Mini-Reviews for SL free Holiday Movies
Let's face it, there's no beating free.
That's why we're taking a break from the new flicks (no tragedy, given the pre-holiday season doldrums) to take a look at the free holiday merchant movies being held at the Vista III Theater in Storm Lake.
Local stores sponsor the shows so that families can take a shopping break with child-friendly entertainment, or older children can take in a show while mom and dad shop in peace. Tickets are available only at the particiating merchants around the community.
Shows will be offered at noon and 2:30 p.m. each Saturday starting November 29 (plus Thanksgiving holiday showings on Friday the 28th.)
* Up first is "Journey to the Center of the Earth," Nov. 28 and 29. starring Brendan Fraser as a professor whose brother disappeared on an expedition a year ago, who finds hemself falling headlong into Jules Vernes' science fiction novels, dinosaurs and all. Lots of action, and not too scary, but with enough peril to get a PG rating. The 3D effects add a little fun to an otherwise standard adventure story. I give it an A-.
* Next is "Space Chimps" for Dec. 6, a fun outer space romp that revolves around a trio of monkeys sent into space to find out what happened to a NASA probe lost in a wormhole. Andy Samberg of Saturday Night Live voices Ham, the grandson of the first chimp in space. It's nothing as different as Wall-E, and effects are intentionally 1960s-sorta cheesy, but it's a fun story that the smallest moviegoers should enjoy, and is rated G. Grade, B-.
* On Dec. 13, "Horton Hears a Who" plays. This is a wonderful Dr. Suess tale of loyalty and faith, and the bright and inventive animation should delight even a parent. Comic actor Jim Carrey as the elephant fighting to save a tiny unseen world, is way too over the top, though, and too much has been thrown in, like a modern emo kid, that takes away from the sweetness of a classic story. It's still excellent family fare and quite entertaining, but not very true to the book. I give it a B.
* "Kung Foo Panda" wraps up the fun December 20. This is a richly animated and visually witty story of a roly-poly panda bear being groomed to run a noodle shop, but his dream is in the martial arts. It is very much standard storybook fare in the Disney tradition, with a very simple story, colorful sidekick critters and a nasty villain. Jack Black voices the main character with admirable restraint, and the voice cast is loaded with A-listers like Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan and Seth Rogan. It's a gentle PG-rated story filled with wise lessons and kicky battles, bland but charming. A-.