Ocean s Twelve

  • Directors: Steven Soderbergh
  • Producers: Jerry Weintraub
  • Writers: George Nolfi
  • Genres: Comedy, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta Jones, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Vincent Cassel, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin, Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould

Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) rounds up the eleven members of Danny Ocean’s (George Clooney) gang, and threatens them in order to force them to pay back the $160 million that they stole from his Vegas casino from their previous heist, along with $38 million in interest, within two weeks. Collectively, the group is short by nearly half, and are forced to stage another heist to collect the funds. The group opts for a European target as they are too well recognized in the United States. For their first target, recommended by an informant named Matsui (Robbie Coltrane) the team goes after the world’s oldest stock certificate issued by the Dutch East India Company in 1602. Kept in a private home in Amsterdam, the value would not be enough to settle the debt, but sufficient to extend their deadline. While the group is able to breach the security of the house, including physically lifting the house to gain the correct line of sight to deactivate the security codes, they find they have been beaten by another master thief, François Toulour, also known as “The Night Fox” (Vincent Cassel). Toulour invites Danny to his home, and reveals that it was he that tipped off Terry on Danny’s casino heist, due to being upset that his mentor Gaspar LeMarc (Albert Finney) has believed Danny was the world’s best thief. Toulour challenges Danny to see who could first steal the Coronation Egg within the week, offering to pay off Terry’s debt if Danny should win.

LeMarc reveals in a meeting with Danny and Rusty that he had been playing a long con. LeMarc wanted to humiliate Toulour by taunting him into the bet with Danny, as well as to regain possession of the Egg that he had stolen himself long ago, only relinquishing it due to his wife’s nagging. More importantly, LeMarc wanted to be reunited with his daughter, revealed to be Lahiri, which could only be done after Danny’s crew was extradited. With Rusty’s help, Lahiri is flown in to an emotional meeting with her father. The group pays the money back to Terry, though under watch by Toulour, and then enjoy a private poker session, with Lahiri rejoining with Rusty.

Capricorn One

  • Directors: Peter Hyams
  • Producers: Paul N Lazarus III
  • Writers: Peter Hyams
  • Genres: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Brenda Vaccaro, Sam Waterston, O J Simpson, Hal Holbrook, Karen Black, Telly Savalas, David Huddleston, David Doyle, James Karen

The setting is the late 1970s, and the first manned mission to Mars is on the launch pad. NASA authorities including Dr. James Kelloway (Hal Holbrook) realize that a faulty life support system has doomed any chance of a successful flight, so for political and financial purposes they decide to fake the landing rather than cancel the mission.

Minutes before launch, the bewildered crew of Col. Brubaker (James Brolin), Lt. Col. Willis (Sam Waterston), and Cmdr. Walker (O. J. Simpson) are removed from the capsule and flown to an old abandoned United States Army Air Corps base deep within the desert. The televised launch proceeds on schedule, but the public is unaware that the spacecraft (Capricorn One) does not have a crew.

At the remote base, the astronauts are informed they will fake the television footage from Mars and it is their patriotic duty to participate. Initially they refuse, but authorities imply their careers and the lives of their families are at stake if they do not cooperate.

The astronauts remain in captivity for a period of several months and are filmed landing on Mars within a studio located at the base. The conspiracy is known to only a select few NASA officials, until alert technician Elliot Whittier (Robert Walden) stumbles across a bizarre technical anomaly i.e. television transmissions from Mars made by the crew are being received by ground control before the spacecraft telemetry arrives. He is confused by the anomaly and wishes to investigate further, but is told not to worry about it by his employer. Even so, Whittier feels sufficiently uneasy to share his concerns with journalist friend Robert Caulfield (Elliott Gould) at a local bar, but before Whittier can fully set out his concerns, he mysteriously disappears.

The film ends with Caulfield bringing Brubaker to the astronauts’ memorial service, exposing the conspiracy in dramatic fashion in front of dozens of witnesses and live national television.

Ocean s Eleven

  • Directors: Steven Soderbergh
  • Producers: Jerry Weintraub
  • Writers: George C Johnson, Jack G Russell, Harry Brown, Charles Lederer, Scott Corwon, Ted Griffin
  • Genres: Comedy, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Elliott Gould, Eddie Jemison, with Shaobo Qin, and Carl Reiner

Shortly after being paroled from prison in New Jersey, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) breaks parole to visit Los Angeles, meeting up with Rusty (Brad Pitt), a former partner in his criminal schemes, to inform him that he has a new scheme in mind. The two head to Las Vegas to approach wealthy former casino owner and friend Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould), with a plan to rob the vaults of the Bellagio, The Mirage and the MGM Grand casinos. At first Reuben is very reluctant, knowing himself how much security there is in every casino, but Reuben, seeing this as a way to get back at his rival, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), owner of the 3 casinos , finances the option and suggests the plan be executed on the night of the highly-anticipated Lennox Lewis/Wladimir Klitschko boxing match. By Nevada Gaming Commission rules, the casinos must maintain adequate funds in their vaults to cover all bets, and during the busy casino night coinciding with the match, more than $150 million is expected to be stored in the Bellagio vault. Danny and Rusty begin to recruit former colleagues and other criminal masterminds into their group. The team plans and carries out a series of reconnaissance missions at the Bellagio to learn as much as possible about the security, the lie of the land and the routines and behaviours of the casino staff. At the same time, they set up a re-creation of the Bellagio vault, in which to practice evasion of the vault’s formidable security systems. During this planning phase, the team discovers that Danny’s ex-wife, Tess Ocean (Julia Roberts), is currently Terry’s lover, and Rusty urges Danny to drop the plan saying that “Tess does not split eleven ways”, aware that Tess may warn Terry that something is afoot if she sees Danny, but Danny figures this into the plan.

Terry quickly realises that the televised images of the vault he is looking at are faked, and that the team had created the images inside a replication of the vault at some earlier time. Specifically, he notices that the video feed did not show the new Bellagio logo that was installed only a few days earlier. His men following the van find that it is being driven remotely, and is only filled with “fliers for hookers”. Terry comes to the realization that Danny’s men must have posed as the S.W.A.T. team and faked the fighting while they cleared out the vault, taking all of the money with them as they left unchecked. Terry returns to the room where he left Danny, finding that Danny is still there, leaving Terry no way to connect him to the theft. Danny offers to assist Terry in finding the money on condition that he give up Tess, to which Terry agrees. However, the team recorded this conversation and shows it to Tess. Angry at being used by Terry, she leaves him and returns to Danny. Danny is still arrested for violating parole and spends some months in prison, after Terry arranges for the police to be tipped off about Danny’s parole violation. When Danny is released, he is met by Rusty and Tess, and the three drive off, closely followed by Terry’s bodyguards.

American History X

  • Directors: Tony Kaye
  • Producers: John Morrissey
  • Writers: David McKenna
  • Genres: Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D Angelo, Avery Brooks, Stacy Keach, Fairuza Balk, Jennifer Lien, Elliott Gould, Ethan Suplee, Guy Torry, William Russ

In the opening scene, Danny Vinyard, a young white supremacist, sits in his principal’s office. Danny’s history teacher, Murray, explains to the principal, Dr. Sweeney, who is black, that Danny wrote a book report sympathetic to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Sweeney then informs Danny that he is now Danny’s history teacher. The class is called “American History X”, and Danny’s first assignment is due the next morning: a paper about his brother Derek. The next scenes are flashbacks showing Derek’s transformation into a vengeful white supremacist. Derek had already been influenced by his firefighter father’s latent racism, and is driven to action when his father is murdered. Derek goes on a racial slur-laden tirade blaming blacks, Asians and Hispanics for his father’s death, saying that most of the crimes in the country are race-driven.

Eventually Derek becomes second-in-command of a neo-Nazi gang, The DOC, and entices young whites to join by promising protection from predominantly non-white gangs. The gang commits acts of intimidation, such as damaging a store owned by a Korean American and challenging basketball games against groups of black players. One night, while Derek is having sex with his girlfriend Stacy (Fairuza Balk), three black men arrive on the lawn and break into Derek’s truck. Brandishing a handgun, Derek exits the house and violently confronts the men, killing one and wounding the other before curb-stomping him. Danny watches in horror, then witnesses his brother submitting to the police officers and smiling triumphantly.

At school, Danny enters a bathroom before class starts and is confronted by a young black student who is a gang member, with whom he had a confrontation the previous day. The black student ends up shooting Danny three times in the chest. Derek races back to the school and cradles his dead brother. The film ends with Danny narrating part of his paper, in which he quotes the conclusion of Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”