Ocean’s Eight Review

Ocean's 8 movie posterSynopsis
After being released from prison for art fraud, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) begins planning her next heist.

I have said many, many times on this blog how much I enjoy heist movies. At the top of that list (and towards the top of my favorites of all time) is Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven. The all-star cast, led by the suave duo of George Clooney and Brad Pitt, create an adventure that is fun from start to finish. Creating a movie with the Ocean’s name requires several things: A cast of actors with great chemistry, one act to build the team, one to plan the heist, and one to perform the heist, flashy visuals, and a slow build up with an exciting payoff. Ocean’s Eight implements all of these requirements but not as smoothly as its predecessors.

The first thing I mentioned, a great cast with great chemistry, is what this movie got the most right of the four requirements for an Ocean’s movie. Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett, the Clooney and Pitt of this story, are a great pair, up there with Clooney and Pitt. They are just a ton of fun to watch together. They play off each other very well and carry themselves with the same swagger and suave attitude that their male counterparts did. As for the rest of the cast, I don’t feel like the gelled as well as the original eleven. Each one has their own memorable moment or two but I didn’t feel the camaraderie that was clear with Clooney’s group.

Ocean’s Eight also ticks the second and third requirements, following the same story structure as the other Ocean’s movies. In the first act, Ocean and their number 2 put together their team, introducing them in fun and interesting ways. Throughout the middle act, the newly assembled team plans the heist, jumping from member or a collection of members, to check in with what they are doing. During this time, we as the audience get glimpses into the plan, as well as *gasp* a plan within a plan by our Ocean, but never receive the full picture; Giving us enough information to think we have all the pieces despite the contrary. It does all this in a flashy and ostentatious manner. If you’ve seen Ocean’s Eleven, then you’ll be familiar with how this is done.

Following the same format as Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Eight checks part A of the fourth requirement but part B is where this movies falls short. The story takes its time building the different elements and moving parts of the heist. Seeing this build up is my favorite part about heist about watching heist movies. However, when a movie takes its time leading into the heist, when the heist finally occurs, it comes with excitement and some sort of wow factor. I never felt that. There was no sense of urgency during the heist, no sense that our β€œheroes” might actually get caught (even though we know they won’t, it’s still more exciting to feel that they might). It kept building and building and then… the heist was over. I kept waiting for the movie to kick into high gear and give that moment that made the building worthwhile. That moment never came.

James Corden’s character, who has a dominant part in the trailers, doesn’t appear until after the heist. One thing this does allow the film to do is continue carrying that tension because it prolongs when we find out all the little details that form the ‘oh, shit’ moment that comes during the reveal. Even with that delay until the final reveal, much like Logan Lucky, it kills a lot of the momentum the film spent building up until this point.

I thought Ocean’s 8 was OK 😐 Carrying the Ocean’s name comes with a lot of weight and expectations. Unfortunately, this movie doesn’t quite live up to its name. It ticks all the boxes of what is anticipated from a movie from this franchise: a well-oiled cast, an expected story structure, flashy visuals, and surprise twists, but overall it lacks any kind of flare or pizzaz that the franchise is known for. I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel because I’m hoping this franchise can only go up.


Cast & Crew
Gary Ross – Director / Screenplay / Story
Olivia Milch – Story
Daniel Pemberton – Composer

Sandra Bullock – Debbie Ocean
Cate Blanchett – Lou
Helena Bonham Carter – Rose Wiel
Mindy Kaling – Amita
Rihanna – Nine Ball
Awkwafina – Constance
Sarah Paulson – Tammy
Anne Hathaway – Daphne Kluger
Richard Armitage – Claude Becker
James Corden – John Frazier

The Heat Review

The Heat was the the next movie of my Original Six reviews.Β  I really, really enjoyed it as you will soon find out. It can be formulaic as a buddy cop story but Bullock and McCarthy work so well together.Β  Definitely up there as one of my favorite buddy cop movies and maybe even a favorite comedy.

The Heat movie posterSynopsis
By-the-book FBI special agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) must work with tough-as-nails Boston detective Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) to bring down a drug lord. The problem is neither works well with others. They must learn to work together or risk losing what is most important to them.

The Heat is absolutely hilarious. McCarthy steals the show in this film. The first time I really saw her in a leading role was Identity Thief earlier this year and I thought she was great in that movie, too. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite comedic actresses and can’t wait to see what she’ll do next. Bullock, on the other hand, has always been one of my favorite actresses and she is great as usual. What makes the comedy work so well is the chemistry between these two. They play so well off each other, it is the female version of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.

Although McCarthy and Bullock’s chemistry stole the show, the supporting cast was great as well. My favorite was a drug dealer played by Spoken Reasons (John A. Baker, Jr.). The scenes with the Mullins family where also pretty good. Of course being set Boston, there is the mandatory Boston accent joke.

The core of some of the best buddy-cop movies is the initial conflict between the two characters, particularly when the two are very different (see Lethal Weapon or Tango and Cash). The Heat is no different, and I think that is what makes it work so well. The first half of the movie when Bullock and McCarthy are conflicted make up some of the best moments of the film.

The plot follows in the footsteps of many cop movies and can be a bit formulaic. Unfortunately, this can make the make it predictable. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. But this is a tried-and-true formula, so I can’t knock it too hard, just don’t expect anything ground breaking in the story.

The Heat is one of the best buddy-cop movies I have seen in a long time. Although the plot was predictable, it was refreshing to see a buddy-cop film with female leads (none are coming to mind off the top of my head). With great chemistry between Bullock and McCarthy, and an excellent supporting cast, I couldn’t stop laughing.



Cast & Crew
Paul Feig – Director
Katie Dippold – Writer
Mike Andrews – Composer

Sandra Bullock – Ashburn
Melissa McCarthy – Mullins
Demian Bichir – Hale
Marlon Wayans – Levy
Michael Rapaport – Jason Mullins
Spoken Reasons – Rojas
Dan Bakkendahl – Craig
Taran Killam – Adam
Michael McDonald – Julian
Thomas F. Wilson – Captain Woods
Kaiklin Olson – Tatiana
Michael Tucci – Mr. Mullins
Jane Curtin – Mrs. Mullins
Joey McIntyre – Peter Mullins
Bill Burr – Mark Mullins
Nathan Corddry – Michael Mullins
Jessica Chaffin – Gina
Jamie Denbo – Beth