Live-action shorts have plenty to offer viewers, also
‘The Voorman Problem'
The film stars Martin Freeman, alias Bilbo Baggins, alias Dr. John Watson (opposite that Caldecott Bumbershoot fellow in PBS's “Sherlock”). In the British short “The Voorman Problem,” Freeman plays a psychologist dispatched to interview a prisoner who claims he is God. The warden needs certification to put him away. Problem? His fellow inmates have come to believe that the straitjacketed Voorman (Tom Hollander) is, indeed, who he claims to be.
‘Just Before Losing Everything'
The other exceptional entry among the five Academy Award nominees in the short-fiction field hails from France. “Just Before Losing Everything,” from actor-turned-director Xavier Legrand, offers an impossibly suspenseful 30 minutes of uncertainty and menace, as a woman (Léa Drucker) plots to flee her violent, abusive spouse, taking her young son (Miljan Chatelain) and teenage daughter (Mathilde Auneveux) along. The day begins in typical fashion, with the kids heading to school and the wife to her job at a large, chain store; it ends in anything but typical ways. Taking a cue from Michael Haneke, Legrand closes with an ambiguous final shot. Pay close attention to the cars in the traffic circle, and think about where this story may continue to go.
“Helium,” from Denmark, is an accomplished but sentimental story of a boy with a terminal illness and a newly hired hospital worker who comforts the dying child with stories of an afterlife, based on the boy's obsession with blimps and balloons. Cut to scenes of floating islands and crystal particles that light up at night.
‘Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?'
From Finland, Selma Vilhunen's one-joke (but extremely satisfying joke) “Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?” follows a husband and wife as they wake up late for a wedding, running through a series of comic mishaps as they try to make it to the church on time, pipsqueaks in tow. Never mind the dysfunctional family, this one is discombobulated. Hugely so.
‘That Wasn't Me'
Spanish director Esteban Crespo bites off more than he can chew in “That Wasn't Me,” a grim, gratuitous story about three European social workers caught up in an African conflict, where kids with automatic weapons are being trained to fight, and kill by a charismatic, sociopathic revolutionary. The sense of fear and finality experienced by the Spanish couple (Gustavo Salmerón, Alejandra Lorente) and their friend feels real enough, but the story's past/present narrative device and redemptive climax do not.
Steven Rea is a movie critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Check out trailers for Pittsburgh-shot ‘Concussion’ and ‘Love the Coopers’
- Prolific horror film writer-director Wes Craven dies at 76
- Review: ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’ as rewarding as it is squirm-inducing
- DVD reviews: ‘Citizenfour,’ ‘Two Days, One Night’ and ‘Iris’
- Review: ‘We Are Your Friends’ plays a rather tired tune