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A CAT IN PARIS

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  • Carbon Based Lifeform
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    #62774

    Movie Review
    Ignoring Laws of Physics as They Run Across Roofs
    ‘A Cat in Paris,’ the Animated French Film
    NYT Critics’ Pick 

    gKids

    A scene from “A Cat in Paris.”



    By A. O. SCOTT

    Published: May 31, 2012

    “A Cat in Paris”
    is a nifty little caper in which blustery gangsters, intrepid
    detectives, cat burglars (one of them literally feline) and a little
    girl named Zoé scamper across nighttime rooftops unraveling a pleasantly
    tangled plot. The film, just about an hour long and directed by the
    French animation team of Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol, is also a
    refreshing reminder, at a time of large-scale, highly polished
    cinematic spectacle, of the essential, elemental sources of
    movie-watching pleasure.

      


     

    The film is directed by Jean-Loup Felicioll and Alain Gagnol.

    A movie is a story told in pictures; a
    cartoon, however digitally torqued and dimensionally expanded, is
    essentially a bunch of drawings. The images in “A Cat in Paris” are
    pointedly and delightfully off-kilter and out of proportion. Feet are
    much too small for bodies. Perspectives shift and slide. Apparently
    solid objects have a tendency to wobble. The laws of physics are
    brazenly flouted as Mr. Felicioli and Mr. Gagnol take splendid advantage
    of the freedom that animation can offer to the hand, the eye and the
    imagination.

    But amid the anarchy are also rigor, an
    attention to emotional nuance and narrative detail that make the film
    satisfying as well as charming. The cat, Dino, divides his time between
    two human companions. At night, he is the accomplice to an honorable,
    nimble thief named Nico. When morning comes, he snuggles up with Zoé,
    bringing her freshly killed lizards (and in one instance a freshly
    stolen bracelet) as tribute.

    Zoé lives with her overworked mother,
    Jeanne, and is looked after by a suspiciously outgoing housekeeper.
    Jeanne is a police detective, as was her husband, killed in the line of
    duty by Victor Costa, a criminal mastermind currently plotting a
    big-time art heist.

    Since her father’s death, Zoé has not spoken
    a word, but her face — a minimal composition of a few lines and circles
    topped by a curve of orange hair — expresses all the feelings of a
    lonely, sensitive child.

    Like a fairy tale heroine, Zoé is drawn into
    a wild and dangerous adventure that tests her resourcefulness and
    rewards her sound moral instincts. The plot has the pleasing complexity
    of a mechanical toy — the pieces click together nicely, and the whole
    contraption zigzags according to its own whimsical logic — and the
    filmmakers find many opportunities for mildly surrealist visual
    invention.

    When the lights go out, characters turn into
    chalk outlines on a black background. Fantasies occasionally take
    literal form, as when Jeanne imagines her nemesis, Costa, as a giant red
    octopus.

    Costa himself suffers a hallucination that
    turns “A Cat in Paris” briefly into a monster movie. The close-set,
    odd-angled buildings of Paris are lovingly rendered, as are the gargoyles of Notre Dame, who solemnly observe a climactic sequence of high-altitude score settling.

    Children watching “A Cat In Paris” may
    experience a few moments of fright and sorrow — there is gunfire, and
    Dino’s murder of innocent lizards is celebrated rather than condemned —
    but they are also likely to be captivated by its elegant mixture of
    gravity and mischief.

    As are adults, since there is very little of
    the noisy, sentimental pandering that is too often a feature of
    kid-targeted entertainment nowadays. This movie is graceful, subtle and
    sure-footed, much as its English title implies.

    “A Cat in Paris” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). Some scary, sad stuff.

    A Cat in Paris

    Opens on Friday in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.

    Reply
    M H
    Participant
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    Nov 7th, 2010
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    #62776

    I am so looking forward to finally being able to see this film. 

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    Madson Melo
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    Jul 25th, 2011
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    #62777

    I loved it!

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    Carbon Based Lifeform
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    Jun 20th, 2011
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    #62778

    A review from Slate.com

    A Cat in Paris
    A charming French animated film about a girl and a cat who break up a crime ring.

    By |Posted Friday, June 1, 2012, at 6:18 PM ET

    A Cat in Paris

    Still courtesy of Folimage Studio D’animation.

    You know how, at Oscar time, there’s always at least one foreign
    nominee in the animated-picture category that doesn’t win, never gets a
    U.S. release, and lingers in your mind only as “the one that looked good
    in the montage?” The French nominee A Cat in Paris was my 2011 “one that looked good in the montage,” and though it didn’t win (the prize went to Gore Verbinski’s Rango),
    an English-language version of the film has now found a limited release
    in the United States, with a possibility of opening wider later in the
    year. I hope A Cat in Paris, directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol, does well at the box office even if it’s no Gallic miracle a la Triplets of Belleville,
    because it would be a fine thing to have more chances to see foreign
    animation on American screens. This elegantly hand-drawn caper doesn’t
    have a lot to it—a little girl and her cat help break up a Parisian
    crime ring, un point c’est tout. But it moves to a different
    rhythm than the animated spectacles we’re used to—it’s sparer, less
    hectic, less cute—and the difference feels welcome and refreshing.

    Though A Cat in Paris is visually sleek, with simply drawn, elongated figures that recall the picture books of Maira Kalman,
    it errs on the overstuffed side when it comes to plot. There’s a lot to
    keep track of: In the main plot, a little girl, Zoe (voiced by Lauren
    Weintraub), has gone mute with grief after her father’s murder. Zoe’s
    mother, Jeanne (Marcia Gay Harden), a police detective, is leading the
    search for her dead husband’s killer (conflict of interest much?) and
    becoming so obsessed with the case that she’s neglecting her lonely,
    miserable daughter. Zoe’s new babysitter, Claudine (Anjelica Huston),
    seems nice enough, but her cat Dino (who, in macabre but realistically
    feline fashion, brings her a tribute of a dead lizard every day) is her
    only real friend.

    In a separate but interlocking story, Dino the cat has a secret life:
    At night he steals away and joins a skilled thief, Nico (Steve Blum),
    on his nightly burgling missions, sneaking across rooftops and breaking
    into safes. Meanwhile, the suspected killer of Zoe’s father, crime boss
    Victor Costa (voiced by Michael Caine-soundalike J.B. Blanc) is scheming
    to steal a priceless art treasure known as the Colossus of Nairobi.
    When Zoe is kidnapped by the gangster after eavesdropping on his
    nefarious plans, Nico and the cat must team up to save her (and to
    convince her mother that Nico, pilfering tendencies aside, isn’t one of
    the bad guys).

    Sections of A Cat in Paris feel draggy even at the
    abbreviated running time of 65 minutes. But in the best parts, the
    crisscrossing plot strands all pause for a moment, and we just get to
    watch and listen to what’s going on in this stylishly imagined world. A
    woman sprays on too much perfume, and a cloud of the scent floats out a
    window, assuming the shape of a ghostly female figure. Later, the lights
    in a room go out, and the shapes of the characters stumbling through
    the dark are shown as white outlines against a solid black screen,
    enabling the audience to “see in the dark”—a clever use of the
    possibilities opened up by animation. Yes, this movie’s homages to le film noir américain
    are sometimes less whimsical tributes than straight-up lifts (as when
    Victor Costa’s thugs object to the childish nicknames he assigns them, a
    joke familiar from Reservoir Dogs’ “Mr. Pink” scene.) And yes,
    the final chase atop an iconic world monument is an action cliché by
    now—but when the site in question is Notre Dame cathedral by moonlight,
    with villains and heroes leaping nimbly from gargoyle to gargoyle,
    somehow all is forgiven.

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    babypook
    Participant
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    Nov 4th, 2010
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    #62779

    I hope it comes my way, and sooner rather than later or never.

    Nothing better happen to the cat though. I have a cat with a secret life.

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