Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Deborah Hunn, Lecturer, School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry, Curtin University

Traditionally, Boxing Day is a great day to go to the cinema in Australia. This year’s offerings include Hitler comedy Jojo Rabbit, Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You and Cannes Film Festival hit Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

Perhaps the strangest offering is Cats, the big screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, itself based on T.S. Eliot’s cycle of poems.

From the trailer, glimpses of a creepily transformed all-star cast (a sinisterly sibilant Judy Dench, Idris Elba and Taylor Swift to name but a few) and a darkly glamorous cat-fight vibe raised more than a few hackles – so much so, elements have been “subtly” reanimated. Reviews of the film have been overwhelmingly negative.

It remains to be seen whether Cats will land as deftly with film goers as it did in the theatre. But if nothing else, its release provides a timely reminder of how the big screen has gifted us many memorable feline performances.

Here are five of the very best.

Keanu (2016)

The 5 best films for cat lovers (that aren't the movie Cats) Jordan Peele and moggy in Keanu. Artists First, Monkeypaw Productions, New Line Cinema

“That’s the cutest cat I’ve ever seen!”

No, it’s not a Disney movie or an internet meme; it’s a line that speaks for every adult male who crosses paths with the adorable tortoiseshell tabby kitten Keanu.

We first meet this eponymous feline amid the corpse-strewn detritus of a meth lab that has been shot up by two hefty gangster assassins.

Keanu’s escape to suburbia and subsequent kidnapping from his newly adopted human, the nerdy Rell (Jordan Peele) provides the catalyst for this delightfully idiotic buddy/action movie spoof.

Director Peter Alencio and writers Peele and Alex Rubens milk full comedic value from vicious killers turned into cooing, kitten kissing softies – and bumbling middle-class cowards Rell and Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) into badass, kitten rescuing heroes.

The 5 best films for cat lovers (that aren't the movie Cats) Rocking a bandanna. Artists First, Monkeypaw Productions, New Line Cinema

Viewers familiar with Peele’s directorial work will know he is no respecter of cuteness. Rest assured, a walk on the wild side only sees Keanu’s adorable qualities further enhanced by rocking a wicked black bandanna.

In a dream sequence, his voice is provided by some actor called Reeves.

Alien (1979); Aliens (1986)

Those with an attentive eye for cats on screen and/or for what makes feminist icon Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) tick won’t be surprised to see the trouble-making ginger Jonesy from the first two films in the Alien franchise on this list.

This (space) ship cat is no mere piece of fluff: he serves a significant plot function, raises tensions at key moments and importantly provides the first film’s only love interest.

Rescuing the moggy complicates Ripley’s escape and reveals a tender, protective side to her steely nature. This is even more powerfully highlighted in the sequel Aliens, even if Jonesy himself only makes a brief early appearance: “and you, you little shithead, you’re staying here”.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1962)

The 5 best films for cat lovers (that aren't the movie Cats) Audrey Hepburn and Orangey in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Jurow-Shepherd

This iconic adaptation of Truman Capote’s novel frequently tops cat movie lists, but while I am more than happy to include Holly Golightly’s flatmate Cat, “poor slob without a name”, near the top of my list I must confess I’m no great fan of the film overall – a ham-fisted, sanitised Hollywood do-over.

Capote, as is well known, was not keen on the casting of Audrey Hepburn as drifter-turned-grifter Holly Golightly, apparently preferring Marilyn Monroe.

Little is known of his view of the casting of Orangey – an award-winning performer – as Cat, but for mine this handsome fellow is a far better actor than George Peppard, the film’s wooden, (Hollywood confected) male lead.

You don’t have to be a cat lover to know who Holly’s true soul mate is.

A Street Cat Named Bob (2016)

This adaptation of a best-selling book tells the true story of a homeless, heroin addict, James Bowen, (Luke Treadaway) who finds love and redemption when he meets Bob, a doughy but lovable ginger who chooses him as his human.

While James is busking or selling The Big Issue, Bob is perched on his shoulder and proves a magnet for punters. When Bob is injured in a fight, James takes on new responsibilities as provider and carer.

After a young friend dies from an overdose, James decides to get clean and is helped by the presence of the watchful, patient Bob.

Sure, it’s no Trainspotting, but there’s enough grit, vomit and despair to avoid the overly sentimental and Bob – played by none other than the real Bob himself – is a delight, exuding an aura of streetwise empathy to a kindred spirit, and adding a dash of mischief, too.

Kedi (2016)

Turkish director Ceyda Torun’s sublimely shot documentary focuses on Istanbul’s many thousands of street cats and the humans whose turf they share, who tend them and take solace in their company without seeking to constrain their freedom.

Torun skilfully intertwines the stories of several cats into the fabric of the places in which they (and, in some instances, their young) survive.

She captures them wandering through street markets, cafés, artists’ studios, workshops and patches of wasteland. We watch them hunting, scavenging and charming their way around fishing boats, riverbanks, tips, kitchens and jetties. They nip in and out of the windows of cramped, ageing flats, through backyards, shops and crowded alleys.

Kedi’s central message is that the centuries-long interdependence of human and feline – marked by easy tolerance, respect and not a little folklore and superstition – is a distinctive marker of Istanbul’s culture, one potentially under threat by the inexorable creep of high rise, urban redevelopment.

It should be cherished and preserved as a civilised and civilising point of pride.

Authors: Deborah Hunn, Lecturer, School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry, Curtin University

Read more http://theconversation.com/the-5-best-films-for-cat-lovers-that-arent-the-movie-cats-128128

How to know if your online shopping habit is a problem — and what to do if it is

arrow_forward

'Finding Freedom': the new Harry and Meghan book is the latest, risky move in a royal PR war

arrow_forward

Planning Makes for a Stress-Free Move

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

What to Expect from Your NDIS Verification & Certification Audit

The National Disability Insurance Agency administers NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) in Australia. The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission governs it. As a welfare support scheme of...

Sarah Williams - avatar Sarah Williams

Why You May Need A Tower Scaffold Hire

When constructing a building, or even a multilevel structure, you must use a tower scaffold to get you into position. What is unique about this type of scaffolding is that you can build it highe...

News Company - avatar News Company

20 year old Aussie marketing genius helping billion dollar household brands

Australian digital marketing agency, Co Media, founded by 20 year old marketing genius Lucas Cook, is making its mark on the world stage by gaining a number of high profile clients and quickly b...

News Company - avatar News Company



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion