Very different kinds of monsters star in this week’s new DVD releases.
• “A Monster in Paris,” Grade B: Paris is being terrorized by a very different kind of monster – a giant flea. He’s really not as much a monster as a dapper dresser and beautiful crooner who he gets to show his talent when he joins songstress Lucille (Vanessa Paradis) on stage. He’s able to pull off the ruse for a short time because of a “Phantom of the Opera” style disguise.
Director and writer Bibo Bergeron (“Shark Tale”) has created a story about the power of love and how it’s wrong to judge people – or giant fleas – at first glance.
Bergeron paints a fascinating picture of early 20th century France, from the concert halls to the Eiffel Tower. Equally impressive is the music score by Matthieu Chedid and Patrice Renson, along with strong musical performances. Sean Lennon is the singing voice of the flea.
“A Monster in Paris” takes a few missteps, but overall it’s a sweet tribute to love that could get under your skin.
• “The Girl,” Grade B: The made-for-cable movie shows how Tippi Hedren had two minor professional acting credits before getting selected to star in the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock thriller “The Birds.” A year later she headlined Hitchcock’s “Marnie.”
What should have been a remarkable launch to her career turned into relentless sexual harassment by the iconic director, which often resulted in on-set abuse when she would rebuff his advances. Hedren was under a studio contract at the time and that meant she had no recourse but to try to survive the ordeal.
Her story’s told in the film starring Sienna Miller and Toby Jones. Miller brings a raw determination to the role, but it’s Jones who steals the movie with his creepy portrayal of the noted director.
• “The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia,” Grade B-: This latest tale of terror based on a true story offers a few good scares and a consistently creepy tone.
It does fall into the horror film trap of gleaning a lot of its scares from terrorizing a child – in this case a young girl played by Emily Alyn Lind, who looks like a very young Drew Barrymore. Hiding behind the fact the story’s based on real events doesn’t excuse taking such an easy scare tactic.
It does get points for an original backdrop, as you don’t see many horror movies with a Civil War theme. The lead villain also could easily follow in the bloody footsteps of Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger.
The film has a nice haunting feel to it even if it has a geographically confusing name.
Also new on DVD:
“Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore”: Iron Man must stop bio-enhanced monsters.
“Not Suitable for Children”: A young man races to become a father.
“Alice: The Complete Third Season”: Linda Lavin stars in the CBS comedy series set in a diner.
“Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird”: Feature film starring the TV gang.
“By Dawn’s Early Light”: Two pilots face the potential start of World War III.
“Quentin Tarantino Presents Triple Feature”: Includes “The Mighty Peking Man,” “Detroit 9000” and “Switchblade Sisters.”
“Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens”: Ben Tennyson returns to his alien fighting ways.
“Counting Cars: Season 1”: Danny Koker and his team restore cars.
“Fraggle Rock: The Complete Second Season”: Tales of an always busy group of tiny workers.
“Django Unchained”: A freed slave ends up in a battle with a German bounty hunter. Jamie Foxx stars.
“Last of Summer Wine: Vintage 1998”: Long running British comedy TV series.
“Parade’s End”: A young Judi Dench stars in this 1964 film adaptation of the Ford Madox Ford novel.
“Save the Date”: Two sisters battle through the dating world. Alison Brie stars.
“Dragon”: A shy hero draws the attention of the Chinese underworld.
“Daktari: The Complete Second Season”: TV jungle drama.
“Spies of Warsaw”: David Tennant stars in the World War II spy drama.
“At the Gate of the Ghost”: Details of a murder mystery are told by three witnesses.
“Police Story / Police Story II”: Two action films starring Jackie Chan.
“Disneynature: Wings of Life”: Meryl Streep narrates.
“Future Weather”: A young girl tries to spread the word about global warming.
“Delhi Safari”: Mismatched animals take on the human race.