Ocean's Eight (2018)

PLAYBOY - In 1960, director Lewis Milestone banded five of the ratpack greats together to produce an unprecedented heist film that would spawn generations upon generations of remakes. The cast, led by Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Joey Bishop, would enact multiple thefts of military precision in a single night, targeting and crippling five of Las Vegas’s biggest casinos. While the movie is fun and the actual heist achieved, the characters failed to retrieve the stolen goods.

So fresh and singular was the idea that in 2001, renowned director Steven Soderbergh sought to remake the film starring a new ensemble of Hollywood heavyweights, ensuring that a production of this magnitude be given its proper due. George Clooney takes on Frank Sinatra’s titular Danny Ocean, while Brad Pitt’s Rusty Ryan is a clear nod to Peter Lawford’s Jimmy Foster. Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Scott Caan, Casey Affleck, Carl Reiner, Elliot Gould, Eddie Jemison, and Shaobo Qin round up the rest of the ragtag team while Julia Roberts and Andy Garcia co-star as outsiders. In Soderbergh’s recreation, the plot, much like the film, pulls off without a hitch. Their box office success opened the floor to two less inspired, but equally successful sequels.

Fast forward to 2018, where a gender-bent Ghostbusters has graced the silver screen. While it was critically panned, the warm reception from the audience has shoved open the door to roles and films that were until then unavailable to women. Writer-director Gary Ross took this opportunity to re-imagine a beloved film featuring the biggest female stars of today.

Ocean's 8 focuses on the recent parole release of Danny Ocean’s incarcerated younger sister, Debbie (Sandra Bullock). Having spent nearly six years in prison, Bullock’s antiheroine whiles away her time concocting (and perfecting!) a plan to steal $150 million dollars worth of necklace from high society’s nearest and dearest during their biggest assembly of the year – the annual MET Gala. With the help of her long-time cohort, Lou (Cate Blanchett), Ocean begins to form a team of highly skilled and specialized associates, both old and new, to actualize and accomplish her biggest, boldest, and shiniest hit yet.

The plot itself is formulaic – it does not pretend to be anything other than what it markets itself to be: an enjoyable ride that allows you to willingly overlook its less than inspired and often tried genre tropes. Yet even as it checks out every bullet in the rob-com list, the force of the cast’s talent and chemistry is more than enough to propel the movie to soaring heights.

Sandra Bullock, much like on-screen brother George Clooney, has aged like fine wine. But where Clooney’s appeal as an older attractive man is a given, Bullock shatters expectations that women have to be either a sultry femme fatale or masculine aggressor to play like the boys. No one smirks quite like Sandy, and no woman alive has played machismo with such natural poise.

On the aide-de-camp fort, Cate Blanchett brings Lou, a reimagining of Brad Pitt’s Rusty Ryan, to life with stunning blasé suave. The cocksure and cool handling of the character has me convinced that not even Clooney and Pitt can play Clooney and Pitt half as well as Bullock and Blanchett.

Rounding up the gang are big names such as Anne Hathaway – whom, it must be said, delivers scene-stealing hilarity as a caricature of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter. Like its predecessors, you don’t spend nearly as much time with each individual character as you’d like, yet, in its own way, each actor and scene bring a congruent joining of elements that materialize in a delightful romp that will surely keep you hungering for more. (Playboy Philippines)

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