The Morning After: Feb. 12, 2018

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:

2017 Oscar-Nominated Shorts

I had a chance to view all of this year’s Oscar-nominated short films. I was not able to get to the documentary short films, but I did watch all of the live action ones and also caught up on the four animated ones I hadn’t seen yet and then re-watched the only one I had seen. Here is a quick rundown of my thoughts on the shorts:

Animated Short Films

Dear Basketball – Glen Keane’s animation is phenomenal and the story at the center of this short has a lot of resonance, especially for kids looking to be inspired. However, the John Williams score is a bit overbearing in places and overall, I wasn’t blown away by it.
Garden Party – Gorgeous, photorealistic animation with a rather snazzy concept. It falls apart at the end with one particular piece of animation that isn’t very realistic and makes the end feel a bit gimmicky.
Lou – When I first saw it, I had a positive emotional reaction. I had the same reaction the second time around, proving that Pixar’s animation folk are among the best at evoking raw emotion.
Negative Space – Fascinating animation and a compelling narrative. It takes a surprising turn at the end, but the title becomes perfectly fitting at that point, which makes up for some of the duller aspects.
Revolting Rhymes – A fun story that sometimes feels original and sometimes feels like it borrow heavily from other alternative fairy tales. The ending demands a sequel follow-up because a cliffhanger for this kind of story just isn’t good.

Live Action Short Films

DeKalb Elementary – When I first read the description of this one, I knew it was a certain nominee and it was. I also felt it would be a certain winner. Now that I’ve seen it, I cannot imagine it losing. It is raw with emotion, starting within the first minute or two and progressing straight through to the end. A brilliant short film.
The Eleven O’Clock – The biggest problem with this short film is that the inevitable twist is a bit predictable. Everything moves along exactly as expected and while the idea is a solid one, the whole thing feels a bit too clever for its own good.
My Nephew Emmett – A resonant short based on the murder of Emmett Till over his complementary treatment of a white woman in the deep South. The bigotry resonates and while you know where it’s going, the impact is never overstated, rushed, or overly manipulated.
The Silent Child – A poignant story about deafness in the school system and the parents who are unable to understand and accept their children’s limitations and get them the needed support. While it ends precisely the way you’re afraid it will, there’s a genuine emotional honesty that permeates the wonderful relationship between concerned educator and undervalued child.
Watu Wote / All of Us – Another strong entry in this year’s live action race, this poignant story about Muslims and Christians at odds in a dangerous landscape telegraphs some of its beats, but they always feel welcome and it ends precisely the way you hope it would.

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