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Monday, August 06, 2007

/* this town */ - Ocean's 13 goes back to the drawing board

You shook the hand of Frank Sinatra

This is the heart of the matter of Ocean's 13 : the clash between the new Las Vegas and the traditional.

Ocean's 13 is of course the third of these enjoyable con and heist movies helmed by Steve Soderberg with the cast of millions / millionaires led by Danny Ocean and his cohort Rusty and the crew who may have grumbled at themselves being deemed part of "Ocean's 11".

Ocean's 12 may have just been a trifle too smart for its own good with Soderberg doing his traditional wavering from going commercial to indie a la Full Frontal with his weird editing tricks. But Ocean's 13 makes bank and hits its mark in more ways than one.

While Tess and Isabel [ Julia and Catherine Z natch ] are missing in action this time around although referenced, their presences on screen instead are gobbled up by the commanding presence of Willie Bank in the guise of Al Pacino [ just when you thought you were out ] along with Ellen Barkin! [ seen at TIFF in Palindromes ].

Willie Bank is building the newest and grandest hotel and casino and has double crossed his prospective partner Elliot Gould at the last moment into taking a financial bath - and as they say when you cross one Ocean you cross them all.

The gang reunite when they find out Gould is on a sickbed from which he may not recover and vow payback.

Trying to get even against Bank has humorous consequences with the entire gang reprising their roles so effortlessly. Matt Damon is still the less assured member who comes up with the idea of bringing in an old rival "I was born ready" to bankroll the proceedings when they hit the proverbial wall [or tunnel].

Ocean's 13 is a return to style without an over-reliance on a convoluted plot but a demand for an attention to character and details is required. All that glitters is not gold but diamonds are a girl's best friend which is where Ellen Barken comes in as Pacino's sidekick and an eye for the finer things in life.

The Stardust, The Sands - they built them smaller back then harkens an era long gone by where the original Rat Park and Ocean's 11 ruled, now supplanted by the Bellagio and its ilk. And it is only appropriate the Chairman's voice sings in the background.

This town is a lonely town
Not the only town like-a this town
This town is a make-you town
Or a break-you-town and bring-you-down town

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