Home  >  Movies & TV  >  Movies & TV Reviews

Screen Shots

Taking aim at the best and worst of movies and television.

Review: 2014 Oscar-Nominated Short Films, Live Action

The Oscar-Nominated Short Films 2014: Live Action

* * * * 

Unrated


Posted 3:00pm on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014

How to beat this horrendous arctic cold spell? Just slip into your shorts — the live-action and animated ones nominated for the upcoming Academy Awards. It’s a particularly good crop in both categories.

What I love most is the unpredictable international smorgasbord, and these 2014 short subjects — miniature movie morsels between 6 and 26 minutes long — are tastier than usual.

Here are the live-action nominees:

The Voorman Problem (Mark Gill; UK; 13 minutes): Supercilious Dr. Williams has been summoned by the authorities to determine the sanity or insanity of a dangerous prisoner who claims to be God. Their colloquy is illuminating but inconclusive, with the straitjacketed prisoner proposing an experiment: Would the doctor believe his divine identity if he made Belgium disappear? A sample of the fabulous dialogue in this little black-comic masterpiece: “How long have you believed yourself to be a god?” the psychiatrist asks. “I might ask you the same,” he replies.

Just Before Losing Everything (Xavier Legrand; France; 30 minutes): Miriam is desperate to get herself and her two kids out of town in a hurry. We don’t know why. Her panic mounts — as do the terror and danger — in this intensely realistic, edge-of-your-seat rendering of an all-too-common international crime.

That Wasn’t Me (Esteban Crespo; Spain; 24 minutes): An even worse international crime is chronicled in the grim, devastating story of Paula and Kaney — Spanish doctor and African boy — whose paths cross at the violent intersection of a civil war employing child soldiers. Mindless brutality and bloodlust combine in basic macho theory and practice: The way to get respect is with a gun. The way to get ultimate respect, and prove your manhood, is to kill somebody with it.

Helium (Anders Walter; Denmark; 23 minutes): A much sweeter path-crossing takes the form of a dying boy and a feckless hospital janitor meeting late on the road from here to eternity. Is the man feeding him lies or giving him true hope? You be the judge of a beautifully depicted idea.

Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? (Selma Vilhunen; Finland; 7 minutes): Finnish moms aren’t much different from American (or any other) moms. Sini wakes up in a panic, having overslept for a wedding. Her husband, Jokke, is a joke when getting himself and their two daughters dressed (they put on their Halloween costumes). The wedding gift is missing. There’s a fine Finnish-ing touch.

Exclusive: Friday-Sunday at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?


Hey there. or join DFW.com. Your account. Log out.

Remember me




We now have a new, simpler way for you to enter and search for events, at listings.dfw.com. As always, when you submit an event to appear online, it will also be available for us in our print publication. But now you can simply enter your event and provide an email address, rather than creating a separate account and registering. Our new listings tool is still a work in progress, so we appreciate your patience as we fine-tune it. Please contact us at hsvokos@dfw.com if you have any questions or concerns.