Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: WEEKENDS and SHOPLIFTERS (2 Film Review) Oscar Catch Up Part 9

Update: By Monday, I will end up seeing every single nominee for the 91st Academy Awards, all 121 of them (some are the same obviously as some films have multiple nominations). This series of Oscar Catch Up will ironically end on Part 11, which I will then call Chapter 11 since it is the end. But anyway, two quick short reviews:

WEEKENDS (Nominated for Best Animated Short)

WEEKENDS is a short 15 minutes. The animation is easy on the eyes (kind of messy/classic, you’ll get what I mean when you watch it, it’s on YouTube now), and other than a score and a couple of repeating rock/pop songs, there is no dialogue. It is about a boy that is dealing with the separation of his parents. His mother gets him during the week, his father on the weekends. He tries to move on with his life as they move on with theirs.

It’s quite emotional and stays with the theme of all the shorts basically being about growing up and dealing with your age. I have now seen all 5 of the nominated ones now, and while I think Bao will ultimately win, (I mean Pixar, come on) I really hope instead that it is One Small Step. This one would be a close third.

SHOPLIFTERS (Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film)

I have one Foreign Language film left to see (Never Look Away, this Friday), but I’m going to go ahead and call that SHOPLIFTERS will be my least favorite of the bunch. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but this one might have been a little over hyped for me. The film is a Japanese drama film about a family, who are not really related at all we come to find out, that steal from shops and do other scams to deal with a poverty type lifestyle.

You probably won’t know any of the actors/actresses in it so I won’t waste my time, but the acting is very solid. The story itself and the motivations and secrets of these characters is like peeling layers off of a fruit to get to the sweet juicy center. Some of the revelations are sad, some are downright shocking. The ‘family’ mentioned above is a family of five at the beginning, and then it turns to six when they take in a girl that seems to be abandoned and abused by her mother and father.

The ending is sure to leave a lump in your throat and the film is very engaging on a story and character developmental level. Everything technical about it could’ve used some work. The cinematography isn’t all that special, and some scenes were too dark to work with to see what was going on. It felt like a point and shoot kind of movie. However, going back to a positive light, the film has probably the best child acting since IT in 2017. But yeah, the movie is available to rent on all your Movie On Demand providers. It’s worth checking out completely story wise, as it is really original and is something that Hollywood in America wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole now, due to the fact we are in sequel/reboot land for the next 1,000 years.

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Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: 4 of 5 Nominated Animated Short Films (Oscar Catch Up Part 3)

Hello again! Below I very quickly review 4 out of the 5 Animated Short Films nominated for an Academy Award. ‘Weekends’ was not available for me to review, if you find it, send me a link, and if I watch it, I’ll update this with a review of it as well!!!

Animal Behaviour

This one is available on YouTube right now. It is basically animals that talk and do certain things like humans but still with their animal instincts. There is an ape, a praying mantis, a leech, a pig, and a bird all in this therapy group session led by a dog. The animation reminded me of Adventure Time for some reason, and a lot of the jokes had me laughing at loud. While definitely not the sweetest of the four I saw, it was very humorous and well written. Definitely not in the theme of the other following three…

Bao

You’ve probably seen this one if you saw Incredibles 2 in the theater and weren’t late or if you own the Incredibles 2 Blu-Ray/DVD (it’s on there). This is that Pixar short about the Chinese woman taking care of the dumpling that had turned alive. A very sweet take on children growing up, resenting their parents at times, and leaving the nest with great animation. This one almost brought me to tears as well. Most of these have the same theme this year, parents and their children aging.

Late Afternoon

This one is available on YouTube right now. It’s about an elderly woman with severe dementia and Alzheimer’s disease being taken care of by a care giver one afternoon. The animation style is that of Madeleine, if you’ve ever seen the books or have watched the short cartoons. The elderly lady goes back in the past and then back to the confusing present in her mind. This one almost brought me to tears as well. Brilliant

One Small Step

This one is available on YouTube as well and literally brought me to tears. It’s about a girl and her father and the girl’s dreams of astronomy and trying to make it her career in life. I was in tears halfway through this thing and bawling by the end. The animation is nice, sleek, and unique, brought to you by Taiko Animation. I won’t give anything else away. I would pick this one to win, but to tell you the truth, if any of these win it is well deserved.