Movie tip: "Cats"

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Movie tip

Cats

When a movie is so completely trashed by critics, well, I feel compelled to see it and figure out what I think. Turns out the critics were right about "Cats." Maybe the stage musical about singing cats never would have made for a great film, but this version doesn't help things by being overly busy. The production is way overdesigned, yet drab (director Tom Hooper still seems caught up in the look of his screen adaptation of "Les Miserables"). The movie doesn't trust in the songs of "Cats," which are really the show's big selling point, thanks to the catchy compositions Andrew Lloyd Webber set to T.S. Eliot's poetry. Instead, the film busies up everything with hectic camera work and uninspiring dance sequences and singing mice and dancing cockroaches (which are as disturbing as they sound) and other weirdness, including the much-discussed CGI fur. "Cats" should feel whimsical, not creepy. On the plus side, the tweaking of the story to create an actual plot works well, as does the addition of a new cat, thanks to the performance by winsome Francesca Hayward, a ballerina whose dancing is phenomenal.

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