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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Pitof
Cast:
Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Benjamin Bratt, Lambert Wilson, Frances Conroy, Alex Borstein, Michael Massee, Byron Mann, Kim Smith
Writing Credits:
Bob Kane (characters), Theresa Rebeck, John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris, John Rogers

Synopsis:
Catwoman is the story of meek, mild-mannered artist Patience Philips, who works for Hedare Beauty, a mammoth cosmetics company on the verge of releasing a revolutionary anti-aging product. When Patience inadvertently happens upon a dark secret her employer is hiding, she is attacked and killed. But Patience is given a second chance - a second life in which someone not quite human resides. Someone with the strength, speed, agility and ultra-keen senses of a cat. With her newfound power, Patience becomes Catwoman, and sets out to stop Hedare's callous plan to unleash an appallingly dangerous product into the world.

Box Office:
Budget
$85 million.
Opening Weekend
$16.728 million on 3117 screens.
Domestic Gross
$40.198 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $27.95
Release Date: 1/18/2005

Bonus:
• “History of Catwoman” Documentary
• Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailer


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RELATED REVIEWS


Catwoman (2004)

Reviewed by Brian Ludovico (February 25, 2005)

There are many, many types of “bad movies” out in the marketplace. You’ve got your movies that are so unbelievably bad they become funny and - in some small way – entertaining. For example, Roadhouse and Over the Top fall into that category. You’ve movies that take a decent idea and just muck it up so horrendously that they make you angry in their execution. Movies in this class are Mission Impossible II or any of the Batman sequels. It’s not easy to surpass this level of movie and descend further into cinematic hell.

Once you do, though, you’re talking about the ninth circle, the lowest of the low: movies that had high concepts, a big budget, and just explode pretty much from frame one. For a long time, only one movie I’d ever seen pulled this Hindenberg-esque type of crash was the deplorable Showgirls. I’m sad to announce that the class has grown with the addition of Catwoman.

It’s even directed by Pitof, some tool who goes by a single name, in the mighty tradition of McG and Tarsem. Oh, the humanity. No, this movie doesn’t contain blatant misogyny or a gang rape as Showgirls did, but it does pretend to hide some stupid ‘grrrrl-power’ message within the folds of its inane plot. Speaking of the plot, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it; I figure if the team of four writers who now carry this “mark of Cain” on their resume didn’t, why should I? To me, the real interest is exactly how this movie earned its rightful Razzies.

Okay, so there’s this frumpy, shy, skittish artist Patience Phillips (Halle Berry) who cowers in her cubicle working in the art department for Hedare Cosmetics Inc. Hedare has been working on a revolutionary new skin cream that completely stops the skin from aging. The president, George Hedare (Lambert Wilson), and his wife, co-chairperson and former spokes model Laurel (Sharon Stone), will make millions from the product, but there’s a horrible secret: it’s addictive AND it melts your face off. When Patience accidentally finds the secret, they flush her down the toilet and she’s killed. Oh, if the movie had only ended here…

While she’s lying dead on a pile of crap, a mystical immortal Egyptian cat shows up with a gang of buddies and coughs the hairball of life onto her. This gives her special catlike powers like super agility and reflexes, strength and senses. It also endows her with feline personality traits - or at least traits that are feline according to director Pilaf (or whatever his name is) and crew. She’s more confident, she wants to steal shiny jewelry (?), she is more outspoken, she sleeps on shelves, she’s hornier, and - in a scene certain to go down in infamy - she rolls a ball of catnip on her face. I think she was also supposed to get a cat-like gait to her walk, but Berry sways her hips so violently that she appears to have some sort of degenerative bone disorder. Sadly, if Patience can lick herself, we’re not shown, and I don’t think even that would have saved this movie.

Anyway, she finds out what happened from a strange cat lady (Francis Conroy made up like a two-bit strumpet), fashions herself a very revealing outfit to go do battle in (complete with open toe shoes, perfect for ass kicking!), and swears revenge on the people who killed her the first time. Of course there’s a final showdown with what might be the stupidest villain in superhero history - yes, even stupider than Bookworm: Rockface.

Oh, and there’s a love angle in here too, she falls for a detective whose name is…get ready…Tom LONE (Benjamin Bratt). Sheesh. He’s apparently the only cop in whatever city this is supposed to be, since he’s on every single crime call in the movie, and he’s too dense to figure out who Catwoman is no matter how obvious she makes it. Will Catwoman clear her name? Will she get revenge? Will Elektra be worse than this? Time will tell!

But wait, there’s far more reasons to hate Catwoman than the boring story. How about the performances? Sure, Berry is ridiculous trying to move her body around like a cat, all darting and wide-eyed, and Benjamin Bratt has no charisma at all, but don’t forget, Sharon Stone is in this movie. What’s more, she gets to play the villain, whom I’ve dubbed Rockface. Her power? She can take a beating. See, her face has become “living marble” from using too much of the nefarious anti-aging cream.

This is the best that four writers and their fearless leader, Pontiff, could come up with as a foil to our hero? Stone, who appears to have had the makeup people apply foundation with a trowel, is her usual over-the-top woman, but it’s hard to blame her here. Pontoon is no Scorsese, after all, and a woman with her experience - I think sixty years in the business now - has to know a bad movie when she’s in one. It’s pretty sad when a costume is the film’s best performance.

The love angle is pretty much nails on a chalkboard, too. It starts with one of the worst flirtations in the history of love, a ridiculous one on one basketball game between the two, an impromptu affair that takes place in front of school children. Because she’s gained her cat skills by this time, Patience bats the ball back and forth between her hands before performing some of the most retarded moves I’ve ever seen. Between grinding her ass into Lone’s crotch and riding his leg, she does backflips and super dunks. The best part, besides the dry humping, is that no one seems appropriately surprised! In real life, if my soon-to-be girlfriend took three steps up a sheer wall, backflipped off of it then dunked on my face, I think soiling my pants would be an almost appropriate reaction.

In reality, while those problems are certainly large, they do nowhere near the damage that the calamitous direction of Pingpong. This movie is so poorly directed that I think toward the end, he might have actually been trying to out-Schumacher Schumacher. Directors are sort of like head coaches in football, in that they’re accountable for every play on either side of the ball. By that logic, this guy approved such scenes as Patience shorting out a speaker by shooting seltzer from a bar hose at least thirty feet. What’s the PSI on that, a thousand? That’s only one thing the director okayed that makes zero sense. My other favorite, though far from the last example, is the waste water flush that empties a hundred feet in the air and has no guard grate on it. Playdoh also must have received a bulk deal on CGI, because everything is CG. Cats, buildings, approaches, even Catwoman in her action scenes. It’s distracting, not to mention lazy.

I could go on forever on the many facets of suckitude that Catwoman contains, but the most succinct way I can put it is that this movie is the absolute polar opposite of Spider-Man 2 in every way imaginable. Its hero is impossible to identify with because of her overdone nature, its villain is worse than the Governator’s Mister Freeze, the dialogue is crap, the love angle is hilariously unbelievable, the story doesn’t hold any real threat, and the CGI is distractingly bad. Is it destined for camp classic fame, to be shown to line-quoting leather fetishists at midnight theaters? Too early to say, but being that this movie actually makes Daredevil look redeemable, Catwoman is certainly as good a candidate as any in recent years. Personally, at the risk of putting too fine a point on it, I’d rather be shocked in my genitals than ever set eyes on this pathetic piece of crap again.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C

Catwoman appears in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD and has been anamorphically enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Sadly, this is the silk hat on the pig that is this movie, because the DVD looks outstanding.

Director Pitof has roots in the visual effects field, and they certainly show here, as he paints the largely nocturnal world of Catwoman with great contrast colors and ridiculous but visually challenging environments. The black levels in the film are phenomenal, as displayed in the gooftastic night club sequence. It’s also in this sequence that we see great examples of the film’s color resolution, as it’s packed with ultra-high contrast and flashing lights. Fine details are exemplary, creating a detailed and almost three-dimensional image. The colors are intentionally over-vivid in many scenes, such as the suspense-free chase through the most oddly designed warehouse of all time. The film shows only minor instances of image artifacting or mosquito noise throughout, but nothing that distracts from the craptacularity of the movie.

Catwoman defaults to the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track, and it’s a pretty active one. The movie has a lot of material to mine in the way of audio dynamics, like the all-encompassing roar of the flood of crap that kills Patience early in the film, lighting up all six channels at once. In localization effects, we hear a lot of cats meowing in various channels while the movie stops at the litter box that is Ophelia’s house.

The front channel contains most of the words to the film (they don’t qualify as dialogue), all reproduced quite well. You’ll have no problem hearing the horrible banter between Detective Tom Lone and Catwoman, or the crystal clear swishiness of the frighteningly stereotypical gay co-worker. The film’s techno-rock-junk music punishes the lateral channels with its presence, a piece assembled by Klaus Bedelt. For such a piece of garbage, Catwoman certainly enjoys high quality technical ratings.

The bonus material on this disc starts off with a thirty minute History of Catwoman documentary, hosted by Eartha Kitt, who takes any opportunity she can to show that she can still make cat noises. The featurette contains the usual complement of comic book cognoscenti, from publishers to historians to collectors, all discussing one of DC Comics’ most intriguing characters and her origins. A lot of discussion focuses on the inherent sexuality in the character, the source of her villainy and the various iterations of Catwoman. We get to hear from all the women who played Catwoman, from Julie Newmar (who was ridiculously hot in the role) to Adrienne Barbeau, who played the voice of the character for the animated series.

Truth be told, this is actually a very interesting portrait of a truly engaging character, with a lot of material there to fashion a good movie out of. Unfortunately, none of this stuff has anything to do with this version of Catwoman. It’s like they did all this research on the character, then decided to add an overwhelming element of suckiness. The real shame is that this movie was so bad, it’s unlikely anyone will ever get the chance to do this character some serious silver screen justice.

Up next is a twelve minute behind the scenes documentary that’s basically as bland as it can be. First of all, 90% of the material is actually culled from the History of Catwoman featurette. The other ten percent is the usual run of the mill press junket crap, which, in movies like this, only serves to highlight how ridiculously seriously these people take themselves. For example, besides someone insisting Halle Berry is “the only woman who could play Catwoman,” Sharon Stone actually bandies about the idea that Catwoman is a good look at what it’s like to empower women, and a bunch of other garbage. The lone highlight is the appearance of the immortal Pitof. He actually cries for a few minutes, then profusely apologizes for how shitty this movie is, then gets mauled by lions. Okay, that last part was my fantasy.

The disc boasts additional scenes, as if there actually needed to be more of this movie. They’re on one reel, running about six minutes altogether. The last of these five scenes appears to be an alternate ending that proves that even when something sucks as horribly as Catwoman, it can always suck worse. Finally, the film’s one minute theatrical trailer appears, its length indicative of how much good material the studio thought they had.

I don’t care how good the video is, how interesting the audio is, or if the bonus material could have been improved in some way; a commentary would be fantastic. I don’t care how hot Halle Berry looks in her leather outfit cracking a whip, or how hilarious she looks sniffing catnip. I don’t care how big a Batman fan you are. There is absolutely zero justification for ever spending valuable seconds of your life, forget the money, watching Catwoman.

It might be - nay, it is - the all time worst big-budget superhero movie of all time. In the name of all that is holy, please, please, please avoid subjecting your eyes to this movie. It was so bad that I actually felt the urge to break my DVD player in order to spare it from completing this movie. I’m now going to throw the disc and case into a pit of fire and rid the world of just one of these things; I urge you to do the same.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.1311 Stars Number of Votes: 61
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