The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Catwoman

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Judy Thorburn

Catwoman

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

HALLE BERRY IS FELINE FRISKY IN “CATWOMAN”

Rid your mind of the comic book character created by Bob Kane in 1940. Outside of the title, this film has very little in common with the original Catwoman, the many incarnations from the 1960’s Batman TV series, or Michelle Pfieffer’s role in Tim Burton’s film, Batman Returns.  Nope, this is an altogether new version, coming from a different angle and storyline.  I suppose, whether you like this take or not will, for some, depend on a certain distinct element aimed at attracting male audiences.  I am referring, of course, to the star, Halle Berry who, in that skimpy Catwoman costume, emphasizes her feminine attributes to the hilt.

Let’s say it like it is - there are men of all ages who just want to see Halle Berry dressed  (barely) in tight black leather pants, overflowing bra, mask and brandishing a whip. With that get up she looks more like a dominatrix ready for action, then a sexy feline on the prowl.  But, if that fulfills some male fantasy, I guess nothing else about the film really matters, as long as Halle looks hot. You know she does!

Now that I got that out of the way let me get back to basics.   From the get go, rumor had it that this film was a cat-tastophy, a big budget ($100 million) bomb.  Granted it can’t measure up to this summer’s fabulously entertaining Spider-Man, which delivers in every way, absorbing story and visuals, thrilling action, and three-dimensional well acted characters. But, even though Catwoman may not be a great flick, it is not as bad as some of my colleagues would have you believe.

Maybe it’s the Leo (birth sign) in me, but some how I went along for the ride and found this Catwoman to be a fairly entertaining, guilty pleasure. The feline side of this flick chick kind of dug seeing Halle dig her claws into this role and actually take on some characteristics of a kitty.  Dressing up in costume, with cat ears and tale does not a cat make.  But, wait till you see the catlike abilities Ms. Berry takes on with her portrayal of a murdered woman who is resurrected as the title role. Disregard the choppy short hairdo and the kinky outfit, and you still have a sleek, sexy animal ready for mischief. There is no denying the fact that this Catwoman lives up to her name, and Berry does a ferocious job of embodying her. I also like the new take on the story, which gives us the historical background of this intriguing feline figure.

This version of Catwoman has Halle Berry playing Patience Phillips, an insecure, meek, walking doormat; a graphic artist who is murdered after she inadvertently overhears a conversation about the toxic effects of an anti aging cream released by her employer, a giant in the cosmetics industry.  Resurrected by an Egyptian temple cat named Midnight who had put her to the test to see if she was worthy to be reborn as Catwoman, Patience uses her new catlike talents to seek revenge on the people who had her killed, namely Laurel (Sharon Stone) the icy former model/spokeswoman and her husband, cosmetics mogul George Hedare (Lambert Wilson of the Matrix Trilogy).

Searching for answers, Patience soon finds out about her transformation.  Midnight’s owner, a strange cat lady named Ophelia (Frances Conroy, of TV’s Six Feet Under) gives her the low down on how she comes from a long line of woman through the years specially chosen to lead a remarkable life.   She had died and has now been reborn with a dual identity – part emotional, vulnerable woman and part untamed cat with heightened senses, agility, strength, and speed that bring freedom and power. But, it won’t be so simple balancing between good and bad, and overcoming those dangerous animal instincts. For example when confronting her loud partying neighbors by breaking down their door, or when she intercepts a jewelry store theft, fights off the burglars, but absconds with the goodies, herself.

Benjamin Bratt plays her love interest, Tom (as in cat, of course) an investigating cop who gets up close and personal with both Patience and her Catwoman persona. He’s too bland and lacks any real chemistry with Halle.  And, Sharon Stone, (shot in hazy lighting) is so hammy as the she-villain, that it’s laughable.

But, it is obvious Halle had a good time vamping it up.  I liked the way she maneuvered, catlike, across her apartment’s furniture, licked tuna right out of the can and hissed at dogs. But, her jumping, climbing and leaping across tall buildings are done by computer-generated effects. These look cool, but some other CGI effects are less than spectacular.

First time director Pitof (yup, that’s his name – he’s French) whose background is visual effects, could take a lesson from Spider-Man’s director Sam Raimi if he wants to learn a thing or two about delivering the best of this genre.  Pitof’s action sequences are cut so fast and filmed from bad angles that they are distracting.

So, I admit this film has its problems.  Yet, with all its faults, I can’t say I left the theatre disappointed.  The movie ends leaving an opening for a sequel.  I am purrr-fectly okay with seeing what this kitty is up to next.