Saturday, December 22, 2001

Ocean's XI

I know the original was no Citizen Kane but at least it had a few redeeming features: the sultans of swing, the cognoscenti of cool, the princes of pizzazz, the crowned heads of chutzpah....The Rat Pack: Dean Martin’s swingin’ rendition of Ain’t That a Kick in the Head was worth the price of admission alone.

If the first flick was chaotically undisciplined: an extemporaneous mess filtered through the alcoholic stupor of the principals (who squeezed the shoot in around a hectic schedule of carousing, cavorting and crooning at The Sands), Steve Soderbergh’s remake, by comparison, has all the pre-meditated “charm” of a profit and loss account.

It was a no-brainer right from the get-go: lock down a fail-safe cast of box office heavyweights, light the blue touch paper, retire to a safe distance and watch the feigned fun explode all over the Nevada sky: Perhaps Kerouac should have written, the only people for me are the boring, pretty ones?

The cast’s faux-spontaneous schtick is risible: a bunch of conceited goons throwing a party to which the audience hasn’t been invited.

Clooney as Danny Ocean, though no Sinatra, certainly possesses a scintilla of style but Brad Pitt was so wooden Soderbergh should have chopped him up for kindling, started a bonfire and thrown the rest of the cast on top.

There’s more wood on display here than in Jenna Jameson meets Pinocchio. Matt Damon isn’t so much a pale facsimile of Charisma as an anaemic forgery, and, please, don’t get me started on Don Cheadle…

What was that "mockney" accent all about?
Cor blimey, luv a duck, time to do a runner back to Blighty before the Old Bill gets wind of this casino caper.
Cheadle sounded like Dick Van Dyke in Lock, Stock and an Egregious "English" Accent.

Now come on Steve Soderbergh. I know you had some critical credit in the bank after Traffic, "Sex, Lies, Ad Neauseum. and Erin Whatshernameagain? but where did you find Don’s voice coach? Did you really think the guy who worked with Daphne's ersatz English family on Frasier was the right man for the job?

Last I heard, no-one in sanity’s catchment area is claiming the original was a classic, but a modicum of the Rat Pack’s indisputable cool certainly rubbed off on the project: Soderbergh’s version couldn’t swing if you nailed it to a pendulum.

If the first flick possessed the effortless, though slightly infuriating, charm of a Bardot, the remake’s ersatz pizzazz is reminiscent of a fake-tanned, silicone-enhanced, peroxide-blonde dental hygienist from Basildon named Debbie.

Now, don’t get me wrong: there’s fun, of a sort, to be had with Debbie, but it’s a vacuous, unsatisfying, vaguely sordid type of fun which appeals almost exclusively to the lumpen-proletariat.

The wrathful, the avaricious and the sullen are the Devil’s own demographic but, disconcertingly, the dead hand of Hollywood still has a rigid digit on the Purgatorial Pulse.

Monday, January 01, 2001

Ewan McNaught (eugene/Frankie Sumatra)

If Miles Davis and Ernest Hemingway could have produced a child it would have been Ewan. True creative writing genius is a rare beast, and of all the current posters in here I can think of only one – Ewan is clearly the 400 lb gorilla in our midst
Nathan Hasalbauer, President, International High IQ Society, New York

Casa del Ionesco is wonderful little site, a repository of intelligent commentary and interesting articles culled from the net and blogosphere. And your picture is great. I frequent the Casa a few times a week. Keep it up.

Husain Naqvi,

Ewan - A profound and enlightening writer for the masses, a light sardonic touch. A real post-post modernist outlook that gives him the look of a man on the edge of civilization; not dire, but an optimistically dire perspective. Sees life through the eyes of an Underworld traveller but with the panoramic scope of a flying hedonist. Darts through the mesosphere with a yawn and sometimes a slyly held middle finger
Will Weatherley, Southern California

He a jazz record. Don’t look. Listen
Robbie, Berkeley

A misanthropist with a mean streak a mile wide
Robert, San Francisco

Pretentious p****
P.B., Kirkcaldy

IHIQS interview

Atomic Magazine profile

Graeme Jamieson

Graeme Jamieson is a rhymer of rhythm.
If you're unsure of what he’s trying to do; there’s a patter of pulp there, if you’re ready to chew. Published all over the world, he’s just been ‘made’ by New York’s leading Lounge & Cocktail Culture web site, Tommy White Tie , and this for a bona fide flâneur who still lives in Edinburgh. He’s a neoligistic wordsmith who knows what time it is, while this, his freest form is: "different and intelligent… kind of like the guy who’s off in the corner inhaling nitrous and spouting off all sorts of incredibly coherent nonsense that leaves the rest of the room saying "you’re wacked" but safe in the knowledge he’s brilliant." —Senator, Consigliere, TWT

“A professional lounger” —Dazed & Confused