Manhattan cocktail 

That Internet thing has so hurt movie attendance that Hollywood’s resorted to gimmicks to lure people back to the ’plex. If it’s not unnecessary 3-D conversion every other week, it’s scratchand-sniff cards for “Spy Kids 4.” What if audience interactivity weren’t an afterthought, but a building block?

With Manhattan Short Film Festival, the power to pick the winner rests with the audience. After 598 entrants poured in from 48 countries, the field was narrowed to the 10 that comprise the showings Thursday through Sunday at Oklahoma City Museum of Art — just one of more than 250 cities across our globe’s inhabitable continents hosting the event.

I know what I would pick: “The Legend of Beaver Dam,” a 12-minute Canadian comedy surrounding an urban legend known as Stumpy Sam. But that’s because I found the melding of the rock musical, kiddie adventure and campground slasher to be novel. Perhaps bits on the recent Cairo uprising or a doctor moonlighting as a cabbie are more your Dixie cups of instant tea.

That’s the beauty of the festival: Its two hours are packed with variety ... but so much so that the wild mix has the potential to be a hindrance. While there’s something for everyone, not everything is for someone.

On the plus side, the Swedish “Incident by a Bank” is a recreation of a real robbery, but shot from the street outside, leaving your mind to piece events together based largely on auditory cues. On the minus side, Julia Stiles (TV’s “Dexter”), the only recognizable face in the bunch, stars in the American “Sexting,” a toothless work whose end is so predictable, I was surprised that playwright-turned-director Neil LaBute was behind it.

And somewhere in the middle is Australia’s “Dik,” in which a man’s misinterpretation of his son’s crayon scrawling of “I lik ribin tims dik” balloons into a situation so bad, it proves father doesn’t always know best.

Other films set their short sights on a teenager’s newborn baby to a dog eating dentures, so prepare to have your heart crushed and your stomach turned, respectively. More than anything, prepare to cast an educated, entertained ballot.

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Rod Lott

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