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Recent Opinions on Kid's Movies

Cinecultist's reviews that have been appearing over on

Slapstick, female empowerment and dreamy Gerard Butler in Nim's Island.

Springy, bright and elastic Whos in Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who.

Raven-Symoné's star wattage and pet pigs in College Road Trip.

Reese Witherspoon's producing debut and Christina Ricci's plastic snout in Penelope.

Michel Gondry's visual styling and the advent of "Swede" as a verb in Be Kind Rewind.

P.S. We've also been doing a little tumblring and are in search of more folks to follow, so let us know if you've also joined. It's 2.0-tastic!

Age-Appropriate and other Misnomers

What movies are appropriate for children? is the subject of A.O. Scott's well-written essay in today's New York Times. This very topic has been on the Cinecultist brain lately too, between hanging out with our 11-year-old brother and 14-year-old sister over the holidays and writing reviews for, a parenting website. "If it's PG-13, should we write a review about it?" is often a discussion between CC and our editor.

When Cinecultist thinks back to the movies we loved as a child, a huge chunk of them were not children's movies per se. As Scott writes, it's great for kids to feel challenged by their entertainment. Why does everything have to be so sanitized and stripped of all points controversial? Surely there are bloody, disturbing movies like No Country For Old Men out in theaters now that should be avoided with a kid in tow, but something like Persopolis would be perfect for my politics-minded little sister.

When CC, our 27-year-old sister and her boyfriend wanted to take our little brother to the movies over the vacation, we all went to see National Treasure: Book of Secrets. It seemed safe for him and entertaining enough for us. During a few of the more suspenseful moments, CC turned to look at Mark and noticed he had pulled his feet up onto his seat and had his fingers in his ears. Smart strategy: he didn't want to hear the explosion that was about to happen but he wanted to know the outcome. Despite a few of those anxious moments, Mark totally dug the movie and all the way home was asking us if he could become a treasure hunter. When we all encouraged him to let his imagination fly, he seemed a little skeptical but still excited about learning more about his own ancestors just like Nic Cage's character does. Movies do have the power to thrill and inspire, especially for children. They don't always have to fluffy and G rated.

pirates4.jpgAnd speaking of CC's Kaboose reviews, you can read our opinions of Water Horse: Legend of the Deep and The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie on their site. Regarding the Veggies, it was perhaps one of the more boring flicks we've reviewed but at least the angry Cheetos were cute.

Linkage for Your Mid Week Blues

This week the Cinecultist weighed in on Alvin and the Chipmunks over at The filmmakers are pretty much pandering to the lowest common denominator when it comes children's entertainment, but we still think the fat, sentimental chipmunk Theodore is awfully cute.

Focus Films has launched a new website with tons of original content called FilminFocus. Check it out, there's lots to enjoy from features on Focus films like Atonement, a look back at film history from that corresponding week and interviews with smart movie bloggers like our friend Andrew Grant.

Have you gotten a $1 promotional movie ticket from Fandango yet? It's a sweet deal, you just send a text on Wednesdays and they text you a code. Could be good for some cheap seats during the holiday vacation.

More Opinions on Kiddie Movies

Over on, Cinecultist has been weighing in on the new releases for the youngsters. We gave Enchanted 3 1/2 stars, and The Golden Compass 3 stars (out of five), 3 stars for Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium because we have a soft spot for living toys and Jason Bateman, and a less-than-buzz-worthy review for Bee Movie. Har dee har har.

All of this kid flick viewing has reminded CC that we've got a sentimental interior, masked by our high heel-wearing, Eee Vee-dwelling cynical exterior.


Cinecultist has been writing up a storm lately, just not on this blog. Please click through to check out our hard work. We're quite pleased with all of these endeavors.

2007_10_arts_tominecover.jpgWe interviewed cartoonist and great storyteller Adrian Tomine for Gothamist today. CC really enjoyed his new book Shortcomings, though Tomine's depiction of relationships can be pretty bleak. We were happy to learn that Tomine just got married, so all of that cynical energy isn't debilitating. (We also revealed in our interview that we have the New Yorker cover at right up in our apartment and have already gotten a bunch of response that other folks do too! So there are still some hopeless romantic saps in this town.)

Over on the parenting website Kaboose, Cinecultist recommended taking the kids to see December Boys and Sydney White. Getting paid to think and write about our love for The Bynes? It's a good world, people.

Also, CC is trying to work in as many New York Film Festival screenings as we can. We wrote a feature about the opening night film The Darjeeling Limited for Metromix last week. It was a movie CC had been hedging out bets on, assuming it was going to be as bad or worse than Life Aquatic but we actually found it to be quite charming. So our love for adorable Wes Anderson, his khaki suits and his reluctant quirk continues. This afternoon we're seeing Todd Haynes' Dylan movie I'm Not There and expect to be totally blown away. We also are looking forward to Persepolis which is the closing night film and is showing to press next week. Marjane Satrapi is another one of our favorite authors/illustrators and we're psyched to see her speak at the press conference. Oh and if your were curious, this year our press pass has CC's picture on it not some random other critic. Hooray.

New Writing Gig and Mr. Bean

Cinecultist has a new reviewing outlet with the parenting website With two much younger siblings and an inherently light-hearted view on movies, we thought we'd be well suited to watch some kid-centric movies and tell their parents if they should shell out the admission price. Although we will say taking detailed notes on how many times there's nudity or swearing in a movie is an odd, slightly prurient sensation.

Our first feature for Kaboose was the Rowan Atkinson slapstick comedy sequel Mr. Bean's Holiday. While this kind of simplistic comedy isn't really CC's cup of tea, we couldn't help but be struck by how much the kids in the audience really seemed to enjoy the movie, so we gave it a surprisingly favorable review. As we know from experience, if you take a kid to the movies and he's laughing so hard he can barely stay in his seat, you're lack of amusement pales in comparison to his good time.