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A Collection of 2005 Academy Award Nominated Short Films [Import]
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A good idea here: to bundle those titles listed off at the Oscar ceremony in the short-films categories--most of which then disappear into the ether, never to be heard of again--and put them on a DVD. The 2005 Academy Award Short Films Collection gathers three animated and all five live-action and nominees together, thus providing over two and a half hours' worth of short-form cinema. The two winners are included, of course; the live-action winner is the 27-minute Six Shooter, and it is indeed the head-and-shoulders choice above the other entries. Watching it after the other films will demonstrate the difference between cleverness and vision. It's written and directed by the Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, whose dark plays have made him one of the most talked-about writers to emerge in the turn-of-the-century theater. A grieving husband (Brendan Gleeson) leaves his dead wife in the hospital, only to be confronted by a crazed youth (the excellent Ruaidhri Conroy, who was one of the kids in Into the West) on the train. What follows has its share of shockers, of which rabbit-cide and an exploding cow may be the least horrifying.
Other titles are Our Time Is Up, a cutesy thing with Kevin Pollack as a psychiatrist who radically changes his style; The Last Farm, a predictable Scandanavian tale of a man preparing for death in the countryside; Runaway, a German offering about a child and a man mysteriously drawn into each other's worlds; and Sean Ellis's Cashback, an 18-minute piece that earned the green light for feature expansion. Sean Biggerstaff stars as a daydreamer working the midnight shift at Sainsbury's supermarket, where he fantasizes about naked (and exclusively gorgeous) women. It's Guy Ritchie meets The Office, and a little too self-satisfied for its own good.
The winner for best animated short is the half-hour The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation, a very ambitious and emotionally raw work by John Canemaker, who recounts the difficult life of his Italian father. John Turturro and Eli Wallach provide the voices for son and father, as drawings illustrate the text. In another world is the Australian Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello, a Jules Verne-ish half-hour fantasy about a Victorian who takes to an airship, searching for a plague cure. The characters are rendered as silhouettes, but there is rich detail--if not always sure-footed storytelling--elsewhere. Badgered is a standard cartoon with the appeal of brevity. Two nominated cartoons are not included: 9 and Pixar's One Man Band, but two bonus shorts, Imago and The Fan and the Flower, are on the disc. --Robert Horton
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Top Customer Reviews
I was not blown away by any of the films but did find an interesting variety of storylines and images. For those persons who get easily depressed please be forewarned that many of the films touch upon the theme of death.
For those hard of hearing be advised that only a couple of the films have English subtitles.
I will list the films in the order they play and briefly describe the story line without giving away too much.
OUR TIME IS UP: A psychiatrist providing dismal service to his patients suddenly encounters a personal tragedy. This changes his outlook on life and he becomes engaged in treating his patients by truly telling them what he thinks about their afflictions and how to overcome them.
THE RUNAWAY: An unemployed architect has his plans for a job interview interrupted by a young boy who shows up at his apartment one morning looking to be escorted to school. The architect is not familiar with the boy. There is more than meets the eye however to this story. This German film has English subtitles.
THE LAST FARM: A farmer prepares for his eventual death and that of his spouse. This Icelandic film has English subtitles.
CASH BACK: Most of this story revolves around a daydreaming grocery store clerk who is an admirer of the female anatomy. Obviously, we shop at different grocery stores as all of the women shoppers at this store are young, well-framed specimens.
SIX SHOOTER: This generally depressing, but well casted and acted flck was the 2005 Academy Award Winner of the live action short films.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
There are two extra animated shorts, which were not nominated and were presumably included to flesh out and balance the comilation. They are The Fan and the Flower and Imago and they are two of the highlights of an exceptionally strong lineup. There were only two relatively weak shorts on here, one animated and one live-action and even those two are well worth watching.
The standouts, however, are clearly the two winning shorts, which both clearly stand out in fairly strong fields, though the second best animated short is a bit closer to The Son and the Moon. Since the full title is rather lengthy, I'll just refer to it as Jasper Morello, as the editorial review here gives the full title. Both animated shorts could have been the winner without a drop-off, as they're that good.
Six Shooter is exceptional and nothing else really comes all that close. All the shorts are enjoyable, but Six Shooter is incredible.
If you like good short films, then by all means, buy this DVD. I hope a similar DVD comes out next year.
Ausreisser (The Runaway) - Ulrike Grote (German)
Cashback - Sean Ellis
The Last Farm - Runar Runarsson (Icelandic)
Our Time is Up - Rob Pearlstein
Six Shooter - Martin McDonagh - ACAD AWARD WINNER
Badgered - Sharon Colman
The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation - John Canemaker - ACAD AWARD WINNER
The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello - Anthony Lucas
Bonus Short Features
The Fan and the Flower - Bill Plympton
Imago - Cedric Babouche (French)
OUR TIME IS UP--Kevin Pollack stars as a work at-home psychiatrist named Dr. Stern. When Dr. Stern is informed he has a terminal illness and only a few weeks to live, he begins giving his patients the one thing they need most in their lives: truth. Jorge Garcia (Hurley from LOST) has a small role as Dr. Stern's gardener.
THE RUNAWAY--a German film about a struggling architect who on the day of an important interview discovers that the young boy who suddenly appears outside of his apartment one morning is his son.
CASH BACK--a young Englishman works the night shift at a grocery store so that he can work on his art unhindered.
THE LAST FARM--an Icelandic picture about an old farmer and his wife who are leaving their isolated farm for a fancy retirement community in the city.
SIX SHOOTER--the winner of the 2005 Oscar for Best Live Action Short. This Irish movie is set largely on a train as a man returns home after the death of his wife. On the trip he sits next to an interesting young man who seems to say just the right thing to upset people, but is charming nonetheless.
BADGERED--an animated short about a badger who tries to get a peaceful rest in his hole in the middle of a hill, but is interrupted by two cawing black birds and later by some very unusual objects.
THE MOON AND THE SOON--the winner of the 20005 Academy Award for Best Animated Short. This dramatic cartoon is an imaginary conversation between the artist and his deceased father. John Turturro performs the voice of the animator.
THE MYSTERIOUS GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORATIONS OF JASPER MORELLO--a silhouetted steam-punk film about an air navigator who gets swept up into a voyage to a mysterious island
The DVD also includes two extra animated shorts.
THE FAN AND THE FLOWER--a parable about love between a ceiling fan and a flower narrated by Paul Giamatti.
IMAGO--the life of a young boy that loves planes and uses his imagination.
I realize that the shorts on this DVD were all nominated for Academy Awards, but overall I was disappointed by the films on the disc. SIX SHOOTER won the Oscar, but it's an incredible depressing and hopeless picture. CASH BACK has some fascinating visuals and cinematography, but there really is no story, characterization, or plot. I did like THE RUNAWAY, OUR TIME IS UP, and THE LAST FARM, though.
The animated pictures are a bit better than the live action selections. THE MOON AND THE SON seemed more to me like a visual diary than a great piece of animation. The story IS rather moving, but I personally didn't get much out of it. BADGERED was the only truly humorous short on the entire DVD and it made me laugh. I really enjoyed the animation of THE MYSTERIOUS GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORATIONS OF JASPER MORELLO, but was disappointed by the rather bleak tone. My favorite piece on the entire DVD was THE FAN AND THE FLOWER. The animation is incredibly simplistic, but the simplicity allows the power of the story to shine through. Also, the film reminded me of a Shel Silverstein story, e.g. THE GIVING TREE. I also enjoyed IMAGO, especially the more sunset-toned color scheme.
If you're a serious film buff or a student of the medium, then this DVD is worth your time to watch. However, if you're not I'd recommend just watching the animated shorts and skipping the rest (unless you're a Lost fan, then you might want to watch OUR TIME IS UP).