Arts Entertainments

These two movies create confusion or incredibly over-the-top drama

Ocean’s Eleven – 2 stars (average)

Ocean’s Eleven is a confusing movie about a $ 160 million heist of three Las Vegas casinos from an impenetrable safe 200 feet underground. I say confusing because it’s not really obvious whether Ocean’s Eleven is supposed to be an action movie, a comedy, a crime story, or a drama.

Director Steven Soderbergh tries to make this movie stylish and smart, and sometimes it is, but he can’t pull it off and after a while it gets annoying.

This 2001 version of Ocean’s Eleven features George Clooney as Danny Ocean, who recruits 10 accomplices to carry out the heist. The cast includes Brad Pitt as Rusty Ryan, Elliott Gould as Reuben Tishkoff, Bernie Mac as Frank Catton, Casey Affleck as Virgil Malloy, and Scott Caan as Turk Malloy, and a few other minor lights.

The original 1960 version of this remake featured Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop (aka Rat Pack), and Angie Dickinson.

The brain trust for the writing of this script will remain nameless because what they wrote is nonsense. These luminaries wrote such memorable lines as:

Danny (just got out of jail): Now, they tell me that I paid my debt to society.

Tess (his ex-wife played by Julia Roberts): Funny, I never got a check.

If that doesn’t get you rolling with laughter, try:

Turk Malloy: Watch out, buddy.

Virgil Malloy: Who are you calling friend, friend?

Turk Malloy: Who are you calling friend, friend?

Virgil Malloy: Who are you calling friend, idiot?

Turk Malloy: Don’t call me an idiot.

Virgil Malloy: I just called you an idiot.

In order not to be left behind, we also get this brilliant exchange:

Virgil Malloy: Are you a man?

Turk Malloy: Yes, nineteen.

Virgil Malloy: Are you alive?

Turk Malloy: Yes, eighteen.

Virgil Malloy: Evel Knievel.

Turk Malloy: (the “s” word).

This accurately describes the lack of quality in the script, and any script that is too difficult to understand is not that great, and neither is this movie. Ocean’s Eleven won nothing in awards, even with Brad Pitt and George Clooney doing the honors.

Ocean’s Eleven is also one of those movies that uses indiscriminate name calling, typical Hollywood dialogue when the script, acting, and directing can’t get the movie anywhere.

Hours – 2 stars (average)

The Hours features three depressed women from three different generations trying to cope with life, some Academy Award-winning performances, and a story that’s even more depressing and disgusting.

Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is married and wrote her book Mrs. Dalloway in England in 1923.

Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), who is pregnant and questions her ability as a mother despite already having a child, is reading Mrs. Dalloway in Los Angeles in 1951.

Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) is a career editor in New York in 2001 who is about to throw a party for her friend Richard, who is being honored as a poet and is dying of AIDS.

The three depressed women are interconnected by Virginia Woolf’s novel, while all the action takes place on one day in each of the time periods. Woolf is writing his book, Brown is reading the book, and Vaughan is a book publisher nicknamed Mrs. Dalloway after her dying friend and ex-boyfriend Richard (Ed Harris).

As if this wasn’t confusing enough, director Stephen Daldy and screenwriter David Hare chose to start this film off in a totally disjointed way that takes the viewer far too long to figure out what’s going on unless they’re familiar with the Award-winning novel. Pulitzer by Michael Cunningham The Hours.

As if things weren’t heavy enough, the three women kiss another woman in the movie and they all commit suicide. Virginia Wolf is mentally ill, a very unhappy lesbian at heart and eventually commits suicide.

Laura Brown tries to kill herself or kills herself (this movie is so depressing I can’t remember which one).

Vaughan, a lesbian in a relationship, sees Richard commit suicide by falling out of a window.

The over-the-top drama doesn’t begin to describe how depressing and disgusting this movie is, that’s the bad news.

The upside, if there can be one, is an Academy Award-winning performance by Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf and the film garnered another 8 Oscar nominations. The Hours dropped another 29 wins and another 57 nominations. Kidman’s makeup was so good I didn’t even recognize her.

In essence, The Hours is a very honorable movie that you can hardly see once due to its content and presentation. There will be no second visualization for me. I’m glad Kidman won an Oscar for best actress, he deserved it.

Copyright © 2006 Ed Bagley

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