Oceans 11 (2001) Danny Ocean (George Clooney) likes taking chances. All he asks is that his handpicked squad of 10 grifters and cons play the game like they have nothing to lose. If all goes right, the payoff will be a fat $150 million.
Oceans 12 (2004) They're back. And then some. Twelve is the new eleven when Danny Ocean and pals return in a sequel to the cool caper that saw them pull off a $160 million heist. But $160 million doesn't go as far as it used to. It's time to pull off another stunner of a plan. Exciting locations include Amsterdam, Paris and Rome, the direction again of Steven Soderbergh and the original cast plus Catherine Zeta Jones and others.
Oceans 13 (2007) Danny Ocean rounds up the boys for the most dazzling heist yet, after casino owner Willy Bank (Al Pacino) double-crosses one of the eleven, Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould). George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and more re-team with director Steven Soderbergh for a split-second caper that stacks the deck with wit, style and cool.
Ocean's Eleven improves on 1960's Rat Pack original with supernova casting, a slickly updated plot, and Steven Soderbergh's graceful touch behind the camera. Soderbergh reportedly relished the opportunity "to make a movie that has no desire except to give pleasure from beginning to end," and he succeeds on those terms, blessed by the casting of George Clooney as Danny Ocean, the title role originated by Frank Sinatra. Fresh out of jail, Ocean masterminds a plot to steal $163 million from the seemingly impervious vault of Las Vegas's Bellagio casino, not just for the money but to win his ex-wife (Julia Roberts) back from the casino's ruthless owner (Andy Garcia). Soderbergh doesn't scrimp on the caper's comically intricate strategy, but he finds greater joy in assembling a stellar team (including Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Carl Reiner) and indulging their strengths as actors. The result is a film that's as smooth as a silk suit and just as stylish. --Jeff Shannon
Like its predecessor Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve is a piffle of a caper, a preposterous plot given juice and vitality by a combination of movie star glamour and the exuberant filmmaking skill of director Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight, The Limey). The heist hijinks of the first film come to roost for a team of eleven thieves (including the glossy mugs of Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, and Don Cheadle), who find themselves pursued not only by the guy they robbed (silky Andy Garcia), but also by a top-notch detective (plush Catherine Zeta-Jones) and a jealous master thief (well-oiled Vincent Cassel) who wants to prove that team leader Danny Ocean (dapper George Clooney) isn't the best in the field. As if all that star power weren't enough--and the eternally coltish Julia Roberts also returns as Ocean's wife--one movie star cameo raises the movie's combined wattage to absurd proportions. But all these handsome faces are matched by Soderbergh's visual flash, cunning editing, and excellent use of Amsterdam, Paris, and Rome, among other highly decorative locations. The whole affair should collapse under the weight of its own silliness, but somehow it doesn't--the movie's raffish spirit and offhand wit soar along, providing lightweight but undeniable entertainment. --Bret Fetzer
Vegas for Ocean's Thirteen, where the boys plot to shut down the brand-new venture of a backstabbing hotelier (Al Pacino) because the guy double-crossed the now-ailing Reuben (Elliott Gould). If you look at the plot too closely, the entire edifice collapses (hey, how about those Chunnel-digging giant drills?), but Soderbergh conjures up a visual style that swings like Bobby Darin at the Copa. Other than the movie-star dazzle, the main reason to see the film is Soderbergh's uncanny feel for how the widescreen frame can float through the neon spaces of Vegas or sort through groups of characters sitting in hotel rooms talking (he shot the film himself, under his pseudonym Peter Andrews).
The film doesn't give enough time to goofballs Casey Affleck and Scott Caan (whose riffs made Ocean's Twelve worth seeing), although it provides comic stuff for a fun roster of actors, including Eddie Izzard, David Paymer, and Bob ("Super Dave") Einstein. Meanwhile, Ellen Barkin makes a fetching assistant for Pacino, and Pacino himself, his hair dyed Trumpian orange, is content to gnaw on some ham for the duration. Biggest puzzle about the two sequels is why George Clooney seems content to retreat from centerstage. Still, his Hemingwayesque conversations with Pitt are an amusing form of male shorthand, and even as the movie overstays its welcome during a long finale, Clooney's easy sense of cool makes it all seem acceptable. --Robert Horton
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