This week on DVD/Blu-ray: “Little Shop of Horrors,” the way it was meant to be seen; a surprise nominee for Best Animated Feature at this year’s Oscars; a fitting send-off to LCD Soundsystem; a period thriller that marks a return to form for John Cusack; and a heated modern-day adaptation of “La Ronde.”
#1. “Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut”
Fresh off of playing to audiences at the still-underway New York Film Festival, Frank Oz’s director’s cut of his beloved musical “Little Shop of Horrors,” makes its way onto Blu-ray for the first time, giving fans the chance to finally see the ending Oz and songwriters Howard Ashman and Alan Menken had originally envisioned.
In the 1986 comedy-musical, Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene play two skid-row lovers brought together by a giant, man-eating plan from outer space. In the cut that was initially released, everything ends happily for the two lovebirds. The director’s cut imagines a very different fate for the two; one that had test audiences spooked. See what all the fuss is about by seeing Oz’s vision in high-def glory thanks to a gleaming digital restoration.
Extras: Theatrical version of the film with optional commentary; the director’s cut featuring the newly restored 20-minute alterate ending; the documentary “Frank Oz and Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut,” with an introduction by Oz with Richard Conway; another behind-the-scenes documentary; outtakes and deleted scenes with optional commentary; and two theatrical trailers.
#2. “A Cat in Paris”
A surprise nominee for Best Animated Feature at the 2012 Academy Awards, “A Cat in Paris” is a visually ravishing hand-drawn affair sure to engage both kids and adults alike. The film centers on Dino, a lovable house cat who by day plays pet to a young girl named Zoe, and by night goes out on the prowl with a burglar named Nico. Like the best animated fare, “A Cat in Paris” tugs on your heartstrings, while wowing you with its stunning design and the ingenuity of its storytelling.
Extras: The video flipbook “The Many Lives of a Cat”; the animated short “Extinction of the Saber-Toothed Housecat,” that played in theaters along with “A Cat in Paris”; and the U.S. theatrical trailer.
#3. “Shut Up and Play the Hits”
Fans of LCD Soundsystem would be foolish to miss “Shut Up and Play the Hits,” the documentary that chronicles the band’s last blowout at Madison Square Garden. Even if you were there for the epic night, the film has some surprises in store. Amid the concert mayhem, directors Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern inject a wealth of revealing backstage banter, and most memorably, footage of James Murphy post-breakup. “There’s a lovably comic poignancy to Murphy’s scenes in his apartment, where he indulges his love of coffeemaking and takes care of his pug,” wrote Eric Kohn in his glowing review. “In the wake of his massive send-off, he may as well have retreated to the countryside.”
Extras: The three-disc set contains the film, as well as complete footage of the band’s final concert.
#4. “The Raven”
In “The Raven,” John Cusack stars as 19th century writer Edgar Allan Poe, an author with a dark and troubled past remembered for horror stories like “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Pit and the Pendulum” as well as for spearheading the detective fiction genre. Cusack’s no-holds-barred turn as Poe recalls his adventurous roles in “Being John Malkovich” and “High Fidelity,” unpredictable performances miles away from his recent work. The film, helmed by James McTeigue (“V for Vendetta”), takes Poe’s mysterious death as a jumping off point for a fictionalized account of the writer’s last days, during which Poe is tasked with helping track down a serial killer whose gruesome murders mirrors those in Poe’s own stories.
Extras: Audio commentary with McTeigue and the film’s producers; deleted and extended scenes; and a number of featurettes that delve into the making of the film.
#5. “30 Beats”
A loose and heated adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s “La Ronde,” this low-budget indie centers on ten disparate New Yorkers on the hunt for a sexual encounter during a summer heat wave. Condola Rashad (daughter to actress Phylicia Rashad) Jennifer Tilly, Lee Pace, Paz de la Huerta and Justin Kirk all star.