Ocean’s Eight

2018, Uncategorized

Dir. Gary Ross

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

Ocean’s 8 is a spin-off/side-quel to Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy, which itself was a remake of the rat pack starring Ocean’s 11. The twist here though is that the format is given a feminine spin with an all female cast. Oddly this didn’t receive the same amount of backlash as the all female Ghostbusters, which either shows that fans have finally grown up, or that they just don’t care. There’s an argument to be made that a female director would have also bought a new eye to the franchise, but Gary Ross is a fitting enough choice after shepherding the first Hunger Games movie, and turning Katniss Everdeen into an icon of female empowerment. Here he has assembled a starry enough cast to rival the Clooney/Pitt era, as he mounts a new heist.

Debbie Ocean, sister of George Clooney’s Danny Ocean and played by Sandra Bullock, has just gotten out of prison. She’s spent her time there planning the heist of the century: to steal one of the most expensive necklaces in the world. She assembles a crack team of females to help her pull it off, including her best friend (Cate Blanchett), clothes designer (Helena Bonham-Carter), Fence (Sarah Paulson), hacker (Rihanna), pick-pocket (Awkwafina), jewellery expert (Mindy Kaling) and… I’ll leave the eighth member of the team as a surprise. Their plan is to infiltrate the MET Gala and steal the jewels off of movie star Daphne Kluger’s (Anne Hathaway) neck.

In a summer full of moon hurling titans, and exploding Skyscrapers, Ocean’s Eight is a breath of fresh air, a throw back to the time when the biggest draw to the cinema was the star wattage, and the chemistry between those stars, and these stars definitely have chemistry. You buy from minute one that Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett are friends, they play well off each other, they’re effortlessly cool, and they have charm to spare. It’s the kind of film where you could pick any actress and say they stole the film, and that’s because they’re all served well by the script, they are all given something to do, and they are all given their moment to shine, without overpowering the rest. Helena Bonham-Carter steals the show as an Irish fashion designer, Rihanna steals the show as a no nonsense hacker, Sarah Paulson steals the show by being her usual fabulous self, Awkwafina steals the show whilst providing plenty of laughs, Mindy Kaling is hilarious and steals the show with her screentime, and Anne Hathaway steals the show as the self-absorbed diva. They’re all fantastic.

Gary Ross marshals them with confidence, but apart from the revolutionary act of casting women, he does little else to reinvent the wheel. This is a heist movie, pure and simple, and it leans into all the familiar tropes. The craziest things is that it works. The movie is a breezy piece of summer fun, it’s so cute easy to get caught up in the charm and swagger that you forget to look for the numerous plot holes. The biggest being the reveal of the eighth member of the team. It’s a little too convenient, and a lot too implausible. Oceans 8 portrays itself as a feminist movie through and through, which would be fine if the plot didn’t revolve around getting revenge on a man. It’s great as a sisters doing it for themselves movie without this added piece of baggage.

We also need to talk about the James Corden in the room. I like James Corden, and I found him really entertaining in this film, but his appearance almost took me out of the film completely. I couldn’t help but feel that it was almost a sketch of him parodying a heist movie, although it did get me thinking of a Pink Panther remake with Corden as the star. He is fine, but incredibly distracting.

Ocean’s 8 is a perfect summer film. Cruising along delightfully on the charisma and charm of its stars, this is the kind of film that audiences used to flock to. A proper summer blockbuster powered by star wattage. It had the remit to be something more, the #metoo movie, but it sidesteps gender politics to deliver pure popcorn entertainment, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

7/10

Interstellar

2014

Dir: Christopher Nolan

 

Starring:

Matthew McConaughey

Anne Hathaway

Michael Caine

Jessica Chastain

 

Interstellar is the best film I’ve ever seen. I’m a huge fan of Christopher Nolan, I’ve seen everything he has made, except from Following. I loved his Batman trilogy, I was in awe of Inception, and I marvelled at The Prestige and Memento. Interstellar is his most ambitious project to date, not only in terms of scale, but also in the emotional depths that this film attempts to plum. It succeeds in almost every single way. If you plan on seeing this film, do yourself a favour and get down to nearest Imax screen. You will not regret it.

 

The films plot is complex. In a near future where the world is becoming inhabitable for humans, Mathew McConaughey plays Cooper, an ex-NASA pilot, who in this dying world has become a farmer. Living with his father-in-law, son, and daughter, Murphy. He is asked by Michael Caine’s Professor Brand to pilot a space mission into a wormhole in order to find a new world for humans to colonise. The wormhole makes interstellar travel possible, providing a short cut through space to far away solar systems. Amongst the crew of the space shuttle is Professor Brands daughter Amelia, played by Anne Hathaway. Cooper agrees to the mission, even though it may mean never seeing his family again, something that Murphy can never forgive him for.

 

I loved this film for so many different reasons. The science, whilst complicated is explained well throughout the course of the film, meaning that you always understand what’s going on. Although a third act wtf? Moment, does require a leap in believability. The film was made with consultation from physicist Kip Thorne, who also inspired the script. According to him, all the black holes and wormholes are realistically portrayed. It is visually stunning. This is the first film since Following where Christopher Nolan hasn’t used his regular Director Of Photography Wally Pfister, who was busy directing Transcendence. This time it’s Hoyte Van Hoytema     behind the camera, the DOP behind Let The Right One In and Her. He does a spectacular job. The film is a visual spectacle, with over an hour of footage shot in 15/70mm Imax. The most Imax footage ever for a feature film. With visual nods to 2001: A Space Odyssey, the space set scenes are awe inspiring, deserving to be watched on the biggest screen you can find.

 

Another highlight of the film is the score. Hans Zimmer, who redefined the modern blockbuster score with Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, has created his masterpiece with Interstellar. This is one of those scores which will be referred to as a classic. Memorable in all the right ways.

The film works though because of one man, the man of the moment, Matthew McConaughey. He is just spellbinding to watch on screen. In perhaps his most complex role to date, he delivers a performance which keeps the whole film grounded. The film really centres on him and the relationship he has with his daughter Murphy. The love they have for each other giving them both the will to survive, and attempt to save the whole of the human race.

 

The film can often seem like a science lesson, or even a philosophy lesson, with some of the loftiest, and most ambitious themes being tackled. But where I think this film transcends 2001: A Space Odyssey is the human emotions on show. The film will make you think, it will grip you, it will entertain you, but it will also make you cry. The film may have the visual sleekness of one of the space programmes robots, but underneath it has a huge heart. I can see the third act baffling some audiences, but I’ve never had a cinema experience quite like this one. It is the best film I have ever seen.

 

10/10