Ocean’s 8 Is the Pick of the Week

With reboots, re-imaginings, remakes, sequels, prequels, etc. and so forth, it’s hard to keep up with all the ways Hollywood takes an existing property and changes it just enough to get us back into theaters (or at least attempt to do that). I get why they do it. You’ve got an established property with a built in fan base, but it’s a few years (or decades) past its expiration date so you bring in fresh faces and start over. But it’s hard not to be cynical about these things.

Ocean’s 8 is an interesting twist in this ever-expanding and changing mix of sequels, spin-offs, and the like. First, there was Ocean’s 11 which was a heist caper starring the Rat Pack in the 1960s. Steven Soderbergh remade it in 2001 with George Clooney, Matt Damon, and a host of other stars. He then made two sequels and walked away from the franchise. Ocean’s 8 exists in that universe and follows Sandra Bullock, the cousin of George Clooney’s character. But much like the recent Ghostbusters reboot, the twist is that it does a gender reversal, hosting a mostly all-girl cast over the nearly all male cast of the originals. Also like Ghostbusters, this caused all sorts of commotion among the usual rabble rousers on social media.

Truth be told, I didn’t watch that Ghostbusters reboot. The reviews weren’t good and the trailers weren’t funny so I skipped it. Reviews haven’t been great for Ocean’s 8 either (and truth be told part II, I’ve never actually watched any of the Ocean’s 11 sequels) but it’s got a great cast (including Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, and Sarah Paulson), and I’m always a sucker for a heist film. It doesn’t look like a great film, but it does look like something fun to put in on a Sunday afternoon when you want to check your brain out and kick back with some dumb entertainment.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Tree of Life (Criterion Collection): Terrence Malick’s impressionistic story of the life of a family in the 1950s not only gets the usual Criterion treatment – a new 4K scan, loads of extras including interviews, video essays, and making-of documentaries – with an all new extended director’s cut including an additional 50 minutes of footage.

The Witching Season: Season 1: Fueled by nostalgia, this anthology of short horror films tells original tales of terror set during the Halloween season.

Television Lost Classics, Volume One & Two: Volume One contains two primetime specials starring John Cassavetts and directed by Sidney Lumet. Volume Two contains four pilots that never went anywhere.

Joni Mitchell: Both Sides Now – Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970: Joni Mitchell in her prime, what more needs to be said?

Mat Brewster

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