Cats Movie Qualifying for Awards

As the year comes to an end, we’re getting into the heart of awards season. This is the time of year when studios release most of the movies they hope will be vying for Oscars, Golden Globes, and plenty of other awards from various guilds, critic circles, and more. The deadlines to qualify for these awards are always known far in advance, but every now and then some films end up cutting it rather close, and this year, that film is Cats.

Cats is the big screen adaptation of the long-running Broadway musical of the same name, and a big ensemble cast that includes Francesca Hayward, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, James Corden, Rebel Wilson, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, and more. Director Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) is bringing the story to life with a heft amount of visual effects, using what has been hilariously referred to as digital fur technology, to turn the movie’s stars into photorealistic human-cat hybrids that terrified many as soon as the first trailer arrived. It’s an interesting, albeit haunting, way to tell this story, and now it might cause the film to miss some major awards deadlines. Read More »

his dark materials lyra's jordan review

His Dark Materials wants you to take it seriously now. And with the first episode of HBO and BBC’s TV series adaptation of Philip Pullman‘s beloved fantasy adventure novels, it achieves just that — albeit to both positive and negative effects.

Long tucked away in the children’s sections of libraries and bookstores, the His Dark Materials novels have legions of fans who have desperately wished for Pullman’s twist on Milton’s Paradise Lost to be taken seriously as a smart, even times philosophical, fantasy adventure story. In its first episode, “Lyra’s Jordan,” it’s clear that His Dark Materials TV series is most definitely “made for adults.” Prestige director Tom Hooper bestows upon the series a muted color palette and lots of shadowy corners for the whispered schemes to take place, while Jack Thorne‘s script crafts a vast web of intersecting storylines that are much more complicated than that of the book’s original adventure story revolving around the bull-headed orphan Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen) on a quest to rescue her friend. But by shifting the focus away from Keen’s fiery little heroine, we never get to really know “Lyra’s Jordan” or the rich, vibrant world that Pullman created — the first episode is a little too heavy on table-setting and a little too fixated on those shadowy corners.

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his dark materials review

We do not speak of the 2007 feature film The Golden Compass. Chris Weitz’s botched adaptation of the acclaimed Philip Pullman fantasy novel came at the tail end of a string of Harry Potter knock-offs, and suffered from being reduced into a typical children’s fantasy adventure without all the religious themes and dark undertones that made Pullman’s epic inversion of Milton’s Paradise Lost so great. But I’m inevitably going to draw comparisons to that nonsensical disaster of a film in this review of His Dark Materials, HBO and BBC’s lavish, enthralling, and infinitely more successful adaptation.

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cats trailer

Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden, Rebel Wilson, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Ian McKellen, and Judi Dench are all playing cats in Cats, the movie adaptation of the Broadway sensation Cats, which is about cats. While the stage production employs furry costumes for its feline characters, this new film from Tom Hooper uses digital enhancements to turn its actors into kitties. You can decide for yourself if this is a good or bad idea by watching the first Cats trailer below.

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taylor swift cats

None of us has seen a single frame of the Cats movie, but the film community seems obsessed with the big screen adaptation of the Broadway musical – for all the wrong reasons. Rather than have the actors dress up in cat costumes like the musical, the movie is employing tech to digitally turn the cast into realistic-looking cat-people. It’s either going to look really good, or really bad. Pop icon Taylor Swift, one of the stars of the movie, recently revealed that to prepare for her part, she had to enroll in cat school. How can you not want to see this movie at this point?

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Cats footage reaction

Featuring spandex-wearing anthropomorphic cats and a barebones plot, Cats is possibly one of the strangest Broadway musicals to hit the Great White Way. And now it’s about to become one of the most baffling feature film musicals. Directed by Tom Hooper in his second movie musical following Les MiserablesCats has an unfairly stacked cast including Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, and Judi Dench.

While the prospect of seeing Judi Dench in spandex is tempting, with Hooper’s moodily realistic approach to musicals, it seems like that sadly won’t be the case. /Film’s own Peter Sciretta and Ben Pearson are attending CinemaCon is Las Vegas this year and they learned that Cats will be a visual-effects heavy movie that uses motion capture technology and oversized sets to transform the actors into something closer to actual felines. Yes, really.

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cats cast rebel wilson

Much like a real cat batting at a loud paper bag in the dead of night, the Cats movie doesn’t know when to quit. Tom Hooper‘s film adaptation of the long-running stage musical continues to add surprising, unexpected cast members. The latest addition to the Cats movie cast: Rebel Wilson, who will play Jennyanydots (all the cats have goofy names; we’re just going to have to accept this; thanks a lot, T.S. Eliot).

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Judi Dench Cats

Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench is the latest performer to join the cast of Tom Hooper‘s Cats movie musical. She’ll play a gender-swapped version of the Jellicle cats’ leader, Old Deuteronomy. She also has some interesting history with this show that makes her casting here seem like a nice “full circle” moment in her impressive career.  Read More »

Idris Elba joins Cats

People dressed in cat suits dance across a trash heap, singing about which of them will be chosen by the Jellicle Leader. An armored figure steps from the shadows. It’s Idris Elba‘s Stacker Pentecost from Pacific Rim, and he’s here to cancel the catpocalypse. /daydream

Back in reality, Idris Elba is the latest actor to come on board Les Miserables director Tom Hooper‘s Cats movie musical, joining an eclectic cast of performers who range from Taylor Swift to Sir Ian McKellen. And as interesting as a multi-franchise crossover would be, Elba probably won’t be reprising his Pacific Rim role in this movie. (Probably.) Read more about the long-in-the-works Cats film below.
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his dark materials season 2

Update: HBO, perhaps noting that they will soon have an epic fantasy-shaped hole in their schedule when Game of Thrones ends next year, has joined the production of BBC’s His Dark Materials. According to Deadline, the prestigious American network will act as a co-producer on the series, distributing it outside of the United Kingdom. Our original story continues below.

Fans of Philip Pullman‘s formidable fantasy series His Dark Materials have been nervously anticipating the BBC’s lavish adaptation — and for good reason. The first attempt at adapting the ambitious three-book saga about two children who take on the Kingdom of Heaven was an expensive dud that squandered its perfect cast.

Now BBC’s His Dark Materials has recruited a promising cast, an Oscar-winning director, and an equally lofty budget, but the question remains: Will it be good? BBC seems to think so, renewing His Dark Materials for a second season before the show even hits the airwaves. Now that’s something that even an alethiometer couldn’t have foreseen.

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