February Film Feast for Families

By Michael Berick

february family friendly movies

“My Life As A Zucchini” is one of February’s cool movie debuts. PHOTO COURTESY GKIDS FILMS

Arriving this month are two non-Hollywood movies that should interest cinemaphiles young and old. One is a small Swiss animated film and the other is a big IMAX movie, but both celebrate the human condition in their own unique ways.

“Dream Big: Engineering Our World,” the IMAX movie, will debut at the California Science Center (700 Exposition Park, L.A.; www.californiasciencecenter.org) Feb. 17. Created by MacGillivray Freeman Films, a studio that usually focuses on showcasing interesting creatures, this film instead focuses on interesting creators. “Dream Big” profiles talented and innovative engineers who have brought their dreams to life, from the woman who builds bridges in poor nations to help improve people’s quality of life to the man who uses technology to study the mysteries of China’s Great Wall. There is also the story of a high school engineering team from an underprivileged Mississippi town that built a solar-powered car and raced it across Australia. Besides being visually stunning, “Dream Big” also is an intellectually inspiring work, particularly as it relates to STEM education. The film screens at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. daily, and tickets (which do not include Science Center admission) are $8.50 for adults, $6.25 for ages 13-17 with valid student ID and $5.25 for ages 4-12.

If “Dream Big” aims at the brain, “My Life As A Zucchini,” the small Swiss film, goes for the heart. This marvelous stop-motion animated movie tells the story of a young boy (Zucchini is his nickname) who becomes an orphan and winds up living with other orphans in a foster home. Directed by Claude Barras, “My Life” is at times sad and melancholic while also being sweet and heartwarming. (The story might be too dark for very young kids.) The movie, released in 2016 in French, has been making the rounds on the film festival circuit, where it has been racking up honors and accolades. Esteemed family film distributor GKIDS will now release an English-dubbed version of the film featuring the vocal work of Will Forte, Nick Offerman, Ellen Page and Amy Sedaris. It will open in L.A. Feb. 24 at the Nuart (11272 Santa Monica Blvd., www.landmarktheatres.com/los-angeles/nuart-theatre). Tickets are $9-11 adults, $9 children.

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