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 Betreff des Beitrags: O8-Reviews
BeitragVerfasst: 06.06.2018, 23:32 
Mill overseer & Head of the Berlin Station

Registriert: 30.08.2011, 10:28
Beiträge: 27463
Wohnort: Richard's Kingdom of Dreams
Inzwischen gibt es Berge von Reviews - im Regelfall positiv. :daumen: Ich eröffne den Thread mit einem Artikel in dem Claude Becker ausführlicher behandelt wird und setze darauf, dass ich morgen in der Bahn etwas Zeit für mehr habe:

‘Ocean’s 8’ Review: A Light, Fluffy, and Altogether Pleasant Heist Flick

Posted on Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 by Josh Spiegel

Ocean’s 8 Review

The ingredients to pull off an entertaining heist movie are much the same as those needed to pull off the heist itself. First, there has to be motley crew, each of whom has specific talents that will come in handy at the opportune moment. Then, there needs to be a big enough haul worthy of a cinematic heist, followed by moments of high tension, only to be resolved; and a deserving enough bad guy whose misdeeds are enough that you want other criminals to rob him or her blind.

Ocean’s 8 gets a lot of elements of the heist subgenre correct, but stumbles in setting up an antagonist for the antiheroic ensemble to steal from.

If the title wasn’t enough of a hint, it doesn’t take long for this movie to establish itself as a direct spin-off of Steven Soderbergh’s fizzy, slick and generally wonderful Ocean’s trilogy from the 2000s. (Here is your daily reminder that the “Tess plays Julia Roberts” scene in Ocean’s Twelve is one of Soderbergh’s best setpieces, period.) Sandra Bullock plays Danny Ocean’s sister, Debbie, fresh from a stint in prison for art fraud. She wastes no time in getting a crew together to pull off her biggest crime yet: stealing a massive diamond necklace in the middle of the haute-couture event of the year, the Met Gala in New York City. But as her crew — including Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, and Helena Bonham Carter — realizes, Debbie is also out to get Claude Becker (Richard Armitage), an ex-lover with whom she has a checkered past.

Ocean’s 8 (according to the poster, though the title in the film itself is Ocean’s Eight) is an inversion on Soderbergh’s trilogy in more ways than one. The screenplay, co-written by director Gary Ross and Olivia Milch, makes it clear that this is a female-driven heist, of course. (At one point, Debbie turns down a possible participant in the gang because “it’s a him.”) More importantly, a lot of the film mirrors Soderbergh’s 2001 remake of the original Ocean’s 11. As in Soderbergh’s film, we meet our hero in front of a parole board, denying the possibility of getting up to no good on the outside; as in that film, our hero is matched by an old friend (Blanchett in the Brad Pitt role) who is smart enough to be wary of Ocean dabbling in revenge. The twist of Debbie aiming to get Claude Becker back feels like the inverse of Danny Ocean robbing three casinos so he can get his wife Tess back in his life, too.

Largely, this familiarity isn’t a huge problem. If anything, it’s a welcome surprise that Ross — who’s friends with Soderbergh, on board here as a co-producer — apes his fellow director’s style decently. (The cinematography by Eigil Bryld leans into Soderbergh’s stylistic choices as well, with plenty of off-kilter shots and quick zoom-ins to key information.) There’s not much mention of Danny or his crew (though there are a couple of cameos), but Ocean’s 8 feels of a piece with the previous three films. Much of the feminine ensemble is also just fun to watch: Bullock is something of a straight-man type, but Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Carter, Rihanna, Paulson, Awkwafina and Mindy Kaling have an unforced chemistry that shines even during the requisite scenes that feel at home in any heist movie. That said, since there are fewer members in this Ocean’s crew, it’s almost a sin that the film strands Kaling; many of the other women have a highlight or two, but she’s left out.

The over-familiarity of Ocean’s 8 works against its favor when grappling with the supposed villain. There are hints of Claude Becker just being a general scumbag, but the script waits a while to reveal why Debbie has it out for this pretentious art-world fop. (Aside from him being a pretentious art-world fop.) After we learn more of her backstory, there’s still a slightly reduced level of suspense to the second half. Ross does a solid enough job of setting up each character’s duty and how all the pieces need to fall into place, but the third act has an oddly anticlimactic feel in part because Becker is a muted antagonist.

Ocean’s 8 isn’t nearly as good as any of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy. It echoes many of the earlier series’ charms, but never quite enough that it stands entirely on its own. (This film has, as a last example, a vastly more forced attempt at the “Clair de Lune”-style closer from Ocean’s Eleven.) Though Ocean’s 8 can’t hope to meet the quality of those other films, Gary Ross has at least made a decent spin-off. It’s good enough to suggest the promise of future installments with a little bit more spunk and willingness to veer somewhat away from the male-driven trilogy.



Danke, liebe Boardengel, für Eure privaten Schnappschüsse. :kuss:

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BeitragVerfasst: 10.06.2018, 08:04 
Percy's naughty little barfly

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Ocean’s 8 Revives a Fading Franchise
By Kyle Smith

June 7, 2018 4:10 PM

Offended as I am by the Ocean’s franchise’s suggestion that women are only eight-elevenths as interesting as men, Ocean’s Eight turns out to be breezy summer fun, a larkish and adroit heist movie with some well-executed tweaks to a formula that had gone a bit stale in Ocean’s Thirteen. In other words, no, this isn’t a Lady Ghostbusters–style failure.

The elaborate swindle takes place at the Met Gala, the annual fancy-dress party that takes place each May. It’s a brilliant setting — visually dazzling, bathed in mystique, full of characters from snooty European aristos to Katie Holmes — and the impossibly complicated theft is smartly imagined, if hard to believe. (Wouldn’t priceless jewelry have a tracking device built in? I mean, my iPhone has one.) Career grifter Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) perfected every detail of the robbery during a five-year prison term during which, alas, her brother Danny died. (I’ll believe it when I see the body; I was expecting a post-credits sequence, but there isn’t one.)

Debbie’s old partner in small-time scams, a biker chick named Lou (Cate Blanchett), would prefer to stay clear of trouble, but then she hears about the prize: a $150 million Cartier diamond necklace that will be worn to the gala by the arrogant but self-doubting movie star Daphne (Anne Hathaway). A wacky Irish fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter), a Caribbean hacker (Rihanna), a professional diamond appraiser (Mindy Kaling), a fence (Sarah Paulson), and a street-scam artist (Awkwafina) are easily persuaded to join the squad.

Hathaway is surprisingly funny, recreating the mood rollercoaster of a pampered celebrity. Bullock is reliably likeable as always, Rihanna is cool, and Bonham Carter’s wide-eyed nervousness is amusing. The ever-brittle Blanchett, who in her lengthy career has never once, even for a single scene, let anyone forget that she’s acting, dammit, is only mildly irritating in this movie, not spectacularly so. As is often the case, she makes a meal of her accent, which this time seems to be cribbed from a movie about a 1970s cab driver. I have no idea why she made that choice, unless it’s supposed to remind us that she’s acting, dammit.

Ocean’s Eight turns out to be breezy summer fun, a larkish and adroit heist movie with some well-executed tweaks to a formula that had gone a bit stale in Ocean’s Thirteen.

Blanchett’s Lou flirts (a bit painfully) with Debbie, but Debbie dates men, such as the pretentious artist (Richard Armitage) who flipped on her when they were both arrested five years ago and whom, consequently, Debbie is scheming to send to prison in revenge. This is a job within a job that complicates matters considerably, and is very much a sign of unforgivable indiscipline on Debbie’s part, but then again history rewards the bold. At least the history of heist movies does. “What did you think we were, a bunch of pu****s?” Lou asks. As when women accuse men of being “douchebags,” or Samantha Bee calls Ivanka Trump a “c**t,” I find this all a bit confusing. Female empowerment somehow increases by using words associated with being female in a derogatory way?

No need to worry that Ocean’s Eight might be as hectoring, strident, overbearing, and progressive as Bee, though. There’s exactly one line in the script that sounds like it came from Bee, or an enduringly petulant Jezebel contributor, and it’s also the clunkiest one. “A him gets noticed,” Debbie Ocean declares. “A her gets ignored. For once, we want to be ignored.” Women get ignored? At the Met Gala? Where any men who bother to show up look sheepish and interchangeable in their nearly identical clothing? Women may be ignored in some settings, but red carpets are not one of them. Moreover, the line is completely out of character for Debbie, who in every other scene is totally in command, without a whiny or self-pitying bone in her body. You can feel the director, Gary Ross, straining to ingratiate himself with feminist critics who crave empowerment themes but at the same time are unsatisfied unless reminded that women are perpetual victims. This is Ross saying, “I’m with you, my sisters! Now back to the movie.”

Women (much like men) go to this kind of film for escape, not vapid sloganeering. If that line illustrates exactly how not to write for a blockbuster, though, a later scene undermines it beautifully. “Somewhere out there is an eight-year-old girl lying in bed, dreaming of being a criminal. Let’s do it for her,” Debbie tells her team. Samantha Bee should take note: If you want to make a point, try being funny instead of huffy.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/06/ ... franchise/

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Mill overseer & Head of the Berlin Station

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Danke, Nietzsche. :kuss: Ich habe den Text dazu eingepflegt.


Danke, liebe Boardengel, für Eure privaten Schnappschüsse. :kuss:

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Mill overseer & Head of the Berlin Station

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Zunächst einmal eine Reihe von Reviews ohne bzw. ohne ergiebige Aussagen zu Richard:

Ocean’s 8 Is, Unfortunately, Far Less Than the Sum of Its Glittery Parts
Emily Yoshida

Ocean’s 8 opens with a familiar setup: Debbie Ocean, sister and inheritor of her brother Danny’s con-person mantle, is let out of prison on parole, and despite all her earnest proclamations about wanting to start an honest life, doesn’t miss a beat getting right back into the game. Some people are born to con, the film tells us, and the impulse in this case seems to be hereditary. Wearing the same slinky black number we later find out she was arrested in for art-trade fraud, she hits up Bergdorf’s and waltzes out with a security-tag-adorned new wardrobe; she impersonates her way into a posh uptown hotel. Grifts are hot right now, and these low-stakes scams — just a steely-faced Bullock willing her material life back into place — are where the film feels the most energized. Unfortunately, by the time she’s ready to set out on the central heist, the film has lost most of that steam.

The deck is stacked so incredibly in 8’s favor that this feels like an algorithmic improbability. Illuminated by an extremely hype cast — Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, and ascendant rapper Awkwafina, among a few — it’s been primed to represent a cross section of the possibilities of female glamour in 2018. The film has intrinsically been proposed as more than just a fun summer heist movie; it’s a symbolic balm for all the ills of a male-dominated Hollywood that have dominated the news for nearly a year. The idea that this diverse group of women would all have a reason to want to rip off the system feels like some kind of elaborate wish-fulfillment fanfiction. But in its actual form, it doesn’t feel like much more than a thrown bone.

Debbie’s idea is to steal a priceless diamond necklace using the glitzy excess of the annual Met Gala as cover. The scheme involves getting a narcissistic actress to wear it to the Ball, and a series of elaborate maneuvers to sleight-of-hand it off her and replace it with a fake. One of the film’s more brilliant moves is having Anne Hathaway play that actress, whose hammy cravenness gamely sends up every public opinion about her. She is, in a surprising but not at all unwelcome way, the MVP of the film; Awkwafina’s skateboarding pickpocket also injects some much-needed loosey-goosey energy into the mix. Other members of the team, including Helena Bonham Carter as a down-on-her-luck fashion designer, and Sarah Paulson as a thief turned suburban mom who now runs a Vitamix-running black market scheme out of her garage, are great concepts that never seem to be able to overcome the limp dialogue given to them on paper.

This is the weird thing: For all the noise around its casting and even its very existence, Ocean’s 8 is a surprisingly quiet movie. Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s movies (which 8 is far more in conversation with than the original Frank Sinatra film) had a kind of lazy masculine luxury about them, a manspread in the finest Italian tailored suit. Ocean’s 8, directed with workaday flatness by Gary Ross, never revs up an equivalent sort of confidence among its seemingly bountiful ensemble of personalities. All its getting-the-gang-together scenes — which should be half the fun of this kind of joint — feel airless, conducted in soundproof rooms devoid of ambience or texture or jokes. Soderbergh’s films may have been pure bantering fantasy, but at least Ocean’s Eleven really felt like it took place in Las Vegas. This New York City feels bereft of all the manic energy that should be the reason for setting a heist there in the first place.

All this aside, the appeal of the film should just be watching these cool ladies be really competent at screwing over the man, here represented by Anna Wintour and the good people of Société Cartier. But a third-act twist — while delightful in the moment — ends up undercutting even that premise, leaving you wondering if anyone in Debbie’s crew knew what they were doing all along. A flabby final chapter involving James Corden as the detective assigned to the robbery feels like a wild miscalculation — after vastly underusing Rihanna, of all people, you’re going to bring James Corden in to finish the job? And you’re going to give him the one-liners that have been missing from the rest of the film? Who wants to see that? I left Ocean’s 8 more convinced than ever that no amount of fierce, fantastic female ensembles can overcome the mediocrity of a dull male director.


Ocean's 8 Review: An All-Female Cast Shines In This Heist Comedy

by Molly Freeman – on Jun 08, 2018 in Movie Reviews

Ocean's 8 offers a fun female-fronted summer movie experience as it returns to the world of Ocean's 11, but falls short of elevating the franchise.

Ocean's 8 is a continuation of the franchise launched in 2001 by Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's 11, which was itself a remake of the 1960 film of the same name. Thanks in no small part to the charm of George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, as well as the clever heist their characters pull off on a Las Vegas casino, Ocean's 11 was successful enough to earn two sequels: Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen. Unfortunately, the heist series saw diminishing returns at the box office, and concluded with Ocean's Thirteen in 2007. However, director Gary Ross revives the franchise more than a decade later for an all-female reboot with Ocean's 8, from a script he co-wrote with Olivia Milch. Ocean's 8 offers a fun female-fronted summer movie experience as it returns to the world of Ocean's 11, but falls short of elevating the franchise.

After residing in prison for five years, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) - the sister of the late Danny Ocean (Clooney) - returns to New York City and reconnects with her old friend Lou (Cate Blanchett). However, though Debbie put on a good performance as a penitent reformed criminal in order to receive parole from prison, she immediately returns to a life of crime - and she sets her sights on robbing one of the most secure and exclusive events in the Big Apple. In order to pull off the job Debbie has been planning for years, she'll have to assemble a team for each aspect of the complicated heist.

In addition to Lou, Debbie brings in the fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), her old associate Tammy (Sarah Paulson), jewelry maker Amita (Mindy Kaling), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna) and pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina). Together, they plan to steal a million-dollar necklace off celebrity Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), who will be attending the annual Met Gala in New York City. To make matters more complicated, the necklace comes from world-renowned jeweler Cartier, who insists on extra insurance and security. Plus, Debbie's ex-boyfriend Claude Becker (Richard Armitage) adds another layer to the heist that could put the whole job in jeopardy. Even though Debbie has spent years planning the heist and assembled a highly skilled team, it remains to be seen if she'll be able to pull it off - or if she'll let her own agenda get in the way of millions of dollars' worth of jewels.

Altogether, Ocean's 8 is an entertaining continuation of the Ocean's franchise that adopts the characteristics of its predecessors, but offers plenty of freshness by introducing a new cast, location and heist. Much of the story follows the same basic beats as Ocean's 11 - insofar as the lead character is released from prison, plans a heist, assembles a team and executes the heist. However, the third act of Ocean's 8 diverges from Ocean's 11 enough to provide a surprising new spin on that outline. Still, there is a great deal of Ocean's 8 that echoes Ocean's 11, including a third act twist, Debbie and Lou's dynamic, and the ensemble cast of criminals with a variety of skillsets. Even the music composed by Daniel Pemberton seems to honor the mood of Ocean's 11, helping Ocean's 8 to fit into the tone of the series.

It's clear from Ocean's 8 that Ross and Milch took pains to make sure it fits well into the franchise to which it belongs. However, those connections oscillate between being fun nods to the other films and constraints to which a standalone movie wouldn't have needed to adhere. Arguably, Ocean's 8 would have been stronger as a film on its own, without the restraints of fitting within the franchise. But, the movie uses its connections to the larger Ocean's series so effectively at times that it's difficult to fault Ocean's 8 for attempting to build off what was established in previous movies. Still, Ocean's 8 isn't quite as clever as Ocean's 11, and the comparison is even more stark because the films exist in the same franchise.

With that said, the strength of Ocean's 8 rests in its cast and, undoubtedly because the movie revolves around the Met Gala, its costuming by Sarah Edwards. The costumes work in tandem with the all-star cast to establish each of the main characters as different and entertaining members of the ensemble. Bullock is the most solid - and perhaps uninteresting - member of the ensemble as the anchor for the cast. The actress brings a depth of more potential to Debbie, but the character largely acts as the charmingly superficial center of the film's story. Blanchett's Lou, and her pantsuits, are a bright and fun foil to Debbie. Still, of the ensemble's major players, it's Hathaway's Daphne that steals the show, bringing a surprising amount of comedy and emotional depth to Ocean's 8.

The rest of the cast is rounded out well by Carter, Kaling, Rihanna, Paulson and Awkwafina, who are each given moments to shine, but represent the much less well developed side of the ensemble. Of course, the major twist on the Ocean's 11 formula that Ocean's 8 provides is its all-female cast, seeming to follow the trend established in Hollywood over the last few years. It undoubtedly helps Ocean's 8 breathe fresh new life into the franchise, and allows for a much different kind of caper, one that only women could pull off. Further, the dynamic between all the women in the film's ensemble brings an exceptionally fun twist to this criminal action comedy, something rarely seen in Hollywood.

All in all, Ocean's 8 provides a fun summer moviegoing experience, revisiting one of the most famous heist franchises and offering a new spin on the series' formula. Unfortunately, Ocean's 8 highlights certain weaknesses in that formula, especially when the film doesn't necessarily live up to the movie that kicked off the franchise. Ocean's 8 has just as much charm as Ocean's 11, but fails to deliver a more clever twist to the movie's heist - which was a key aspect of the 2001 movie for many fans. As a result, though Ocean's 8 will be sufficiently entertaining for fans of the Ocean's series, those who go into it hoping for a fun, female-fronted action comedy are more likely to have their expectations met.


[b]‘Ocean’s 8’ Is Familiar, But Still Sparkles With Cinematic Delights [Review]
Kimber Myers
June 5, 2018 11:59 pm
News, Reviews

Without the magnifying lens of a jeweler’s loupe, “Ocean’s 8” could almost fool the untrained eye that it’s the work of franchise filmmaker Steven Soderbergh. The director of the first three “Ocean’s” films is listed here as a producer, but Gary Ross takes over the duties and it’s a switch that might fool casual fans. Here the “Seabiscuit” and “Hunger Games” helmer ably apes Soderbergh’s stylish shooting, editing and approach to musical cues, but it sometimes feels like the cubic zirconium version of the real thing, as it mimics each facet of its predecessors. But the fourth outing in the series does sparkle regardless, beguiling the audience with enough cinematic delight to keep them from begrudging this new, all-female team its success.

“Ocean’s 8” begins just as “Ocean’s 11” did: with a parole hearing. But instead of George Clooney‘s Danny Ocean appearing in front of the board, it’s his sister, Sandra Bullock‘s Debbie, giving a performance better than Bullock’s own in “The Blind Side” After claiming to just want the “simple life,” she soon emerges from prison, wearing a slinky LBD and a smoky eye that would make Sarah Huckabee Sanders proud. The conwoman hasn’t missed a beat in her decade behind bars, making a beeline for Bergdorf’s in Manhattan, effortlessly executing a small con that made the former retail employee in me cry a little. But Debbie’s not just down for grifting in high-end stores; she spent her time away plotting a big heist, and she – like her criminal brother – will need a team to pull it off.

They’ll steal a $150 million Cartier necklace from the annual Met Gala, but of course the plan is more complex than that. She first teams with her former partner Lou (Cate Blanchett), and together they recruit jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), fence Tammy (Sarah Paulson), fashion designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter) and pick pocket Constance (Awkwafina). Their mark is the event’s host, actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), whom they’ll trick into wearing the six-pound diamond necklace at the ball.

There’s little conflict here beyond the heist itself, and these many of these beats are so familiar that we know them by heart. Like earlier films, there’s an art world ex in the mix (Richard Armitage‘s Claude, instead of Julia Roberts‘s Tess), an 11th-hour hitch and charming celebrity cameos. But the loaded cast and the script from Ross and Olivia Milch keeps the proceedings surprisingly fresh and always fun. Bullock and Blanchett share better chemistry than I’ve had with most of my exes, keeping pace with Clooney and Brad Pitt. Hathaway is getting a lot of buzz for stealing the movie– and she earns it in a role that is clearly a ball to play, full of pouts and ego trips – but that shouldn’t discount literally everyone else here. Awkwafina deserves a special shoutout for perfect timing and delivery in a role that, coupled with her part in the upcoming “Crazy Rich Asians” adaptation, should have her getting more mainstream fame beyond YouTube.

If I’m being honest (and I am because I would make a terrible con artist), “Ocean’s 8” could have earned an A based solely on its costumes. Sarah Edwards clearly defines each character’s style, from Blanchett’s rockstar-esque Burberry suits (swoon) to Paulson’s pretty suburban prep. Setting the heist at the Met Gala could have just been an excuse to showcase gorgeous gowns, but I’m not mad about it. It elevates the solid fashion from the film’s first half, and there were audible gasps when Rihanna’s low-key hacker gets to play dress-up. It’s pure visual pleasure, adding to the film’s suite of joys.

Other than the inevitable twists in the swindle, there’s little complexity here, and that’s ok. “Ocean’s 8” is the self-aware frosé of movies; a summer delight, perfectly airy and refreshing, it’s not here to be your cinematic think piece. “Ocean’s 8” knows exactly what it’s doing and what it’s trying to achieve– showing the audience hell of a good time – and it succeeds marvelously at it, without leaving the audience feeling duped. While this new spin-off doesn’t quite match Soderbergh’s original, this is fizzy, gossamer-weight fun that trumps “Ocean’s 12” and even “Ocean’s 13” at their own con game. [B+][/b]


'Ocean's 8' is a fizzy good time, and not much more
By Angie Han
4 days ago

Ocean's 8 is the LaCroix of movies: It's sparkly, it's fizzy, it goes down easy, and there's not really any there there.

It's not totally dumb, but nor is it particularly clever. It's nice enough to look at, thanks to all its glamorous stars and their glitzy costumes, but not especially stylish.

But just as flavored water can really hit the spot on a hot summer day, so can Ocean's 8. It's fun enough to serve as an excuse to chill with some friends, or while away an afternoon in movie theater air-conditioning.

And for all its shortcomings, it does deliver in some key areas. Here are five reasons to check it out.

5. The girl-power message, I guess

The basic premise of Ocean's 8 is that it's Ocean's 11, only with eight women instead of eleven men, and with the Met Gala instead of Las Vegas. In this era of shared universes, of course there's a narrative link to the earlier films – the ringleader in 8 is Sandra Bullock's Debbie Ocean, sister of George Clooney's character from the Steven Soderbergh movies.

The act of recasting what was once a "male" property with female leads still feels like a statement in this day and age – even if it all it's saying are "women are people, too." Ocean's 8 occasionally nods in the direction of feminist messaging, having one leading lady point out to another that women get ignored (a plus, when you're trying to pull off a heist) and another execute a stunt involving the country's "Founding Mothers."

For the most part, though, Ocean's 8 lets those themes recede into the background. It doesn't want to tell you how powerful it can be when women band together in a man's world – it just wants to show you how fun it'd be to round up a girl gang and steal some jewels. In its own way, that's kind of empowering, too.

4. The vivid personalities – and fanfic-worthy pairings

Like any good ensemble caper, Ocean's 8 establishes a cast of colorful personalities, and spends some time sitting back to see what happens when they mix.

This particular crew does happen to be starrier than usual. In addition to Bullock, there's Cate Blanchett as her right-hand woman Lou; Sarah Paulson as retired criminal Tammy; Helena Bonham Carter as disgraced designer Rose; Mindy Kaling as jewelry expert Amita; Awkwafina as pickpocket Constance; and Rihanna as hacker Nine-Ball. Some get more screen time than others, but everyone gets a moment or two to shine.

The ladies mostly get along, John Mulaney's silly joke be damned, and Ocean's 8 rarely throws them an obstacle they can't clear in five minutes. This is a feature, not a bug – Ocean's 8 is aiming more for "easygoing" than "thrilling."

But there are surprising sparks to be found in some of the pairings. Bullock plays Debbie with a breezy confidence that makes it easy to see how she keeps talking her way into and out of trouble, and this shows itself particularly with Lou and Tammy. There are a few scenes between them that seem tailor made to inspire fanfiction across the internet... even if, sadly, none of these women actually make out in the movie.

3. The dresses, dear God, the dresses

All of this planning culminates in a heist to be executed at the Met Gala, and Ocean's 8 does not skimp on the glitz and glitter. Ocean's 8 is a movie that understands the simple pleasure of watching pretty movie stars put on pretty gowns, and gives you plenty of time to soak it all in.

Minutes upon minutes are spent oohing and ahhing over the enormous diamond necklace that Debbie and her crew are after, and still more minutes are spent admiring how good the thing looks draped around Anne Hathaway's neck.

Admittedly, the fashions on display at the Ocean's version of the Met Gala are less extravagantly weird than the ones that tend to get all the attention at the real Met Gala. Even Daphne Kluger, the movie star and Met Gala host played by Anne Hathaway, wears a sleek pink number that's only slightly more dramatic than a typical red-carpet premiere dress.

On the other hand, Ocean's 8 is probably the closest most of us will ever get to attending the actual Met Gala – to climbing those stairs surrounded by photographers, to say nothing of being invited to dine and drink in the museum with the city's rich and famous. So we're going to call that a win for us.

2. Anne Hathaway's comedy chops

Oh, and speaking of Hathaway: She's Ocean's 8's secret weapon.

As with Michelle Williams in I Feel Pretty earlier this year, some of the fun comes from how different Daphne is from the more serious or grounded characters we've seen Hathaway play in films like Interstellar and Les Misérables. Daphne is one of the most overtly comical roles she's done in a while, and her performance here reminds us what we've been missing.

But Daphne's also just a fantastic character – a vain and ditzy movie star who fulfills every stereotype we've ever held about vain and ditzy movie stars, written with enough warmth and played with enough specificity to keep Daphne from tipping over into caricature.

1. Cate Blanchett's suits

Yes, yes, we already mentioned the costumes above. But Blanchett's outfits in this thing are on a whole other level.

Lou sticks mostly to a wardrobe of sharply tailored suits in unusual colors and fabrics, like sequins or green velvet. Blanchett makes each one look so effortlessly rock-n-roll cool that by the end of the film, I wondered if I could possibly pull off a powder-blue suit piled down with a dozen gold necklaces. (I can't, to be clear, but it's a testament to the magic of Ocean's 8 that I even considered it for a brief, shining moment.)

For all the Met Gala glamour, Lou's everyday outfits are really the fashion highlight of Ocean's 8. Maybe that's no surprise, considering Blanchett works a red carpet better than almost anyone else in Hollywood. If you need a wardrobe refresh and are looking for fashion inspo, look no further than every single thing Blanchett wears in this film.


Yes, ‘Ocean’s 8’ is a heist movie. But it’s also an empowering, cheeky comedy.
by Michael O'Sullivan June 5

Rating: 3 stars

Most every successful heist movie, just like a heist itself, functions by obeying a well-defined formula. First comes the setup and backstory (typically involving the righting of a wrong, to lend the subsequent lawbreaking a veneer of moral justification). Next up: the assembly of the team (diverse in skill and, ideally, ethnicity). That’s followed by planning — to lay out what should happen — and execution, which by necessity must go at least a tiny bit awry. The misstep is inevitably due to human error and rectified by human improvisation. The coda reveals a satisfying twist, generally delivered in flashbacks to those parts of the crime that we have not been shown.

By those lights, “Oceans 8” is a dutiful (if, at times, also cheeky) heir to the franchise that began in 2001 with Steven Soderbergh’s reboot of the original “Ocean’s 11,” a suave exemplar of a male-dominated lineage that runs from the noirish “Rififi” (1955) to last year’s country-fried caper flick “Logan Lucky,” also by Soderbergh. What lends this genre outing more than a touch of topical interest is the female-centric cast, headed by Sandra Bullock and including a lively band of actresses in strong supporting roles. Like the gender-flipped “Ghostbusters” before it, this new movie neither reinvents not dishonors its inspiration, instead adding a modicum of zip — if less than turbocharged horsepower — to a vehicle that runs you through the staging of a crime by, ironically, obeying all the traffic laws.

Bullock plays con artist Debbie Ocean, who, as the film begins, is being released after a five-year stint in prison for running a scam. The sister of George Clooney’s Danny Ocean, the mink-oil-slick grifter who headlined the previous three “Ocean’s” films — and who, we quickly learn, is recently deceased — Debbie has hit upon a plan: steal a $150 million diamond necklace during the Met Gala, the splashy annual fundraiser of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Crime, it seems, is not only in her blood — despite her protestations to the contrary to the parole board — it is also the only way she knows how to pay the rent. Early, amusing scenes show Debbie gaming gullible clerks at posh stores and a hotel.

The first, and least engaging, part of the tale involves what amounts to an HR recruitment video for the underworld. With the assistance of her sometime partner-in-crime Lou (Cate Blanchett), Debbie puts together the requisite rogue’s gallery of outlaws, including a daffy, down-on-her-luck fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter); a jeweler itching to get out from her domineering mother’s thumb (Mindy Kaling); a smart-mouth pickpocket (Awkwafina); a pot-smoking computer hacker named Nine Ball (Rihanna); and a nerdy suburban mom who moonlights as a fence for stolen goods (Sarah Paulson).

Special praise is reserved for Bonham Carter, who delivers a charming dollop of her trademark clownishness, and Awkwafina, a rapper, comedian and actress who injects a refreshing dash of street culture to a cast and story line that leans heavily on haute couture. The latter is largely courtesy of Anne Hathaway, playing the self-absorbed actress/socialite from whose neck the jewels are to be lifted, via a ballet of criminally complex sleight-of-hand. Real-world fashionista cameos include appearances by Vogue editor Anna Wintour, Kim Kardashian West and many others, playing themselves.

From this point on, the film slowly picks up steam, delivering more and greater pleasures, mainly in the form of illegal logistics and comedy, as it navigates its way to the climax. A subplot involving the aforementioned righting of a wrong — here, it takes the form of revenge against an ex-lover who abused his trust — adds a bit of #MeToo zest to an exercise that can feel, at times, otherwise perfunctory. During the first act, Debbie explains that she won’t hire a qualified man for her team because men attract too much attention: “A ‘him’ gets interest, a ‘her’ gets ignored,” she tells Lou, setting up the film’s subversive subtext about leveraging female invisibility as a tool of empowerment. Interestingly, a planned cameo by Matt Damon, who was to have reprised his role as Linus Caldwell, was cut after an online petition circulated to remove the actor from the film after he made controversial comments about sexual harassment.

Perhaps all this is making too much of “Ocean’s 8’s” significance. It’s not exactly a polemical film. But even as it plays by the rules, it nevertheless manages to score a political point or two. Eight of them, actually.

PG-13. At area theaters. Contains strong language, drug use and some suggestive material. 110 minutes.


'Ocean's 8': Film Review

8:59 PM PDT 6/5/2018 by David Rooney

More gloss and glitter than actual jewels.

"Don't do this for me. Don't do this for you," Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) tells the women on her crew while running a final check before the intricately planned heist that drives Ocean's 8. "Somewhere out there is an 8-year-old girl lying in bed dreaming of being a criminal. Let's do this for her." That droll twist on female empowerment, a fierce lineup of talented women and a whole heap of sparkly glamour make this spinoff of Steven Soderbergh's Ocean’s trilogy go down easily — not to mention the pleasurable frisson of watching whip-smart ladies in fabulous outfits steal astronomically valuable bling. But director Gary Ross was the wrong guy for a wholesale franchise reinvention.

The novelty value is not to be underestimated of a starry all-female cast playing badass scammers, knocking off more diamonds than Lorelei Lee ever dreamed of from that most exclusive annual orgy of high-fashion excess, the Met Gala. And having one of that event's most reliable scene-stealers, Rihanna, play a supremely accomplished hacker rocking a righteous mane of dreads was a cute touch. All that plus the timing of a big-budget studio feature about women with agency and attitude, amid an unprecedented push for more female-forward storytelling, should deliver Warner Bros.' early summer release an audience.

But this is a self-satisfied exercise that's only occasionally as much fun as it thinks it is. Ross and co-writer Olivia Milch stick to the template of Ocean's Eleven, Soderbergh's first and best overhaul of the 1960 Rat Pack vehicle. This time around it's Debbie, sister of George Clooney's Danny Ocean, who masterminds the heist. She reteams with former partner in crime Lou (Cate Blanchett), recruits a crew of specialists and only later reveals an ulterior motive in her plan. That would be to frame high-end art dealer Claude Becker (Richard Armitage), the ex-lover who let her take the fall for a massive con that landed her a five-year prison term. Time's up.

Rather than reimagining them as newly minted characters, Ross locks himself into a limiting corner by treating Debbie and Lou strictly as female clones of Clooney's Danny and Brad Pitt's Rusty Ryan in the earlier films. The whole point of rebuilding the glamorous crime caper around women should be to make them different. But although they swap tuxedos for couture gowns and heels — or in biker chick Lou's case, slinky pantsuits and a razor-cut shag — the dynamic lacks freshness.

Even when the stakes are at their highest, the leads' delivery is cooler-than-thou, tongue-in-cheek deadpan, accompanied by smug half-smiles, which frankly, gets a bit one-note tiresome and self-conscious. Blanchett's relaxed swagger at least indicates that she seems to be enjoying herself, at one amusing point going undercover in a halal food truck. But Bullock's performance feels stiff despite the character's take-charge confidence.

Luckily, the supporting ranks bring more distinctive spice. The funniest standout by virtue of her homegirl insouciance and wiry physicality is Awkwafina as nimble-fingered Queens street hustler and pickpocket extraordinaire Constance. Having her request a MetroCard as an advance on her cut of a $150 million job — rather than skateboarding into Manhattan every day — is one of the script's more inspired moments.

As the unflappable computer genius known as Nine Ball, Rihanna also has an appealing presence and an impeccable command of the side-eye double take. Anne Hathaway gets laughs as movie star and Met Gala chair Daphne Kluger, infectiously making fun of herself in a subtly screwy parody of actressy vanity with an unexpected wild side. She's particularly hilarious writhing with sensual pleasure once she feels the weight of vintage Cartier ice around her neck. And James Corden as an insurance assessor brings a needling sense of mischief to the late action.

Mindy Kaling is given less to do as a jewelry expert, and most disappointingly, Sarah Paulson's considerable gifts are underutilized in a role that doesn't go much beyond the jokey incongruity of a suburban wife and mother who sidelines as a black-market fence, with a garage full of stolen goods she explains to her unseen husband as "eBay."

The one performance out of sync with everybody else is Helena Bonham Carter's as Rose Weil. A démodé fashion designer teetering toward bankruptcy, she's roped into the scheme with a promise of financial rescue. By planting gossip items about a design flirtation with a young It girl (Dakota Fanning, one of many star cameos), Debbie and Lou craftily position Rose to do Daphne's gown for the gala, as a stepping stone to the antique necklace that's their target. Bonham Carter is playing an eccentric character not unlike her frequent designer of choice, Vivienne Westwood, which should be clever casting, but her bonkers mannerisms feel as strained as her inconsistent Irish accent. Her timing is constantly off.

The production's access to locations like the Cartier flagship store, the Plaza, Bergdorf Goodman, the Vogue offices at Conde Nast and, most significantly, the Metropolitan Museum itself, gives it luxe credibility. And Sarah Edwards' eye-popping costumes, together with the work of celebrated designers inspired by the European royalty theme of the Met Costume Institute exhibit, make for some tasty fashion porn. It's like a Sex and the City movie with thievery. And no sex. Despite some on-the-nose dialogue about how men get noticed and "for once, we wanna be ignored," Debbie's crew all end up dressed to slay.

Anyone who has ever wondered what goes on beyond the red-carpeted steps at the Met Gala will find plenty to gawk at, along with appearances by a flock of boldface names — designers, movie stars, models, whatever Kim Kardashian and her sisters qualify as, even the event's high priestess, Anna Wintour — to help set the scene.

In such an atmosphere of pomp and sophistication, there's entertainment value in following the female crew as they weave among the glitterati, either disguised as staffers or hiding in plain sight as guests, carrying out the precision-timed plan with quick-thinking resourcefulness, if not much in the way of glitches to fuel any real tension. But there's also something dispiritingly mechanical about the movie that makes it seem a missed opportunity.

In one sweet, subtle touch, New York stage veterans Marlo Thomas, Dana Ivey, Mary Louise Wilson and Elizabeth Ashley turn up as regional theater actresses hired by the crew to shift stolen gems. That creative casting stroke and its all-ages inclusivity suggest the admirable intentions of a project that aims to carve out screen time for as diverse a spectrum of women as possible. A little less generic slickness and more of that adventurous feminist spirit would have gone a long way.

What Soderbergh, who serves here as producer, brought to his Ocean's films — even the busy, bloated sequels — was a jazzy energy, an effortless light touch that seems beyond the reach of Ross. Ocean's 8 tries to inject that verve with an eclectic mix of music to supplement Daniel Pemberton's score, from Charles Aznavour to Amy Winehouse, James Last to The Notorious B.I.G. But it lacks punch, even if the complicated plotting is sound enough, the gadgetry impressive and the visual trappings sleek. You just start to feel starved for a movie with conflict, suspense and a little heart, rather than a repackaged version of a formula already flogged to death.

Production company: Rahway Road
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Armitage, James Corden
Director: Gary Ross
Screenwriters: Gary Ross, Olivia Milch; story by Ross, based on characters created by George Clayton Johnson, Jack Golden Russell
Producers: Steven Soderbergh, Susan Ekins
Executive producers: Michael Tadross, Diana Alvarez, Jesse Ehrman, Bruce Berman
Director of photography: Eigil Bryld
Production designer: Alex DiGerlando
Costume designer: Sarah Edwards
Music: Daniel Pemberton
Editors: Juliette Welfling
Visual effects supervisor: Karen Heston
Casting: Debra Zane, Shayna Markowitz

Rated PG-13, 110 minutes


Review: The thieving women of 'Ocean's 8' pretty much steal the franchise
Brian Truitt USA TODAY
Published 6:51 p.m. UTC Jun 8, 2018

Remember George Clooney's Vegas heist-meister Danny Ocean and his gang of well-dressed criminals? You won't miss them after meeting his sister's super-confident crew.

A spinoff of sorts from the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy, the glamtastic action comedy Ocean's 8 (★★★ out of four; rated PG-13; in theaters nationwide Friday) stars Sandra Bullock leading an outstanding cast as Debbie Ocean. The illegal goings-on move to New York, where the plot plods until the crew gets together and the movie unleashes its secret comedic weapon: Anne Hathaway.
Debbie (Sandra Bullock, left) and Lou (Cate Blanchett) plan a daring job in the crime comedy "Ocean's 8."


Directed by Gary Ross with a consistent tone of jazzy cool, Ocean’s 8 releases Debbie on parole after a five-year prison stint in New Jersey, and it’s not long before she’s stealing anything she can get her hands on. (Rampant kleptomania is apparently genetic in the Ocean clan.) But Debbie didn't spend her time in the slammer dreaming of thieving hotel soaps and fur coats — no, she's been concocting an intricate, slightly crazy plan to rob the Met Gala.

The target is a $150 million Cartier necklace with six pounds of diamonds and its own security team. With the help of her old partner, Lou (Cate Blanchett), Debbie recruits a group of specialists all integral to the daring job: expert jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), streetwise pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina), ace fence Tammy (Sarah Paulson), super-cool hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna) and struggling Irish fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter). Rose’s gig is crafting the gala dress that will be worn by persnickety A-list actress Daphne Kluger (Hathaway), whose neck will host the high-end jewelry — though if all goes to plan, it’s not leaving with her.

When Debbie’s women are doing their thing, Ocean’s 8 crackles with an infectious excitement and is just as cool as George and the boys. It steals a few aspects (and some familiar faces) from the earlier films but avoids being derivative, and offers a tighter, more entertaining supporting cast. Awkwafina is just fun to watch, and Hathaway — totally playing a parody of herself — is an absolute delight as an uber-celebrity who's perhaps a bit cagier than anybody suspects.
Rose (Helena Bonham Carter, right) designs the Met Gala wardrobe for A-lister Daphne (Anne Hathaway) in "Ocean's 8."

Ocean’s 8 playfully enjoys showing off its feminine wiles, like when Constance gives Amita a dating-app lesson or pretty much anything Nine Ball does. The movie doesn’t make a big deal out of it, but these woman are clearly smarter than all the dudes around them, including Debbie’s shifty art-dealer ex (Richard Armitage) and a Columbo-lite insurance investigator (James Corden).

The nimble, banter-laden script (written by Ross and Olivia Milch) isn't above throwing some not-so-subtle shade: Needing to fill out their roster, Lou wonders if they should consider a “him,” but Debbie insists on a “her.”

“A him gets noticed. A her gets ignored. For once, we want to be ignored,” she quips.

Fashion mavens have lots to admire with exquisite costumes (it is the Met Gala, after all) and an Anna Wintour cameo. People-watchers can pick out various real-life celebrities who show up. And for everyone across the board, Bullock and Co. are a pack of devious treasures who can ransack our shindig anytime.

Published 6:51 p.m. UTC Jun 8, 2018


The Ocean’s heist franchise has a fool-proof formula, and it’s not spoiled in the all-female Ocean’s 8.

First, you get a bunch of attractive and exceptionally charismatic stars in a room together. Back in the 1960s, for the original hangout flick, it was the Rat Pack; last decade, it was George Clooney and pals.

Here, in director Gary Ross’ spin-off, it’s Sandra Bullock (as Debbie, the sister of Clooney’s Danny Ocean), Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna and Awkwafina. They are all reliably funny, individually, and mostly funny together. So, check.

Second: ? (No, it’s not ripping-off South Park’s 'Underpants Gnome' strategy; it’s key that any Ocean’s film involve a theft that's oblique and undefined for the audience and remains incomprehensible and honestly impossible even once the mechanics have been unveiled at the climax.)

Third: Profit. Our heroes pull off the job and make away with millions in dollars—or, in the case of Ocean’s 8, hundreds of millions in jewels. And audiences flock to the cinema, forking over their hard-earned money to enjoy watching famous people look effortless and get richer. It’s the rare win-win grift.

That said, even though Steven Soderbergh's stylish remake of Ocean's Eleven bettered the tedious and truly effortless Rat Pack version (if any effort was actually spent on that set, it was at the wet bar), Ocean’s 8 is ultimately lacking that visual verve. Cool emanated from Soderbergh’s very camera, and when he deployed a kitsch transition or winking title credit (such as "Introducing Julia Roberts"), it felt like an in-joke to which we were party. Ross, on the other hand, plugs in a few PowerPoint Spin effects and calls it a day. Ocean’s 8's cool quotient almost entirely comes from the cast and Blanchett’s chic wardrobe. (Side note: Can we at least get a unisex clothing line out of this?)

Ocean’s 8 begins promisingly, with Debbie released from a stint in prison, immediately using her canny Ocean wiles to steal bags of designer outfits and scam her way into a deluxe hotel room without breaking a sweat. In the clink, she devised an elaborate plot to nick a royal necklace worth $130 million from the Met Gala. Debbie tells her trusty partner-in-crime Lou (Blanchett, Aussie accent and all) she’ll need another six to assist: a fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter, taking some jabs about her personal style in stride), a jeweller (Mindy Kaling), a pickpocket (Awkwafina), a hacker (Rihanna) and an unwitting actress (Anne Hathaway, always game), who’ll wear the necklace, and have it stolen from her very neck.

Sarah Paulson is also there, playing a kleptomaniac with many varied, undefined skills. As she is in life, her character Tammy is an essential utility player that is nonetheless not given enough to do.

The build-up to the 'First Monday of May', when the Met Gala goes down, actually falls a little flat, which is unfortunate given how 'putting the crew together' movies usually relish that part of proceedings. Screenwriters Olivia Milch and Ross maybe rely too much on their stars’ on-screen ease; you can just imagine giant swaths of the screenplay stating: [BLANCHETT AND BULLOCK CHAT, APPEALINGLY].

The heist itself is glamorous fun, though not quite as ingenious as you would hope. Carrying on the tradition of its predecessors, Debbie actually leaves more to dumb chance than you would anticipate. The best part, of course, is the reveal of the magic trick, when we discover that what we witnessed was really only a small part of her plan. Turns out the most audacious move in Ocean’s 8 isn’t braving the sexist internet commenters; it was paying homage to Ocean’s Twelve (AKA, my favourite of the Ocean’s films, don’t @ me).

Like 2016’s Ghostbusters before it, Ocean’s 8 will inevitably become central to a culture war for its largely female cast (though, James Corden gets a nice set of scenes as an insurance investigator at the end). The picture itself is barely remarkable, and as fleet and forgettable as its characters would want to seem in the middle of a daylight robbery. But there is real pleasure to derive from the (incredibly) rare sight of eight female actors delighting in one another’s company and having time getting up to absolutely no good. As Debbie says to motivate the gang, they’re doing this for all the eight-year-old girls dreaming of one day becoming criminals themselves. And who can’t get on board with a motive like that?


In Australian cinemas 7 June. Rated M for coarse language.



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Review: Ocean’s 8 Is Good, but It Could Have Been Great
Forgive us for wanting more from the ensemble comedy, which ropes a team of ace actresses into a glamorous heist.
by Richard Lawson

June 5, 2018 11:59 pm

Let me allay some fears right away: Ocean’s 8 is fun. The sequel (of sorts) to Steven Soderbergh’s three Ocean’s films, this time with a mostly female cast of smooth criminals, is a lark and a laugh, an airy caper featuring a bunch of actors you love and a lot of great clothes. Who can argue with that, in June or any other time of year? In that way, Ocean’s 8 is a worthy continuation of a hallowed brand. So, breathe a sigh of relief. There’s no disaster here, no regrettable misfire to be chagrined about. Phew.

That said, I do wish Ocean’s 8 were a little more than fun. Directed by Soderbergh’s friend and frequent collaborator Gary Ross, the film makes some gestures toward Soderbergh’s snappy visual and narrative style, his zooms and cuts and other syncopated rhythms. But they’re only gestures, loving but half-hearted. The movie looks fine but flat, which has the unfortunate (and unintentional, I’d hope) effect of making it feel as though a mostly women-led Ocean’s movie doesn’t deserve the same luxe finishings as Clooney and the boys. (Ocean’s Eleven was given a higher budget, 17 years ago, than Ocean’s 8 was now.)

Plot-wise, the movie lacks for any of the grander sleights of hand and logical leaps of the other Ocean’s movies. Mind you, very little in those films bears the weight of scrutiny, but at least they provided pleasingly intricate knots to pick through. Ocean’s 8, written by Ross and Olivia Milch, goes a simpler route, paring down the mechanics of its heist and fixing problems quickly and easily. Something about the film feels less thorough, less nourishing, as if it doesn’t trust its audience to contend with something more complicated. Or it could just be that Ross and Milch have written a weaker script than what’s come before. Either way, it feels dismayingly pointed that this Ocean’s movie, of all the Ocean’s movies, is the one that gets the more basic treatment.

So the film is certainly not without its faults. But many of them are covered up, in the moment anyway, by a sterling cast. Sandra Bullock, sardonic and cool with the faint hum of a sad secret, plays Debbie Ocean, sister to Danny Ocean and recent parolee. We eventually find out how she ended up in the clink, a backstory that’s slightly, but not entirely satisfyingly, woven into the present. But mostly Debbie’s journey in the film is her assembling a team for a bold, fabulous bit of thievery involving a version of the real-life Met Gala and a diamond necklace bigger than my apartment. Bullock handles all this scheming with restrained humor, never sinking into the ring-a-ding smugness that often tainted the earlier Ocean’s movies.

She’s joined most closely by Cate Blanchett as Lou, a slinky Chrissy Hynde-type who’s skeptical about Debbie’s plan but drawn in nonetheless. We sense an attraction there, perhaps the ghost of a past romance flickering between them, but the film doesn’t explore that dynamic the way that, in theory, a more invested, and also more freewheeling, movie might. Still, we get a lot from Blanchett’s lounge-lizard vibe, coy and pragmatic, as she does a lot of good leaning in a series of crisply tailored suits. We hope for an Ocean’s 9, if only so we can get to know a bit more about Lou.

The rest of the gang comes together swiftly: Mindy Kaling as a compromised jeweler, Rihanna as a weed-smoking computer hacker, Awkwafina as a caustic pickpocket, Sarah Paulson as some kind of merchandise-hoarding wholesale-goods fencer, and a birdish Helena Bonham Carter as a disgraced fashion designer in need of a quick payday. What a group! And when Ocean’s 8 lets its cast loose, the movie crackles and zings, becoming the clever, easygoing comedy we’ve long hoped it would be. I wish only that moments like that arose a bit more frequently in the film—or, you know, that that mood was sustained throughout. As is, Ocean’s 8 is more devoted to process than patter, more concerned with moving the story along than fleshing out and reveling in the world it hastily builds.

Also appearing in the movie is Anne Hathaway, playing swanning movie star Daphne Kluger, who will be wearing the sought-after necklace the night of the big job. Any further explanation of how Daphne fits into the story would be a spoiler (though you could count the number of actresses listed before Hathaway in this review and make a safe guess), but know that Hathaway is marvelous in the role. At first it seems she’s just doing an easy bit of haughty imperiousness, but then she gradually infuses that caricature with richly amusing dashes of an almost kinky quirk. She has one scene in particular in which an entirely sexier, more dangerous version of the movie is conjured up—all done through Hathaway’s shifts in breath and bearing. The scene is almost too good for Ocean’s 8, while also proving vital to the film’s success. Hathaway is having a great time, and we’re eager to join her.

There’s a good deal of that happening here, a kind of projection that lets the movie we want Ocean’s 8 to be somehow stand in for the movie that Ocean’s 8 actually is. I left the theater thinking, I liked it! But the charge of the movie had mostly fizzled by the time I got to the subway. Fashionable and slick and capable of loopy wit, Ross’s film offers up the trappings of what should make an Ocean’s movie sing. But it never hits the note fully. I hope the excellent cast won’t be blamed for that, as the cast of the recent Ghostbusters remake was blamed for that movie’s failures. Because the problem lies more with the guy steering the ship, who does a competent job—again, the movie is fun!—but then figures his work done. These actresses deserve way more than that. If a sequel’s on the table, the cast should band together and demand equal Soderbergh for equal work.


Ocean's 8 review – starry cast can't steal enough attention in all-female reboot
Ocean's 8

Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Rihanna head up a gender-swapped take on Ocean’s Eleven that suffers from an absence of tension

Benjamin Lee

Wed 6 Jun 2018 04.59 BST
Last modified on Thu 7 Jun 2018 10.22 BST

2 / 5 stars 2 out of 5 stars.

One of the many joys of Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 remake of heist caper Ocean’s Eleven was the experience of watching an auteur, whose work had previously existed primarily in the independent sphere, take charge of a splashy, star-packed studio film. The crackling sexual tension and snappy dialogue of his 1998 thriller Out of Sight gave us a clue that he would be a steady hand with such material but still, his ability to deliver such a dizzyingly entertaining blockbuster on such a large scale came as a warm surprise.

The razzle-dazzle was starting to dim by the time Ocean’s Thirteen was released in 2007 but Soderbergh’s confident direction was a swaggering force that lifted the franchise even in its silliest moments. Cut to 11 years later and the format is being refreshed, rebooted, retooled and remixed with key changes in front and behind of the camera. Soderbergh has retreated, with just a producer’s credit, and he’s been replaced in the director’s chair by Gary Ross, whose uneven career has careered from Pleasantville to Seabiscuit to The Hunger Games to Free State of Jones. While he boasts experience with big names and big budgets, artfulness and anything resembling audacity aren’t closely associated with his work and having been spoiled by Soderbergh’s eye, we inevitably approach Ocean’s 8 with caution.

In a nifty, if increasingly familiar, update, the all-male crew has been gender-swapped and there’s a tantalizing cast onboard with three Oscar winners, one Oscar nominee, one Grammy winner, one Emmy winner, one SAG award winner and one rising star all teaming up. The connection to the previous series is familial with Sandra Bullock playing Debbie Ocean, the sister to her Gravity co-star George Clooney’s now-deceased Danny Ocean. The film begins as she is released from prison after a five-year stint, insisting that her return to the outside world will be boringly normal, a far cry from her previous life as a con artist.

Within minutes however, she’s back to her old tricks: lying, cheating, stealing and reuniting with her old partner in crime Lou (Cate Blanchett). Debbie has a plan, one that she’s been working on every day that she’s been inside, and it will require the pair to assemble a team of specialists. Together they recruit a weed-smoking hacker (Rihanna), an emotionally fragile fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter), a maternally smothered jeweler (Mindy Kaling), a street-smart pickpocket (Awkwafina) and one of Debbie’s former partners (Sarah Paulson). The target is movie star Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), or more specifically the Cartier necklace they will persuade her to wear before stealing it while she attends the Met Gala, arguably New York’s hottest event of the year.

It sounds like a blast and at times, during the first act it almost is, but while great care has been taken in populating the film with infinitely talented performers, there’s been less attention paid to the pros behind the scenes. While Ocean’s Eleven glided through its many sharp set pieces, Ocean’s 8 inelegantly plods. The smoothness of Soderbergh’s concoction, often smug yet mostly rather charming, has been replaced with a bland impersonality, the work of a disinterested hired hand. Snappy, playful camerawork and a deft David Holmes score are sorely missed as Ross fills his film with plainly shot montages of superficial luxury that fail to feel quite as sumptuous as they should.

We know the format at play here and the script, co-written by Ross with up-and-coming screenwriter Olivia Milch, struggles to lend a fresh tone to the formula. Despite the comic skills of the cast, there’s a noticeable lack of wit, a glaring hole in place of the back-and-forth banter from its predecessor. So many scenes feel a couple of drafts away from flying despite best intentions of the cast.
Helena Bonham Carter and Mindy Kaling in Ocean’s 8.

Bullock remains a magnetic screen presence and she tries her darnedest with featherlight characterization but her knack for comedy is left underexplored. Like the crew members who surround her, she’s not really allowed much more depth than just her criminal skill. Everyone is defined by their job rather than their personality. Rihanna isn’t given anything interesting to do outside of her laptop, Bonham Carter is a collection of overplayed tics, Hathaway has some fun vamping it up and, regrettably, Blanchett is particularly underserved, her actions mostly perfunctory. There are also brief flashes of brilliance from Awkwafina (who is set to steal this summer’s Crazy Rich Asians) but again, the script doesn’t feed her with the moments she needs to really soar.

The film keeps threatening to loosen up and allow the women the freedom to recreate the fun, hangout vibe that made Soderbergh’s film such a rush, but there’s a glaring incompetency here in Ross bringing such talents together and not knowing what the hell to do with them. After building up to the main event, there’s a vague hope that things will finally sing during the heist. But instead of being smart and surprising, it’s sloppy and predictable. Whenever the crew encounters a problem that might bring some much-needed tension, it’s fixed within seconds. The suspense evaporates, and so does our investment.

The lifeless direction, the unrefined script, the underwhelming cameos, the distinct lack of fizz – there’s a slapdash nature to the assembly of Ocean’s 8 that makes it feel like the result of a rushed, often careless process. It’s made watchable thanks to the cast but star power alone cannot mask creative inadequacy. Stealing a diamond necklace is bad but wasting an opportunity like this is unforgivable.

Ocean’s 8 is released in the US on 8 June and in the UK on 18 June


‘Ocean’s 8’ Review: Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett Don’t Need Spinoff Scraps to Craft Their Own Entertaining Heist Film
Gary Ross' film has one of the best lineups of kickass female actresses (and characters) in recent memory, but being beholden to franchise tricks holds it back.

Kate Erbland

Jun 5, 2018 11:59 pm

The elevator pitch for Gary Ross’ energetic “Ocean’s 8” is an odd one: It suggests that someone watched Steven Soderbergh’s snappy trilogy of heist films and concluded little more than, “Hey, do you think this cool lead character has a sister who’s also into crime?” Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s” films are playful, self-reflexive rides, but hardly the kind of entertainment that demands a spinoff. Of course, that’s never stopped the entertainment industry from mining for gold from an established mine, and the results of this minor project bear that out.

“Ocean’s 8,” a woman-centric take on Soderbergh’s love for making crime look cool, doesn’t have much in the way of original plotting, instead rooting its purpose in a premise that should no longer be considered as revolutionary as it is — building an entire film around unique female characters.

Yes, Danny Ocean (George Clooney, who is not in this movie, though he is often referenced with fondness) has a sister who is also into crime and exciting enough to spark her own feature film. Her name is Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), and what she lacks in her own interests, she more than makes up for with some serious style. First introduced during an overwrought parole hearing during which we only see Debbie pleading her case — and, damn, is she pleading it — it’s obvious from the jump that Debbie has plenty more schemes up her sleeve. Released from prison after a five-year stint for something (we find out what soon enough), Debbie is tossed back out into polite society wearing the only duds she owns: an evening gown. This is a woman with stories to tell.
Read More:‘Ocean’s 8’ Official Trailer: Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett Are Here to Make You Forget All About Clooney and Pitt

Debbie celebrates her reentry into the world the best way she knows how, by embarking on a shopping spree-turned-stealing scheme that’s more lo-fi than anything her brother ever cooked up. It hinges on her ability to bluff and babble her way out of a sticky situation, and provides a whiz-bang introduction to her skills that ranks as one of the film’s best bits. Consider it some skill-sharpening, because Debbie hasn’t spent the last five years in jail twiddling her thumbs, she’s been planning something, a big something, and now she needs some friends to help her with it. Plus, she only wants women to help her, because as she notes early on, it’s the “hims” that get seen, while “a ‘her’ gets ignored.”

Most films that require the assembly of an all-star team tend to relish the process, and “Ocean’s 8” is no different, as it neatly parcels out introductions to Debbie’s fellow criminals while allowing each actress and character to shine. These are people you want to spend time with, and all the better if that time is spent embarking on a gutsy jewel heist set during one of the world’s premiere fashion events (the costumes, from top to bottom, are divine). The depth and breadth of these characters is one of the film’s greatest assets, from Cate Blanchett as Debbie’s best friend Lou, a booze-shorting badass who appears to take her style cues from early Keith Richards, to Anne Hathaway as the gloriously vapid Daphne, along with star turns from Rihanna as a whipsmart hacker and Awkwafina as a fast-handed grifter. But this volume of bubbly personalities also holds back the film as a whole.

We want to spend time with these characters, and when the film switches into heist mode, “Ocean’s 8” loses sight of the women who drive it, opting to focus on a heist that’s fun, but not nearly as fun as watching the characters prepare for it. Take us back to the planning stages.

Like her brother, Debbie favors stealing big ticket items (for “Ocean’s 8,” it’s a massive diamond necklace) from highly guarded constraints (this time, it’s the Met Ball, where the necklace will in attendance with two of its very own security guards) that have something outlandish enough to draw the attention of a wily Ocean. Debbie and her ladies don’t have the kind of seed money that got Danny and his boys set up with their cinematic crimes, and “Ocean’s 8” is tasked with imagining a tough heist that isn’t pulled off with the aid of neat gadgets or flashy tricks. The biggest tool Debbie has is a 3D printer, and even that’s not fool-proof. At one point, Lou hides out in a food truck, in a blend of New York ingenuity and on-the-cheap criminal endeavor that the boys never had to put up with.

Despite a cool backdrop and a daring idea, the heist itself feels like a third-tier Soderbergh joint, one that’s temporarily bolstered by the same jazzy music and quick cuts that marked the filmmaker’s trilogy, though carried out with considerably less energy. Perhaps that’s because the stakes are never quite high enough, and each character is capable enough to get out of any scrape (and there are a few, including one that does seem insurmountable in the moment; it’s not, of course). This thing has been planned to the hilt, and while that’s always been a mark of an Ocean heist, this one doesn’t pop, even when Ross and co-writer Olivia Milch add a few twists to dial up the drama. It’s too late by then, and the biggest one feels oddly last-minute, an unnecessary addition that’s more confusing than compelling.

And while the franchise has always enjoyed a degree of self-awareness — remember when Julia Roberts played a character who looked like Julia roberts? — the film’s adoration for over-the-top cameos have the uneasy effect of making the film feel less real. Sure, Anna Wintour is going to pop up at her signature event, but by the time the camera cuts to yet another Kardashian, it feels like a jarring, discordant blend of reality and fiction.

It sure would be fun to live in a world where Debbie and Lou are able to craft heists out of ingenuity and rage against the system, but we know that’s not a world that actually exists. Apparently that only happens when the show belongs to the men.

Grade: B-

“Ocean’s 8” opens on Friday, June 8.


'Ocean's 8': Review

By John Hazelton6 June 2018

This surprisingly flat action comedy is a straight gender-swap of a limping formula

‘Oceans 8’

Dir: Gary Ross. US. 2018. 106mins

A promising cast led by Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett is pretty much wasted in Ocean’s 8, Warner’s female-centric - though male-directed - take on the heist caper formula that gave George Clooney and Brad Pitt a trilogy of hits in the oughties. More than a decade after the last Clooney-Pitt outing, this #MeToo era spin-off has a glamorous New York setting, a high fashion backdrop and celeb cameos aplenty, but little of the pizzazz and film-making brio necessary to make the formula really work.

A straight gender-swap version of the familiar scenario, climaxing with the elaborately executed job on the big night

Competition for the distaff audience could be lively when the spin-off opens in North America on June 8 (a favoured slot for female-oriented counter-programming, accentuated this year by the start of the World Cup on June 14) and in most other territories through the rest of the month. But the star power on offer could still give Ocean’s 8 a chance of matching the performance of 2007’s Ocean’s Thirteen, the last and least successful of the Clooney-Pitt movies, which managed $117.2m domestically and $194.2m internationally.

Giving the spin-off a winking connection to the earlier films (themselves, of course, based on a swaggering Rat Pack caper from the early sixties), Bullock’s Debbie Ocean is revealed, soon after she gets out of prison at the start of the story, to be the sister of Clooney’s now dead Danny Ocean. Debbie hooks up with former partner-in-crime Lou (Blanchett) to plan the theft of a $150m diamond necklace, set to be worn at New York’s exclusive Met Gala (a real-life fundraising event for the city’s Metropolitan Museum of Art) by screen diva Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway).

With Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) directing from a script he wrote with Olivia Milch (writer-director of Netflix female dramedy Dude), the film feels oddly subdued from the start. There are early hints that it might re-think rather than just tweak the Ocean’s formula - “Hims get noticed, hers get ignored,” says Debbie while picking her team – but then it seems to settle for being a straight gender-swap version of the familiar scenario, climaxing with the elaborately executed job on the big night.

Bullock takes centre stage, but the role of no-nonsense mastermind Debbie doesn’t make the most of her comedic talents. Blanchett’s Lou never develops beyond her criminal cool and, as the crew’s computer hacker, R&B star Rihanna - who last acted in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets - rarely gets out from behind her laptop (though the fact that she’s behind it in the first place shows an effort to avoid some of the usual ethnic stereotypes).

Most disappointing are the flimsy and rarely funny roles given to Mindy Kaling (from TV’s The Mindy Project), as the crew’s jeweler, and Helena Bonham Carter, who plays an eccentric, Irish-accented fashion designer. The cameos include brief appearances from Dakota Fanning, Katie Holmes, Shaobo Qin (from the Clooney-Pitt movies), Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Heidi Klum, Anna Wintour and other fashion industry names.

British actor and TV host James Corden gets a bigger role in the story’s last act, but even his cuddly charm and pop culture cachet fails to bring this surprisingly flat action comedy to life.

Production companies: Warner Bros Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, Rahway Road

Worldwide distribution: Warner Bros/Village Roadshow

Producers: Steven Soderbergh, Susan Ekins

Screenplay: Gary Ross, Olivia Milch

Production design: Alex DiGerlando

Editing: Juliette Welfling

Cinematography: Eigil Bryld

Music: Daniel Pemberton

Website: www.Oceans8movie.com

Main cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter


Ocean’s 8 Thrives on Its Own Unabashed Girliness
Forget the heist. The gender-flipped spinoff is strongest when it revels in feminine pleasures.

By Inkoo Kang
June 06, 201812:01 AM

In many of her most iconic roles—in Speed, Miss Congeniality, The Proposal, and Gravity—Sandra Bullock embodies a meeting point of the masculine and the feminine, her gawky, tomboyish appeal forging an alchemical charm with her instincts toward self-effacement or a Scarlett O’Hara–esque resolve. Bullock is thus an intuitive pick to lead Ocean’s 8, which extends the Ocean’s Eleven franchise with a female ensemble. Bullock plays sister to George Clooney’s Danny Ocean: the cocky, lovelorn, always-tuxedo’d Vegas rat who couldn’t help endangering his own heist by seducing his ex-wife in the middle of the caper. Set in Manhattan, Ocean’s 8 is in many ways a mirror image of its predecessor, but it’s most delightful when it follows its own path toward girly transcendence.

Bullock’s casting as Debbie Ocean is the first of several production decisions so clever they feel like no-brainers. In retrospect, it’s a surprise there hasn’t been a (fictional) movie set at the Met Gala before, with all its opulent and voyeuristic possibilities. Crashing a ball means gush-worthy makeovers, but Ocean’s 8 also cleverly subverts the sexy-spy trope by playing with the idea that women can make themselves invisible by choosing not to court male attention. The most revolutionary detail of all—the one that helps director Gary Ross’ film skate through even its most lumbering scenes—is the focus on female pleasure, in luxury and beauty, as well as in their skills and their camaraderie. There’s even a brief segment celebrating a little sister’s scientific know-how that’s embellished with a cheetah-print umbrella, taking pride in a girl’s smarts and style. The characters’ guttural moans and sighs make clear: These are women turned on by who they are and what they can do.

Bullock’s casting as Debbie Ocean is the first of several production decisions so clever they feel like no-brainers.

That giddiness and elan go a long way in papering over the film’s faults, which include scant characterization for the crew’s minor players—more important in a version of this story that makes us want to hang with the gang—and a disappointing lack of chemistry between Bullock and Cate Blanchett, who takes over from Brad Pitt as the clear-eyed and perpetually snacking partner. Their fleeting flirtations over lunch are a treat, as are the glamorous, retro-cut suits they strut around in throughout the film. (Blanchett’s Keith Richards–inspired rocker-chick pants alone should garner costume designer Sarah Edwards Oscar consideration.) Even the runaway product placement adds to the film’s aspirational glee. The orgy of name drops and plugs—for Cartier, Brinks, Bergdorf Goodman, Vogue, the Met, and the gala—is the kind of shameless bacchanal in which everyone leaves with a grin. But that darn heist keeps getting in the way, scattering the team when we’d rather watch them getting to know one another better.

Debbie’s unit is a winsome cross-section of New York. A has-been fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter) is recruited to convince Cartier that they should loan a hefty piece of bling to a flighty actress (Anne Hathaway) to wear to the Met Gala. A hacker (real-life Met Ball MVP Rihanna), a diamond expert (Mindy Kaling), a pickpocket (Awkwafina), and a compulsive-thief–turned–stay-at-home-mom (Sarah Paulson) round out the group trying to replace the $150 million necklace around the self-absorbed movie star’s neck with a counterfeit. Paulson is fun as a kleptomaniac jonesing for that next score, but what the film could have used more of is unexpected partnerships like the one between Kaling and Bonham Carter—their rock-steady and antsy energies, respectively, bouncing off each other while they lie their asses off to the necklace’s handlers. A snag that Debbie hadn’t planned on during her prison-bound five years planning the job inevitably appears, but her bigger problem is the part of the heist she shouldn’t risk but can’t resist: framing her ex (Richard Armitage) as payback for putting her away.

The plot, which is stretched out in a final act involving James Corden’s (hilarious) insurance investigator, feels largely dutiful, dissipating the transgressive spark that should propel the picture forward. But there’s something unabashedly, almost brazenly, joyful about the film’s adoration of fashion and fame. (If you want to understand all the jokes, for example, it helps to know that Anna Wintour worships Roger Federer.) Dozens of celebrities appear in the background of the Met Gala, while a few Ocean’s Eleven alumni return for (pointless) cameos. Amid the ebullient excess and competence porn, Hathaway emerges as the one to constantly keep your eye on, as her character’s ditziness continues to unveil new layers. A revelatory performance on par with her turn as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, it’s the film’s strongest argument for the delights, and depth, of girly culture.



Ocean’s 8 proves that a great cast can make up for a middling movie
Ocean’s 8 isn’t a great movie, but it’s a perfect summer movie.

By Alex Abad-Santosalex@vox.com Updated Jun 8, 2018, 10:23am EDT

A guide to the season's hottest films

There was an idea to bring together a group of remarkable people to see if they could become something more. That’s the origin story for the greatest superhero team in recent memory, but it applies just as well to summer’s other mighty superhero group, the women of Ocean’s 8.

Around two years ago, production began on a spinoff of the highly successful and TBS-beloved Ocean’s Eleven franchise. The movie’s producers had a plan to assemble an all-star roster of impossibly likable and talented actresses to bring the franchise into 2018 and imbue it with a female-empowerment twist. Like the titular character Debbie Ocean, they had a goal.

For Debbie and her crew, that goal is robbing the Met Gala. For everyone involved in Ocean’s 8, it was creating one of the most successful and enjoyable movies of the summer.

Rating 3,5

Make no mistake: Ocean’s 8 isn’t particularly ambitious, in either that goal or its execution. The writing has a few holes, and Gary Ross’s direction never raises above the level of “workmanlike” — and doesn’t come close to Steven Soderbergh’s stylish work on 2001’s Ocean Eleven.

But if I’m being honest, what I’m looking for in an Ocean’s movie in 2018 isn’t great writing or eye-popping cinematography or experimental storytelling; I want to see some great actresses having the most fun. Ocean’s 8, at its most endearing, is a slick, glamorous romp that makes you yearn for three more hours with its impossibly charismatic crew.

Ocean’s 8 succeeds primarily on the strengths of its cast

The origin story for this superhero team begins in jail. Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), sister of Danny Ocean (played by George Clooney in the Ocean’s franchise of the mid-aughts and Frank Sinatra in the 1960 original), has spent the past five years plotting the perfect heist (with a side of revenge) and is armed with a grand to-do list.

The agenda targets the Met Gala — specifically the most decadent Cartier necklace ever created, worn by the actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) during fashion’s biggest night.

At the top of Debbie’s list is reconnecting with the blunt-banged Lou (Cate Blanchett), her best friend and ringleader. Together, they need to track down a hacker (Rihanna), a jeweler (Mindy Kaling), a designer (Helena Bonham Carter), a pickpocket (Awkwafina), and a smuggler (Sarah Paulson) to carry out Debbie’s plan. Each one of these women is skilled at her respective scam, but all are often overlooked or second on a shortlist in large part because of their gender. (Debbie makes a couple of pointed mentions of how men get all the attention and women are forgotten.) But they’re the top choice for Debbie and Lou.

As with Ocean’s Eleven’s motley crew of con artists, these characters aren’t developed much beyond their elite competency; with the exception of Bonham Carter’s loony Rose and Awkwafina’s gruff Constance, their skills are their personalities. But it doesn’t really matter. Blanchett, Paulson, Kaling, and Rihanna could spend the whole movie heating up pizza rolls and folding laundry, and it would still be entertaining. Watching these actresses hanging out together is inherently fun.

While Bullock and Blanchett get the meat of the script to work with, surprisingly it’s Hathaway who slinks off with the entire movie — in part because she gets to play a glamorous, soulless simulacrum of herself. Hathaway’s Kluger is the stuffy celebrity it-girl and the star of the Met Gala. The character herself is thinly conceived, a cynical but unimaginative facsimile of our idea of the Hollywood starlet, yet Hathaway takes every opportunity to dive into the role, hamming it up underneath the devilish glaze of a raspberry red lip.

Ocean’s 8 is the cinematic equivalent of a perfect summer beach read

There are movies with carefully crafted cinematography, thoughtful dialogue, and searing images that are designed to stick with you forever. These are very different from the sort of movie that you could watch forever, preferably in an air-conditioned theater with a giant soda and salty popcorn, or at home while you prepare pasta and nurse a glass of wine. Ocean’s 8 is definitively, in the best way possible, the latter type of movie.

To its credit, it never pretends to be anything more than what it is: a breezy summer movie with eight fun antiheroines worth rooting for. I never knew that one of the things I wanted most in my short life was to see Cate Blanchett in a sparkly emerald jumpsuit. Nor did I know that I wanted to assemble my own gang of quirky, attractive, implicitly homosexual thieves to rob luxury retail stores and ruin terrible men’s lives. They just make it look so fun and easy.

But that’s also the movie’s most glaring fault.

Ocean’s 8’s central heist, its twists, and its “villain” never feel like they’re a challenge for this gang of eight. The most suspenseful and unpredictable part of the film is seeing what glorious costume your favorite actress will turn up in in next. Each obstacle they face is handled deftly and quickly, to the point where our rogues never feel like they could be in trouble or face any consequences for what they’ve done. It makes the heist, and by extension the movie, feel so light it might just float away, draped in a stylish gown.

And yet there’s a particular strain of joy to be derived from watching the fantastic Cate Blanchett buy a remote-controlled submarine and motor it around a pond in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The sooner you tap into that particular joy, the sooner you may realize that while Ocean’s 8 was never going to be the best movie of summer, it might be one of the ones you enjoy most.



Danke, liebe Boardengel, für Eure privaten Schnappschüsse. :kuss:

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Danke, Nietzsche. :kuss: Ich habe den Text dazu eingepflegt.

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Can Sandra Bullock and company pull off 'Ocean's 8'?
Bill Goodykoontz USA TODAY NETWORK
Published 1:16 p.m. UTC Jun 6, 2018

There is much to admire about “Ocean’s 8,” another take on the star-studded heist franchise, this time with a team made up of women.

Unfortunately most of what's admirable is off-screen. Of course it’s great to see so many terrific actresses working together; such a thing is long overdue. What’s not so great is the story itself, co-written by director Gary Ross and Olivia Milch.

And could someone please wake up Sandra Bullock? The movie’s almost over.

OK, that’s a bit much. But Bullock’s attempt, as heist leader Debbie Ocean, to give a measured performance as a criminal genius who can’t be shaken no matter what obstacles get in her way is so flat it barely registers.

Not that there are that many obstacles. Like the original, Frank Sinatra-led “Ocean’s 11” and the George Clooney reboots, there’s a big score to be had that requires layers of complex planning.

Too much planning, evidently. Every eventuality is so well-considered and planned for that the film has little tension or conflict. Too often it plays like a training video on how to commit the perfect crime instead of a story in which characters overcome challenges.

The film begins with Debbie Ocean getting out of prison, where she’s served five years. Her brother, Danny (Clooney's character), isn’t around, but that doesn’t matter. From nearly the second she’s released, Debbie is scheming, having spent half a decade working on the perfect crime. And it’s a big one — she wants to steal a necklace so valuable it hasn’t been seen in public for decades, and she wants to snatch it at the Met Gala, the snootier-than-though photo op for the super rich and famous.

But it will take a team. That means calling in old friend Lou (Cate Blanchett), who is hesitant to help, for about 30 seconds. That, of course, is just the start. They also recruit other women who are skilled in various forms of crime, among them Amita (Mindy Kaling), Nine Ball (Rihanna), Tammy (Sarah Paulson) and Constance (Awkwafina).

The plan is to get two-time Oscar winner and self-centered superstar Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) to wear the necklace to the Met Gala. So they enlist the help of Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), a potentially past-her-prime eccentric designer.

It’s a pretty weird film. Ross occasionally gives a clue that something might cause trouble somewhere down the line. Nah. Just keep on keeping on.

Things pick up a bit when James Corden shows up as an insurance investigator, seemingly ad-libbing his way through his work. Rihanna is interesting as the super-hacker Nine Ball, and Awkwafina and Carter have a nice sense of fun. So does Hathaway, whose snobby actress is probably the best thing about the movie.

But Bullock’s performance anchors the movie — and nearly drags it down. “Ocean’s 8” has the cast, and the cultural moment, it needs. It just doesn’t do enough with it.

Reach Goodykoontz at bill.goodykoontz@arizonarepublic.com. Facebook: facebook.com/GoodyOnFilm. Twitter: @goodyk.

'Ocean's 8,' 2.5 stars

Director: Gary Ross.

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Richard Armitage, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna.

Rating: PG-13 for language, drug use and some suggestive content.

Great ★★★★★ Good ★★★★

Fair ★★★ Bad ★★ Bomb ★

Published 1:16 p.m. UTC Jun 6, 2018


Ocean's 8 Review: A Reboot that Scores Big
Ocean's 8 makes for a refreshing and clever reboot for the Ocean's franchise. It also has scene-stealing turns by Rihanna and Anne Hathaway.

Review Delia Harrington
Jun 5, 2018

How do you make a spinoff to the wildly successful reboot of Ocean’s 11 without making the whole thing feel completely played out? Get an all-star cast, keep the intrigue, fun, and style from the original, and make everything else uniquely female. From the target and methods employed throughout to the personnel and their reasons for joining the crew, Ocean’s 8 offers refreshingly feminine perspective to this well-worn franchise that despite any early stumbles scores big.

Sandra Bullock’s Debbie Ocean, sister to (maybe?) deceased conman Danny Ocean, is released from prison and has a plan when the movie starts. In the five or so years she’s spent in the slammer, she crafted the perfect heist: steal a $150 million necklace off the neck of an unsuspecting movie star at the Met Gala. But to take the rocks from the famous Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), she needs her old partner Lou (Cate Blanchett) and five others in on the scheme. Debbie and Lou collect their crew from a jewelry store (Mindy Kaling as Amita), suburbia (Sarah Paulsen as Tammy), a three-card Monty game in Central Park (Awkwafina as Constance), a failing fashion show (Helena Bonham Carter as Rose Weil), and…well, Rihanna’s Nine Ball simply appears on Lou’s couch and proceeds to steal just about every scene she’s in.

The performances are largely as you’d expect—in addition to Rihanna’s never-ending supply of charisma, the stacked cast serves the material well. Bullock and Blanchett easily carry much of the film, and Mindy Kaling got some of the best laughs. Her combination with frequent-scene partner Helena Bonham Carter was an unexpected joy, with HBC more or less playing the straight man, for once, and with an occasional Irish brogue. Meanwhile, Hathaway was delightful as their mark, vamping it up as an exaggerated version of the worst interpretation of her public persona. She shined in a role that let her clown on herself and her industry, insinuating that she knows how she comes off, and she’s cool enough to roll her eyes at it.

Ocean’s 8 is saturated in women’s perspectives in a million tiny ways. The very concept is something Danny Ocean would never come up with—how many straight men even know what the Met Gala is? From their first con, it’s clear that Debbie and Danny have different moves, though equally fun and ingenious. Throughout the heist itself, the women use gender and all its trappings to their advantage. As Debbie Ocean says, “I don’t want a him. Not for this job. A him gets noticed and a her gets ignored. And for once, I want to be ignored.” This culminates in a knowing sequence that shows Anne Hathaway’s character is a director, leading an all-female crew. The detail of the women cinematographer, boom operator and others is an unexpected wink toward the audience. Your attention is drawn toward the lead actress, a dead ringer for Hathaway, who tosses a nice zinger her way, but it’s there, clear as day. Even for a detail that half the audience won’t notice, Ocean’s 8 has a clear point-of-view.

Sometimes, however, the references may have been too insider-y, leaving some in the dark. An early joke was predicated on knowing that La Perla is a lingerie brand. It’s tough to know if the lack of reaction was due to the joke falling flat or there simply being too few people in the audience with the necessary knowledge to get it.

The cameos from the Y Chromosome Ocean’s crew are well done, a well: light touches that move the story along, bring back a welcome face, but don’t linger too long. Oh and that long-rumored and much-petitioned Matt Damon appearance? If it happened, he was in deep cover and not listed in the credits.

The other cameos come so fast and furious that the “special thanks” section of the movie is a mile long and even includes the Winkelvy of not-founding-Facebook fame. Everyone from Alexander McQueen and Zac Posen to Katie Holmes and Olivia Munn was there. Thankfully most are confined to the red carpet (every time Kim Kardashian came on screen the audience grumbled or laughed). Other red-carpet cameos blended more seamlessly, even when they had more screen time and lines, such as a welcome Heidi Klum.

The fashion was similarly toned down, largely reserved for the red carpet, and rightfully so. The biggest reaction was for Rihanna’s Met look. She and the rest of the crew, particularly Cate Blanchett, had more iconic looks throughout the movie than the other Gala guests. Still, the best cameo may have been the queen of the Met Gala herself, Anna Wintour. Like everything else in this movie, it comes with a head-shake and a wink, somehow making her expected appearance a fun surprise.

One troubling aspect to the self-aware humor, unfortunately, is Lou and Debbie’s relationship being teased as more throughout. This is a standard issue case of frustrating queer-baiting. They refer to each other as partner and flirt continuously, even feeding one another. While we see Debbie’s past relationship with a man, we see nothing from Lou, and get no confirmation that her jealousy of that man goes beyond the professional. Would it have killed them to show at least Lou’s sexuality directly?

The series of reveals was fun, putting all the odd pieces into place for several good twists. Unlike some heist movies, Ocean’s 8 continues until well after the heist itself. But the final scene was a bit of a letdown after all of that, leaving the flick feeling so unfinished that many in the audience expected an after-credits scene (there isn’t.)

Things started off a bit slow for this updated fourth installment of the Frank Sinatra-turned-George Clooney movies, but once it gets cooking there’s plenty of laughs, a wardrobe to die for, and enough twists and turns that at least one should surprise you.



‘Ocean’s 8’ Film Review: Sandra Bullock and Her Female Crew Idle Amiably in Heist Farce

It’s all amiably slick and charming and funny, but the movie never quite kicks into high

Alonso Duralde | June 5, 2018 @ 8:59 PM
Ocean's 8

The right people have been hired, and everyone is where they’re supposed to be. That level of planning makes the heist in “Ocean’s 8” run fairly smoothly. As for the film itself, similarly curated with care, it gets the job done without ever being one for the record books.

The idea of a spin on the breezy “Ocean’s” capers featuring an all-female cast is a great one, and the crew assembled here represents an octet of terrific screen presences. So terrific, in fact, that it’s hard not to mentally leap to how great the movie could have been while it amiably spins its wheels. It’s not a waste of time, but it does feel like a wasted opportunity.

Take Sandra Bullock: as mastermind Debbie Ocean, who has spent years in jail concocting an intricate scheme to rob the annual Met Gala, she’s brilliantly deadpan in the early scenes, in which she convinces an off-screen parole board member (voiced by Griffin Dunne) that she’s through with crime and ready to work a day job and pay her bills. Soon thereafter, she’s shoplifting half of the Bergdorf Goodman makeup counter before grifting her way into a luxury hotel suite.

So far, so good. But as soon as Debbie starts assembling the rest of the team, “Ocean’s 8” relegates Bullock into the straight-man role, standing back as her fellow castmates get their moment in the spotlight. (The film does the same to Cate Blanchett, playing Debbie’s second-in-command Lou.)

And for the other six leads, those moments in the spotlight are fleeting, leaving us wanting more. Like the recent “Book Club,” “Ocean’s 8” is at its sharpest when its talented cast gets to sit down and just bounce off each other, but both films underserve those moments.

Debbie’s scheme involves the participation of a down-on-her-luck fashion designer (Helena Bonham-Carter), a hacker (Rihanna), a pickpocket (rapper Awkwafina), a jeweler (Mindy Kaling), and a thief-turned-soccer-mom (Sarah Paulson). And if major movie star Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) gets stuck in the middle of Debbie’s machinations, well, too bad for her.

(There’s also a quartet of veteran actresses who come aboard toward the end of the scheme, and in a just world, they’d get a spin-off of their own.)

The actresses dig into the material as much they’re allowed, and while the screenplay by Olivia Milch and director Gary Ross (“The Hunger Games”) doesn’t give any of them enough to do, everyone in the ensemble manages to carve out a moment or two of deft comedy, whether it’s minimalist banter or broad slapstick.

The MVP winds up being Anne Hathaway, trolling the detractors who think she’s an irritating It Girl by playing, brilliantly, an irritating It Girl. (And if you aren’t taking Hathaway seriously as an actress, go back and watch last year’s underrated “Colossal.”)

Ross — and seriously, they hired a man to direct this? — definitely nails the mechanics of the heist and its aftermath, and he and editor Juliette Welfling (“Dheepan”) keep it all breezing along, even if “Ocean’s 8” never quite delivers the danger or excitement promised by the score from Daniel Pemberton (“Molly’s Game”). (If you want a heist movie with actual stakes or suspense, skip the “Ocean’s” series and go dig up “Rififi” on FilmStruck.)

Cinematographer Eigil Bryld (“In Bruges”) gives the proceedings the high-gloss of a SkyMall catalog, which is appropriate for a movie about robbing a legendary Cartier necklace at fashion’s most exclusive event. (Zac Posen, Heidi Klum, Anna Wintour and a host of other real-life Met Gala attendees pop in to cameo as themselves.) And between the sheen and the talented performers, “Ocean’s 8” does eventually coast on froth and good will.

What it doesn’t do is live up to the big score that this crew might have pulled off under better supervision.


Film Review: ‘Ocean’s 8’
Sandra Bullock leads a heist caper that's clever enough to get by and sly enough to treat its female cast as a natural spin on the 'Ocean's' brand.

By Owen Gleiberman

Gary Ross
Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Richard Armitage, James Corden.
Release Date:
Jun 8, 2018

In “Ocean’s 8,” Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), a tough cookie who’s all raccoon eyes, ironically pursed lips, and long stringy black hair, gets paroled from prison with hardly a dollar to her name. The moment she’s on the streets of New York, she devises a way to walk out of Bergdorf Goodman with a bagful of beauty products and then walk into a luxury hotel room. Right off, we grasp the essential thing there is to know about Debbie: She’s got what it takes to take what she needs.

Debbie, of course, has larceny in her blood. She’s the kid sister of Danny Ocean, who from all apparent indications is deceased. Out of the slammer, where she has spent several years serving a sentence for fraud (which resulted from her former partner in love and crime turning evidence against her to save his own skin), Debbie wastes no time rounding up a veritable sisterhood of thieves, charlatans, hackers, and hustlers, all to pull off a heist that’s just impish and elaborate and “perfect” enough to leave the audience gratifyingly tickled.

On the scale of Rube Goldberg ingenuity, it’s not the most dizzying or outrageous heist you’ve ever seen; it doesn’t scale the rafters of high-wire insanity the way the one in “Ocean’s Eleven” did. (Then again, what has?) But it’s clever enough to get by. It leaves you with that classic head-spinning “Ocean’s” feeling of “Yep, I bought what I just saw,” even when your head stops spinning enough to tell you that what you just saw is a pleasantly preposterous mission impossible.

You could say, and you’d be right, that the concept of the heist in “Ocean’s 8” carries a distinctly feminine flavor. Debbie and her crew launch a plot to infiltrate the most fabulous New York party of the year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Gala, and to steal a legendary Cartier necklace, the Toussaint (named for the jeweler’s most fabled designer), that’s constructed out of $150 million worth of antique diamonds. The piece slips all too neatly around the neck but still looks like what it is: more than six pounds of elegant ice.

The Met Gala, an event so posh that it’s pronounced gah-la, is a star-studded cluster bash that sounds like it could have been the setting for a “Sex and the City” Cinderella fever dream. In the movie, its cachet is bolstered with cameos from the likes of Anna Wintour, Heidi Klum, and Katie Holmes, and that draped lattice of jewelry, if viewed from the proper princess angle, is certainly the stuff that dreams are made of.

Yet one of the sly jokes of “Ocean’s 8” is that the crooks in question pull off their “feminine” version of a heist not because they care (much) about the la-di-da trappings of glamour, but because they’ve got a hardened knowledge of how those trappings play out in the real world. That gives them a distinct advantage. When Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), the evening’s beaming celebrity guest of honor, who’s wearing the Toussaint necklace, is made ill by the vegan soup she’s eating and has to stumble into the ladies’ room to throw up, only to emerge without the necklace, there’s more than a bit of girls’-club wiles at work in the logistics of the deception. (They hinge on men not being allowed in the ladies’ room, which is no mere rule. It’s chivalry.) “A him gets noticed,” says Debbie. “A her gets ignored. For once, we want to be ignored.” And why not? When you’re stealing a mound of jewelry that’s worth more than Mr. Big’s portfolio, who wouldn’t use every advantage under the chandelier?

In a better world — the one that’s now arriving like a locomotive but isn’t completely here yet — the notion of doing a “gender-flipped” remake of, or sequel to, a beloved Hollywood movie wouldn’t seem innovative or audacious or a challenge to the status quo. It wouldn’t seem like anything more than the most natural thing in the world to do.

Yet two summers ago, when our moviemaking system gave the concept a walk-around-the-block tryout with the all-female remake of “Ghostbusters,” the result was an unfortunate debacle — not because the film itself was so bad (though let’s be honest: For all the wicked talent of its stars, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, it never did figure out how to do a new version of Bill Murray’s standing-outside-the-frame absurdist snark), but because the vicious hostility it inspired represented a full-scale volcanic eruption of on-line misogyny. Whatever one’s opinion of the movie, the trolling basically came down to a single toxic thought: Women have no right to be remaking “our” favorite ’80s bro comedy!

The first thing to say about “Ocean’s 8” is that it takes the bad karma that clung — unfairly — to the “Ghostbusters” remake and leaves it out in the trash. For here’s a gender-flipped sequel that not only works just fine, but renders the whole “novelty” of the concept a borderline irrelevance. A crew of women teaming up to boldly go where so many male-dominated heist teams, from “Rififi” to “The Italian Job” to the “Ocean’s” films, from “The Asphalt Jungle” to “The Town” to “Logan Lucky,” have gone before? Unless you believe that men possess some innate talent for sneakiness that women don’t, what could be more overdue? In “Ocean’s 8,” Debbie and her team come together and devise their jigsaw puzzle of a heist with an aplomb that feels as natural as it is crowd-pleasing.

That said, this is still, despite the freshness of the casting, the fourth “Ocean’s” film, and so the whole gathering-of-thieves storyline, and the sleight-of-hand fakery of the heist, doesn’t summon the rush of delighted surprise it once did. If anything, we’ve seen these sorts of movies once too often, and Gary Ross, the director and co-writer of “Ocean’s 8,” though he does a smooth job of keeping all the balls in the air, never conjures that Soderbergh sensation of taking this juggling act into the realm of gravity-defying virtuosity. The heist is fun and convincing without being dazzling, and some of the most amusing stuff in the film is just character comedy — like the deadpan joshing of Debbie and her old comrade-in-crime, Lou (Cate Blanchett), or the attempt by Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), a flaked-out ’80s relic of a fashion designer, to woo Daphne into allowing her to dress her for the Gala.

Rihanna, as a rasta-hatted hacker and surveillance wizard known as Nine Ball, and Awkwafina, as a master street grifter, both make their presence felt — they’ve got surly bravado to spare — but you wish that some of the other roles (in fact, most of them) popped a bit more. Sarah Paulson, as a cheery thief of a suburban mom, and even the great Cate Blanchett, so game for amoral games, don’t get a chance to create indelible characters. (They don’t get enough good lines.) Anne Hathaway, however, is commanding at every moment; even her red-carpet myopia has awareness.

An “Ocean’s” movie is all about the heist, to be sure, but the exhilarating beauty of “Ocean’s Eleven” is that it was a screwball buddy comedy, as well as a romantic comedy, all vibrating through the tossed-off intricacy of the robbery. “Ocean’s 8” doesn’t take wing in that way. Debbie’s motivation for the crime, apart from the prospect of getting her team members $16.5 million apiece, is to take revenge on Claude Becker (Richard Armitage), the art-gallery swell and former lover who ratted her out. “Why can’t you just do a job?” asks Lou of Debbie. “Why does there always have to be an asterisk?” But in “Ocean’s 8,” there actually isn’t enough of an asterisk. The movie goes on for a good long while after the heist is complete, and though James Corden has a scene-stealing naughty puckish glee as an insurance-fraud investigator, the vengeance plot plays out in a way that’s more action-film conventional than diabolically ingenious.

Then again, the film’s real asterisk is its gender celebration. Sandra Bullock strides through this movie with the debauched insolence of a hungry criminal who has elevated thievery into an ideology. Her Debbie doesn’t just want to be rich; she wants to be spiritually sprung, under no one’s command. “Somewhere out there,” Debbie tells her team, “there’s an 8-year-old girl dreaming of becoming a criminal. You’re doing this for her.” “Ocean’s 8” is a casually winning heist movie, no more and no less, but like countless films devoted to the exploits of cool male criminals, it lingers most — and not just for 8-year-olds — as a proudly scurrilous gallery of role models.

Film Review: 'Ocean's 8'

Reviewed at Warner Bros. Screening Room, New York, May 29, 2018. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 110 MIN.

Production: A Warner Bros. release of a Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, Smoke House Pictures prod. Producers: Steven Soderbergh, Susan Ekins. Executive producers: Diana Alvarez, Bruce Berman, Jesse Ehrman, Michael Tadross.

Crew: Director: Gary Ross. Screenplay: Gary Ross, Olivia Milch. Camera (color, widescreen): Eigil Bryld. Editor: Juliettte Welfling. Music: Daniel Pemberton.

With: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Richard Armitage, James Corden.


“Ocean’s 8” Barely Bests a Tricky Problem: How to Be Familiar and Surprising
by Alan Scherstuhl
June 6, 2018

The all-star cast of “Ocean’s 8” that includes (from left) Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Cate Blanchett, and Awkwafina gets upstaged by James Corden, but through no fault of the women. Barry Wetcher/Courtesy Warner Bros Pictures

As a British friend of mine might say, Ocean’s 8 does what it says on the tin. That’s not nothing. Here’s a clockwork heist that’s both more surprising and a touch more plausible than the previous Ocean’s films, carried out by a squad of women whose every scene together suggests a Vanity Fair cover shoot, all set at the high-fashion Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You’ve got stars, gowns, and crisp montage sequences of team building and crime planning, which are, I humbly submit, the two best subjects for Hollywood montage sequences. (Next on the list: training and makeovers.)

You want squad walks? Check. You want a low-key funky soundtrack that forever tries to suggest “Green Onions” without actually playing “Green Onions”? Coming right up. You want one scene to wipe into the next by splitting the image into thirds and then spinning them like the reels of a slot machine? Then this is the movie for you. The pleasures of Ocean’s 8 are just what you think they’ll be: Anne Hathaway, screwball-hilarious as a dim-bulb actor, but unironically radiant as she beams in a cape more grand than any supervillain’s. Or this Vogue-punk Cate Blanchett, a wicked slash in leather pants and a velour jacket who looks something like what Johnny Depp wishes he could pull off.

All that’s engaging enough that it took more than an hour of screen time — and the arrival of James Corden — before I finally understood what was missing. Surely it’s a mistake that the excitable talk-show host swans in late and then steals a movie top-lined by ringers like Sandra Bullock, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson, and Helena Bonham Carter? That he does is not the fault of the women — though it certainly doesn’t help that mastermind Debbie Ocean (Bullock) exhibits little apparent chemistry with or affection for her right-hand woman, Lou (Blanchett). Instead, it’s just that Corden is free to riff, to let his own comic metabolism dictate the pace of his scenes, while the women are forever subservient to the plotty, precision filmmaking of the franchise. They have to charm us on the fly, sketching characters and burgeoning friendships in the limited breaths they’re given between setting up all the twists and fakeouts the Ocean’s movies demand.

Simply put, the clockwork heist that Ocean’s 8 promises (and, by its end, dazzles with) limits the film’s ability to offer what you might actually want from it: the chance to relish this cast. Director Gary Ross, who also conceived of the story and co-wrote the script, prioritizes getting the pieces into place over making us care about the pieces, and as his movie bounces along it’s easy to miss the smooth, unshowy mastery of Steven “Ocean’s 11–13” Soderbergh, who usually made the piece-placing stylish fun.

Bullock’s Ocean — the sister of the suave sharpie George Clooney played in his Ocean’s movies — sets the heist in motion after years in prison, mostly just because she has a good idea for how to pull it off. A born-and-bred con artist, she dazzles in early scenes with her casual thieving from Bergdorf Goodman and her ingenious stealing of a luxe hotel room. But she’s got little compelling motivation, and her scenes with Lou, her top longtime partner in crime, have no snap to them — and no sense of shared history. Bullock is one of Hollywood’s great comic reactors, but the air is so dead between her and Blanchett that they may as well have shot their lines separately, weeks apart, for the tech team to splice together.

Bullock’s best moments come when she’s onscreen alone — when, like Corden, she can set the pace. At the start, we watch Debbie address her parole board, snowing them with tearful talk about only wanting to live the simple life. Then, when the gala rolls around, Debbie delivers a daft pep talk to her squad via their earpieces, promising them that no matter what happens their story will inspire some eight-year-old girl out there to also take up a life of crime. I admire the boldness of making our hero an unrepentant crook, someone robbing a priceless Cartier necklace mostly for the hell of it. But that choice also contributes to the sense that we’re watching trained pros — the stars and the thieves — hit their marks rather than achieve something more. Only Hathaway, playing vain and stupid and transparently needy, and Bonham Carter, playing nervous and batty, are given the few seconds it takes to register as characters rather than cogs. Both are funny, and Hathaway is transcendent, suggesting deep unhappiness and a welcome cunning beneath her movie star’s vacuousness. It’s a superb comic performance, a reminder of how much more these performers might be able to offer if Hollywood could be bothered to write them parts worth playing.

Ocean’s 8 is, like its heist, a complex whirligig with little time for distractions like fun and human emotion, the very things that spark frivolous entertainments to life. And yet I still recommend it if it looks like the kind of film you might savor. For much of its running time, it seems to offer little more than it’s obliged to, but Ross and his crooks spring welcome surprises in the final scenes, staging them with a warmth and enthusiasm that might have cheered up the rest of the film. Whether the end, a memorable party trick, fully justifies all the piece placing and mark hitting — well, that’s an individual preference. But I still can’t fathom how James Corden gets more laughs than Sandra Bullock in a Sandra Bullock movie.

Ocean’s 8
Directed by Gary Ross
Warner Bros. Pictures
Opens June 8


Ocean’s 8 Review

Ian Freer

5 Jun 2018 18:01
Last updated: 6 Jun 2018 04:59

Release date
22 Jun 2018
Ocean's Eight

Criminal Debbie Ocean (Bullock) looks to pull off the most audacious heist of her career: the diamonds worth $150 million from movie star Daphne (Hathaway). But first she needs to get together a crew.


Cate Blanchett has joked that the reason Ocean’s 8 earned its title is because there are actually only eight women working in Hollywood. But where the gender-swapped sequel to Steven Soderbergh’s early noughties crime trilogy doesn’t break from familiar heist-movie beats or raise the stakes, it more than makes up for that in cast chemistry and star power. It’s a breezy, enjoyable 110 minutes that feels human-sized in a summer of Wookiees and Indoraptors, and is all the better for that.

This time round, the action focuses on Debbie Ocean (Bullock), sister of the now deceased Danny (George Clooney). One of the film’s biggest joys is seeing Bullock playing a lead role. Just out on parole, Debbie is a career criminal — her nifty blag of cosmetics will be played out in Debenhams up and down the country — who has been planning to lift a $150 million necklace from the neck of celebrity Daphne Kluger (Hathaway on broad, movie-star bratty form) at the Met Ball for five years, eight months and 12 days. Bullock makes a believable hardened criminal without shedding her inherent likeability. She also gets to use her German ancestry to comic effect during the heist.

There isn’t a lot of time to etch rich characters, but the screenwriters smuggle in telling grace notes.

As is par for the heist-movie course, the team Debbie assembles is a motley crew of different skill sets and market-pleasing demographics. Cate Blanchett’s Lou, watering down vodka in the only nightclub to play clips from Jules Et Jim, becomes Debbie’s second-in-command. Helena Bonham Carter’s Rose is a washed-up fashion designer who scoffs Nutella from the jar and is hired to dress mark Daphne; Sarah Paulson’s Tammy is a former fence — her garage, full of washing machines and bikes, looks like behind the scenes at Argos — just trying to raise her kids in a nice house in the suburbs. Mindy Kaling’s Amita is a jewellery expert looking to get out of the clutches of her mother. Rihanna’s Nine Ball (“What’s your real name?” “Eight Ball”) is a spliff-smoking tech wizard who can hack anything, and Awkwafina’s Constance is a beanie-wearing pickpocket grifting in New York. The more numerate will have noticed this is only seven. The film has a surprise up its well-coutured sleeve.

How all these talents come together to overcome the initial hurdles is fun. Daphne’s refusal to wear the rocks, doing a 3D scan of the jewels without an online signal, and a clasp to the necklace that can only be underdone by a specific magnet all pose tricksy challenges for the group. As with Soderbergh’s Ocean’s films, there isn’t a lot of time to etch rich characters and explore relationship dynamics, but screenwriters Ross and Olivia Milch smuggle in telling grace notes — best of the bunch is Constance explaining the mysteries of dating apps to Rose. There is also a nice line in gender stereotype subversion; at one point, Debbie suggests, the group are “doing this for all the eight-year-old girls lying in bed dreaming of being criminals”.

When we get to the heist it’s an engaging mixture of unusual elements: toilet cubicles, spiked soup, Cate Blanchett in a doner kebab van and a bizarre coterie of celebrity cameos (Katie Holmes, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, various Kardashians/Jenners and the Winklevoss twins made famous by The Social Network). But what it doesn’t do is turn up the heat on its protagonists. While the heist-gone-wrong trope is cliché, Ocean’s 8’s robbery could have benefited from more jeopardy. Even when James Corden’s English insurance investigator (we know he is English because he is missing Arsenal in the Cup Final) turns up in pursuit of Debbie, the peril doesn’t really ramp up.

Gary Ross, a kind of Ron-Howard-a-like best known for Pleasantville, Seabiscuit and the first Hunger Games movie, mixes ’60s style (split screen, funky scene transitions, Daniel Pemberton’s groovy score) with a more ’70s vibe (it’s zoom lens a go-go) but doesn’t bring the loosey-goosey flair of Soderbergh.

But there’s lots to like, most of it coming from its movie star ensemble. Blanchett is cool personified, Paulson probably has the most to do (she has a run-in with Vogue editor Anna Wintour cooing over Roger Federer), Awkwafina is a lively presence, and Rihanna effortlessly erases the memory of Battleship. By the time they are strutting in full Met Gala finery to These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, it’s hard not to root for them. There is something refreshing about seeing a group of women thrive on their wits, guile, smarts, cunning, proficiency and chutzpah rather than sex. It’s just a shame they weren’t tested even further. They could have handled it.

Plot-wise Ocean’s 8 cleaves closely to the tenets of Heist Movie Lore but does little to enliven or tweak the formula. It lacks the jazzy swagger of Soderbergh’s trio but delivers a fun, likeable romp built on the charm and charisma of its cast.


Review: Ocean's 8 struggles to capture energy of the originals
6 Jun, 2018 4:00pm

By: Tom Augustine

The Ocean's films of the noughties have routinely been marketed and thought of as men's stories. Sure the occasional superstar actress cropped up, but their point-of-view has always been strictly through the eyes of suave men doing suave things, suavely.

Following the dispiritingly controversial trend of gender-flipping male-oriented narratives, from the all-women Ghostbusters reboot or Bridesmaids and Girl's Trip being modelled off The Hangover, we come to the latest experiment with Ocean's 8.

It's a direct sequel to the noughties Ocean's Trilogy, with a few twists and turns directly relating to the narrative of that original story - along with some welcome cameos.

Sandra Bullock is Debbie Ocean — sister of George Clooney's Danny — a convict just-released when she decides to enact a five-years-in-the-making plan to steal an enormous diamond necklace off the neck of a superstar actress (Anne Hathaway, stealing every scene she's in) at New York's glitzy Met Gala.

Naturally, she needs a team.

What follows is a surface-level recreation of what was fondly remembered about both the original Ocean's series and Frank Sinatra's 60's version — exceptionally glamorous celebrities having a whole lot of fun and pulling off a labyrinthine scheme.

For the most part, Ocean's 8 rollicks along on wheels, assembling a team of cool, kooky characters (including Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling and highlight Awkwafina as a crafty pickpocket), and laying out in methodical but enjoyably snappy fashion the whirling gears that comprise that perfect heist.

The set-up drags a little, as does the film's denouement, but when the action starts, it's thrilling.

The cast has crackling chemistry, and bounce off each other with that same sense of fun Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts had back in the day.

What keeps Ocean's 8 from transcending above the line of serviceable, however, is a lack of strong directorial vision. Veteran director Gary Ross (The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit) is at the helm here, and while he's a perfectly solid filmmaker, he lacks the whizz-bang invention and verve of master filmmaker Steven Soderbergh, who managed to find the most interesting, fizzing way to shoot even the most thinly written sequences. His direction elevated the original trilogy from the staid 'superstar hangout' movie into something intoxicatingly fresh, particularly in trilogy highlight and cult-favourite Ocean's Twelve.

Ross' direction too often puts all the weight on the backs of his stars, with his camera aping Soderbergh's whips and zooms and pans but never capturing that same whirling energy.

What results is something entirely enjoyable and worthy, but one can't help but wonder what a stronger vision behind the camera may have produced.

Director: Gary Ross
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna
Rating: M
Verdict: Frothy and fun, aided by a game cast having the time of their lives


It's an all female cast and they're off to the ball in the rollicking Ocean's 8
By Sandra Hall
Updated6 June 2018 — 3:09pmfirst published at 2:00pm

OCEAN'S 8 ★★★½

(M) General release (110 minutes)

In the Ocean's series of heist movies, Danny Ocean and his gang adopted a modified version of the Robin Hood principle. They robbed from the rich but any idea of giving to the poor stopped at their own wallets.

A complex heist is carried at the Met Gala by eight women who are also professional thieves.

With Ocean's 8, Danny is out of the picture and the mantle has been passed to his sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock), who's just served five years in gaol for fraud, having used her time inside to plan a robbery that is supposed to rival her brother's work at its most baroque, and, in line with the times, she's recruited an all-female crew.

I doubt that this gender switch is going to cause the series' most avid fans to react with the indignation that Ghostbusters die-hards displayed when that film's all-woman remake appeared. But if so, so what. Director Gary Ross (The Hunger Games), who's taken over from Steven Soderbergh, has kept things cool and dry and the banter flows just as smoothly. The camera work glides along to the rhythms of a soundtrack filled with pop hits and the centrepiece is a jewel heist staged at New York's classiest party, the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Ball.

To add a little more piquancy to the inside jokes that embellish the script, one of the gang is played by Rihanna, who headlined the event in 2016 when Andrew Rossi anatomised it in his documentary, The First Monday in May.

Ross filmed much of Ocean's 8 inside the Met and the ball's mastermind, Anna Wintour makes a couple of appearances. A known tennis obsessive, she's shown in one scene at her laptop, taking time out to watch her favourite player, Roger Federer, at work.

In keeping with its setting, it's a film high on fashion, some of it satirical. In that spirit, the costume department gleefully exploits Helena Bonham Carter's willingness to wear anything, the more outlandish the better, by enveloping her in an assortment of layered garments topped with funny hats. She's cast as Rose Weil, a dress designer who joins the gang because she's desperately in need of a cash infusion, and Cate Blanchett is here, too, playing Debbie's chief lieutenant. She scores the most glamorous wardrobe, heavy on leather, leopard prints and bling. And she gets to ride a motorcycle.

Ironically, the most straight-faced member of the group is Bullock. As the mastermind of the scheme, she can't go pratfalling all over the screen, but she can afford a smile or two. As it is, her extreme degree of coolness gives her all the charm of an ice-pick.

As with most heist movies, much of the fun is in the planning and the hiring. A jeweller, a fence, a hacker and a con artist adept at sleight-of-hand complete the gang, who have a multimillion-dollar diamond necklace from Cartier in their sights. It will be worn to the ball by Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), a movie star who's been inveigled into accepting a dress designed by Rose.

From this point, it's all in the timing and the deployment, with more sleight-of-hand displayed in glossing over the script's many improbabilities. You go along with it because the group generates a strong sense of camaraderie - indispensable to any successful heist movie with a comic tilt to it - and because the pace never falters. And there are enough ingenious touches in the details that power the scheme to convey the temporary illusion that there's a trace of logic attached to it.

They're the same elements that launched the series in 1960 when it was conceived as a showcase for the macho spirit of Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack. It's a durable formula, as well as an adaptable one. And this time the climax is played out amid the glories of the Met's Temple of Dendur, where the ball is held. Here, the choreography of the scam is almost upstaged by the gang's costume changes. They're spectacular. At least their effect is. How they're achieved is another question that goes unanswered. The whole film is a con trick, but a good one.


Anne Hathaway Steals ‘Ocean’s 8.’ If Only the Rest Was as Much Fun.

There’s no denying the pleasure of seeing Hathaway, Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and Rihanna share the screen. They’re so good together you even forgive the film’s biggest sins.

Kevin Fallon
06.06.18 12:01 AM ET

For a proper heist to be pulled off successfully, every element must be executed flawlessly. We know that much from watching, well, the Ocean movies, Steven Soderbergh’s jazzy-sexy crime trilogy from the turn of the millennium.

The women in the Ocean’s 8 all-female spinoff of the popular George Clooney-Matt Damon movie-star bonanza rise to their replacement positions gamely, injecting their caper with the flair, showmanship, and mischief you’d expect from the blinding constellation of stars: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and Rihanna among them. In fact, they’re so game and so assured in their slick superstardom that the heist—and the movie—work despite some baffling, near-disastrous hiccups in the plan.

Watch the buzzy trailer that debuted earlier this year and look at that dream of a cast list—Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson, a scene-stealing James Corden—and it becomes almost inexcusable how lethargic the film’s direction and editing is—the director and co-writer this time is Gary Ross (Hunger Games, Seabiscuit)—and how convoluted and energy-zapped the robbery itself is. But, for our money—and, honestly, we would gladly be burgled for any amount if it meant getting these ladies on screen together—it’s a downright magical performance by Anne Hathaway that rescues the film from its sleepiness and makes off with all the jewels.

It’s tempting to say that Hathaway is the best she’s been in years, playing a petulant movie star desperate for attention, but that would frankly be ludicrous. We won’t re-litigate the misogynist dissection of Hathaway’s public-facing personality that suffocated all the joy out of her Les Miserables awards run in 2013. But there was something about that unholy mess of a media cycle that had the effect of dismissing her talents. She’s since proven herself as skilled at selling the broad (The Intern) as well as the nuanced and strange (Colossal), and Ocean’s 8 unexpectedly demands both of her.

She plays the fantastically named Daphne Kluger, the film’s fictional It Starlet, calibrating a triumph of actress-y camp that hammers every hilarious note on its way to, without spoiling much, a shaded portrait of a woman far more aware of how society views her than others—and the Ocean’s 8 audience—give her credit for. The added meta layer of it being Hathaway who carries that arc should trigger a well-timed guilt complex: We keep underestimating and making false assumptions about women. Perennially, it’s crass. Increasingly, it’s to our own peril.

The film kicks off with Sandra Bullock’s Debbie Ocean, sister to Clooney’s Danny Ocean, a fellow convict being released from prison on account of good behavior. She wastes no time returning to the family business, shoplifting through Bergdorf’s and conning her way into a new hotel room and wardrobe before reuniting with her former partner-in-crime, Cate Blanchett’s Lou. Blanchett manifests what could only have been her character description: “the most intimidatingly cool person any of us will ever meet; owns many fabulous coats.”

No one would accuse this script of being a master class in character development, so we’ll just skip to the part where Debbie starts assembling her team of crime Avengers. You’ll likely end up twiddling your thumbs waiting for the film to get there, too.

There’s Mindy Kaling’s Amita, an expert jeweler from Queens desperate to escape her overbearing mother. Sarah Paulson’s Tammy is a suburban housewife with an unexpected knack for fencing stolen goods. Breakout star Awkwafina is Constance, an ace pick-pocket, and Rihanna’s Nine Ball is a hacker extraordinaire.

Completing the team is Helena Bonham Carter’s Rose Weil, a washed-up Irish fashion designer who owes the IRS $5 million in back taxes, and who is the key to the whole plan. The women are going to rob the annual Met Gala. Rather, they’re going to conduct a robbery at the Met Gala. The plan is to convince Hathaway’s Daphne Kluger to hire Bonham Carter’s Rose Weil to design her gown and then trick Cartier into loaning Daphne a rare $150 million diamond necklace for the event—which the team will then lift right from her neck.

This all sounds like a blast: Bullock! Blanchett! Rihanna hacking a security system while smoking a fat joint! The Met Gala!!! But the film never accelerates to the breakneck speed at which Soderbergh’s films moved, nor to what's necessary to ascend to the level of that plot description. An air of playfulness is confusingly missing from the screenplay.

Thankfully, when you cast these actresses, who don’t just know their way around a performance but also around the mood a film should give off, you make up for that in spades.

There’s an assuredness in their character turns from the top down, starting with Bullock’s Debbie Ocean. It’s a role that the Oscar-winner could play in her sleep, making it all the more delightful that she zaps it with such shrewd vitality. Debbie is a ballbuster with Teflon confidence in her ability to do what she is good at, and she is damn good at stealing.

She landed in jail because she was betrayed by someone she thought loved her, not because she wasn’t a boss at her job. That unquestioned competence is something perennially delightful to see onscreen, but especially in 2018, even if that job involves robbery. The Sandra Bullock Stare of Confidence, a face-off she has with multiple characters in the movie who dare doubt her, is the film’s most explosive special effect.

For all the ways in which Hathaway underlines why she’s a goddamn star, people, Awkwafina is a revelation. The Queens-born rapper-actress is the least-known of the fantasy cast, but still commands her light in the spillover of all their star power, delivering some of the best line readings of the movie.

Hathaway and Bonham Carter have an extended physical comedy bit so skilled, kooky, and charming that you wonder why it’s still such a novel idea to have actresses as proven as they are in films together doing extended physical comedy bits! At one point Kaling and Awkwafina share a bonding scene, and you’re first struck by how sweet and well-played it is, and then by how meaningful it is to have these two minority actresses in a scene together at all in a studio film.

There is a slew of celebrity cameos, some baffling but endearing (Katie Holmes? Dakota Fanning? All right!) and some wasted (spot-the-Kardashian isn’t nearly as fun as you’d think). Timely quips about Russia and journalists will tickle audiences. As a critic, however, we found ourselves not so much laughing throughout the film as we were breathing sighs of relief.

We remember what happened the last time a gender-flipped take on a popular franchise was attempted. The reaction to and ultimate failure of the all-female Ghostbusters reboot is the kind of bananas pop culture fever dream we still can’t quite wrap our heads around, but which still served as a cautionary tale for this Ocean’s 8 experiment. If this didn’t work, would anyone take a chance on an all-female studio tentpole again? We have our quibbles with it, but the sheer event of it all is still worth the price of ticket alone. Dear god, make more of these!

When the film’s premise was announced, there were those who wondered why an Ocean’s film starring women had to center on diamonds and fashion instead of something less stereotypically gendered, and the answer is quite simply that diamonds and fashion are effing cool. Did anyone dumping on the decision to parade these actresses in breathtaking ball gowns also criticize the budget devoted to George Clooney’s bespoke designer suits in the last franchise?

That the film embraces its femininity while making a loud statement about the ways in which Hollywood dismisses female power is actually transgressive in its own right. By all accounts on the press tour, the actresses involved had a blast with the fashion, which is a boon for Ocean’s 8 in a way that so many movies and filmmakers ignore: A good time is contagious!

There’s a line midway through the film that might just serve not only as the movie’s thesis, but maybe its broader cultural mission statement—and, let’s face it, this movie’s entire inception, execution, and ultimate critical and audience reaction is inextricable from a political statement it hopes to make.

Bullock’s Debbie Ocean is explaining to Blanchett’s Lou why she doesn’t want a man on the team when they attempt their Met Gala heist. “A Him gets noticed, a Her gets ignored,” she says. “For once we want to be ignored.”

With that, Ocean’s 8 makes the case for why we should all be paying attention—and buying tickets.


Movie Review / 5 Jun 2018
Ocean's 8 Review

The franchise continues with a new all-star female cast, an entertaining heist, and more depth than any other installment in the series.

By William Bibbiani The slick and sophisticated world of ultra-complicated criminality continues to expand in Ocean’s 8, a satisfying spin-off of the hit Ocean’s 11 franchise with an all-star cast of amazing women, including Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina and Sarah Paulson.

It’s as impressive an all-star lineup as any heist movie ever had, and just like all the other entries in the Ocean’s franchise, a big part of the appeal is just watching these stars hang out together, plotting the heist and commiserating about their problems. Ocean’s 8 makes great use of the entire cast’s talents, giving everyone laugh-out-loud and victorious moments as they scheme to steal the world’s most valuable diamond necklace from the prestigious Met Gala in New York City.

Sandra Bullock stars as Debbie Ocean, the sister of Danny Ocean (played in the previous films by George Clooney). She’s spent the last few years in prison, plotting an elaborate robbery that will require seven - yes, seven - highly skilled thieves to pull off correctly. She reunites with her old partner, Lou (Blanchett), and assembles a small army of jewelry experts, fashion designers, sleight of hand artists, computer hackers and single-mom highway robbers to infiltrate the exclusive publicity event and manipulate the egotistical superstar Daphne Kluger (Hathaway) into being their unwitting stooge.

Like the other Ocean’s movies, Ocean’s 8 is stylish and appealing, but exceptionally low on stakes. No one’s life is in serious danger, and just before the heist begins, Debbie even goes out of her way to tell the rest of the team that prison isn’t nearly as bad as advertised. And of course, this isn’t the kind of crime movie where all the criminals turn on each other and it ends in a violent bloodbath. The audience knows early on that everything’s going to turn out fine, making Ocean’s 8 - again, just like all the Ocean's movies - less suspenseful than many other heist films.

But that isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. The Ocean’s movies aren’t so much about the heists as they are about making the impossible look easy. Steven Soderbergh’s movies used that breezy charm for light escapism, and that was effective enough for light entertainment. Gary Ross’s film transforms that confidence into something inspirational. Taking the franchise away from the original proprietors who treated it like a lark, and giving it, instead, to female actors who don’t typically get these types of roles has undeniable significance that the characters themselves acknowledge.

“Somewhere out there is an eight-year-old girl lying in bed, dreaming of being a criminal,” Debbie Ocean tells her team. “Let’s do this for her.” And so they do. The cast and crew of Ocean’s 8 - in the film and behind he cameras - pull off an impressively entertaining heist, with all the reversals and humor and prestige we’ve come to expect from this franchise, along with additional layers that make the film truly distinctive.

Setting the heist at the Met Gala isn’t a coincidence: Ocean’s 8 also delivers sharp commentary about celebrity culture. The crew manipulates gossip columns for their own personal gain, commiserates about the scathing reviews that hurt one of their troupe’s feelings, and respond with disgust when they are mistaken for - shudder - journalists. Ocean’s 8 gives its characters the power to challenge, subvert and take total advantage of expectations, and come out victorious on the other end. And it's that kind of thoughtfulness that separates Ocean's from other heist movies, and elevates it above the usual summer entertainment pabulum.

The Verdict

Ocean’s 8 is the most satisfying installment in the franchise. The all-star cast is impeccable, the shift in focus yields sharp insights, and the heist itself is wily and enjoyable. What the film lacks in suspense it makes up for in style, and that style has undeniable substance.



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Ocean's 8 Review: Coats, Cartier & Real Female Friendships — What's Not To Love?
Anne Cohen
June 6, 2018, 6:05 AM

Warning: This review contains mild spoilers for Ocean’s 8.

In the early planning stages of Ocean’s 8’s epic Met Gala heist, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) explains her reasoning for an all-woman crew: “A him gets noticed. A her gets ignored. And for once, we’d like to be ignored.”
The line, from Gary Ross’ and Olivia Milch’s script, is a simple plot exposition device, but one that’s heavy in meaning. I don’t remember Danny Ocean (George Clooney) ever pulling Rusty (Brad Pitt) aside to justify his decision to gather a group of male friends to rob three casinos. Why would he? What was the height of normalcy for one becomes a central plot point for the other. And yet, the beauty of Ocean’s 8 is how it manages to transcend its status as “the female Ocean’s 11,” delivering a bold, funny and joyous crime caper that gives its predecessor a run for its money.
Female-led blockbusters are still rare enough as to be held to a higher standard than their male counterparts. There’s a much bigger pressure to get it right, and maybe for that reason, there’s still a sense of immense relief when a movie like Ocean’s 8 is good. It’s one more notch to add to a growing number of examples that prove that stories about women aren’t just worthy, they’re profitable. That’s a feeling that we perhaps need to get away from in order to move the conversation about women in film forward, but in this case, I think there’s something else to consider: There’s also a feeling of catharsis that comes from the sheer exhilaration of seeing eight women working together, honing their craft at the highest level, and doing it with style.
Still, it would be unfair to weigh down Ocean’s 8, which is ultimately a fun heist movie, with too much symbolism. We first meet Debbie just as we did her brother Danny (who has since passed away under mysterious circumstances): in the middle of a con. The target is the parole board of the prison she's called home for the last five years, eight months and 12 days — just about how long it takes to plan the perfect heist.
Her first act out of prison (after stealing some truly fabulous clothes and makeup and setting up shop in a suite overlooking Central Park, a masterclass in Anna Delvey-level grifting) is to assemble a crew, and that starts with Lou (Cate Blanchett), Debbie's former partner, who’s been toying with a semi-legitimate life as a club-owner who serves watered down vodka to yuppies.
It’s hard to resist comparing the plot of Ocean’s 8 to Ocean’s 11 because, quite honestly, the two mirror each other. Like Brad Pitt’s Rusty, it takes some convincing to get Lou on board with the scope of what Debbie has in mind: robbing a Cartier diamond necklace worth $150 million dollars right off It Girl Daphne Kluger’s (Anne Hathaway) neck in the middle of the iconic Met Gala.
Once she gives the go-ahead, though, it’s game on. The “getting the crew together” part of the heist movie is always my personal favorite, and this one doesn’t disappoint. In rapid succession, we meet: Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), a failed designer who owes millions to the IRS but whose personal connection to Anna Wintour ensures that she would be a credible choice to dress Kugler for the Met Gala; Nine Ball (Rihanna), an intensely chill Bajan hacker armed with a cue ball mouse; Amita (Mindy Kaling), a diamond expert who desperately wants a way out from her family-owned business in Jackson Heights, Queens; Tammy (Sarah Paulson), a seemingly ordinary suburban mother of two who staves off boredom by stealing massive quantities of homegoods and storing them in her garage; and Constance (Awkwafina), a petty thief from Queens whose wry wit and enthusiasm keep the whole thing grounded in a kind of awestruck reality.
You’ll notice that list only makes it to seven. The how and why of how eight comes along is revealed later in the game, and I’ll let you experience it for yourself.
It’s a testament to director Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games) that Ocean’s 8 doesn’t just slide by on its A-list casting, which initially felt more like a badass concept than a real movie. Sandra Bullock does the impossible in making us believe that George Clooney really does have a sibling, and she’s just as famous and charming as he is. Cate Blanchett is just the definition of cool, always and forever. But the major standouts are Rihanna, Awkwafina and Anne Hathaway, who all deliver memorable performances in roles that could have been one-dimensional for expediency’s sake.
Hathaway playing a snobby, fame-obsessed socialite is something I never thought I needed, and yet here we are. (Her delivery of: “Am I being rude?” is something I haven’t been able to get out of my head since I saw the film two weeks ago.) We would have cheered for Rihanna no matter what, but her performance is both funny and authentic, and her willingness to go against type is refreshing. (I mean, the actual queen of the Met Gala spends the whole night in a halal cart!) Awkwafina’s charm is similar to Tom Holland’s as Spider-Man — she’s just so excited to be part of this! And unlike, Shaobo Qin, who, as Yen in the previous Ocean’s films, falls into all sort of problematic stereotypes (his Chinese identity is played for laughs throughout), her defining characteristic is not that she’s Asian-American.
Still, I wish that we could have learned more about each woman’s motivations and backstory beyond just their purpose in the con. I left the theater wanting more from each one of them, even as I enjoyed the overall effect. And while it makes sense that the film would want to tie in narratively with the Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy, it relies a little too heavily on our understanding of those movies’ plot conventions for its own good.
If they pull it off, each participant will walk away with a clean $16.5 million — not a bad reason to engage in a life of crime. But that’s only part of what makes the size of the job so exciting; unspoken is the simple fact that we don’t often get to see a group of women excelling in their chosen careers, and reveling in each other’s success — even if it happens to involve grand theft.
“Why do you need to do this?” Lou asks Debbie before signing on for the job. “Because it’s what I’m good at,” she answers with a smile.
It’s something Danny would have said — but what would have come off as boisterous swagger from the mouths of men rings as an anthem when spoken by women, especially to an audience who have spent a rough year coming to terms with some very harsh realities.
Of course, Ocean’s 8 isn’t a direct response to the #MeToo movement, or the Time’s Up initiative. The project was first announced back in 2015, and was in production long before the New York Times broke its first story about the allegations against Harvey Weinstein in October 2017. But it’s impossible to experience Ocean’s 8 in 2018 in a vacuum. Especially when you consider that, as an added bonus to walking away with enough money to fund a lifetime of Veuve Cliquot and furs, Debbie has found a way to exact revenge on her smarmy, asshole art gallery curator ex-boyfriend, Claude Becker (Richard Armitage), the man responsible for landing her in jail in the first place.

Danny wanted his ex (Julia Roberts) back; Debbie just wants hers to suffer. That small twist feels deeply in line with how many women feel right now, and contributes to making Ocean’s 8 feel both universally appealing in its adventure-driven plot, but very distinctly female in its approach to it. In other words, it's a movie about women that should and can appeal to everyone.
The internet has already built up a shrine to costume designer Sarah Edward’s choice of coats, and the rest of the clothes follow in that same, glorious path. It seems like such a small detail when you think of it, but the fact that each character sports a different cut of jean (raw-hemmed, cropped flare, culottes) suggests an attention to detail from someone who wants women to feel represented on screen — even sartorially.
What’s more, far from being weighed down by an astonishing amount of celebrity cameos (Katie Holmes! Dakota Fanning! Kim Kardashian! Olivia Munn!), the film shows restraint in not giving into the urge to bring back any of the main Ocean’s 11 cast to wink at us and steal the show. Because as Lou warns Debbie, there’s really nothing worse than a con within a con.
In the eight days leading up to this summer's first women-led blockbuster, we're spilling everything you want to know about it — from Rihanna playing a hacker to the great Met Gala heist.


The caper comedy
Oceans 8 is more knock off than spin off

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

Abelated spin-off of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s caper comedies (minus the earlier films’ wit, chemistry, and style), Ocean’s 8 could learn a thing or two about brevity and craft: It belabors the basic plot points Ocean’s 11 dispatched with a single cut or smirk, the result a hacky imitation of the series’ glitzy pizzazz. The first of the Soderbergh films, a loose remake of an old Rat Pack vehicle, is an eminently re-watchable heist flick, with George Clooney as Danny Ocean, the gentleman con who assembles a stellar supporting cast to rob three casinos owned by his ex-wife’s new guy; it’s zingy, clever, and even poignant, with Las Vegas as a perfect backdrop for its misdirection, showmanship, and high stakes. To some extent, it’s a movie about taking the studio’s money: the ringleader as director alter ego, drawing obvious parallels between the magic act of the heist and the craft of the film. Directed and co-written by Gary Ross (The Hunger Games, Free State Of Jones), Ocean’s 8 feels impersonal in contrast, squandering some capable actors and a potentially fruitful setting—Manhattan’s star-studded annual Met Gala, deep in the world of art, haute couture, and their associated deceptions—on a caper with no suspense, internal tension, or stakes.

Ocean's 8

Gary Ross

110 minutes


English, German, French

Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson, Richard Armitage, James Corden

Theaters everywhere June 8

A bald, plodding rehash of the first movie’s opening scenes introduces Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, the heretofore unmentioned scam-artist sister of the reportedly deceased Danny. Framed by her slimy art-dealer ex, Claude (Richard Armitage), she’s spent the last five years behind bars, plotting a heist of her own: to steal the Toussaint, a $150 million Cartier diamond necklace. With the help of her best friend and partner-in-crime, Lou (Cate Blanchett), she assembles a ragtag crew: Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), a démodé fashion designer who owes millions in back taxes to the IRS; Tammy (Sarah Paulson), a suburban homemaker with a long rap sheet; Constance (Awkwafina), a skateboarding pickpocket; Amita (Mindy Kaling), a jeweler; Nine Ball (Rihanna), a hacker. The unofficial eighth member of their team is an unwitting accomplice: the glamorous and self-obsessed movie star Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), the honorary chair of this year’s Met Gala, whose celebrity status will convince the French snoots at Cartier to lend the Toussaint out for one night from the vault where it’s been kept for half a century.

Per the formula, Ocean’s 8 only reveals the exact scope of the plan after it’s in motion; all we know for sure is that it involves manipulating Daphne into borrowing the Toussaint for the Gala, switching it out with a fake, and possibly exacting revenge on Claude. (However, considering that their preparations for the big night involve cracking the Met’s security and infiltrating the catering company, the red carpet, and the offices of Vogue, they might as well steal the whole museum while they’re at it.) What’s missing (among other things) is an angle, some way of relating the audience’s point of view to the perpetration of the heist. Apart from a fun early sequence in which Debbie swindles her way into a new wardrobe and a luxury hotel suite, Ocean’s 8 rarely locates the pleasure in the crime, and its airless genre mechanics are done no favor by Ross’ undexterous direction, which often leaves the movie coasting on star power. Lacking his predecessor’s panache, he occasionally overcompensates with Venetian-blind transitions that are more vacation-video than kitsch-cool.

The all-female team is smaller than in the previous Ocean’s films, but many of the characters are indistinct and inconsistent, and the Gala heist itself is confused and repetitive. Somehow, it involves three different trips to the bathroom—an accidental bit of symbolism in a protracted climax that strains to keep its audience’s attention. As in the earlier movies, the plot is filled with self-reflections, but they’re mostly unflattering: the counterfeit diamonds; Debbie’s visits to her brother’s grave; the third-act introduction of an insurance company employee (James Corden), flown in to provide comic relief in a film that is already supposed to be a comedy. Instead of a diversion, it offers distractions.


Die Rezensentin der NY Times mag die Claude-Becker-Story nicht:

Review: ‘Ocean’s 8’ Women Walk Away With a Male Franchise. Sort Of.

Ocean's 8
Directed by Gary Ross
Action, Comedy, Crime, Thriller
1h 50m

By Manohla Dargis

June 5, 2018

The party gets started early in “Ocean’s 8,” a frothy female-driven caper. Stuffed with talented, beautiful women playing naughty, this is the latest addition to the cycle that was once about an improbably suave thief, Danny Ocean (George Clooney), and his mostly male band of charming accomplices. Danny is now out of the picture, and Sandra Bullock has stepped in to play his sister, Debbie Ocean, who’s soon overseeing her own con with a knowing smile and the usual suspects, including a partner in crime, a hacker, a pickpocket and a distraction, played with fizz and delectable timing by Anne Hathaway.

Like every sequel, the whole thing is familiar yet different enough. It opens much like “Ocean’s Eleven,” Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 series relaunch, with Debbie finishing a prison stretch and strolling into freedom in heels, camera-ready makeup and the kind of bed-head hair that takes a village of Vidal Sassoons. (Danny swanned out in a tux, equally buffed to a high sheen.) After flaunting her skills — she liberates a suitcase from its owner and demonstrates how to book into a fancy hotel gratis — Debbie winds the story’s clockwork, setting it whirring. She reaches out to her bestie, Lou (Cate Blanchett), an iteration on Brad Pitt’s old “Ocean’s” wingman — and we’re off.

The 2001 “Ocean’s” was a redo of a 1960 heist film with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin set in Vegas, amid the neon and ring-a-ding nonsense. It’s a lead soap bubble of a movie, a nostalgia item that’s memorable only for its Rat Pack stars, who seemed to have made it between martinis and rounds of golf. It’s best enjoyed as a relic of Playboy-era masculinity, with Angie Dickinson and assorted disposable women floating in and out like moths. Mr. Soderbergh’s remake, as well as his two follow-ups, greatly improved on the original and added a few substantive female characters. The new movie changes things up with its all-female gang that includes Mindy Kaling and an underused Rihanna.

Plenty of movies have all or nearly all-male casts, including war and combat films, and manly teams have long been called to duty in heist stories and impossible missions à la “Dirty Dozen.” Women sometimes play a role in these stories (if only as a photo tucked in a G.I.’s helmet), but often remain sidelined or absent. There have also been all-female movies, of course, including the 1939 comedy “The Women,” in which men, though physically absent, remain the subject of obsessive female interest. Men often hover in these female-dominated realms, perhaps because the men (and women) who make these movies can’t imagine taking them out of the picture.

That’s the case in “Ocean’s 8,” which includes an irritating subplot involving a very bad former lover. It’s needless narrative filler; worse, it dilutes the purity of the women’s work, their screen mission as it were. Part of the appeal of the “Ocean’s” movies is that their characters are excellent at their jobs, at slipping watches off wrists, cash out of vaults and all the irresistible, disreputable rest. Like the earlier movies, this one hews to the series doctrine that larceny is America’s favorite pastime. Here, as before, theft is a sexy calling and a near obligation, a service that the beautiful and the cool provide as they steal from the greedier, stupider and far less deserving.

The bad ex angle isn’t worked too hard or too long, but it means that even when women are running a multimillion-dollar con they have to make room for guy troubles, which is a drag. Most of the heists in the “Ocean’s” series involve Vegas casinos; the booty here is a Cartier chandelier of a necklace that’s being taken out of the vault for the Met Gala. Hence the peekaboo shots of the Vogue editor Anna Wintour, as well as of boldface names (Serena Williams, Katie Holmes) and swoony close-ups of gowns and gems. A lot of this is fun to watch but would have been more breezily enjoyable if the movie played as lightly (and seriously) with gender as much as it does with genre.

Directed by Gary Ross, who machined the script together with Olivia Milch (and the uncredited help of anyone who’s ever written a caper flick), the movie goes down relatively easy despite these nits. At some point between the first and second hours, though, you may find yourself wishing that Mr. Soderbergh — a producer here — had also directed “Ocean’s 8.” Its cast aside, the movie sounds and narratively unwinds like the previous installments, but without the same easy snap or visual allure. As a director, Mr. Soderbergh doesn’t throw the camera around, but one of the pleasures of his movies is a commitment to beauty as a cinematic end. Here, the actresses carry that burden.

The relaxed Ms. Bullock seems awfully pleased to be on call, but she never takes full possession of the role of Debbie Ocean, who’s meant to be satiny smooth. Part of what makes Sandra Bullock Sandra Bullock is seeing her characters sweat — no matter how shrewd or innocent, bungling or smooth — whether she’s doing hard labor or merely dewy from the effort of being alive. She’s an ace Everywoman, the star with that ineluctable something who also feels like best-friend material, the sort you can weep, laugh and close the bar down with, and who makes it easy to wake up the next morning feeling faintly optimistic about the new day.

On backup, Ms. Blanchett keeps her performance low-key and cool, wrapping her character in just enough mystery to keep you transfixed. (The costume department does its share with animal prints and biker wear.) The rest of the women — Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson and Awkwafina — have one or two moments, but the movie is more or less the Sandy and Cate show until Ms. Hathaway fires up her smile and turns the part of a clichéd Hollywood female narcissist into a disquisition on performative femininity. It’s a role that presumably all the women in “Ocean’s 8” know well but that only Ms. Hathaway gets to turn into blissful, slyly political comedy gold.



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In Sachen Box Office läuft O8 richtig gut, wie Richard und Michelle getweetet haben:



Und Michelle gratuliert mit speziellem Sondergruß:



Box Office: ‘Ocean’s 8’ Gets Away With $41.5 Million Opening
By Rebecca Rubin
Rebecca Rubin

The ladies of “Ocean’s 8” pulled off a solid debut at the North American box office, swiping the crown from a recent string of tentpoles.

The gender-bending heist film opened to $41.5 million from 4,145 locations — a series best for the “Ocean’s” franchise. Overseas, it launched with $12.2 million for a global start of $53.7 million. Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures co-financed the spin-off, which cost $70 million.

Jeff Goldstein, head of domestic distribution at Warner Bros., says the strong bow is thanks to counter-programming against “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and “Deadpool 2.”

“We exceeded our expectations,” Goldstein said. “There’s always been a lack of movies [female-led projects]. I’m glad audiences enjoyed it as much as we did.”

Women and older moviegoers bolstered numbers. Females accounted for 69% of audiences, while 69% were over the age of 25. “Ocean’s 8” currently has a B+ CinemaScore and 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The spin-off marks over a decade since Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s” trilogy with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon graced the big screen. “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Ocean’s Twelve,” and “Ocean’s Thirteen,” which released between 2001 and 2007, each bowed between $36 million and $39 million, not adjusted for inflation. Adjusted for inflation, that range climbs to $48 million and $61 million.

“Ocean’s 8” represents a solid return for its star, Sandra Bullock. Her latest on-screen role was in 2015 with “Our Brand Is Crisis,” which bombed with a $3 million opening and grossed only $7 million worldwide. Prior to that, Bullock starred in the critically acclaimed sci-fi thriller “Gravity,” which landed her an Oscar nom. The film opened to $55.7 million and went on to make $274 domestically and $723 million worldwide.

Bullock has long been a box office draw. As of March 2017, the animated global hit “Minions” is her highest grossing film. She voiced the supervillain in the franchise-starter, which earned over $1.1 billion worldwide. “Gravity” is the highest grosser of her live action films, followed by 2009’s “The Blind Side” — which won Bullock the best actress Academy Award — and “The Proposal” in the same year.

Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, and Awkwafina round out “Ocean’s 8’s” star-studded cast. “Hunger Games” helmer Gary Ross directed the film.

Meanwhile, Toni Collette’s “Hereditary” also got a box office boost. A24’s R-rated thriller didn’t scare audiences away — it exceeded estimates to open in fourth place with $13 million from 2,964 locations. “Hereditary” marks A24’s best opening weekend in history, outpacing 2015’s “The Witch’s” $8.8 million bow.

Ari Aster’s directorial debut has been critically lauded since its debut in the Midnight section at Sundance Film Festival. Audiences appear to disagree — the horror film currently has a D+ CinemaScore and 64% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, while its critical rating is 94% Fresh.

Not all weekend openers were as fortunate as “Ocean’s 8” and “Hereditary,” however. “Hotel Artemis” checked in with a dismal $3.1 million on 2,407 screens. Jodie Foster and Sterling K. Brown star in the action thriller set in the near future.

“Hotel Artemis” represents Foster’s first big screen role since 2013’s “Elysium,” which opened with $29.8 million. The sci-fi drama went on to earn $93 million in North America and $286 worldwide.

With “Ocean’s 8” easily nabbing the box office crown, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” secured second place with $15.2 million in its third weekend, bringing its domestic total $176.4 million. Internationally, the Han Solo origin story brought in an additional $11.3 million. The Disney and Lucasfilm movie continues to struggle with a global tally of $312.2 million.

In third is “Deadpool 2” with $13.8 million in its fourth frame. Ryan Reynold’s antihero film has pocketed $278.9 million in North America and $376 million internationally, including an $18 million overseas haul this weekend.

Rounding out the top five is the seventh weekend of “Avengers: Infinity War” with $6.9 million. The Marvel adventure picked up another $10.9 million overseas, bringing its global total to $1.998 billion.

In limited release, Focus Features’ “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” launched with $470,000 on 29 screens. The documentary on the life and legacy of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” host Fred Rogers stirred up positive social media buzz, with audiences sharing how the film spurred them to tears. It has a 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Overall, the year to date box office is ahead 4.3%, according to comScore.


Weekend Box Office: 'Ocean's 8' Steals the Show With $41.5M Opening

7:29 AM PDT 6/10/2018 by Pamela McClintock

Elsewhere, indie horror pic 'Hereditary' survives a D+ CinemaScore with a strong $13 million debut, while Jodie Foster's 'Hotel Artemis' bombs with $3.2 million; overseas, 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' roars to $151 million.

Proving that fanboy-centric tentpoles aren't the only summer box-office jewels, the female-fronted Ocean's 8 opened over the weekend to a series-best $41.5 million from 4,145 theaters to easily place No. 1 in North America.

Overseas, the pic grossed $12.2 million from its first 16 markets, many of them in Latin America, for a global start of $53.7 million.

The movie's debut is a victory for the slew of gender-swapping spinoffs and remakes being plotted by Hollywood studios, and launches two years after the big-budget, female-led Ghostbusters reboot ultimately lost money despite a $46 million opening.

From Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow, Ocean's 8 stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter. The movie scored one of the top 10 openings of the year to date, matching the likes of the far more expensive Ready Player One.

"The target audience — females — are just so underserved," says Warners domestic distribution president Jeff Goldstein.

Women, as well as older moviegoers, fueled the film's opening: Females made up nearly 70 percent of the audience, while nearly 70 percent of ticket buyers were 25 and older. The audience was also diverse: Caucasians made up 56 percent, followed by Hispanics (17 percent), Asians/other (14 percent) and African-Americans (13 percent), according to Warners.

Ocean's 8, which revives the Ocean's franchise after an 11-year absence from the big screen, posted the biggest domestic start of the four films in the series, not accounting for inflation. Ocean's Thirteen debuted to $36.1 million in 2007, preceded by $39.2 million for Ocean's Twelve in 2004 and $38.1 million in 2001 for Ocean's Eleven. Adjusted for inflation, those figures rise to $48.1 million, $57.7 million and $61.7 million, respectively.

The $70 million film stars Bullock as Debbie Ocean, the sister of Danny Ocean, who was portrayed by George Clooney in the trio of Ocean's movies directed by Steven Soderbergh. The story follows the familiar Ocean's formula, with Debbie getting released from prison and assembling a female-led gang of criminal specialists who plot a diamond heist at the Met Gala.

The reboot earned a B+ CinemaScore from audiences; the previous three films likewise earned some variation of a B grade.

Ocean's 8 easily stole the box-office crown from Solo: A Star Wars Story, which continued to struggle in its third weekend. Solo, which will post the first loss for Disney's Star Wars empire, placed No. 2 with $15.2 million for a domestic total of $176.1 million. Overseas, it limped to $11.3 million from 54 markets for a foreign tally of $136.1 million and a lowly global total of $312.2 million.

Deadpool 2 came in No. 3 with $13.7 million in its fourth weekend for a domestic cume of $278.7 million. The superhero sequel took in another $18.5 million internationally from 79 markets for a foreign total of $376.6 million and a global cume of $655.3 million.

Like Ocean's 8, the critically acclaimed supernatural horror pic Hereditary also prospered, opening to $13 million from 2,964 theaters to deliver specialty distributor A24 its biggest opening to date. The previous record-holder was The Witch ($8.8 million).

So far, Hereditary doesn't appear to be suffering from its D+ CinemaScore. Generally speaking, a failing grade can hurt word of mouth over the long run. Last year, Darren Aronofsky's horror film mother! quickly faded from theaters after receiving an F CinemaScore.

Hereditary premiered in the midnight section of the Sundance Film Festival in January and marks the feature directorial debut of Ari Aster. Toni Collette stars opposite Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd and Gabriel Byrne in the tale of a family that is haunted following the death of the clan's matriarch.

The R-rated horror pic came in No. 4, followed by Avengers: Infinity War, which is crossing the $2 billion mark at the worldwide box office in another major victory for Disney and Marvel Studios. Infinity War rounded out the top five domestically with $6.8 million for a North American cume of $654.7 million. Overseas, it amassed another $10.9 million over the weekend — including $6.2 million in China — for a foreign tally of $1.343 billion and a global haul of $1.998 billion. In China, the film has earned a mighty $368.4 million to rank as the No. 3 Western title of all time.

The weekend's third new offering, Global Road's Hotel Artemis, bombed in its North American debut, placing No. 8 with $3.2 million from 2,407 theaters — despite a cast that includes Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day and Dave Bautista. Iron Man 3 scribe Drew Pearce helmed the project in his feature directorial debut.

Set in the near future, Hotel Artemis follows a nurse (Foster) who runs a secret, members-only emergency medical ward in Los Angeles for would-be crooks.

At the specialty box office, Focus Features' Fred Rogers documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? posted a stellar location average of $16,168 upon opening to $470,000 from 29 theaters. The film, which boasts a 99 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, chronicles the life of the late TV icon, the mastermind behind Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. More than half of ticket buyers were under the age of 45, while 53 percent of the audience was male.

"It's aspirational at a time when poeple need it, and the strong word-of-mouth is evident of that," Focus distribution president Lisa Bunnell says. "There's not a dry eye in the theater after seeing the amount of kindness Mister Rogers brought to the world."

There was big action overseas as Universal and Amblin's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom bowed to $151.1 million from its first 48 markets. (That doesn't include China, where it rolls out next weekend.) Put another way, the dinos have already passed up Solo.

The tentpole, coming in No. 1 everywhere, launched offshore two weeks ahead of its June 22 domestic launch to avoid a showdown with the World Cup. South Korea led with $27.2 million, Universal's biggest debut ever there. The U.K. followed with $19.9 million.

“Audiences gravitate to the nostalgia, storytelling and spectacle, and from this outstanding foundation, we are set for a lengthy international playout," says Duncan Clark, president of international distribution for Universal.



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Kleiner Lektüretipp für Frau D. Schwartz: :giggle:

The Sweet Revenge of Ocean’s 8

Debbie Ocean’s subplot to ensnare her ex-partner is the most gratifying, true-to-life element of a movie that sells itself on the fantastical.

Hannah Giorgis
1:26 PM ET Culture

Ocean’s 8, the Gary Ross–directed installment of the heist franchise, opens with an incarcerated Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) convincing her parole board that her most urgent aspiration is “a simple life” on the outside. As soon as her request is granted though, Debbie retreats into the comfort of her cons. In quick succession, she briefs a corrections officer on how the two will continue her schemes with Debbie on the outside, then heads to Bergdorf Goodman to scam an unsuspecting sales clerk out of high-end makeup.

With her feminine armor thus acquired, Debbie makes a personal pit stop: She swings by a gallery named after her former lover and fellow con artist, Claude Becker (Richard Armitage). Debbie pounces on the unsuspecting art dealer with laser precision and holds him at knifepoint. “You look … ”The visibly shaken Claude stammers, only to be interrupted by a glowering Debbie: “Recently incarcerated.”

Thus begins a minor subplot of the notably female-led Ocean’s 8. It’s soon revealed that the pair had scammed together, until Claude framed Debbie for a shadowy financial crime that landed her in prison for five years. (Meanwhile, Claude only saw his star rise.) The time Debbie spent incarcerated was time she spent devising the plot that forms the film’s central con, and mulling retaliation against Claude: Not only would Debbie assemble a motley crew of female criminals to steal a $150,000,000 diamond Cartier necklace during the annual Met Gala, she would also pin the crime on Claude.

I expected to spend the entirety of my Ocean’s 8 viewing experience entranced by Rihanna, who plays the not-so-different-from-herself hacker Nine Ball. I knew I would take mental notes on the lavish looks. I did not, however, expect to find myself rooting for an Armitage to fail with more energy than I did during Get Out.

Against the backdrop of a conspicuously gender-swapped film in which most men are either bumbling or menacing, Debbie’s open hostility toward Claude is invigorating. Why should she hide it? Where my colleague Christopher Orr found the Claude subplot “unnecessary and moderately tedious,” I found it intriguing—the most true-to-life element of a movie that sells itself on the fantastical. After all, most women sent to jails have experienced forms of gender-based trauma (most often at the hands of a partner). Debbie’s experiences as a rich, white con artist hardly mirror the realities of most incarcerated women, but the source of her catalyzing betrayal—in love and in business—is nonetheless familiar. To watch Debbie then frame Claude for a heist that so gloriously enriches her (and seven other women) was particularly gratifying, the karmic cherry on top of a decadently illicit sundae.

Film has long toyed with the specter of female revenge. Entire series (and films) literally titled Revenge trace (mostly) women returning blows of various forms to the people who have most harmed them. (Bullock’s co-star Rihanna has drawn ire for her habit of killing men in her music videos.) The theater of feminine vengeance is a curious one, born of an oft-unspoken recognition that women are disproportionately targeted by any number of entities inflicting pain. Most stories of this sort begin with a man—father, stranger, but more often, partner—enacting violence either physical or psychological. Jennifer Lopez’s Enough found its main character training to kill her abusive husband; The First Wives Club took a deeply personal approach to the financial con: Its spurned female protagonists target their ex-husbands’ bank accounts.

Ocean’s 8 doesn’t much deviate from this formula; man transgresses, man must suffer. The film never makes light of Debbie’s penchant for revenge, but in a vehicle as swanky and fun as Ocean’s 8, male atonement is simply more entertaining to watch than it has been in many other films. (Audiences seem to agree: The film dominated at the box office its opening weekend.) If Claude is an underwritten character, his flatness at least serves to underscore Debbie’s feminine dominance in the revenge subplot. Debbie doesn’t kill, maim, or even really address Claude much at all; she merely renders him helpless. It’s nearly impossible not to laugh at the visual humbling of a handsome man blubbering to police about how he couldn’t possibly have stolen high-priced jewelry because he was too busy kissing world-famous actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway).

For what it’s worth, Debbie’s lust for vengeance doesn’t escape critique in Ocean’s: Her desire to frame Claude for the Met Gala heist initially causes tension with her partner-in-crime, Lou (Cate Blanchett). And the film doesn’t recommend framing trifling ex-lovers for elaborate burglaries any more than it recommends committing those crimes in the first place. Still, there’s a sweet satisfaction in watching as Ocean pulls it off. The gala heist may have been an adventure in avarice, but the framing capped it with style. If, as a wise woman once said, the best revenge is your paper, then Debbie Ocean absolutely got hers—and made a man pay in the process.



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For the record 1:

'Ocean's 8' Review: Heist Franchise's Female Reboot Gives You Stars For a Steal

Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and A-list cast bring the glamour and the fun in frothy summer caper movie

Casting eight female stars, all consummate scene-stealers, as master thieves in a gender-reversed spin on the all-dude Ocean's 11 trilogy? It's a smart idea – not to mention smashing fun. Yes, the plot has more holes than a wheel of swiss cheese and director Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) lets the script he wrote with Olivia Milch go slack in its mid-section, but odds are you won't give a fuck. Ocean's 8 is a heist caper that looks gorgeous, keeps the twists coming and bounces along on a comic rhythm that's impossible to resist. What more do you want in summer escapism?

Bullock leads daring robbery in new trailer for summer blockbuster, out June 8th

Sandra Bullock, all sass and steel, stars as Debbie Ocean, just out of prison on a five-year rap and determined not to go straight. (Debbie is Danny Ocean's sister; no, George Clooney does not appear.) She's had half a decade in the slammer to figure out her ultimate scam. Every year New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art throws a charity costume ball that brings out the famous in outrageously expensive designer duds and jewels – it's known as the Met Gala and has more security than the U.S. Mint. But our parolee aims to get in and steal the Toussaint, a $150 million diamond necklace from Cartier that will hang from the swan-like neck of movie star Daphne Kluger, played by Anne Hathaway in the most hilarious sendup of celebrity vanity in ages. Take that, Hatha-haters!

The thing is, Debbie can't pull off the heist alone. So she recruits her best friend Lou (Cate Blanchett, taking glam to the next level). And Ms. Ocean is supposed to be pining for a prettyboy gallery owner (Richard Armitage) who done her wrong, but let's be honest: Bullock and Blanchett show a flirty chemistry that's far more intriguing. As it should be, in a romp where the dudes are basically accessories, although James Corden gets in a few licks as insurance investigator who pops in near the end.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. The hijinks come when Debbie and Lou assemble their team: There's dizzy, fizzy Helena Bonham Carter as Rose Weil, a past-her-prime 1980s fashion designer they'll need to dress Daphne for the party. Sarah Paulson is Tammy, a suburban mom who traffics in stolen goods on the side. Mindy Kaling is Amita, a jewelry expert with a Mindy Kaling glint in her eye. And how about Rihanna, a regular at Met Galas, dressed down in fatigues and combat boots to play a hacker named Nine-Ball. These top-tier stars don't get nearly enough to do, though watch out for breakout star Awkwafina – this hip-hop ball of fire makes every comic minute count as a sleight-of-hand artist who walks off with every scene she's in. Her bit about a Metro Card is priceless.

In the end, Ross connects the dots of the robbery with a functional competence that can't compare with the high style director Steven Soderbergh lavished on the male Ocean's films. It's the ladies who carry this caper flick over its rough spots. "Somewhere out there," Debbie tells her cohorts, "there's an eight-year-old girl dreaming of becoming a criminal. You're doing this for her." They're doing it for us, too. What dude wouldn't want to enjoy the company of eight actresses who make a zirconium plot sparkle likes diamonds. In summing up her strategy – and not coincidentally Hollywood's archaic attitude toward female buddy movies (look what happened to the Ghostbusters reboot) – Debbie points out that "a him gets noticed and a her gets ignored." Not this time, sister. You can take Ocean's 8 to the bank.


Film Review: Ocean's 8
Lightly entertaining caper movie brings a welcome female POV to the “Ocean’s” formula.

By Kevin Lally Jun 6, 2018

By all accounts, Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 reboot of Ocean’s 11 was a marked improvement on the original that was essentially a moonlighting gig for the legendary Las Vegas “Rat Pack” of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. No doubt that 1960 romp would have been elevated if honorary Rat Packer Shirley MacLaine had been part of the fun and the charismatic Angie Dickinson had been given a few more scenes.

As if to make up for that oversight, the movie gender-switching trend continues with Ocean’s 8, a female-driven spinoff of the three previous George Clooney-Brad Pitt capers. This time, it’s Debbie Ocean, sister of Clooney’s Danny, who masterminds the heist, and Sandra Bullock fills her black ankle boots very well indeed. Written by Gary Ross and Olivia Milch and directed by Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games), it’s an undemanding and credibility-defying summer confection that gets an extra charge from watching ultra-competent and confident women behaving badly.

Ocean’s 8 also benefits from a change of scenery: eternally photogenic New York City and the starry glamour of the annual Met Gala, the bustling scene of the scam that newly released Debbie has been plotting for five years inside her prison cell. The target: the Toussaint, a fabled Cartier necklace festooned with diamonds worth $150 million. Debbie cons the Gala’s chair, self-absorbed movie star Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), into believing that financially strapped, out-of-fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter) is a hot name once again—and Rose will demand nothing less than the Toussaint when she dresses Daphne for the ball. Completing the team: Debbie’s former partner Lou (Cate Blanchett), jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), fence-turned-housewife Tammy (Sarah Paulson), pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina) and hacker Nine Ball (music superstar Rihanna).

Debbie is motivated by more than a big score, however. She also wants big revenge on her scoundrel ex-lover Claude Becker (Richard Armitage), an art dealer who let her take the rap for the caper that put her in prison. Becker’s comeuppance is built into the plan, but Ross and Milch’s screenplay adds several more twists that reveal Debbie’s true audaciousness and an unexpected ally.

Bullock plays a more hardened character than usual, but Debbie’s vulnerability (and the actress’ natural appeal) still peers through. Blanchett, with her long, straight blonde hair and black and animal-print ensembles, is the definition of cool style, but a star of her caliber should have been given more to do. Kaling and Paulson are also underused, but Rihanna (a fashion icon in real life) and Awkwafina lend extra mischief and attitude to the octet. The standout of the cast is frequent social-media target Hathaway, good-naturedly sending up the public’s perception of her by playing a star who’s a little too fixated on her image. Studying herself in the mirror, hungry for compliments, condescending to her assistants, Daphne is a witty portrait of Hollywood egomania that should handily defuse any future Hathaway jibes.

A big production-value plus is the ample footage shot within the actual Metropolitan Museum of Art and the many bold-faced names (including, of course, Anna Wintour and Kim Kardashian) who appear in the movie’s version of the Gala. Like those “white telephone” movies of the Depression era, Ocean’s 8 is glossy escapist entertainment—especially for women and fashionistas—ideal for these troubled times.


‘Ocean’s 8’ is a different take on the bling ring

By Ty Burr Globe staff June 06, 2018

Is it even possible to louse up a heist movie? The pleasure of the genre is in its nearness to a blueprint: Assemble the team/assemble the cast; follow the planning, execution, and potential unraveling of an intricate burglary; then throw in enough twists, roadblocks, side deals, and double-crosses to keep everybody happy. After that, it’s just a matter of connecting Tab A to Slot B and keeping the thing moving, right?

Actually, wrong. “Ocean’s 8” has all of the above, plus the novelty of an all-female starring cast, and while it hums along smoothly and delivers a reasonably enjoyable two hours at the movies, no one will mistake it for inspired. Certainly not in comparison to the earlier 21st century “Ocean’s” trilogy, a reboot of the 1960 Rat Pack classic, “Ocean’s 11.” A plot detail in the newest installment involves a 3-D printer that turns out Zirconium replicas of diamond baubles, and you won’t find a better metaphor for this movie than that.

What’s right? The cast, glory be: Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett as Debbie and Lou, ringleaders of a plot to rob the biggest bling — a diamond necklace called the Toussaint — at the annual Met Gala in New York City, and all the actresses lined up behind them: Helena Bonham Carter as a frowzy dress designer, Mindy Kaling as a Manhattan diamond district pro, Sarah Paulson as a suburban fence (no, not that kind — the other kind), rapper-comedian Awkwafina as a street-savvy pickpocket, and singing star Rihanna in a tart turn as an all-knowing hacker. (The audience cheered when she turned up; don’t tell anyone, but Ri’s the biggest star here.)

Anne Hathaway ably fights off the Hatha-haters as Daphne Kluger, a dingbat movie star used by Debbie and Lou as an unwitting eighth member of the crew; in a movie where everyone keeps it close to the vest, Hathaway knows to play it brassy and big. The movie’s generous with cameos, as well. Dakota Fanning pops up in a small role, and everyone from Anna Wintour to Serena Williams to a parliament of Kardashians pass through playing themselves. Late in the movie, there’s a lovely montage involving the blink-and-you’ll-miss-them quartet of Marlo Thomas, Dana Ivey, Mary Louise Wilson, and Elizabeth Ashley.

Also right: The clothes — Blanchett wears everything with implacable style even when Lou is dressing down. The general air of heightened glitz and the plot clockworks clickety-clacking away underneath. A playful sense of sisterhood that’s different from — but just as fun as — the usual heist-movie bromance. “I don’t want a him,” Bullock’s Debbie says, rejecting a male candidate for the team. “A him gets noticed and a her gets ignored. I want to be ignored.”

(True, there are men here, but they’re appropriately and amusingly secondary, from the villainous arm-candy gallery owner played by Richard Armitage to James Corden’s insurance investigator, who affably comes and goes in the third act. Lesser lights from the “Ocean’s” universe include Shaobo Qin and Elliott Gould, but George Clooney’s Danny Ocean — Debbie’s brother — is conveniently and not very convincingly dead this go-round.)

What’s not right with “Ocean’s 8”? Everything else, particularly the functional-but-that’s-it direction by Gary Ross and the duff dialogue by Ross and co-writer Olivia Milch. Every heist movie needs banter, but the banter needs snap, crackle, and pop — otherwise known as character — and the talk here is soggy and generic. (“Why do you need to do this?” Lou asks Debbie about the heist. “Because it’s what I’m good at.”) Every now and then, the script gets off a good one — “The ego has landed,” when the gallery owner makes an appearance — but the witty top-spin imparted to the three earlier “Ocean’s” films by director Steven Soderbergh, here given a producing credit, is sorely missed.

In that gap between execution and inspiration, you notice things you shouldn’t: The heaviness of the make-up on certain members of the cast, the missed opportunities in the script (Bullock’s Debbie has a crucial check-list for the robbery she’s been carrying around since prison, but we never get to see it), the way the movie rests on the actors’ established personas (Hathaway excepted) rather than letting them surprise us with idiosyncrasy. The way Bullock’s Debbie is the boss of the job but Blanchett is the Boss of This Movie.

I don’t want to sound too harsh — the movie’s a two-and-three-quarters-star affair if ever there were one — but everyone here is pulling her weight except the man behind the camera. We go to heist films to see the suckers get taken in high style. This one just robs us bland.



Directed by Gary Ross. Written by Ross and Olivia Milch. Starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina. At Kendall Square, Coolidge Corner, megaplexes in Boston and suburbs. 110 minutes. PG-13 (language, drug use, some suggestive content)


Ocean's 8 Review: A Breezy Heist Flick Loaded with Star Power

Julian Roman


Ocean's 8 delivers exactly what it promises, a breezy heist flick loaded with glamour and star power. Fans of the Steven Soderbergh Ocean's trilogy will embrace the girl powered remake. It's a near facsimile of the 2001 ensemble with some of the original cast sprinkled throughout as cameos. Director/writer Gary Ross knows he's playing with house money. The previous films have a proven style that is duplicated en masse here. The key is having strong enough players with the personality to pull off the light fare. Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, and Sarah Paulson are a dream team of headliners. These women have enough acting awards to mint their own gold.

Sandra Bullock stars as Debbie Ocean, the sister of Danny Ocean (George Clooney). She's just been paroled after five years in prison. Debbie used her time behind bars to plan the greatest heist of all time. Robbing the lavish Met Gala in New York City, and getting some sweet revenge in the process.

Debbie recruits an all-star gang of thieves to do the job. Cate Blanchett co-stars as her ice water in the veins former partner. Mindy Kaling plays a jewelry expert dying to get away from her oppressive mother. Pop superstar Rihanna is dreadlocked and low key as a genius computer hacker. Awkwafina has the quickest hands on the streets. Sarah Paulson is a fence moonlighting as a suburban mom. Helena Bonham Carter rounds out the team as an out of vogue designer in massive debt. The ladies must expertly dupe an A-list actress (Anne Hathaway) into being an unwitting accomplice.

Ocean's 8 success hinges entirely on cast chemistry. Garry Ross knocked it out of the park with this ensemble. Each actress brings a distinct flavor to their role. Sandra Bullock is essentially the ringmaster in a circus of confidence women. She gets the most attention as the lead, but is pretty much a set-up woman for her talented colleagues. They will all charm the hell out of you. You can't help but root for the larcenous ladies. Sarah Paulson, one of the finest character actresses in Hollywood, stands out as Tammy. Her double duty as doting mom/criminal mastermind is hilarious. Paulson normally does intensely dramatic work. It's a joy seeing her do comedy with finesse.

One behind the camera contributor must be noted for her excellence, costume and wardrobe designer Sarah Edwards (Masterminds, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty). Edwards had the arduous task of not only dressing each character distinctively, but all of the famous extras at the Met Gala. This is a gargantuan feat once you see the film. The Met Gala is the event of the year in fashion. There must be hundreds of individually tailored costumes in these pivotal scenes. Edwards is the clear early favorite for every costume award.

The rub with Ocean's 8 is the utter lack of conflict. There is an antagonist, but he ends up being the easiest patsy of all. There isn't a second of this film where you feel the plan is in jeopardy. It's smooth sailing from the first frame to the last. Normally I would trash a film so fluid, but it's par for the Ocean's course. Every film in the franchise plays out in a similar way. The goal is to accentuate the cool characters, their fabulous frocks, and clever than everyone else criminality. Ocean's 8 is pure candy in this regard. Gary Ross stays within the lines and it works, most of the time.

From Warner Bros. pictures, Ocean's 8 is the Mimosa at this summer's box office brunch. It's light, sweet, and mildly refreshing. I suppose an edgier film would be critically better, but enough darkness pervades pop cinema. A frilly heist at the Met is a welcome respite.



Review: 'Ocean's 8', Sandra Bullock And Co. Pull Off An Entertaining Heist With Few Imperfections

By Travis Hopson6/06/2018View Comments

You don't need a jeweler's loupe to see the similarities between Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's 11 films and Gary Ross's breezy, female-led Ocean's 8. The surface pleasures are largely the same, and so are the imperfections. The heist is, by and large, the least interesting thing about these movies. We show up to see beautiful all-star casts mingling in designer outfits, and Ocean's 8, which must have a costume budget bigger than some entire productions, delivers on everything we hoped for, just from a female perspective.

It was a savvy move extending the popular Ocean's franchise in this way, but the brightest decision of all was the casting of Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, equally criminal sister to George Clooney's thieving Danny Ocean. Bullock, whose career has been marked by roles that emphasize the clash between her physical beauty and manly abrasiveness, is a perfect face for a film that looks to appeal to new and old audiences alike.

Everything will feel familiar right from the jump, with the film even opening in a parole hearing just like Ocean's 11 did. That's where Debbie, forever the con, fools her way to freedom with some bunk about wanting to live "the simple life." Within moments of being released, in a swanky low cut dress I might add, she's off and planning her next big job; stealing a jewel worth $150M from the Met Gala, right off the perfect neck of ditzy actress/socialite Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway).

The best part of these movies is, of course, assembling the team, and Debbie first calls out to her former partner Lou (Cate Blanchett), who is reluctant but clearly interested. It's here that costume designer Sarah Edwards clearly defines each character's personality through their individual style. Lou rocks out in a collection of slick Burberry suits (that powder blue joint!!); Rihanna gets grungy as hacker Nine Ball; Awkwafina goes skate-style as pickpocket Constance; the reliably quirky Helena Bonham Carter as disgraced fashion designer Rose Weil; a slightly conservative style for Mindy Kaling as jeweler Amita; and Sarah Paulson decked out in suburban wear as Tammy, a fence and stay-at-home mommy.

These movies are meant to be glamorous, stylish affairs that leave the audience swooning at the latest fashion trends on display and the beautiful celebs wearing them. It's perfectly alright and expected, but the script co-written by director Gary Ross and Olivia Milch also recognizes the world we live in now. "A Him gets noticed, a Her gets ignored" Debbie replies when asked why no men are allowed on the team, a snappy and timely line that drew applause from the crowd at the screening I attended. There isn't much in the way of conflict among the team, or in the crime itself, choosing instead to celebrate female camaraderie rather than turn this into a lazy cat fight. Men get short shrift, of course, including a former flame (Richard Armitage) just asking for a comeuppance of some sort, and you wish there was someone who could pose a threat Debbie's team. While never boring, the film doesn't give you any reason to think the job will be unsuccessful, either by internal or external forces.

Ross does a pretty good job mimicking Soderbergh's stylish cinematic cues. Montages, slick editing, screen wipes, nostalgic musical notes...they're all in here and you'd never know Soderbergh was only listed as a producer. If the film is a hit and he sticks around, one has to wonder if he'll recruit his Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence into the fold. She'd fit in perfectly with this group, especially alongside Bullock and Blanchett. They don't quite have the same chemistry as Clooney and Pitt, but that would be tough for any duo to achieve. Hathaway is having way too much fun playing the airhead, while Rihanna has what I think is her strongest role in a major film yet.

Ironically, Ocean's 8 isn't here to con anybody. It is here simply to entertain, to dazzle us with pithy jokes and an excess of eye candy. On that all-important score, these ladies have proveb they are just as capable of getting the job done as any man.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


Anne Hathaway Is the Best Part of Ocean’s 8

ByJackson McHenry

Almost as soon as Anne Hathaway appears onscreen in Ocean’s 8, you realize that she’s playing herself. To be fair, her character, the actress Daphne Kluger, is less an exact parody of Anne Hathaway, and more the idea of Anne Hathaway, refracted through the fun house mirror of celebrity obsession. She’s obsessed with her looks, her fame, and her décolletage — made clear by the fact that Hathaway spends most of the movie touching her neck. Ocean’s 8 has plenty of charms, but nothing in the movie shines brighter than Anne Hathaway’s performance as “Anne Hathaway,” the frequent object of tabloid derision, whom she’s having a hell of a time sending up.

At first, you might worry that Ocean’s 8 puts Hathaway at a disadvantage: She’s technically the target of the movie’s heist, and therefore left out of the con itself. But she gets copious screentime during which to act utterly, delightfully ridiculous. For the film’s central scheme to work, Sandra Bullock and her various friends in nice coats have to convince Hathaway’s Daphne to wear a priceless necklace to the Met Ball, so that they can rob it directly off of her body at the event. To accomplish this, they need their cohort, has-been fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter, doing an Irish accent just because), to dress her.

The dynamic lets Hathaway perform arpeggios of jealousy, insecurity, and impertinence as Rose and the rest of the crime team try to appease her. Daphne hears Rose might dress another, significantly younger movie star (I won’t spoil the cameo stunt casting), and freaks out, and demands to get her meeting with the designer. When an assistant mentions how Daphne had recently said Rose’s designs were “out-of-date,” she steams, “I said ‘iconic.’” From there, the mood swings continue: Daphne loves the necklace. Daphne hates the necklace. Every time Daphne flits off course, the whole heist might topple with her — and boy, does Hathaway love to make her flit.

The joy of Hathaway’s performance isn’t that she’s playing a dumb bimbo — as the movie makes clear, there’s more to Daphne than meets the eye — but that she’s found a way to hone in on the surreal obsessions and obligations of celebrity. Daphne frequently wonders if her features are somehow “too large.” She tells stories that are as boring as they are full of dropped names. She constantly seems to be looking for a way to find her reflection (again, she is utterly transfixed by her neck). At an Ocean’s 8 press conference, Hathaway described getting into character as Daphne as “what would have happened, if at the beginning of my career I thought of fame as something that was real.” In Hathaway’s hands/neck, Daphne is less a dimwit and more someone who kept playing the game — until she, and it, stopped making sense.

Anne Hathaway, more than most people, must know that being famous is like being a target of a con you never agreed to participate in. Five years out, it sometimes still feels like she’s trudging through the fog of derision that enveloped her during her Oscar campaign for Les Misérables. A try-hard theater kid at heart, Hathaway was an easy target, and it always seemed like open season on her. But aside from having specific demands about her eggs, Hathaway didn’t do much wrong except try too hard, want too much, and — here’s the real mistake — let the effort show. That infamous “it came true” Oscar speech was supposedly a sign of the real Anne Hathaway, a glimmer revealing that, underneath it all, she wasn’t the aw-shucks sweetheart she pretended to be — as an ingenue, to want things and not just stumble into them was somehow unforgivable. That she later admitted that she was faking her emotions makes the hate all the more absurd; you’re not going to get authenticity from a movie star when a camera’s on them. Just ask Daphne Kluger.

In Ocean’s 8, Hathaway knows better than to judge Daphne for that. There’s something desperate in Daphne’s neediness — her desire to look just right, her fretting about whether that necklace is too big for her dress — that, you realize, is also crucial to Daphne’s livelihood. Daphne’s world runs on a Furby-like need for comfort and affirmation, no matter how superficial. In one scene, she tries a pink lipstick that Helena Bonham Carter tells her makes her look like “Barbie, in a good way.” “Thank you,” Daphne answers, in a nervous yet self-satisfied way, and you might remember that she’s supposed to be playing that doll in a movie sometime soon.

In many ways, Hathaway’s performance in Ocean’s 8 feels akin to Michelle Williams’s human embodiment of vocal fry in I Feel Pretty. Both actresses, who have more than proved their dramatic chops, exaggerate typically derided aspects of feminine performance until they become big, strange, and winning. It’s more purposeful than camp: comedy by way of reclamation.

Hathaway did something similar while playing a hateable, yet vindicated lead character in Colossal, but in Ocean’s 8, she sticks to pure comedy. It’s a winning performance for all of its winking, meta reasons, but also because of her timing, her gestures, and her ability to contour Daphne’s body like she’s constantly finding a flattering angle for a paparazzi’s lens. The movie lights up every second she’s onscreen — but then again, of course it does. She’s Anne Hathaway. She’s always going to put in the work.


Movie Review – Ocean’s 8 (2018)

June 6, 2018 by Robert Kojder Leave a Comment

Ocean’s 8, 2018.

Directed by Gary Ross.
Starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Richard Armitage, James Corden, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, and Dakota Fanning.


Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.

Ocean’s 8 is a breezy, flashy heist flick that will quickly pass some time on a hot summer day, but really, these actresses deserve more complex characters to inhabit, blockbuster or not. From the opening moments, information is given that Debbie (Sandra Bullock) is related to the deceased Danny from the previous capers (directed by one of the all-time greats, Steven Soderbergh) as she is set free from incarceration after serving five years. Ordered not to stick around any enablers for her kleptomaniac behavior, naturally, Debbie doesn’t listen and immediately reunites with her friend Lou (Cate Blanchett) to begin planning an audacious jewelry heist at New York’s Met Gala that would net them over $150 million.

The first question here is, why do it? Initially, the reasoning seems to be a rebellious act within her blood to earn her place in high regard among the family of thieves, which is sort of admirable considering the hijinks never get too bleak or dark. Instead, there’s a revelation around halfway through the movie as to the true ulterior motive behind stealing the necklace, and it’s not wholly about financial profit. I don’t want to spoil the reveal, but it does feel strikingly regressive and makes one wish the script didn’t go there, or at least had more explanation than a half-baked flashback. Still, the alternative disaster scenario is eight catty women betraying one another, a route thankfully not traveled.

Gary Ross (The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) is a competent enough director for the job in terms of making the glitz and glamour of the celebrity-infested showcase shine just as much as the diamonds themselves, but the writing from him and relative newcomer Olivia Milch (she is also working on the upcoming Barbie production) isn’t as concerned with making each individual’s personality equally luminous. Beyond specific character traits meant to provide something useful to the actual crime, there isn’t much to these people. Then again, if you’re like the lady near me “OHHHHH”ing” and “AHHHHH”ing at every shot of luxurious accessories you might not care and will be able to go along for the ride just fine.

And to be fair, the criminal portion of Ocean’s 8 is entertaining to watch; notable character actors such as Helena Bonham Carter get to excel at being eccentric, Rihanna makes for a charming hacker, Awkwafina is a scene-stealing pickpocketer with upbeat antics and expressions, and Anne Hathaway gets to play a snide rich actress that isn’t as clueless as you might assume. Those are just the standouts, but everyone does a serviceable job, and that also includes the men (James Corden enters the frame at just the right time to keep the momentum building, dishing out quite a few funny one-liners).

In comparison to the other films in the franchise, the heist here isn’t as methodically precise, and while it is exciting in the moment, it will probably be forgotten rather quickly. Mostly, this is due to the fact that anytime an issue arises that creates some tension and asks the audience questions such as “now how are they going to pull off the heist of the century”, it’s solved in an instant. The heist comes surprisingly easy for the women from every stage, whether it be from infiltrating the security system to set up camera blind spots or forging replicas of the expensive items to use as fake duplicates while making a clean and quiet exit. There should be at least some danger for the participants involved, but that’s something never explored here; they’re in and out with the only real surprise being the actual reason for the heist beyond giving the accomplices a hefty payday.

Thankfully, the shallowness and obvious corrupt moral compass of the women are never shown in a mean-spirited or malicious way, allowing them to easily be cheered on. However, they never really click together as a cohesive team filled with chemistry, but rather cogs in a machine that each gets one important scene dedicated to furthering the heist. The same applies to a lot of elements in Ocean’s 8; it’s fine and individual moments are enjoyable, but do something more with the obsession Debbie feels for the motives behind the heist, give all of the supporting women more characterization beyond their special skills, don’t be afraid to let them nearly fail, or anything else to add some pop besides zooming in on fancy clothes and jewelry.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★


Movie Review: ‘OCEANS 8’ – Don’t Knock(off) The Hustle

Courtney Howard // Film Critic

Rated PG-13, 110 minutes
Director: Gary Ross
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson, Richard Armitage

The best thing about co-writer/ director Gary Ross’ OCEAN’S 8 is that it lets the ladies we love do the things we pay to see them do best: dazzle us with their vivaciousness and skill. They provides a necessary, distractive sparkle when flaws threaten to downgrade this cinematic gem’s rating. This zesty razzle-dazzle makes for a fun, whip-smart and snazzy little number that plugs in fluidly to the existing franchise – even outdoing its male-centered sequels.

Debbie “sister of Danny” Ocean (Sandra Bullock) has had a lot of time to plan her latest scheme. Five years, eight months, and twelve days, to be exact. In that time, she’s plotted a way to lift Cartier’s famed Toussaint diamond necklace during fashion’s answer to the Super Bowl – the Met Gala. It will be the biggest jewelry heist in history, as it’s worth $150 million. Only she can’t do it alone, so she ropes in best pal Lou (Cate Blanchett) to help assemble a highly-skilled crew. The dynamic duo enlists tech wizard 9-ball (Rihanna), fast-hand Constance (Awkwafina), jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter) and former fencer-turned-suburban-mom Tammy (Sarah Paulson) to go after the necklace worn by actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway, doing a spectacular, seductive send-up of herself) on the big night. Hijinks and hilarity ensue.

Sandra Bullock, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, and Awkwafina in OCEAN’S 8. Courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures.

Ross knows his strength is this incredible cast of magnetic women, and never lets the focus off of them, even when the men are talking. The camera never leers. Instead it captures these effervescent ladies exercising their quick wit, agency and autonomy. Though it is a little light on character dimensionality, it’s no more or less so than OCEAN’S ELEVEN was for those men. Jobs aren’t character traits, but if Soderbergh can get away with it for three movies, then certainly that same courtesy should be extended to Ross and co-screenwriter Olivia Milch with their gender-swapped iteration.

Nevertheless, the actresses work to build out their characters beyond the confines of the narrative. They make their dialogue sing. Bullock is terrific as the acerbic, no-nonsense leader. She infuses her character with a nuanced warmth and vulnerability behind that steely cool, methodical exterior. Blanchett is a solid, dependable presence as the group facilitator. Her wardrobe – which is like 70’s glam-rocker meets Tom Ford – is also the most spectacular of all the ladies. Though the (possibly inadvertent) queer undertones between them could have been ratcheted up a notch, their dynamic is electric. Rihanna carves out a few pivotal moments, as do Paulson and Carter. Awkwafina and Kaling are treated as garnish, but what they manage to do with very little is noteworthy and terrific. It’s Hathaway who simply shines, lampooning a coddled, needy actress (some might say herself) – surpassing Julia Roberts’ attempt at the same in OCEAN’S TWELVE.

Sandra Bullock, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, and Awkwafina in OCEAN’S EIGHT. Courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures.

Unlike the other films in the series, Ross and Milch brilliantly do away with a love story. Instead, they look at the flipside of that proverbial coin – revenge. That said, it stretches believability that someone as smart as Debbie would ever be caught off her game – even in the safety of an allegedly loving relationship. Despite that doubt, the vengeful scheme thrust upon shifty art dealer Claude Becker (Richard Armitage) sufficiently ties the narrative together.

References to the other films are peppered throughout – whether in surprise cameos from Soderbergh’s regulars, or the similar eccentricities of the characters, or the echoes of OCEAN’S ELEVEN composer David Holmes’s score within OCEAN’S 8 composer Daniel Pemberton’s. Plus, it’s a blessing that they don’t pull any cheap tricks with the series lore either, considering the surprising note on which this film starts.

Overall, while this spin-off does quite a few things better than others in the franchise, it feels noticeably lacking when it comes to humor. It’s drier than the vermouth in one of Danny Ocean’s martinis. The picture’s pacing is aching for a jigger-sized shot of vim, verve and vigor. How did Ms. Ocean learn the themes for the next five consecutive Met Galas to know what to boost whilst stuck in prison? We’ll never know. Let’s just assume “informants.” It also doesn’t matter a whole bunch. We can buy it in terms of her proven, quick-thinking. We’re not here for the logistics. We’re only here for the cunning wits, the glam and the sparkle.

Grade: B-

OCEAN’S 8 opens on June 8.


06/06/2018, 10:14am
‘Ocean’s 8’ cast banters beautifully, but the heist is a bit too breezy

Richard Roeper
@richarderoeper | email

Remember that moment in “Ocean’s 11” when Brad Pitt tells the guys he’s joining the team because he doesn’t have any male friends and it would be nice to have a buddy or two?

I don’t remember that either, as it didn’t happen because that would be weird.

Yet in the all-female spinoff “Ocean’s 8,” a prominent character actually explains she’s joining the mission because she doesn’t have any female friends.

It’s kind of a laugh line but also kind of sad — and also a bit jarring. Guess we’re still going with the stereotype about a successful, smart, beautiful woman who just can’t find a single female friend. So sure, why not risk imprisonment for multiple felonies if it means a chance to find a friend?

The director of “Ocean’s 8” is the talented veteran Gary Ross (“Seabiscuit,” “Pleasantville,” “The Hunger Games”), who co-wrote the screenplay with Olivia Milch, and they have delivered a solid if somewhat underwhelming caper similar in tone and style to the “Ocean’s” trilogy of the early 2000s. But while the spectacularly gifted and enormously likable cast has the firepower and charisma to match the testosterone-fueled ensembles of those earlier films, “Ocean’s 8” is more of a smooth glide than an exhilarating adventure.

In a scene mirroring the opening sequence to “Ocean’s 11” (2001), in which George Clooney’s Danny Ocean faces the parole board and is released from prison, Bullock’s Debbie Ocean goes through the same process after serving nearly six years for a con gone wrong.

Even these brief intro segments illustrate the difference in subtle quality between the two films. In “11,” when Danny is asked what he’d do if released, he doesn’t answer — but the sudden shift in his gaze and the twinkle in his eyes tell us everything. In “8,” Debbie launches into a monologue about how all she wants to do is get a legit job and live a quiet life and pay her bills.

Sometimes less is so much more.

Within hours of her release, Debbie has pilfered and conned and bluffed her way through Manhattan, stealing a number of luxury items and crashing in a lavish hotel suite without spending a dime.

So. The whole rehabilitation thing definitely didn’t stick.

Debbie pays a quick visit to her estranged brother Danny — well, actually to his grave. Turns out Danny’s dead. Or is he?

Yes. He’s definitely dead. Probably.

Time to get down to business. We learn Debbie spent much of her time in the joint planning an elaborate heist far bigger than anything she ever pulled back in the day. The target: a $150 million necklace to be worn by the celebrity Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) to the Met Gala.

It might occur to you to ask how Debbie would have known some five years ago that Daphne would be wearing this necklace — which hasn’t seen the light of day in decades — to this particular Met Gala. It does NOT occur to anyone in the movie to ask Debbie about this.

Debbie recruits her Dream Team:

• Her old partner Lou (Cate Blanchett), with whom she shares a checkered past. (If only the film eventually told us more about the complicated dynamic between these two.)

• A jeweler named Amita (Mindy Kaling), who will do anything to get away from the mother who keeps pestering her to find a man.

• Tammy (Sarah Paulson), a skilled fence who is bored to tears by her comfortable suburban family life.

• A laid-back, pot-smoking, genius hacker who calls herself Nine Ball (Rihanna).

• The quirky and wacky fashion designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), who is long past her moment in the fashion sun.

• A slick street con artist named Constance (Awkwafina).

Love this cast. They make for a nifty team, and their timing is impeccable.

If only they had to face a more daunting challenge.

One of the problems with “Ocean’s 8” is there isn’t a formidable, hiss-worthy villain a la Andy Garcia’s casino owner in “Oceans 11.” (The ex-boyfriend character, played by Richard Armitage, is a dopey and vain fop, easily dismissed and never a real threat.)

Also, even though the bouncy hipster score and the quick-cut edits keep things zipping along, it’s far too easy for Debbie and the team to infiltrate the party-planning committee and the gala itself. With a snap of the fingers and a well-timed lie or two, Rose quickly becomes Daphne’s dress designer; Tammy and Lou and Amita and Constance find jobs that place them inside the gala on the big night; and Nine Ball effortlessly hacks into any system they need to access.

Even when a savvy insurance investigator (James Corden, killing it) arrives on the scene post-crime and is quite certain Debbie is behind the theft of the necklace, he’s more of a cheeky best friend than a true adversary.

There’s also something mildly off-putting about the breathless adoration of the Met Gala, which is filmed as if it’s a royal event at Buckingham Palace, with the camera lingering on celebrity arrivals such as Kim Kardashian. Yes, it’s gorgeous and divine and all that, but what a missed opportunity to poke fun at such an overblown and self-aggrandizing spectacle.

Of course, “Ocean’s 8” leaves the door open to further chapters, and it would be a coup just to reassemble such a fantastic cast.

The next step would be giving them a darker, more challenging, more nuanced adventure.




Danke, liebe Boardengel, für Eure privaten Schnappschüsse. :kuss:

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For the record 2:

Ocean’s 8 Is Too Easy, Too Perfect, and Too Hard to Root For

Frida Garza
6/07/18 12:05pm

When Sandra Bullock’s character, Debbie Ocean, gets out of prison in the new Ocean’s 8 movie, her hair looks great. Granted, once released on parole and out in the real world, Debbie (sister to Danny, of the eponymous Ocean’s Eleven) wears her hair pin-straight—but when she’s pleading with parole officers for a chance to live “the simple life,” she’s got kinda beachy, effortlessly cool waves that would make you pause as you thumb through Instagram. It’s impressive, given that she’s been in prison for five years. But that’s Debbie—calm, collected, and beautiful even under the most harrowing circumstances.

This premise describes her physical appearance, but it also applies to the rest of her women ne’er-do-wells who band together under Debbie’s supervision to pull off one of the biggest jewel heists in history—and it’s exactly this glossy, airbrushed, easy-as-pie quality that makes Ocean’s 8 such a frustrating, if occasionally fun, watch.

If you’ve never seen Ocean’s Eleven, here’s a brief introduction: Danny Ocean is a con man, and in the original movie, he and his partner-in-crime, Rusty (played by Brad Pitt) wrangle together a team of delightfully deceitful men, each skilled in his own way, to rob the vaults from the Bellagio hotel’s casino and two others in Las Vegas in the same night. They succeed, and in the two sequels, the gang grows by one and they set their sights on even more heists. [MINOR PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD]
Debbie’s scheme against her ex feels a little more down-to-earth and at the same time, less compelling

If you are familiar with the 2001 film, you’ll immediately notice similarities in Ocean’s 8—which is considered a spin-off of the original trilogy. (All of the Ocean’s Eleven movies are directed by Steven Soderbergh; Gary Ross directs 8). Both open with an Ocean sibling leaving prison on parole; Debbie’s righthand woman Lou, played by Cate Blanchett, is an obvious callback to Rusty; junk food or street food is a recurring motif; and much of the comedy stems from lightning-fast one-liners exchanged between whip-smart, idiosyncratic characters. There’s also a goodnatured air of verisimilitude to 8: the film’s universe is peppered with real-life celebrities and such institutions as the Met Gala and Vogue.

And like Danny, Debbie has an ulterior motive for orchestrating the theft of a Cartier diamond necklace worth more than $150 million. It’s not the money—although that certainly motivates the other women (Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, and Sarah Paulson) to join her. Debbie is—sort of—out to settle the score against her ex-boyfriend Claude Becker (played by Richard Armitage), the artist (and another con man) whom she fell in love with and who two-timed her after a job gone wrong.

It’s an interesting contrast to Danny, who wove personal gain so deeply into his plan to rob the Bellagio that even Rusty didn’t notice at first: His ex-wife, Tess—played by Julia Roberts—is dating the owner of the hotel, and Danny plans to win her back. Showing, perhaps, the depths of his self-centeredness and the limits of his grand vision in those films, Danny risks the lives of everyone for an outcome that will only benefit him. Debbie’s scheme against her ex feels a little more down-to-earth and at the same time, less compelling—if she can screw over her ex, great! But ever cool-headed, she isn’t dead-set on revenge, either.

Like the original, Ocean’s 8 is full of beautiful people pulling off high-stakes, seemingly impossible stunts. And maybe because its relying on the same formula as the original, it’s a little boring. Debbie and her comrades are TOO GOOD at doing crimes. Part of the reason they get away with all their lying and sneaking and nefarious activities is that they are, to some extent, hiding in the plain sight of being loud, annoying—or difficult, or clueless—women.
The gender gap for recognition is alive and well in the Ocean’s spin-off universe, and Debbie exploits it to her full advantage.

If anyone ever suspects them of wrongdoing, they are usually able to quickly recover and wave away criticism, framing their insane requests as just one woman’s wacky opinion or way of being. In the world of Ocean’s 8, it’s hard to argue with women, it seems; receptionists, security staff, museum curators, and more nod silently and generally go along with whatever Debbie’s team says. It helps that, unlike in the original, there’s no antagonist to the titular Ocean; Debbie’s ex ruined her life once, but once the story begins, at the moment of her release from prison, he has little influence one way or another in her world.

At one point in the movie, when Lou suggests a man for the team, Debbie retorts back something like, “I don’t want a him, I want a her. Because a him gets attention, and for once, I need us to go unnoticed.” The gender gap for recognition is alive and well in the Ocean’s spin-off universe, and Debbie exploits it to her full advantage.

The women in Ocean’s 8 are fucking talented: Rihanna plays a clever hacker by the name of Nine Ball; Mindy Kaling plays an expert jeweler; Awkwfina is a hilarious thief; and Sarah Paulson’s character gets away with lying better than anyone else in the movie. The moments when I doubt them are few and far between. I think that’s what the movie’s missing—just a little drama, a little interpersonal turmoil, a little self-sabotage, or just any credible threat to their enterprise to raise the stakes. The movie boasts a star-studded cast, and each does a great job in her role. But it’s all a little too easy. They’re perfect, and their plan is perfect, and I wish I had to root for them harder.

At a press conference for the film, Blanchett quipped that their roles would inspire girls into lives of crime. (She was, pretty obviously, joking, in response to a reporter who asked what the effect of the movie’s strong female—but criminal!—leads would be.) But it wouldn’t surprise me if they did—the movie makes the life of a con artist look too glamorous, cool, and above all, far too simple.


Jewelry Heist Movie 'Ocean's 8' Gets Plenty Of Sparkle From A Stellar Cast

June 7, 20185:00 AM ET
Linda Holmes

Steven Soderbergh's Oceans Eleven was released in December 2001. It arrived early in a long winter in which debates bubbled along over what people wanted from entertainment in the post-Sept. 11 environment. Would they seek out simple diversions? Or something uplifting? Perhaps one of the reasons the film became so beloved is that it was the right movie at the right moment: irresistibly stylish, almost meaninglessly exciting, a heist film about incredibly charismatic men stealing unthinkable amounts of money from the least sympathetic victim imaginable — plus George Clooney winning the girl, too. It was silly, but also ... oh, it was all so dashing.

Ocean's 8 does not benefit from Soderbergh's mischievous, coiled-spring direction. Director/co-writer Gary Ross, who directed The Hunger Games and Seabiscuit (and, not for nothing, is a multiple Oscar nominee), makes softer films with fewer flourishes, notwithstanding a couple of moves that salute — or, if you like, lift from — Soderbergh. The script, which he wrote with Olivia Milch, doesn't have the pop of the best parts of Ocean's Eleven, so it relies heavily on its stellar cast.

How fortunate it is that the cast is so thoroughly up to the task.

Ocean's 8 revolves around eight terrific women: Sandra Bullock, fully out of the enormously endearing stumbly ingenue mode in which she first became famous; Cate Blanchett, operating without her regal carriage as a glam vision of petty crime; Anne Hathaway, playing the superficial star she was once accused of being (and delivering unto every doubter of her considerable comedic talent a knee in the gut); Mindy Kaling, playing a clever jeweler and doing entirely without the fizzy sparkle that's sustained her onscreen work since The Office; Sarah Paulson, sending up the Hollywood vision of the demure suburban mother; Helena Bonham Carter, somehow both embracing her daffy aesthetic and being utterly outside it; Rihanna, perhaps the current queen of the real Met Gala, here comfortably astride the line between that image of herself and a different one entirely; and Awkwafina, a real-life rapper who will also be appearing in Crazy Rich Asians later this year and who, I suspect, will soon have her own studio comedy film.

The heist plot in Ocean's 8 is much less byzantine than the casino-heist plot in Ocean's Eleven: The women will infiltrate the Met Gala and steal a Cartier diamond necklace so valuable that it's been in a vault for decades. How to get it out? They dupe Daphne Kluger (Hathaway), a hot, seemingly awful young actress who's been tapped as the event's celebrity host, into wearing it, and then they take it right off her neck. The team is led by Debbie Ocean (Bullock) and her BFF (?) Lou (Blanchett), who recruit the rest.

A side note: Why do I say "BFF (?)"? Because Bullock and Blanchett have such frankly hot chemistry in a couple of scenes that it's easy to wonder whether Debbie and Lou either have, or had in the past, what we might gauzily call A Thing. But that's never acknowledged, and to read it into the film raises the uncomfortable problem of Representation That Isn't — of queer characters who are only queer in the minds of others, not in their own actions or words. Either way, the two have either a very sexy friendship or a very sexy more-than-friendship.

Bonham Carter is a fashion designer, Kaling is a jeweler, Paulson is a fence, Rihanna is a hacker (named Nine Ball, with an actual nine-ball tracking ball for her computer, which is very cool), and Awkwafina is a pickpocket. All will play a role, as will an art dealer named Claude (Richard Armitage), whose relationship to the whole thing takes a while to play out.

What adds so many funny grace notes to Ocean's 8 is how much it is about Hollywood, and about actresses, while embracing its status as what we might call an "except with women" movie:

Ghostbusters — except with women.

The Karate Kid — except with a girl.

And now, Ocean's Eleven — except with women. (Honestly, it should be Ocean's Fifteen, given that the wage gap means Debbie can get more women for the same price her brother hired 11 men.) (Just kidding, ha ha!)

Hathaway's performance, in particular, cannot be read without reference to the brutal public treatment she has absorbed in real life over ... being too earnest? Being too happy about winning an Oscar? Back in 2013, this reached the absurd point where a New York Times article concluding that people essentially despised her for no good reason at all was nevertheless titled "What Is Anne Hathaway Doing Wrong?" Anne Hathaway is here, in Ocean's 8, to tell you that you don't know squat about her, that she has heard every mean, nasty, cranky, ungenerous, sexist thing that can be said about her, and her response is ... comedy. Great, fearless, elegant, bright-eyed comedy that dares to ask the question, "I'm not this person — but what if I were? Wouldn't that be hilarious?"

Late in the film, there is a series of cameos that may not stand out to a young slice of the audience, but will be familiar to anyone who has been watching actresses on screen for a long time. And it's when you see those cameos that the full sweep of the film's comment on the Hollywood female image — a comment that's never heavy-handed, but feather-light — lands.

It's no coincidence that there are no boyfriends or husbands of any significance — other than Paulson's, because her adorable family is part of her cover. It's common for entire casts of men to care little about romantic relationships, but less common with casts of women. Are any of them in relationships? Are any of them interested in men? Women? Not during this caper. They're interested in money, just like they would be if they were men.

But at the same time, it's also no coincidence that Ocean's 8 was placed at one of the most famous events there is for the performance of celebrity femininity. The Met Gala is where every stitch of clothing is critiqued, as either too much or not enough. It is where actresses like the fictional Daphne and the real Hathaway go to be devoured for their missteps. But there is a moment, of course, when the plot dictates that we must see most of these actresses in their gala drag. And when you have watched them all play flesh and blood people and then you see them slip into a crowd of uncomfortably dressed stiffs, it invites an intriguing mental reversal. This glamour, this fancypants presentation, this is boring. This is mundane. What is interesting is watching these women work, scheme, crack wise with each other. The way the film manages to drool over the Met and the poshness of everything while still ultimately deflating it as little more than a lovely moment to play dress-up is quite smart.

There is still a very real concern for fashion. In particular, Blanchett's style here — platinum blunt cut, feathery bangs; slim-cut, but often wide-legged suits — it is an entirely different fantasy. It has nothing to do with the brand of femininity that the gala reveres. It is a punk-inflected, angular, indelible look that people will be copying for years. And if you know anything about Rihanna, you know that her look is never less than fully considered. Here, she has a sort of army-jacket chic that's so persuasive that it's almost — almost — possible to believe she could disappear into a crowd. (Although as one of my friends noted just after the film ended, it is perhaps the plot's greatest required suspension of disbelief that one must assume an inconspicuous Rihanna.) And she and Awkwafina are both so, so funny that you'll leave eager to see them closer to the center of the next project.

The shortcomings of the film's style, and in particular the mostly bland direction, will likely dull both reviews of it and reception of it by audiences — particularly given how central style was to Ocean's Eleven. But the charisma of the cast is tremendous, it's still a breezy and adventurous heist movie, and particularly in the performance from Hathaway, it's timely, in its way, just as its predecessor was.


June 08, 2018 1:30pm PT by Josh Spiegel

How Sandra Bullock Leads Her 'Ocean's 8' Ensemble

It’s been nearly five years since Sandra Bullock starred in a major blockbuster; though her voice could be heard in the 2015 animated film Minions, the actress’ last big film was the intense science-fiction hit Gravity. In that pic, she co-starred with George Clooney, both playing astronauts trying to make their way back to Earth after a space-station disaster. It’s almost fitting that Bullock’s big box-office return is in playing Clooney’s sister, even if they don’t share screen time. As the lead of Ocean’s 8, Bullock takes over as the leader of a criminal gang, suggesting that her natural charm hasn’t diminished in her time away from the big screen, even if the overall film isn’t always successful.

Bullock’s Debbie Ocean has a chip on her shoulder from the start, one that was never as present with Clloney's Danny Ocean in Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy from the 2000s. Part of it relates to her circumstances — like Danny, Debbie starts out the film being released from jail on parole, but the reasons why she landed in prison have driven her to concoct a scheme in which she and a handful of other women will steal a precious diamond necklace from New York’s Met Gala. Part of that frustration is simply due to Debbie being a woman; as she notes to her cohorts (played by, among others, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter and Rihanna), being women means being ignored, which may come in handy considering what they’re trying to pull.

Bullock’s best scene is one of her earliest, wherein the screenplay (by Olivia Milch and director Gary Ross) establishes Debbie’s bona fides as a con artist. As Debbie notes to the outgoing prison guard, she has all of $45 to her name; to get back on her feet, she’ll have to steal. The ways in which Debbie cons her way into high-end makeup and perfume, as well as a deluxe New York suite for a night, don’t require a lot of fancy trickery. All she does is expertly play the part of a slightly snobby socialite to store employees and hotel desk clerks, without breaking a sweat or being treated suspiciously. This scene is especially key, because once Debbie recruits her old friend Lou (Blanchett) and the rest of the criminals, she just becomes one piece of the larger heist. Even more so than Ocean’s Eleven or its sequels, Ocean’s 8 feels very much like an ensemble story; Bullock may be one of the film’s biggest names, but Debbie is a deliberately non-flashy role.

Bullock plays something close to a straight-man character as Debbie; with the role, she’s able to display the same kind of unforced, easygoing charm that has stayed with her throughout serious roles as well as genre fare such as Gravity and even her breakout role in the 1994 action pic Speed. Debbie, like her brother Danny, seems fairly unflappable no matter what obstacles arise to a successful heist. Even once it becomes clear that Debbie is really trying to steal the diamond necklace as a way to frame her ex-boyfriend, and everyone around her encourages her to let go of her frustration, she doesn’t exactly lose her temper. The most baffled Debbie ever seems is when she interacts with Nine-Ball (Rihanna), the group’s young, hipper-than-thou hacker. Otherwise, Bullock exudes the same kind of calm that’s present in many of the lead performances, especially Clooney’s, in the original Ocean’s trilogy.

Whatever other flaws Ocean’s 8 may have, the way that Bullock gets to connect with her female co-stars amounts to the story’s most charming element. Her chemistry with the other actors is such that when she’s offscreen for a time (often so we can see the other criminals get their parts of the heist in place), it’s not only noticeable but a little disappointing. The only true stumble with Debbie is in her connection with that devious ex (Richard Armitage), a relationship that feels underwritten in part because Armitage and Bullock spend so little time onscreen together. The revenge would be sweeter if it felt like his character truly deserved it, even if we accept Bullock as a woman scorned.

Though Ocean’s 8 isn’t as good as any of the pics in the original trilogy, it’s a welcome return to the big screen for Bullock. She has reached a point in her career where she chooses her roles with care; before Gravity, she’d only co-starred in a handful of films over the previous five years, including her Oscar-winning turn in The Blind Side. Ocean’s 8 is Bullock’s first true franchise film in decades (unless we’re all comfortable forgetting that Speed 2: Cruise Control ever happened), and it suggests that her decision to be more selective in which projects she picks can pay off in dividends.


Ocean's 8

A-III (PG-13)

By John Mulderig Catholic News Service

6.8.2018 1:36 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNS) -- What with the glitterati dressing up like all manner of churchmen and saints in connection with the exhibit "Heavenly Bodies," the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual gala has been on the minds of many Catholics lately.

And now that event becomes the climactic setting for the elaborate crime caper "Ocean's 8" (Warner Bros.).

With the central figure in Steven Soderbergh's trilogy of "Ocean's" films (2001-2007), Danny Ocean, dead, his sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock), a recently released ex-con, takes center stage. Working with her longtime partner, Lou (Cate Blanchett), Debbie assembles a team to pull off the complex heist she spent the long years of her imprisonment planning down to the last detail.

Her crew eventually consists of eccentric fashion designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), con artist Constance (Awkwafina), Tammy (Sarah Paulson), an experienced fence, and computer hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna). Together they aim to steal the $150 million necklace they must manage to convince Cartier's to lend movie star Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) for the big evening.

Grown viewers willing to treat larceny as nonchalantly as do director and co-writer Gary Ross and his script collaborator Olivia Milch also will get a healthy dose of clever humor and an eyeful of glamor. Less easily sloughed off than the principal theft, however, is a subplot involving the revenge-driven frame-up of Claude Becker (Richard Armitage), the selfish art dealer whose cowardice sent Debbie to the slammer in the first place.

This is not a romp for the impressionable since the moral equivalent of suspending disbelief is required to join in the fun. Besides some salty talk in the dialogue, moreover, one plot development depends on Claude's taste for being bound to his bedstead.

The film contains a vengeance theme, a bedroom scene involving handcuffs, brief nonmarital sensuality, drug use, a couple of profanities and at least one rough and several crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

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"Ocean's 8" (Warner Bros.)

Clever humor keeps this elaborate crime caper on pace as a recently released ex-con (Sandra Bullock) and her longtime partner (Cate Blanchett) bring together an eccentric fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter), a jeweler (Mindy Kaling), a con artist (Awkwafina), an experienced fence (Sarah Paulson) and a computer hacker (Rihanna) to pull off a heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual gala. Their target is a unique diamond necklace they must manage to convince Cartier's to loan to a movie star (Anne Hathaway) for the event. Grown viewers willing to treat larceny as nonchalantly as do director and co-writer Gary Ross and his script collaborator Olivia Milch will also get an eyeful of glamor. Less easily sloughed off than the principal theft is a subplot involving the revenge-driven frame-up of the selfish art dealer (Richard Armitage) whose cowardice sent Bullock's character to the slammer in the first place. A vengeance theme, a bedroom scene involving handcuffs, brief nonmarital sensuality, drug use, a couple of profanities, at least one rough and several crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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"Ocean's 8" (Warner Bros.) -- Catholic News Service classification, A-III -- adults. Motion Picture Association of America rating, PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.


Film review: Ocean’s 8 isn’t good but is it fun?

‘The film is never less than breezy entertainment, but never more than an unimaginative diversion,’ writes critic Caryn James.

By Caryn James

8 June 2018

Why has a man directed Ocean’s 8? That’s the obvious question about the all-female extension of the Ocean’s franchise, with Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, sister of George Clooney’s Danny. Heists run in their family, as Debbie masterminds a girls’ group of thieves trying to purloin some jewels during the Met Gala.

It turns out that Gary Ross’s style, or lack of it, is the uneven film’s major liability

The real question, though, is why this male filmmaker, Gary Ross? It turns out that the female version of the story was his idea, so he directed and wrote (with Olivia Milch). It also turns out that his style, or lack of it, is the uneven Ocean’s major liability.

Ross’ career is loaded with popcorn movies no better than they have to be, such as Pleasantville, Seabiscuit and the first Hunger Games, which got by on the strength of Jennifer Lawrence. The all-star cast in Ocean’s 8 – which includes Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna and Anne Hathaway – creates some comic highlights. The film is never less than breezy entertainment, but never more than an unimaginative diversion. Ross brings a safe, pedestrian approach to a genre that should be crackling with wit and zooming through an intricate plot faster than the audience can guess what’s coming.

The story is based on the sexist premise that women thieves – and by implication women viewers – are all about fancy clothes and jewels. That superficial idea is laid over the standard Ocean’s blueprint. Beneath her cute name, Debbie is a hardened con woman who has spent five years in prison working out a foolproof plan: to make sure that a Hollywood star (Hathaway, convincing as an especially self-absorbed swan) wears a $150 million (£112m) Cartier necklace to the ball, unaware of the plot to lift it from her neck.

As in the three Las Vegas-set Ocean’s movies directed by Steven Soderbergh, this one spends some time lining up the team. The results are surprisingly erratic, depending on each actress’ effectiveness at spinning the script into something better.

Kaling’s scenes all work, as she brings perfect comic delivery to the role of a jeweller whose small family business keeps her living in her mother’s house. Helena Bonham-Carter displays a madcap energy as a has-been fashion designer who owes $5 million (£3.73m) to the IRS. Rihanna has relatively little to say, but it’s amusing to see her play against type, wearing coveralls and scruffy work boots as a hacker so good she can tap into the Met’s security system.

And Bullock glides effortlessly through the story, holding it together. Debbie doesn’t reveal much of a personality, but she does have a few good lines. “Somewhere out there is an eight-year-old girl dreaming of becoming a criminal,” she tells her crew on the night of the gala. “Do this for her.” The film could have used so much more of that acerbic tone, or really any consistent tone.

Sarah Paulson is wasted as a suburban mother, a one-time fence who misses the kick of being an outlaw. The biggest shock is how subdued and uninteresting Cate Blanchett is. Her character, a club owner named Lou, is all about an androgynous David Bowie swagger, from her name to her blonde wig to the green-sequined jumpsuit she wears to the ball. The script plants a bit of sexual innuendo into Lou’s relationship with Debbie, but in the end her character is the most cardboard of all.

An empty vault

At times the film feels like a tourist ad for New York City, as Debbie cases the Metropolitan Museum of Art and wanders through its galleries, Modigliani and Van Gogh paintings in the background. Many brand names are on display, with a couple of forays into Cartier’s and a quick visit to the Vogue magazine offices. Many casinos got free publicity in the Soderbergh Ocean’s movies; then as now the tactic does less to enhance authenticity than to call attention to the built-in advertising.

And the parade of high fashion on the night of this fictional Met Gala misses the wit and fun of the real thing, which has become not a display of elegance but of over-the-top, sometimes hilarious bravado. For this year’s Catholic-themed ball, Rihanna wore a comic masterpiece, a takeoff on the Pope’s wardrobe, with a silvery beaded mitre to match her minidress and coat. The on-screen Met Ball takes its fashion ultra-seriously, a lost opportunity in a film meant to be funny.

The dressed-down moments actually have the most life. Kaling, dressed as the kitchen help, locks herself in a Met ladies room and surreptitiously dismantles a necklace. James Corden turns up eventually as an insurance investigator, who happily is not a bumbling cliché, and instantly energises the story.

Throughout, the movie teases the idea that Danny Ocean is dead. Or is that another of his long cons? The unstated tease, of course, is the possibility that Clooney will show up. As with all things in Ocean’s 8, it’s best to approach this with lowered expectations.

A successful woman-centric comedy, like Bridesmaids, plays off rituals different from men’s. A failure like the latest Ghostbusters proves that just subbing female characters into a franchise is never enough. And considering what a truly creative filmmaker – anyone from Soderbergh to Greta Gerwig – might have done, it’s frustrating that this Ocean’s is so timid. Why bother rebooting a franchise if you’re not going to break the mould, at least a little?



Ocean's 8
Why Anne Hathaway Is the Crown Jewel of Ocean’s 8
The actress’s knowingly ridiculous performance is a comic triumph—and this heist’s most unpredictable element.

by Laura Bradley

June 8, 2018 12:20 pm

At any given point during Ocean’s 8, you might see a flash of an old Anne Hathaway character. Sometimes, she growls like Catwoman. Other times, she’ll make wide eyes like one of her many ingenues. She struts and she slinks, purses her lips and pouts. We should have known what we were in for when we found out that her character’s name was Daphne Kluger—which perfectly telegraphs her as a narcissistic, big-shot actress.

Daphne is an impeccably calibrated Hollywood parody—a woman whose entire being, down to the mischievous twinkle in her eye, is performance. And as several critics have already noted, Hathaway does not merely steal the show—she runs away with it, in five-inch stilettos and a hot pink dress. What Hathaway brings to this caper is precisely what the movie itself lacks: true unpredictability.

Ocean’s 8 is a capable but obvious echo of the Ocean’s films that came before it—and most of its characters fit pretty neatly into their respective boxes. Debbie (Sandra Bullock) is the cool one; Lou (Cate Blanchett) is the cooler one; Nine Ball (Rihanna) is the stoner-hacker; Sarah Paulson’s Tammy is the bored housewife with a garage full of stolen goods. None of the film’s characterizations feel lazy or worn out because they’re all well executed, but it’s hard to make the case that any member of the team brought anything truly surprising to the table. Daphne, too, appears pretty easy to figure out at first: she’s an over-the-top actress who loves a captive audience almost as much as she loves to look at herself in the mirror while wearing a six-pound diamond necklace. Daphne is a woman whose every move is a pose—a quality that only gets more pronounced as the story unfolds.
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I won’t spoil anything here, but let’s just say that although Daphne is the group’s mark, she ends up being much smarter than she initially allows people to believe—and the moment everyone on-screen realizes that is the moment viewers, too, should pause, and consider all the fascinating layers Hathaway gives with this performance. Once Daphne reveals her own secret, it becomes clear that for all her apparent shallowness, she’s always paying just a bit more attention than she lets on. She’s also a woman who is very aware of her place within the larger Hollywood ecosystem: Daphne knows how games are played, and she clearly has not gotten to where she is by accident. Daphne is shrewd, observant, and most delightfully, has a taste for chaos.

That deceptive edge makes Daphne difficult to pin down; her attitude is as mercurial as her fuse is short, and just when you think you’ve got her figured out, she slaps you. (Seriously: she slaps someone, and it’s great.) Everyone else in the film tries to reduce Daphne to the sum of her parts—comparisons run the gamut from Barbie to Bambi, and comments about her eyes and “ample bosom” abound. But in reality, Daphne is much more complicated. It’s all there in the wicked grin she occasionally flashes—or in those knowing smirks she casts just askance of the camera. Not only does Daphne know what she’s doing, but more importantly, at any given time, she’s often the only one who knows.

The role itself is a fun one, but it’s Hathaway’s performance that elevates it to greatness. As someone who has worked as an actress for decades, Hathaway plays Daphne with a careful combination of self-deprecation and reckless abandon. It is not a self-flagellating performance, in which Hathaway apologizes for any of the ire that’s been unfairly heaped upon her in the past; that would have been less fun. Instead, the fun Hathaway is poking at herself also targets the industry more broadly—the actors and creators who gather at dinners like these to pose for cameras, show off their foreign-language skills, swap stories about hobnobbing with royals, and who react to things like diamond theft with comments like, “Do we have to make such a big deal about this?”

It’s a knowing and ridiculous performance that might have been impossible for just about any other actress to pull off—but Hathaway, who has spent most of her adult life in this business (and has been the target of plenty of vitriol for her own alleged too-much-ness), has both the practice and gently sardonic perspective to strike that balance. Most importantly, there’s no question throughout the film that Hathaway is having a ball. There’s perhaps no better proof than when a character tells Daphne that he loves his job sometimes. She leans forward, a coquettish yet innocent grin on her face, and replies, “I love mine, too!



“Ocean’s 8” Relies Entirely Too Much On Its Gung-Ho Cast

Posted on June 08, 2018

In some ways, the disappointing Ocean’s 8 wound up being a victim of its own concept. Take a whole bunch of the most charismatic (and not coincidentally red-carpet stylish) actresses in American film and throw them together to make a distaff version of an Ocean’s heist set in the “female-friendly” worlds of fashion, jewelry and art instead of the male-friendly setting of a casino. In retrospect, it seemed like a no-brainer; an idea so strong and a film so well cast that it practically won the game before the first frame was shot. But unfortunately, in the end, the still frames and promotional shots we’ve all been oohing over turned out to be more exciting than the film itself. Once the cast and the concept was set in place, all the creative thinking seems to have dried up, leaving a bunch of very good performers weakly making their way through barely existent material.

A good heist film needs two things: A simmering tension that reaches a crescendo by the third act and a cast with insane chemistry. While Ocean’s 8 managed the latter part, it didn’t manage to actually explore it. Put a pin in that. As for the first part? The simmering tension part? Completely non-existent, we’re afraid. We don’t want to spoil anything here, but let’s just say the heist itself lacks the kind of high-wire moments one would expect for a film like this. A great deal of the setup has to do with various people securing employment and planting gossip in the papers, neither of which lend themselves to any feelings of high drama or high risk. There are a few moments where the plan comes down to “Okay first, you get hired at Vogue and then you get hired as the caterer for the Met Gala” which makes the plan seem like a delusional fantasy. Even if you’re in the vast majority of the public who doesn’t know or care how nearly impossible both of those propositions are (which is probably not a problem, given who the film is being pitched to; our screening was mostly gay men), the script already went to great lengths to explain how rarefied and secure these worlds are. It then promptly ignores that setup to move the plan forward, undermining one of the basic premises of the story.

Everyone also gets along really well. We don’t know if there was some sort of fear that the characters would come off like bickering mean girls if there was any conflict, but the lack of that conflict is a problem. A group of women come together, nod at each other in recognition, and all get to work being awesome. The end. The entire film is like a very well-executed meeting where everyone follows the stated agenda and keeps meticulous notes and is really good at their jobs. Some of it plays out in a cute way, but very little of it sizzles or keeps you wondering what’s going to happen next.

We can completely understand why that might sound appealing to some audience members – especially women – who want to see more examples of women being boldly confident with the goods to back it up in their films. There is such a thing as “competence porn,” such as in a film like The Martian, which is solely about mostly likable people working really hard to solve a series of problems. There’s nothing wrong with giving any of these characters swagger, but a story without conflict and somewhat light on personal interactions doesn’t offer a lot for the viewer to engage with. When it comes time to put the plan into motion, a bit of heretofore-unknown information suddenly renders the entire venture impossible to pull off – until someone’s sister comes out of nowhere to solve the problem and then disappear from the film. This is indicative of the entire approach to the story, which feels less like a story and more like an acted-out PowerPoint presentation. There’s a third act twist that doesn’t even feel like a twist so much as an entire other, undepicted but potentially more interesting story that happened while the main story played out. And after failing to utilize the murderer’s row of actresses to their full potential, we have to sit through James Corden grabbing the spotlight for a good portion of the third act; something no one was asking for.

Still, there were times when the film felt as if it had been pitched entirely to us – and by that we mean fashion and celebrity bloggers who are well-versed in the inner workings and political maneuvering involved in the planning of the Met Gala and who can also spot a Hadid at 200 paces and identify the back of Anna Wintour’s head at a nano-second glance. It clearly has a specific audience in mind and leans hard into giving them what they assume that audience wants to see. There is a succession of scenes at Bergdorf’s perfume counter, the offices of Vogue, the Cartier vault, The Met (of course), front row at a fashion show and the red carpet and other such venues that may have given us the gay tingles, but leave us wondering if there are enough people in the potential ticket-buying audience interested in these worlds. It gets a little too close to Sex and the City 3: Met Gala Heist in tone. Imagine if the all-female Ghostbusters reboot was centered solely around makeup, cooking, and other conventionally feminine interests. It’s not wrong to suggest that part of the audience will find that appealing, but there’s something a little gender-essentialist about it that feels a little odd in 2018.

Having said all that, the power of these actresses coming together like the Avengers is hard to deny, even if some of the best stuff happens when they’re apart. Sandra Bullock alone in the first ten minutes of the film is probably the lightest, most fun part of the whole film. She also has a surprisingly poignant final line – again, by herself. The fact that she’s solitary in her best scenes was not lost on us. Just as it wasn’t lost on us that Anne Hathaway pretty much walks away with the entire film when the majority of her scenes are also apart from the main cast. This isn’t because the other actors are bad, but because any scene that allows them some alone time are the only times any of them get to really perform. When they’re grouped together, they spew meeting notes.

To be fair, a lot of the interactions are occasionally fun, It’s just they tend to lack that energy and pop a film like this requires. Bullock and Blanchett try so hard – and mostly succeed – to give their relationship some depth, not to mention a latent are-they-or-aren’t-they queerness (that seems a little retro in its depiction, to be honest), but there just isn’t enough for them to work with in the script. They’re left to swagger, model cool outfits and play off each other, all of which they do incredibly well. Hathaway comes close to stealing the whole thing out from under her co-stars with a somewhat wicked skewering of the way she is perceived (as a shallow, grasping tryhard) as well as a skewering of the performative bullshit most actresses have to put out just to hold on to their status and careers.

There’s one very brief exchange in which it’s made clear that Bullock doesn’t want any men on the squad and while the script makes strong implications as to why that’s the case, it’s not really followed up on. She was done wrong by a man, and that’s not incidental to the story, but it’s a fairly flat – and worse, cliched – sort of motivation for her actions. As for everyone else, aside from the obvious allure of the cashout, no one’s motivations are explored except in basic and cliched ways. One wants to get away from nagging family members. One is a bored suburban housewife who misses the game. After that, the motivations become less and less clear. A good heist film will establish some strong emotional stakes for at least a few of the characters involved, but Ocean’s 8, as in so many of its creative decisions, strolls lightly past such considerations.

Given the gung-ho attitude underscoring the project and the clear chemistry the actresses share, one gets the impression this cast is willing and capable of launching its own franchise. Unfortunately, the script and direction did not get them there this time. Director Gary Ross also co-wrote the script and we’re left with the strong impression that this project really needed to be creatively helmed by women in order to support the work the women onscreen were doing to keep it afloat.



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June 11, 2018 12:43pm PT by Simon Abrams, Alex de Campi

The Pros and Cons of 'Ocean's 8'

Eisner-nominated comic book writer Alex de Campi and THR contributor Simon Abrams debate the if dumb fun is enough for the 'Ocean's Eleven' spinoff.

[This story contains spoilers for Ocean's 8]

The following is a spoiler-intensive conversation about the new all-lady heist caper Ocean's 8 that was held through emails by Eisner-nominated comics writer Alex de Campi and The Hollywood Reporter contributor Simon Abrams. The film's ensemble cast includes Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Cate Blanchett, Awkwafina, and Sandra Bullock. Also, James Corden? Huh, OK. Ocean's 8 is a hit, with it opening bigger than the three George Clooney-led Ocean's films.

This conversation goes to eleven, so get ready for some rhetorical firewor ks.

Simon Abrams, Duke Anderson Tapehead: I saw a film today, oh boy.

OK, fine, Ocean's 8 wasn't that bad. It wasn't that good either. It was Gary Ross fine: better than The Hunger Games, worse than Seabiscuit.

And I'm out!

I wish. I don't have a lot invested in the success or failure of Ocean's 8, which neither improves nor detracts from my opinion. I also can't say that the gender of our protagonists isn't cartoonishly over-emphasized for effect. The film relies heavily on stereotypes — The mommy-dominated spinster in training! The ditzy has-been! The sorta androgynous tomboy! The street-wise jokester! And the cool, blue-collar ethnic type that they're too scared to do something with! — but, as The New Yorker's Richard Brody points out of those cliches: "The movie toys with stereotypes that it seems to mock but also silently depends on." If I were in a more cynical mood, I'd say that the makers of Ocean's 8 wanted ally brownie points, but weren't smart enough to earn them. But eh, the film isn't that phony. There's nothing in this perfectly inoffensive film to suggest that its makers don't care about their protagonists. The performances are all varying degrees of fine. Anne Hathaway is, as many have pointed out, exceptional, possibly because she gets a prominent role that requires her to look both cool and neurotic. Most of the other actresses have to choose one or the other.

Still, Brody is characteristically on it when he writes about the film's final scene as an act of ho-hum wish fulfillment. He says: "The dream, and promise, of independence fits slyly into the story of Ocean’s 8, which includes a clever epilogue about how the women use the money that they get from—it’s no spoiler—pulling off the heist. All of the actresses in Ocean’s 8 need movies of their own, in which they can give free rein to their experiences, their talents, and their points of view. And if Ocean’s 8 is the long-plotted means to that end, so be it." I'm with him: I don't begrudge this film its modest successes. But I also don't feel like ferreting them out either. They're there, glistening on the surface. The outfits. The bait-and-switch reversals of fortune. The familiar putting-on-a-show stock plot. The location shooting (Wooo, Veselka and Junior's!). It's fine. Everything is fine.

So what'd you see today, anything good?

Alex de Campi, Corey’s Foolproof Plan: I grinned like an absolute loon the whole way through this movie. I loved it. I loved everyone in it. I thought it was delightful. Is it mind-bendingly original? No. Does it hew closely to the Ocean's template of a really good, intricate heist done by charming, stylish people with a fun last-minute twist? Yep. It’s fun popcorn entertainment that gets things right that movies so often don’t: fashion and celebrity.

And sure, there are stereotypes, but I think the film plays against them in clever ways. The Asian-American character (Akwkwafina in the role of Constance, terrific, more of her, Hollywood!) is the streetwise hustler. And seeing a Black woman with a Caribbean accent and dreads (Rihanna, playing Nine Ball, also magnificent) presented as the clever-with-computers one was awesome. Nine Ball didn’t have to act white or pass in Caucasian culture to be good at what she did, and that’s real and important. Plus the surprise delight of Nathanya Alexander as Veronica, Nine Ball’s little genius sister! And Serena Williams on the Met Gala carpet, being the gracious queen of sport she is. Sure, call it ally points if you will, but Ocean's 8 did it, without stopping to congratulate itself along the way as so many would. I don’t see a lot of other movies doing it so GOOD and YES and MORE. It also doesn’t pretend anti-blackness doesn’t exist: Debbie Ocean’s (Sandra Bullock, you know, the lead character) first reaction to Nine Ball is not positive at all. And Mindy Kaling being adorable and in charge!

Really, I have so much good will towards all the female actors in this film. Seeing Helena Bonham-Carter as Rose was like seeing an old friend. I’ve always had a soft spot for Anne Hathaway and she’s perfectly cast here. Cate Blanchett, whose leather and velvet and satin wardrobe was handed down from Lesbian Jesus specifically for the enjoyment of gayelles everywhere! And everybody nailed their roles.

I do think the film is cleverer about race and about women in general than you give it credit for, but maybe it’s something I only notice as a female viewer. Debbie Ocean has a great comment about not bringing a man into the con because men are noticed, and women are invisible. It’s so true, especially for women of colour. The way Nine Ball gets ignored when she pretends to be a cleaner. Awkwafina passing unnoticed as a waitress. And then of course Debbie’s low level scams, which rely on her status as a white woman to behave badly and not be questioned. I remember breaking into a friend’s car with her once in a store parking lot; she’d locked her keys inside. Both of us are white. Other white people came over to HELP. You can bet that wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t white. Likewise, imagine Debbie’s little getting-on-my-feet-again heists if she weren’t white.

I feel at this point like I’m making too big a deal about these aspects of the film because now I’m making it sound worthy, and it’s not that film (e.g. it’s not Crash, thankfully). I remember once having sailing tactics explained to me as, “if you think the left side of the course is favored, you don’t have to go all the way left. You just have to go more left than everyone else.” That’s all the film does. It is a fun, jolly heist film with good clothes and great performances, that just takes one step further to the left than the rest of the pack (not hard, in the current glut of women-in-refrigerators films). I see that step, and I’m happy for it, but the film isn't ultimately about that. It’s about crime, and female friendship, and a bunch of women with high-key skills whose men, if they even have them, if they even are into men, aren’t even mentioned. Sarah Paulson’s character Tammy is happily married, but her husband doesn’t have a single line, and never appears on screen. Apparently Matt Damon had a scene but he ended up on the cutting room floor!

Women don’t get to be heroes. We get to be supporting characters, or love interests. There’s that whole Joseph Campbell thing about the woman not needing a hero’s journey because she’s already there, she’s the hero’s destination, and here is this magical fun little film where Princess Peach saves herself and then embarks on a life of crime and I am 100 percent here for it.

Simon, the Pink Panther: I really wish I shared your passion for this one, because honestly, the only thing I feel compelled to argue with you about this film is how fine it is. It is fine! All fine! Not bad, not great—fine! I do not begrudge you your enjoyment!

I'd be curious to hear more about how the film got fashion and celebrity right, but let's start with the feminist conceits that you mentioned. I get what you're saying, but tend to agree with Brody when he says that the stereotypes are simultaneously laughed at and relied on. You see a low-key critique of white privilege, and I see a self-aware, by-committee acknowledgment of ideas about class and race thatare also kinda tacitly condoned. I thought Awkwafina got some good lines, but was mostly bored by Kaling and Rihanna's characters. If Debbie's disapproval of Rihanna's blunt-smoking was more than just an empty, under-developed conceit, it'd be mentioned in a later scene. Or acknowledged somehow following that encounter. Ditto with the service roles that Awkwafina and Kaling play in the film: they are able to rip people off because people don't expect anything from them, but they also don't get to solve problems in a way that proves they're more than just Debbie's set-it-and-forget-it backup team.

I don't give Ross and his co-creators major points for this — nor do I think that they deserve strenuous criticism — because I think this is just a way for them to have their cake and eat it too. These writers and directors do not do subtlety. Remember Pleasantville? Or the first — and worst — Hunger Games movie? Or Seabiscuit? If Ross and the gang have an idea, they will highlight it in bold, italicized caps. You can see that (relatively benign) lack of story-telling confidence in the scene where Debbie and Lou are having Chinese food as Debbie recalls how she used a make-shift shiv to threaten her deplorably self-involved ex-boyfriend Claude Becker (Richard Armitage). First we get the moment that's being recapped, then seconds later, we get the recap itself. Ideally, you should have the two parts inter-cut together as one dynamic scene. Instead, we see both sequences separately. Does Ross not think his audience can keep up? Or maybe one of these scene-lets was tacked on during rewrites? Whatever the reason: the decision to cleave these two related moments in half reeks of a general lack of clarity or knowledge of how to make decent-enough conceits more dramatically convincing.

I don't really believe that the filmmakers have sophisticated or even thoughtful ideas about white privilege and/or POCs' invisibility and subordinate roles in society simply because that social dynamic is cursorily acknowledged. I also freely admit that I don't have a dog in this fight, and therefore am only playing devil's advocate, a position I would rather not be in. But, since I'm here, I might as well lean into being the villainous heel to your heroic face: if our heroines get away — because the film's most refreshing aspect is its atypically casual celebration of sororal friendship — why are there absolutely no consequences along the way? I don't need this film to be the friggin' Asphalt Jungle, but I never once felt that there was enough tension, or conflict during the drama's set-up. I expected a happy ending because Ocean's 8 is not the kind of film that ends with consequences: it's light popcorn entertainment, as you said, an adequate 110-minute opportunity to enjoy some free air-conditioning. But a little more suspense leading up to that foregone conclusion would have been nice.

I guess I don't feel compelled to applaud Ocean's 8 for its light social commentary given the project's generic limitations. I wanted more character development for Kaling and Awkwafina, two heroines who are identified as working class women driven by a shared desire to move on up. There was only one scene between these two characters that made me sit up and say "Yes, more of this," and that was when Constance (Awkwafina) explains Tinder to Amita (Kaling). It was sweet...but even that needed a good punch-up. Where's the modern equivalent of a Carrie Fisher-like script doctor when you need her?

That's, realistically, my biggest problem: there's some fine basic conceits here, but no follow-through that I care about. It's all tacitly accepted cliches and hand-me-down genre hokum that isn't embraced with much conviction. The old one binge-eats Nutella because nervous and old. The street-smart POC with the hacking skills wants to open her own bar, and has a smarter younger sibling because white writers think she's one of the Cosby-ified "good ones" who can do a crime, but also be humanized by her familial ties. And the confident white women wear nice clothes, get free stuff, and drink together while listening to vinyl in a big ol loft because post-Sex and the City wish fulfillment. Ok. Not invalid, but I don't really feel like throwing up my hands just because I'm not the film's target audience. I don't even think I'm the target audience for Ocean's 11! Still, which is it: capably superficial or sneakily perceptive? Low-key woke, or checklist ally-ship? Isn't it all of the above?

Alex, le Stephanois: I think we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I don’t feel the film needed to do more than it did in regards to its characters. It could have, of course, but there’s this liberal tendency to condemn something for trying but not trying hard enough. It was fine. It did more than other films do, don’t kick it for not, as I said earlier, going ALL the way to the left. And although it’s been a while since I saw Ocean's 11, I recall it as being exactly in this mode: you watch criminals do a crime and it’s fun. There’s no overarching antagonist other than the seeming impossibility of the job. And wish fulfillment is part of any action/thriller franchise, my friend. James Bond and the Fast & Furious crew don’t drive Honda Civics, and nobody complains about that. Let our girls have nice (stolen from Vogue) dresses and an improbably cool clubhouse. I come from a deep and sincere love of 1930s screwball comedies and films like The Thin Man, where everyone wears amazing clothes and is fabulously witty. I’m so tired of grim & gritty. Let people have nice things. In a summer of bloated, CGI-heavy franchise “movie events” about white male heroes, Ocean's 8 felt to me like a rare, refreshing treat. I can think of very few other mainly-female-cast ensemble films, and every other one is somehow ultimately about romance: The Women (love it); SATC (toxic garbage); Mamma Mia (also love it). And say what you will about the first Hunger Games, but it was still a landmark film with a female action protagonist front and center. We need to celebrate when we get close, not complain when a thing isn’t perfect.

Simon, Hudson Hawk's Skateboard Coach: I don't just care that the makers of Ocean's 8 try to have it all ways. I mainly dislike that this film's creators aren't good enough to distract me from the fact that their zingers are just competent, the characterizations are fairly basic, and the heist was only fine. Oh, so there's a lazy scene with Shaobo Qin so we can remember his superior set piece from the original remake of that Rat Pack film. (PS: I don't even like Soderbergh's Ocean's films that much!) Oh, so Helena Bonham-Carter — who I also love — is gonna goggle her eyes and act comically disoriented in every scene because her character is older. Oh, so the big elaborate jewel heist is gonna boil down to a lost German tourist routine, a low-stakes toilet stall snatch-and-grab, and a pothead waiter? OK. Fine.

Why is criticizing this kind of mediocre story-telling off-limits just because this film will ultimately lead to better movies, just like how the first Hunger Games led was followed by superior sequels helmed by Frances Lawrence (oh, hello, here's my Hunger Games-centric interview with him)? I mean, your comment about how "wish fulfillment is party of any action/thriller franchise" kinda goes without saying, no? Why is our entertainment industry's fate — and the fate of its addiction-like reliance on dark-ish, crisis-heavy entertainment — dependent on me accentuating the positive? I mean, sorry/not sorry to pull a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington on you, but here's what some of my fellow haters are saying:

-Time's Stephanie Zacharek writes: "The movie’s rhythms are precariously wobbly; it needs to zip along lightly, as if motored by the energy of champagne bubbles. Ocean’s 8 is one of those movies that’s enjoyable enough in the moment, but you’re likely to forget what you saw within 10 minutes of leaving the theater."

-The Village Voice's Alan Scherstuhl sez: "Director Gary Ross, who also conceived of the story and co-wrote the script, prioritizes getting the pieces into place over making us care about the pieces, and as his movie bounces along it’s easy to miss the smooth, unshowy mastery of Steven 'Ocean’s 11–13' Soderbergh, who usually made the piece-placing stylish fun."

-Vulture's Emily Yoshida adds: "All its getting-the-gang-together scenes — which should be half the fun of this kind of joint — feel airless, conducted in soundproof rooms devoid of ambience or texture or jokes. Soderbergh’s films may have been pure bantering fantasy, but at least Ocean’s Eleven really felt like it took place in Las Vegas. This New York City feels bereft of all the manic energy that should be the reason for setting a heist there in the first place."

There are plenty of other critics who see things your way (don't make me quote Sexy Rexy), but these are the ones I identify with.

Honestly, when you say that I should "let people have nice things," I have to ask: why does my criticism of this film — phrased specifically as a response to your comments praising the film's low-key sensitivity and low-stakes fun — make me a Bernie Bro-esque wacky inflatable arm-waving straw man? I want to just quote Hannibal Buress, and run (specifically the great line that's become such a handy meme: "Why are you booing me? I'm right!").

Instead, I'll just note that I'm not writing about the things I like about Ocean's 8 because these conversations aren't meant to be fair-and-balanced reviews. I can be the bad wrestler to your good one because arguing with you is fun, unlike watching Ocean's 8 (Oh, boo yourself!). This is just me yelling at a friend over virtual libations because I have no clue what movie you just saw that made you so excited. I want to believe, Scully! But I don't. Not yet.

Alex, Ugo Piazza’s Road to Nowhere: I think we’ve actually stopped having a debate about this film, and honestly I’m not really interested in being bludgeoned by the opinions of Actual Film Critics as an example of how I’m Wrong. I’m here because I’m not the professional critic, I’m the goon in the room who goes and sees stuff and shoots from the hip about it. Here are some specific things I liked: I believed the fashion choices. Most of the time that Hollywood tries to do “fashion”, it either mocks people in the industry as idiots (Zoolander, Pret-A-Porter, I Feel Pretty) or just gets the clothes... super wrong. The Hathaway vehicle The Devil Wears Prada was one of the few that bothered to get it right. And clearly Ocean's 8 made enough effort that fashion people signed off on it — Anna Wintour with a charmingly self-depreciating cameo, Hamish Bowles in some background scenes, et cetera. I believed Hathaway’s dress in Ocean's 8 as a Met Gala dress. The rest of the team and all the bit players looked correctly fashionable. They even had the right dresses on display in the fake exhibit, from actual good designers. So, kudos to Sarah Edwards, who did the costume design.

There were a lot of moments I loved. Constance’s “I’m on the co-op board” line at the end made me squeal with glee; it’s an incredibly NYC-centric joke, but such a perfect moment I’m remembering it days later. The entire interaction between Nine Ball and Veronica. Watching Rose get her confidence and self-assurance back over the course of the film. Anytime Debbie went to visit Danny’s grave. Every time James Corden was on screen. Hathaway's Daphne directing at the end. Like I said, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. I found this movie fun from top to tail, and while no, it’s not an eternal classic for the ages, it’s well-done proof that a majority-female action-thriller can earn its keep. And as I said, it was just nice to have no giant boss fights or CGI or aliens or clear plays for franchise expansion or whatever. Like Debbie Ocean herself, it got in, did its thing well, then got out. If it didn’t work as well for you, that’s okay. I’m sure right now in Hollywood, it’s inspiring a whole bunch of people to do something better. And that’s more than okay. You gotta start somewhere.


‘Ocean’s 8’ is a Stepping Stone, Not the Destination

Ciara Wardlow June 10, 2018

When I was a little girl, I had at least one book on my person at all times. I read anything and everything, so long as it fits one simple criterion: a female protagonist. Sure, I made a few special exceptions for the Harry Potter series and a few other books, but the general rule remained. I didn’t do it as some sort of intentional feminist statement—I was a kid—but simply because I found female protagonists more relatable.

With movies, I didn’t have the same option. At least, not with the kind of movies I liked—sci-fi and action/adventure, the kind with car chases, explosions, and occasionally superpowers.

There is a fundamental sort of repetitiveness and familiarity that defines Hollywood studio films. To be clear, I’m not stating this as a complaint. The joy of a good Hollywood film is that of slipping into a well-worn pair of favorite jeans. It’s familiar and comfortable. When you buy a ticket you know approximately what you’re getting into, and the real challenge is managing to do that without slipping into the danger zone of redundancy. Most of us enjoy some good old-fashioned escapism; nobody likes feeling like they paid twice for the same thing.

Of course, Hollywood’s love of its familiar patterns also contributes to some of its less admirable qualities. As far as inclusivity and representation are concerned, Hollywood is not known for being on the cutting edge so much as getting there eventually. In this instance, “there” is a place where any little girl who happens to feel like I once did would actually be able to indulge a preference for female-led narratives without sacrificing entire cinematic genres.

I’ve written about the ongoing gender-flipping trend before. As stated there, I have decided reservations about it. Admittedly, one of my major concerns was that Ocean’s 8 would underperform commercially as Ghostbusters did two years ago, potentially making studios gun-shy about female ensemble films on the whole. However, all signs currently point in the opposite direction, with current projections estimating a $42 million dollar opening weekend, a record for the Ocean’s franchise.

Ocean’s 8 is a prime example of the sort of comfortable escapism mentioned before, familiar without being overly redundant. Gary Ross might not be Steven Soderbergh, but Sandra Bullock‘s Debbie Ocean is well able to fill the shoes of George Clooney‘s Danny, backed by an equally capable ensemble cast. And Helena Bonham-Carter’s Irish accent might waver on occasion, but it is undeniably better than Don Cheadle’s infamous “English” accent in Ocean’s 11 and Ocean’s 13.

It is, admittedly, not groundbreaking stuff. But outside of a by-the-numbers boy-meets-girl rom-com, the heist film might be one of the most formulaic genres Hollywood has: mastermind has a plan, gathers the team, preparations are made, heist takes place with inevitable complications including at least one game-changing reveal that almost always involves flashbacks. It’s an old genre that dates back to at least the 1930s and came of age during the height of film noir in the 40s and 50s.

One of the things that makes Ocean’s 8 one of the most compelling examples of the gender-flipping trend thus far is that it’s not just a matter of gender-flipping a series, like Ghostbusters was. It doesn’t try to appeal to fannish nostalgia quite like Ghostbusters did, or to make a statement through its female ensemble cast in quite the same way. Debbie explains keeping her team all-female as a strategic choice within the context of the film—”a him gets noticed, a her gets ignored.” Just like most sequels, spin-offs, or entries into a specified genre, Ocean’s 8 is a product, first and foremost, of the fundamental Hollywood method: take a familiar formula, put just enough of a twist on it to keep things entertaining, and repeat. The basic set-up of the film—a spin-off starring a relative of the original protagonist—is itself a familiar device that far pre-dates the current gender-flipping trend.

Hollywood is a behemoth. And like many large, bulky creatures, it shows little aptitude for moving with great speed. While my reservations about gender-flipping remain, with films like Ocean’s 8 I am happy to accept the trend for what it will hopefully prove to be: a transition phase. Hollywood cautiously dipping its toes into the water before, with some coaxing (read: good box office returns), finally starting to wade in. It’s a baby steps sort of situation where many of us would prefer to be running towards our destination—a place where we can get something like a female ensemble Hollywood heist film without it needing to be a reboot or spin-off of an all-male predecessor.

It’s a transition phase. Like middle school or puberty, it is awkward, and many would skip it if given the choice. But hopefully, it leads to something better, a destination that will make the journey worth it.


'Ocean's 8' Review: Sandra Bullock Anchors A Gem Of A Heist Caper

Scott Mendelson , Contributor
I cover the film industry.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

The Box Office:

Ocean’s 8 faces a different situation compared to the gender-flipped Ghostbusters remake from two years’ back. Most importantly, this Gary Ross-directed heist caper cost around $70 million, or about half of Paul Feig’s $144m sci-fi comedy reboot. As such, this movie could earn the same $229m worldwide and qualify as a solid hit. Also, of note, this film is based within the world of an existing franchise, operating as a spin-off or quasi-sequel. To the extent that any movie can “erase” another movie (amazingly, I am still able to watch both Batman and Batman Begins), this one doesn’t negate the events of the Stephen Soderbergh trilogy.

Oh, and with a cast that includes Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna and Awkwafina, this would be a big deal even if it weren’t based on an existing franchise. The IP will help, but it won’t be the entirety of the sale or the crux of the appeal. Moreover, to the extent that this one will be targeted by the same trolls who decried the Ghostbusters movie sight-unseen and then claimed that the studio was attacking the fans when the filmmakers clapped back, this one doesn’t need anything other than its intended adult-female demographic to be a hit.

The Review:

Ocean’s 8 is exactly what it promises to be. It’s a snazzy, story-thin, character-rich heist caper centered on a bunch of professional thieves (or potential criminals recruited into the game) who just happen to be women and who just happen to be played by a cast of delightful actresses. While it is technically a sequel/spin-off to the Ocean’s 11 trilogy (itself spawned from the 1960 Rat Pack caper), it is less an IP cash-in than a case of using the brand to give some breathing room to what is otherwise an original all-female heist flick. It’s not a great movie, but it is great fun.

Penned by Gary Ross and Olivia Milch, and with longtime Soderbergh pal Ross in the director’s chair, Ocean’s 8 offers the barest hints of story or motivation to justify what you came to see. Yes, it’s mostly about Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett being the two coolest cats of the summer, with Blanchett especially outclassing and out-fabulizing (Is that a word? It is now) almost any character you’ll see this summer. Her pantsuits are so superheroic you’ll swear they were designed by Edna E. Mode from The Incredibles. For the record, it’s Sarah Edwards who deserves a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize for her overall efforts.

After a brief intro which gives us our main character (Debbie Ocean, played with understated straight-woman charm by Sandra Bullock) and updates us on post-Ocean’s Thirteen continuity, we dive right in with the planning and orchestrating of a diamond heist during the annual Met Gala. The first act introduces all our key players to us and (in some cases) to each other. The caper itself is about snatching a very expensive piece of jewelry from the neck of a movie star (Anne Hathaway, having the most fun lampooning her media-created persona this side of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”) during the biggest fashion event of the year.

Ross does his best to mimic the Soderbergh stylings of the prior trilogy. However, I’d imagine most folks are showing up this weekend to see the cast of leading ladies (including Mindy Kaling, as the jeweler, Helena Bonham Carter as the fashion designer, Sarah Paulson as the fence, Rihanna as the hacker and Awkwafina as the pickpocket) be awesome alongside each other while stealing stuff. On that score, you won’t feel the least bit robbed. Blanchett is cooler than you, Awkafina is a delight and everyone else does their thing with aplomb. Credit to Bullock for not trying to outshine her flashier co-stars.

I would have liked more character interaction among the supporting players, as it’s at its best when the women are just talking to each other. Ocean’s 8 is almost entirely procedural. This is one flick that may have benefited from a longer running time. But what you get is fun, and the screenplay doesn’t treat the idea of an all-female gang as anything noteworthy or special. There are enough story beats lightly cribbed from Ocean’s 11 to occasionally remind you of the brand, but this is a mostly stand-alone and nostalgia-free franchise reboot. Kudos for keeping “Batman” out of the “Wonder Woman” movie.

If this feels light on specifics, it’s because I have no interest in giving away the fun stuff. The marketing was surprisingly spoiler-free, and I’d like to give you that same courtesy. Hathaway really cuts loose in the third act, and there is plenty of storytelling left after the big job. Besides, this is a clear “what you see is what you get” studio programmer. It looks great, has a cast to die for and offers plenty of lightweight genre tropes and cast chemistry to justify the brand extension. And yeah, however overdue, it’s nice to see a big heist movie with a bunch of female thieves.

In terms of stakes and drama, it’s probably closer to the carefree 1960 original than the “gotta win my ex-wife back” remake. In a less tentpole/mega-budget fantasy era, a movie like Ocean’s 8 would be a standard summer movie. In terms of execution, it still is. Mega-budget star power may be a thing of the past, but a cast of (at least) eight famous and/or fabulous actresses in one heist movie should be enough to justify putting off the court-appointed tentpole or (heaven forbid) seeing more than one movie this month. Ocean’s 8 is worth a babysitter unless your kids are old enough and cool enough to come along.


Ocean’s 8 Review: A Glittering Puzzle with No Consequences

Barry Wetcher
June 7, 2018

And that’s exactly what it should be.

Last year, I wrote about how I can only watch scary movies if I’ve looked up the entire plot beforehand. I’ve started doing this with other movies, too. Rom-coms, action movies, anything where there's a villain or danger or even a miscommunication that causes tension between two people for more than a single scene. I absorb anxiety, and if even for a second it seems like things aren’t going to be okay for someone I want them to be okay for, everything tenses up for me until it resolves. Which may not be for hours. Or ever.

I didn’t have to Google what happens in Ocean’s 8. It induces no anxiety. It’s a glitzy puzzle with no consequences. And it’s exactly what I want a movie to be.

Ocean’s 8 begins with Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) getting out of jail, where she’s been hanging out for the past five years, planning her next heist. Her brother, Danny Ocean (George Clooney of the most recent Ocean’s run), is dead, but she’s carrying on the family legacy, which is apparently stealing lots of money with very attractive people. This time, the heist involves stealing a very valuable Cartier necklace from the Met Gala.

Bullock goes about getting the band back together, in the first of many montages. The Brad Pitt to her Clooney is Cate Blanchett, who may have more suits than lines, but those suits are fabulous, and clearly she still has a lot of vamping to get out of her system post–Thor: Ragnarok. The mark is Anne Hathaway, who is truly spectacular as a self-centered actress who is savvier than she looks. Each team member gets a brief backstory, but not enough that you seriously worry about any consequences on their lives. There’s no fretting over Sarah Paulson’s kids, or Rihanna’s sister, or Mindy Kaling’s stereotypically overbearing Indian mother. Whether they succeed or fail, nothing bad is actually going to happen.

It’s not like they don’t try to set up stakes. We find out Ocean is a Wronged Woman seeking redemption. There are a few moments where the team runs into snags. But, as in Clooney’s Ocean’s Eleven, they’re quickly overcome with witty banter, some form of deus ex machina, and some corny close-ups of Cartier jewels. And I mean quickly. The film, at just under two hours, runs at a clip considering the number of moving parts that need to come together to make the heist happen. There are moments you wish they breathed a little more into the characters’ relationships with each other (a scene with Awkwafina teaching Mindy Kaling Tinder comes to mind), but the point of an Ocean’s movie is getting the job done.

On a recent episode of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, co-host Glen Weldon noted how easy it was to laugh at the references in Deadpool 2, even though they weren’t actually jokes. I think the same part of your brain lights up when you figure out a plan in a heist movie. The idea of the heist being “good” or “realistic” doesn’t even play into it. You’re too busy being like, “AHHH LOOK WHAT THEY DID!” It’s like watching a Rube Goldberg machine—nothing matters except how satisfying it is when it comes to an end. And it’s really satisfying!

One of the best parts of the movie came just after, when I walked out and realized...there was no love story. Ocean’s Eleven was all about Clooney winning back Julia Roberts, as if she were property that could be easily impressed and reclaimed instead of a human woman who left Danny Ocean for a reason. (I mean, the movie wrote her as the former, but a girl can dream.) Here, there’s only a glimmer of a love interest—existing enough to act against but not enough to become emotionally invested in. He’s not a source of drama or yearning. He’s a tool.

If you liked Ocean’s Eleven, you’ll like Ocean’s 8. It’s got the glamorous setting, the quips, the moment where you figure everything else out, an Ocean in a tuxedo with an undone bow tie. Does it matter that the team is all women? I think so. Not in that you learn that women are capable of pulling off a heist—like Ocean’s Eleven, the film is in no way realistic—but that women are the center of such a distinctly masculine genre. And while Ocean’s Eleven doesn’t make any mention of the team being all men, Ocean’s 8 explicitly notes that their plan requires it to be all women. Their womanhood is not only acknowledged but necessary. Growing up, I knew plenty of girls who wanted to emulate Brad Pitt, not in gender necessarily but in attitude. Maybe after Ocean's 8, some boys will want to emulate Cate Blanchett.


But How Gay is ‘Ocean’s 8’?

By: Kevin O'Keeffe

08 Jun 2018

In “But How Gay Is It?”, we seek to answer the biggest questions you have about a new movie release in theaters now — including, most crucially, the titular question. Does the movie have any queer characters? Are there stories involving same-sex lovers? Which gay icons star in the film? We’re bringing you all that and more.

What is Ocean’s 8? If you’ve somehow missed all news about the gender-swapped heist caper starring some of our finest actresses, I bow my head in admiration. You missed out on some great Twitter freakouts, but you also probably avoided, you know, the general hellscape that is life online in 2018.

Anyway, Ocean’s 8 is the latest iteration in the Ocean’s remake franchise. Danny Ocean (George Clooney in the previous films) is dead, and his sister Debbie is just now getting out of prison for a crime her former lover framed her for. Partially in his memory, partially because she has no money, and partially because she’s addicted to heisting, she plans a job robbing the Met Gala of one very expensive Cartier necklace off the neck of one very famous actress. The rest of the movie splits cleanly into three acts: planning the heist, executing the heist, and the aftermath.

Who’s in it? Sandra Bullock is this film’s titular Ocean, while Cate Blanchett plays her right-hand woman Lou. The rest of the squad is filled out with some of the finest stars of their fields: Mindy Kaling as jewelry maker Amita, Sarah Paulson as fence finder-turned-suburban housewife Tammy, Awkwafina as über-talented pickpocket Constance, Rihanna as quiet-but-deadly hacker Nine-Ball, and Helena Bonham Carter as washed-up fashion designer Rose Weil. The last of the eight is Daphne Kluger herself, played to comic perfection by Anne Hathaway.

Why should I see it? It’s a delight! Look, I’ve mentioned before how I’m not fond of heist as a genre, how it feels so unmoored from any particular tone. That problem is definitely present here — Ocean’s 8 isn’t funny enough to be a comedy, or serious enough to be a drama. But what it absolutely is is fun. The women face almost no real obstacles to pulling off their job, the banter is breezy and light, and you’ll walk out satisfied you saw it. It’s not reinventing the wheel by any measure, and director Gary Ross is no original-trilogy director Steven Soderbergh, but it’s a good time at the cinema.

But how gay is it? Outside of the presence of some major gay icons here (including the Carol reunion of Paulson and Blanchett), and the actual casting of a queer woman (Paulson!), the content of the film itself is disappointingly straight. There are definitely some flirty vibes between Debbie and Tammy, and Debbie and Lou talk about their relationship like they’re married (Debbie at one point describes going through a “rough patch” with Lou). But the only explicit relationship we see is between Debbie and art dealer Claude Becker (Richard Armitage).

There was a lot of expectation online about the queerness of this film, considering Blanchett’s heralded status among queer women and a scene of flirty banter between her and Debbie that was photographed early on. I’d imagine many will be disappointed that none of the characters are canonically gay. That said, there are definite notes of sexual tension — just enough to keep you on your toes, I’d say.

Is Daphne just one of the eight because she’s one of the stars, or is she part of the heist? She’s the target of the heist, and anything more would be a spoiler. Just know that, like Hathaway herself, there is far more than meets the eye to Daphne.

Is releasing this film the same weekend as Los Angeles Pride gay rights? You bet it is. If you’re looking for an alternate Pride plan, you can’t go wrong with Ocean’s 8. It may not be explicitly gay, but it’ll certainly make you gay-gasp.


Ocean’s 8: The Agony and Ecstasy of All That Unresolved Sexual Tension
As gratifying as the film’s ending was, let’s be honest: it should have been gayer.

Laura Bradley
June 8, 2018 12:00 PM

This post contains spoilers for Ocean’s 8.

To watch Ocean’s 8 is to indulge in a distinctly ephemeral form of joy; even if the thrill begins to fade from memory after an hour or two, that doesn’t make the experience any less pleasant. The heist at the center of the movie goes off without a hitch; in the end, our scammer heroes walk away with all the riches they came for and then some. There’s only one thing that conclusion is missing: a frank acknowledgment of the obvious, vexingly unexplored sexual tension between Sandra Bullock’s Debbie Ocean and her best friend—“friend”?—Lou (Cate Blanchett).

Look, far be it for me—for any of us, really—to complain about a romp that gave us Cate Blanchett in so many fabulous suits. But from beginning to end, Ocean’s 8 seemed to consciously imply that there was more to Lou and Debbie’s relationship than meets the eye. There are tantalizing bits of dialogue, like when Debbie calls Lou, as she often does, her “partner”—and Lou replies, “I’m not your partner—yet.” At another point, Lou teases Debbie, asking, “Oh, honey, is this a proposal?” Debbie’s reply? “Baby, I don’t even have a diamond yet.” Did the two exchange a knowing look when Lou met Debbie wearing her share of the heist’s haul around her neck, or was that just me? Come to think of it, those two seem to exchange a lot of looks. Also, there’s that moment when they feed each other!

But as I drank in every furtive glance and whisper of backstory like a fine wine, I was left mostly with questions. How did these two meet? Did they even actually have a thing? Is that why Lou is both protective of Debbie and impatient about any conversation involving her ex? Although Ocean’s 8 clearly wants its viewers to catch the fascinating dynamic between these two—the implications are simply too obvious for even the straightest person alive to believe they were inserted into the movie by accident—it also makes no effort to clarify their history. And, it’s worth repeating, there’s clearly history.

That history is also a lot more interesting than the bit of romantic backstory we do get in the movie. Like Ocean’s 11 before it, which revealed that Danny Ocean’s big heist was really a ploy to punish the casino owner who was dating his ex-wife, Tess (Julia Roberts), Ocean’s 8 is also something of a revenge story. Debbie, too, has an ex; his name is Claude, he’s played by Richard Armitage, and he’s the reason Debbie got sent to prison in the first place. But unlike Ocean’s 11, which spent a decent amount of screen time putting Clooney and Roberts’s compelling and playful chemistry on display, Ocean’s 8 can’t seem to decide what it wants to do with Claude. More than anything, he feels like a testosterone-filled waste of space; if it had nixed him altogether, the film wouldn’t feel any less complete. Plus, if it had, it might have had more time to focus on Debbie and Lou.

Its ending is, perhaps, the film’s most vexing move of all. After Debbie and her crew inevitably succeed in their mission, robbing the Metropolitan Museum of several pieces of gigantic, borderline-priceless jewelry, the film offers us a glimpse at how each woman spends her share of the money. Rihanna’s pot-smoking hacker character, Nine Ball, buys a bar and names it after herself. Scene stealer Anne Hathaway’s narcissistic actress character gets to direct her own movies now. And then there’s Lou, who mounts her motorcycle and rides off into the sunset, looking almost like one of the leads in the classic Black Mirror episode “San Junipero”—a beautifully told love story about two women that ended with Mackenzie Davis’s character, Yorkie, driving off into the sunset in a convertible with the love of her life, Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).

But when Lou was riding away, where was her Kelly? Well, instead of hopping on the back of Lou’s hog, Debbie was, sigh, visiting her brother—the now deceased Danny Ocean (George Clooney)—at his grave site. Where’s Debbie’s director’s chair, her bar, her grand ride off into the future—with Lou by her side? Even a coy “will they, won’t they” conclusion would have been more satisfying than a quiet murmur to a brother who never even made a live cameo in the movie. (Because he might not actually be dead, right? Just watch him show up in Ocean’s 9.)

Perhaps it’s asking too much to wish for an ending that makes explicit what was already heavily implied—and perhaps pairing Lou and Debbie would even have felt pat. And yet, like a queer Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn’t help but wonder what could have been. Maybe that’s waiting for us in Ocean’s 9, too.


‘Ocean’s 8’ Is the Female-Forward Movie You’ve Been Waiting For
The cast rocks and the heist is a blast. This movie's just plain cool.

by Tyler Daswick June 8, 2018 4 minute read

Ocean’s 8 is strapped with a cultural moment. It’s a female-driven movie in a period starved for them, and what’s more, it’s entering the frattiest, dude-heavy franchise in Hollywood. With that context, it would be wrong to ignore the “importance” of Ocean’s 8, but watching the movie, you almost forget that importance. This movie is effortless. It’s slick, cool and a total blast. It doesn’t shoulder its moment like a burden, it flaunts it like a cape.

The Ocean’s franchise is a collection of heist movies. In the past, they’ve featured George Clooney cracking wise, Matt Damon doing his wonderful little half-grin and Brad Pitt eating lots of fast food and talking with his mouth full. They’re awesome. Ocean’s 8 is less a sequel to these movies and more of a spinoff, but it owes nothing to the flicks that came before, and hesitates to give them the barest nod. Sure, the heist formula is here, from assembling the crew to mapping out the plan to the final “here’s what you didn’t see” reveal, but these women take ownership over that process from start to finish.

And wow, what a cast. Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett are your two masterminds (the former exudes savvy, and the latter has never, ever been cooler—Blanchett’s physical here, and her walk and posture and mannerisms are wholly magnetic), but they’re joined by a witty Mindy Kaling, a steady Sarah Paulson, a hilarious Awkwafina, a Rihanna who blessedly doesn’t try to do too much and a Helena Bonham-Carter who blessedly tries to do everything. Oh, and they’re all out to steal some diamonds from Anne Hathaway, who leans all the way into her undefinable hateability to deliver a truly cackle-worthy performance. There’s no weak link here.

Given its timing with the women’s movement in Hollywood, and given its unfair alignment with past female-centric efforts like the recent Ghostbusters reboot, you might expect Ocean’s 8 to be explicit about its femininity, but the best thing about it is that it’s really not, and that colors the whole event with a graceful lack of concession. There’s nothing here that hammers you over the head with “remember we’re the women’s movie” messaging. It’s just easy about it. In one conversation, Blanchett asks Bullock if she wants to rope a male colleague into the heist. Bullock says no. Why not? Bullock shrugs. It’s a he.

In place of that explicitness, Ocean’s 8 holds an implicit ease that translates on screen into something superbly confident. This movie just swaggers around. The actors strut from scene to scene, often to the tune of the movie’s banging, unabashed soundtrack, and they spit lines that make you grin like an accomplice. We’re doing this. It’s inclusive but not preachy about it. It’s celebratory, but not exaggerated about it. It’s fun, but it’s not trying too hard to be fun. This isn’t a basement party for the freshmen. It’s an afternoon backyard rager for the seniors.

What’s better, all that ease fits inside a framework that’s completely natural for these characters. The main heist in Ocean’s 8 involves the MET Gala, an annual high point in fashion and celebrity. This might be traditional to say, but the MET Gala is something you would definitely consider to be more women-focused, so using it as a centerpiece in this movie feels strategic, but also a total no-brainer. This is a heist these women are well-suited—make that best-suited—to pull off. The Ocean’s guys would never touch the MET Gala. It’s not their lane. Here, it’s the perfect crime.

And sure, Ocean’s 8 hiccups a bit. There’s a weird sort of fourth act in which James Corden crashes the party and spoils the vibe, and the overall scheme is maybe a bit less elaborate than what other Ocean’s movies have conditioned us to hope for (this job doesn’t lead to a giant set piece, though it does stitch together a tight, clever relay race between all the thieves’ various skill sets), but those qualms aren’t enough to diminish the sheer amount of satisfaction this movie has to offer. It’s just a great night out and money well spent, and it’s significant, too, that it doesn’t try—or need—to be anything more than that.

Ocean’s 8 doesn’t draw attention to its casting or its implications, and that’s to its enormous credit. We’ve seen female-centered movies make bold, declarative statements from inside themselves—Wonder Woman’s battle scene across No Man’s Land is the most memorable—but that sort of scene makes sense for a movie like Wonder Woman (she already was an icon of the times, after all) and less so for Ocean’s 8.

This movie didn’t need to be boldly feminist or overtly progressive; it already is those things without making a big show of it. That low-key vibe, for lack of a better word, means Ocean’s 8 sets a precedence for future movies of its nature to take a similar approach. Female-driven movies can just be movies. They can come with popcorn, and they don’t need an Oscar campaign to matter. Ocean’s 8 is a fun summer movie and its eight most important actors are women. That’s the whole story, and that story slays.


Ocean's 8

“Cate Blanchett’s Lou blatantly telegraphs as queer. Unfortunately, it’s never made explicit.”

Title: Ocean’s 8
Director: Gary Ross
Writers: Gary Ross

Reviewed by Li

Technical: 3.75/5

The premise of Ocean’s 8 reads like a Twitter campaign gone viral: Rihanna, Awkwafina, Mindy Kaling, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, and Sarah Paulson get together in a snazzy heist movie and rob the Met Gala blind. Naturally, their formidable star power is on show, as every actor enjoys if not equal screentime, then at least equally endearing characters. The actors’ performances buoy this otherwise derivative plot, and director Gary Ross knows how to milk it. Case in point: when the camera slowly panned up the fire-engine-red gown of Rihanna, the entire movie theater gave a collective gasp at how commanding she looked.

The film also plays up its unique positioning as a female ensemble within the almost exclusively male heist genre. This pent up demand, of seeing women in a stylish caper as more than just tits on legs, is given due respect as men are finally nudged—if just barely—off center. Instead, we follow the cool lead of Deb (Sandra Bullock) as she guides her delightful band of ultra-smart weirdos to mass riches.

Still, Ocean’s 8 isn’t by any stretch a “great movie”. The pacing stutters to a near-halt after its first act, relying on the chemistry and charm of its cast to stumble to the finish line (which it does, thanks to the talented women who carry it off). But when you’re treated to slick editing, a mischievous soundtrack, and way more laughs than you may have anticipated, what’s not to like?

Gender: 5/5
Does it pass the Bechdel Test? YES
GradeMyMovie.com Assessment: 42% of key cast and crew members were women.

I would have preferred a female director to helm the stories of eight powerful actresses, but Ross has a solid track record on scripting strong women. He wrote and directed the first Hunger Games chapter (released in 2012), and Pleasantville (1998) remains subversive, featuring a sex-positive Reese Witherspoon within the film’s larger takedown of rose-tinted nostalgia.

Ross’ writing partner, Olivia Milch, adds a welcome addition to the behind-camera talent, even if GradeMyMovie.com still knocks the film for not reaching parity in its its tally of director(s), writer(s), producer(s), and the first three actors listed on IMDB. Related or not, the onscreen depiction of gender isn’t quite perfect either. Manohla Dargis examines this in The New York Times, saying:

“[Ocean’s 8] includes an irritating subplot involving a very bad former lover. It’s needless narrative filler; worse, it dilutes the purity of the women’s work, their screen mission as it were.”

Luckily, the sheer force of having an all-women ensemble carries enough oomph to garner this category a 5/5. The inclusion of Deb’s ex-boyfriend does feel like a subconscious attempt to tug the film’s center back towards a male narrative, and Hathaway as the rich, It-girl Daphne does devolve into some generic honeypotting. But overall, I’ll overlook these quibbles in favor of the sheer breadth of space afforded women, with men firmly in supporting roles.

In the meantime, I await the day that female ensembles land in theaters without having to be reboots or “gender role-reversals”—and I’m definitely waiting for male critics to stop condescending to these films by billing them as “playing to the Bad Moms/Girls Trip/Bridesmaids crowd.” (None of the trailers that came packaged with the screening were remotely targeted to women, and the theater audience on a Saturday afternoon was easily split between men and women.) In the same Forbes article, Scott Mendelson even goes on to deign that “not only are women not box office poison, there is enough of an audience to justify more than one flick aimed at adult women per season.” Lucky us, I guess?

Race: 3.25/5
GradeMyMovie.com Assessment: 8% of key cast and crew members were POC.

Women of color are thankfully included, but they aren’t given the meatier roles. Those are handed to Deb, the main character and mastermind of the heist, or to Daphne as the lone soul to oversee any character development.

That said, I was genuinely impressed with how fresh each performance felt, even if they were generally flat with no backstories. It would have been easy to devolve into caricatures, but perhaps due to the talent level of those involved, each team member neatly side-steps cliché. A common pitfall of large, majority-white casts with few people of color (POC) is that white characters get to be defined by personality tics while POC are forced into cultural embodiments. We do see a bit of that with Amita, played by Mindy Kaling, whose mother just wants her to get married like her perfect sister (shown framed on the wall, beaming in her wedding saree). But more than that, Amita is a naive everywoman, starstruck by the attendees of the Met Gala, and a little in over her head but happy to follow the trail of multimillion-dollar diamonds.

Similarly, Constance—played by rapper Awkwafina, whose father is Chinese-American and mother is South Korean—is first introduced as a card shark in Chinatown. But her comedic timing, teenage slouch, and compulsive pickpocketing laughs in the face of the model minority myth that’s all too often assigned to East Asians.

Finally, I’ve seen grumbles on Twitter saying that Rihanna was underused in this film. But every actor besides Bullock and Hathaway is underused. There is way too much firepower in this cast for one mere movie to contain, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be a bad thing. In fact, the light footprint of the supporting actors just translates into the sense that each star is having fun with their respective cameos. In Rihanna’s case, she plays Nine Ball, a genius-level hacker with an equally talented younger sister. Not only does she break stereotype by being a tech nerd with dreadlocks, smoking an ever-present blunt, it’s doubly subversive as Ross and Rihanna embrace her Caribbean-inspired, 90s grunge look as if to say that intelligence has nothing to do with the way you look or dress. In an interview with IndieWire, Ross confirms the inclusive process of writing the characters:

“We both love Bob Marley, and I mentioned dreadlocks and [Rihanna] jumped up and down. Then we decided on a green army jacket draped over her. This is just different than Rihanna gets to be in most her public appearances, and she really loved all that.”

LGBTQ: +0.00

Cate Blanchett as club owner Lou blatantly telegraphs as queer. Unfortunately, it’s never made explicit. But the tells are plentiful, as Laura Bradley points out the most obvious ones:

“Debbie calls Lou, as she often does, her ‘partner’—and Lou replies, ‘I’m not your partner—yet.’ At another point, Lou teases Debbie, asking, ‘Oh, honey, is this a proposal?’ Debbie’s reply? ‘Baby, I don’t even have a diamond yet.’...Also, there’s that moment when they feed each other!”

Meanwhile, clothing has long been a major platform for queer subtext. Jill Gutowitz gives us her thoughts (alongside a hot-like-burning listicle of Blanchett’s outfits), saying:

“Like all queer women, I’m constantly disappointed by movies that don’t explicitly define obviously queer characters...With that being said, I am always happy to see any sort of representation for tomboyish women who straddle the line between the masculine and feminine.”

Mediaversity Grade: B 4.00/5

Ocean’s 8 celebrates women, the camera (mostly) avoids a male gaze, and its women of color are joyously sketched, even if they aren’t the drivers of the plot. But above all, this is not a film you should overthink. Just go and support women by seeing it in theaters. You’ll have an fantastic time, the comedic beats will surprise you with their effectiveness, and by the time the credits roll you’ll probably already be hankering for news about a sequel.

Although, hey, if Warner Bros. decides to forgo an “Ocean’s 9” and Netflix fills the void with the rumored Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o’s buddy heist film, you won’t hear me complaining.



Danke, liebe Boardengel, für Eure privaten Schnappschüsse. :kuss:

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Ani Bundel
New 'Ocean's 8' sends Hollywood a feminist message. But not for the reasons you think.
“Ocean’s 8” isn’t trying to win an Oscar, and it couldn't care less if the boys from earlier film editions approve of it.

Jun.09.2018 / 1:08 PM ET

“Ocean’s 8,” opening in theaters this weekend, is the highly anticipated, all-female take on the “Ocean’s 11” series from the early aughts — which in turn was inspired by the 1960s era Rat Pack film of the same name. But while the film is ostensibly about the attempts of Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) to pull off the largest jewel heist of the 21st century with seven accomplices and $20,000, the plot is really just window dressing for an unapologetically feminist statement: a Hollywood vanity film by and for women.

The original “Ocean’s 11” starred Frank Sinatra and his famous Rat Pack in their prime. Much like “Ocean’s 8,” the plot of film was largely irrelevant. The real reason the movie was made, and the real reason people went to see it, was the audacity of putting all of Sinatra’s pals together over the course of a two-hour film. It was a man’s film, made by and for men, full of shots of them parading around Vegas dressed to the nines and surrounded by beautiful women.

The remake, which starred George Clooney and Brad Pitt, was an even more meta vanity project. Clooney clearly wanted an excuse to play the Sinatra of his day. The film, and the two sequels that followed, are little more than snapshots of the era’s biggest stars, with him as the ringleader.

“Ocean’s 8” is the same thing, but for women. Bullock is the grand dame of the film; a woman who has spent 20 years on Hollywood’s A-list and has the Oscar to show for it. Her right-hand woman is Cate Blanchett, a highly decorated actress in her own right, who achieved the rare feat of being nominated for playing the same historical character in two different films. They are joined by a who’s who of film A-listers, from Helena Bonham Carter to Anne Hathaway to Sarah Paulson, as well as A-listers from other corners of the entertainment industry, like Rihanna and Mindy Kaling.

Like the original “Ocean’s 11,” it doesn’t matter who any of these women are playing — or what their characters are called, to be honest — because the characters themselves are unimportant. The name of the actress Anne Hathaway plays doesn’t matter, she’s really playing an over-the-top version of Anne Hathaway. Bonham Carter is an over-the-top version of the kooky artist everyone assumes she is in real life. Mindy Kaling might as well be her same character from “The Mindy Project,” except now she’s a jeweler instead of a doctor, and so on.

Like the original “Ocean’s 11,” it doesn’t matter who any of these women are playing — or what their characters are called, to be honest.

The point of the film is also not the thrill of the heist, which is fun, but not really thrilling. (The only actual moment of tension is when the quarry, a Cartier necklace, is brought forth from the vault for the first time, and Bonham-Carter must look at it with computerized glasses while the digital imprinting uploads. That little “upload” bar has never moved to 100 percent so slowly.) The real point of the film is to sit back and enjoying watching these ladies dress up and attend the ultimate female fantasy of the 2010s: Anna Wintour’s Met Gala, a red carpet so exclusive, E! used to be forbidden from covering it.

“Have the confidence of the mediocre white man” was a phrase once said to me at a rather impressionable age. It felt devastatingly correct at the time, and indeed still does. Living in a patriarchal society means watching perfectly mediocre men expect to fail upwards in life. Women, on the other hand, must always be the Hermiones of any set. They cannot be average Lavender Browns to survive; they must be utter overachievers just to be considered equal.

This is true in the world of movies as well. A women’s movie must be outstanding to get attention — especially if it’s funny. It cannot be a “Dante’s Peak” style film; it must be “Bridesmaids” or “Steel Magnolias.” One of the most striking things about the female “Ghostbusters” reboot was that the entire (living) original cast guest starred in it, as if they needed to publicly approve of what was happening.

More striking, of course, was how much better the reboot was than the original. The 1984 version was a tossed off “SNL” spin-off joint, a bit of kid-oriented fluff when it arrived. But a female “Ghostbusters” could not be fluff. It had to be smart and hilarious from start to finish, or it wouldn’t be good enough.

“Ocean’s 8” isn’t trying to win an Oscar (or even a Golden Globe.) Nor did it feel the need to bring aboard anyone from the George Clooney versions. This is a film that clearly could not care less if the boys from earlier editions approve of it. There is something incredibly refreshing — and yes, even empowering, about that.

Ultimately, “Ocean’s 8” isn’t trying to improve on the all-male versions that came before it — although it arguably does anyway

So is “Ocean’s 8” great? Not particularly, although it certainly got a lot of laughs from the all-female audience I watched it with. Rather, it’s a completely average Hollywood blockbuster starring a cast that clearly is having a lot of fun together — and wants audiences to feel the same way.

Fifty years ago, you couldn’t get cooler than Sinatra and his high-rolling Rat Pack. In 2018, the biggest names of the day are back at it, gleefully walking a red carpet in evening gowns most of us could only dream of looking so good in and still covered in gorgeous eye-candy — albeit of the more mineral variety.

Ultimately, “Ocean’s 8” isn’t trying to improve on the all-male versions that came before it — although it arguably does anyway — and it certainly doesn’t feel the need to prove why it exists. Equality indeed.


‘Ocean’s 8’ isn’t quite the feminist film we were hoping for

By Charles Bramesco | June 10, 2018

When one particular member of the all-female entourage of grifters headlining Ocean’s 8 joins the team, the others register confusion. She has every reason to hate the rest of them, but with a tiny crack in her voice like a porcelain teacup, she explains she doesn’t have a lot of female friends and would just like the company.

You can scarcely blame her. The Ocean’s pictures have been organized around the pleasure of good company from their very start, the easy joys that come from throwing movie stars together and letting their chemistry enliven a big heist. The original 1960 collected all five members of the real-life gang of celeb buddies known as the Rat Pack, and likewise, Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 remake capitalized on offscreen friendships between cast members for a natural buddy-buddy rapport.

A slightly different rationale compelled Ocean’s 8, director Gary Ross’ new pass at the A-list hangout, into being: The Sony email leak of 2014 disclosed messages from studio head Amy Pascal hinting at an arms race between her own all-women Ghostbusters and Warner Bros.’ gestating caper comedy. As usual, it’s all the result of studio mandating, but the market research really shows on this one.
Source: Movieclips Trailers/YouTube

This is, to an extent, cynical thinking. I’d be remiss not to say Ocean’s 8 is an unabashedly womanly film, and that’s a net positive. A diverse cast of capable women occupy the screen with great aplomb, providing all the inspiring representation untold dozens of think pieces have demanded with every blockbuster season. A distinctly feminine appeal seeps into the deeper fibers of the film, too: the gratuitous shots gaping at gorgeous jewelry and dresses, the coup de grâce that grants our hero, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), revenge on a man who has wronged her. If this is trend-pandering, at least it’s a force for good in the most superficial sense.

But there’s a gap between a feminine film and the feminist one this project has been billed as since the earliest announcement of its premise. If there’s feminist content in the film — which was directed by a man who ended up sharing the screenwriting credit with the original draft’s author, Olivia Milch — it’s an apolitical, agreeable sort. In an on-trend update, the franchise’s usual fun of stars being pals takes the shape of spirited female solidarity.

But look closely and you’ll find the dynamic is handled in a perfunctory fashion. The relationships between the assorted members are vaguely defined in snatches of passing dialogue. Some of them are strangers, others barely interact with one another. All they’ve got in common is their gender and a shared objective of boosting a priceless diamond necklace. For the film’s purposes, that’s apparently more than enough.

Nobody’s saying the stylishly attired crooks should be discussing the finer points of Barbara Ehrenreich as they plot their infiltration of the Met Ball. The flip side of that concession, however, is that it’s opportunistic for a release so easy-breezy about its girl-power bona fides to position itself as part of a progressivist sea change. It’s undoubtedly a preferable alternative to forthrightly sexist films, tentpoles staffed entirely by the usual gang of square-jawed white men and lazy scripts inserting marginalized groups without giving real consideration to the dimension of identity they bring. All the same, Ocean’s 8 doesn’t quite earn the plaudits of principle for which it angles.
Source: Warner Bros./YouTube

Comparing the merits and shortcomings of Ocean’s 8 with those of the Soderbergh trilogy forms a curious inverse image that speaks to a widening divide in how the public assesses and interfaces with art. While well-intentioned, Ross’ film is dramatically misconfigured to the point of insincerity. Soderbergh’s movies are all steeped in good-natured male camaraderie that doesn’t pose any challenges to the status quo (some might describe it pejoratively as “bro-hood”), but at least it’s all earnestly and believably enacted.

To those who look to entertainment for moral signposts, Ocean’s 8 is the more valuable cultural object, but under the traditional criteria of cinematic excellence, Soderbergh’s films are superior. On their own terms, each critic and recreational viewer must reckon with the question of whether Ocean’s 8 and its ilk are deserving of leniency and commendation for their conspicuous woke-ness — or chastising for using it as a sales tactic that easily curries favor.

For those viewers looking for an afternoon of diversion, either film will do. But Ocean’s 8 has purported to be more than a good time, promising a blow across the Hollywood patriarchy’s stern. What ends up as a totally anodyne outing falls short of the line it sets for itself, holding back on any meaningful subversion in favor of the mildly palatable. (To the film’s credit, it will provide a fine source of Cate Blanchett and Bullock GIFs bristling with sublimated homoerotic tension.)

If films — especially films made on a corporate scale — want to reap the benefits of mounting support for the feminist cause, they’ve got to do the work. An industry standard in which women get more work constitutes but half the task; the real follow-through is content worthy of the actresses bringing it to life. After all, putting in the bare minimum of effort and then claiming partially deserved praise is a guy thing.


REVIEW: ‘Ocean’s 8’ is subtly delightful, but ultimately concerning

June 12, 2018 in Film, Lifestyle

Rating: 2.5/4 stars

Months earlier, Cate Blanchett, who plays Lou in “Ocean’s 8,” stood among 81 other women on the steps of the Palais at the Cannes Film Festival, protesting gender inequality in the industry.

“We demand that our workplaces are diverse and equitable so that they can best reflect the world in which we actually live,” Blanchett proudly said in her speech.

Directed by Gary Ross, “Ocean’s 8” is the embodiment of the emerging women’s movement in Hollywood. Despite its exciting political shine, however, the film seems to drag its actresses through tired plot points, thus dulling the project’s overall gleam.

Similar to “Ocean’s Thirteen,” the latest installment of the “Ocean’s” series opens with Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) taking a final bow after her five-year prison sentence. “I’m just looking forward to the simple life,” she says.

Lou soon reunites with Debbie, and the pair put together their entourage for a jewelry heist. In an enjoyable montage, viewers are introduced to Nine Ball (Rihanna), an expert hacker; Constance (Awkwafina), a central park pickpocket; Amita (Mindy Kaling), a jewelry maker; Tammy (Sarah Paulson), a suburban housewife and profiteer; and Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), a fashion designer.

The centerpiece of the heist, however, is actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), who must wear the Toussaint — a $150 million Cartier necklace — to the Met Gala.

Though “Ocean’s 8” makes no mistake in relishing its pro-female statement, the film has all the underpinnings of the traditional chick flick. At times, this quality is endearing — for instance, when Constance teaches Amita how to use dating apps. Often, it evokes a slight wince, as when Anne Hathaway’s character rolls her eyes to say she “just doesn’t have that many female friends!”

However, the movie teeters on galling in its revenge subplot involving Debbie’s former love interest: one of the first things she does upon being released from prison is attend his gallery opening, threatening a skeevy Richard Armitage with a DIY knife. “Closure,” she shrugs. Yet, a threat of violence isn’t enough for Debbie: her five years in prison weren’t just for planning a dazzling heist, it was also about punishing an ex-lover. She seamlessly pins the crime on Armitage’s character, Claude Becker, arousing from the audience an echo of Cate Blanchett’s reaction in the film: “You don’t plan a job within a job!”

The revenge plot feels cheap and unnecessary — would Danny Ocean have revolved a heist around an ex? To worsen matters, the film hardly allows viewers the satisfaction of seeing Becker behind bars: Instead, we leave him asking for a lawyer in an interrogation room.

Perhaps the film would have felt more satisfying if Armitage’s screen time was evenly distributed among the many talented actresses in the film. For the most part, “Ocean’s 8” reveres its already-established stars, Bullock, Blanchett and Hathaway, leaving the rest of the cast to play the predictable chorus. Though confined to short scenes and dialogue, Kaling, Awkwafina and Rihanna consistently shine through their comedic timing and portrayal of lovable characters. It is worth noting that the no one from the latter group — the ‘women of color’ group — was present at the Met Gala as guests. Rather, they played the help.

This imbalance of representation among the women of color versus the film’s white actresses further denotes the subtle ways discrimination may crawl into what is touted as a movement of equality; it shows us that Hollywood still has a long way to go. A film like “Ocean’s 8” may mark a beginning, but hopefully more change will manifest before the industry promotes its next female-centered film.


‘Ocean’s 8’ Has No Reason To Be A Flat, Boring Waste Of Your Time, But It Is
The long-awaited all-female follow-up to the beloved Ocean's series is an absolute mess, complete with gaping plot holes, and a completely flat story.

By Ellie Bufkin
June 12, 2018

Following the success of the much-beloved “Ocean’s” trilogy, rumors of an all-female reboot had persisted for years. Nearly every marketable female star had been attached, or at least rumored to be attached, to the project at one point or another. The long-awaited final product is an absolute mess, complete with gaping plot holes, and a completely flat story.

Sandra Bullock plays “Debbie Ocean,” a previously unmentioned sister of George Clooney’s “Danny Ocean” from the original franchise. Like Danny in “Ocean’s 11,” Debbie opens the movie on her way out of prison after a five year stint. It must have been a pretty soft five years, because Debbie’s make-up is perfect, and her beach waves are highlighted and bouncy. Bullock’s Ocean may be related to the charismatic Danny, but she doesn’t share any of his sparkle and swagger.

She soon links up with her pal, Lou, played by Cate Blanchett, who is busy running a lucrative scam diluting cheap vodka, which I thought is something only college bars did, but I guess it’s quite the racquet. Debbie wastes no time confiding in Lou that she has been brainstorming the perfect heist while in prison, and they need to assemble a crew to pull it off.

The subsequent characters who make up this dream crew that Debbie Ocean envisioned were introduced through a sequence so awkward and disjointed, it was almost cringe-worthy. Constance, played by rapper, Awkwafina, was the sleight of hand artist. It seemed like she was supposed to be funny, but they didn’t write any jokes for her. Just a couple awkward moments where she uses her skill to steal Debbie’s watch, and then asks for a free metro card. Mindy Kaling plays Amita, who works for her overbearing mother at a jewelry shop, and is a diamond expert, which is enough to qualify her as a criminal, apparently.

Rihanna plays “Nine Ball,” the computer whiz, and with such infrequent screen time she might have been the biggest waste of star power in the movie, though there was plenty of that to go around. Sarah Paulson represents the biggest waste of talent, as the former con turned house wife, Tammy, who gets involved with her old cohorts for one last thrilling job. Helena Bonham Carter plays Rose Weil, a socially awkward Irish fashion designer at the end of her career, with few prospects, and mounting debt. Anne Hathaway plays the mark, Daphne Kluger, with all the relish and energy of a person just selected for jury duty.

Once assembled, the crew is never able to establish the joyful camaraderie that the cast of the original “Ocean’s” movies had achieved. Bullock and Blanchett were clearly meant to be the Clooney and Pitt of the all ladies cast, but they have no chemistry, and their characters are incredibly dull. Paulson is the most appealing, but her effort is squandered in the midst of utter mediocrity. The heist itself was decently constructed, albeit nothing new. It contains layers and surprises, as it should, but doesn’t let the audience in on the fun planning stages. Instead, it over-budgets screen time on the glamor and opulence of the Met Gala, where the theft takes place.

The cast of “Ocean’s” was almost totally wasted. For Bullock, Blanchett, and even Hathaway, phoning in their roles was a fine choice for their career at this point. It would have been a much better time to see stars like Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, and Rihanna get a chance to showcase their ability to be sharp, witty, and fun. Helena Bonham Carter gave it her best effort, but the character she played was written so poorly, it is literally painful to watch her on screen.

The real problem though, is the screenplay. The dialogue is humorless, clunky and unnatural, the story moves at a snail’s pace, and many scenes seem totally unnecessary. Cameos are shoehorned into places they hardly belong, and characters change their allegiances for no reason whatsoever, other than to make sense of an overly complicated plot.

The script was written by Director, Gary Ross, and newcomer, Olivia Milch, who happens to be the daughter of David Milch (creator of “NYPD Blue” and “Deadwood”). Ross has been around for a long time, and is known for penning the screenplays for “Pleasantville” and “The Hunger Games.” Milch holds only a handful of credits, most notably for all female stoner dramady, “Dude,” which has received mixed reviews.

The movie set was rumored to be plagued with creative problems. A Matt Damon cameo was planned, with the actor even seen on set, but he did not appear in the final movie. Damien Lewis was also announced as part of the cast early on, and filmed parts on location in New York City, but he did not appear in the final movie. Heavy editing seemed apparent, and full character cuts could explain some of the baffling lengths of the scenes.

There is almost nothing redeemable about “Ocean’s 8.” It’s a shame these actresses got such a bad script, because I think they could have made a fun movie.



The best thing about Ocean's 8 is the women on the screen

Laura M. Browning, Gwen Ihnat, and Danette Chavez
Tuesday 6:00amFiled to: Crosstalk

Ocean’s 8, the all-female heist film with Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett leading a truly magnificent cast, opened this weekend to middling reviews—our own Ignatiy Vishnevetsky called it “more knock-off than spin-off,” giving it a C and calling Gary Ross’ direction “undexterous.” Many women on The A.V. Club staff have been looking forward to this since the first trailer was released, so a few of us saw it over the weekend so we could discuss the pressure female-led movies are under, and whether this one lived up to our expectations.

Note: This reveals major plot points of Ocean’s 8.

Laura M. Browning: My taste in cinema is decidedly unsnobby—some might say undiscerning. I prefer to think of it as having extremely realistic expectations: All I want from a heist film is to have fun. Despite some lumbering scenes and underused star power, I really did enjoy Ocean’s 8. One thing about all-female casts, like we saw with 2016's Ghostbusters, is that there’s so much pressure for it to not just be good, but to shoulder the burdens of feminism in a scant two hours or so. Unfortunately that makes me less willing to be critical of it as a whole: If George Clooney led an all-male cast in a run-of-the-mill heist film, it would have just been another IMDB entry. But if Sandra Bullock leads an all-female cast in same, the film has to be both a commercial success and a feminist one in order to prove that it can be done. But you know what? Ocean’s 8 did a lot of things well: The main cast included three women of color, we see Mindy Kaling speaking in Hindi (which she had to learn for the scene), and there was a lot of joy to be had in the eight’s friendships (especially Daphne Kluger’s (Anne Hathaway) need to have more female friends). Not once did I worry that one of the con women would turn on the rest in hopes of securing more money for herself, nor did I ever think they wouldn’t pull it off.

Like Ignatiy, I would have liked to see more pleasure located in the crime, but I’m willing to overlook most of the film’s problems and be more of a consumer than a critic—except about the Met Gala costumes, which were nowhere near weird enough to be realistic, and the fact that so many people outside the con team had to be either bribed or looped in to the plan. But I’ll focus instead on what I loved: Sandra Bullock speaking German and yelling “Wahnsinn! Wahnsinn!” (“Madness!”) at the Met security guards; Cate Blanchett’s wardrobe; Hathaway’s glorious performance as a Hollywood diva who’s still innately likable; eight leading women, six of whom are at least 35 and two of whom are older than 50. Gwen, what do you think?

Gwen Ihnat: I am a sucker for a good heist movie (besides the Ocean’s movies, I especially love all the Magritte guys in The Thomas Crown Affair), so I couldn’t wait for Ocean’s 8. I dragged my kids out on Friday night (they are on record as Ocean’s fans) to check out this latest installment.

I have to say, I don’t really get all the style-over-substance arguments against this movie (as we’ve seen in US Weekly and Uproxx): Heist movies are singularly all about style, and the 2001 version of Ocean’s 11 is the consummate example. (Hey, even the 1960 version could be.) If there’s any flaw, it’s not with the all-female cast, but Seabiscuit director Gary Ross, who, as Ignatiy pointed out, lacks Steven Soderbergh’s flashy shots and editing skills. There were some shots of Danny’s grave, and establishing shots of Manhattan, that seemed to go on forever, for no apparent reason, messing with the film’s momentum.

But I have few faults with the heist itself. Like Laura, I don’t understand why a female-led film has to have a higher bar. It is absolute bullshit that the caper centered around the Met and a $150 million dollar necklace is being derided as sexist. The Italian Job was all about cars: Did anyone ever call Michael Caine or Mark Wahlberg out for liking cars too much? And it’s not like other heist movies haven’t centered around jewels, like A Fish Called Wanda, or Soderbergh’s Out Of Sight. Wanda is an interesting example (while also a comedy) because Jamie Lee Curtis is the head of the scheme; it’s extremely rare to have a woman in charge of a heist, which is another reason that made Ocean’s 8 so fun. When Debbie Ocean says she wants an all-female crew because women are “invisible,” it’s an effort to turn the patriarchy upside down. If all the members of Ocean’s 8 get to doll up at the Met while doing so, so the fuck what? You hardly ever saw Bond out of his tux either. And I wouldn’t have missed Rihanna in that red dress for anything.

Like her brother, Debbie Ocean works a bit of revenge into her heist scheme that conveniently will also make her and all of her friends very rich. (Their ultimate total even bests the triple casino heist of Ocean’s 11.) Unlike Danny, who points out that since the house always take you, why not go after the house this time, Debbie shrugs when asked her reasoning for her own giant caper: “It’s what I’m good at.” We see her talents on display in her extremely fun journey out of prison, scamming a high-end product, wardrobe, and an expensive hotel room without a single piece of weaponry in sight (just like her brother). My daughter squealed next to me, grabbing my arm: “She’s so clever.”

I wish the movie had been funnier (it kills me that James Corden got the biggest laugh at our viewing, telling Debbie’s ex, “You have two… of these” strange indoor trees) and given the women more opportunities to ham it up. Instead of sleekly striding along the outskirts of the plot, I wish Cate Blanchett had had more of a multiple imposter arc like her clear predecessor, Brad Pitt’s Rusty, whose impersonation of a doctor was one of the funniest parts of 11. But I did love the cameos by members of the Ocean’s 11 pack, and it’s nice to see that Yen is as flexible as ever.

My other beef with Ocean’s 8 is with the title: Since just the seven friends were signed on, it was pretty obvious that Anne Hathaway was going to be the eighth, because who else could it be? Nine Ball’s sister with the magnets? That deflated what should have been a bigger reveal, but Hathaway was obviously having so much fun with the part, I can almost allow it. Overall, I thought it was a lesser but worthy descendant of the original. (My grade would be a solid B.) And in keeping with Hollywood’s long-overdue realization what a market there is for women-led blockbuster films, I was happy to see that Ocean’s 8 trounced all comers—and its predecessors—at the box office this weekend. A female-focused caper movie apparently leads to box-office gold—and with any luck, an Ocean’s 9 within the next few years.

Danette Chavez: Like you two, I’m also a fan of heist movies, including Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s 11 (but only the first movie in that trilogy; the sequels see increasingly diminishing returns). Earlier this year, I watched Den Of Thieves, which is clearly modeled after Michael Mann’s Heat. Despite all the shoot-outs and swearing, it’s basically escapist fare, so much so that it wasn’t until I left the theater that I realized there were only four women in the whole movie, and they were all relegated to wife or daughter roles. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of their lines combined made up the dialogue of a single member of Gerard Butler’s “good guys with bad methods” team.

And so, like Gwen and Laura, I was eager to watch a heist movie with so many women—several of them middle-aged, as our executive editor points out—at the fore for a change. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite as taken with it as my colleagues. A star-studded caper set in New York, including a long stretch at the Met Gala, shouldn’t look so ordinary. Director Gary Ross clearly lacks the style and energy of his predecessor, even as he recreates scenes from Soderbergh’s remake of the Lewis Milestone film. It’s more than just the confounding, lingering shots over the most mundane parts of the Big Apple; even the direction during what should be the most adrenaline-fueled parts of the film feels perfunctory, as though someone just pointed a camera at Sandra Bullock at the Gala.

At times, simply keeping a camera trained on Bullock, Blanchett, Rihanna, and Sarah Paulson is enough—this ensemble is equally as charming as the one led by George Clooney. Paulson is the standout for me; she brings a live-wire energy to both of the lives she’s leading as Tammy. Anne Hathaway is close on Paulson’s heels for MVP, though; the Oscar winner skewers her image and critiques of said image with such grace and humor. But aside from Rihanna’s appropriately stunning red-dress reveal, there aren’t many memorable moments among the rest of the cast. Bullock is solid, but the occasional sparks that fly between her and Blanchett (you can’t convince me they didn’t have a relationship at some point) can’t make up for how thinly sketched the latter’s character is.

The heist itself was a surprisingly routine affair, even if, as Laura points out, the results are rarely ever in question in any such movie. Like its direct and spiritual predecessors, Ocean’s 8 coasts on its charm. Still, that frictionless approach took some of the wind out of the second half. The closing group shot is great, but while I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel, the pros only slightly outweigh the cons in this story about pros and a con.


Anne Hathaway Wins “Ocean’s 8”

By Jia Tolentino

June 12, 2018

In “Ocean’s 8,” Anne Hathaway expands a basic minor part into a career-high performance.
Photograph by Barry Wetcher / Warner Bros.

With the influx of coverage for the twentieth anniversary of “Sex and the City” coinciding with our ongoing grifter season—recently extended by the release of “Ocean’s 8” and the news of an upcoming Netflix series based on Anna Delvey—I’ve found myself wondering not whether I’m a Miranda or a Carrie but rather which role I would play on a team planning a heist.

“Ocean’s 8” re-creates the setup from Steven Soderbergh’s trilogy: Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, who is the sister of George Clooney’s deceased Danny Ocean, and who opens the movie in a parole hearing and leaves jail just like Danny did: in formal wear, with a warmly impassive smile. She heads straight for Lou, her laconic blond sidekick (the Brad Pitt role, played here by Cate Blanchett). Lou balks at Debbie’s plan to steal a diamond necklace at the Met Gala, but Debbie tells Lou they can do it quick, dirty, and cheap. They assemble a jewelry maker (Mindy Kaling), a suburban mom who moonlights as a fence (Sarah Paulson), a skateboarder-pickpocket (Awkwafina), a stoned hacker (the woefully underused Rihanna), a fashion designer with I.R.S. debt (Helena Bonham Carter), and an unwitting actress (Anne Hathaway). When choosing your heist role, there are fewer options here than in the boys’ movies. But it makes sense: if women make seventy-seven cents on the male dollar, “Ocean’s 11” multiplied by the wage gap will give you “Ocean’s 8.”

The Met Gala, overseen by Vogue and Anna Wintour, is an ideal setting, almost a gimme, for an all-female “Ocean’s” movie. I saw “Ocean’s 8” on a Friday night in a movie theatre with a full bar inside it. The diverse audience of white-wine drinkers gasped at a shot of the meticulously arranged Vogue shoe closet; they clapped when the gang descended the steps of the Met in glittering gowns. It’s a pity—perhaps the biggest missed opportunity in the movie—that this remake holds such little visual pleasure aside from these stock-photo moments. It’d be nice if the “all-female reboot” were odder, less straightforward, more beautiful than the male versions—something that felt like the film equivalent of swapping a tux for a surprising Met Ball gown.

Instead, “Ocean’s 8,” directed by Gary Ross, is hypercompetent and artless. Where Soderbergh quieted the slick silliness of the “Ocean’s” movies with a languid, extravagant visual grace, Ross makes everything run like clockwork. The “Ocean’s 11” thieves hung out by the pool at Reuben’s mansion; they capped off their job by watching the Bellagio fountain show in silence as “Clair de Lune” played. The women get few such moments of ease and connection and mystery: the last time they’re all together, they’re riding the M.T.A. Their side conversations double as sponsored content for Subway and Tinder. (Really. A whole scene is set in a Subway, and another one involves Awkwafina teaching Mindy Kaling what Tinder is.) What could be so stupidly grand onscreen—those diamonds and gowns, the Temple of Dendur—is workmanlike instead. Still, “Ocean’s 8” gives the viewer a high-wire, paint-by-numbers heist job, and, at one point, Kelis’s “Bossy” plays over a montage of Cartier necklaces in the sort of salivating closeup normally visited upon models in music videos. Nothing in this movie is trying to be interesting, but everything in it gets the job done.

“There is a thrill about big-con work which no other branch of the grift can duplicate,” David Maurer wrote in “The Big Con,” his 1940 classic about scammers of all kinds. In the book’s first paragraph, Maurer recognizes the con man as the “aristocrat” of grifters: he must use the full extent of his talent and ingenuity, and he plays for extremely high stakes. In one chapter, he notes that there are many notorious female pickpockets, thieves, and gamblers, but almost no women known for the big con. “There are plenty of women today who would make good,” an anonymous con man tells him, “but they haven’t had the chance because they don’t know any good grifters.” Others tell Maurer that conning is too undignified for women, or that women are too impulsive to rely on in the course of a long game.

Thankfully, “Ocean’s 8” mostly skips direct allusions to the particular glass ceiling being broken here. (Of the very few all-female heist movies in existence, none has aimed for this sort of gloss and glamour: they’ve been rougher, like “Set It Off,” or teen camp, like “Sugar & Spice.”) At one point, Lou suggests bringing a man onto the team, and Debbie says, as if delivering the thesis for a different movie, “I don’t want a him! A him gets noticed, a her gets ignored, and, for once, we want to be ignored.” (The movie does not hinge on the women pretending to be wallflowers.) Later, in another clunky, corny statement of purpose, Debbie gives her team a pep talk while speaking, in effect, directly to the audience: “Somewhere out there, there’s an eight-year-old girl in bed dreaming of being a criminal. Do this for her.” This ironic empowerment message is undercut further by Debbie’s true goal, which is to pin the whole crime on her ex-boyfriend, a character so boring that he appears in my head as a large blur.

What will last from “Ocean’s 8” is Anne Hathaway expanding a basic minor part into a career-high performance. In a movie that mostly treats womanhood as something that’s both rigid and incidental, Hathaway, playing the vapid, self-entranced actress Daphne Kluger, delivers a subversive and shockingly funny disquisition on femininity performed to fit. Until a twist that comes late in the movie, Daphne is basically a jellyfish: she appears to have no brain, just a collection of neurons that respond to appropriate stimuli—a mirror, a camera, a younger rival, a handsome man, a compliment, a captive audience, a slight. At a dress fitting, she hyperventilates at the slightest feeling that she might be anything less than magnificently beautiful; as Bonham Carter anxiously reassures her—she has the best neck in the world!—her Bambi features melt back to perfect self-satisfaction. For a few years there, Hathaway’s presence in Hollywood was attached to the narrative that she was trying too hard to be likable, that she was embarrassing herself by showing her work. This performance is a statement—Hathaway understands the game she’s playing—and a heist in itself. She runs away with the show.


Why The Ending Of Ocean's 8 Matters More Than You Think

Anne Cohen
June 12, 2018, 10:30 PM

Warning: This story contains spoilers for Ocean's 8.

We never really find out what Danny Ocean (George Clooney) would have done with the $160 million he stole in Ocean's 11, had Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) not tracked him and his crew down and demanded it back, plus $38 million in interest. (My guess is a tasteful villa on Lake Como, or a closet full of silk shirts for Rusty, Brad Pitt's character.)

If you need a refresher, the first Ocean's movie, from 2001, ends with Danny being carted off back to jail for breaking his parole, while the other guys gather in front of the Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas, contemplating the enormity of what they have just achieved. (Later we see Rusty picking up Danny from jail, but his extremely dumpy car leads me to believe he has not spent his money yet.)

Ocean's 8, the latest addition to the franchise that focuses around a job led by Danny's sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock), and her all-female crew, follows the narrative structure of its predecessor in almost every way, down to the opening in front of the parole board. "Gathering the crew" montage? Check. Job within a job? Check. Big twist finale? Check. And so it's interesting that when it comes to the ending, there's a clear shift.

The film also closes with a group shot, this time of all eight women glamorously riding the New York subway. But rather than allow them to slowly drift away individually, each getting off at their respective stops (where those would be is a whole other story unto itself, tbh), the camera zooms in on each woman, one at a time, giving us a glimpse of their post-heist life.

This isn't an unheard of set-up for this genre — 2003's The Italian Job, for example, had a similar montage. But what sets Ocean's 8 apart isn't that it shows its character spending their money, but rather what they spend it on. No one's buying "speakers so loud they blow women's clothes off." They're fulfilling their aspirations: becoming homeowners, investing in their skills, taking on new careers, breaking free from monotony, traveling, and sipping martinis with their (maybe) dead siblings.

It's no coincidence that this blockbuster with a powerhouse female cast ends the way it does. "What I love about these characters is that in their own way, they represent women who want economic empowerment, and women who want to forge their own path, and who maybe haven’t been allowed to do that for whatever reason," Olivia Milch, who co-wrote the film with director Gary Ross, said in an interview with Refinery29. "And that is not necessarily how you might interpret a popcorn heist movie, but I do think that there is a message of what are the options available to women, and how we sort of how we have to make our own way in the world, and create for ourselves opportunities that we want, when they’re not afforded to us."

A number of films released in the aftermath of the collective reckoning in Hollywood and beyond around issues of sexual harassment and assault have been labeled "#MeToo" movies. But Ocean's 8 feels like the first "Time's Up" movie, in the sense that it directly alludes to what women can achieve when they have true, long-lasting economic freedom and security. The most obvious wink to the movement, spearheaded by top Hollywood actresses in the early months of 2018, is the shot of Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) as a burgeoning female director (to which Milch, who recently directed her first film, Dude, says "YAS, AMEN."), working on a movie about her own life. "It's really not that hard," she sneers at the person behind the camera. She hasn't become nicer, or less of a diva, but neither is she underestimated. She now has the resources to be more than the starlet she was.

"That’s what’s so important for all audiences, however they identify in terms of gender or sexuality: to look up on the screen and see representation in this way, see women in all sorts of roles, see women of diverse backgrounds, and ages in all of these roles, and deciding what their fate is going to be," Milch explained. "That’s our little nod to the fact that we need more women in charge in all sorts of ways."

In the words of Milch herself: YAS, AMEN.



Danke, liebe Boardengel, für Eure privaten Schnappschüsse. :kuss:

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