Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Oscar Nominated Shorts 2012 (Rhoades)

Oscar Shorts Are
Over 6 ½ Hours Long

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Gee, the 85th Academy Awards may call these “Shorts,” but all together these 15 nominated short films add up to over 6 ½ hours of viewing.
That’s a lot of seat time.
But worth it.
If you’re like me, you enter an Oscar Pool each year, predicting which films will come up winners. Sure, you’ve seen all the Best Picture candidates, and even most the Best Foreign Language Film Nominees. So you have a shot at getting these categories right. But what about some of those other awards categories -- like Shorts? Doesn’t it aggravate you that you don’t have much of a chance to see them in advance? After all, movie theaters simply do not include Selected Short Subjects before the main feature liked they used to.
Why so many Shorts? Because they fall into three separate categories: Live Action Shorts, Animated Shorts, and Documentary Shorts -- five each.
And you can see all three of these collections this week at the Tropic Cinema. Taken by group they break down to 113 minutes (Live Action), 88 minutes (Animation), and 206 minutes (Documentary).
The Live Action Shorts will be hosted by last year’s winner, Luke Matheny (“God of Love”). This program includes:
“Asad” (South Africa/USA), a coming-of-age story about a Somali boy who must choose the life of pirate or become a fisherman.
“Buzkashi Boys” (Afghanistan/USA) tells of two young friends growing up in war-ravaged Kabul.
“Curfew” (USA) gives us a depressed kid named Richie who is asked by his estranged sister to look after her 9-year-old daughter for the evening.
“Death of a Shadow” (Belgium/France) is an eerie tale of a man who collects the shadow of Nathan, a soldier who died during World War I, offering him a second life.
“Henry” (Canada) is about a concert pianist who becomes distraught when a loved one mysteriously disappears.
The Animated Shorts will be hosted by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, the directors behind last year’s winner (“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.”) The program includes:
“Head Over Heels” (UK). This animated film is about a couple who have grown apart (him living on the floor; her on the ceiling). But can they put their marriage back together?
“The Longest Daycare” (USA). A Matt Groening short in which Homer’s daughter Maggie longs to be with the gifted children at the Ayn Rand Daycare Center.
“Paperman” (USA). This is the story of a lonely man who must use his imagination and a stack of papers to win the girl of his dreams.
“Fresh Guacamole’ (USA). A very odd cookbook, here we learn how to turn ordinary objects into -- you guessed it -- fresh guacamole;
“Adam and Dog” (USA). Did Adam have a dog in the Garden of Eden? Apparently so, and here we learn how he became man’s bet friend.
The Documentary Shorts will be hosted by last year’s winners, Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Daniel Junge (“Saving Face”). The program includes:
“Kings Point” (USA). Director Sari Gilman shares the stories of five seniors living in a Florida retirement resort. This powerful film explores the balance between living independently and growing old.
“Mondays At Racine” (USA). 
Director Cynthia Wade follows two brassy Long Island sisters who on Mondays offer free beauty treatment for women undergoing chemotherapy.
“Inocente” (USA) 
Directors Sean Fine and Andrea Nix give us a coming-of-age documentary about a young woman determined to never let her life as an undocumented immigrant get in the way of her dream to become an artist.
“Redemption” (USA). 
Directors Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
examines the growing number of New Yorkers who salvage through the city’s trash rather than ask for a handout.
 “Open Heart” (USA). 
Director Kief Davidson follows eight Rwandan children as they journey to Sudan to receive high-risk heart surgery. With only months to live, can they be saved by Dr. Emmanuel Rusingiza, Rwanda's lone government cardiologist?
Note: There is an intermission during the Documentary Shorts showing.
There you have it -- this year’s nominated Oscar Shorts. You might say, the long and the short of it.

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