The 2012 Oscar Nominated Shorts
Now Showing at: Carnegie Arts Center, March 10-11
Review by: Larry Thomas
One of the movie highlights occurring this time of year is the opportunity to see the Oscar Nominated Shorts, both animated and live action. As in the past, Cincinnati World Cinema presents these films as two separate programs. Unlike other towns, however, Cincinnati World Cinema is mixing them up so that it’s not all animated or all live action. You’ll get some of each on Program A and Program B, as well as some bonus shorts.
Program A is the stronger of the two. It includes the Pixar animated short La Luna, which was not available for preview, and the winning live action short The Shore. It’s an extremely well done Irish film about a man who left Belfast to escape “the troubles” as they call it. Now he returns to his hometown with his grown daughter to make amends with his former best friend and his fiancée, whom he left behind. While it’s certainly an enjoyable film, I didn’t find it to be the best of the lot. My favorite film in this year’s offerings is Tuba Atlantic, a funny, goofy, yet touching Norwegian film. Many years ago, Oskar and his brother, from whom he has been estranged, built a huge tuba on the coast of Norway pointing westward. They were convinced this tuba would emit a sound wave that would reach America. To tell you more would deprive you of the joy of discovery in this odd, quirky film in which Oskar faces a life-altering event and gains a new friend while continuing his life-long vendetta against swarms of seagulls. There are some genuine laugh out loud moments in Tuba Atlantic, and is the film to which I would have given the Academy Award. Also in Program A is the only American film of the live action nominees. It’s a slight offering called Time Freak, in which an extremely neurotic mathematical genius builds a time machine that works.
Program B contains God and Vodka, one of the bonus films, and one of the most intriguing. A young woman attempts to write the story of her life with her best friend. It’s done in non-linear fashion, in the Pulp Fiction or Memento style. The first part of the story may have you wondering what exactly is going on, but before long it all falls into place. It’s an admirable feat of filmmaking that, at the very least, was worthy of a nomination. Also in Program B is Raju, the tale of a German couple who go to India to adopt an orphan boy. In the course of events, the husband discovers some secrets that will rip his life apart. It’s an emotional film that provides you with much food for thought, and discussion. The Oscar-winning animated film is in this batch. Titled The Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, it’s a computer-animated piece that’s rather flat and uninvolving. In fact, all the animated nominees were pretty much ho-hum, and not at all of what I would consider Oscar quality. This is one year in which the live action shorts tower over the animated offerings.
The 2012 Oscar Nominated Shorts will be on screen at Covington’s Carnegie Arts Center next weekend. You can see both programs on one day, or one on each day, if you prefer. Program A shows Saturday at 4 pm, and again next Sunday at 7 pm. Program B is scheduled for 7 pm on Saturday and 4 pm on Sunday.