The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Ocean's 8

The Ocean's series carries on in high style (literally) with Ocean's 8, coming to 4K UHD combo pack, Blu-ray, and DVD on September 11. The movie continues in the same vein as the previous entries, but features the twist of an all-female cast. That allows it to have its own identity while still fitting snugly into the established parameters of the franchise.

Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, the sister of George Clooney's Danny. Recently sprung from prison, she hatches a plan to steal a diamond necklace worth $150 million. The key is getting famous actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) to wear it to New York City's annual Met Gala. To help pull off the heist, Debbie turns to former partner Lou (Cate Blanchett). They quickly assemble a crack team: jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), fencing expert Tammy (Sarah Paulson), fashion designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), con artist Constance (Awkwafina), and computer hacker Nine Ball (Rhianna).

The manner in which the ladies scheme to get that necklace is complex, clever, and thoroughly enjoyable to watch. Much of the fun of these movies comes from seeing the elaborate lengths to which the characters must go, as well as observing how they think fast to overcome unexpected obstacles. It's an added measure of enjoyment that they aren't doing something standard this time, like breaking into a vault. Getting the diamonds means getting up close and personal with someone who's wearing them. That creates extra suspense because it's a trickier situation.

Setting the story at the opulent Met Gala proves to be an inspired idea. Ocean's 8 takes viewers into a world most of us will never have access to. Director Gary Ross got permission to film inside the real Metropolitan Museum of Art, so there's a captivating sense of authenticity to the movie. The locations are breathtaking and atmospheric, providing a sense of lushness. Fans of fashion will similarly enjoy the stunning costumes seen during the Met Gala sequences.

Ocean's 8's stars have wonderful chemistry together. They're visibly enjoying themselves, a quality that proves infectious. When the film was first announced, there were a fair number of cynics who wrote it off as nothing more than a “gender-flipped” redo of Ocean's Eleven. After seeing it, you can't deny that it's more than that. Having the crew be comprised of women isn't a gimmick. It's a way of examining female relationships, celebrating feminine skills, and, most importantly, giving a bunch of great actresses juicy roles to play.

The movie would have benefited from having a foil, a la Andy Garcia's Terry Benedict, and the last section – involving the efforts of a detective (James Corden) to solve the mystery of the missing jewels – is somewhat anticlimactic after everything that precedes it. Beyond that, Ocean's 8 is a worthy entry in the series, one that will hopefully inspire more adventures from Debbie Ocean and the gang.

( out of four)

Blu-ray Features:

A complimentary copy of the Blu-ray was provided by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment for the purposes of this review.

The supplementary material begins with two deleted scenes, totaling about three minutes. Nothing notable, although Sarah Paulson gets a funny scene in which Tammy freaks out about the heist. “Reimagining the Met Gala” shows how the production created a fictional Met Gala every bit as fancy and impressive as the real ones. You also get to hear about how the Metropolitan Museum of Art and several major fashion designers granted the filmmakers access.

“Ocean's Team 3.0” is a look at the cast and the distinct characters they portray, while “A Heist in Heels” focuses on making a heist movie with women, considering they typically have male-heavy casts. The stars and filmmakers offer their perspectives on presenting a familiar type of story in a new way. All of these features are entertaining to watch.

Ocean's 8 really pops visually on Blu-ray, which is appropriate given its emphasis on high fashion.

Ocean's 8 is rated PG-13 for language, drug use, and some suggestive content. The running time is 1 hour and 50 minutes.

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