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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Movie Review ~ Minions

MinionsMinions, rated PG

This hilarious prequel tells the early story of the popular banana-loving, yellow Minions from the Despicable Me films (Despicable Me 3 is due out in the summer of 2017).   The film is directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin, and follows (with narration from Geoffrey Rush), the Minions’ evolution from single-celled organisms to little creatures whose only goal is to serve the most despicable masters they can find throughout history – from T. Rex, Dracula and Napoleon – they are always looking for their next boss. But somehow, despite their best intentions, their bosses always meet tragic ends. And after the battle of Waterloo, the Minions are sent into exile. Without someone to serve they fall into a deep depression in the frigid Antarctica.

Finally Kevin has a plan. Kevin, Stuart and Bob (all voiced by Coffin), will leave the rest of the group in Antarctica to find a new evil boss for the group to serve. Their search takes them to London and New York in 1968, where they meet the Nelson family (featuring Michael Keaton and Allison Janney as the parents) on their way to Orlando for a villain convention. Kevin, Stuart and Bob catch a ride with them in hopes of finding a new villain there to serve.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-moving and funny film which features music from the late 1960’s from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Turtles and Donovan. The Minions also get to sing a few songs from the era as well.

Sandra Bullock voices Scarlet Overkill, who we found underwhelming as a villain. Jon Hamm voiced her husband Herb, whose character was more enjoyable. Jennifer Saunders voices the Queen.

Tip: Stay in your seats through all of the ending credits for more fun.