new on DVD: ‘Ocean’s Thirteen,’ ‘Shrek the Third’
• Ocean’s Thirteen [buy it]. From my review:
Of course, much of the pleasure of O13 comes in watching Danny and his pals worm their way around Bank’s countermeasures, but there is also some bittersweet and melancholy to-do about how this town is changing and how little room there is left in it for men like Danny Ocean. (Alternate title for this flick: Pirates of the Vegas Strip: At World’s End.) It’s a brave new, almost science fictional world filling up with people like Bank — who betray the, um, pirate code of “guys that shook Sinatra’s hand” and build fantastically alien-looking hotels and trust computers over people and can be wooed by gadgets like a fancy new cell phone. And it’s an ugly and scary new world too, certainly since the appearance in late 2001 of the pre-9/11-produced Ocean’s Eleven: screenwriters Brian Koppelman and David Levien have some fun tweaking the new and surreal security theater that we all must participate in from time to time these days, in which a cheap uniform connotes a certain trustworthiness, however unwarranted it may be.
• Shrek the Third [buy it]. From my review:
It’s… fine. It’s fine. But I wanted a lot more than “fine.” I expected much, much more than “fine.” Shrek’s deconstruction of fairy tales managed to be both deliciously subversive and heartwarmingly traditional. Shrek 2 stunned me in that it was even smarter and slyer and more seditious than the first. And laugh? Holy crap, Shrek 2 had me screaming with laughter, which simply isn’t the typical me. I chuckle. I snort in recognition of a bit of mockery or clever turn of phrase. But Shrek the Second did what very few films can actually manage to do: it found wild new realms of humor by being riotously original, by not retreading ground that’s already been well explored and mapped.
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