Fairly early on while watching this movie, I came to an epiphany: I really don't like Jerry.
Seriously, he's a jerk. I mean, it'd be one thing if he violently thrashed his onscreen partner, Tom, because, after all, Tom is a cat, and cats eat mice. It'd be self-defense. I don't hate the Road Runner when Wile E. Coyote gets squished yet again, even if do feel sorry for Wile. But Tom rarely seems to have any interest in eating Jerry. Neither is Jerry like Bugs Bunny, who doesn't go looking for trouble. In the old shorts, Jerry frequently attacks Tom first, without provocation.
Take, as an example, how Tom and Jerry meet in their latest movie, released this weekend. Tom is busking in New York City's Central Park, when Jerry rudely interrupts him. Now, Tom is not without his own flaws; he's pretending to be blind to attract more customers, which is not cool. But Jerry doesn't seem to be bothered by this; his beef with Tom is clearly that Tom is making money, and he's not. So, he tries to steal his crowd, and then, in a bout of inevitable slapstick violence, breaks Tom's keyboard, which is clearly important to Tom beyond just a means of money. I'm on Tom's side, here.
Well, anyway, Tom & Jerry is a movie about Tom and Jerry. Tom is a cat. Jerry is a mouse. They starred in a bunch of cartoon shorts together starting in 1940, meaning that 2020 was their 80th anniversary. This movie was supposed to commemorate that milestone, but, well, COVID-19. It's mostly a live-action film; only the animals are animated (it wasn't submitted for consideration in the Academy Awards' 2020 Best Animated Feature category, which it would've qualified for under the extended "awards year", which implies the filmmakers consider it live-action). Besides Tom and Jerry (who are basically mute, and charmingly credited as "Themselves"), the movie stars Chloë Grace Moretz and Michael Peña.
To help distract quarantined Doctor Who fans, there are Doctor Who: Lockdown! simulcast watch-alongs of popular episodes of the "New" series of the show, featuring creatives behind the scenes Tweeting along, as well as short videos to go along with the watch-along.
With the May 30 watch-a-long of the loose "trilogy" of episodes "The End of the World", "New Earth" and "Gridlock" a sort of illustrated audio ""The Secret of Novice Hame", written by Russell T. Davies, was attached. The titular character and narrator of the story is Novice Hame (played by Anna Hope), who appeared in the "New Earth" and "Gridlock" episodes and is an anthropomorphic cat. She tells the story of her life among the various anthropomorphic animals of the far future planet of New Earth, and is visited by David Tennant's "Tenth" incarnation of the Doctor.
An interesting implication of the short piece is that it opens up the possibility that the Doctor themself might someday become an anthropomorphic animal; Novice Hame notes that there are stories of the Doctor in various forms, including animals.
Cats is such a bizarre phenomenon, I don't really know where to even start.
It's not just the movie. That a stage play based on a series of children's nonsense poems would not only be made, period, but that it would go on to be one of the most popular plays in some of the biggest venues is one of those things that make people say things like "well, it was the 80s" and "cocaine is a hell of a drug". Heck, there isn't even a lot of anecdotal evidence that drugs were involved any more than usual, if at all.
But, of all the inexplicable things, I'd like to point out the original tagline of the movie, which is so generic for such a weird property, stood out to me. "You Will Believe".
I will believe what, exactly? Neither the poems, play nor, it turns out, this feature length film has much in the way of thematic content, other than maybe "cats". Certainly, questions of faith or belief are not addressed. You could say the "jellicle cats" are a sort of feline cult to the moon, but there is no interest in the philosophy or theology of this possible cult. Certainly, I didn't come away believing there is some "Heaviside Layer" that would grant cats an extra life if they sing a song really good. Furthermore, I don't think the movie was trying very hard to make me a "believer".
So let's actually talk about the movie. The very first shots are set at a human level, as a canvas bag with a cat inside that we will learn is named Victoria (Francesca Hayward) is thrown out the window of a moving vehicle, apparently abandoned by her human owners, who we never see. This departure from the stage play, where we are given a point of view character who is new to the world of movie to have stuff explained to, is a welcome addition.
It's also the only thing the opening scene gets right.
Arkham Horror card game developer Fantasy Flight Games has turned an April Fools suggestion into reality with new scenario Barkham Horror: The Meddling of Meowlathotep. [tip: Shazardek]
New investigators Kate Winthpup, Bark Harrigan, Jacqueline Canine, 'Skidds' O'Drool and Duke have "picked up the scent of something big" and "must stop Meowlathotep, the Prowling Chaos, Meowsenger of the Outer Feline Gods, who is terrorizing the city of Barkham".
The dog-vs-cat-themed product, first teased on April 1 (of course) as The Dogwitch Legacy was encouraged by support in the game's forums, especially after cats became allies in The Dream-Eaters expansion pack. Like all expansions, the core Arkham Horror set is required to play.
Just two months after the live action Sonic the Hedgehog movie's character design caused such a backlash that the movie was delayed to 2020 to fix it and on the very day the controversial "live action" Lion King hits theaters, we have yet another entry in 2019's "was 'live action' really a good idea here?" canon. The trailer for Cats is out now, and to quote the villain of the aforementioned Lion King (which is also a Boy Scout motto), "Be prepared."
Look, the best joke in the first Secret Life of Pets is that if you do the trendy thing of acronym-ing it's title, it becomes SLoP, which is funny because it's true.
Honestly, I can't even say I remember the first movie very well. I did see it. I mostly recall that I didn't really like it that much. So, as you can probably deduce, I wasn't entirely looking forward to the sequel. The trailers also prominently featured coprophagia, so that wasn't helping anything.
But about those trailers— if you take out the inter-titles and the music, you just watched that scene in the movie. That's exactly how it's cut in the movie. All of the trailers are like that. They're just scenes from the movie. The movie is cut like a trailer.
And the weirdest thing about this movie is that, somehow, despite being just scenes from the movie, this is a case of bad trailers being way worse than the actual movie. This is a very weird movie.
CatTimothy House is a small science-fiction press in the dimension of Camestros Felapton. There's no connection to furry fandom - unless you count Pete, the magic walrus. But its website, run by CEO/editor Timothy the Talking Cat, should become better known!
April and the Extraordinary World [trailer] is the English dub of a 2015 French animated film, originally titled Avril et le monde truqué. There was a limited North American theatrical release in April 2016.
Furry-wise, it's borderline: a likeable talking cat sidekick, plus a little extra anthropomorphism that I can't discuss without spoiling. Its main appeal is for steampunk fans. If that's your thing, it's definitely worth a look!
Toho Films has just released an aw-it’s-cute trailer for its August 6 CGI theatrical feature adaptation of author Hiroshi Saitō’s children’s book Rudolph and Ippaiattena. But Toho has also added a mention of one of its other big summer releases, Godzilla: Resurgence. Japan still has theatrical monopolies, so these features released by Toho Films will only play in the Toho Cinemas theatrical chain.
Anime News Network has news on the film’s voice actors, Saitō’s original children’s book series, and a translation of the trailer’s text.
The movie Nine Lives with Kevin Spacey as a cat – “Kevin Spacey as you’ve never seen him before” – will be released on August 5, 2016. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and produced by EuropaCorp, also starring Jennifer Garner, Christopher Walken, Robbie Amell and Malina Weissman.
This is not a reincarnation fantasy. Spacey plays Tom Brand, a ruthless businessman who becomes trapped in the body of his 11-year-old daughter Rebecca’s pet adult cat, Mr. Fuzzypants. The article/press release in the Independent describes him as “a talking CGI cat”, but this first trailer shows him as a non-talking live cat, though with lots of VFX. Maybe he’ll talk and become CGI in later trailers. None of the publicity gives the name of the trained cat.
This will be a nice contrast to all of the CGI animated talking animal movies of 2016.
Here is the British trailer for Top Cat Begins, directed by Andrés Couturier, that was released last October 30 in México as Don Gato: El Inicio de la Pandilla. It’s coming on May 27 in the U.K., distributed by Warner Bros. (so can the U.S. release be far behind?)
It was produced for only $8,000,000 (estimated). While I’m tempted to say that it looks it, it’s really not bad for only $8 million these days. It was produced by Ánima Estudios in Ciudad México, the makers of that Oz movie with the Day of the Dead look, Wicked Flying Monkeys. Haven’t seen that yet? Don’t worry; you will.
Look at the lip sync. Was this movie made for English or Spanish dialogue? What do you think?
Cats and More Cats; Feline Fantasy Fiction, edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Further Confusion 2016 in San Jose, California over the January 14-18 five-day weekend. The book can be pre-ordered online from FurPlanet Productions. It will be for sale on the FurPlanet online catalogue afterwards.
Cats and More Cats is a reprint anthology of 14 short stories and novelettes of feline fantasy fiction (“the best of the best”) from 1989 to the present, most of them out-of-print today, plus a new essay and an extensive bibliography of cat fantasy books. This is designed to appeal to both science fiction and fantasy fans, and all cat-lovers.
FurPlanet Publications, $19.95 (261 pages). Wraparound cover by Donryu. ISBN 978-1-61450-297-5
In an uplifted universe, where the humans sneaked away when no one was looking, Earth is largely cats and dogs.
The dogs rule, at least in North America, and two sisters are trying to get more feline representation in what is supposedly a democracy. Events conspire to separate the sisters, and the level headed sister, Kipper, is forced into a wild adventure to find her sister, or at least solve the mystery that seems to threaten them both.
This is book one of three, with the third coming out soon.
Can a massive theatrical animated hodgepodge make a massive theatrical animated anthropomorphic hit? That’s what a lot of people are hoping when Blazing Samurai, an animated pastiche of the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles, only with samurai in Old Japan instead of cowboys in the Old West and animated cats and dogs instead of humans, hits the theaters in August 2017.
How much of a hodgepodge is it? Blazing Samurai is announced as the first feature produced by former Sony Pictures Vice Chairman Yair Landau’s Mass Animation online company, founded in August 2008 to “develop wikimovies and content using a new production model – a virtual animation studio and an open invitation to artists around the world to collaborate in creating the next generation of animated stories.” Mass Animation has attracted “over 58,000 participants from 101 countries”, and has produced the 5-minute “Live Music”, advertised as “the first ever theatrically released crowdsourced animated film”.