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Have Cheetah,Will View #135 – “Ghost Cat” (2004)

It’s 5:20 pm

Still bitterly cold outside,so much so that the cheetah wanted me to call him the King of the North. I settled for calling him  Count Catnip which suited him fine. When I showed him “Ghost Cat”,just shook his head and said “About time we saw a movie with cat in it”.
You can’t argue with logic like that and with a bag of Jiffy Pop popcorn,we settled in…..

Most people remember seeing Ellen Page when she starred in the third X-Men movie where she played Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat. While she was a highlight in a somewhat poorly viewed film,it wasn’t until she starred in the critically acclaimed “Juno” in which Page was nominated for an Oscar while Diablo Cody for best Original Screenplay.
But a few of us got our first look at Ellen Page in the cult film “Hard Candy” where she played Hayley,who was out to avenge the death of a local girl. It was a mind blowing movie and definitely marked Page as a talent on the rise.
So when I was shopping the Christmas sale at Family Video,I saw “Ghost Cat” on sale for a buck and that it featured a very young Ellen Page. I went ahead and picked it up.

 

The story has a few elements of “Ghost”,a cad has been embezzling funds at his bank and he desperately needs to put the money back before the bank is audited at the end of the month.
When Wes Merritt and his daughter Natalie decide to move to a small town after the death of the mother,they come across a beautiful home that is being private sold by said cad,Boyd Ashboro. He takes Wes and Natalie on a tour of the house. While inside,Natalie bonds with Margaret,the cat who lives there. She is holding her and talking with her when the woman who owns the house,Mrs. Ashboro comes and is angry at her nephew for trying to push her out of her house. When she comes in,she sees Natalie holding Margaret and is pleasantly surprised as Margaret doesn’t really like to be held other then by Mrs. Ashboro.

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Mrs. Ashboro looks closer at Natalie and mentions she looks like someone she knew,it turns out that Natalie’s mom used to live in the town as child and Mrs. Ashboro was the head librarian for 25 years and knew her well. The two connect but as the house isn’t for sale,Wes and Natalie leave.
Boyd and Mrs. Ashboro have a argument over his trying to sell the house and why is he trying so hard to do so,with auditors coming soon,Boyd is under pressure to return the stolen money. He leaves upset.
We find out that that Mrs. Ashboro lives next to a animal rescue run by Brenda,which is struggling,she is behind on her mortgage and a developer needs her land to push through a land deal but Brenda has no interest in selling.

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Mrs. Ashboro steps in help but before she can give her gift to Brenda,she passes away.
A few days later Wes and Natalie come back to town,still looking for a place to buy when Natalie tells her dad to stop,Margaret is crossing the street but he dad sees nothing. But they do see Boyd and his “For Sale” sign again.  Wes and Natalie find out that Mrs. Ashboro has died and when Natalie asks about Margaret,learn the sweet cat died on the day of the funeral…

http://ellenpagedaily.com
Thus opens a box of mystery for Wes and Natalie as they buy Mrs. Ashboro’s house.
With the help of two teen boys and their dog,Natalie is embarked on a series of adventures as sinister forces are gathering about. Who is trying to force Brenda out?
Why is Boyd still to come into the house despite selling it? What did Mrs. Ashboro leave behind for Brenda? Most importantly,why is Margaret haunting the house?

“Ghost Cat” is a sweet little charmer of a movie. While my biggest gripe about it is that needed much more Margaret to help advance the movie,I also thought it a good job in talking about death and loss as Natalie and her father are trying to keep their balance.
For a TV movie,it is pretty frank and realistic in letting Natalie show her feelings.
That said,you definitely see how young Page was as she has a hard time with expressing herself outside the one scene with her dad. Her acting is flat and a bit stilted,one can almost hear her director,Don McBrearty,telling Ellen to emote.  The experience she gleaned here paid off because a year later,she was lighting it up in “Hard Candy”.
The rest of the cast is fine,Shirley Knight plays Mrs. Ashboro with kindness and compassion,even when dealing with Boyd. She makes the most of her role and the chemistry between Page and her is real. You get the feeling the two actresses stayed friends after the movie was done.
Michael Ontkean also was very good as Wes as was Lori Hallier as Brenda.
Tom Barnett channeled his inner Tony Goldwyn to perfection as Boyd who has everything to lose and his desperation is growing with every scene. It would have been nice knowing WHY he embezzled and how much exactly. One would have thought his selling of the house would have bailed him out of trouble…

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For a small TV film,we really enjoyed this. It isn’t the most action packed or fast paced film but does have charm and Margaret is a beautiful cat to look at.

“Ghost Cat” has a run time of 90 minutes and is rated PG. It comes with a trailer and a still photo gallery.

We gave this one a thumb/paw straight up.

And congratulations to Ellen Page on her recent marriage.

Leave a comment below and share with us your favorite ghost movie!!

 

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