Skip to main content

Ocean's 8 is a Worthy Successor to the Heist Franchise: Review

See the source image

Film Review: Ocean's 8

It occurred to me watching Ocean's 8 that it has been a while since Sandra Bullock has had a big summer release. Not that she ever went anywhere, but it's nice to have her back. As Debbie Ocean, she is terrific as the calm and collected leader of the group of thieves (cool goes without saying, in an Ocean's movie). Debbie has been recently released from prison and although she's still beautiful and glamorous, Bullock plays her slightly faded, with a subtle but persistent sadness in her eyes. She really needs this heist to work, if only to prove something to herself. Luckily, Ocean's 8 is destined to be a hit.

The film is a continuation of Steven Soderberg's Ocean's movies. That trilogy featured two very good movies and one great one and was based on a mediocre Rat Pack vehicle from 1960 (on the Sinatra scale of cool, Ocean's 8 is more Nancy than Frank). Soderberg's influence can be clearly felt on this film, but, unfortunately, only in spurts. Gary Ross, who directed 8, takes a mostly conventional approach to the movie's visual look, evoking Soderberg's stylistic flourishes only during certain key sequences. The screenplay, by Ross and Olivia Milch, is fast-paced and full of great lines. The heist itself, which involves stealing a $150 million diamond necklace from the neck of a famous actress during the Met Gala, is less complicated than the heists from the earlier films. Still, it is as satisfying as it can be, given that important information is withheld from the audience until it's all over, a tradition carried over from its predecessors. 

With a smaller ensemble than the one from the Soderberg films (8 versus 11), this movie spends more time with each of the members. This is great, as it gives wonderful little moments to Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Awkafina, and Mindy Kaling, whose transition into movies will be exciting to watch. Helena Bonham Carter is also fun, and Cate Blanchett's dynamic with Bullock recalls that of Brad Pitt and George Clooney. The best performance in the film belongs to Anne Hathaway, who plays the bratty movie star wearing the necklace. Hathaway has amazing control over her physicality and her breath; every turn of her head is something unexpected and clever. The film also has enough cameos to rival any Muppet movie, ranging from the expected given its Met Gala setting (Anna Wintour, Alexander Wang, Katie Holmes) to the bizarre but welcome (Dakota Fanning, Marlo Thomas). Two members of the earlier Ocean's team pop up for cameos, but I won't spoil them.

Above all else, Ocean's 8 is just really fun to watch. Great actresses delivering great lines in great costumes. What more could you possibly want from a summer popcorn movie? 

Ocean's 8 is in theatres June 8. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Oscars: My Response to the Newly Announced Academy Award Changes

The Oscars are losing relevance or so says the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which announced Wednesday a batch of changes to its annual telecast. The changes, designed to reverse a ratings dip in recent years, are the kind of desperate attempt to stay relevant that threatens the integrity of the whole affair. 

The first change, consistent with the Academy's desire to create a three-hour telecast, is that some awards will be presented during commercial breaks, with edited (meaning condensed) versions of the acceptance speeches airing later in the broadcast. It has not been determined which categories will be bumped, but I'll tell you right now it ain't gonna be Best Actress. The categories where celebrities are nominated will be shown live, and the tech categories won't be. This move is flat-out disrespectful to the men and women nominated in the below-the-line categories who deserve recognition for their vital contributions to movies. The Tony Awards fo…

Ranking the Five Best On Screen Portrayals of Hercule Poirot

Before Kenneth Brnagh dons the iconic mustache in the highly-anticpated new adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express (in theatres November 10th), I thought I would take a look back at some of the most famous portryals of Hercule Poirot. Agatha Christie's signature creation, Poirot is peculiar. meticulous, and at times, bombastic and arrogant, but he always solves the case in the end, with the help of his little grey cells. Countless actors have portrayed the Belgian detective on stage, screen, or radio, including Charles Laughton, Austin Trevor, Orson Welles, and Ian Holm. But this list focuses on TV or film adaptations just becuase those are the ones I have seen.


5. Alfred Molina (2001)
Molina played Poirot in the 2001 TV movie version of Murder on the Orient Express. He's a terrific actor, generally, but his Poirot is not distinctive or memorable in any way. The accent is not great, the mustache is not great, and he is not eccentric enough to get away with being rude to peo…

Ranking the "Mission: Impossible" Films Worst to Best

The Mission: Impossible movies, based on the 1966-73 television series, are about Ethan Hunt and the Impossible Mission Force doing something that seems impossible at first, but always ends up being possible. Tom Cruise stars in all the films as Ethan, and other members of the team are Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg). I like the Mission: Impossible movies because each film has a different director and thus each one has their own distinctive feel. Sure, there are a couple of constants (Cruise is in them all, they all are spy/action movies, and they all have people wearing masks - a nod to the TV show), but going into a Mission: Impossible movie you are never quite sure what you are going to get. Sometimes it's a silly fun spy franchise, other times it feels like nothing more than an excuse for Tom Cruise do to some sort of crazy stunt. Since the first film was released in 1996, there have been five movies, with a sixth on the way. Here's how I would rank the movies …