Monday, March 1, 2010

dinner and a movie: Oscar nominated shorts

Welcome to my Monday morning recap of my Friday night adventures. Mr. Nomadreader and I had the pleasure of seeing the Oscar nominated short films, both animated and live action. The theater broke them up into two different sessions, which really was a blessing. The shorts are currently showing at selected local theaters, but they're also available on demand in some areas and through iTunes. More information is on the Oscar shorts Web site.

The Live Action Shorts: (Links are to the film's official sites or imdb.)
  • Kavi, a film set in India about modern day slavery. It was bleak, depressing and powerful. The director, Gregg Helvey is currently looking for financing to make it into a full-length feature film.
  • The New Tenants, a dark, violent, satirical gem. I actually squealed when Vincnet D'Onofrio unexpectedly appeared on screen. It's crazy, and it's lovely if you can stomach violent dark humor.
  • Miracle Fish, an Australian film about a charming 8-year-old boy's birthday. His life is far from charming, however. His father is in the hospital, and he's teased at school. He goes into the sick bay at school to take a nap, and when he awakes, everyone is gone. It's an emotionally powerful film, and I hope Luke Doolan, it's writer director, makes a full-length feature film soon.
  • The Door, a bleak look at the confusion, sadness and reality of a family in 1980's Russia.
  • Instead of Abracadabra, a quirky Swedish film about a 25-year-old aspiring magician and his less than supportive parents. The humor was in the style of Napolean Dynamite (a movie I don't care for), but I did laugh a few times. Mostly, it was nice to have something more lighthearted following four dark films. 
My favorite: The New Tenants

Animated Shorts:
Because most of the shorts were so short (less than ten minutes), there were also a few shorts that are not nominated. Naturally, my favorite was among the un-nominated ones. Again, links go to the official sites of the films so you can get a sense of the visual allure of the animation.
  • French Roast, a simple tale of a man in a French cafe who realizes he has no money and keeps ordering more espresso to put off not being able to pay. The story is simple, but the animation is impressive. Most notably, there is a mirror behind the man, so much of the action appears in mirrored form as well.
  • Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty, a delightful tale of a scary grandmother who reads (and goes off track) Sleeping Beauty to her granddaughter. The film is quite visually interesting because it incorporates two kinds of animation. The grandmother and granddaughter appear straight out of any modern Pixar style, but the Sleeping Beauty story is a two-dimensional, colorful, South Asian art style.You can watch the film on their official site.
  • The Lady and the Reaper, a hilarious film about an old woman about to die, the reaper trying to bring her over, and a young, suave doctor known for resuscitations. I laughed throughout most of the film. You can watch the film here.
  • A Matter of Loaf and Death, a Wallace and Gromit claymation bonanza. At thirty minutes, it was by far the longest short, but it was funny, entertaining and an animation masterpiece. 
  • Partly Cloudy is a Pixar film, but it is not actually nominated for an Oscar. It was a brief, funny take at a world where clouds build new life (humans, animals, etc.) with their hands and storks deliver them to front doors and window sills. It's everything you would expect from Pixar: clean, crispy, clever and touching.
  • The Kinematograph, the tale of an inventor struggling to make motion pictures with color. He's already mastered sound, but he wants to wait to reveal his invention until it's perfect. This film was the most visually stunning, and I simply adored the animation. I'm shocked it wasn't nominated.
  • Runaway is the story of a train, and the animation art looks like a picture book. The story was fun, but predictable. It's certainly family friendly.The trailer is available on its official site.
  • Logorama absolutely blew my mind. It's incredible; it's amazing. I adore it. There's a clip of it online, and words really don't do this film justice. Watch it. The film is composed of corporate logos, and the animators took it to amazing lengths.

My favorite: Logorama, hands down. Find a way to see it.

We ate at My Linh, a Vietnamese restaurant next to the theater. It was tasty, but not tasty enough to regale you with details.


  1. Cool! I'm always envious that I haven't seen any of the shorts whey they air clips on the awards show.

  2. I agree (this time) 100 per cent.

    I've long been the "shorts junkie" and hate they are almost never given their just do....

    But also if you need an Oscar laugh, PLEASE go to this site. This odd chap actually does a dinner where he uses Oscar nominees names as "ingedients!" Honestly....

    Worth it, for an Oscary laugh!

    Dian (UK/NY Movie Lover)


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