Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Review: "Oscar-Nominted Short Films: Animation"

Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”
5 minutes
In this cheeky short from the creators of TV’s “The Simpsons,” baby Maggie is deposited at the Orwellian “Ayn Rand School for Tots.” Denied the elevated bliss of the Gifted class, she is relegated to the mundane hell of “Nothing Special” education, where she rescues a butterfly from a bully. Wordless, lyrical and surprisingly touching.
Score: 3 stars out of four

Adam and Dog
15 minutes
Minkyu Lee’s take on Adam and Eve’s fall from grace is seen through the eyes of a scrappy little dog. The largely hand-drawn animation is simple and elegant in depicting a prehistoric jungle paradise where Adam and the dog scamp and play. When Eve arrives and their banishment follows, it is the dog alone of the animal world who follows them out of Paradise. A subtle salute to man’s (and woman’s) best friend.
Score: 3 stars

6 minutes
This delightful black-and-white romantic fantasia from Pixar depicts a young office drone trying to attract the attention of the winsome gal in the next building. They met briefly on the train platform, resulting in the film’s only splash of color. His efforts leads to a magical flight of paper airplanes that point the way to their (un)likely destination. A beautiful little cinematic gem featuring the ultimate Meet Cute.
Score: 3.5 stars

Head Over Heels
10 minutes
The stop-motion animation is a bit crude, especially when compared to contemporary feature films like “ParaNorman.” But writer/director Timothy Reckart’s little metaphorical paean to love and aging is cute and sweet. An old married couple live upside-down from each other – literally. Their house is divided into M.C. Escher-like configurations, with the floor for her and the ceiling for him (or the other way around, depending on how you look at it). But then something goes bump to turn their lives around.
Score: 2.5 stars

Fresh Guacamole
2 minutes
How much fun can you pack into 101 seconds of film? Plenty, as this clever, experimental piece directed by Adam Pesapane shows. A knife-wielding chef cuts open non-food objects – light bulbs, baseballs, even a grenade – to make a very unique bowl of guac. The hyper-realistic animation is astonishing.
Score: 3 stars

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