MOVIE BUFF-ET: ‘Ocean’s 8’ and ‘Upgrade’ better than expected

Warner Bros.

Ocean’s 8

It was too easy and good of an idea not to gender-twist Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy for another summer heist comedy.

When said formula is executed by a co-writer/director as talented as Gary Ross, and the film stars a Murder’s Row of actresses like Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, and Mindy Kaling with pop stars Rihanna and Awkwafina along for the ride, then it would not be surprising if Warner Bros. had a minor hit on its hands with “Ocean’s 8”.

New In Local Theaters

  • Ocean’s 8 (PG-13) 1 hr. 50 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Rogers Towne, Malco Pinnacle Hills, Malco Springdale, Skylight)
    » Watch trailer
  • Hereditary (R) 2 hr. 6 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle Hills, Skylight)
    » Watch trailer
  • Hotel Artemis (R) 1 hr. 33 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle Hills, Malco Springdale)
    » Watch trailer
  • RBG (PG) 1 hr. 28 min.
    (Malco Razorback)
    » Watch trailer

Going into the film, I wasn’t all that excited about the concept. The burn from the almost painful “Ghostbusters” remake from two summers ago still stings a little bit, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fast-paced and fun movie.

The film is style over substance, but that’s O.K. with me when that style comes in the form of Academy Award winners Bullock, Blanchett, and Hathaway. Bullock’s character Debbie is the estranged sister of Danny Ocean, the mastermind of the heists in the original three films. Inspired by brother’s slippery success, Debbie uses a five-year and eight-month prison term to plot the seeming perfect heist.

Once on the outside Debbie recruits her crew of thieves and ne’re do wells who have a skill or resources needed to pull off the heist of a $150 million necklace.

The basic plot is familiar, but there are a few twists and turns to keep you on your toes, but the fun of the movie is watching the fantastic cast do their thing. Bullock and Blanchett have splendid chemistry and Hathaway steals just about ever scene she’s in.

The movie’s a funny, summer popcorn movie with a winning cast and just enough intrigue to leave you smiling when the credits roll.

(PG-13) 1 hr. 50 min.
Grade: B-

Blumhouse Productions


If you like your entertainment gory and gritty then the sci-fi/horror revenge movie “Upgrade” might be the ticket you are looking for.

The movie has a good bit of style and doesn’t hold back on the rough stuff in telling the near-future story of mechanic Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) whose body is augmented with an ultra high tech computer device known as STEM following a car crash and a brutal encounter with scavengers that left him a quadriplegic.

STEM is an artificial intelligence mechanism that’s grafted into his spine that allows him to move his limbs, walk, run, and fight with alarming force and skill. However, is Grey still in control or is STEM the one who is calling the shots?

While the movie isn’t original, borrowing from films and TV shows like “RoboCop,” “The $6 Million Dollar Man,” “The Terminator,” and “Death Wish,” it’s just creative enough to be entertaining if you set your mind to cruise control.

I wouldn’t recommend that you rush out and see “Upgrade” in the theater, but if you like hard-nosed, blood-and-guts sci-fi, it’s worth pursuing once released for home viewing.

(R) 1 hr. 39 min.
Grade: B-

Classic Corner

Mad About Musicals

If recent hits “La La Land” and “The Greatest Show” are your type of movies, then Turner Classic Movies might be the entertainment destination for you on Tuesdays and Thursdays the rest of the month.

TCM is celebrating musicals by telecasting many of the best Hollywood has to offer 24/7 on Tuesdays and Thursdays this month.

On June 12 and 14, the musicals of the 1940s will be featured with the Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra classics “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “On the Town” featured at 6 and 8 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Kelly co-directed both films, and his charm and charisma is hard to resist when he’s paling around with The Chairman of the Board.

James Cagney takes center stage with a tour de force performance at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday in the biopic “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” which depicts the life story of George M. Cohan in an nearly irresistible piece of Hollywood gold, directed by the great Michael Curtiz.

The musicals of the 1950s are featured on June 19 and 21, while the musicals of the 1960s and 1970s take a bow on June 26 and 28.

Consult for the complete listing of the films that will be shown.