Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oscar Shorts: A review

Reminder: This review is written by an animator and filmmaker. I am not biased for one craft or the other :)
The live action shorts program this year was on par with their feature brothers and sisters (sometimes, better!). The New Tenants is a riot! If you are a fan of black comedy and farce, this short will not leave you disappointed. The ending was completely out of left field, but that's what I loved about it. The film keeps you on the edge of your seat while laughing out loud! Door and Kavi touched on serious global subjects that made you think and relate to the people involved on a personal level. Both films set out to do what they intended to do. Personally, I appreciate their mission, but that is not why I watch films. Miracle Fish had a great story and an equally great child actor as the main character. A predictable twist ending, however it was done with tact and stayed true to it's main character. Good storytelling! Instead of Abracadabra was hilarious and very cute! The love story is real. I feel that many people will relate to this film saying, "I know that guy!" Because the main character reflects someone that everyone knows! My vote this year would be for the New Tenants. It was well done and had a strong sense of storytelling.
I wish I could say the same thing for the Animated Shorts program. Overall, the feature animated selection has more character depth and complex stories. Story was the main component that was lacking in this year's animated shorts selection. Lady and the Reaper, A matter of loaf and death, French Roast, Sleeping Beauty, Runaway, and Partly Cloudy all relied on the typical animated film story pattern. Introduce crazy characters, the majority of the film is an elaborate chase scene, then it ends on a note of irony. All of the choices were technical achievements, but that didn't make them any more interesting than the live action shorts. The Kinematograph was another repetitive story about a man, obsessed with his work realizes too late that one person who cares about him is deathly ill. The only short that was remotely original was Logorama. At first, I thought it was ridiculous and stupid. The two dimensional characters (no pun intended) were mouthing off to each other in a over dramatized, elaborate farce with the Michelin Man chasing blood thirsty, arms smuggling Ronald McDonald in downtown LA, characterized by an overcrowded, heavily advertised backdrop. In the end, nothing is concluded, everything explodes, then the film ends with a zoom out into space. After my three years in LA, I have to admit that this film perfectly illustrates how I feel about the left coast. I am still deciding if i love or like this one. Logorama is my pic for best animated short.
Regardless of my opinions, I suggest that you go to watch both of these programs. Not enough people appreciate or attend short programs of either animation or live action films.
- Super Director Eve

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