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Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: The best family films

Featuring The House of Magic, Island of Lemurs: Madagascar and Wolfy, the Incredible Secret

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Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: The best family films

The House of Magic

Despite all that Pixar has done for children’s films, it can be nice to see something outside the big studios. Step forward The House of Magic, a film from Belgium about a cute cat who is abandoned but taken in by a magician with an incredible house. When his new owner is hospitalised, the cat must mobilise all of the house’s magical creatures to prevent it from being sold. The focus is more likely to be on homely sentimentality than dramatic nuance but the set-up provides an opportunity for attention-grabbing animation and colourful magical gizmos.
Filmhouse, Sat 28 June.

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar

Don’t be deceived by the title: this is not a Madagascar spin-off, featuring the party mad King Julien. However, if you thought lemurs were cute in animation, it is worth seeing how adorable they are in life. Made by the team behind “Born to be Wild”, the documentary explores how these animals, which are only found on the island, are becoming endangered. It’s an important issue - but if you just go to hear Morgan Freeman’s soothing voice over and gasp at the images, that’s OK too.
Cineworld, Sun 22 June.

For the Family Shorts

Just because they are short doesn’t mean they compromise on quality. Many of these films have already been scooping up awards around the festivals, making this one of the most celebrated 81 minutes you’ll ever spend in a cinema. Ranging from one minute to 18 minutes long, the shorts are an assortment of stop motion, live action and deceptively simple line drawings. But whether they are graduate degree projects or the product of industry leading animators, they will all hopefully grab the attention of those with short attention spans, young or old.
Filmhouse, Sat 28 June.

Wolfy, the Incredible Secret

There’s something endearingly old-fashioned looking about this animated tale of a wolf searching for his long lost mother with the help of his rabbit best friend. It may be because the drawings seem like a scratchy version of Babar or because of the turn of the century setting. Either way it looks set to be a charming film that both children and adults can lose themselves in.
Filmhouse, Sat 21 June.

How To Train Your Dragon (Film in the City)

Just in time for the sequel, there’s an opportunity to see the first movie about the wouldbe dragon trainer Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III and his firebreathing friend Toothless. You could do worse than getting out the picnic blankets and heading down to St Andrew Square for the free open air screening.

The House of Magic

  • 3 stars
  • 2013
  • Belgium
  • 85 min
  • U
  • Directed by: Jeremy Degruson/Ben Stassen
  • Written by: James Flynn/Dominic Paris
  • Cast: Cinda Adams, Edward Asner, Emily Blunt
  • UK release: 25 July 2014

Thunder, an abandoned young cat seeking shelter from a storm, stumbles into the strangest house imaginable, owned by an old magician and inhabited by a dazzling array of automatons and gizmos.

Wolfy, the Incredible Secret (Loulou, l'incroyable secret)

  • 2013
  • France
  • 80 min
  • U
  • Directed by: Eric Omond
  • Written by: Grégoire Solotareff/Jean-Luc Fromental
  • Cast: Malik Zidi, Stéphane Debac, Anaïs Demoustier

Delightful animated film about a young wolf and his best friend, a rabbit.

How to Train Your Dragon

  • 3 stars
  • 2010
  • US
  • 97 min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
  • Cast: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, TJ Miller, Kristen Wiig

Commendable new DreamWorks animation set in the mythical world of Vikings and dragons, and based on the book by Cressida Cowell. Hiccup, a Viking teenager, befriends a dragon.

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar

  • 3 stars
  • 2014
  • Canada/US/Madagascar
  • 39 min
  • U
  • Directed by: David Douglas
  • Written by: Drew Fellman
  • Cast: Patricia Wright, Morgan Freeman, Hantanirina Rasamimanana
  • UK release: 5 September 2014

A documentary that follows Dr Patricia C Wright's mission to help lemurs, the highly evolved creatures who arrived on Madagascar millions of years ago as castaways but are now highly endangered.

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