A movie review of the “Oscar-Nominated Short Films 2015”: The animated package includes the five nominees, plus some extra titles; the other group contains the live-action nominees. Star rating: 3 stars out of 4.
Two packages of short films — one a gathering of 2015 Oscar-nominated animated works supplemented by some extra titles, and the other this year’s collection of live-action nominees — make for interesting, sometimes fun, sporadically exciting viewing.
Animated Oscar nominees
“A Single Life”: A three-minute record has been known to change some people’s lives, but in this deceptively perky short, a single gal puts a needle to vinyl and has a cradle-to-grave experience.
“The Dam Keeper”: A young pig inexplicably in charge of a town’s dam is belittled and taunted at school. A perceived betrayal leads to a disaster for all. The gorgeous watercolor look of the film is pleasant, but the story doesn’t make much sense.
Movie Review ★★★
‘Oscar-Nominated Short Films 2015’: animated package, 77 minutes; live action, 117 minutes. Not rated. Seven Gables. For more information, go to landmarktheatres.com/seattle.
“Feast”: In this brisk, comic Disney short, a stray puppy becomes a pampered house pet who eats everything his master eats. When another human enters the scene, canine cuisine changes but love rules the heart. It’s nice to see those classic Disney wide eyes on a hand-drawn dog again.
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“Me and My Moulton”: A Norwegian family in 1965 is a slave to midcentury Modernism in all things (including chairs that can’t seem to stay upright). A trio of sisters in this delightful memoir wish their hipster, pacifist dad could be more like other lawn-mowing fathers.
“The Bigger Picture”: This mixed-media adult fare finds two grown brothers in competition over the care of their ailing mother. The mature theme is a nice break from the more innocent films in this Oscar package.
“Bus Story”: Additional shorts include this winning bit of wiggly, hand-drawn animation. The witty tale follows an idealistic school-bus driver who copes with surly and excitable student passengers, bad weather, a failing clutch and a humorless boss.
Live-action Oscar nominees
“Aya”: Sarah Adler stars as an alienated Israeli woman who drives an odd adventure transporting a stranger — a music historian (Ulrich Thomsen) — from an airport to Jerusalem. Impressive camerawork traces the development of an unlikely bond.
“Boogaloo and Graham”: Set in 1978 Northern Ireland, two young brothers simply adore the pet chickens their father gave them (and their mother hates). Amid armed British occupation, the sweetness within this shadowy tale is irresistible.
“Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)”: Hu Wei’s smart riddle of a film finds a roving photographer taking increasingly improbable images of Tibetans against various backdrops while the world noisily, hectically goes on beyond the camera frame. A rare work that considers the aesthetics and politics of the film image.
“Parvaneh”: An unexciting drama about a young Afghan immigrant in Switzerland dodging authorities and finding an unlikely ally in the form of a punky girl.
“The Phone Call:” The wonderful Sally Hawkins anchors this compelling British nominee about a telephone-crisis worker whose attempts to save a grieving, suicidal widower (voiced by Jim Broadbent) give way to a deeper human connection.