Coral Gables Art Cinema keeps it classic throughout the holiday season with family-friendly movie screenings daily through Jan. 4. Admission is only $5 and includes a soft drink and popcorn. Movies start at 11 a.m.
At a time when school is out and the family gets together for the holidays, take a deep breath and bask in the glow that the finest seasonal entertainment brings.
Dec. 24 – The Princess Bride – Rob Reiner’s romantic comedy fantasy adventure is a marvel in any genre. A grandfather (Peter Falk) reading to his sick grandson (Fred Savage) is the open sesame that sets magic afoot. Adapted by William Goldman from his homonymous novel, Bride is listed among Bravo’s funniest movies and the American Film Institute’s greatest love stories. This film is the stuff that cults are made of.
Dec. 25 – Miracle on 34th Street – Christmas would not be the same – nor Macy’s – without this evergreen chestnut about the existence of Santa Claus. Miracle earned Oscars for its original story (Valentine Davies), screenplay (director George Seaton) and supporting actor Edmund Gwenn in his signature role as Kris Kringle.
Dec. 26 – Singin’ in the Rain – A leading man (Gene Kelly), an aspiring vocalist (Debbie Reynolds) and a loose-limbed musician (Donald O’Connor) become inseparable as Tinseltown learns to talk in the late twenties. Talent comes in Technicolor tandem with a Brown & Freed score, book by Comden & Green, direction by Kelly and Stanley Donen. Ranked by the American Film Institute as the greatest musical and the fifth greatest film of all time. What a glorious feeling indeed.
Dec. 27 – Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary – The A Team from SNL and SCTV band together for the most hilarious sci-fi comedy ever made, now in its 30th anniversary. Under the direction of Ivan Reitman, co-writers Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis hit paydirt chasing pesky ectoplasm with Bill Murray. When your home is invaded by translucent creatures you can’t control, who you gonna call?
Dec. 28 – Life of Pi 3D – A young man survives a disaster at sea and – for 227 days – drifts across the Pacific in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. “Magical realism was rarely so magical and never before so real,” opined Richard Corliss in Time. Nominated for 11 Oscars; it won four, including Best Director (Ang Lee).
Dec. 29 – Chicken Run – A Rhode Island Red named Rocky comes to the rescue of a chicken farm when the owners segue from selling eggs to selling chicken pot pies. All Rocky needs is a few good hen. This stop-motion animated comic gem by the directing tandem of Peter Lord and Nick Park was chosen as Best Animated Film by the National Board of Review and the Florida, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Phoenix Film Critics. As the posters screamed: “Poultry in motion! This ain’t no chick flick!”
Dec. 30 – March of the Penguins – Emperor penguins overcome daunting obstacles in order to return to their breeding grounds. Luc Jacquet’s Oscar-winning documentary (narrated by Morgan Freeman) focuses on one couple in particular as they trek across the Antarctic on an annual journey that invokes just about every life experience. David Denby in The New Yorker calls it “a perfect family movie, a perfect date movie, and one of the most eye-ravishing documentaries ever made.”
Dec. 31 – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – A black comedy in the guise of a family musical, Willy Wonka is faithful to the spirit – if not the letter – of Roald Dahl’s novella. Chocolate impresario Wonka (Gene Wilder) stages a contest that will provide the lucky winner a lifetime supply of scrumdidilyumptious candy. Only the pure of heart need apply. According to Roger Ebert, “it is everything that family movies claim to be but aren’t: Delightful, funny, scary, exciting, and, most of all, a genuine work of imagination.”
Jan. 1 – Shrek – Once upon a time in a swamp far away there lived Shrek (Mike Myers) a grumpy ogre whose peace is disturbed by an invasion of fairy tale refugees. Only by teaming up with a wise cracking donkey (Eddie Murphy) and agreeing to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) will the normalcy of his life be restored. Or so he thinks. A hip parody of everything sacred in fairy tales, Shrek won the Best Animated Film Oscar and spawned three sequels.
Jan. 2 – Hugo 3D – A young boy embarks on a thrilling adventure to unlock a secret left to him by his father. Director Martin Scorsese’s first 3D excursion is also his first family film and – according to Time’s Richard Corliss – “an act of devotion from a modern movie artist to the wizards who inspired him.” Nominated for 11 Oscars; by evening’s end, it’d won five.
Jan. 3 – Back to the Future 30th Anniversary – The friendship of high-schooler Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) with an eccentric scientist (Christopher Lloyd) working on a time machine is his escape from an unpleasant life, an escape that proves to be the solution to his problems. Robert Zemeckis’ sci-fi comedy became the most successful film of 1985 and spawned two sequels, an animated series, a theme park ride, several video games and an upcoming musical.
Jan. 4 – The Muppets Take Manhattan – The third of a live-action musical film series featuring Jim Henson’s Muppets finds our friends trying to put on a show on Broadway. It marked Frank Oz’s solo directorial debut, introduced the Muppet Babies and became the movie where – according to Roger Ebert – Kermit finally found his identity as “Mickey Rooney in a frog suit.”