The DC Shorts family showcase fell to me to review because my wife and I are expecting our first child any day now. Expecting the worst sort of Teletubbies-meet-Elmo brain-killing nonsense, I was pleasantly surprised: This is, for the most part, a collection of gorgeously animated or shot films that are sweet, nuanced, touching, and sometimes downright sad. Of course, whether “touching and sometimes downright sad” is what you’re after when you schlep your kids to the movies is up to you. But at least there won’t be any furry red things shrieking at you in falsetto.
Amazonia: The animated adventures—well, mostly misadventures—of a hungry frog trying to find a meal in the jungle.
Barko: Performing in a circus, an animated dog has flashbacks to being tortured by the cruel owner he joined the circus to escape; eventually, though, things get so pathetic that a kind boy adopts him. And feeds him a hot dog.
Bot: Mad scientist creates monster to destroy town. Monster, who really just wants to dance, destroys mad scientist’s house instead. Fin.
In a Heartbeat: A melancholy day in the life of a lonely girl in elementary school, who’s also the only kid in her class able to muster the will to stop some bullies from picking on a classmate.
Naiá e a Lua: The mythology of a native village in the Brazilian rainforest comes to life. In the unlikely event you’ve ingested large quantities of psychedelic drugs before attending the family shorts program, this might be a good time to go buy some popcorn.
One Shoe Blues: B.B. King sings and plays guitar, accompanied by a collection of sock puppets.
Playing P.O.W.’s: Mawkish tale of how a young boy helps his grandfather recover from a stroke by pretending his nursing home is a POW camp and the orderlies sent to take him to a mental health clinic are enemy guards.
Something Fishy: Just your standard sweet-little-girl-buys-pet-goldfish, sweet-little-girl-tries-to-swim-with-goldfish-in-swimming-pool-and-kills-it, sweet-little-girl-turns-out-to-be-goldfish-murdering-monster, sweet-little-goldfish-murderer-then-turns-to-pet-chicks story.
Saturday, Sept. 10, at 12 p.m. at E Street Cinema
Saturday, Sept. 10, at 11 a.m. at Artisphere
Saturday, Sept. 17, at 12 p.m. at Atlas Performing Arts Center
Sunday, Sept. 18, at 12 p.m. at Atlas Performing Arts Center