Saturday, April 27, 2002

The Cat's Meow (IMDB) (Netflix)
A speculation about a notorious weekend on William Randolph Hearst's yacht, where one of the guests died a few days after the festivities, by director Peter Bogdanovich (the wunderkind director of Last Picture Show and Paper Moon in the seventies, who quickly self-destructed and is finally making a comeback; known more recently as Dr. Melfi's occasional shrink on The Sopranos). It has many of the same elements as Gosford Park, only simplified and more didactic, with a surprisingly serious Joanna Lumley (yes, from Absolutely Fabulous) providing some book-ending (and to subscriber Janet Borggren's eyes, unnecessary) narration.

Figuring out who's going to get it isn't all that difficult, and you can see how it's going to happen a couple hundred yards away, but that's not the point, and there are some notable performances by Edward Herrmann (Hearst), Kirsten Dunst (his mistress Marion Davies), and everyone's favorite cross-dressing comedian Eddie Izzard, as Charlie Chaplin. Watchable, but certainly not mandatory viewing that's best appreciated by film buffs.