Flip the script, make the con men con women, but keep the cheeky feel. That seems to be the thought process behind the comic heist spin-off, “Ocean’s Eight.” Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and a bevy of talented actresses fill the roles but aren’t really challenged by the material. Still, they seem to be having fun. Anne Hathaway, doing something of a self-parody as a vacuous actress, has the only meaty role.
Jodi Foster and Sterling K. Brown lead an impressive cast in the dark and violent sci-fi crime thriller, “Hotel Artemis.” In a riot-torn near future LA, gunshot victims visit a secret private hospital for criminals only. It’s well produced, but this grindhouse-style entry doesn’t quite nail the electric pace it sorely needs.
Filmmaker Paul Schrader examines the twin themes of faith and environmentalism in the thoughtful drama “First Reformed.” Ethan Hawke plays the parish pastor of a 250-year-old New England church who tries to balance his beliefs and his despair when one of his parishioners commits suicide. Hawke is very good, as is the supporting cast that includes Amanda Seyfried and Cedric the Entertainer, and newcomer Van Hansis. Schrader poses probing questions that aren’t easily answered, framed within an involving story. The only problem is an unconvincing climax that threatens to undermine some of the film’s intentions. Still, it’s a potent intellectual experiment.
Also opening this week, “Hereditary” is an acclaimed horror film. Toni Collette’s performance is being touted as an early Oscar fave. “On Chesil Beach” is a romantic period drama starring Saoirse Ronan. “Mary Shelley” is a drama about the romance between the author of “Frankenstein” and the poet Percy Shelley. Elle Fanning stars. “Haikara-San: Here Comes Miss Modern” is a Japanese anime offering based on a popular manga story. “211” is a true-life police drama starring Nicholas Cage