Combustible Celluloid
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With: (voices) Dominique Blanc, Bruno Salomone, Jean Benguigui, Bernadette Lafont, Oriane Zani, Bernard Bouillon
Written by: Jacques-Rémy Girerd, Alain Gagnol
Directed by: Jean-Loup Felicioli, Alain Gagnol
MPAA Rating: PG for mild violence and action, and some thematic material
Language: French, with English subtitles
Running Time: 70
Date: 10/15/2010

A Cat in Paris (2011)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

French Feline

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol's A Cat in Paris is an animated delight, a hand-drawn puff pastry that brings its title character into a web of deceit, revenge, robbery, and gangsters. A clever cat belongs to a sad little girl who has stopped speaking after the murder of her father. But at night, he sneaks out to become the sidekick of a crafty, stealthy cat burglar. The two worlds collide when the burglar gives a particular fish-shaped bracelet to the cat, who then brings it to the girl.

It's a brief 62 minutes but moves well, and not at the breakneck pace of most of today's computer-animated movies. It uses physical locations beautifully, including rooftops and hiding places, as well as shadows and pools of light. It even manages some lovely quiet moments as well as some riotously funny ones (especially revolving around a bumbling bunch of thugs).

The movie began making the rounds in France in 2010, received a 2011 Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, and finally lands in U.S. theaters in the summer of 2012, featuring an all-new English-language voice cast (including Marcia Gay Harden, Matthew Modine, and Anjelica Huston). I have seen it listed at 74 minutes, 70 minutes, and 65 minutes, but the new Blu-ray/DVD combo pack -- from New Video -- clocks in at 62 minutes. The high-def, widescreen picture is a beautiful experience, and it comes with both the French-language and English-language tracks. Extras include a "video flipbook" (beautiful production drawings), a funny 3-1/2 minute bonus short film (Extinction of the Saber-Toothed House-Cat) and trailers.
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