An Oscar-nominated cartoon from France leads these movies that have arrived on DVD this week.
“A Cat in Paris” (Cinedigm/Blu-ray + DVD, 2012, PG, two discs, $39.95, in English or in French with English subtitles, featurette, short cartoon: “Extinction of the Saber-Toothed Housecat,” trailer). Dino, the cat of the title, lives two lives: By day, he comforts and plays with a little mute girl named Zoe but by night he accompanies a rooftop-hopping burglar on his jewel-thieving rounds.
Zoe’s widowed mother is an overworked police inspector, so the girl is cared for during the day by a housekeeper who isn’t what she seems. And one night, when Zoe decides to follow Dino, she joins the thief on his escapades just as her mother is closing in on the mobster that killed Zoe’s father. And it’s inevitable the chase will bring them all together.
Some of this is surprisingly mature material for an animated film aimed at children, but it’s also sweet and thoughtful, and kids — and their parents — should find much to enjoy. In addition, the old-fashioned ink-and-paint animation of this Oscar-nominated French cartoon is stylish to a fault, with jagged lines and offbeat designs (that may remind buffs of the old UPA cartoons). And it’s very welcome in this era of all things computer-generated, as is the scant 62-minute running time.
Voices on the English-language soundtrack are led by Marcia Gay Hardin, Matthew Modine and Anjelica Huston. The disc also contains a funny short that had me thinking of the old “Bambi Meets Godzilla” cartoon if Bambi was a Garfield-style cat and Godzilla was a fiery comet (be sure to read the end of the short’s credits). (Also on DVD, $29.95.)
“Rock of Ages” (New Line/Blu-ray + DVD + Digital, 2012, PG-13, two discs, $35.99, R-rated extended cut, featurettes, music video, live performance by Def Leppard). Blustery, tasteless musical comedy about a small-town girl (played by Utahn Julianne Hough) trying to crash the music scene in 1980s Los Angeles is a prime example of a PG-13 movie that should be rated R. And lo and behold, that’s the rating on the extended version. Sterling cast, including Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin and Paul Giamatti, can’t save it. (Also on single-disc DVD, $28.98.)
“The Ice House” (BBC, 1997, $19.97, featurette). Daniel Craig (long before he became James Bond) co-starred with Corin Redgrave in this intriguing three-hour TV movie about a pair of detectives investigating an unidentifiable body in a remote icehouse, which may be linked to a 10-year-old missing-person case. Adapted from a Minette Walters novel.
“The Courier” (Well Go, 2012, R for violence and language, $24.98, deleted/extended scenes, featurette, trailer). Overly complicated action flick by filmmakers apparently inspired by the “Transporter” films stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the title character, beat up and unpleasantly tortured while on the trail of a villain to whom he is to deliver a suitcase. Mickey Rourke also shows up, along with Miguel Ferrer — and Lili Taylor, who deserves better. (Also on Blu-ray, $29.98.)
“Werewolf: The Beast Among Us” (Universal/Blu-ray + DVD + Digital, 2012, R for violence, two discs, $34.98, unrated version, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes). Band of 19th century werewolf hunters recruit a new member (Guy Wilson), the assistant to the local doctor (Stephen Rea), as they try to track down a monster taking out villagers one by one. Uninspired gory horror, but at least it’s a notch above the 2010 “Wolfman.”
“The Cottage” (eOne, 2012, not rated, $19.98). Horror yarn starring David Arquette as a mild-mannered novelist, or so he seems. When he moves into a rental cottage behind the home of a financially struggling couple with a baby daughter, his true nature and intent are slowly revealed.
“Bedevilled” (Well Go, 2010, not rated, $24.98, in Korean with English subtitles, featurette, trailer). Foreign horror yarn follows a woman who takes a trip to a remote island and discovers young women there being treated as both sex and domestic slaves. (Also on Blu-ray, $29.98.)
“Mancation” (Lionsgate, 2012, not rated, $26.98, deleted/extended scenes, featurettes, bloopers, trailers). As the title suggests this is a variation on “The Hangover” with four pals on the loose in Atlantic City.