Classics of the New Millennium: "Ocean's 11" with Jason Bailey

Our second entry in the new podcast series is a Steven Soderbergh lovefest.

Classics of the New Millennium: "Ocean's 11" with Jason Bailey

In January, when I was bunking with The Playlist’s Jason Bailey and another film critic at the Sundance Film Festival, I mentioned I was putting together a podcast series on the great movies of the 21st century — a topic sure to generate bitter and illuminating debate — and I asked what films they might choose were they to join me as guests. Without blinking an eye, Jason shot back “Ocean’s 11,” Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 remake of the 1960 Rat Pack Vegas heist flick and a hugely enjoyable movie that improves on its predecessor in every imaginable way, from script (there is one) to performances (ditto) to the exquisite but never flashy direction. Indeed (we agreed), here is a masterpiece of unobtrusive filmmaking craft that is also one of the great channel-surfing stoplights — if “Ocean’s 11” is on and you click upon it, you will almost certainly end up staying for the duration. Again.

Luckily for me and for you, Jason wanted to talk about the film at length. Here’s the conversation, and it’s great good fun, with many topics touched upon: The ground rules of the heist film (and when to break them), the hierarchies of Hollywood stardom (as expressed most wittily in the film), why Soderbergh is his generation’s Howard Hawks, and much, much more.

This is the audio version, but if you want to look at our ugly mugs as well as a few choice films clips, a video of the Zoom chat is on YouTube. Haven’t seen “Ocean’s 11” or want to see it again? It’s available as a $4 rental just about everywhere: Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Microsoft, YouTube. Here’s the trailer:

And here’s an interesting breakdown of the movie’s approach to cinematography that I came across while preparing this post. Enjoy.

Earlier episodes in this series can be found here. For the next installment of Classics of the New Millennium, Dana Stevens of Slate (and author of last year’s terrific Buster Keaton biography) and I will be discussing Cristian Mungiu’s “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days” (2007), a peak of the New Romanian Cinema and a drama about illegal abortion and female friendship that is, sadly and infuriatingly, more relevant today than the year it came out.

Thanks for listening! Have any thoughts? Want to suggest a movie for this series? Don’t hesitate to weigh in.

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