Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Oscar shorts


Directed by
Ulrike Grote

It’s a ghost story of sorts, where this kid shows up at our hero’s apartment claiming to be his son, an event that ruins his day, especially since he can’t find the mother.

One of those films which tugs at the heart but fails to bring forth any emotion whatsoever, how this actually managed to get a nomination is a quandary.


Written and Directed
by Sean Ellis

Let’s talk about porn for a bit. How dirty does a film have to be in order to considered smut? Nowadays, you have to have close-ups of the sex act and a graphic depiction of the release of bodily fluids. But long ago, just having full frontal nudity, or even naked breasts was considered dirty. To some extent it still is for some reason, but not, I guess in Britain, where Ellis has made a film about them.

London art student Ben (Sean Biggerstaff) is working the night shift in a grocery store. His boss(Stuart Goodwin) is a bit of a jerk, who has a thing for the Sharon(Emilia Fox) the check out clerk and she doesn’t reciprocate the feelings. Meanwhile Barry(Michael Dixon) and Matt(Michael Lambourne) like to play with the products, like putting penis-shaped shampoo bottles in women’s carts without their knowing it, or simulating cocksucking using large sausages.

It’s all in good fun, even though the sausage scene looks like the real thing. This is before the flashback to our hero’s childhood where we see the full frontal nudity from the height of an eight year old, and we get to see the clitoris come close to fill the screen.

While there is no actual sex [the sausage scene, of course, is mere simulation], the final third of the film is, in fact nothing but a sea of naked breasts. In the ‘60s, this would have been considered porn. Very soft-core yes, but its still porn. Just what Oscar needs.


Directed by Rúnar Rúnarsson
and Thor S. Sigurjónsson

An elderly man digs his wife’s grave while his family and neighbors demand he move into an old-age home. We know what’s going on from near the beginning and it’s depressing as hell.

The acting is fine, and the Icelandic countryside is always picturesque, and innocent people quietly suffering is always popular with some in the Academy. This isn’t going to get anything.


Written and Directed by
Rob Pearlstein and Pia Clemente

An expensive and bored psychotherapist(Kevin Pollak) learns he has only six weeks to live and decides to continue his practice until the very end, changing his “bedside” manner quite a bit.

This film isn’t particularly great, but the shock of seeing Jorge Garcia [Hurley from “Lost”] gives one a tiny thrill. The chances of this winning anything are minimal.


Written and Directed
by Martin McDonagh

If there were any justice in the world, this would win it hands down. Six Shooter is one of the sickest black comedies I have ever seen and it’s, in a word, brilliant.

Mr. Donnelly(Brendan Gleeson) has just lost his wife. We see that at the very beginning as he weeps over the body. Little do we know what we’re in for, wow!

Cut to a train, sitting catty corner from our protagonist are a couple (David Wilmot and Aisling O'Sullivan) who’ve just lost a baby, and directly across is a strange youth(Rúaidhrí Conroy), who begins blabbering about all sorts of thing, mainly making fun of the woman’s loss of child. From here on out it gets more and more bizarre, climaxing in death, destruction and exploding cows. It’s hilarious!

Conroy’s performance is actually the better than any of the people nominated for the big acting awards, and I’m not sure why he’s not famous yet. This gets my vote for this year’s prize.



Directed by
Sharon Colman

A beleaguered badger tries to get some sleep while crows caw and the military industrial complex plants nuclear weapons under his burrow. This is a very cute cartoon, but nothing out of the ordinary.

The animation design isn’t the best, but the jokes work. What more do you want, an OSCAR? I don’t think so.


Written and Directed by
John Canemaker and Peggy Stern

John Canemaker (John Turturro) explores his difficult relationship with his dead father(Eli Wallach) through an imaginary conversation about the older man's past.

This is autobiography. Canemaker, hated his father’s guts, and uses his talents as an animator to basically try to explain and condemn his father and all he stood for.

While the animation isn’t all that good [Canemaker is a great teacher and a fine writer, but isn’t that great a draftsman], it’s the subject matter which is what grabs you here. There’s an attempt at sympathy and a quest for understanding, but it ends with accusation and rejection.

Because of Canemaker’s fame within the community, it was inevitable that he would get nominated for SOMETHING. I guess this is it.


Directed by
Anthony Lucas

Somewhere in a distant universe, a city is dying of a mysterious plague. Disgraced navigator Jasper Morello (Joel Edgerton) is called back into service to help Captain Grimwald (Tommy Dysart) chart a new trade route while Dr Claude Belgon(Helmut Bakaitis) of the national academy checks the crews health and tries to discover why airmen don’t fall sick. Then things go terribly wrong, although there is some hope for the world in question.

This is one of the more beautifully designed films in this year’s batch. A blend of Tim Burton and Hayao Miyazaki, this is a fully realized adventure story. While it won’t take your breath away, it’ll leave you satisfied.


Written and Directed
by Shane Acker

One of the things about animation is that it lets the hand realize what the mind can conceive. This is as alien a film as one can get. The story of an anthropormorphic robot fighting a mechanical monster in order to save himself and the souls of his bretheren is actually exiting at times.

It won’t win the Oscar because it already won one. As far as I know, this is one of the Student Oscar winners to get a promotion to the bit time. But it won’t win the grownup’s prize.


Written and Directed by
Andrew Jimenez and Mark Andrews

Two buskers battle for a little girl’s last coin. It once again proves that Pixar can do just about anything it wants and gets away with it.

This is a very funny film, and therefore is going to get the Oscar® whether it deserves to or not. The fact that it really doesn’t deserve an award is no reason why it won’t get one. It’s still extremely good.


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I am sure you have heard the song "Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club but have you ever given much thought to its meaning? While on Earth, you are living in a world of reincarnation which is governed by the law of karma. Karma begins to propel you as Soul on a personal journey through the universe. Karma ends when you have reached enlightenment and fully realise that this physical reality and the Universe itself is just an illusion. When you reach a state of knowingness that there is but One all pervading essence and that essence or consciousness is You!
So what is Karma and how does it work? While in the illusion you have a soul. This soul lives past, present, and future lives. To grow in love, joy, and awareness, you reincarnate into a series of physical bodies to experience different existences. This road leads to the experiences of being both sexes, all races, religions, and ethnic types throughout many lifetimes.
Karma in its simplicist terms can be described by the biblical statement "as you sow, so also shall you reap". Karma is the principle of cause and effect, action and reaction, total cosmic justice and personal responsibility. It brings 'good' experiences as well as 'bad' - a debt must be repaid and a blessing rewarded.
A more indepth esoteric look at karma gives us the following distinctions: Sanchita Karma: the accumulated result of all your actions from all your past lifetimes. This is your total cosmic debt. Every moment of every day either you are adding to it or you are reducing this cosmic debt. Prarabdha Karma: the portion of your "sanchita" karma being worked on in the present life. If you work down your agreed upon debt in this lifetime, then more past debts surface to be worked on. Agami Karma: the portion of actions in the present life that add to your "sanchita" karma. If you fail to work off your debt, then more debts are added to "sanchita" karma and are sent to future lives. Kriyamana Karma: daily, instant karma created in this life that is worked off immediately. These are debts that are created and worked off - ie. you do wrong, you get caught and you spend time in jail.
As a soul, you experience a constant cycle of births and deaths with a series of bodies for the purpose of experiencing this illusionary world gaining spiritual insights into your own true nature until the totality of all experiences show you Who you really are - the I AM! Until you have learned, you will find that pretending that the rules of karma do not exist or trying to escape the consequences of your actions is futile.
Although it may often "feel" like punishment, the purpose of karma is to teach not to punish. Often the way we learn is to endure the same type of suffering that we have inflicted on others and also rexperience circumstances until we learn to change our thinking and attitudes.
We are all here to learn lessons as spiritual beings in human form. These lessons are designed to help us grow into greater levels of love, joy, and awareness. They teach us our true nature of love. Where we do not choose love, show forgiveness, teach tolerance, or display compassion, karma intervenes to put us back on the path of these lessons. Quite simply, the only way to achieve a state of karmic balance is to be love.
Before you incarnated into your present personality, you agreed to put yourself in the path of all that is you need to learn. Once you got here, you agreed to forget this. Karma is impersonal and has the same effect for everyone. It is completely fair in its workings and it is predictable - "do onto others as you would have them do unto you" is a way to ensure peace and tranquillity in your own life as well as the lives of those you come into contact with. The law of karma is predictable - "as you sow, so shall you reap" what is done to you is the net result of what you have done to others!
Karma gives you the opportunity at every moment to become a better person than you are and to open up to the realization that you are the master of your own fate.
The goal of karma is to give you all the experiences that you need to evolve into greater levels of love, joy, awareness, and responsibility. Karma teaches that you are totally responsible for the circumstances of your life. They keep you on the straight and narrow until you have mastered your vehicle and can ride freely on your own. Once you understand that you are the master of your own circumstances and that everything you experience is a direct result of your past actions due to your thinking and emotional responses you can overcome its seeming negative effects by creating only 'good' karma.
Karma forces us to look beyond ourselves (oneness) so that we can see ourselves as we truly are Whole, Complete, at One with everything. Once we truly understand ourselves, we can see our divinity and our unity with all life.
Karma drives us to service. Love means service. Once you accept total responsibility for your life, you see yourself as a soul in service to God. Once you do, you become a fully realized being, allowing God to experience the illusion through you.
Belief in karma and an understanding of its workings will lead you to a life of bliss. Only your own deeds can hinder you. Until the time comes when we release ourselves from our own self-imposed shackles of limitation and fully understand who and what we are we will live under the mantle of karma. So until that day why not create some wonderful experiences for ourselves by "doing onto others, as we would have them do unto us". subliminal messages

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