And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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Review: Oscar Nominated Short Films 2019

I always look forward to watching the shorts. (Short being 40 minutes or less, so some of them aren’t all that short.) This year’s crop had clear winners and losers for me in each of the categories. Some of them felt like films I’d already seen. And overall, I think there have been stronger years for shorts.  However, they’re always worth seeing.  And as I do each year, I will renew my call for theaters to start showing them before the features.

Trailers to this year’s shorts can be found here.

Inside Out

What were the Pixar folks thinking, making a film about the conflicting emotions in a little girl’s head? It might seem like a pretty cerebral premise for a kids’ flick, but from this very unlikely subject matter comes a fun for the whole family film. I went with my nephews (ages 6, 8, and 17), my sister in law (40ish), and my mother (age 89), and we all appreciated it for different reasons depending on our ages. There are funny and thoughtful bits that only an adult will get, but the kids and the teenager were thoroughly entertained.

Brave

First, the good news: Brave centers on strong female characters. It’s visually appealing. And it does a fine job illuminating the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship. The bad news: it’s also kind of a downer. Not as much of a downer as Up, but parents should be forewarned that Brave is not for small children. It can be a bit scary at times and the characters’ Scottish brogue can take some getting used to. Madagascar 3 remains the better choice for funny and light family entertainment. That’s not to say that Brave isn’t worth seeing, especially if you like fairy tales in the vein of Lion King or Beauty and the Beast (without characters bursting into song). Just know that it’s not an animated comedy, despite some comedic moments. 

Cars 2

Cars 2 has plenty of action and adventure. What it doesn’t have enough of is heart. Unlike the first Cars movie where we got to know all of the residents of Radiator Springs, this one is all about Mater. And while the wisecracking tow truck was great as a supporting character, he just doesn’t cut it as a lead car.

Toy Story 3

I took my nephew to see Toy Story 2 back in 1999. He was three years old, and loved the movie (as much as a three-year-old can. He was a tad squirmy back then but the movie definitely resonated with him, and me.) Fast-forward ELEVEN (!!) years, and we returned to the same theater for Toy Story 3. And thank goodness, this Pixar sequel did not disappoint. Like the original Toy Story, and its first sequel Toy Story 2Toy Story 3 is more than just a good animated movie. It’s a good movie period. That’s because it works on so many levels, for kids and adults, with a great ensemble cast, a relatable story, humor, poignancy, action.

Up

Up is a glorious, sweet film – another brilliant work from Pixar. I laughed, I cried. No, seriously, I teared up during the opening sequence that portrays the life-long love affair between the main character, Carl Fredrickson, and his wife – from their first meeting as children to her death – without a word of dialogue. From there, it’s a movie about Carl figuring out how to live his life after devastating loss and the adventure begins.