resonated deeply with me was a scene in the movie where Chuck was looking at his life a bit while “Can’t help falling in love with you) by Elvis was played in the background. That scene was just great. And after a little bit of research I found out one interesting thing about the real life story; Barris may or may not have made up the fact that he killed people for CIA… but I don’t care. He wrote it in his book, it made it into the movie and it made the plot a whole lot more interesting. Like I said, I judge the movie as a movie rather than judging it as a real life story. Just thought the fact could be fun to mention.

This movie was pretty well-received even if it didn’t do great at the box office. On Rotten Tomatoes the movie has a 79% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie a score of 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” has an unconventional and interesting plot with great writing, great acting, great use of music, splendid direction from George Clooney. Time for my final score. And the winner is… this one. My final score for “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” is a 9,84/10. It of course receives the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
49920178

“Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” is finally reviewed.

I am usually not a guy who tries to push my opinion onto people, but I feel like my thoughts on bio-pics are the way to go. Don’t believe it’s a good idea? Go watch John Flickster explain it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rI8HFD_YVw