Once again, ShortsHD The Short Movie Channel (a.k.a. ShortsTV) has theatrically released this year's Academy Award nominated animated, live action and documentary short films. These special programs are usually the only way for most movie fans to see these otherwise illusive short film nominees that can make our break your office Oscar pool. In the second of three parts, Movie Dearest takes a look at this year's five nominees for Best Live Action Short.
Click here for Part 1, the Animated Short Film nominees.
Aya, Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis (France/Israel, 40 minutes).
A traveler mistakes a woman at the airport for his driver and she doesn't immediately correct him in this offbeat tale of a chance encounter that goes too far. Along with a big dose of voyeurism, there's a slow build up of tension in this, the longest of the nominees. However, the aloofness of the characters makes the ultimate payoff hollow.
MD Rating: C-
Boogaloo and Graham, Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney (UK, 14 minutes).
When a dad gives his two adorable young sons two equally adorable chicks to raise problems arise with mum when the title duo grow up. Already a BAFTA Award winner, this heartwarming charmer will easily garner the sentimental vote that often triumphs in this category. It's certainly a winner in my book.
MD Rating: A
Butter Lamp (La lampe au beurre de yak), Wei Hu and Julien Féret (France/China, 15 minutes).
A traveling photographer takes several family portraits of the people of Tibet posed in front of a series of absurd backdrops in this odd entry. The point of it all is elusive until the very end, but it's not one we haven't heard many times before. But the short does possess a quirky allure.
MD Rating: C
Parvaneh, Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger (Switzerland, 25 minutes).
A young Afghani girl working abroad to help her family back home runs into a roadblock when she attempts to send them money via Western Union. The main conflict is, eventually, easily resolved, yet this is ultimately a depiction of a social and culture divide bridged by friendship, buoyed by a winning lead performance by Nissa Kashani.
MD Rating: B
The Phone Call, Mat Kirkby and James Lucas (UK, 20 minutes).
A hotline operator tries to talk a grieving widower out of suicide in (obviously) the most dramatic of the year's nominees. Sally Hawkins (an Oscar nominee last year) and Jim Broadbent (an Oscar winner 13 years ago) heightens this one's profile, yet the climax is drastically undercut by one of the drippiest pop ballads this side of the 1980s.
MD Rating: B-
Coming soon: Part 3 takes a look at the five Oscar nominees for Best Documentary Short Subject.
Reviews by Kirby Holt, creator and editor of Movie Dearest, The QuOD: The Queer Online Database and the Out Movie Guide.