You can bring the kids for the stilt walkers and jugglers, for the popcorn, pizza and face-painting, for all the under-the-big-tent fun that is Cinema Circus at the Chilmark Community Center every Wednesday at 5 p.m. The main act, of course, is the movie. Here to review what’s on the big screen tomorrow is Island kid critic Gabe Merkel.
This week the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival presents Animal Crackers, a series of eight short films, each featuring animals. I liked all of them, and especially enjoyed these:
Zoologic, directed by Nicole Mitchell. I think this is probably one of the funniest of all of the shorts. It has no words and is animated. That is what makes it good for little kids. One of the reasons why it is so finny is the zookeeper can’t get the animals to do what they are supposed to do. Here is an example: the flamingo stands on two legs instead of one. The zookeeper just wants a normal zoo. I think the funniest person is the zookeeper.
Bark George, written by Jules Feiffer, directed by Gene Deitch and narrated by John Lithgow. This is a hilarious movie about a dog named George and his mother. George can’t bark so instead he says “meow,” “quack, quack,” “oink,” and “moo.” George’s mother takes George to the vet and the same thing happens. In the end, there is a funny explanation.
The New Species, created by Maris Brinkman and Evalds Lacis. As the short begins, two bugs are getting ready to go on a picnic with their kids, so they get all dressed up in wigs and finery and get on their pet snail. When they get to their picnic spot they can’t decide where to put the picnic blanket. While they are arguing, a scientist sneaks up on them and traps them. The scientist wants to add them to his dead bug collection but the bugs and their children have other ideas. This is when it gets very funny. Without giving it away, in the end everybody is happy.
Elephants, written and directed by Sally Pearce. This short is very strange and wonderful. It is a mix between live action and animation. It is about a girl who lives in a totally grey house. Her parents are afraid of color. The parents blame her for burping loudly when it was an elephant, living in the attic, who was burping. The parents don’t know that there are elephants living in the attic. Later on, the girl’s parents find a huge pile of droppings in the house. The dad takes a sample of it to the vet to figure out what it is, and they learn they have a pest problem ... they have elephants in the house. In order for them to catch the elephants, they have to paint the house in bright colors. This film makes grownups look silly and kids look good.
Butterflies, written and directed by Andy Bailey. This is about a boy who is very shy and has a teacher who wants him to tell the class about his pet hermit crab. But the boy is too shy and later on in the film you find out that the boy has butterflies in his stomach and he has to do something really scary to get them out. He tries to get them out with a vacuum, but it doesn’t work. He also tries waving a flower right next to his mouth. This doesn’t work either. I don’t want to spoil the end, but it ends well.
Producer Fisher Stevens and special guest Laurie David will attend the 8 p.m. screening of The Cove, a 2008 documentary on dolphin capture in Japan.
Directed by Louie Psihoyos, this 90-minute film begins by recalling the 1960s, when Richard O’Barry was the world’s leading authority on dolphin training, working on the set of the popular television program Flipper. Day in and day out, Mr. O’Barry kept the dolphins working and television audiences smiling. But one day, that all came to a tragic end. The Cove tells the amazing true story of how Psihoyos, O’Barry, and an elite team of activists, filmmakers and freedivers embarked on a covert mission to penetrate a hidden cove in Japan, shining light on a dark and deadly secret. The mysteries they uncovered were only the tip of the iceberg.
Also at the Chilmark Community Center. Tickets are $6 for film festival members, $12 for the general public and $5 for kids.