The American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre is offering an alternative to this summer’s big-budget action blockbusters. Two programs – “Disney Live Action Classics,” playing from through July 15, and “Kids’ Matinees,” every weekend through July 29 – feature classic children’s films that many of today’s parents saw when they were young.
The Disney features include the original versions of The Absent-Minded Professor, The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday, the enduring Mary Poppins, adventure films Escape to Witch Mountain, Swiss Family Robinson and Treasure Island, the feline-driven comedies That Darn Cat and The Three Lives of Thomasina, and the 1950s cult phenomenon Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.
Other films for kids include Thomas and the Magic Railroad (familiar to those who have seen the TV series on PBS), The Monster Squad, a funny monster spoof from 1987 and The Secret of NIMH, a beautifully animated film from ex-Disney animator Don Bluth.
The Cinematheque will be partnering with event co-producer Every Picture Tells a Story bookstore to provide story and snack events on weekends during the Family Film Festival. Every Picture’s owner Lee Cohen says: “We will have some guest readers and some special guests. Before The Monster Squad, we will be having some special effects experts who will talk to the kids about how to make models and special effects. We’re going to have a big event prior to the screening of Thomas the Tank Engine and the Magic Railroad, with the stars of the movie and the creators of Thomas the Tank Engine and a huge exhibit of Thomas the Tank Engine memorabilia.
“For Thomas we’re going to have some of the production art from the movie and some of the original posters from all around the world and we also have some of the actual models that were used in the film.
“They’ll be showing Treasure Island. We have some brand new art by Greg Hildebrandt, who is a classic artist. He’s just illustrated a new series on Treasure Island. We’ll also be featuring a lot of the books tied into the screenings that we’re doing so you’ll see [editions of] The Secret of NIMH, Treasure Island, Freaky Friday and Mary Poppins.
“We’ll be reading from those and from a lot of different children’s books, and we’ll be having some comedians and some actresses. So there will be something for families to do before the movie starts, and after the movie they can come over and look at the art. We’ll also be giving out a few free tickets to some of the movies.”
And even if you don’t get free tickets, the Family Matinees on weekends feature a special kids’ price of $5 for children under 10.
For more information on the Family Film Festival at the Aero, see americancinemathque.com.