Movie(s) of the Month: 2005 Academy Award Short Films Collection
I've meant to get to these collections for years, and finally pulled the trigger on one. Both the live-action and the animation nominees were featured (unless they were exclusive to their studios, as in the cases of Pixar's One Man Band and the original short film version of 9). A few comments on the live-action jobs:
Our Time is Up (Rob Pearlstein and Pia Clemente) - I guess this one was added so there was an American nominee or something. Kevin Pollak is a placating, unhelpful psychologist who learns he's got just a few weeks to live and decides he suddenly wants to try extreme methods to help his patients. The patients are painted with broad strokes by a screenwriter who either doesn't respect people or psychology (or both) and the jokes are obvious. It's shot nicely, but the script is beyond insulting.
Ausreißer (The Runaway) (Ulrike Grote) - This German short is about a man who is suddenly followed around by a boy who keeps calling him "Dad" and saying his mother told him to find him. There are twists, and while I can't say any of them are actually surprising, it's still a nice little tale about fatherhood and responsibility.
The Last Farm (Rúnar Rúnarsson and Thor S. Sigurjónsson) - The next stop in our world tour is Iceland. This one relies almost entirely on its two surprises for its punch, so in the case anyone's thinking of catching these (and I recommend it) I'll just say it's about a man who's thinking more about he and his wife's postmortem plans than the impending visit of his daughter and her family. It's a nice, quiet film that's shot beautifully, even if the viewer will pick up where it's going long before it ends.
Cashback (Sean Ellis and Lene Bausager) - This British short (which would later be made into a feature by Ellis, reusing all his actors) is...something. It's about a bunch of bored grocery store workers and how they "fight the clock" to make it through their eight hours. The lead, Sean Biggerstaff, kills the time by pretending he's freezing time and undressing the female customers, then painting them. This one spends most of its time being a comedy before the long exploitative/dramatic collage of nude scenes, and it's edited so poorly I almost think it was a stylistic choice. There's a story here, but the writer didn't find it.
Six Shooter (Martin McDonagh) - Okay, here we go. The Oscar goes to this brilliant Irish film starring Brendan Gleeson as a man whose wife has died the previous night. The film opens with Gleeson at his wife's bedside after her passing, and from there he boards a train where he meets an obnoxious young kid and the parents of a baby who died of SIDS the night before. In its 25ish minutes, this movie packs in more surprises and smart dialogue than most full-length features manage.
I should stop ignoring short films, then.
What have you seen?