Cool summer fare

There's a lot of kid's movies coming to a theater near you this season.

movies 370 (photo credit: courtesy)
movies 370
(photo credit: courtesy)
W hen Pixar has a new movie coming out, that’s good news for parents of movie-loving kids. Monster University, the long- awaited prequel to the 2001 Pixar film Monsters Inc., opens today and, based on the trailer, it promises to equal or even surpass the original, just as Toy Story 2 did with the original Toy Story. Once again, Billy Crystal and John Goodman are back, voicing Mike and Sully, who this time around are college roommates learning the basics of scaring children. Sully, a big lug, falls in with some tough frat guys, while scrappy mini-Cyclops Mike joins a group of artsy students. Some of the other voices are provided by such wonderful actors as Helen Mirren and Steve Buscemi, so see it in the English version, not one of the dubbed ones. It’s in 3-D, although so many kids’ movies are these days that it’s become the norm, not really a selling point.
Another animated sequel coming up in a few weeks, The Reef 2, could be fun for kids who loved Finding Nemo and A Shark’s Tale. There is also a Despicable Me sequel coming out later in the summer. And there is another Smurfs movie coming out at the beginning of August. Like the first Smurfs movie, it’s co-written by David N. Weiss, an Orthodox Jew who teaches film students whenever he’s in Israel.
Older kids usually know exactly what they want to see, but they may not realize that Hunting Elephants, Reshef Levy’s new caper comedy that will open the Jerusalem Film Festival on July 4, is a movie that is meant to appeal to kids as well as adults. It’s the story of a 12-year-old boy who gets together a bunch of his late grandfather’s criminal pals (played by Star Trek’s Patrick Stewart and Israeli stars Moni Moshonov and Sasson Gabai) to pull off one last job. One note of caution: While it’s great to see the film on the big screen at the Sultan’s Pool Amphitheater at the festival opening, there will be many speeches before the movie starts.
The full festival program has not been announced yet, but the Jerusalem Film Festival, which runs until July 13, includes several animated movies every year.
Later in the summer, the Animix 2013 festival of animation, comics and caricature will take place from August 9-13 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, and movies and workshops on animation are always a key part of this festival.
Avi Nesher’s The Wonders is another movie not specifically intended for children that might appeal to teens. The main character is played Ori Hizkia, a stand-up comic particularly popular among children. In the film, he plays a graffiti artist who gets involved in a strange plot. There is strong language and some brief moments of violence, but no nudity. The teens I know who’ve seen it were fascinated by it, and it has songs by Hadag Nahash and mixes animation with the action.
The Way, Way Back is an American coming-of-age drama about a teen boy (Liam James, who plays the son on the TV crime drama The Killing) who finds himself when he starts working at a water park one summer. Steve Carrell and Sam Rockwell co-star.
If your kids want to see something more familiar, then there is a new Superman movie that just opened, Man of Steel. It’s a darker-than-usual take on the Superman story, with Henry Cavill starring as a superhero still pretending to be Clark Kent, who is challenged to surrender when General Zod (a very scary Michael Shannon) invades the planet.
For fans of westerns, Johnny Depp stars as Tonto in the latest screen version of The Lone Ranger, which features Armie Hammer (he played the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network) in the title role. Reports from early screenings indicated that it’s filled with enough action interspersed with snarky remarks to keep teenagers interested.
And if your kids can take a bit of gore, they will probably be excited to see World War Z, the much buzzed-about Brad Pitt zombie flick, which features a key sequence set in (but not filmed in) Jerusalem, and a character who is an Israeli soldier.
And remember, although summer kids’ movies may not always be great, the theaters are always air-conditioned.