Byck includes many more solutions, but jumps from one to another randomly while leaving more insight and analysis to be desired. The animated graphics together with all the facts and figures presented onscreen serve as an accessible way to digest the information that’s far from boring, but it all feels rather one-sided to the point of oversimplification. After all, there are more sides to a coin than you think: the ridges, the edges, the sides of the ridges and so forth. Carbon Nation merely presents the viewer with a reader’s digest overview of climate change solutions without stepping back to thoroughly weigh in and realistically assess their pros and cons.
Gnomeo & Juliet
Lovers of Hate
Oscar-Nominated Live-Action Shorts 2011
2011’s collection of five Oscar-Nominated Live-Action shorts offers three beautifully written films and two weaker ones that could have fleshed out with more imagination. Na Wewe (Belgium), for instance, which translates as “You, Too,” centers around a group of ordinary citizens who, in 1994, travel by minivan through Burundi, a country bordering Rwanda and plagued with civil war between the Hutu and Tutsis. Will the Hutu soldiers find and kill any Tutsis on among the passengers? Director/co-writer Ivan Goldschmidt establishes a sense of realism through cinematography, but the bland screenplay doesn’t do the gritty subject matter any justice because none of the characters have enough background info to help you to care about them as complex human beings.
In The Confession (UK), a 9-year-old boy, Sam (Lewis Howlett), learns in school that he must go to confession so that the priest can absolve his sins, but neither he nor his friend, Jacob (Joe Eales), have sinned yet---keyword being “yet.” They both end up committing a mortal sin when a prank involving a scarecrow placed on a road leads to a fatal accident. The film takes a rather unexpected, bizarre turn during its final moments that fail to have an emotional resonance.
In The Crush (Ireland), an 8-year-old boy, Ardal (Oran Creagh) has a crush on his school teacher, Miss Purdy (Olga Wehrly), and even offers her an engagement ring which she accepts out of kindness. Once her fiancé (Rory Keenan) enters the picture, Ardal takes matters into his own hands by challenging him to a duel. Writer/director Michael Creagh takes a premise that could have been downright silly and completely implausible and turns it into a rather engrossing and even suspenseful drama with a very realistic, poignant ending that treats his characters with respect. Unlike Na Wewe and The Confession, The Crush has a sprinkle of dry comic relief.
The same can be said for Wish 143 (UK) directed by Ian Barnes, where a 15-year-old boy diagnosed with terminal cancer desperately wants to lose his virginity before he dies. Will he get what he wishes for? You’ll actually find yourself caring about the answer to that question thanks to the sensitive screenplay by Tom Bidwell.
Finally, the very best live action film of the bunch, God of Love (US), shot in black-and-white, highlights writer/director Luke Matheny’s knack for witty dialogue and an imaginative, intriguing premise: Ray (Luke Matheny) yearns to fall in love with a particular girl who doesn’t love him back, so when he mysteriously receives a box of love-inducing darts, he pricks his love interest on her hand thereby causing her to fall in love with him for six hours. Matheny has enough charisma and comedic timing to be very amusing and delightful as a leading man. With its funny, charming and brilliantly inventive screenplay, God of Love concurrently says a lot about love and fate in ways that avoid preachiness. It deserves to win the Oscar for Best Live-Action short.
The Sky Turns
Admittedly, though, the pace moves so slowly that at times it frustratingly drags, so you might struggle to get accustomed to it right away. At a running time of just under 2 hours, The Sky Turns is a somewhat meandering, yet provocative and lyrical documentation of a village’s history, its evolution and the memories of its 14 villagers.