Ocean's Eight ★★★½

It's good, but not great, and a lot of that lies on Gary Ross, who is not a bad director.

Lemme 'splain: Gary Ross is a perfectly solid director, always has a strong sense of character, likes to linger on his stars in long, thoughtful takes. For something like PLEASANTVILLE or SEABISCUIT, that's great, Ross makes a story like those sing. But give him a movie that demands a sense of visual movement, and he's not going to make a bad movie - he's too skilled for that - but he's definitely not the person who's going to make the most of the material. (Like, think about the first THE HUNGER GAMES, another Ross work. Apart from that first visceral bout of violence in the games - where Ross can simply go with confusing movement because that's the tone he wants - most of the action sequences in that flick are kind of meh.)

And so we come to OCEAN'S 8, which is a serviceable enough puzzlebox plot that demanded a director who lives to make the camera move and breathe, because everybody in this movie is basically a one-note cipher who does their thing: that's the point of these sorts of heist movies. Gary Ross' strengths are exactly what this movie doesn't need. It needed someone who can find their story while making the camera dance: Soderbergh obviously could have done it, but I would have loved to see Edgar Wright on this flick.

Anyway, for all this criticism, it's still basically pretty good overall. Everybody is fun (although Cate Blanchett was my favorite), the plot has enough twists that it's enjoyable, and it mostly pops although there's really about twice as much James Corden as insurance investigator at the end than was needed.