Cinefile: Summer at the cinema

For kids, there’s a bumper crop of films to choose from.

‘Inside out’ movie (photo credit: PR)
‘Inside out’ movie
(photo credit: PR)
School’s out, and now what? For many families, summer is a good time to head for airconditioned movie theaters.
Studios know this and save the bulk of their kid-related summer releases for their kids’ vacations.
The big new movie for families is Jurassic World, the fourth installment in the now decadesold Jurassic Park franchise, initially helmed and now produced by Steven Spielberg. The premise is that the theme park proposed in the first movie is now up and running, featuring all kinds of dinosaurs, including a prehistoric shark so huge that it eats great whites the way moviegoers scarf down kernels of popcorn.
Naturally, things go wrong.
Corporate greed is again the villain as genetically engineered giant dinosaurs get loose.
Hollywood hunk du jour Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard star. This movie is not recommended for young kids, since it is really quite scary, and a lot of people become dinosaur snacks.
For many, the highlight of the summer is whatever new movie Pixar releases. Their latest, which opens this week, Inside Out, is an ambitious, psychologically themed look inside the head of an 11-yearold girl. Pete Docter, who directed Monsters, Inc. and Up and worked in different jobs on many of the other Pixar favorites, has teamed up with Ronaldo Del Carmen to create this story in which the heroine’s emotions — joy, fear, sadness, disgust, anger — are all personified as cartoon characters.
If you can see it in a version that isn’t dubbed, you will hear the voices of Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling.
Those who favor old-fashioned animation will want to see Shaun and the Sheep Movie, the latest film from Aardman Animations, the studio that brought us Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run. This story of a flock of sheep that end up going off to a city (known as The Big City) is made with the labor-intensive stop-motion animation of the pre-digital era.
It’s full of Aardman’s classic, jokey touches. It opens on July 23.
The polar opposite of Shaun is Pixels, which opens the same day.
It stars Adam Sandler in a mixed live-action/animation film about how aliens see earthlings’ video games and misinterpret them as a declaration of war. Only a team of video gamers, led by Sandler, can save the planet.
Minions, a new installment in the Despicable Me series, also features planet saving as a major plot point. The gang is recruited by an evil villain (Sandra Bullock) to destroy the Earth. Jon Hamm also voices one of the characters. It comes out on July 7.
A new Asterix movie is coming up on June 25, Asterix et les domains des dieux. Asterix’s village is targeted by the Roman emperor, and Asterix and company must decide whether to fight or assimilate.
Teens may enjoy the drama The Road Within, which opens on July 2. It stars Robert Sheehan (The Mortal Instruments) as a boy struggling with Tourette Syndrome who goes to a treatment facility, where he befriends his roommate (Dev Patel of Slumdog Millionaire), who has OCD; and a young woman (Zoe Kravitz, Lenny’s daughter, who starred in the latest Mad Max movie), who suffers from anorexia.
Robert Patrick (The Terminator series), plays the boy’s father.
If you want to enjoy nature from the comfort of a theater, check out African Safari 3-D, which is playing now. The movie is a journey, led by animal behaviorist Kevin Richardson, through southern Africa, from the desert dunes of Namibia to the gorgeous Victoria Falls, with an emphasis on all the wildlife along the way.
Enchanted Kingdom 3D, another nature documentary, which features slow-motion footage of nature’s beauty, opens on July 30.