Monday, February 11, 2013

The Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts

There's a good crop of animated shorts up for this year's Oscar.

First on the program - now screening at the Nuart - is the least impressive, Canada's ill-defined and forgettable "Dimanche (Sunday)."

Next up is the brief and trifling but energetic and creative "A Morning Stroll," about a New Yorker and a chicken meeting on their walk around the block - in 1959, 2009, and 2059.

I very much liked Amanda Forbis' and Wendy Tilby's "Wild Life," about an Englishman who moves to desolate 1909 Alberta and pens letters home that paint a picture very different from his new reality.

Pixar offers a rare quality offering in this category with "La Luna," a lovely story of a young Italian boy on his first day joining his father and grandfather in their very esoteric line of work.

But my pick for Best Animated Short - the real achievement here - is "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore," about a Henry Bemis-like reader transported to a world where the wind has blown the letters off books' pages and the color off people's faces. With the help of the written word and some movie magic, life in all its vivid majesty is restored.

To fill out a 79-minute running time, the Animated Short package includes a handful of "Highly Commended" but not nominated shorts; the best of these is Australia's "Nullarbor."

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