March 5, 2010
Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty (2009) ****1/2
Directed by Nicky Phelan
Short Film (8 min.)
Doesn't the idea of Granny reading you a bedtime story sound comforting and reassuring? Well, imagine Granny as a bitter, vindictive, passive-aggressive old woman who spews her venom by taking some truly disturbing liberties during this nightly ritual. You'd be just as scared as the little girl who has to bear listening to this monstrous, sadistic look at Sleeping Beauty. The whole film is a quick gimmick to illicit laughs from the audience, and it succeeds brilliantly. The actual ranting really doesn't make all that much sense, but it's still unflinchingly twisted and undeniably hilarious. This is the first of the five Oscar-nominated animated short films I've seen, and if the others are anywhere near as good as this tale of the matriarch from hell, I can't wait to see more.
Labels: 2009, Oscar Animated Short Nominees 2009, Animated Film, Short Film, Four and a Half Stars
French Roast (2009) **
Directed by Fabrice Joubert
Short Film (8 min.)
This is a dumb half-morsel of a morality tale that could have been written by your average nine-year-old. There's one solid laugh-out-loud moment followed by a handful of attempts which fall completely flat. The players involved are a homeless man, a snooty coffee drinker, a waiter, a nun and a cop. After refusing to give some coins to the begging homeless man, the coffee drinker realizes that he doesn't have any money to pay the check. His solution--buy another cup of coffee until he figures out what to do. Not coming up with a plan, he orders more and more cups of coffee which leads to the laughter I mentioned above. From here, a sense of charm and cleverness takes a backseat to absurdity and lazy chaos that resulted in stoic gazing on my part as this admittedly visually-competent and potentially interesting short film ends up a pretty sad mess.
Labels: 2009, Oscar Animated Short Nominees 2009, Animated Film, Short Film, Two Stars