Cat’s Eye

The pre-CGI era really makes you think.

Take Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye for example. There is very little post-production. If you see it, it was done in front of a camera, which means that the feline protagonist that guides us through a series of three stories is actually imperiled throughout this movie. First he's chased by Cujo, then he’s nabbed and put in a room with an electrified floor.

Cut to Mr. Dick Morrison (James Woods) arriving at the waiting room of “Quitter’s Inc.”, where our hero, let’s call him General, is being held.

Dr. Vinny Donatti  (Alan King) demonstrates the nasty room on our four-legged friend for Mr. Morrison. I’m not exactly a member of PETA, but really? Donatti claims that in order to get Morrison to quit smoking, they’ll put his wife in the electrocution chamber, and each time he smokes something else bad will happen to his family.

So. . . how does this work if you’re single?

But this isn’t about the people! It’s about General! Some bad things happen to the Morrisons, but the cat escapes the lab and finds his way to Atlantic City and crosses paths with Cressner, a gangster who bets on anything. He’s played by Kenneth McMillan, yes, Baron Vladimir Harkonen himself.

Cressner makes a wager that ex-tennis pro (the weirdly ageless Robert Hays) can’t walk around the ledge of his high-rise penthouse. The hero cat finds the whole affair distasteful, but just watches with an expression that’s between bemused and concerned on his feline face.
The Tennis Pro gets the upper hand and makes Cressner walk around the building. He plunges to his doom, so our hero cat begins hitchhiking again to Wilmington, North Carolina, where Drew Barrymore has been psychically beckoning him the whole movie.

Barrymore names him General officially, and her mom hates him immediately-but that's because she doesn’t understand that the brave General is here to save her daughter from a breath-stealing goblin. This part of the movie drags on, because we’re ready for the big showdown. But first, said goblin kills the family parakeet (presumably through some sort of sexual assault judging from the awful laughter) and very nearly gets Barrymore.

General is, of course, not havin’ it, and frightens the beast off.

Barrymore’s mom, of course, blames the cat based on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence and ships General off to another lab where he’s marked for termination. He triumphantly escapes to the pulsing electronic score provided by Alan Silvestri, and even as he hauls ass through traffic and a thunder storm, the goblin is fast approaching. Hurling himself down the chimney, General arrives in the nick of time, ready for an epic battle of good and evil!

Cat Vs. Goblin

General wins and the Barrymore family learns a valuable lesson: when a random animal wanders into your house, assume it’s there to protect your child from supernatural monsters.

This movie’s pretty great, overall. It’s got just the right amount of 80’s cheese, and since our main character doesn’t speak a whole lot of English, half of the humor is in the cat thinking what fools these humans be.

Legion

Every few years, Hollywood resurrects a theme or story, slaps on a fresh coat of paint, and calls it a new movie. In the 90's it was sequels, in the early 2000's-remakes. I suppose we should all be happy that Legion is neither, even if it does borrow some elements from The Prophecy.

The Prophecy was an awesome morsel of a movie, and this movie is familiar with that dish, but has a  recipe all its own: 100% more guns, a tablespoon of Charles S. Dutton, half a cup of Paul Bettany, and a quarter-pound diced religion. Cook at 350 degrees for 100 minutes.

It's two days before Christmas when Michael (Bettany), God's Five Star General, falls to earth and cuts off his wings. A few moments after that, he breaks into an Asian toy importer, which just happens to be a front for a large cache of weapons.

Are you picking up what I'm putting down? The Patron Saint of Kicking Ass, The goddamned (ok, maybe not damnedDragonslayer, just came down to earth and picked up two of every assault rifle and sub-machine gun he could find, like Noah crossed with Rambo.

Meanwhile, at a diner in the middle of nowhere, where shit is known to go down in these sorts of movies, a young woman named Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) is pregnant and Jeep, (Lucas Black, the creepy kid from American Gothic) has appointed himself her sworn, but mostly inept, guardian.

Also at the diner is a dysfunctional family of three one of whom is the cougar-tacular Kate Walsh.Dennis Quaid phones it in as the diner owner and Jeep's father, and of course Mr. Dutton giving it his all, like always he does.  In fact, Quaid is the only who appears to not care in this movie. Everyone else is putting their best into their performance, and Bettany is pretty stunning as Michael.

I'm not spoiling anything when I tell you that The Apocalypse comes, because that's really the first ten minutes or so.  The Department of Homeland Security even calls it the Apocalypse while encouraging people to pray and to kill the angels. What's the security color code for that? ("Be Advised: Today's National Threat level is code ONYX for Impending Doom").

Overall, the movie plays it very straight, and its apocalypse feels so earnest that the six characters trying to sort out their personal issues while the world is ending feels a little silly. The Dysfunctional Mom actually tries to blame the whole Apocalypse on her daughter. I guess it makes sense that while you're waiting for an army of Angel-powered zombies to kill you, you'll discuss whatever to keep your mind off it, but did no one in this movie read a goddamned John Grisham novel? Small talk, people!

You shouldn't watch this movie along with The Prophecy, but the second one had Glen Danzig. Sounds like a Calvacade to me!

EXTRA BONUS: Like most religion based movies, this movie tries to have message beyond "Good should triumph over evil." It also has to tell you how. In this case, there's an implied anti-aborition message that can be summed up as, "Don't get an abortion, it might be The Messiah."