Tag Archives: short films

Movie Reviews: Oscar-nominated live-action short films for 2012

On my birthday this month, I decided to see the Oscar-nominated short films at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany. This was predicated on the fact that I might see Zero Dark Thirty on video, but might be less likely to find these. As it turned out, it was the very last day of its three- or four-week run. The program ran 115 minutes. The films were interspersed with commentary by Luke Matheny who won a couple years ago for God of Love, which as I noted at the time, was probably my least favorite of the nominees. Unlike the commenters for the animated films this year, I didn’t think Matheny brought that much insight to the table. It didn’t help that he was trying to be wryly humorous and the films, for the most part, were not.

Film descriptions were from the Spectrum website.

Death of a Shadow (France and Belgium/Dutch, 20 minutes) Continue reading Movie Reviews: Oscar-nominated live-action short films for 2012

MOVIE REVIEWS: Oscar-nominated short animated films

It’s rare that The Daughter has gone to the Spectrum Theatre in Albany; in fact, I’m not sure she’d EVER been there. While it is the preferred film venue for the Wife and me, it often has films not suitable for sensitive eight-year-olds. But the ads said that the films nominated for Academy Awards in the animated shorts category were “family-friendly.” This is useful to know, because we saw last year’s entries, and A Morning Stroll most certainly NOT Daughter-friendly, to say the least.

On Washington’s Birthday – which was when the Wife and I went last year; a holiday tradition? – the three of us sojourned to the cinema. In previous years, they just showed the movies, but this year, there was interspersed conversations with William Joyce and Brandon Oldenberg, who created last year’s well-deserved winner, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore [watch it]. In fact, one of these guys looked a bit like Lessmore. They talked about the struggle to get their film made and the surreality of Oscar night.

Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare

The youngest character in the long-running show I used to watch for the first eight or nine seasons Continue reading MOVIE REVIEWS: Oscar-nominated short animated films

Film Review-Oscar shorts, live action

It was Valentine’s Day. The wife and I had a long-standing commitment for a child sitter, and movie passes for The Spectrum Theatre in Albany. Obviously, my grandiose plan to see more Academy Award films had put aside in the past two weeks, so seeing a nominee was my preference. But what? She didn’t want to see True Grit. Watching Blue Valentine, a movie about a disintegrating romance, didn’t seem quite right. Nor did seeing separate movies – she wants to see The Social Network, I The Black Swan.

So we decided to see five movies instead, those Oscar-nominated for best live action short films. The descriptions are from Oscar.com.

The Confession – Tanel Toom (UK-25 minutes)
“A young boy preparing for his first confession worries that he has no sins to report, so he enlists a friend’s help in committing one.”
And it’s a pretty minor one, actually, but one that has consequences. Moody, with a bunch of pointed symbolism, well acted, especially the lead boy. I’m told it’s got the Oscar buzz. A brief clip.

Wish 143 – Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite (UK-24 minutes)
“When a terminally ill young boy is granted a wish by a charitable foundation, he makes a surprising request.”
Actually, he’s an older boy, though not an adult, and what he wants is not to die a virgin, which is a bit of a conumdrum to his priest friend. It has humor and pathos, and it was my favorite of the five. A clip.

Na Wewe– Ivan Goldschmidt (Belgium-19 minutes)
“In 1994, as the Rwandan genocide spills over into neighboring Burundi, a bus is attacked by a group of rebels.”
Very tense; I was awaiting the slaughter, yet imdb called it a comedy? Well, maybe a subtle comedy. Na Wewe means You Too in Kirundi. Looks like the kind of film the Academy would like. A clip.

The Crush -Michael Creagh (Ireland-15 minutes)
“Eight-year-old Ardal has a crush on his teacher and is devastated to learn she has a fiancé.”
And Ardal finds the fiancé unworthy and calls him out. My wife’s favorite film. A clip.

God of Love – Luke Matheny (US-18 minutes)
“A love triangle between two musicians and a young woman takes a surprising turn when one of them finds a collection of magical darts.”
Appropriate for Valentine’s day, though probably the most lightweight of the five. Feels Woody Allenesque somehow. The trailer.

Unsurprisingly, all of the filmmakers are first-time nominees. “The Academy’s entire active membership is eligible to select Oscar winners in all categories, although in five – Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, and Foreign Language Film – members can vote only after attesting they have seen all of the nominated films in those categories.”