Quick Reviews: Oscar Nominated Short Films
So my dumb ass released her Oscar predictions on Sunday and like I always do, I ball parked the short nominees because I never get to see them. Turns out, nearly all of these are available to watch online, so here are my quick reviews. The film summaries are copied from IMDb.
Period. End of Sentence - "In a rural village outside Delhi, India, women lead a quiet revolution. They fight against the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation."
Can you believe this was funded through a bake sale? I thought that was pretty extraordinary. This is available to watch on Netflix and I thought it was a very amusing and inspiring. Inspiring because these women are doing great things and amusing to see so many dudes be uncomfortable talking about periods. At one point someone compares a pad to an unattractive but competent man. A-
Black Sheep - "After the high-profile killing of Damilola Taylor, Cornelius' family move out of London. But when they discover their new town is run by racists, Cornelius takes a drastic step to survive."
You can watch this on The Guardian's website here. This is told with a single interview and reenactments which makes it feel a bit like something you'd find on cable, but it didn't make the story any less depressing. I just wasn't crazy about the execution, though I feel a lot for Cornelius. B-
End Game - "Filmed and edited in intimate vérité style, this movie follows visionary medical practitioners who are working on the cutting edge of life and death and are dedicated to changing our thinking about both."
This is also available to stream on Netflix. This is another one that is sad. It's hard to say goodbye to love ones and seeing them deteriorate. I just went through this recently with my Grandmother, so this was not an easy watch for me. It felt familiar, but I didn't feel like I learned anything new, which is what I always look for in documentaries. C+
A Night At the Garden -"In 1939, New York’s Madison Square Garden was host to an enormous––and shocking––gathering of 20,000 Americans that has largely been forgotten from our history."
This you can watch on PBS's website and it's only 7 minutes long. While I didn't know of this event before watching, I'm not shocked that 20,000 disgusting Nazis supporters all railed together. But...why is this Oscar nominated? It's archived footage with no commentary at all. We already know there's Nazis in America. Our president is currently empowering them. Why not expand on this with some thoughtful dialogue? This just felt unfinished. F
Lifeboat -"Volunteers from a German non-profit risk the waves of the Mediterranean to pluck refugees from sinking rafts pushing off from Libya in the middle of the night."
This is on youtube. It's also who I predicted to win in my Oscar pool. I still standby it winning, it's a great doc. What these men do is nothing short of amazing. Watching these good human beings took the bad taste of Night of the Garden out of my mouth. A
(The other nominee, Bao, I had already seen as it was attached to Incredibles 2)
Animal Behaviour - "Five animals meet regularly to discuss their inner angst in a group therapy session led by Dr. Clement, a canine psychotherapist."
This one is also on Youtube. This was pretty funny. If you've seen an episode of Bojack Horseman, you've essentially seen this type of humor too. B-
Late Afternoon - "An elderly woman drifts back through her memories. She exists between two states, the past and the present"
Another Youtube find! I cried. What a gem this was. I really like this style of animation, it reminds me of Song of the Sea, which I adored. I preferred this to Bao. A
One Small Step - "Luna is a vibrant young Chinese-American girl who dreams of becoming an astronaut. From the day she witnesses a rocket launching into space on TV"
Hello, Youtube. Ahh this one made me cry too. The animation is lovely, but the story is just a teensy bit fucked up in a way. B+
Weekends - "'Weekends' is the story of a young boy shuffling between the homes of his recently divorced parents"
Also on youtube. The animation in this is awesome but I felt like the story dragged a bit. B-
Live Action Short
Fauve - "Set in a surface mine, two boys sink into a seemingly innocent power game with Mother Nature as the sole observer..."
Youtube. I found this kind of frustrating. You know going in something awful is going to happen as these two kids keep fucking around. It ends exactly the way you think it will. It is very well acted, however. C+
Marguerite - "An aging woman and her nurse develop a friendship that inspires her to unearth unacknowledged longing and thus help her make peace with her past."
I found this on Youtube as well, however you have to use Google's closed captions as there are no subtitles so I don't know how accurate the dialogue is. There are so few movies about older LGBTQ folks that this was a welcomed addition. It's still sad, considering it's about a woman at the end of her life, but it makes me feel something different other than the other sad shorts I watched. A
Madre - "While at home in her apartment with her own mother in Spain, a woman gets a phone call from her six-year-old son, who's on holiday in France with his father. Every parent's nightmare ensues."
After some confusion with another short film called Madre on HBO Go, I found this on youtube. The English closed captions on this are definitely way off but the plot isn't lost on you because of that. From the little Spanish I do know I was able to follow along well enough, but I wish I had a bit more clarity in the dialogue itself. This is a very tense 15 minutes. B-
I couldn't find the other two nominees - Detainment or Skin online. Detainment has a few clips on Youtube and the child actors seem to be really good in it, but it's still kind of fucked up that this movie got sprung on James Bulger's parents like this. Skin, I could only find a trailer for. I know a full length film with Jamie Bell is coming out this year, so I didn't have as much to go off of as I did Detainment. I still stand by Marguerite winning the Live Action category.