Chris Hewitt, Knight Ridder Newspapers: "It's not in my nature to be mysterious, but I can't talk about it, and I can't talk about why," says Brad Pitt in one of the sly lines...
Chris Hewitt, Knight Ridder Newspapers: “It’s not in my nature to be mysterious, but I can’t talk about it, and I can’t talk about why,” says Brad Pitt in one of the sly lines from the glitzy, entertaining “Ocean’s Twelve.” Pitt’s mysterioso line is a tip on how to watch the movie: Don’t sweat it if you get confused about the Ocean gang’s plot to swipe valuables in Amsterdam and Lake Como, Italy. You’re supposed to be confused, and it doesn’t matter. What the movie’s really about is trading banter, looking good and making fun of stars such as Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis and Topher Grace. The whole movie has an insidery vibe that will either irritate you with its glammy foolishness or amuse you.
Lisa Rose, Newhouse News Service: There seems to be an insatiable public appetite for pictures of movie stars on vacation, with tabloid after tabloid offering sneaky snapshots of famous people unwinding in exotic places. Apparently director Steven Soderbergh thinks this demand is so great that he can build an entire film around celebrities at play in destination cities. “Ocean’s Twelve” trails George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Co. around Europe’s most scenic spots. No one labors much over plot or character. Instead, we get to watch pretty people loafing around luxury hotels discussing Coen Brothers movies and making wisecracks about publicists. The flick is so insider, it virtually implodes, and the audience is the collateral damage.
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Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune: David S. Goyer, who wrote all three “Blade” films, steps up to direct this one, and his stripped-down visual style discards much of the muddy computer graphics that plagued “Blade 2.” Under Goyer, less is more, as he keeps his fight sequences more fist-and-bone than pixel-and-megabyte. An obvious comic-book fiend, Goyer makes a strong series debut as a visual stylist, though he’s handicapped by his own, at times, bloodless script.
“Fade to Black”
Cary Darling, Knight Ridder Newspapers: “Fade to Black,” covering rapper Jay-Z’s sold-out Madison Square Garden concert last year and the recording of “The Black Album,” may not be as revealing a portrait as the Beatles’ “Let It Be” or Metallica’s “Some Kind of Monster,” but as a document of where hip-hop stands at the start of the 21st century, it’s an entertaining peek behind the arena curtain.
Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times: It’s clear early on that this is standard concert-film fare geared to the faithful, rather than hip-hop’s answer to “The Last Waltz.” It’s rightfully heavy on performance, with backstage and recording studio footage mixed with an all-star jam of hip-hop and R&B performers, but does little to give any insight into Jay-Z, the artist or the human being.