Grade: B/B+
Entire family: No
Crime Comedy/Drama
Warner Bros.
Rated PG-13 for language, drug use, and some suggestive content
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1 widescreen
Featured audio: Dolby Atmos-TrueHD
Bonus features: C+
Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy
Trailer
Amazon link

It’s hard to say whether Frank Sinatra would be amused or annoyed that Ocean’s 11—his 1960 buddy heist film with fellow rat-packers Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop—has inspired a series of profitable remakes and sequels. But it might temper whatever he’s feeling to know that the latest of these, Ocean’s 8, also has a lot in common with another sixties’ heist film, Topkapi, which targeted jewels in a museum.

Ocean’s 8 is a caper film through and through. Director Gary Ross, who wrote the screenplays for Pleasantville and The Hunger Games, takes the genre in a warm embrace and has fun with this ensemble flick starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter. What could possibly go wrong?

There’s a Reds and Blues Brothers vibe early in the film as Bullock’s character gets out of prison and instantly gets the “band” back together, picking up a few others along the way. The plan? To not just steal the most expensive piece of jewelry on the planet, but also frame the guy who framed her. Instead of hitting three Vegas casinos simultaneously, as the original and first remake buddies did, this group sets their sights on a museum gala and one particular necklace that a star will be wearing. And part of the plan is making sure that this star does indeed wear that heavily guarded and heavily insured necklace.

If you’re not familiar with the caper genre, it’s a little different from the typical Hollywood screenplay in that there’s really no traditional dramatic arc where there’s a peaking movement toward a crisis and then a falling action. It’s more about coming together, planning the heist, and then executing the heist and dealing with whatever unexpected challenges pop up. That can give the film a somewhat even-keeled feel, but a slick upbeat collection of soundtrack songs—a blend of vintage and new that includes The Notorious B.I.G., Eamon, Kelis, Sammy Davis Jr., Herb Alpert, and Nancy Sinatra—provides plenty of energy to make it feel as if even the slow spots are moving a little faster. Ocean’s 8 is a slick film that doesn’t feel forced, and it looks really slick on high-def Blu-ray, which is the way to go with this title.

Everyone will have their favorites, but for me the standouts were Bullock and Hathaway, who really commanded your attention every scene they were in. They also got the glam-scam tone of the film: a combination of tongue-in-cheek humor and slick sophistication.

Debbie Ocean (Bullock) is the younger sister of the late Danny Ocean, and upon her release she decides to steel a $150 million Cartier necklace from the Met Gala. The world of this scam puts them in contact with stylists, art dealers, jewelers, and New York high society. Blanchett plays Debbie’s partner in crime, while Kaling is a jewelry maker extraordinaire, Paulson is a suburban mom looking to work outside the home, Rihanna is a hacker, Awkwafina is a pickpocket, Carter is an airheaded fashion designer, and Hathaway is the celebrity they manipulate into wearing the necklace.

The women really click together and, most important for a caper flick, actually seem to have a good time and embrace the genre—enough to where even Ol’ Blue Eyes might have given it a “ring-a-ding-ding.”

Language: Aside from one f-bomb there are about a dozen or so milder swearwords

Sex: Who has time for sex when you’re stealing $150 million? Only a few suggestive scenes and one piece of art with a bare-breasted woman

Violence: Nothing, really—just a “shiv” pressed to a guys gut and throat

Adult situations: Group drinking, and the hacker smokes pot

Takeaway: I’m not a fan of remakes that force all-female casts onto previous all-male films (Ghostbusters comes to mind), but this one was such a natural that I hope there are more coming

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