2010 Oscar Nominated Shorts Reviews
Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty - 6/10
French Roast - 10/10
Logorama - 9/10
Wallace and Gromit in "A Matter of Loaf and Death" - 8.5/10
My pick for Best Animated Short would be French Roast. A close second would be The Lady and the Reaper.
~"French Roast" - Fabrice O. Joubert (FRANCE, 8 mins)
This short film set in a French cafe tells a great story through it's various characters. The ending is slightly predictable but it ends with a touching and heartwarming gesture which is sure to have been the reason for its nomination. My rating: 7/10.
~"Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty" - Nicky Phelan and Darragh O'Connell (IRELAND, 6 mins)
This animated short is a laugh-out-loud, hilarious farce on the classic Grimm's tale, and a creative twist on the traditional image of grandmothers and bedtime stories. The story and dialogue are great. The voice-over work for the Granny O' Grimm character is well suited and adds to the humor. Over all, a well-concieved story from the Irish company, Brown Bag films. My rating: 8/10.
~ "The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)" - Javier Recio Gracia (SPAIN, 8 mins) -- Produced by Antonio Banderas
This short is quite misleading in the first two minutes. Director Javier Recio Gracia has you believe you will be taking a nostaligic, heart-felt journey into the after-life with an elderly woman as she meets the grim reaper, and then literally rips you back to reality; and then back to the afterlife again.
In the film, the old woman is saved by a heroic, johnny-bravo-esque doctor who brings her back to life. The Lord of Death isn't too happy about that. A tug-of-war plot ensues that feels a little too stylized and contrived. It's not unlike anything you couldn't catch flipping though Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network. Of course, it attempts to garner some laughs along the way, which it does, but some are forced and end up falling flat. What's worse is Gracia speeds up the action in this film to draw less attention to the weakly-concieved gags thrown into the mix. Even the sim-like mumbles uttered from the characters get annoying after awhile. However, the ending sort of makes up for deflated jokes but I don't see how this one was even considered in the nomination, except for its first few opening sequences. Antonio Bandaras must have purchased this nomination. My rating: 5/10.
~"Logorama" - Nicolas Schmerkin (ARGENTINA, 16 mins) - featuring the voices of director David Fincher and screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker
This short was a very creative and imaginative take on the theme of consumerism (if that's a word). It serves as an interesting and humorous allegory of how we are literally drowning in a sea of logos and advertisements when we step out of our front door. I wouldn't be surprised to see this one win the Oscar for best animated short, and so I predict it will take home the award.
Ever wonder what Ronald McDonald does in his spare time? Does the Michelin Man make a good police officer? Is the man on the Pringle box secretly a pervert? This film is a great parody on consumer icons, bringing logos of all companies and generations together in a world of floating MSN butterflies and Grease logo motorcycles. The trademarks are so many in this film, they are hard to count, but fun to recognize nontheless. I almost wonder how a single short was able to get so many companies to agree in letting their logos be used in a film about the negative impact of modern commercialism. My rating: 9/10.
~"A Matter of Loaf and Death" - Nick Park (UNITED KINGDOM, 30 mins)
Wallace and Gromit are back in their visually rich, stop-motion, clay version of little britain. This time, they own a successful bake shop which doubles as their home. Wallace, as bumbling and clueless as ever, has an eye for Piella Bakewell, the poster-girl for another bakery, Bake-O-Lite. An incident of fate cause the two to meet and a comedic romance montage ensues. All the while, there have been various murders in town; all involving the death of a local baker. Soon the plot turns into a murder mystery as the intellegent Gromit becomes suspicious of Piellia and Wallace's relationship.
This film offers everything you expect from a Wallace and Gromit movie; crazy, mechanical contraptions, quirky characters, and a funny yet predictable plot. I personally love britcoms and the british brand of comedy, and I have always been a fan of Wallace And Gromit. That being said, this was my favorite out of all the shorts. My rating: 9/10.
Now, you will notice that the new Pixar short "Partly Cloudy" was not in the running for an Oscar. However it was shown as an honorable mention. I feel with the overwhelming success of "Up", Pixar doesn't need to worry about cornering the market in animated shorts. The shorts that occur before pixar films used to be ground-breaking, animated films that revolutionized and improved the field of computer-generated animation(sorry, the animation geek in me came out for a second. Thats a result of my major.). Today, they are more of a nostaligic tradition that we have come to expect before our feature presentation. I'm not hating on the Pixar short though, the quality in telling a simple and charming story is still there, and serves the purpose of an animated short. I think the Academy did quite well in picking their nominations and that mostly all are quite worthy of an award.