I didn't enjoy the short animated films that much this year. IT IS NOT BECAUSE OF MY BIAS against animated film in general. Some years, I have enjoyed the animated shorts more than the live-action shorts! This year is not one of them.
It doesn't help - me, at least - that the people who put together the Oscar Shorts Showcase feel the need to pad the Animated when the five nominees are all really short. I've noticed this in the past -- they throw in a few other short animated films when everything is like ten minutes, so that you don't pay around ten bucks and then sit there in the theater all pissed off that you had less than an hour of filmage. Could they just charge less for the Oscar shorts? Why yes, yes they could. But I digress. So in this case we had nominee, nominee, nominee, nominee, then a "Highly Commended" (translation: you didn't get nominated), another Highly Commended (those are their words not mine), a third Highly Commended (are we quite finished yet), and then finally the fifth nominee.
Careful readers will note that they make you watch the highly commendeds before getting around to the final nominated short film. Which tells me they know no one cares. Just get on with it already, and if anyone feels they have not got their precious money's worth, then they can stay for the highly commendeds after the nominees.
With no further ado:
French Roast - It was cute. Charming, even. Not special or wondrous, but it was cute. Short and sweet and clever, and all visual story with no spoken dialogue. A few characters in and out of a French cafe, with a bit of mystery about who's what, and so forth. I'd be OK with it winning.
The Lady and the Reaper - It was cute. Charming, even. Not special ... wow, notice a theme here? Maybe this one was a bit more wondrous. It had cleverness. The Reaper of the title is the Grim one, trying to take the soul of an old woman as she dies in a hospital, but having to fight the heroic doctor for it. The struggle is a frenzy, and it's pretty well done. I'd be OK with it winning.
A Matter of Loaf and Death - I know there are people out there who just DIE at the mere mention of Wallace and Gromit. Sigh. Well, congratulations, because you get thirty minutes of them if you go to see the Animated Shorts, whereas all the other films are, like, eight minutes. It was cute. I'd be OK with it winning, and it's likely going to.
Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty - Eh. I mean, I suppose it was clever enough of an idea but it didn't really do it for me. Scary old lady grandma terrifies a child with a bedtime story that is her totally twisted elderly-people-are-wronged version of Sleeping Beauty. I'm not really into this one winning.
Logorama - Not half bad! I hope this one wins. To the extent that I care. It's a totally irreverent story where everything but everything is corporate logos, and Ronald McDonald commits a heist of sorts. I laughed out loud!
No, I will not be reviewing the three highly commendeds - this is a blog entry for Oscar nominees. You can watch most of these online, actually. Isn't that fun. Five days until the Awards !!!