Ocean’s Twelve Review

Ocean's Twelve movie posterSynopsis
When Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) discovers “Ocean’s Eleven” were the ones responsible for robbing his casinos, he tracks them down and demands they repay him everything they stole, with interest. Unable to perform jobs in the United States, they travel to Amsterdam. While in Amsterdam, Danny (George Clooney) and Rusty (Brad Pitt) are challenged by Europe’s greatest thief, the Night Fox (Vincent Cassel), to find out who is the best thief in the world.

A few of the things I discuss in this review may be spoiler-ish, so heads up.

Ocean’s Eleven is one of my all time favorite movies. So I was more than excited to see the whole gang back together again. Now I don’t say often that I’m let down by a movie (disappointed maybe, but not necessarily let down), but I’m let down by Ocean’s Twelve. The entire cast was returning, plus they were moving their operations to Europe, a place ripe with heist possibilities. It had so much going for it, but it never can harness it and becomes a mess.

I will start with some good and say this: the chemistry hasn’t changed and is still the best part about the film. The banter and playfulness that helped make Ocean’s Eleven so enjoyable still remains. Everyone returns for Ocean’s Twelve, including Tess, who gets a much bigger role. They are every bit as fun as before, never failing to bring a smile to your face.

Unfortunately, the group gets smaller and smaller as the movie goes on, limiting the interactions to only a handful by the end. It’s nice to see Linus (Matt Damon) starting to take some of the leadership role. It’s good character growth but there could have been a better way to build him up than take away Danny and Rusty. Oh wait, there was. Just look at Ocean’s Thirteen. Without the entire group together, it’s just not the same.

Even though this movie was about the heist, it didn’t feel like it was about the heist, if that makes sense. There was a lot of heist planning, but it was sporadic. As a result, the pacing suffered and felt awkward. Since the members are getting picked up by the authorities one by one, every time someone was captured, the remaining members had to come back and adjust the plan. Sometimes this can work well, look at The Next Three Days, but I don’t think it worked that well here. And with the reveal and the end, I’m left thinking ‘what was the point of that’ and I end up feeling I mostly wasted two hours.

Another fun part about Ocean’s Eleven was that even though there was a lot going on, it was still simple. Here, there’s this whole “wheels within wheels” thing going on that makes for a really complex plot that is very difficult to follow. Characters pop up, go away, then are briefly mentioned later on. Then again, the end just leaves one question: ‘why?’ This films tries to be clever but It trips over itself.

I know I’m bashing this movie pretty hard, but there is still fun to be had. Any time spent watching Danny Ocean and his merry band of thieves is always a good time. However, after enjoying the payoff of Ocean’s Eleven, the payoff from Ocean’s Twelve doesn’t compare. Not even close.


For the rest of the Ocean’s Trilogy, read my reviews for Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Thirteen.


Cast & Crew
Steven Soderbergh – Director
George Nolfi – Writer
David Holmes – Composer

George Clooney – Danny Ocean
Brad Pitt – Rusty Ryan
Julia Roberts – Tess Ocean
Catherine Zeta-Jones – Isabel Lahiri
Matt Damon – Linus Caldwell
Casey Affleck – Virgil Malloy
Scott Caan – Turk Malloy
Shaobo Qin – Yen
Bernie Mac – Frank Catton
Don Cheadle – Basher Tarr
Carl Reiner – Saul Bloom
Eddie Jemison – Livingston Dell
Elliott Gould – Reuben Tishkoff
Andy Garcia – Terry Benedict
Vincent Cassel – Francois Toulour
Robbie Coltrane – Matsui
Eddie Izzard – Roman Nagel
Cherry Jones – Molly Star
Bruce Willis – Himself

Valkyrie Review

This review was originally posted for MovieRob‘s war-themed genre grandeur.

Valkyrie movie posterSynopsis
Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) is recruited by a secret organization trying to overthrow Hitler’s Germany and end World War II.

Valkyrie‘s trailer makes the film seem like it is more of a thriller than it really is. The film starts with an action scene on a German military base in Africa that gets ambushed. It is during this attack that Stauffenberg sustains his injuries. Before hand, we get a glimpse into his character and the angst he feels towards Hitler’s Germany. After this initial action sequence the movie slows down. A lot. Although the next hour and a half may move slowly, this time is used to great effect, building the major characters.

When the coup finally begins, it is the most exciting part of the movie. That’s when the movie becomes a thriller. Since this is based on a true story during World War II, the final outcome of the events is known, but the film still manages to keep me on the edge of my seat, wondering if Stauffenberg and his crew can somehow pull it off. When the movie is in the midst of the excitement, it just fizzles and all of a sudden the action is over. For as dramatic as the actual coup is, the action abruptly ends. It’s pretty jarring.

Part of why Valkyrie is ends up being fun despite its pace is because of the cast. I recognized many faces from the Pirates of the Caribbean series (Bill Nighy, Kevin McNally, Tom Hollander, and David Schofield) and most of the cast from other films. There were only a handful of the main cast I had not seen before. The entire cast does well with their parts, but I think the stand out is Carice van Houten as Nina von Stauffenberg. Although she doesn’t have much screen time, she shows a great range of emotion to her character in what little time she is on screen.

One of my complaints with this movie is that most of the cast speaks in their normal accents rather than German accents. With several different accents prominent in the film, primarily British and American, it can be difficult to get into the German setting. In movies like K-19: The Widowmaker, the actors use accents of the country their characters’ are from (in K-19‘s case, Russian). I know it’s small but I think it adds that extra special touch to a film.

Valkyrie may not be the thriller it’s advertised to be, but it still manages to shine because of the great cast, particularly van Houten. Even though I knew the final outcome, I found myself hoping that maybe, just maybe, they could still pull it off.



Cast & Crew
Bryan Singer – Director
Christopher McQuarrie – Writer
Nathan Alexander – Writer
John Ottman – Composer

Tom Cruise – Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg
Kenneth Branagh – Major-General Henning von Tresckow
Bill Nighy – General Friedrich Olbricht
Tom Wilkinson – General Friedrich Fromm
Carice van Houten – Nina von Stauffenberg
Thomas Kretschmann – Major Otto Ernst Remer
Terence Stamp – Ludwig Beck
Eddie Izzard – General Erich Fellgiebel
Kevin McNally – Dr. Carl Goerdeler
Christian Berkel – Colonel Mertz von Quirnheim
David Bamber – Adolf Hitler
Tom Hollander – Colonel Heinz Brandt
David Schofield – Erwin von Witzleben
Werner Daehn – Major Ernst John von Freyend
Mathias Schweighofer – Lieutenant Herber
Kenneth Cranham – Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel