CATEGORIES Oscar News
Magnolia Pictures and Shorts International are once again bringing their shorts film program to theaters across the country. Showcasing the Academy Award-nominated Live Action and Animated Short Films, the series gives audiences the rare chance to see all the nominees in one viewing -- not to mention, it will give you the edge in winning your Oscar pool.

Check the official Web site for a full listing of theaters running the program. The films are running in select cities right now, and expanding to more theaters in the weeks up until the Academy Awards on March 7.

To give you a little more scoop on what to be really excited for, we've put together some short thoughts on the short films. Magnolia Pictures and Shorts International are once again bringing their shorts film program to theaters across the country. Showcasing the Academy Award-nominated Live Action and Animated Short Films, the series gives audiences the rare chance to see all the nominees in one viewing -- not to mention, it will give you the edge in winning your Oscar pool.

Check the official Web site for a full listing of theaters running the program. The films are running in select cities right now, and expanding to more theaters in the weeks up until the Academy Awards on March 7.

To give you a little more scoop on what to be really excited for, we've put together some short thoughts on the short films.

LIVE ACTION SHORTS

'Kavi'
This socially-conscious piece tells the story of Kavi, a young boy living in India, struggling to live under slave labor conditions. It's fairly standard in direction and style, but the short format leaves no time for subtlety, and the end result is heavy-handed (though nobly intentioned).

'The Door'
A man outruns police and breaks into a decrepit house to steal a door, hoping to maintain a custom for a family that has had its lives ruined by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. The incredibly downbeat ending comes from a mile away, and you'll spend 15 minutes waiting for it to happen.

'Miracle Fish'
Poor, bullied Joe's only birthday present is a gag toy called a "miracle fish." After a nap, Joe finds his school is abandoned. At first it's a birthday wish come true, but soon it's a grim, bloody reality. The film is masterfully paced and shows some real, understated emotion.

'The New Tenants'
A young couple, barely settled into their new apartment, learn about the grisly fate of the previous tenant. This feels like your typical NYC oddball indie film, and by the end it goes just one quirk too far. Vincent D'Onofrio, Kevin Corrigan and the rest of the cast do their best to carry the occasionally insufferable dialogue.

'Instead of Abracadabra'
This Swedish film is about a slacker magician, living with his parents, who tries to put on one successful show that will woo the pretty woman who moved in next door. It's subtle and offbeat in all the right ways. It's a simple story done excellently and filled with perfectly timed comedy.

• Which Film Will Win? The shorts category more readily acknowledges comedies than features -- and five out of the last eight years, the award has gone to a European production. This year, it's Sweden's turn. Add in the simplicity and charm of the plot, and 'Instead of Abracadabra' will take the award.

• Which Film Should Win? 'Miracle Fish.' In the span of 15 minutes, writer/director Luke Doolan and the adorable lead, played by Karl Beattie, tell an investing story, displaying smart stylistic flourishes and genuinely suspenseful twists. The film pulls you in immediately and leads you on a brief but memorable trip.



ANIMATED SHORTS

'Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty'
The shortest of the shorts, this Irish CGI tale features a boisterous grandmother telling the Sleeping Beauty story to her frightened granddaughter, in fractured fairy-tale fashion. It's a little too short, and fairly one-note.

'Logorama'
H5, the French design company, present L.A. as a city comprising nothing but advertising logos and filled with living, breathing corporate mascots. It's crudely funny, and impressively features over 2,500 company brands. Each frame is packed with visual treats; every time you watch it, you pick up something new.

'The Lady and The Reaper'
It's a mostly silent piece about a frail old lady and the morbid tug-of-war between the Grim Reaper and a pompous doctor refusing to let her die. This is the most pleasant surprise out of the bunch, offering some well-done black comedy in classic, slapstick style.

'French Roast'
This CGI scene set in a Parisian café features a man who is unable to pay his bill, a dirty bum and a nun who is not what she appears to be. Looks nice, but it's mainly an exercise in style, with no real payoff to the premise it establishes.

'Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death'

This 30-minute feature stars the Oscar-winning claymation dog and his bumbling British owner, caught up in a murder mystery involving the town's bakers. It's another charming adventure filled with clever sight gags. There has never been a disappointing 'Wallace and Gromit' feature, and this one doesn't break the trend.

• Which Which Film Will Win? Oscar voters tend to bestow the award for Best Animated Short Film to the familiar faces. Nick Park is part of that fraternity, already having won three Oscars in the category. Plus, being the only non-CGI short will make 'Wallace and Gromit' stand out even more to Academy voters.

• Which Which Film Should Win? Even 'Wallace and Gromit' can't compete with 'Logorama.' It's colorful, fluid and hypnotic. It also makes an amazing subversive statement on advertising culture; the most interesting aspect is how easy it will be for the viewer to recognize hundreds of brands, logos and mascots in a split second.