Monday, February 22, 2010

The 2010 Short Oscars: Animated!

I got to see the Animated nominees a little earlier than I thought I would. As usual, fantastic storytelling and a wide palette ranging from nasty humor to dark melodrama is here. The 3D thing has almost completely overtaken the program, and good old fashioned cell animation or even Flash is seeming almost a thing of nostalgia these days. The blazing exception, and hands down my favorite, is "Logorama", a dizzying nightmare in rotoscope told entirely in corporate logos and mascots. Yes, you read that right. An urban nightmare and apocalyptic specter is rendered using a homicidal Ronald McDonald, lecherous Pringles characters, and the fall of planet Pepsi. Of course this is France's entry, as an American animator would be hung up by his packaging for making a movie like this, and it's our loss. I haven't seen animation this nasty and subversive since the coke damaged 80s era of "Ren And Stimpy" or "Jack Mac and Rad Boy", which is saying something.
On a completely different tip is the latest from Wallace And Gromit representing Britain in "A Matter Of Loaf And Death", involving true love for Wallace and Gromit too amidst a murder spree affecting bakers like our heroes. Even funnier is Spain's "The Lady And The Reaper", which turns a little old lady's acceptance of death into a Tex Avery-esque battle between the Grim Reaper and a vain surgeon. There are many other entries in the current program scoring Noteworthy status - whatever that means - including Canada's "Runaway", about a runaway train and the nebbish assistant driver who tries desperately to save the day. It's the other 2D entry and it's a beaut, simply drawn and full of great sight gags.

So that's both programs. Watch them online right now!
BTW Anyone want to explain why shorts are not shown before movies anymore but commercials are?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Short Subject Oscars 2010

This week is the Live Action subjects, and for those who saw last year's nominees, I can wholeheartedly say this year offers a vastly improved quintet of pieces. Hard to pick a winner out of this bunch, but for me it would be "The New Tenants". The one recognizable face is Vincent D'Onofrio, as a cuckolded husband and one of the many characters that pass through a gay couple's door in one fateful sequence of events. Sure it could be a one act play, but I'll take it on film too. I very much loved "Instead Of Abracadabra" as well, a hilarious story of a struggling magician trying to impress a girl, his conservative parents and local audiences at the same time. Very reminiscent of Wes Anderson in it's celebration of nerdy achievement and it's unremittingly cheerful outlook.
I'll be back soon with the Animated Program! ETA Watch all the shorts right now!