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Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' February 8-10

Nervous parents may want to avoid the Spanish short film "Mother," which follows a desperate woman with no means by which to save her missing child.

Does anyone, by chance, have a number for Mother Nature? We'd like to talk to her about this midlife crisis she seems to be going through. The good news about all this miserable weather? Plenty of time to keep working on next summer's beach bodies — right? So take a break from that grueling workout routine and head to your local theather, because Up to Date's indie, foreign, and documentary Film Critics have some seriously good movies to check out this weekend.

Cynthia Haines

"Shoplifters," R

  • The "resourcefulness" of a Japanese family of small-time crooks comes into question after they take in a beleaguered young girl they find in the cold.

2019 Oscar-Nominated short films: Live Action Shorts, R

  • These short selections center on choices that land children in jeopardizing situations: In "Skin," bloodshed ensues after a black man upsets a group of white supremacists; in "Detainment," the suspects in the kidnapping of a two-year-old are children themselves; "Fauve," shows the consequences of two boys' reckless behavior in the great outdoors; and "Mother," documenting a mother's frantic quest to save her missing child. 

2019 Oscar-Nominated short films: Animated

  • These plucky but powerful films show the emotional and mental trials faced by those who surround us: In "Weekends," one boy must learn to adjust to life in a broken home; "Life Afternoon" reveals the isolation of dementia for one patient leaning on memories to connect to the world; and animals with pyschological and emotional issues turn to group counciling in "Animal Behaviour."

Steve Walker

2019 Oscar-Nominated Short Film Showcase: Live Action Shorts, R

  • This year's harrowing nominees center around a theme of imperiled children: "Fauve," about two boys whose playful hijinks turn tragic; "Detainment," a controversial British film about two 10-year-olds suspected of murdering a toddler; "Mother," where the title character's phone call with her 6-year-old grows ever more frantic; and "Skin," showing the unsurprising result of being raised by white supremacists.

"Stan and Ollie," PG

  • This unpredictable biopic about Laurel and Hardy's last grasps at relevance is electrified every time actresses Nina Arianda and Shirley Henderson appear on screen as their fiercely supportive spouses.

"The Favourite," R

  • Ten Oscar nominations went to this delightfully vulgar, lavishly designed romp from director Yorgos Lanthimos that stars Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone as ruthless ladies-in-waiting vying for the attentions of a mercurial Queen Anne, played to the hilt by Olivia Colman.
Since 1998, Steve Walker has contributed stories and interviews about theater, visual arts, and music as an arts reporter at KCUR. He's also one of Up to Date's regular trio of critics who discuss the latest in art, independent and documentary films playing on area screens.
As culture editor, I oversee KCUR’s coverage of race, culture, the arts, food and sports. I work with reporters to make sure our stories reflect the fullest view of the place we call home, so listeners and readers feel primed to explore the places, projects and people who make up a vibrant Kansas City. Email me at luke@kcur.org.