The 2011 Oscar Shorts and More
Now Showing at: Cincinnati World Cinema at The Madison Theater starting March 13.
Review by: Larry Thomas
One of the things that Cincinnati World Cinema does best is bring to our area several annual programs of international short films. It’s time for the tenth annual Oscar Nominated Shorts programs. But wait… there’s more! This year there’s a smattering of bonus films plus funny commercials from around the world added to the mix.
The shorts are divided into two different programs, and arranged so you don’t get all live action or all animated in one showing. Program A has the Animated Oscar Winner The Lost Thing, and Program B features God of Love, the live action winner.
In the animation category, The Lost Thing, a film from Australia, is visually interesting, but not particularly endearing or engrossing. I much preferred The Gruffalo, the British entry, based on a children’s book that is a woodland fable about a mother squirrel that distracts her young ones from the dangers of the day with a tale about a little mouse and how he eluded his predators. The film looks great, and boasts a voice cast including Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson and Robbie Coltrane. At 27 minutes, it’s the longest animated entry, and may be just a bit too long, but that’s a minor quibble.
The live action winner, God of Love, is spot-on the best of the nominees. Shot in black-and-white, and with the look and feel of a film from the early sixties, it’s a tale about a young man who’s a crooner with a jazz band and is madly smitten with the female drummer. He’s also an expert at throwing darts, which he does while singing. He receives a mysterious package containing darts that, when thrown at a person will cause he or she to become emotionally attached to whomever that person is with. Just like cupid. The whole piece is punctuated with some great tunes, including Paul Desmond’s catchy, groundbreaking Take Five, and Johnny Mandel’s plaintive What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life. God of Love is just terrific, and does everything right. Hopefully, filmmaker Luke Mathey, who also starred, will be able to parlay his Oscar for this short gem into a shot at a feature.
Oscar Shorts and More returns to the site of the first program some ten years ago: the Madison Theatre in Covington. This is a good thing, as the Madison Theatre offers a larger screen, more seating, and plenty of nearby parking. There are also two bars in the theatre, and food service from the Back Stage Café next door.
The two programs have their first showings later today with Program A at 4:30, and Program B at 7:30. Other screenings of Program A are Tuesday at 7:30, and next Sunday at 4:30. Program B will be repeated Wednesday at 7:30, and next Sunday at 7:30.
Don’t miss this opportunity to treat yourself to more entertaining short films brought to you by Cincinnati World Cinema, the only way you’ll be able to see these films in a proper venue.