Cats | ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

My friend Missy saw Cats. She gave me permission to post her review here:

1) It seems there are several critical “articles” circulating on FB about problems with CGI, which are absolutely false! The digital animation was incredible!

2) If you don’t like the musical, specifically the music, you won’t like this. While abridged and having some additional dialogue, it is the musical.

There are some character changes that make act 1 far more coherent and add more theatrical tension as well as better character development in my opinion. The decisions weren’t all my favorite, but they work!

I did not like Rebel Wilson in this interpretation of Jennyanydots, particularly her added dialogue, but she’s physical and hilarious. James Corden is tolerable as Bustopher Jones, but easily my least favorite scene. Both of these guys take the humor a bit to far for the tone of the show but their scenes are fun.

Taylor Swift is purrfect as Bombalurina. Even better is the original song she wrote with ALW for Victoria (whose elevated character in the story is very good!)

Macavity is quite a bit more evil in this interpretation, and rather dark-magicky.

Jennifer Hudson is an incredible Grizabella, even as an alto. She is heart-wrenching!

Mr. Mistoffelees is my favorite interpretive character change. I love his development.

Judi Dench and Ian McKellen were cast just right.

The dancing was terrific, especially Victoria’s ballet and an exciting tap rendition of Skimbleshank’s Railway cat scene. Both of these characters are played by incredibly talented dancers.

The singing is great. I have an affinity for the soundtrack because my kids loved it so much when they were little. I really enjoyed the music.

The set is so much fun and more interesting than the staged version.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. If you like Cats the Musical, I suspect you will like this very much.

On a scale of ten I give it ★★★★★★★☆☆☆. Would be 8 stars without Corden and Wilson.

The Two Popes | ★★★★★★★★☆☆

This Netflix papal biopic is worth the two hour viewing time. The casting was perfect. Anthony Hopkins playing Benedict and Jonathan Pryce playing Francis. I loved the vulnerability offered and the peek into papal personalities and operations.

I have to admit that I was concerned that this might be a hit job on one of the popes as they are somewhat polar opposites and have loyal followings. Even so, I felt that a message of brotherly love trumped papal politics and personalities.

I really liked the movie and, on a scale of ten, give it ★★★★★★★★☆☆.