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Cinema Dispatch: Ocean’s 8

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Ocean’s 8 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Gary Ross

I’ve never had much interest in the Ocean’s movies and even though I’m PRETTY sure I saw the first one, the only things I remember is George Clooney on a payphone in the beginning and everyone looking at a fountain at the end.  Needless to say that had they gotten the gang back together for Ocean’s 14, I’d have easily checked out and just went to whatever else was playing that week.  Recasting the entire thing with AMAZING actors in a sort of soft reboot though?  NOW you’ve got my attention!  Don’t always discount reboots, kids!  You’ll find one someday that’s right up your alley!  Does this latest entry in the franchise prove to be a necessary and extraordinary fresh start, or is the title the only thing worth remembering about this movie?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), who is the sister of the PRESUMABLY deceased Danny Ocean, getting out of jail on parole and IMMEDIATELY starting up her life of crime once again; scamming stores, sneaking into other people’s hotel rooms, and of course getting ready for her BIG score.  Yes, the one she’s been planning ever since she went inside and is chomping at the bit to get started on.  After all, who wants to ENJOY their freedom when they can just risk it all on a foolhardy heist!?  Speaking of hardy fools, she also reaches out to her old crime buddy Lou (Cate Blanchett) who’s been holding her own but clearly anticipating Debbie’s next big score, and the duo start to lay down the groundwork as well as scope out some new talent who can pull this whole thing off.  So what is the heist you may ask?  There’s this SUPER expensive necklace valued at about one hundred and fifty MILLION dollars that’s sitting in a vault somewhere which is such a shame because it could be going to better use, like enriching a bunch of thieves who are smart enough to figure out how to steal it!  For this to work they’ll first need a patsy to get their hands on the necklace so that they can steal it from HER, and who better to use than one of the most famous actors on Earth, Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway)?  To convince Miss Kluger to use the necklace for her ensemble that evening AND THEN to steal it right off of her neck, Debbie and Lou will need a crack team made up of expert jewelery forger Amita (Mindy Kaling), street hustler Constance (Awkwafina), desperate fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), MOVIE HACKERTM Nine Ball (Rihanna) and retired fencer Tammy (Sarah Paulson).  Wait, that’s only seven.  Hmm… maybe there’s more to this plan than even WE know!  Can Debbie and her crew pull off this heist without a hitch?  What could Debbie be hiding from the rest of the team, and could the secrecy cost them everything?  Is this yet another awesome and well-made movie for the internet man-babies to cry about because there are too many ladies in it!?  Well I sure hope so!!

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“Hashtag Feminism, BRO!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment and EuropaCorp

Directed by Luc Besson

As much as I would like a new Sci-Fi franchise to bring a bit of variety and challenge the Disney Monolith, I just couldn’t see this movie as anything more than a REALLY expensive mistake.  Maybe that’s more of a commentary on the current state of Blockbuster Cinema than an observation of the movie itself (though the ho-hum trailers certainly didn’t help), but a movie THIS expensive looking based around a series of graphic novels that (as far as I can tell) didn’t end up having THAT much reach outside of its native France looked like the kind of disaster that can only be made by people REALLY passionate about what they’re doing.  Now sometimes China can pick up the slack like it did with Pacific Rim which was a GOOD movie, but then other times not even they can save a doomed production like John Carter.  Still, that’s all secondary when talking about whether a movie is good or not, and while the trailers didn’t really impressive me, there were certainly glimpses of something that could be great if the filmmaker knew how to take advantage of it.  Does this movie manage to be a science fiction classic despite its box office prospects, or was everyone asleep at the wheel while Luc Besson spent an untold fortune bringing this comic book to life?  Let’s find out!!

Major Valerian and Sergeant Laureline (Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne) are two space agents working for the Human government who are basically paid to be bad asses across the galaxy and supposedly have the ability to travel through time which I guess we’ll have to wait to see in the sequel.  Anyway, Valerian is having dreams about some lost civilization whose planet was destroyed but he has no idea if these are premonitions of the future or something that happened long ago.  Either way, his latest mission with Laureline JUST SO HAPPENS to converge with these mysterious dreams as there are a band of terrorists of sorts from an unknown race (I BET VALERIAN KNOWS WHO THEY ARE!) that are trying to get their hands on a rare MacGuffin Creature that Laureline is protecting as well as the current military leader of the Human government General Arün Filitt (Clive Owen).  They manage to get the latter, but the former is still safely tucked away and both Valerian and Laureline, despite the protestations of their new commanding officer (Sam Spruell) try to chase them down.  Valerian gets lost in the chase as do the terrorists, and so Laureline has to find him and then the both of them can these aliens who kidnapped the general… unless of course shenanigans with other aliens happen along the way, but that could NEVER happen in the city of a thousand planets, right!?  Will Valerian and Laureline stop this new threat before it’s too late!?  What is their ultimate goal once they have both the general and the MacGuffin Creature?  Will Valerian be the next ACTION STAR to dominate the silver screen!?  Well… probably not, but can he and Laureline STILL save the City of a Thousand Planets!?

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“Before I pull this trigger, you’ve gotta ask yourself one thing.  ‘Does this guy look silly in these glasses?’  Well?  DOES he, punk!?”

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