The Morning After: Apr. 12, 2021

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

2021 Oscar-Nominated Short Films

With 13 of 15 shorts under my belt, I have to say the political commentary of this year’s shorts is far more pointed than it has been in recent years. The Documentary Shorts and Live Action Shorts were most notable in this regard. Whereas with the Animated Shorts, there’s a more interesting dynamic playing out in that only one is computer animated, though it could easily be mistaken for stop-motion. That’s a rarity, but the creative and daring subjects and expressions in the film are far outside what we normally see in that category.

Once I see Hunger Ward and A Love Song for Natasha, I’ll be able to write a full review of the entire program, but so far there are four films that stand head-and-shoulders above the rest: animated short If Anything Happens, I Love You, live action shorts Feeling Through and The Present, and documentary short Colette. Their subjects, respectively, are school shootings, homelessness and kindness, human dignity in the face of discrimination, and Nazi concentration camps. That doesn’t mean that the others aren’t good, Genius Loci and Opera are fascinating to watch, and Yes-People is rather humorous. Two Distant Strangers has a fascinating story to tell about police brutality and murder while Do Not Split explores the thorny topic of Hong Kong against the backdrop of Communist China.

There are also mediocre shorts, though none are abjectly terrible. Burrow feels like minor Disney about burrowing animals and a sense of community, The Letter Room puts Oscar Isaac in a prison mailroom so that he can peruse communications between prisoners and the outside world, White Eye is a one-take short about the presumed theft of a bicycle, and A Concerto Is a Conversation is an interesting, but dull look at a grandfather’s influence on his musical son. Next week, once I’ve seen the remaining two, I will put together a review of them all rather than a Morning After report on them.

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