This collection of Oscar-Nominated Live-Action shorts opens Feb. 10 at the Tivoli
“THE SHORE” My rating: A-
Warm, funny and a bit heartbreaking, “The Shore” is about the return of a sixtysomething Joe (Ciaran Hinds) to the seaside village in Northern Ireland he fled during the troubles in the 1970s.
Accompanying him is his American-born daughter (Kerry Condon), whose search for answers for why her father has stayed away all these years becomes our journey as well. It all has something to do with the girl (Maggie Cronin) and the best friend (Conleth Hill) Joe left behind.
Writer/director Terry George has a nifty gift for mixing the melancholy with the boistrously hilarious. Hill’s character is one of a trio of locals who illegally supplement their government welfare checks by collecting shellfish when the tide is out and selling them to vendors. There’s a priceless scene of them spotting Joe from afar and, assuming he’s a government man come to bust them, trying to make a break for it. Alas, they’re all too fat and middle-aged to get far.
A hugely appealing film about returning to your roots and making amends.
“PENTECOST” My rating: B
Another Irish entry. Eleven-yera-old Damien (Scott Graham) has been banned from his duties as an altar boy after his rambunctious behavior nearly sent a priest to the hospital
But now the Bishop is coming to celebrate mass in his home town, and the ranks of the altar boys have been decimated by misfortune. The priests have no choice but to put Damien back in the robes. But will he mess up again?
Peter McDonald’s film is an amusing bit of blarney…especially the way the priest tries to inspire his boys by dragging out every sports cliche he can think of.
“TIME FREAK” My rating: B
“Time Freak” is sort of like “Groundhog Day” boiled down to 10 minutes.
Evan (John Conner Brook) is concerned because his roomie Stillman (Michael Nathanson) hasn’t been home for days. He visits Stillman in his makeshift lab and discovers that his pal’s experiments with time travel have been a success. Stillman has produced a time travel machine that actually works.
But here’s the thing…the schlubby Stillman wants so much to overcome his social ineptness — especially when it comes to lovely Debbie (Emilea Wilson) — that he’s been using his machine to give himself do-overs, trying to come up with just the right approach to wow her. Evan thinks he’s been gone for three days, but in truth the obssessed Stillman has been gone for a full year, reliving the same day over and over and over.
Andrew Bowler has created an amusing shaggy dog story with its own goofy sensibility.
“RAJU” My rating: B+
A German couple, Jan and Sarah (Wotan Wilke Mohring, Julia Richter), travel to India to adopt a young orphan. Upon meeting young Raju (Krish Gupta) both fall in love with him. He’s the answer to their prayers.
When the boy goes missing his new parents fear the worst. Jan goes on a search though the city’s slums and even visits a detective agency…and there learns a secret about Raju that will force him to choose between his wife’s happiness and his own sense of honesty.
I can’t reveal much more without giving away “Raju’s” surprises…let’s just say this one may leave you in tears.
“TUBE ATLANTIC” My rating: B-
Oskar (Edvard Haegstad) has lived his entire life on the rugged Norwegian coast, where he has developed a comically pathological hatred of sea gulls. He even has a machine gun he frequently turns on the birds.
But Oskar now has a more pressing problem. The doctor says he’s dying.
The old man is visited by a sweet but not-too-bright hospice worker, Inger (Ingrid Viken), who calls herself an “Angel of Death” and like Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life” is looking to earn her pair of wings.
To do that, though, she has to help Oskar test the gigantic tuba-type contraption he and his brother built as children. Now he wants to send a message blaring across the Atlantic to his sibling in New Jersey.
Under Hallvar Witzo’s direction, “Tuba Atlantic” is an eccentric amusement about an old guy who’s not about to go gently.
| Robert W. Butler