Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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My Review of OCEAN’S 8

Ocean’s 8, rated PG-13
***

Ocean’s 8 is an entertaining, all-women sequel to the Ocean’s trilogy that was launched in 2001, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starred George Clooney as Danny Ocean. Those Ocean’s films were actually a remake of the 1960 Ocean’s 11 film starring the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., etc.).  Soderbergh serves as producer for this film. The film, which features an all-star cast, is directed by four-time Oscar nominee Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Dave, Big), and written by Ross and Olivia Milch.
Oscar winner (The Blind Side) Sandra Bullock stars as Debbie Ocean, the estranged younger sister of Danny. The film begins as Debbie is finishing a five-year prison sentence. Although she convincingly assures the parole board that she is looking forward to the simple life, in reality, she has spent the past five years, eight months and 12 days planning her next big heist. Immediately after being released from prison she cons her way through a department store and into a high-end Manhattan hotel room. So much for the simple life.
Shortly after that Debbie contacts her best friend and nightclub owner Lou, played by two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine, The Aviator), to tell her of her plan to steal a large diamond. The $150 million diamond necklace, weighing in excess of six pounds, is locked in an underground Cartier vault, and only removed for special occasions.  One such event is the Met Gala, the annual fashion extravaganza at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it will be worn by the famous actress Daphne Kluger, played by Oscar winner Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables).
Debbie and Lou then go about putting together their dream team to carry out their audacious plan. Their team will be comprised of all women, because as Debbie says “A ‘him’ gets noticed. A ‘her’ gets ignored. And for once, we want to be ignored.” Each of the women will bring a specific talent to the team.
Their team is comprised of singer Rihanna as the hacker Nine Ball, two-time Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter (The Wings of the Dove, The King’s Speech) as Rose Weil, a struggling high-end fashion designer, Golden Globe winner Sarah Paulson (American Crime Story), as Tammy, a former fence (middleman), who is trying to live a quiet life as a mom in the suburbs, rapper-comedian Awkwafina as the pickpocket Constance, and six-time Emmy nominee Mindy Kaling (The Office) as the jeweler Amita.
Fashion plays a big part in this film. Costume design is by Sarah Edwards. She not only outfits Ocean’s gang, but we also see incredible fashion on display at the Met Gala. We see Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour, as well as a number of celebrities at the Gala.
How Ocean’s 8 carry out the heist with the tremendous amount of security around the diamond necklace was entertaining, and includes some plot twists, though the lead up to that was a bit slow.
There is also a subplot of revenge involving one of Debbie’s former lovers, Claude Becker, the art dealer played by Richard Armitage (The Hobbit films, Hannibal). Four-time Emmy winner James Corden (The Late Late Show with James Corden, The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special, The 70th Annual Tony Awards) plays the excitable insurance investigator John Frazier.
The film gets its “PG-13” rating for adult language, including at least one abuse of Jesus’ name. Themes include theft, revenge and deception.
Ocean’s 8 is an entertaining twist on the Oceans films, this time using an all-female crew. The performances by Bullock and Cate Blanchett lead the way for this strong cast.

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My Review of PETER RABBIT

Peter Rabbit, rated PG
****

This animated/live-action film, based on characters and tales/tails of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter is a very funny film with some good messages.
The film is directed by Golden Globe nominate Will Gluck (Annie). It is written by Gluck and Rob Lieber and based on the characters introduced in the 1902 book The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. The film had a budget of approximately $50 million, and the live action scenes were filmed primarily in Australia. It is narrated by Oscar nominee Margot Robbie (I, Tonya).
In this film Peter Rabbit continues his battles with long-time nemesis, Mr. McGregor, played by three-time Golden Globe nominee Sam Neill (Merlin). It was Mr. McGregor who had killed (and eaten) Peter’s father. But Mr. McGregor dies relatively early in the film after he had captured Peter, and it looked like Peter was headed toward being rabbit stew himself. After that, there was is nobody to restrain the rabbits and other wildlife from enjoying Mr. McGregor’s food and home.
Thomas McGregor, played by Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Brooklyn) inherits his great-uncle’s cottage, which he plans to sell. Thomas, who lives and works in London, moves to the country, which he doesn’t like. And he doesn’t like rabbits any more than his great-uncle did, so he quickly begins his battles over the vegetable garden with Peter, voiced by four-time Emmy winner James Corden (The Late Late Show with James Corden), Peter’s likeable cousin Benjamin, voiced by Colin Moody, and his three sisters Flopsy, voiced by Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Mopsy, voiced by Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby), and Cotton-Tail, voiced by Daisy Ridley (Star Wars).
This version of Peter may be different from others you may be familiar with. This Peter is sharp and witty. His closest ally is Mr. McGregor’s next-door neighbor Bea, an aspiring artist, played by two-time Golden Globe nominee Rose Byrne (Damages). Bea has looked after the rabbits ever since their parents died. Her role is that of the author (Beatrix Potter), and we get to see some illustrations and animation from her books. However, when a romance quickly begins between Bea and Thomas, Peter ups the intensity against Thomas all the more as the rabbits and Thomas compete for Bea’s affections.
Other characters in the film are Mr. Tod, a fox voiced by Fayassal Bazzi, a badger, voiced by Tommy Brock, Pigling Bland, voiced by Ewen Leslie, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, a porcupine voiced by two-time Golden Globe nominee singer Sia (Annie), and a rooster who is amazed each day that the sun has come up again, voiced by Will Reichelt.
The film makes good use of music, and the computer-generated imagery (CGI) used for the animals is amazing. There is a lot of funny, slapstick violence between the rabbits and Peter, so some of it could be frightening for very young viewers. In addition, there is one brief shot of a “bum crack” played for laughs.
Messages include vengeance, telling the truth, repentance, forgiveness, love.
There were plenty of laughs from youngsters in the theatre when we saw this film. Adults will also enjoy this fast-paced funny film with good messages.