Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Murder of a Cat: a Good Use of a Crossbow
do not have a lot of charm, but they have the virtue of being disposable pets.
If you are moving, just dump your old one out on a street corner and pick up a
new one when you get to town. I kid, of course. Nevertheless, most people find
it slightly excessive when Clinton Moisey turns his cat’s premature demise into
a blood vendetta. Fear not, the cozy quirkiness never turns hard-boiled in
Gillian Greene’s Murder of a Cat (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in New York.
only job is the semi-regular yard sale he mismanages. Fortunately, his
indulgent mother lets him leech at home, watching Who’s the Boss re-runs in his bathrobe. Perhaps even his beloved
feline Mouser gets tired of him. It turns out, Mouser was two-timing Moisey
with a different owner, the tattooed Greta, a would-be stylist who lives
cheaply in the local retirement home. Moisey and Greta never knew of each other
until Mouser has a fatal run-in crossbow bolt.
turns out that bolt came from the “Sure Shot,” a fancy new crossbow only sold
at Ford’s, the local big box store. Both grieving cat lovers have some history
with the mass merchandiser. Moisey blames it for the failure of his short-lived
comic bookstore, whereas Greta was once an assistant manager, before precipitously
quitting. Moisey will try to get to the bottom of the murky dealings at Ford’s,
while Greta fruitlessly counsels discretion.
two best things about Cat are the
retro one-sheet clearly inspired by Saul Bass’s iconic Anatomy of a Murder poster and Deborah Lurie’s lively Elmer Bernstein-esque
score, featuring some effervescent trumpet solos by Matt Von Roderick. It’s not
Ellington, but we take what we can get. If you consider these things rather
tangential, so be it.
Moisey, Fran Kranz probably couldn’t possibly be any more annoying and nasally.
At least Twilight franchise survivor
Nikki Reed brings some energy to the film, but there are no sparks with Kranz.
Oscar contending J.K. Simmons is a good sport as Sheriff Hoyle, but viewers
will dearly wish to see him unleash his inner Terence Fletcher on Moisey. Blythe
Danner also escapes with her dignity playing Mother Moisey, but only Leonardo
Nam really distinguishes himself as Yi Kim, the flamboyantly villainous Ford’s
might have sounded funny on paper, but the
execution is too cutesy and comfy. Granted, the film essentially suggests
Moisey should grow up and get a job, but the man-child stock character is just
getting tired in general. Way too safe, Murder
of a Cat is maybe something Hallmark Channel viewers might enjoy when it opens
tomorrow (12/5) in New York, at the Village East.
Labels: Dead Cats, J.K. Simmons