How Deep Is The Ocean (Movie Thoughts: Ocean’s 8)

o8This isn’t really my kind of movie. I never saw the previous ones, and I am probably the only one in the world who hasn’t. But sure, this all-female cast is alluring, and surely anything with Cate Blanchett in it is worth my time, so, yeah I went ahead and played and saw ‘Ocean’s 8.’   And I didn’t die from watching it. Ultimately, I was underwhelmed. I expected glitz, glamour, over-the-top production. It didn’t deliver that.

What I got was a mild action film, with a snazzy performance from Anne Hathaway – she steals the film from all her co-stars. Sandra Bullock was competent, and her assured subdued confidence is certainly appealing, but too low-key at times. Cate Blanchette just showed up and did what she did – she wasn’t given that much to do, and she did it well. Rhianna was just there – she really did not make any splashy impression, showing as much ‘star power’ as Awkwafina (What the eff is that name, by the way)

yrThis could have been much better. I think it would have benefitted from a female or gay point of view. For example, I think it would have been great if the ladies’ wardrobes reflected their characters more – I am imagining Rhianna’s Island wardrobe, for example. And the screenplay could have used some tightening. I was expecting non-stop action instead of the press and play pace we have here. All in all, it wasn’t a total disappointment, but ultimately unmemorable.

On What Might Have been (Film Thoughts: Blue Jay)

large_blue_jayDon’t you sometimes wish you could look back at a love in your life and wonder about what might have been? Basically that’s the premise of Alexandre Lehmann’s ‘Blue Jay.’  It’s about Amanda (Sarah Paulson) and Jim (Mark Duplass) meeting at a supermarket. He’s in town sorting out his mother’s things after her passing and she is visiting her pregnant sister. They were together when they were in High School. Initially there is this awkwardness, but then they start talking. This is an indie movie, and it has all the trappings of one – those long meandering shots, the introspective dialogue scenes between the two main characters, it’s even shot in dreamy black and white. You’ve seen it all before, but somehow everything is saved, even elevated, by the wonderful performance of Paulson. I mean, is she even capable of a bad performance? She puts her emotional weight into Amanda so even when the situation would call for the most ridiculous, you are one hundred percent behind her. Duplass is good enough, playing seemingly the same character he plays on most of his roles – aging manchild lost in middle age crisis. But again, it’s all about Sarah. Will this film make you pause and ponder about your own ‘what might have been?’ Perhaps, but I bet the one you won’t forget here is Sarah Paulson.