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  • Garden Party

    Garden Party

    ★★½

    "Garden Party" ends up being the toughest short to rate because, despite it being interesting in how the story around the story gets revealed and the final minute or so where everything literally comes to the surface, this also has the biggest disconnect of the nominees between the thematic resonance of the film and the animation itself. This short is the most amazing thing I've probably ever seen animated, from the opening seconds to the conclusion my jaw was on…

  • Negative Space

    Negative Space

    ★★★

    Probably my favorite of the nominees, though I'm partial to well done stop-motion, these stories of familial longing, and funny but sad poetry. Plus the collection of nominated shorts feel weaker, though that takes little away from how effective "Negative Space" ends up being, turning the mundane and simply in to something so much more.

  • Dear Basketball

    Dear Basketball

    Very on the nose. Obviously there's a sincerity to Kobe's words, and it does resonate in the sense that you can feel the love he has for the game, but when you have such a beautiful animation style it's hard not to wish there was a little more to everything surrounding it. Definitely a great advertisement for Kobe.

  • Revolting Rhymes

    Revolting Rhymes

    ★★

    Can't really rate this as a whole since the first part was all that was shown/nominated for the Oscar. Though perhaps it's better, even though I now have to seek out the other part. Not familiar with the source work, but this was the most fully featured of the nominees, which now makes sense knowing it's pretty much a feature length film anyway. The romance between Snow White and Red Riding Hood was fun to see develop, and there are…

  • Lou

    Lou

    ★★

    Continues to be charming in the way it was when I first saw it last year. Feels like an obligatory Pixar nomination, but deserved enough, and seeing that hoodie move around is still visually inventive in a way I can get behind.

  • Achoo

    Achoo

    ★½

    Of the 'highly commended' category of almost nominees, this is the one that most feels like the studio showcasing that they can make a feature, but for something that should feel magical, it ends up being a little lifeless.

  • Lost Property Office

    Lost Property Office

    ★½

    The drab look has a charm that works with the film's theme, but it feels a bit too long even for a short, though it's fine for being a thing about not losing your sense of wonder even with age.

  • Weeds

    Weeds

    ★½

    The just short of Oscar nominees is brisk and very on the nose, but it does what it sets out to do, just not much more.

  • The Silent Child

    The Silent Child

    ★★★

    Probably my favorite of the live action nominees, it's a message movie but one made with genuine compassion and understanding. Incredibly heart breaking in highlighting how parents, the educational system, and society can fail a child, to throw them in to a world where the pressure to be 'normal' can just destroy them. Well worth seeking out, even if it becomes a tough watch.

  • The Eleven O'Clock

    The Eleven O'Clock

    ★★★

    Genuinely surprised by this, especially because the seemingly thin premise tips its hand so early that I was ready to tune out and roll my eyes at how obvious it all it, but that becomes less relevant when you look at it as an exercise in comedic writing. Dialogue, misunderstanding, it gets the most out of its laughs and the central performances sell the jokes, despite the flawed premise that just withholds information that should really be clear to the other characters in the film, and certainly to the audience.

  • DeKalb Elementary

    DeKalb Elementary

    ★★½

    Sadly much more topical than it should be, when the shorts program started off with a film about a man bringing a gun in to an elementary school I wasn't really sure that I could handle it, but it ends up being much more of a character study, one about empathy and compassion, and though it's ultimately more noteworthy for the feeling of tension it creates than what it says about the gun crisis in America or misunderstanding and blaming mental illness, the tension that it does create in such a limited space is truly remarkable.

  • My Nephew Emmett

    My Nephew Emmett

    ★½

    A slower build with a strong central performance, it's a fine short but maybe needs a bit more room to fully breathe.