Batman and Robin try to keep their relationship together even as they must stop Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from freezing Gotham City. (IMDb)
So, opening scene, Batman & Robin engage the ice skates built into their suits and start playing hockey with a diamond puck against a blue-faced Arnold and his robot army and I’m thinking, “This is almost ridiculous enough to be good.” Alas, it was not to be: cheesiness aside, there’s too much going on in the script (for the second time Schumacher, two villains is too many), the action scenes are awkwardly staged (very stage-y), and the performances are poor (Thurman’s overacting in particular).
A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio’s stars in line. (IMDb)
Despite Gambon’s excellent bits of narration and Brolin’s classic-Coen-crazy central day-in-the-life plot thread, Hail, Caesar! still feels more like a series of skits than anything else-some of them bland (DeeAnna’s dilemma is forgettable), many hilarious (see Hobie on the set of Merrily We Dance; McDormand’s outrageous cameo) and entertaining (see Tatum’s song and dance number among the numerous 50s Hollywood tributes), but all of them feeling rather inconsequential by the film’s abrupt end.
An urbane fox cannot resist returning to his farm raiding ways and then must help his community survive the farmers’ retaliation. (IMDb)
Every scene is a delectably detailed diorama, brought to life by endlessly creative animation, perfect voice acting, and marvelous music (a fun soundtrack plus tear-jerking classical crescendos-see Rat’s redemption), while a tight script (the wolf encounter is a real cherry on top) showcases remarkable characterization (see the angsty Ash), thoughtful drama (see Mr. and Mrs. Fox’s standoff), and a fascinating anthropomorphic vs. wild animal thematic thread alongside its heaps of quirky humour.
A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after a catastrophe destroys their shuttle and leaves them adrift in orbit. (IMDb)
The zero gravity action sequences here are well-crafted and breathtakingly terrifying, accentuated by Bullock’s great turn as the desperate (albeit shallow) protagonist, complimented nicely by Clooney’s typical jovial banter, and made into cinematic excellence with the help of amazing visuals, a tense score smartly edited, and probing camerawork that skillfully captures the claustrophobic anxiety of the film’s space catastrophe plot as well as its beautiful setting.
Danny Ocean rounds up the boys for a third heist, after casino owner Willy Bank double-crosses one of the original eleven, Reuben Tishkoff. (IMDb)
Convoluted intro aside, the con job here is arguably–despite its unconvincing foundation–the crew’s most memorable: A delightful many-layered sabotage that pushes the boys outside their box to Mexico and even back to an old foe, sees the other 10 (minus Rusty) get a true chance at the spotlight, and moves them into a more satisfying and refreshing Robin Hood/anarchistic mindset. The dialogue and editing here aren’t on the same level as 11 and 12, but the caper might just be the best.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
Daniel Ocean recruits one more team member so he can pull off three major European heists in this sequel to Ocean’s 11. (IMDb)
The great style from the first film is still present here in the artsy titles, delicious dialogue, and rambunctious soundtrack, but the substance is different: There’s more comedy and humbling mishaps (the Julia Roberts scene is great), but there are also more characters (an overload), and a disappointing lack of actual heists considering the wealth of other plot material that’s jammed in. It’s a bit of a messy story, with a weak climax to boot, but the film still doesn’t fail to entertain.
Danny Ocean and his eleven accomplices plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously. (IMDb)
This film would be entertaining enough with just a neat, elaborate heist (which it has), but it takes it up a notch with a steady stream of quick and witty dialogue, smoothly delivered by the effortlessly charismatic Clooney and Pitt, matching the brilliance of their cool schemes punch for punch. The editing is just as slick, with retro slide scene transitions and a chill Vegas-flavoured soundtrack. The “got the girl” ending is the only thing that’s a bit distasteful in this great caper flick.
A disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to sell it. (IMDb)
Pitt is a definite highlight here; his manic, dim, gum-chewing gym employee is a riot, the best of an already eclectic cast of characters. The espionage plot is outrageous and not entirely cohesive or coherent, but a comedic gem of a final scene with Simmons makes it clear that this was intentional. It still feels like a cop-out though, and what could have been a great film considering its proven directors and loaded cast is just a good one–funny and entertaining, but not altogether brilliant.
An infectious and wonderful old-timey soundtrack accompanies this highly enjoyable 1930s-set adventure-comedy, full of hilarious mishaps, well-crafted and witty dialogue, and a diverse set of memorable characters that range from charming to deadly. You never stop rooting for the three chain-gang escapees (played wonderfully by Clooney, Nelson, and Turturro) as they stumble towards a satisfying happy ending. Lots of memorable scenes in what is one of my personal favourites.