Hello and welcome to Monaco on culture. I'm Robert Bounds on the show today. What else could we possibly talk about but cats? You may have read the reviews by right now but Tom. Hoop is adaptation of Andrew. Lloyd Webber's musical which is based on the poems leave. TSA has failed in the praise of the critics. But that doesn't mean it's not I'm going to be a huge hit. The film stars a Motley crew of actors dancers pop styles and other celebs Judi dench Idris. Elba Jason Derulo question mark. Okay James Corden Taylor swift in mckellen. The list goes on in their strange feeling costumes. And we'll have more on those later. They promise and seeing the way around the rather post-apocalyptic post-apocalyptic looking central London as the quotes Jellicoe cats the headed for the Jellicoe Ball. What seems to be like a scene contest where Judi dench one cat to fly to the moon in a hot air balloon confused? Well we've seen it and we're still scratchy aheads and our fleas too. So what attracts such big names for film that turns out to He. This strange with their clothes freshly sharpened today We welcome Simeon hands film critic for The Observer New Review and the writer and film critic Kaspar Salmon to the studio. Welcome both to the program higher Now did this film. Did it take you long to sharpen your claws on this She kept host of cats. Yeah I I was reflecting when I saw the film. What's so startling about it? Is that immediately. It isn't it isn't something that Sort of gradually dawns upon you as you're watching it immediately. You realize what a hellish time you're going to be in for. And it's like a kind end of a slap to the face that opening shot and it happens in the first shot when we dropped from the sky straight down to this infernal Soho. As you say wherever bodies just prancing about in my say everybody I mean cats so much problems then promising and singing the song that doesn't make any sense and that is the bill that is the whole of the film and it's all like so it just hits you right from the off that Oh my God this visit going to be my life for the next two hours Casper. They're setting out his stool symon where we warned by the trailer much watched on Youtube much much warned about by your fellow critics. Could you smell a rat with a trailer. I think the trailer has to be one of my cinematic events of two thousand nine hundred. Eighty nine cont tell you how many times I've watched it and what's funnier about all of this. All of this. You know catastrophe toss Turkey. Is that with this trailer. Tom Hooper and the cats team got so freaked out by the response. And you know people kind of making fun of what they you could see on. Screen is apparently reportedly re cut the film. And so I imagine a lot of people like me. He was familiar with the trailer and then watching the film. We're wondering what did take out because still are totally baffling strange position to be in the film. It's just like a very long version of the trailer but not in that wave in this. There's no light doesn't seem to be a lot more light and shade in the movie than there is in a trailer or more sense native of whatever happens right. It's a strange thing why I mean the first problem with cats and maybe we should begin with the problems because there are many is that the play itself is not logical. The play is absurd. It's plot Lewis. There's no real narrative and it kind of relies on the spectacle and obstruction of the dancing of initiative modernism and it drops you in that world and you know I'm not really into musicals. It's not my B- it'll but on the furry lear I told I think so and and the kind of dread froze well we'll come onto the ferry leotard later. I'm sure that it relies on the sort of sexual energy the the modern dance aspect of it and not on the story of the plot but for a movie. You do need some of that too. Anki you do need to have have a sense of being able to comprehend. What's going on and that Tom? Hooper thought that this would lend itself to cinema is just completely confusing to me. It was never a film never in a million years with this the film and the theater I mean there are so many things that you have to cast out of your your mind not least that you're watching this on stage. Say That probably helps you. Get rid of the notion that you're watching these human being number audrey with the actors right in front of you. Yes yeah exactly. I mean I think I believe in the play. They actually adventure out into the crowd and kind of sniff and scratch. Even think I remember this. I think I remember that. Yeah but here I mean. Nfl We actually get close ups on these cats. And that such as I mean. It's so ugly we've we've talked about the trailer and on the off chance our listeners. A not familiar with the subject matter. That's let's jump into this quickly. Tonight is a magical turn I choose. The cat deserves a new life. Going into the ball could get dangerous. Come on I get to catch by it so mt spotlights and a troubled. Wow there we go. I got a lot of so you can tell because they're telling you always this show tell not show right. That's what they never say. When was the last time Samoan a movie? Had this sort of buzz. Negative or positive said seventy people watch the watch the trailer and you. Tom Hooper and his team might even have re cut the film to answer some of the online criticism and things. When when can you remember a vase form of better words than this? I mean the the cycle of trailers and posters and announcements of cars numbers so kind of constant and relentless that they all seem to sort of Blair into one for me. Unusually avoid trailers. Actually I think it makes your job. There's a critic quite hard going in with the predetermined notion of stuff but what this kind of trailer recurring fiasco reminded me of with. Sonic the hedgehog dog there. There had been an animated version in the walk. Sage released the trailer and fans were so furious with the animation that the film. I believe Aleve hat to sort of like be fixed in post production And so I just judging the trailer train of choice on the hedgehog makes detective pitchy citizen Kane. I mean I would like us to offer some respect detective peak cheese name so so good but But yeah and I wonder if it sets US slightly troubling precedent for filmmakers to treat their films as a product that then has to be tailored to the interests of the market. I think that's That's a bit worrying. Worrying is that it's not a normal thing. I mean you you guys are in in that. In that sort of circle of critics I mean it seems so disheartening but realistic suppose this. This thing might happen. Yeah I think that's happening increasingly increasingly and we've got we've got the new star. WHOA coming up this week as well that that and I think that film was also subject to a great deal of Fam- commentary criticism? pushback back. Whatever you might call it and as I understand it although I haven't seen the film yet it looks like they've kind of road back on all of the innovations that Rian Ryan Johnson rather the brought to the to the trilogy? So yeah we're getting a lot but the thing with cats which is absolutely joyous is that you can't contest warming to is the you can't swear that work Quinton Man. It's just not there. I mean the they've done some stuff so you can tell I mean ah they must have so. They must have spent ages trying to get every little hair on the cat's digitally inscribed. I mean what's the point of that when you can see the makeup applying on their noses. My favorite thing is this clip of Tom. Hey per on the red carpet at the World Premiere New York and reporter says you how are you happy with the finished product and he looks so tired and so he drained and he says well you know I finished at eight. Am this morning. I was up for thirty six hours putting the finishing touches on the phone and he has the air of somebody who's just giving in half finished homework to the teacher finished the bus on the way but it's finished. It's done sir Let's talk about the costumes. We kind of we talked about this vague de right at the top of the show. Casper you talked about how you know. There's been lots of CGI effort to get each hair perfectly. Sort of matted well in the occasion Whitley would have been in the case of Jennifer Hudson as Grizz Abella a can of a Formula One can. It's four hundred hard times and doesn't she let you never see the film but what about the sort of hair and makeup and costumes to CGI. How convincing these because it's a tough? It is one of those things it's a tough. Ask Ask these people playing cats they are still pretty much like the music original musical late. Ninety seven suppose that people in leotards through some some half Kathy you should do the honors of trying to get him to dance. Not Not yet. I think you should try and paint a picture for the listeners. Says of what the cats actually look like a Gauche. Thank you well. We've got some slick cats and we've got some fluffy cats I oh I think it's worth saying that straight up because some of them enjoy your review some some of them have been really smoothed down. They've got quite a sort of bug brush kind of tail and then we've got some some slightly more bushy ones namely Judi dench who who is a walking cushion so she's luxurious really Crimson Bald. Yes she's like a ah a cushion with Linda Barca seal of approval. Okay which has all of the cats digitally flee enhance rub. Rub is dying right now because Judy dench Karma has Judi dench has also so confusingly. She wears a fur coat. Several of the cats have they also coats eyebrows browser. Miss McCafferty Elber. He's he's quite ferry and he's focused on his Because he's a badge so he's got this big caller up I. It's like a pimp. Yeah Yeah exactly well and intersil brings lots and lots more questions really am bubbling to the surface because lots and lots of cats are kind of smoothed it down by address. Elba has been also DOPP if anything and when he reveals his full cat off. CAT IS PAT body In his big song and dance number. It really is alarming. I think the the level of sexuality and and Patmos display. But it's it's very. It's very strange because he is a cat slim summer and everybody in the film is everyone's a cat but he sits and walks like a human also. Jason Let's not forget Jason Derulo as Catton there as well so I mean we've got some we've got some sexy cuts my questions. I mean there are so many why go to the buffer and the trouble of giving them these creepy wakeling tails and cat is an whiskers yet maintain their hands and feet as human. Yeah Yeah it's a funny one Jennifer Hudson Human Hands Taylor swift cameo daunting she's I didn't really get that night. Not pose shoes as yet have shoes have some continuity or is it I mean we kind of There were there were reams and reams of Youtube clips of amusing To Watch on Edwardian princess things in films but these aren't continuity errors. They were done for reason. Or do you think they would just part of the actors and actresses Reuters that. I'm not doing the number without wearing shoes. I'll tell you the surfers i. I'm not the unplanned Glastonbury next year. I'm not I'm not. I'm not doing this with pause. What do you think? What would you think was in these Act Contract in terms of this Taylor swift was clearly like I'll do this but I'm only going to do like X.. Amount of days of work economy. He seems very short. She has one number and then she's out of there and got the star rated exactly. Can we just do a quick with the costliest list. And I'd like you to just sit because I'd like to talk about who does come out of this alive. Okay with at least eight lives intact making in. Hardly anyone comes this is like the some So Francesca Haywood is a she's she's new. She's baletic president. She plays Victoria. You would we think of her. I feel bad for. Francesca Haywood She's clearly an incredibly talented ballerina. She is part of the Royal Ballet And this is her kind of meant to be a big break and yet we don't really see how given any opportunity to do anything other than kind of make a slightly sadden bewildered expression on her face. Also there is the sort of slightly troubling aspect of her being completely whitewashed. She's mixed race. She's off ten year she's quite fair skinned and I understand that you don't have to be have you blackness. Emphasize is catching the film. But she is the whitest cat in the film And how even down to her hands and it's it's sort of troubling she. Well they're not pose. The human fully human human hands and it's troubling to me this sort of racial coding. And the film of You know Jason Derulo being rump. Tom Tiger who is sort of sexy cats. The Sassy R. and B. Cat McCafferty Idris Elba being the sort of again like various actualized villainous villainous black male And Yeah Front. Francesca Hayward is is made into this sort of innocent snow white kitchen. And I'm not sure. How about that and Jennifer Hudson? Don't forget the Yes the Sex Workers Bella. Did you see Harris of as a metaphor for a Saka. She's a she's a lady of the night he's seen in better days. I washed up singer. She reminded me of Red Marianne faithful's with her kind of going from hanging out with the stains and then she became unleash lived on the streets. But kinda comes back and has this wonderful career afterwards. She kind of seemed quite Marianne Faithfull. Ish That's interesting. I wonder if it is actually implied. The Idris Elba's of pimp in the foam cavity is a pimp. It's unclear it's it's just like everything like any kinds of social political. Who Cultural comment at the firm could be making? It's just vague enough that it could be anything right. Yeah and then and then throughout does this really sort of disturbing dabbing sexual energy which we do have to mention because you told me about getting his case off and received kind of his find line cat Baldi. This lot of strange sexual engineer. Is it catastrophic. Sure sexual energy is kind of cats sparring and checking in you called night or is it something strange. Chivalry bodies erect titles and hackles if cats have hackles like dogs as bit of that. I think the the sort of story itself has an inherent undercurrent of sexual energy of cats rubbing up against each other of details is kind of becoming erect all of this sort of loaded imagery and yet the cats have no genitals which. I'm not advocating for cat hat genitals onscreen to be clear so many so many good pull. This was a story that would be good. Pool quotes coming up when they simmer we. We need to hear what what actually are you at the catering in that case so if these cats seem to be for injury new to the looked like cats to me in real life just like you call to see there. You can't see what's going on. See what gender they are. It's tree you constantly. But then why did they have boobs. In the female cats have human boobs they should have age nipples down the also but they have to breasts with no Nicholas use. I agree it's wrong but what I'm saying. What my point is about the the sexual energy of it is that there could have been something quite fun to play with? You could have made it really kind of funny and we ID and dirty. If if a filmmaker had the courage to kind of amplify or that extra energy and kind of channel then perhaps it could have been an interesting film but the problem is that Tom. Hooper is so aggressively Wli middle-brow his modus operandi. Is this kind of tasteful. Yeah middle of the road sensible filmmaking. which you know you see with the the king's speech you sit with his version of Les Miserables? Your say See it with the Danish garlic. Got It well. This attempt to kind of tasteful prestige and that does not map onto hats now because cats is mad camp nightmare. Should you've been braced. Bit more of that. He should have what what I think and I completely agree with what someone's saying what I think the film shows is that he should have gone one way a or the other and this film is exactly in the middle. What they should have been was would be either a stark form approach where you kind of perhaps take the CGI out and looking at humans and you strip it and you actually make it and you make it a piece of music? Kina Bausch and it's all about the dance. Alexey breakdown that okay. All you kind of embrace that camp nurse that vulgarity. You put on a show like you really really do something Gaudy but also you know Alabama's Lerman or something like that that really rejoices in this stuff and what we're left with here. Is this bedraggled think that makes no sense and never tries to explain itself and it needs to bad yes And then in terms of the expanding itself I presume this sticks very are we closely to the stage musical so any exposition of plus an investigation. Was that happened is done in song says hardly any talking in the film. It's it's all done in verse and with the musical backdrop. That's timing. I found quite tiring to I. I should say this on the program. I have a tiny nap about halfway through your off because as holly said Holly says it was basically like the x factor. All the cats came on and had to introduce themselves and do this song which is about that personality in in that life in that back story and then Judi dench judges them and then there's a winner and that was it was kind of like when every single cat from James Corden sort of fat cat to you. Every single one of them had come out and done their policy pace you. It became kind of wearing you. Fill that we could have had a bit more exposition of a Jellicoe cat is it sounds like a rude word. It's utterly tedious. I mean there's a moment in the middle of the film and I only kind of realize. In retrospect I was looking at my notes. I had written Well watching the movie I was like. Why is there a random dance number in the middle of the film? That has no purpose and I guess it's just. I figured it was just a utilize all of the unsolvable and showed that you know they're doing dancers and this is a stage. Musical winner was a call back to that later I realized that was the local ball. Oh that was. That was the key event that had it'd be leading up to and it was so confusing. Yeah I've seen law films uh-huh you think that I would be able to process this information but it's so kind of obscured just icon awful awful. I I should add that somebody told me this morning and I'm really sorry to have to say this. That jellicoe is only an approximation of the phrase little In a kind of baby voice. Jeddah Cou Cou Cam which makes my insides flare up mine. My my certainly has rising back at but not in a good way. Thanks for showing LEXA Casper and you wanted to talk about Rebel Wilson strange role. And and she seems to inhabit. We've talked about Judy. dench in have focused a furry Judi dench nfo code you have problems with every Wilson's outfit well for no reason could descend rebel. Wilson is the only character in the film Who has a costumed that can somehow UNZIP but which which is also her her own skin? Sushi's divesting herself. I think twice in the film of her own outer casing her her own ferry outer casing For reasons of comic relief or towards the end of the film in order to escape Being tied up. Yes it's a really confusing moment completely pulls the rug out from under the whole film because who are these cats and what what does it. Who are these creatures creatures? Yeah everything's made up. Can they older. And if they could they could all escape and and how. How far can you ZIP right down to the kind of the Bundy is it? Come down where I mean. Her seems to be well straight enough because she's a human actor. Yes kind of finishes about Inter unzipped with Alexa. Then you'd presumably zip it up bounce back. I think I think the ZIP ends around the area of the Venus they say has been your review you said they have the cats have no bums all you actually glad that we don't sort of subject subject to the fifty piece cats bomb. I mean I should clarify that. They have they have bottoms and many of the cost of dances so in fact that element of their anatomy is really nicely fleshed out but they don't they don't have an Asus recently and that's the bit that's lacking and I I would have liked to see some ENA says on display okay. So that was cats as described as discussed by his hands and Casper Salmon. Cimarron I I know you wanted to talk about Taylor Swift's role as bomb ballerina. She think there's some improves the lot. The world's One of the world's biggest pop stars. I thought. Aw that Taylor would be an interesting person to go into a little bit more detail about. Because she's really the only person who comes out of this mess unscathed and I don't now whether that has anything to do with celebrity with her contract in the film and the sort of stipulations of the role with the role of being a sexy cat a coupon florina It's it's hard to kind of know which enables her to kind of come away unscathed but she the as having a a kind of interesting moment. I think her last album was a lover which came out. This year was considered to be broadly Rutley a critical success. Or they're kind of muted compared to some of her previous records. But I think people's Laura is a return to form which really should have paved the way for her to have this explosive Christmas moment. She's just turned thirty the other week. She has just been announced as the Sunday headliner for Glastonbury next year. which is the the class embrace fiftieth anniversary? Big Big good things exactly and so. Ideally this is her first major film role in a musical is Aku. She's written us on with Andrew. Lloyd Webber for the firm could beat ghosts which is terrible and she she should be kind of shining in this moment and I think some of that glow who allows her to kind of get through the film while the other actors will clearly be remembered for this and it will the film will be kind of look back on. I think as a career low for of people whereas Taylor. She has fun with the role she does. This sort of school go britishness she has a school Ugo Britishness to her. She stomps around she. does a little British accent is quite funny And she's having a good time time. You know some of the other actors in the foam look like they're having a terrible time as I said before. Jennifer Hudson is crying and every single one of her scenes and then my heart goes out to Jennifer Hudson by wanting to watch and by the end of it it was sort of getting. It was harrowing. It was she seemed to have such a harrowing back story. Worry that came alive on the screen. That didn't seem to match the film. It seemed like she came from another source of film somehow walked off another staged three and she was right. Well it's my Roy. Oh God and she'd come from a properly grownups aside film rather than the children's bitter sadness exactly and you. Have you have to remember that. This film is being certificates. Ticketed as a you so you know. I think they imagined that children will go and see it but with with Taylor swift in particular. I just feel like she really. I kind of leaned into the the camp shininess of the whereas the others were clearly instructed to play it very very straight with no kind of glimmer in there. I kind of swinging arched eyebrow exactly where she kind of she has this knowingness about her performance. And and I think that saves her from the film and she also I suppose has the advantage in cats of turning up halfway through and leaving almost directly afterwards which is what you think quite the other stars motor fortitude done having seen the final card. Yeah she's not really in the ensemble she just comes on. She sings a a sort of sexy slinky song. About Idris Elba's McCafferty she dusts everyone with a kind of catnip which makes everyone some spark in drugged up and then she goes on her. Merry Way. It's it's definitely a metaphor for the closing so classroom in many ways. I hope she sings McCafferty at Glastonbury. I feel like it will be a wasted opportunity unity. If she doesn't do you think the Glastonbury crowd will enjoy ironic moment. I think that they would enjoy. I think they'd enjoy it more than they enjoy beautiful ghosts. which is the single similar? Thank you very much Casper you wanted to talk. You've taken a slightly different direction. You want to Edward the conqueror by road dole yet. Well I thought about this short story Edward Conquer by rote dull because I suppose I must have read it around the time that my my sister was very very briefly obsessed with the soundtrack of cats which had been to see in London and I was reading this as a teenager and I think it's quite fun fund Reading Road Del when you're a teenager if you're reading his grown-up stories which quite kinky and where'd and perverted and to feel that you've moved on from the kind kind of child perversion of his kids. Books to actually a kind of much more Out in the open witness and cruelty is really fun and it made me think of this short story which finds a woman becoming obsessed with the idea that a cat is the reincarnation of the composer list. It's quite again like with cats and I'm going to try to control the line hair. Oh go on well it. It relies quite large suspension initiative disbelief. Yeah but what's quite interesting about this short story. Is that unlike cats the film. It's good on cats okay because cats antenna thing. They're not the reincarnation of list and they're not as the film cats depicts fund luffing cats. They do the thing they want to lie down. They want to scratch at some things but every now and then they play a little bit but they're not there there isn't anything more to them. They're certainly not the second greatest composer in the history music. Yeah exactly what. The composer in history list got. He was so fine bit. What's really fun about the short story? About Edward Conqueror is that this woman is putting all of this stuff onto this completely blameless cat and it ends up in this absolute horror show at her husband becomes jealous obviously of discount that she is now praising greatly and takes matters into his own hands and this is the cat in question in the role dull story. Is it a cat sized cat all or full sized cat does it move in and out of this so so move in and out of scale let the cats and cats do. I think it's a standard sized cat. Although it does have them does have big eyebrows. I believe from from my recollection. It's got quite the eyebrows. What though It's polls like for doing. I mean I'm thinking of composition. I'm thinking of scales also thinking of spanning these four operatives what said with the con- crews pools like it's just Again I think just a a normal porn cat and when when she plays list on the piano she finds the cat's attention awakening which is partly. What leads you to believe? He's the reincarnation of list is comp- completely man story but I d love it for being so sort of you know just just clearly about a cat so stupid stupid and it's just a cat stuff. Yeah exactly it. Refuses any linked to To Francis Casper. Thank you very much for that. Thanks for thanks for throwing your paper boat into the choppy waters. norcal coach show for the first time. What a strange half hour we've had Thank you both very much. Indeed that brings us to the end of this week's show cats. If you dad thousand cinemas now thank very much my guest today. Symon Hands Casper Salmon and of course my producer Holly Fischer. We'll be back at the same time next week for a twenty nine thousand nine roundup in film music and novels does for me Robert Down. Thank you very much thank you.