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Shorts long on innovation

Movielovers will have to hunt in Amazon for short films

Some of the season’s breakthrough pics aren’t on movie screens, they’re on Amazon.com.

The giant e-tailer may seem an unlikely candidate for innovative storytelling, but the five film shorts in “Amazon Theater” are, by and large, compelling.

From Blair Underwood as a man caught in an unending race against time to Chris Noth as a father whose daughter teaches him the fun of being the tooth fairy, the shorts make the most of their mini size with interactive features, beguiling premises and high energy.

Designed specifically to help Amazon sell products from its library, “Amazon Theater” should by all rights be crass and simplistic.

But the growing field of promotional webisodes is proving to be just the opposite.

Online shorts for BMW helmed by big names like John Woo and Guy Ritchie were solid actioners, and Jaguar recently released its own high-octane mini pics, animated by “Aeon Flux” creator Peter Chung.

Amazon essentially let Tony Scott and other helmers from RSA USA create any short they wanted — so long as Amazon could integrate its products into the plot and provide links to purchase them.

There were no development execs, no test screenings and no last-minute reshoots.

In an age of corporate filmmaking, product placement is starting to look like the purest of intentions.

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