IT WAS OUR FIRST TIME SPENDING the night together, but I was not expecting it to include their cat. I had heard many stories about Dancer, the Siamese cat; she sounded like a sweet, affectionate pet. I had packed an overnight bag and in hindsight, I should have brought some type of cat toy. While eating our carry out meal, Dancer perched herself on the kitchen counter so she could have a clear view of us eating at the table. I was expecting her to jump onto our table any minute based on the way she was intently looking at us. Gratefully there were no interruptions during dinner. At the end of the meal, we took our drinks and went into the den to settle on the sofa. Dancer took this to be an invitation because she followed us down the hall then jumped onto my lap once I was seated. The entire time we sat on the couch Dancer kept trying to reach my face, either climbing up my chest or coming from behind via the back of the sofa. No matter what admonitions were sternly warned at her, Dancer was determined to get to my face to either kiss or scratch me. I could not tell which way it would go. THE DETERMINATION DANCER DISPLAYED WAS JUST a prelude to what was in store for me when it was time to go to bed. We were done closing up the house and making our way to the bedroom. Dancer was right at our heels the entire time. When we got into bed, Dancer jumped onto the bed and made her way to my pillow. She was taken and put back down on the floor. We settled ourselves back in bed and sure enough, Dancer jumped back up to try and reach me again. This went on a couple of more times before Dancer was placed outside of the bedroom. I thought our problem was finally solved, but I was wrong. Dancer started crying behind the closed door and kept it up non-stop until we opened the door. This time, however, Dancer was given a catnip toy as a distraction. She was all over the toy and gave us a moment of peace. By the time we fell asleep, I had forgotten about that cat. It did not take me long to fall into a deep sleep; but it took me less time to wake up after Dancer, from the floor, jumped up and landed on my back. I was done with this cat, so I got out of bed and made my way back to the den, where I slept the rest of the night on the couch while Dancer slept in my place in the bedroom. I would have loved to know what she was thinking when she first saw me walking into the house. CATS CAN BE SO MUCH FUN and yet be so mysterious. Wouldn’t it be helpful if someone could explain what cats are doing? This documentary may finally provide you with the answers. Directed by Andy Mitchell (Secrets of the Whales-TV mini-series, American Serengeti-TV movie), I got a kick out of watching this movie. Granted I love cats and dogs equally; however, if you are not a cat person then I do not think you would want to spend the time listening to the “experts” discussing cats and their behaviors. The pacing of this picture was steady and light. In fact, there were times where it was getting to be a bit too cartoonish for me, but I still enjoyed seeing all the cats and their different settings. I do not know if this movie provides absolute proof about cats’ behaviors, but I will say I found it quite interesting. I would have loved to have seen some of these experts try and explain that nutty cat, Dancer.
BECAUSE I DID NOT WANT HIM for my partner was the reason, I was sure, I wound up assigned to him by the professor. Maybe the teacher was able to pick up the negative vibes I had toward this student, who I found to be loud and obnoxious. During lectures, this student would make snide or rude comments in a voice only loud enough for the students who were around him. Inevitability, there would be a student who would have to stifle their laughter from the comment, making it hard for the rest of us to hear the teacher. It was not like I was so strait-laced and proper, but this was an ongoing thing that got annoying to me after the first few times. When the professor paired us together for the assignment, I detected a bit of hesitancy on this classmate’s part. We never had any type of interaction; he was just as perplexed about me being selected as his partner. I gathered my belongings and changed seats with the person sitting next to him. The subject of this class was sociology; so, I assumed the professor was making these moves to prove some type of point about society. I only hoped this was going to be a one-time event because I was already missing the comfort of my former seat. AFTER THE PROFESSOR EXPLAINED THE ASSIGNMENT, the two of us spoke for the first time. I offered my take on what we needed to get to the next step. As I spoke, I noticed on the inside cover of his notebook was the logo for one of my favorite music bands. I asked him if he had drawn it and he said yes. It turned out he was a fan of the band as well. When I mentioned I thought the drawing of the logo was perfect, he smiled then flipped through some more pages to reveal other band logos he had drawn. Each of them was so precise and accurate that I could not help myself from telling him about going to a couple of those bands’ concerts. I could tell by his facial expression, he was surprised to hear how much I was into music; funny, I was thinking the same thing about him. We wound up in this detailed discussion of the various bands’ song choices, momentarily forgetting about the actual task at hand. I would have never guessed we would have bonded over music. For the rest of the semester, whenever there was an opportunity, we would sit together. The cliché, “Never judge a book by its cover” can be applied here as well as in this animated, action comedy. FORCED BY AN EVIL LORD TO defend a town from a brutal villain, a hound quickly discovers the citizens hate him simply because he is a dog. The townsfolk are all cats. With Michael Cera (Molly’s Game, Gloria Bell) voicing Hank, Samuel L. Jackson (Shaft, Big Game) voicing Jimbo, Ricky Gervais (The Invention of Lying, Ghost Town) voicing Ika Chu, relative newcomer Kylie Kuloka voicing Emiko and Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs) voicing The Shogun; this movie was an odd mix. The humor went from the level of young kids to adults; the idea of the story was fun, but it came across like a Kung Fu Panda wannabe with Blazing Saddles by Mel Brooks. The animation was well done and there were pieces of dialog I enjoyed. Underlying all of this was the message behind the story, which I thought was admirable. There also was an easy predictability to the script that kept a steady pace of action and banter going all the time. If I had not connected to the message, I do not think I would have stayed engaged with this picture. There was a short extra scene after the ending credits.
2 ¼ stars
I WAS SITTING ON THE COUCH, deep into a mystery novel, when I suddenly felt a puff of air on the back of my neck. In the seconds I needed to alter my thought process back into the real world, that puff of air was replaced with something wet. As I leaned forward to turn around, there on the back of the couch sat my relatives’ cat; I was so into reading my book I had not noticed the cat jumping up onto the couch to get behind me. I chuckled to myself as I settled into my spot to get back to reading my book. The cat had other plans for me. He tentatively placed his paw on my shoulder as if he were testing the temperature of water. The next thing I knew, he got up onto my shoulders; paused for a moment for sniffing and pressing his paws around my upper back before he stretched himself out and plopped himself around the back of my neck. I asked him what he thought he was doing as I smoothed out the fur on the part of his legs, I could see that were hanging down in front. He was such an easy-going character; so, I went back to my reading while the steady drone of purring played in the background. THOUGH I NEVER HAD A DOG OR cat as a pet when I was growing up, I had several relatives who did. This offered me the luxury of playing with them without the cleanup or mess. One relative had two black cats with white diamonds on their chests. They were not related but they certainly looked like a father and son duo. The older one had a nervous personality, where he was always suspicious and skittish. If I came over with a new toy, I would have to leave it out in the open in the middle of the floor and walk away from it. He would wait until I left the room before he would come out from under a piece of furniture and circle the toy, stopping in his tracks periodically to see if the toy would do something. Slowly he got closer to the toy, always on guard. When he finally got to it, he would take a sniff before swatting it to see what it would do. I could spend hours watching him and his methodical ways. In general, I have always enjoyed watching and playing with cats; that is, until I saw this comedic, family drama film. ONCE A YEAR A GROUP OF CATS come together to see which one will be chosen to start a new life. One of the cats however planned on stacking the deck in his favor. With newcomer Francesca Hayward as Victoria, Idris Elba (The Dark Tower, The Mountain Between Us) as Macavity, Judi Dench (Victoria & Abdul, Philomena) as Old Deuteronomy, Rebel Wilson (How to be Single, Isn’t it Romantic?) as Jennyanydots and Jennifer Hudson (The Secret Life of Bees, Dreamgirls) as Grizabella; I am at a loss for words to describe my experience sitting through this odd movie. Having seen the stage play, the transfer of it to the big screen took away a lot of the magic and wonder of seeing the cats perform both on stage and in the audience. Here, I found the actors looked weird and had no screen presence except for Jennifer Hudson. Her scenes were the best in my opinion. Since there really was never a plot to the story, sitting in the theater listening to one song and another; I would have preferred if I could have watched them as music videos on TV or the internet. Visually this picture was pleasing to see with its fanciful scenes and sets; however, it was not enough to keep me engaged. If you have a choice, I would recommend instead of watching this bizarre experiment you volunteer your time at an animal shelter.
1 ¾ stars