Boogaloo and Graham (2014) Poster

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9/10
A Quirky Commentary on Childhood and Suppresion
c_a_o10 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Of any other short film this year, no other has been able to cram more symbolism and meaning into such a short time slot than "Boogaloo and Graham", let alone combine such intricate meaning with such subjugation of an audience in that same short time span. In the following analysis, "Boogaloo and Graham"s ability to both captivate, provoke, and be technically sound will be examined, culminating in a final round-up of this enchanting little film.

To begin, serious praise must be given to both Riley Hamilton and Aaron Lynch for providing such convincing performances; childhood actors can often receive significant criticism, but Hamilton and Lynch left absolutely no room for that with their charming, endearing performances. Martin McCann provides a stellar performance as the father with a tinge of childhood innocence left in him, a central figure in the underlying theme of the film. Finally, Charlene McKenna quite adequately filled in as the tantalizing, oppressive mother who repeatedly attempts to quell the kids freelancing attitude through her visible dissatisfaction with the chicken, the key symbolic figures in the film. Ultimately, the acting in the film is sound. Technically, the cinematography is on- point, with no notable flaws and remarkably consistent technique - major props to Mark Garrett for this. The setting is also very apposite, giving off a feeling of oppression in Belfast that contributes to viably to the film. Captivation is no issue with "Boogaloo and Graham", a great signal for the film, as an audiences innate attention is the first step towards promoting a worthwhile, relevant message.

Speaking of a message, "Boogaloo and Graham"'s is certainly original and unorthodox for such a charming and enthralling film, making it all the more preferable. The theme of oppression and the adventurous spirit of childhood is enhanced, as stated in the aforementioned analysis, by the setting. Oppression is everywhere around Jamesy and Malachy; in their town and their home, control and autonomy over their own lives comes at a premium, making their father's present of Boogaloo and Graham so special. They savor this control and freedom - from having the ability to name these chicken to sleeping with them to taking them wherever they go, Jamesy and Malachy are free of boundaries, an amazing occurrence in a society where everywhere they went, suppression and maltreatment loomed over them. Significant symbolism is also displayed through through how the chicken age, but not the children, showing how while their material possessions may age, they "stay golden", and remain youthful in their enchantment with the world; ultimately, they remain remarkably untouched by society, instead, through their actions, convincing their parents to keep the chicken and rather than promoting the continuation of oppression, endearing themselves to their kid's childhood freedom and infusing themselves with a little of this same attitude.

Ultimately, 'Boogaloo and Graham' is an enchanting tale of oppression, surrounded and molded around an adorable, enthralling story, a rarity and true gem of a 14 minute film.
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8/10
The most humorous and wistful of this year's Oscar nominated live action shorts!
Hellmant6 February 2015
'BOOGALOO AND GRAHAM': Four Stars (Out of Five)

A 14 minute British short film; which was nominated for an Academy Award, for Best Live Action Short Film, at the upcoming 87th Academy Awards. It tells the story of two young boys, growing up in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, who are given two young chickens, to take care of, by their dad. The short was directed by Michael Lennox and written by Ronan Blaney. It stars Aaron Lynch, Riley Hamilton, Martin McCann and Charlene McKenna. I think it's probably the most humorous and wistful of this year's Oscar nominated live action shorts.

The short takes place in Belfast in the 1970s, when it was occupied by British soldiers. It revolves around two young boys, named Jamesy and Malachy (Riley Hamilton and Aaron Lynch). One day their dad (McCann) brings them home two baby chicks, to take care of. They immediately fall in love with the chickens and decide to become vegetarians (almost); due to their new found affection for their animal friends. Things change though, when their parents tell them some unexpected family news.

The film is well made and decently acted; especially the two young boys. It's funny and nostalgic; I know nothing about the place, in that time, but it does bring back childhood memories, of my own. It's probably the most humorous, of this year's Oscar nominated live action shorts, and it's also pretty sweet and touching as well (especially if you're an animal lover). It has a slight bit of political commentary too, thrown in, about 1970s Belfast; but that's not what the story revolves around.

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7/10
For the love of chickens
adamscastlevania28 March 2015
(65%) A really quite sweet, but in a good way, short that has more joy, heart, depth and soul than many feature films I've ever seen. The concept is simple stuff about a father who brings home a couple of baby chickens for this two sons to play with. And in doing so the boys not only learn how to care for the chicks, they also learn a little more about life in general - while in the background to all this cuteness and childlike ideal: a nasty conflict is in full swing. The cast work really well with the two child actors at the heart of the film delivering some very funny, as well as some very well observed lines. At less than 14 minutes long there's quite a hefty slab of good stuff on offer here, and as such this comes highly recommended that's perfect as a bite-sized treat.
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7/10
A depiction of childhood whimsy and optimism
StevePulaski3 March 2015
The concluding short in the Shorts HD sponsored special of the Oscar nominated live action short films of 2015 is also the most narratively and thematically simple. Boogaloo and Graham focuses on two young brothers, Jamesy (Riley Hamilton) and Malachy (Aaron Lynch), from Northern Island, who are gifted two baby chickens by their father (Martin McCann) at a young age. The two brothers nurse, care for, and love their chickens with all their hearts, using them as a distraction from the repercussions of military-occupied Ireland.

When their father and mother (Charlene McKenna) announce they are expecting a baby, that means the two beloved chickens - named Boogaloo and Graham - need to go, much to the dismay of the boys. This short, while admittedly slight fluff, shows how occasionally fair and blatantly unfair adults can be, not providing justification for their actions nor thinking through what they are teaching their children. Boogaloo and Graham functions in that cute and nostalgic feeling of childhood whimsy and optimism, despite this particular short being set in a place evidently burdened by an outside force. Because it gets an uncommon idea right, it deserves to at least be seen; being nominated is a different story.

Starring: Riley Hamilton, Aaron Lynch, Martin McCann, and Charlene McKenna. Directed by: Michael Lennox.
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6/10
Solid little short film
Horst_In_Translation15 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"Boogaloo and Graham" is a British 14-minute short film from 2 years ago that managed a BAFTA win and Academy Award nomination last year, so a major success for everybody involved here, especially writer Ronan Blaney and director Michael Lennox. And even if I enjoyed the watch for the most part, I cannot give the film the same amount of love. For me, it was not among 2013's best in terms of short films. Of course, this is not saying it's a bad film by any means. I especially liked the performance of the older of the two boys and I always appreciate films that show a certain kind of love for animals. Yet, everything before the final plot twist was not too interesting and it too me quite a while to see a justification story-wise why this one was made. Nonetheless, I recommend it overall, just not with too much enthusiasm.
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8/10
Some nice acting by the boys who star in this one...
MartinHafer1 February 2015
"Boogaloo and Graham" is the most enjoyable film of the five nominees, as it's meant to be a comedy. This does not mean it's necessarily brilliant but it did make me smile...and I noticed a lot of folks in the theater were laughing during this short. It's a very slight story despite being set during the occupation of Belfast by British soldiers during the 1970s. In fact, the story itself really has little to do with the problems in Northern Ireland. Instead, it's a cute tale about a couple kids who receive a couple very strange pets...chickens. The boys quickly grow to love them and their mother is far from pleased when they become attached to these 'smelly' birds. It is cute but not the sort of film you'd expect to be nominated.
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