Small World

For the record, we've got nothing against The Lion King. It's got swell animation, a great voice cast, and it's a solid entertainment value. But it seems like Disney is all that kids know when it comes to the cinema. So what's a parent to do?

Madstone Theaters now offers a consciousness-raising alternative for junior cinephiles: The venue's new Best of Classic Kids' Films Series features kids' films with cultural heft at matinees every other weekend through the end of March. The intent is to provide young viewers with the same kind of sophisticated fare, old and new, that it screens for adults.

"Madstone wants to be a theater that's more than a theater," notes theater spokesman Joseph Marchione. "We want to be more of a home for unique storytellers." And to that end, the children's series features such literature-based flicks as The Black Stallion, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and The Secret Garden, as well as supplementary programming -- special guests, post-film discussions and giveaways -- as part of the overall film-going experience.

Not much compares to seeing a film for the first time on the big screen in a darkened theater, and Marchione thinks it's an experience parents long to share with kids raised in the throwaway age of videos and DVDs. "On one hand, adults can feel nostalgic," Marchione says. "And on the other hand, they won't have to worry about content." They won't have to be embarrassed about spending the afternoon at a kid flick, either: "That's what's cool about the movies we've picked: They're for kids of all ages. Willy Wonka hasn't been seen on the big screen in a while, and I personally have at least a couple of adult friends I know who are serious about coming."

Give in to your juvenile tastes: Admission is only $5.50. Madstone Theaters is at 7777 East Hampden Avenue, Tamarac Square; for information and showtimes, call 303-752-3218 or log on to www.madstonetheaters.com. And if you'd like to offer input for further series offerings beyond March, e-mail your suggestions to [email protected].