One of my favorite events is coming up on Sunday, February 26, 2017, the 89th Academy Awards. That means that it’s also time for the Oscar-nominated short films to come to theatres. The Live Action Short Films and the Animated Short Films programs will be playing in theatres starting Friday, February 10th.
The live-action shorts are often springboards to feature film careers, and a number of short films have later been turned into full feature films. The animated shorts are a delight to watch and can run the gamut of traditional animation to incredible groundbreaking techniques.
Here are my reviews for the Short Film (Animated) category in order of who I think will win:
Piper – dir. Alan Barillaro, USA, 6 minutes
From Pixar Animation Studios, Piper tells the story of a young sandpiper hatchling who ventures from her next for the first time to dig for food with her mother on the shoreline. The world is a scary place, and for a young sandpiper that is used to her mom feeding her, it’s tough to learn how to avoid the waves while digging for your breakfast. This beautiful and touching film played for audiences with the feature animated film Finding Dory. The animation is gorgeous and looks almost life like. The story is sweet, humorous that hits the heartstrings. It’s a dazzling and delightful film that just might net Pixar its first animated short Oscar since 2002. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again
Pearl – dir. Patrick Osborne, USA, 6 minutes
The film follows a girl and her dad as they travel across the USA in their beloved hatchback named Pearl. It’s about the love of life, music, family and how we sometimes have to put away our dreams to better our family. We see how the daughter and dad connect through music as we see their lives revel through the years in their trusty Pearl. The story flows so well that I didn’t want it to end. The music is charming, and the animation is warm and fits the storyline perfectly. It should be noted that this is the first VR (Virtual Reality) film to be nominated for an Oscar. My Rating: Full Price
Borrowed Time – dirs. Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj, USA, 7 minutes
A weathered and weary sheriff returns to a fateful cliff where the remains of accident litter the ground, an accident he has spent a lifetime trying to forget. As he walks through the wreckage, the memories of that day come flooding back, showing him a decision that he will always regret. The look of this film is very distinctive, setting this film apart from the other nominees. The storyline has the look and feel of a classic western film and a thrilling ending that will keep you on the edge of your seat. My Rating: Full Price
Blind Vaysha – dir. Theodore Ushev, Canada, 8 minutes
Vaysha was born with one green eye and one brown eye. She doesn’t see like normal people; her left eye only sees the past, and her right eye only see the future. Vaysha lives every day in a curse where her vision doesn’t allow her to see the present, only what has happened and what will happen. This is a unique looking film that uses flowing drawings that merge and evolve into other images. I didn’t enjoy this film as much as some of the other nominated movies. The storyline never really touched me and felt the film dragged at times. My Rating: Bargain Matinee
Pear Cider and Cigarettes – dir. Robert Valley, Canada, and UK, 35 minutes
The longest film in the animation category, the film is about a man named Techno Stypes, a daredevil when he was a kid, whose hard living lifestyle has finally caught up to him. Techno is sick and has beaten him down to where he is barely functioning. A lifelong friend is sent by Techno’s father to bring him back to the States from China, where Techno is trying to get a liver transplant. Will Techno get back to the states and what kind of shape will he be in when he gets there? The film is R-rated and is not for kids. The film is too long, and we can see what is going to happen to Techno almost from the start. While did enjoy the animated style of the film (done by Robert Valley, who has worked on a lot of the Gorillaz music videos) and the soundtrack, filled with 90s tunes, is fun, I wanted the film to end about 15 minutes earlier than it does. My Rating: Bargain Matinee
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
The Academy Awards in on Sunday, Feb. 26.