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Steven Soderbergh
George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner, Shaobo Qin, Eddie Jemison, Bernie Mac, Ellen Barkin
Writing Credits:
George Clayton Johnson (characters), Jack Golden Russell (characters), Brian Koppelman, David Levien

What are the odds of getting even? 13 to one.

It's bolder. Riskier. The most dazzling heist yet. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and more reteam with director Steven Soderbergh for a split-second caper that stacks the deck with wit, style and cool. Danny Ocean again runs the game, so no rough stuff. No one gets hurt. Except for double-crossing Vegas kingpin Willy Bank (Al Pacino). Ocean's crew will hit him where it hurts: in his wallet. On opening night of Bank's posh new casino tower The Bank, every turn of a card and roll of the dice will come up a winner for bettors. And they'll hit him in his pride, making sure the tower doesn't receive a coveted Five Diamond Award. That's just the start of the flimflams. The boys are out to break The Bank. Place your bets!

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$36.133 million on 3565 screens.
Domestic Gross
$117.144 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 122 min.
Price: $28.95
Release Date: 11/13/2007

• ďVegas: An Opulent IllusionĒ Featurette
• ďJerry Weintraub Walk and TalkĒ Featurette
• Additional Scenes
• Previews


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Ocean's Thirteen (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 30, 2007)

When we look at 2007, we see the summer of the ďthree-quelĒ, third iterations in various series. Most of these came after flicks that were enormous hits. Four of the six boasted second chapters that earned no less than $224 million (Rush Hour 2), and for three of these flicks, their immediate predecessors took in at least $373 million (Spider-Man 2. Both Shrek 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Manís Chest surpassed the lofty $400 million mark.

So only two of the second chapters fell below the $200 million mark. The Bourne Supremacy made $176 million, a figure significantly below the four flicks mentioned above. However, it should be noted that the sequelís take represented a substantial increase above the $121 million gross of The Bourne Identity. That formed a pretty good catalyst to lead toward 2007ís The Bourne Ultimatum.

And then thereís Oceanís Thirteen. The first flick in the series took in a solid $183 million, but when Oceanís Twelve came out, it scraped up a relatively low $125 million. Iíd guess that gross was heavily front-loaded as well, since the dull, plodding Twelve did little to endear itself to fans.

Despite that setback, all involved returned for Oceanís Thirteen, an effort that abandoned the art film pretension of Twelve to re-embrace the slick neo-Rat Pack vibe of the first movie. In this one, greedy Vegas developer Willy Bank (Al Pacino) double-crosses former high-roller Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould). This event upsets Reuben so much that he has a heart attack.

Left in a hospital bed with an iffy prognosis, the doctor tells Reubenís buddy Danny Ocean (George Clooney) that he might do better if given a reason to live. Danny decides the best way to bolster Reubenís spirits would be to sabotage Bankís new casino so that he loses oodles of money on opening night. This leads to an incredibly elaborate scheme to break the Bank, a plan that fills most of the film.

Part of the fun from the Oceanís flicks revolves around their casts. Thirteen loses the female firepower from Twelve, as neither Catherine Zeta-Jones nor Julia Roberts appear here. Itís good to see Ellen Barkin again, but she canít fill their shoes in terms of star power. Sheís very talented of course, but her name over the marquee means much less.

Does this matter once weíre in the door? Yes and no. On one hand, part of the seriesí fun comes from the sheer fame of its actors. That dips substantially when Barkin takes the place of Zeta-Jones and/or Roberts. However, I like the way Barkin fills her role. She shows a wonderful light comedic side as Bankís right-hand chick, and she enlivens the movie.

At least Thirteen brings in Pacino, which is a major step up over the antagonists from the first two. As is his tradition in recent years, Pacino overacts relentlessly, but thatís not an issue here. That over the top style fits the tone of this series, so I canít complain about the cartoonish nature of his performance.

Actually, I donít have a whole lot about which I can complain here, other than simply to say that the bloom is off the Oceanís rose. As I mentioned when I reviewed Twelve, the first flick boasted a certain once-in-a-lifetime magic that became next to impossible to recapture. It felt like a busmanís holiday for the participants, so with the expectations thus generated, the sequels couldnít seem so loose and fun.

But Iím glad that Thirteen at least embraces the originalís spirit and doesnít try to overthink our expectations. That was the problem with Twelve. It tried to confound what the audience anticipated Ė and wanted, for that matter Ė and became a turgid drag. Maybe the filmmakers were pleased with this shift in tone, but I donít think it worked for many members of the audience.

Apparently the filmmakers accepted that since Thirteen so clearly marks a return to the spirit of the original. And it creates a satisfying throwback to that hit, though again, it canít quite live up to the sheer fun of Eleven. Thirteen does its best, though, and it often succeeds.

To my surprise, Thirteen works better on second viewing. When I saw it theatrically, I enjoyed it, but I didnít think that highly of it. Granted, I still donít see it as a great film, but my second time through it allowed me to more fully embrace its charms. The flick tosses the audience into such an absurdly convoluted and complex scheme that we spend much of the movie simply trying to figure out what the hellís happening. The rush of the caper keeps us involved, but more than a few confusing moments occur.

When seen a second time, it all falls together much better. We can comprehend the plan more easily, and that allows us to free up brain space to absorb other parts of the flick. Thirteen becomes much more enjoyable when we donít have to concentrate on the ins and outs of the plot. Instead, with an understanding of those elements, we can simply ride the wave and have fun with the craziness of the whole thing. Sure, it loses the element of surprise, but it compensates with substantially greater intelligibility.

Will there be an Oceanís Fourteen? Probably not, as even two sequels tempted fate for this kind of project. At least Oceanís Thirteen makes me sort of hope for another chapter. After the dismal Twelve I wouldíve preferred the series to end, but Thirteen reinvigorates things. Itís a fun and entertaining piece of fluff.

The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Oceanís Thirteen appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though much of the flick looked good, too many inconsistencies occurred.

Some of these affected sharpness. Edge haloes cropped up through the movie, and occasional shots came across as a bit soft and ill-defined. Nonetheless, the majority of the film seemed reasonably accurate and concise. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and source flaws remained absent.

As with the prior Oceanís flicks, Thirteen went with a highly stylized palette. For these movies, Soderbergh favored dense colors that bordered on oversaturation. These usually looked good, but occasionally they were a little too thick even within the production design. Blacks tended to be deep and dark, but shadows were more of a mixed bag. Some looked clear and visible, while others were somewhat murky. The transfer mixed highs and lows to end up with a ďB-ď.

While not particularly ambitious, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Thirteen seemed consistent and satisfying. The soundfield came to life most vividly during scenes in the inner parts of the hotel. When Yen went into the elevator shaft or Basher dealt with the digging, we got pretty good involvement from all the speakers. Those scenes offered nice life, but others were less engrossing. They still provided decent ambience, though, and showed a good sense of setting.

Audio quality always pleased. Speech was concise and natural, without edginess or other issues. Music seemed bright and dynamic, while effects demonstrated nice range. The smattering of louder scenes featured good impact. Little in the way of impressive material appeared here, but the track was more than acceptable.

While Oceanís Eleven included a good set of extras, Oceanís Twelve skimped on them. The supplements for Thirteen improve on those of Twelve but donít live up to those for Eleven. Why is it Soderbergh will do commentaries for other directorsí movies but no longer chat about his own?

Two featurettes appear. Vegas: An Opulent Illusion runs 22 minutes, 45 second as it includes comments from Las Vegas Adviser.com editor Anthony Curtis, casino architect Paul Steelman, former Golden Nugget owner Tim Poster, Friedmutter Group founder Brad Friedmutter, Palms Casino Resort owner George Maloof, Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino CEO Ian Bruce Eichner and independent casino host Steve Cyr. We learn a little about the history of Las Vegas as well as the development of its architecture, casino design, the life of the ďwhaleĒ, and the future of the city. Some good notes appear here Ė especially when the show digs into the psychology of the casino Ė but it usually feels like a promo reel for Vegas. Itís too much of a goopy love letter.

Jerry Weintraub Walk and Talk fills two minutes, 20 seconds with comments from the filmís producer. He takes us for a quick look at the casino set. It serves a promotional purpose more than anything else, so donít expect much.

Four Additional Scenes last a total of four minutes, 29 seconds. The first two offer brief extensions to existing scenes that add little. The third shows Romanís assistance to Livingston, while the fourth lets us glimpse a bit of the plot between Terry and hsajdhksada. Both telegraph story points unnecessarily, so they were good cuts.

A few ads open the DVD. We get promos for Lucky You, the Oceanís Thirteen soundtrack, Seinfeld Season 9, Rush Hour 3, Get Smart and PS I Love You. No trailer for Thirteen appears here.

While it doesnít quite live up to the heights of the original flick in the series, Oceanís Thirteen easily surpasses the forgettable Twelve. It entertains as it reminds us why we liked the first movie. The DVD presents erratic but usually good picture as well as solid audio, but the sparse extras disappoint. Still, the filmís fun, so it deserves at least a rental.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.8571 Stars Number of Votes: 14
4 3:
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