Ocean’s Eight (2018)

For those who don’t know, this is sort of a film that could be considered a fourth of it’s collection. Although a change up in actors and characters, there are some small connections to the first three, ‘Ocean’s 11’, ‘12’ and ‘13’. For starters, our new main con-artist is Debbie Ocean, Danny Ocean’s sister. Also, there are a few recognisable actors from the previous films too, but I’m not going to ruin it and say who! So as you may tell, it might be helpful to watch the other Ocean films before this one, although not a necessity, would just make some conversations a bit more understandable if you have seen them, that’s all.

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Now for anyone that’s seen the trailer or any advertising, I’m sure you can tell a lot of money has been spent to create a fantastic, well-known cast. Alike to the first Ocean’s who had the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts; ‘Ocean’s 8’ presents a cast equally as well-known. With Sandra Bullock as the brains behind the whole heist as Debbie Ocean, her first go to and partner-in-crime is Cate Blanchett. Thirdly, throw in the celebrity mark of Anne Hathaway, and as the Irish fashion relic Helena Bonham Carter, I mean I think she was Irish, it was an accent that came and went throughout the film. Although I still love her. Then with a star that had a lot of screen-time, the hacker Nine Ball played by Rihanna. And finally ‘American Horror Story’s Sarah Paulson. The other two I think are less well-known, Mindy Kaling, who I recognise off ‘The Mindy Project’ although I’ve never watched it; and Awkwafina as the slight-of-hand con-artist who I don’t recognise at all, however she was probably my favourite character. Then throughout the film they even threw in stars during the Met Gala in which they were to steal from. Such as Heidi Klum, Kim Kardashian, Serena Williams, Kendall and Kylie Jenner and many others. Also, Dakota Fanning and James Corden made an appearance. As you can tell, there was a lot of money spent on a cast such as this. Clearly the sole reason for the film was the cast, therefore it wasn’t the most amazing plot going…

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I’m not going to say that this was the most amazing heist film I’ve ever seen, because it wasn’t. This film was revolved around stealing a neckless during the Met Gala, off the celebrity wearing it. As all Ocean films do, there is a revelation, which to be honest wasn’t that fantastical. Rather a let-down, expected in my opinion. Which is a shame. I guess the Ocean’s are a bit been-there-done-that, as ‘Ocean’s 8’ seemed extremely similar to the ‘Ocean’s 11’. They both started off with them both being released from prison and oh they’re back to being a con-artist and heisting as they were before. Scorned and hurt from prison, both Ocean siblings want to take revenge on those they think wronged them. I guess with this sort of plot where there isn’t actually much you can do with it, but there were a lot of similarities and I guess it was just a bit samey.

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Furthermore, other than the character Constance, I didn’t think many characters were that interesting. I did like Nine Ball, Rihanna’s character, but the others didn’t seem to have much personality to them. Some seemed a bit deflated, they could have pushed personalities further or created some sort of character background, but it wasn’t quite there. Although saying this, I didn’t hate any of the characters! Far from it. They just weren’t the most investing. I did quite like Anne Hathaway’s character, Daphne Kluger and Sarah Paulson’s Tammy, however, although again could have gone further. Additionally, I have to mention the whole of James Corden’s part just dragged. I love James Corden, but his section of the movie just felt unnecessary when we knew what had happened anyway, for some reason they just dragged this bit out with no real purpose.

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Saying all this, maybe I’m being a bit too harsh. It wasn’t a bad film, and I did enjoy watching it. It was enjoyable and fun. I do not regret watching it at all, although can’t say I’d be rushing to see it again, because once watched, it’s done really. It wasn’t as good as hoped, but still thought it was worth a watch, even just for the cast.

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The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

This is supposed to be one of the classic crime thrillers, and for completely understandable reasons at that! Studying a film course, I felt this was one I had to finally watch, and I don’t know why I left it so long! It is an 18 and for good reason, it swears, there are dead bodies, and there is a bit of blood and gore.

The plot goes: ambitious FBI trainee Clarice (Jodie Foster) is sent to the one and only lethal Dr Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) to try and discover if this cannibal knows who Buffalo Bill is. The man who has been kidnapping women, keeping them for three days and then skinning them. If you haven’t seen this and have seen any episode of ‘Criminal Minds’, it follows a pretty similar line to the programme (obviously the film was the original). The FBI are on an urgent hunt for the next woman who has been taken, only worry is, this involves Dr Lecter himself, a man who has the strictest protection of him banned from the rest of the world, but in comes Clarice whispering of hope and a view in return for information…

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There is so much in this film that creates the tension and suspense you feel for the whole two hours. One of the most important things is the camera work, this is something so unique yet worked brilliantly. There are so many close ups on faces, the audience is added to the intensity by looking into their eyes, into Hannibal Lecter’s eyes, yet you cannot read what he is thinking, just listen to the specific questions he is asking of Clarice’s life. Anthony Hopkins plays the dangerous Dr Lecter amazingly well, he is the standing star of the show in my opinion. The weirdest thing, for a brief moment in the film, I felt sorry for him, now that’s got to be some dedicated acting to make an audience feel that! This feeling is quickly diminished when he bites someone’s tongue out, but still there was a moment. The editing of the film also create tension, the way that they do this, is that the audience knows more than those on screen. We know the killer, we see him and what he is doing, this split story effect in the narrative is brilliant in creating more tension for the characters we want to win. Although, saying this, we don’t know everything, and we surely don’t know what will happen. The whole feel of the film echoes urgency and stress, there is the unreliable source of Hannibal Lecter, the importance of saving the woman taken by Buffalo Bill, and the damaging past of Clarice, desperate to solve this case.

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‘The Silence of the Lambs’ is a brilliant film. It is definitely one to watch, there were moments that I was extremely tense, hiding behind my hands covering my face. I was definitely freaking out at one point to be honest. It is imaginatively created to push the tensions to the max, and to be honest I would watch it again. I definitely recommend if you haven’t seen this film, if you’re in for a great thriller!

Criticsized (2016)

I have to admit, I really enjoyed this film. If you’re a fan of detective programmes, solving crimes, such as ‘Criminal Minds’, ‘CSI’ etc etc, then I think you would thoroughly enjoy this film. It has many similarities to TV programmes such as these, or perhaps I can see similarities way too easily when the TV programme I’m binge-watching at the minute is ‘Criminal Minds’…? I don’t know.

Anyway, what is ‘Criticsized’ even about? As you can probably guess, a crime. Well actually a serial killer, and to say the least the deaths are graphic and horrific. So this is a film for older ages most definitely, swearing, graphic deaths, this is a no go kids film. Also, this isn’t a film of a mystery, you know who the killer is and the police are quick to get a name. But that doesn’t make a difference to the film at all, the film is more of a chase, but there is still tension, suspense, it is done very well. The audience get warped into the film, wondering why he is doing this, whether he will succeed in killing his next victim, whether the police will catch him.

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So the plot revolves around the detective on the case, Jack, played by Callum Blue – which I found is recognisable in ‘The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement’, took me a while to realise it was actually him though (Andrew, the guy Mia is set up with, if you’re wandering). The whole plot revolves around the character Jack, involving his personal life and his career, he is the one driving the plot. However, in some way, so is the killer. We jump from the police office to the killer’s point of view, something I’ve noticed that happens in ‘Criminal Minds’ a lot, but it is used cleverly to add to the suspense in whether the capture of the bad guy will take place and if it does, when and with how many deaths.

The reason behind the killer is one very unique and therefore becomes extremely intriguing, cleverly drawing you in trying to figure out the reason behind all the murders, the gruesome murders. This gives the audience a new interesting plot, and I found the ending superb, the realisation of the killer’s motives and then the ending altogether was, in my opinion, very clever. Had you thinking, which is a good ending for me. It is a film that fits in its genre well, with a different motive of a killer.

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As you can probably tell I enjoyed this film and would definitely recommend if you think this is the sort of film for you. I was warped into the film, not really knowing what to expect, but with the ending and the whole summarising of the film, I would watch it again. Although there were parts of the film I was shouting at the screen wondering why he couldn’t catch him then, but it wasn’t meant to be… But yes, like I’ve said I surprisingly enjoyed it as a film of its genre; tension was built up well and you find yourself delving into Jack’s life and praying he will find where the killer is in time.

Boyz N The Hood (1991)

‘Boyz N The Hood’ is a film based around a Los Angeles community, where to say the least has a lot of crime. If you’re looking for any easy watch, this is not the one. This film has violence, non-stop sirens, guns, alcohol, and to say it swears would be a large understatement. But what this film does is focus on many social problems, including race, friendship, relationships and growing up.

‘Boyz N The Hood’ focusses round one group of friends, most in particular three young adults. Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr), Ricky (Morris Chestnut) and Darren ‘Doughboy’ (Ice Cube). All these characters couldn’t be more different. We see a lot about Tre, a young boy who is sent by his mother (Angela Bassett) to live with his father (Laurence Fishburne) to learn what it is to be a man. The father then raises him, to have morals such as independence, responsibility, thought behind actions and to not be influenced by the community around him, to avoid what happens to a lot of the other people in the neighbourhood; either being shot, in jail, or teenage pregnancy. The father, Furious, is really a character to appreciate in this film; despite everything you know what he says is heart-felt and for the right reasons. Now moving on to the next of the three, someone a bit like Tre but has fallen in one of the categories Furious steers his son away from, teenage pregnancy. At the age of seventeen, Ricky has a son, however this does not stop him from dreaming big and hoping to get the results he wishes in life, actually makes him work harder for it. A very lovable character, especially by his mother, whereas his brother, his mother doesn’t appreciate as much. This is Darren, or what others call him, Doughboy. Doughboy from the age of ten is arrested for the first time, and continuously from then he is in and out of jail. Although, there is so much more to his character, which makes him so much more interesting even if he makes the wrong decisions. So like I said a variety of characters there.

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I love how this film is structured. The first chunk of the film is actually based around the group of friends at the age of ten. We experience how they are when they are young, then the film jumps seven years ahead and we can tell how much has changed or what routes they have taken. I feel like this is definitely needed in the film as it gives a background story to all the characters which helps the audience appreciate them all in their own way.

I really enjoyed this film (as a crime film obviously) as it is cleverly done, however you have to be in the right mind-set. There isn’t any feel-good moments really, nor any comedy of course; but rather tense and a sense that something bad is going to happen. It definitely pulls on heart-strings as you like characters, but things don’t turn out the right way. It’s a very moralistic film to say the least. So I would recommend watching ‘Boyz N The Hood’. Go ahead and experience the life of Tre, Ricky and Doughboy for an excellent crime film.

A Life Not To Follow (2015)

This Neo-Noir film is one very different to others I’ve seen before, and this was good. As the title states, the characters in this film are ones that you wish to never be. They are lives which have gone too far into the “society’s underbelly”, which is full of darkness. The unique set-up of this film was one to enjoy. Time is mashed about as the film is broken down into three chapters. The three chapters all connected one way or another making more sense of the plot, but they all followed different characters.

Chapter One. This chapter revolved around Eric (Fiore Leo), a man who knew it was his end. But one that wanted to go out with a bang. Literally. As it is the first chapter, you are thrown straight into this plot, one where you don’t know any characters or where the plot is going. It’s like you’re thrown in the middle of the film, something which is clever in keeping the audience intrigued until the very end. The performance of Eric in this chapter is very strong; flashbacks are used to explain his narrated stories and as his past unfolds to the audience, we become more aware of what his plans are before he dies. His character is very troubled, but the blame for this is clearly based upon someone else. This chapter was very tense, waiting with for inevitable or just waiting for him to actually explain everything to his girlfriend, Finola (Erica Derrickson). This was clever as well, as she didn’t know anything alike to the audience; we learn along with her. I also enjoyed the freeze frames, even that they were slightly blurry this actually gave a strong effect to the film.

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Chapter Two. This is the next day. Things are slightly different in this chapter. We find out in the first chapter about a certain gang in town, but this one moves away from that gang onto another; this gives the audience some sort of sense that there is more to this society that what was let on in the first chapter. Right from the beginning of this chapter, we know that something bad is going to happen. In the darkness of the night a young girl is chased by an angry man; immediate danger. The story then jumps to Angelo (John Martellucci), the man this chapter is more based around. We learn a bit about “the family” as he calls it, and Angelo is ordered to kill Luca (Michael Capozzi), his best friend. This chapter follows the struggles that Angelo feels, and his desperate desire to not go through with this plan. The audience is pulled in unknown to what he might do, and once we become certain of his plan, we are thrown and showed something rather different in a twist.

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Chapter Three. Back to the beginning it is. This is the most important chapter, bringing things into light for the audience. Strangely, the audience feel like they know more than the audience, having seen them in the first two chapters. But still things are connected and they shine a bright light onto the truth behind every chapter. This chapter is revolved around yet another individual, this time it being an ex FBI agent, Tobias (David Graziano). I really liked that there was voice narration to this chapter, Tobias lets the audience into his sleepy, alcohol-driven mind; a mind in which only wants to find the truth to what happened to Eliza (Molly Kay), a missing girl in which we see both in the first and second chapters. There were a few other additions to this chapter that boosted the style of the film, for example the freeze on a character and Tobias narrating his opinions (which was seen in chapter one as well); additionally, the fast edited pace which seems to portray the agony of Tobias and the struggles he is feeling; or even the restricted lighting, the audience struggling to see captivated into that darker side of town. The last minutes of this chapter was where everything became real for the audience, them finally understanding that one part of society that threw everything about; and these minutes are tense, just waiting.

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Even though they follow certain individuals, they all connect in one way or another; and they all represent a society in which good things never happen. Everyone seems to be caught or wrapped into the bad side of town and unable to escape from it. The film also gives this feeling after the film has finished, things aren’t over. The whole film has a black and white tint to it, this resembles the darkness, crime, trouble and violence. It also swears a lot, so this film is definitely for older ages. Between each chapter, there was a separation to this darkness, full of colour and a happy young woman. This contrast could be taken in two ways, either that some light gets caught in the dark, or that there is always some light in the dark.

Overall, the plot was intriguing and quite powerful for the audience. It was a unique style to represent all the emotions and all the lives you wish not to follow. This isn’t a film that is supposed to make the audience feel comfortable and easy-going; instead it is the opposite, they are thrown about into a lot of death and harsh realities once upon a time.

Legend (2015)

2015’s ‘Legend’ is based on a biography of the Kray brothers in 1960s East End, London. The film is full of violence, fraud and more violence. To put across this danger of the Kray brothers, violence is specifically used, but not as in the use of guns, which is still involved, but more aggressive, punch fights, or the use of hammers etc. There is also the sound of breaking bones and there is lot of vision of blood. It’s a tense film to say the least. It’s not a pretty film, one rather the opposite. But then again, it is a film meant to show the truth of the Kray brothers that were around in the 1960s.

In my eyes, it is Tom Hardy that makes this film so brilliant. I believe that without him, it wouldn’t have been as near as good as it was. Hardy plays both of the main characters, Reggie and Ronnie Kray. And just to prove how great of an actor he is, they are both parallel characters, yet played excellently. Reggie is more calm and collected than Ronnie, however to say he is calm is not true, I just meant more than Ronnie. Reggie is more of a think out a plan and succeed, he threatens in a subtle way, if there’s such a thing. He is the one that finds his love and even plans a marriage. Whereas, Ronnie is wanting the full gangster life, just wanting him and his brother to conquer London. Ronnie is more aggressive, he’s unstable, crazy, quite scary, and he’s schizophrenic. It’s Ronnie that adds an uncertainty to the film and makes it tenser, Ronnie does as well, as the audience are unknown to when he might lash out, but Reggie’s schizophrenia is uncalming. As Tom Hardy plays both the brothers, they have to look slightly different in order for the audience to know who is who, this is brilliantly done, and it is noticeable to which is which.

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The Kray brothers carry a tense element around London, this also is put across to the audience. The audience are uneasy around them even though they are the main characters. The violence is excellently played it seems real, when it’s obviously not. But then things aren’t fully violent, but still unsettling, for example the unknown reason to Reggie bringing a cup of tea to the police outside his house who are following and tracking him and his brother.

There is a drama aspect to the film, so it’s not all crime and thriller. This is between Reggie and Frances (Emily Browning – Violet from ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ by the way). It’s a relationship where Frances is hopeful at the beginning, yet things get incredibly worse, it’s definitely not a happy relationship nor a happy ending to it. Frances is a character who the audience feel sympathetic towards, that Frances hopes for the best in Reggie but that’s not always there. This relationship adds a freedom from all the crime of the gangsters in the film, but changes to a heart-breaking love. There isn’t really any moments in the film where you feel happy, but then again why would you in a gangster film?

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In ‘Legend’, there is a narrator that speaks to the audience, this is from Frances. The view from her is bias towards Reggie as she loves him, but it doesn’t change how the audience sees the Kray brothers, but yet exaggerates the drama element between Reggie and Frances making it more sad.

The rating of this film is an 18 and that is understandable and should be obeyed. For many reasons, but mainly because of the scale of the violence and also there’s unsuitable language. So definitely not appropriate for younger ages.

I would say that this is a good film, and I would recommend it if you like the gangster movies. Be warned it is a crime movie, so there is definitely an unsettling, tense feel to the film, especially that is based upon a true story. Overall, I would say that Tom Hardy makes ‘Legend’ a film to watch.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

A convict, a plan, a crew, a heist, $160 million. Put very basic, that is the plot of ‘Ocean’s Eleven’.

Recently released out of prison, Danny Ocean (George Clooney), decides to pull a few people together to earn some money; and not in a simple, get a job and earn money in a respectable way, but deciding to rob, not one, nor two, but three, Las Vegas Casinos. ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ is a great movie based upon this heist. Will it be successful or will it fail epically?

If you are looking for a heist based film, one that is truly great, with great actors and a great plot; then ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ is a good film to choose. It begins with an elaborate dangerous plan against Terry Benedict’s (Andy Garcia) casinos, then the proceedings of this plan. You discover in the film that Danny Ocean has hidden agendas and whether the plan will take part without him. There are times in the film where things become very close and you get tenser. Without knowing it you find yourself wanting the thieves to succeed; it’s a clever film where the protagonists are not heroes, but I wouldn’t class them as anti-heroes either. This is done through the narrative as everything is from their prospective and Andy Garcia plays the villain of the film when in reality there is a plan of him being robbed of $160 million.

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The film might be considered a bit slow, as there is a lot of wandering and talking, eating and discussing; but I think this adds to the involvement and understanding of the heist to take place and the dedication it needs, making the film more reliable. Do not think this film is action-based and something is happening all the time, because there is a lot of talking and small occurrences taking place. Although, they are all significant for them to work in the plan altogether, even if the audience doesn’t fully understand why.

The first half hour is significant but fast pace, this is clever in how the film has been produced and directed as it could be considered a boring part of introducing the new characters, but as it is many characters all at once you don’t find it boring at any time. However, I would say that this film is more based upon the plot than on character’s insights and personalities, so the fast pace works better. The beginning is based on Danny Ocean collecting his crew for his new heist; the introduction of the main protagonists in short clips, before they join and find out the full plan. Introducing the second hand man, Rusty (Brad Pitt), nervous Livingston (Eddie Jemison), the twins Virgil (Casey Affleck) and Turk (Scott Caan), the elder Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner), new in the job Linus (Matt Damon), explosive Basher (Don Cheadle), athletic Yen (Shaobo Qin), card dealer Frank (Bernie Mac), and finally the rich Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould). There are a variety of characters that are needed for this heist to take place and you’re not quite sure their place until it is finally over. I find that all the characters are brilliant in their own way even if you don’t know much about them. The actors are all quite famous and recognisable, which is good for the film as well, so I’m sure you will recognise at least one of the actors. I don’t know about you, but I like to recognise actors in films, I’m one of those people that has to know where I’ve seen them before, so if you’re like me, you would like this film, I recognised many. I think this makes the film more enjoyable and they’re all professional and brilliantly acted. However, the one thing I have to say is that Don Cheadle, who is American, doesn’t do a very satisfying English accent, actually it is quite bad and slightly disappointing.

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The significant part that makes ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ great, is towards the end, when the heist challenge starts to be taken place. I wouldn’t consider the film to be a mystery as you are told the plan right at the beginning but you are hooked into how it is going to take place and if they will succeed. Watching the heist take place, you will be confused in how things will uncover.

The film isn’t very inappropriate in many ways, it is only a 12. There is light violence, the one scene of punching, and the use of explosives, and I think one swear word in the whole film. Even though the film is a crime film, I wouldn’t say it is scary at all nor that there are any threatening scenes which are inappropriate for younger ages.

‘Ocean’s Eleven’ is a film I would recommend and if you think this would be a film that you would enjoy, then after watching the first ‘Ocean’s Eleven’, I would recommend to watch the second and third one also, ‘Ocean’s Twelve’ and ‘Ocean’s Thirteen’; because I believe these two to be better than the first.