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Berlitz Summer Camp
by Michael Berick
$29.95, Cinedigm Entertainment
Among the big-name Hollywood entries for the Best Animated Film at this year’s Oscars was the little-known (at least, to American audiences) French film A Cat In Paris. Created by filmmakers Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli with the French animation studio Folimage, this movie tells the tale of a cat burglar, a cat who burgles, a mean crime kingpin, a young girl and the girl’s mother – who is a Paris police detective.
Unlike most American animated films, this story is not done in an overly cartoonish fashion. Sure, the crooks are often buffoons and there is physical humor, but there also are more serious, more realistic elements to the story. For example, the young girl, Zoe, recently lost her father, who was murdered by the crime kingpin, Victor Costa. Zoe’s mom is haunted by a monster-like image of Costa a couple of times during the movie. Besides the burglary scenes, there is also a scene at a police gun range, several fights, a duplicitous nanny and the kidnapping of Zoe, none of which is done for laughs.
Considering these rather drama-oriented plot points, this film might not be one for young, impressionable children. However, older kids will get engaged by the cop vs. crook, crook vs. crook, girl vs. adults storylines as well as the modern-yet-traditional animation style (a black-out scene is done in a particularly memorable fashion).
Michael also recommends …
• Laughing Pizza Live!
$19.98, Little Bean Family Entertainment
Fans of the popular family band can enjoy the three Schlossers (aka the Pizzas) live in concert (both on DVD and CD) and can learn about the trio in a behind-the-scenes documentary. This short feature (found on the DVD) looks at the family’s history, with footage of the parents Lisa and Billy appearing in a band on Star Search, and film from when Emily was a little girl. It also shows their current life on the road and how they function as a family and a band.
• Moonrise Kingdom
$29.98, Universal Home Entertainment
The newest movie from Wes Anderson is more like his earlier movies Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums than the more recent Fantastic Mr. Fox. So while this film concerns families and two star-crossed 12-year-olds, it is not a “family film” and deserves its PG-13 rating. That said, Anderson’s signature quirky style reigns throughout Moonrise Kingdom, making it a quite interesting look at adolescence that parents and tweens can enjoy.
• Dora The Explorer: Dora’s Royal Rescue
$14.99, Nickelodeon/Paramount Home Entertainment
While DVDs of popular TV characters frequently just collect old episodes, this Dora DVD contains a previously unseen hour-long story, the “Royal Rescue.” Featuring the voices of Placido Domingo and Andy Garcia, this story has Dora as a lady knight and Boots aiding a horse to save his master, Don Quixote. The DVD also includes another episode, “Dora’s Knighthood Adventure,” (seen on TV but not on DVD before) that also deals with Don Quixote and his horse.
DVD Extra: Say “Hola” to new bilingual DVDs|
Hispanic Heritage Month continues into October, which makes it an appropriate time to introduce Spanish to your youngsters. One entertaining way to do this is through DVDs, and a trio of bilingual titles can help kids learn a second language.
The Perfect Game|
With the World Series happening this month, it’s a nice time to check out a baseball movie that’s good for the whole family.
Make Believe makes for a magical viewing experience.
Winnie the Pooh|
Oh bother. Eeyore has once again lost his tail and the quest to find it continues in Disney’s all new, “Winnie the Pooh,” now available on 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack, 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD.
CD Reviews: Kids|
Kids *** Keller Williams SCI Fidelity, $14.99 Keller Williams is a name that’s been familiar to jam band fans and guitar aficionados, but with his 16th disc he’ll become well known to family music audiences as well. With Kids, Williams showcases his
DVD Reviews: A Charlie Brown Valentine|
There’s nothing like sharing a holiday with the Peanuts gang, from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving to A Charlie Brown Christmas, or animated specials celebrating Easter, New Year’s or even Arbor Day.
CD Review: Sing-a-Ling With Friends|
From “Pop Goes The Weasel” to “Old McDonald Had A Farm," this may not appear like the most exciting set of tunes, but Dan Crow brings a freshness to his renditions of these family favorites.
Movie Review: Arthur And The Invisibles 2&3: The New Minomoys Adventures|
These films are follow-ups to the not well-known 2007 Arthur and the Invisibles. Like the original movie, these sequels are directed by French filmmaker Luc Besson.