This year's batch of films was quite something this year at the Reno Film Festival. All of the Oscar nominated shorts for animation, live-action and documentary were on display.
Review: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
The Oscar winner at this year's Academy Awards, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a delight for fans of animation. The film uses a multitude of different techniques (miniatures, computer animation, 2D animation) and incorporates them into a film that feels like what Charlie Chaplin would have made if he had been an animator. To put it succinctly this is why we love the movies.
Review: La Luna
A small boy starts learning the family tradition on this evening. Sandwiched between his hulking father and his spindly-but-wise grandfather, they row into the middle of seemingly nowhere in the ocean. The boy must make a choice: continue down the line of his family's work by the way his father chose, or the one his grandfather paved. I would reveal more, but the joy is in seeing this film clean.
Review: The Shore
A Belfast expat (Ciaran Hinds) returns home with his American daughter by his side. He has come home in order to settle a grudge from his youth involving his best friend and ex-fiance. After reading that story summary, one would imagine that The Shore would be quite grim and dour, but Terry George's direction and the warmth in the performances given by Hinds and Kerry Condon liven it up. What we end up with is gorgeous cinematography of Ireland and humor from the heart.
Review: Time Freak
The notion of time-travel has been covered before in other science fiction films, notably in Primer, The Butterfly Effect, and Timecrimes, but never before has such a massive and mind-altering concept been used for such benign activities. A quantum physicist finally cracks the secret for traveling through time and space. What does he use it for? Anything but what you would think. Careless words thrown around at the dry cleaner's? Gone back and done over. Making a fool of himself in front of his crush? Reboot. Imagine if Woody Allen had discovered time travel on his clumsiest day and you have Time Freak.
Review: Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement
Barber, James Armstrong has seen it all: from Martin Luther King's triumphant rise and fall to the historic election of Barack Obama. A subject matter like race traditionally lends itself to preachiness, but 'Barber of Birmingham' is a spotlight on a man who has fought battles for equality and has lived to see another day.