150 Timeless Movies by Susan Granger Click Here to Buy
Oscar-winner Steven Soderberg’s slick re-working of a legendary crime caper is a clever gamble that’s gonna pay off! The original version – made 41 years ago – was, essentially, a cinematic homage to the kitschy coolness of the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford). Now, updated with a strong handful of box-office high rollers, it emerges as a humorous heist scam. The saga begins as Danny Oceans (George Clooney), just released from North Jersey State Prison, concocts an incredibly daring plan to rob the vault of the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas. Located 200 feet below the Strip, this maximum-security, high-tech vault holds more than $150 million in cash from a big fight-night at the Bellagio, The Mirage and the MGM Grand. All three hotels are owned by a smarmy, ruthless entrepreneur (Andy Garcia) who – not coincidentally – is dating his ex-wife (Julia Roberts). Danny’s 11-man crew of oddball thieves consists of a card-shark (Brad Pitt), dealer/con man (Bernie Mac), pickpocket (Matt Damon), explosives specialist (Don Cheadle, who was Sammy Davis Jr. in TV’s “The Rat Pack”), surveillance expert (Eddie Jemison), flimflam pro (Carl Reiner), Chinese acrobat (Shaobo Qin) and two drivers (Casey Affleck, Scott Caan) – all backed by a vengeful financier (Elliot Gould). Perfectly cast and directed by Steven Soderbergh from a screenplay by Ted Griffin, who pens sizzling, snappy banter for Clooney & Roberts and some ingeniously unexpected plot twists, it begins slowly but the “Mission Impossible”-style break-in is terrific. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Oceans Eleven” adds up to an engaging, escapist 8. If you’re looking for a cool caper, some hip, light-hearted fun and a good time at the movies, this is definitely your best bet.