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Oscar-nominated animated shorts screening in theaters this weekend and beyond!

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Reel Mama: Oscar-nominated animated shorts screening in theaters this weekend and beyond!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Oscar-nominated animated shorts screening in theaters this weekend and beyond!

A scene from the Oscar-nominated animated short "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"

We all know that shows like The Family Guy aren’t for kids.  The same can be said of some of the Oscar-nominated animated shorts, which are now screening in select theaters.  Some of these shorts were without question created to entertain children, while others are works of art exploring darker adult themes.  They are almost all worth seeing on the big screen, so I highly recommend making a special trip to the movie theater to check them out this weekend.  Other commended shorts are also included in the screening so that it reaches a full hour and a half.  Check your local listings.  The presentation of shorts is not rated, but some of the pieces are only appropriate for 13 and up.
Dimanche (From French Canada)
Canada: 10 Minutes
In a world where death is a matter of course, a young boy leads an “un-fun” existence on a mundane Sunday.  In this melancholy short film, the boy’s seemingly only joy out of life is laying a coin on the train tracks to have it be squashed by the oncoming train.  He can then get a chuckle by placing it in the church collection plate.  This movie is a deadpan, darkly humorous commentary about the banality of life -- especially the boring rituals of the traditional Sunday family get-together -- and the cycle of life and death.  I felt that some of the commended shorts deserved to be nominated over this one.
Reel Mama’s rating: Appropriate for 13 and up.  The morbid humor, including the father obliviously running over a dog in the road, might trouble younger viewers. 
The Morning Stroll
UK: 7 Minutes
A plucky chicken takes her morning constitutional on a city street during three time periods: the 1950s, the present day, and 2059.  It’s a clever commentary on how times have changed.  The most striking aspect of the film is how the different eras are portrayed.  The 1950s are portrayed as drawn animation in stark black and white with amusing almost stick-like figures.  The present is portrayed in vivid computer-generated color.  The formerly spotless city street of the 1950s is now strikingly urban, complete with graffiti and a multicultural vibe.  This time, the chicken passes a fellow stroller so engrossed in his iPod, he spills coffee on another passerby.  Finally in 2059, the chicken strolls through a bleak, apocalyptic future complete with zombies.
Reel Mama’s rating:  Appropriate for 13 and up.  Zombie gross-out humor.  ‘Nuff said.
Wild Life
Canada: 14 Minutes
Beautifully animated with rich oil paints, this film tells of a young Englishman who ventures to Canada to build a new life for himself in 1909.  The young man fancies himself a rancher, but he quickly discovers the harsh realities of living in the unforgiving landscape of the Yukon.  It’s a powerful statement about a rarefied breed of early Canadian settlers who were in for the shock of their life when facing the Canadian wilderness.  The film is narrated from letters written by the real-life young man who actually made this journey.
Reel Mama’s rating: Appropriate for 13 and up.  The film’s ending is bleak and sad, and younger children might be disturbed by it.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
USA: 15 Minutes
When a hurricane hits the New Orleans French Quarter, a young bibliophile is transported through the eye of a hurricane, Wizard of Oz style, to a magical world where books take on a life of their own and can fly, dance, and even play the piano.  The computer-generated graphics blend black-and-white and color to distinguish the bleak, post-hurricane world, where books have been destroyed and even the words fly off the page, and the magical world of the living, flying books.  Book lovers will absolutely adore this film that celebrates a passion for reading, and might even find themselves shedding a tear.  Young and old viewers alike will want to rush down to their local library after viewing this masterpiece.  The audience loudly whispered their approval during the screening I saw.
Reel Mama’s Rating:  All ages. The hurricane is only as disturbing as the tornado in the Wizard of Oz.  The scene might be a little scary for under six, but overall the film is very sweet and kid friendly.  
La Luna
USA: 7 Minutes
This computer generated animated piece from Disney Pixar will delight lovers of sweet, feel-good films like Finding Nemo.  It is the kid friendliest of all the Oscar-nominated shorts, and it’s both charming and magical.  A young boy is invited to learn the family business with his father and grandfather: they are custodians of the moon, and the moon’s lustrous appearance is dependent upon their work.  
Reel Mama’s Rating:  Everybody can see this!  Finally a movie that truly is for all ages!

Oscar-nominated short "La Luna" captivates


At February 11, 2012 at 9:58 AM , Blogger Monica said...

I am a new GFC follower. I found you on the Mom Bloggers Club. I would love for you to stop by my site and follow me as well. Thanks so much.

At February 12, 2012 at 10:52 AM , Blogger Lauren Ivy Chiong said...

Thank you for the comment and lovely to meet you, Monica! I have visited your blog--it's adorable!


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