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Movie review: ‘Ocean’s 8’ is slick fun

Published June 20. 2018 11:29AM

“Ocean’s 8” is slick, escapist fun, fueled by terrific performances by the leading females in its cast.

The movie is a remake of the successful “Ocean” caper movies, which began in 1960 with the release of “Ocean’s 11,” which starred the so-called “Rat Pack” of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.

A series of remakes, “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001), “Ocean’s Twelve” (2004) and “Ocean’s Thirteen” (2007) starred an ensemble cast that included George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt.

“Ocean’s 8” begins with Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) visiting the mausoleum of her brother Danny Ocean (George Clooney). Debbie, recently sprung from a five-year incarceration in the New Jersey Correctional System, has no intention of going straight.

She has her eyes on the prize, a necklace in the Cartier collection worth $150 million, to be worn by an actress, Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), at the annual Metropolitan Museum of Art “Met Gala,” an event known to bring together some of the biggest names in fashion and entertainment. The plan is to steal the necklace from the actress.

To accomplish this, Debbie gathers her girl crew. And what a crew it is: Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, and Awkwafina (born Nora Lum Ying).

The introductions to each of these characters is handled in an appropriately silly and incisive manner, as befits a heist film where nothing is taken too seriously and much of the plot strains credulity.

That’s OK.

“Ocean’s 8,” as directed by Gary Ross (Oscar nominee: picture, adapted screenplay, “Seabiscuit,” 2004; original screenplay, “Dave,” 1993; screenplay, “Big,” 1988), keeps the pace so brisk that you don’t have much time to contemplate the plot holes. “Gee, how did they do that?” you might ask. Before you can figure it out, it’s on to the next scene.

The screenplay by Ross, and Olivia Milch (“Dude,” 2018), based on characters by George Clayton Johnson and Jack Golden Russell, gives enough time for the character development of each character; provides just enough details of the heist, and keeps the heist itself unfolding at a wicked pace.

The cinematography, editing and music choices gives “Ocean’s 8” the feel of a caper film from Hollywood’s days gone by.

The movie’s third act, when James Corden plays an insurance firm investigator, trails off and isn’t up to the set up and execution of the heist. It can’t match it. What could? However, the movie wraps up rather nicely in the final frames.

Bullock has those wry facial expressions and an inner mischievousness that’s just bubbling below the surface.

Blanchett is a sophisticated hoot.

Bonham Carter has a great time in her over-the-top role.

Each of the rest of the lead females in the cast has her moments. Getting to look in on the Met Gala, as well as the world of upscale New York City is delicious.

“Ocean’s 8” is a good popcorn movie and a nifty getaway for the summer movie season.

“Ocean’s 8,” MPAA rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.) for language, drug use, and some suggestive content; Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime; Run time: 1 hr., 50 mins. Distributed by Warner Bros.

Credit Readers Anonymous: ”Ocean’s 8” was filmed on location in New York City.

Box Office, June 15: The “Incredibles 2” had an incredible first weekend, opening at No. 1 with $180 million, the highest-ever opening weekend box office gross for an animated feature film (topping “Finding Dory, which opened with $135 million in 2016), moving “Ocean’s 8” from its one-week No. 1 perch to No. 2 with $19.5 million, $79.1 million, two weeks, and keeping “Tag” opening at No. 3 with $14.6 million.

4. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” zoomed down two slots, with $9 million, $192.8 million, four weeks. 5. “Deadpool 2” dropped two slots, $8.8 million, $294.6 million, five weeks. 6. “Hereditary” moved down one slot, $7 million, $27.1 million, two weeks. 7. “Superfly,” $6.3 million, since June 13, and $8.4 million, weekend, opening. 8. “Avengers: Infinity War” retreated three slots, $5.2 million, $664.1 million, eight weeks. 9. “Adrift” drifted down another three places, $2.1 million, $26.8 million, three weeks. 10. “Book Club” turned down three pages, $1.8 million, $62 million, five weeks.

Unreel, June 22:

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” PG-13: J.A. Bayona directs Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum, and Daniella Pineda in the Science-Fiction Action film. The island’s volcano erupts. The dinosaurs need to be rescued. Not a good idea. But a good premise for what promises to be a great summer movie.

“Damsel,” R: Directors: David Zellner and Nathan Zellner direct Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, and themselves in the Comedy Western. In the 1870s, a wealthy pioneer heeds the call: go west, young man.

Three popcorn boxes out of five popcorn boxes.

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