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“Ocean’s 8” makes heists look fashionable and fun


Maybe it’s just me, but Ocean’s 8 mostly flew under the radar in the lead up to release. The film is a huge summer movie, but it never felt like that. Well, that actually worked in its favor, as the movie is a really pleasant surprise. Opening today, it’s far more than just an example of studio released girl power. It somewhat reboots, as well as sequelizes, the Ocean’s franchise. There’s definitely an avenue in which this becomes a companion trio to Ocean’s 11, Ocean’s 12, and Ocean’s 13. Anyone who dug that franchise should so be way into what’s being served up here. It works, and works well.

This movie is an action/crime comedy, set around a giant heist. Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) has crime in her blood, just like her brother Danny. Just out of prison, she’s spent the half decade or so behind bars coming up with a perfect plan. Not only is she plotting revenge against the former flame (Richard Armitage) that set her up, she’s going to make a ton of money at the same time. The plan? To lift an incredibly rare and valuable piece of jewelry during New York City’s yearly Met Gala. To do this, she recruits a team that includes Lou (Cate Blanchett), Nine Ball (Rihanna), Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), Amita (Mindy Kaling), Tammy (Sarah Paulson), and Constance (Awkwafina) along with the unwitting help of actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway). It all builds to a terrific set piece that shows just how you can look good while being bad. Gary Ross directs and co-writes with Olivia Milch. Also in the cast are the likes of James Corden, Griffin Dunne, Dakota Fanning, Elliott Gould, Damian Young, and more, plus a whole host of celebrity cameos. Daniel Pemberton provides the upbeat score.

There’s a ton of fun to be had here. The film never takes itself too seriously, having a good time with the premise. Plus, it manages to avoid something that always bugs me in heist flicks. Here, they actually execute the plan, and do it well. Too often, these sorts of films have things go wrong at the last moment, so it’s all improvisation. Here, Debbie’s years of planning pay off. Plus, Bullock has never been this suave. It’s easily one of her best performances. Throw in very strong work by Blanchett and Hathaway (even if some of the rest of the ensemble doesn’t get a whole lot to do), and the result is a good time at the movies.


Now for some interesting lists. First up, Blanchett’s ten best performances to date:

10. Ocean’s 8
9. Veronica Guerin
8. Notes on a Scandal
7. The Talented Mr. Ripley
6. Elizabeth
5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
4. Carol
3. The Aviator
2. I’m Still Here
1. Blue Jasmine

Next we have Bullock’s top ten so far:

10. The Proposal
9. Crash
8. Miss Congeniality
7. The Heat
6. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
5. Our Brand is Crisis
4. Speed
3. Ocean’s 8
2. The Blind Side
1. Gravity

Finally, Hathaway’s:

10. Song One
9. Colossal
8. Interstellar
7. Brokeback Mountain
6. The Devil Wears Prada
5. Ocean’s 8
4. The Dark Knight Rises
3. Les Miserables
2. Love and Other Drugs
1. Rachel Getting Married

Currently in release, Ocean’s 8 is just a good time, plain and simple. It doesn’t go overboard to try and set up a sequel, either. It just enjoys being rock solid as entertainment, letting us desire a further adventure. If this is a new ensemble franchise, count me in. Though it doesn’t have the scale of some other blockbusters to come, it may turn out to be one of the summer’s better big movies. The film has a lot going in its favor. If you’re a fan of anyone in this cast, you’ll get a kick out of this. Go see it and you’ll understand why…

Be sure to check out Ocean’s 8, in theaters everywhere now!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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