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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Reviews

    Ocean’s Thirteen

    Rated R
    123 mins.
    Universal
    3 stars

    The boys are back in Vegas for the third set of cheeky scams and swindles, this time at the expense of hotel and casino manager Willy Bank (Al Pacino). Bank has cheated one of the original Eleven, Reuben, out of his share of the new casino, and so Ocean and his crew plan to get revenge by breaking Bank and his reputation.

    “”Ocean’s Thirteen”” is as packed with witty tricks as one could hope, as the familiar con-men try everything from large digging machines to hazardous germs to make their plan work. To solve the dilemma of financing all this, we see the introduction of the 13th member, a face you will surely remember from the previous two installments.

    The problems in the plans are funny; the biggest laughs, however, come from the simple moments, like when Danny and Rusty (George Clooney and Brad Pitt, respectively) turn weepy-eyed at an Oprah special. An arrogant camaraderie between the two pretty-boys is enjoyable and reduces the feeling of another forced sequel.

    While we see a lot of the same characters returning to the Ocean crew, the main plan isn’t as elaborate, and so certain characters are merely funny distractions in fake mustaches instead of proper characters. Nevertheless, “”Ocean’s Thirteen”” is amusing and clever – a clear improvement on “”Ocean’s Twelve”” that, while no””ace of diamonds, “” will not disappoint.

    – Astrid Duffy

    A Thousand Splendid Suns

    Khaled Hosseini ð- Riverhead Hardcover
    5 stars

    The author of best-selling novel “”The Kite Runner”” has done it again. His new release is a similarly heart-wrenching tale of friendship, love and betrayal in war-torn Afghanistan. This time, however, it is two women who have the spotlight, and the story revolves around their loveless marriages and their attempts to bring hope to each other.

    Hosseini begins with the tale of Mariam, the illegitimate child of a wealthy businessman. When young Mariam’s life suddenly unravels, she is sent away to be married to an older man, Rasheed. As 20 years pass, we observe the details and tragedies of her everyday life as an obedient wife.

    After serious bombing of their neighborhood, Mariam and Rasheed take in an orphaned young woman, Laila. Laila and her stubborn insistence on asserting herself in the face of an oppressive man will shake up the life Mariam has come to accept, injecting hope and passion into a world otherwise bleak.

    Hosseini so skillfully shows each of the trials and emotions faced by his characters that the reader, even so absent from the world described, cannot help but be completely engrossed. His characters illuminate the violent and unhappy world of Afghanistan, as if they were two splendid suns.

    – Astrid Duffy

    Good Girls Gone Bad

    Rihanna – Def Jam
    2 stars

    Most people have probably heard Rihanna’s new single “”Umbrella.”” The catchy pop song has hit the radio and is getting stuck in heads across the nation. Unfortunately, this is the highlight of Good Girls Gone Bad, Rihanna’s third album in three years.

    The Barbados songstress made her debut in 2005 with hits like “”Pon De Replay”” and “”SOS.”” Sadly, her follow-up album provides no major changes from her past showings.

    The album has some appealing songs, but even with help from Jay-Z and Timbaland, Good Girls Gone Bad falls short of being a “”must-have”” for the summer. It is front-loaded with pop-dance songs like “”Umbrella”” and “”Shut Up and Drive,”” and the album drags with all of the ballads pushed to the second half.

    Although Rihanna has a beautiful voice, her music lacks depth, which is obvious in the slow tracks that don’t have much originality.

    Halfway through Good Girls Gone Bad, most people will find themselves just going back to the beginning of the CD. Download “”Umbrella”” and “”Shut Up and Drive”” off iTunes and forget about the rest – you won’t be missing much.

    – Kara Slack

    Broadway Bound

    Arizona Repertory Theater
    2 1/2 stars

    “”Broadway Bound,”” the last in Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach trilogy, leaves much to be desired for the under-50 crowd. The jokes tend to be stereotypical Jewish New Yorker fodder, which may have been relevant in the post-World War II America in which the play takes place but fall short of creating laughs in a modern crowd. Although the play might have its own shortcomings, Arizona Repertory Theatre puts on a decent showing of the Simon classic.

    Most commendable is Carlisle Ellis, who plays Kate Jerome, a woman dealing with her husband’s extramarital affairs. Ellis performs the part with depth and believability as she babies her two sons, Stanley and Eugene. J. Michael Trautmann also does a reasonable job as he guides the audience along through the play as Eugene, a young man pursuing a career in writing for radio.

    Although the production was tolerable, certain aspects hurt what the showing could have offered. A few lines were flubbed, a lamp was knocked over and unplanned set noises could be heard in the audience. Also, most of the ensemble seemed to be miscast as they did not appear to be from the same family and their New York accents were hard to believe.

    All problems aside, if you have two and a half hours of free time, you should check out the play. It beat sitting through “”Pirates 3.””

    – Jamie Ross

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