‘Ocean’s 8’: A delightfully smart crime caper

The film is driven by an all-female cast. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 04 July 2018
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‘Ocean’s 8’: A delightfully smart crime caper

CHENNAI: Over the years, dozens of heist stories have played out on the silver screen, but director Gary Ross’ female-driven crime caper is a delightfully smart breath of fresh air.

“Ocean’s 8” stars Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett, who lead a team of razor-sharp women on an ambitious mission to steal a $150 million Cartier diamond necklace.
A spinoff of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy, Ross’ film is no less ambitious, although a focus on the planning part of the robbery leaves the movie unevenly balanced, with the run-up to the robbery eating up much of the 110-minute run time.
Bullock plays the character of Debbie Ocean, who spends five years in prison seething with anger and planning revenge after her art dealer boyfriend, Claude Becker (Richard Armitage), saves himself by trapping her in the midst of a crime. Out on parole, she seeks her former comrade-in-crime, Lou (Blanchett), and gets together an all-women team to pull off a dazzling heist.

Bullock plays the character with astounding confidence — look at the way she walks out of jail and into a high-class store, shoplifts and enters a posh hotel room, it is thrilling. With the same devil-may-care attitude, she forms a gang with Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), a disgraced fashionista, Amita (Mindy Kaling), a jewelry maker, Constance (Awkwafina), a hustler-pickpocket, Nine Ball (Rihanna), an ace hacker and Tamy (Sarah Paulson), a suburban mother and profiteer. Anne Hathaway plays the dim-witted model who becomes a passive accessory to the crime.

The narrative flows along with remarkable editing, a haunting score and some fantastic top shots. The scripting is smooth, despite moments of disbelief. A subtle yet strong performance by Blanchett and Bonham Carter’s charming awkwardness add to the fun in what has turned out to be a deliciously delightful film that proves an all-female cast can score Box Office gold.

The film earned another $8.03 million in its fourth weekend in the US, Forbes reported on Monday, making for a $114.7 million 24-day total.


Curious foreigners get rare chance to sample Emirati culture

Updated 19 May 2019
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Curious foreigners get rare chance to sample Emirati culture

DUBAI: No question was off limits for curious tourists and foreign residents of Dubai wanting to learn more about Emirati culture and the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Emiratis make up less than 10% of those living in Dubai, the most populated emirate in the seven-emirate United Arab Emirates federation, making it hard for foreigners to meet them.
Dubai goes to great lengths to market itself as open to different cultures and faiths as the Middle East’s financial, trade and leisure center, and a government cultural center is inviting visitors to find out more about Emirati life.
“There are no offending questions,” said Emirati Rashid Al-Tamimi from the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding.
“How do you worship, what is the mosque, why do you wear white, why do women wear black ... is everybody rich in this country?“
Emirati volunteers gathered at a majlis — the traditional sitting room where the end-of-fast iftar meal is served at floor-level — were asked about dating and marriage, what they think of Dubai’s comparatively liberal dress codes for foreigners, and aspects of the Muslim faith.
“We learn from them, they learn from us. (Foreigners) have been here a long time and I feel they see themselves as Emiratis, and we are proud that they do so,” said Majida Al-Gharib a student volunteer.
Visitors broke the day’s fast with dates and water, before sampling Emirati cuisine, including biryani and machboos rice and meat dishes.
Seven-year-old Anthony from Poland, who goes to school in Dubai, said he came to find out more about the breaking of the fast meal because many of his friends at school do it.
2019 has been designated the Year of Tolerance in the United Arab Emirates and there is a minister of state for tolerance.