Eenie Meenie Miney Movies: January 2011


Summer Wars

The New Year doesn't start out with a bang for kids' movies. It's kinda like facing the refrigerator at this time of year -- a lot of leftovers from the previous month of debauchery. Maybe they're not as wonderful the second time around but still tasty.

Notable theatrical releases in Austin (January)

Looking out over the new release list for January I can honestly say there isn't a single new theatrical  release that looks appropriate for kids. Disappointing, certainly, but not at all surprising. If you absolutely have to go out to see a movie with your kids, might I suggest Tangled for a third time? Or maybe it's time to give the new Narnia movie a try. There are a few events below you might want to check out.

Summer Wars (Jan. 10-12, Alamo Ritz, subtitled) – This Fantastic Fest 2010 selection pictured at top is a delightful animated movie from director Mamoru Hosoda (check out The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) and is appropriate for older kids (think PG -- mostly for romantic innuendo). The best way I can think to describe this is as a Japanese animated science-fiction romantic family comedy. It's surreal, entertaining, and just a ton of fun. Highly recommended for adults as well. The dubbed version will be coming to the Lamar location for a week-long run. Read Jette's fest review for more info.

Annie (Jan 29, Alamo South Lamar) -- You know the one: the sun'll come up tomorrow. My four-year-old wouldn't sit still for this one (it's 127 minutes long) but may be your kids are different.

Frankenstein and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (Jan 21 and 22, Paramount Theatre) -- The Paramount continues its new program of year-round movies with some Universal monster classics. If your kids are hitting the double digits it might be time to introduce them to ol' Frank. You may have your doubts about Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein but it's actually one of the last times they were really, honestly funny. It's tough to imagine a better setting in Austin to see either of these films.

Notable video releases (January)

Note the use of the word "video" instead of "DVD" – what with Blu-ray and Netflix Instant out there, being specific to DVD just seemed silly. So here goes:

Shaun the Sheep: Spring Shena-a-anigans -- If you haven't seen the ten-minute stop-motion animated adventures of Shaun the Sheep from the Wallace and Gromit series, now's the perfect time to start. Available on January 25.

She-Ra: The Complete Series -- '80s retro animated, uh, "classic." Not the best TV ever made but kids don't discriminate well. I plan on renting the first disc to see what my princess-obsessed daughter has to say about this so-called "Princess of Power." As I recall these shows were well-meaning if not well-written. Available on January 25.

Carnival Magic -- Is this Blu-ray release really what I think it is? If so it's certainly a boon for B-movie enthusiasts, and technically appropriate for kids – if you don't mind scarring them for life. Available on January 25.

The Wizard of Oz -- Available on Netflix Instant as of January 1, though I highly recommend watching the new Blu-ray release if you have a player.