Oscar-nominated live-action shorts: Pentecost

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All this week I'll be reviewing the Oscar nominees for best live-action short, which open Friday at Landmark's Century Centre. Check back this time tomorrow for the last installment.

Peter McDonald, a busy actor in Irish and British TV, movies, and theater, debuts as writer-director with Pentecost, a comic trifle about a young lad whose soccer obsession complicates his altar-boy duties at the local parish. Irish writer Frank O'Connor was a master at mixing Catholic mystery with childhood shenanigans; McDonald seems to be aiming for the same thing here, but the laughs are too aggressive and the lack of any true religious feeling leaves this a weak farce. A former altar boy myself, I remember the terror that I'd commit the unforgivable sin of fucking up the Mass, a character idea McDonald flirts with but then abandons in favor of a big climactic gag. A trailer follows the jump.

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