Fun, For Reel

Don't be troubled by the lineup of films at the 22nd Annual KidFilm Festival. The Naked Brothers Band isn't as risqué as its title suggests. And from what I've learned about the rules of sequels, I'm guessing Bambi II is about the orphaned deer and pals raising money (by break dancing!) to save their local recreation center from greedy developers. If I'm right, that has to be awesome.

For the childless, the festival guarantees that neighborhood youth will be packed into the Angelika—meaning you can relax in a quiet nearby theater watching hot cowboys make out without fear of interruption by crying babies. Meanwhile, breeders and their broods can enjoy former Pee Wee's Playhouse playmate (and cowboy!) Laurence Fishburne tricking kids into believing that spelling is fun in Akeelah and the Bee.

The festival pays tribute to three award-winning children's storytellers, including author-illustrator Rosemary Wells and producer-director David Devine. Perhaps most enticing, however, is the festival's Special Return to “Fraggle Rock”: a selection of episodes hosted by Dave Goelz (aka The Great Gonzo) dedicated to the series' late co-creator and writer, Jerry Juhl.

But let's face facts: It's all about chimps and chocolate for most of you. The event offers a special advanced screening of the soon-to-be blockbuster, Curious George. The animated tale features voice work by Will Ferrell, David Cross and Dick Van Dyke and provides both monkey-balloon-floating action for kids and sentimental childhood regression therapy for adults. Those of you terminally offended by remakes: Your ticket just got goldener! Nothing screams "In your face, Depp!" like a sing-along version of the Gene Wilder classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Rounding out the festival's schedule is a film about the real-life Winnie the Pooh (A Bear Named Winnie), an “Animation Extravaganza” and a movie that sounds so fantastic even the most cynical art film elitists will be tempted to attend. According to its press release, Wonder Dogs is about "two stolen dogs with magical healing powers" and features Charles Durning as "a wise old codger." I could tell you more, but I shouldn't have to. They had me at "Durning."

The USA Film Festival's 22nd annual KidFilm Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Angelika Film Center. Tickets will go on sale at the Angelika beginning at noon each day for that day's shows only.
Jan. 21-22, 12:30 p.m.