Richard Corliss has some strong commentary re: 'Ocean's 13', including this gem about how Steven Soderburgh photographed his stars:
How come Damon is more handsome and engaging in person than in this movie? When Pitt is first spotted, he looks as though he fell asleep for a year under a sun lamp. Pacino it takes a few seconds to recognize; he too looks weird, and so does Barkin.
Corliss continues with: "The new film is so listless and logy it needed Michael Moore to take it to Cuba for emergency medical treatment." And he tops it all off with, "Soderbergh makes them look like Nick Nolte in that mug shot."
Somehow, comments like these coming from a critic like Corliss seem to be exactly the kind of thing a movie like 'Ocean's 13' needs to be a hit -- or perhaps it's more correct to say they often seem to be the precursor to box office success -- they're just so irrelevant to the targeted audience.
To his credit, Corliss appears more calibrated with the following:
Frank Sinatra was the star behind the original 1960 Ocean's Eleven (original in that it came first) and three ensuing, numerical Rat Pack capers: Sergeants 3, 4 Guns for Texas, Robin and the 7 Hoods. Frank and his pals -- Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop -- weren't trying to commit art, or even make vital entertainment. Really, they had expectations no higher than the Soderbergh-Clooney mob. Both groups were underachievers and proud of it.
On a sunnier note -- just look at those guys. Greg Williams interviews (some) of the stars of 'Ocean's 13'. From left to right, Frank Sinatra, Angie Dickinson, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Dean Martin. Wait...that's not right. Pictured above are George Clooney, Ellen Barkin (how good does she look?), Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt. The interview was done on the terrace of the Hotel du Cap in Cannes (at some film festival, I'm not sure which one).
My favorite exchange:
TIME: So you don't get actorly and defensive if people think, Sure looks like they had a good time making that movie?
BARKIN: I do, because I did a lot of research on my character. [Laughter]
CLOONEY: The idea that every time you do a film you're supposed to be tortured confuses me. I mean, guys who say, "Oh, it's really tough, my character is really suffering"--come on. For us, even in the rotten ones we've had a good time. I don't think you have to suffer. Maybe Matt had to suffer.
DAMON: Yeah, I did. I had to go deep to find Linus.
BARKIN: Was that your character's name?
BARKIN: I'm sorry, I only read my lines.
CLOONEY: We like that Matt's done three different Linuses in three different movies.
DAMON: I have done him kind of different each time.
BARKIN: It's important for him to change it up, while Brad and George have no range, so they just have to keep playing the same parts.
Judging from the above, it's more fun to interview movie stars than it is to review their movies. Not reporting from the terrace of a hotel overlooking the Mediterranean -- Alan Green.