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Steven Soderberg is not just a great filmmaker he also happens to be one of my favorite cinematographer. Every film he has made, without fail, has some of the best lighting and look. Ocean's 11 is one of the best examples of fantastic subtle lighting used to create an atmosphere. This is a remake of an older film featuring a bunch of stud criminals who decide to swindle a Las Vegas casino. Ocean's 11 is fun and light hearted. There are moments of suspension of disbelief, but one must ignore them to truly enjoy the film. All the actors from Pitt, Clooney and Damon to Elliot Gould and Bernie Mac seem to be having a great time both on and off the screen. This is a fun, breezy movie that needs to be enjoyed for what it is. (Great lighting, better camaraderie make Ocean's 11 a good watch).
A great performance by Ed Norton and fine direction by Neil Burger make The Illusionist a fine watch. The Illusionist is almost an art house/mainstream hybrid, containing elements of both. The setting and budget are in accord with what one might expect from a movie in a limited run. The cast, however, contains a trio of high profile names, one of which is commonly associated with teen-friendly multiplex fare. In addition, Burger's story is at its heart a crowd-pleaser, and many who guess the film's "trick" won't hold it against The Illusionist. Those who are sticklers for detail may appreciate that most of the magic acts illustrated throughout the film are replicated from their real-life 19th century counterparts (some of which were surprisingly sophisticated for that day and age). The Illusionist is a great watch- it looks great, is acted impeccably, and is a nice treat to those who complain of not seeing the 1800s presented on screen.(This magic trick you don't wanna miss).
Johnny Mnemonic is a failure of epic proportions. First and foremost Keanu Reeves is not the right choice for this film. He is bland and although in the right role(such as in The Matrix) he can be good, here he is totally miscast. Johnny Mnemonic is trying to be a Blade Runner for the '90s, using cyber-space as its playground. The main problem is the script, which is as dumb as action stories get. Just because a film takes place in a futuristic setting doesn't mean that all logic and coherence have to go out the window. Above all, why should we care whether Johnny's head explodes when Reeves' performance fails to spark any empathy for his character? Johnny Mnemonic is brash, flashy, and loud, but it lacks a few key ingredients -- namely heart, soul, and intelligence. Rent Blade Runner instead. 3/10 (Badly cast, bad screenplay and just a bad film).