The Present 6/10 An extremely simple premise, “The Present” follows a man and his daughter as they set out in the West Bank to buy his wife an anniversary present. Many aspects work, particularly the acting. The short is well shot and you connect emotionally with the characters. My only real problem is that the film is so simple that it borders on being pointless. The film won’t stay with you and you may ask, “What was the point of that?” once the credits role. Well made with terrific acting but extremely forgettable.

Feeling Through 9/10 What I found to be the best of the live action short films, “Feeling Through” follows a seemingly homeless, young, black man who stumbles upon a blind, deaf man and tries to help him find his way home. I’ve seen films with blind people and deaf people (along with countless other disabilities) but never someone who is both blind and deaf and seeing how they communicate was fascinating. The film is very well acted and one of the few shorts (animated, documentary or live action) that was uplifting. A pleasure to watch, this should have been the winner.

Two Distant Strangers 1/10 What can only be described as pure leftist propaganda, this was blatantly selected because of the false political narrative it pushes as opposed to actual quality. It gets one point for being well acted but it pushes the false narrative that all white cops are racist and every black man in America is constantly in danger. The film lists black people who have been killed by police officers and lumps them all in together, making it seem like every case was a cop murdering an innocent black person. As the list went on, I saw the vast majority of the names I recognized were all righteous kills. Not surprising since this came from Now This, this purely emotionally driven propaganda is so garbage and leftist, I knew it would win the Oscar, despite being the absolute worst short film across all three categories.

White Eye 6/10 Very similar to “The Present”, “White Eye” has essentially the same strengths and weaknesses as the first live action short. Due to the restricted running time, many of these shorts don’t have time to really establish what their point is and this film suffers from that. It was well shot and the acting worked but when it ended, I felt like I gained absolutely nothing from it. It just started and then stopped. Solid production values can’t save a film that doesn’t resonate at all with the audience and becomes instantly forgettable.

The Letter Room 7.5/10 The longest of all the live action shorts and featuring the biggest name star (Oscar Isaac), “The Letter Room” feels like it could be adapted into a full length feature film down the road. It has an interesting premise and is well acted. Digging deeper into the concepts would be a great idea. My only real problem was that the ending felt a little anti-climactic and left me wanting more since it felt abrupt. The second best live action short and worth checking out.

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