Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) Film Review


Like the two films leading up to this, it’s a big, exciting heist film with lots of misdirection and cleverness. This time, it’s all about revenge on Willy Bank (Al Pacino), a casino operator opening a new hotel, who has ripped off one of their own, Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould), causing heart failure and a coma.

My big issue with the last two films was the women in the film having very little character and being (sometimes willingly) manipulated very obviously by the men of the film. This time, it wasn’t the wives or girlfriends. The one female in the film, Bank’s top assistant Abigail Sponder (Ellen Barkin), initially appears to be in control and in charge, strong and spotting the bullshit being weaved around her. Then, she is painted as a ‘cougar’ (such an insulting term, but I won’t get started on that one today) and manipulated into seducing Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon), one of the eleven who is playing a character as part of the plot. I guess the big question is – how good does the film need to be to be able to ignore this? (Or perhaps a bigger question – after being annoyed by this in the first two films, why did I go on to watch the third?)

Ocean’s Twelve (2004) Film Review


So, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is back out of jail (again) and he and the rest of the eleven have found things to spend their millions on. But Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) has found them, and insists on compensation. And then there is Francois Toulour (Vincent Cassel), a super-rich, super-clever gangster who wants to compete against Ocean to be considered the best thief in the world, and Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones) a beautiful police officer who was dating Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), but now is set to catch him and arrest him.

Again, there is a lot of fun, trickiness and playing with expectations, but it is, yet again, ruined for me by the representations of the females in the film. At least Tess (JuliaRoberts) gets a bit of a better go this time, actually doing something (even if she is forced into it by a whole bunch of men she doesn’t even know… creepy) (although seeing her play a character pretending to be Julia Roberts was a lot of fun). Then there is the Catherine Zeta-Jones character, a high-ranking police officer who is driven to fraud by her emotions – the need for revenge against her ex, and who (spoiler alert) is manipulated into giving up her very successful career by the very same ex and her father, who she believed was dead. Men manipulating women a lot. Way to spoil a good, fun film.


Eddie Izzard’s Marathons for Mandela – TV Review

Eddie Izzard

Since I watched this two-part doco, Nelson Mandela has passed away, with all of the fake-sign-language-interpreter and selfie-taking-politicians that the memorial service brought.

This is a big thing in the UK – comedians doing some big, crazy task for charity and making a documentary. I think it started with the Comic Relief charity that got a bunch of comedians to do a live gig to raise money, and it has grown and grown. If I lived over there, I’d probably hate it and get quite annoyed with it; that’s my cynicism talking. As it is, when this was played on SBS earlier in the year, I recorded it but wondered if I would ever watch it. I love Eddie Izzard’s sense of humour, but did I really want to watch this?

You know what was interesting? Hearing about the early days of Mandela. It’s a bit like all the various documentaries that Stephen Fry does; I learn about things in a very casual and, at times, humourous way. I trust Eddie Izzard and what he has to say; but I did find some of the marathon running a bit tedious. Of course, then things go wrong, it becomes a human drama and I can’t stop watching… Like many a good documentary, this has raised my interest in the topic and I am looking forward to reading a good biography.

Cars 2 (2011) Film Review


I heard a lot of parents complain about this film, finding it to be one of the weaker of the Pixar films. I don’t recall watching the first Cars, but recently was forced to watch it – and I though it was quite good.

The story is that there is a group of cars who are pushing sustainable fuel, but when using it in several trials, it appears that the fuel is causing cars to explode. The British and American spies are trying to get to the bottom of it , including Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holly Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer). But Mater (Larry the Cable Guy. That’s how he’s listed on IMDB) gets tied up in the whole event. To save his friend, Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), Mater needs to work harder than before.

Look, it’s not a new concept – the mostly cool kid is embarrassed by his old friend with his cool new mates, but ultimately realises his error. I think I couldn’t really care less about the story of the film – I was just enjoying the voices of Caine and Mortimer coming out of the cars. Lovely.