Short with Austin-based producer wins Sundance Jury Award

A still from “The Procedure”

“The Procedure,” a short film written and directed by  Calvin Lee Reeder, won the Sudance Short Film Jury Award for U.S. Fictionb.

It was produced by Bears Fonte, former programming director for the Austin Film Festival and current director of programming (and founder) of Other Worlds Austin.

The festival screened 72 short films. The short film jurors were Amazon Studios development executive Gina Kwon, “Key and Peele” comedian Keegan-Michael Key and newly-minted MTV film critic Amy Nicholson.

The complete list of winners follows:

2016 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Awards:

Short Film Grand Jury Prize: “Thunder Road” / U.S.A. (Written and directed by Jim Cummings )

Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction: “The Procedure” / U.S.A. (Written and directed by Calvin Lee Reeder)

Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction: “Maman(s)” / France (Written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré )

Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction: “Bacon & God’s Wrath” / Canada (Directed by Sol Friedman)

Short Film Jury Award: Animation: “Edmond”/ United Kingdom (Written and directed by Nina Gantz)

Short Film Special Jury Award for Outstanding Performance: Grace Glowicki for “Her Friend Adam.”

Short Film Special Jury Award for Best Direction: “Peacock” / Czech Republic (Directed by Ondřej Hudeček, Written by Jan Smutny and Ondřej Hudeček)


‘Boy & the World’ is charming bit of Brazilian animation (Our grade: B)

A boy tries to reunite his family in the Brazilian animated movie "Boy and the World." (GKids)
A boy tries to reunite his family in the Brazilian animated movie “Boy and the World.” (GKids)

Charles Solomon – Los Angeles Times

One of the first animated features made in Brazil, “Boy & the World” is a brightly colored, often charming film that juxtaposes simple, hand-drawn animation with kaleidoscopic computer-generated patterns.

When his father leaves to find work in the city, a boy named Cuca follows him, hoping to reunite his family. Far from his rural home, the boy witnesses scenes of industrial agriculture, colorful festivals, ecological destruction and oppressive urban life.

» Read full review at » Find showtimes for “Boy & the World”

The “Suicide Squad” Trailer is Pretty Much Everything Horrible About Contemporary Superhero Movies (Especially the DC Comics Ones)

Oh, man. Okay.

First, some mild housekeeping for those confused: DC has finally gotten its act together and started their own shared universe series a la the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This sequence of movies starts with the depressing “Man of Steel,”  and  continues with the even more depressing looking “Batman v Superman.”  From now on, all of the movies take place in the same universe. (The DC TV shows such as “Flash,” “Arrow” and really enjoyable “Supergirl,” and the DC movies are taking place in a different universe.)

The third installment in the DC Extended Universe is “Suicide Squad” directed by David Ayer (writer of “Training Day,” writer/director of “Fury”).

qfwso2uduowy8o1crpdxThough there may be a little bit of rave-o-licious green and some cool icons in the posters, “Suicide Squad” still has the muted palette and very serious demeanor of “Man of Steel.” As for a sense of wonder, forget about it.

Nope, from Boomerang (Jai Courtney) in solitary to the invisible voices that may or may not be yacking to Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) to El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), a fire user being hit with a whole bunch of water, and the Joker (Jared Leto) looking like he owns a whole lot of Korn and Disturbed albums, this “Suicide Squad” looks like, well, the Dirty Dozen with a few superpowers and more Hot Topic.

There are a few bright (as it were) spots. Amanda Waller was one of the coolest characters ever created, not the least of which was because she looked like this and was perfectly capable of going toe to toe with Batman and not blinking. (These days she looks like this, which is DC editorial’s cross to bear.)  She is being played by Viola Davis, about which I am in no way mad. (Though I was holding out for C.C.H. Pounder.)

And casting Will Smith as Deadshot. one of the all-time great Batman villains, is a cool idea. Smith is a charismatic fellow, and man, could this movie use some.

In theory, grim ‘n’ gritty is appropriate for something called “Suicide Squad.” The 66-issue original run of the book, written by the great John Ostrander, was one of the best superhero comics of the 1980s — smart, action-packed, well-characterized. It was a brilliant way to revive third-string characters (such as Deadshot and Boomerang).

But this just looks…trashy and depressing. And not trashy in the fun John Water/Russ Meyers way. Trashy in a nu-metal video, torture porn kind of way. All the colors are dark and drab, nobody looks happy to be there, not even Robbie and Leto can sell their lunacy all that well.

Look, I could be dead wrong. I would love to be dead wrong. “Suicide Squad,” the movie, could be brilliant. It could be the witty, vibrant comic book movie of our dreams.  The fact that this has brought vintage Suicide Squad comics back into print is a fantastic thing. Those comics are a blast — colorful and fun and weird.

This movie looks like none of those things.

The complete list of Oscar nominees

“The Revenant,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio in a brutal frontier drama, led the pack of Oscar nominees on Thursday with 12. DiCaprio and supporting actor Tom Hardy were nominated, as was director Alejandro G. Inarittu. It got a best-picture nod, too.

Coming in second was “Mad Max: Fury Road,” with 10 nominations, including best picture. Other best-picture nominees were  “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn,” “The Martian,” “Room” and “Spotlight.”

The 2016 Oscars are set for Feb. 28.

The complete list of nominees:


“The Big Short”

“Bridge of Spies”


“Mad Max: Fury Road”

“The Martian”

“The Revenant”




Cate Blanchett, “Carol”

Brie Larson, “Room”

Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”

Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”

Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”


Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”

Matt Damon, “The Martian”

Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”

Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”

Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”


Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”

Rooney Mara, “Carol”

Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”

Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”

Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”


Christian Bale, “The Big Short”

Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”

Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”

Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”

Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”


Adam McKay, “The Big Short”

George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, “The Revenant”

Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”

Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”



“The Boy and the World”

“Inside Out”

“Shaun the Sheep Movie

“When Marnie Was There”


“Bridge of Spies,” by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen

“Ex Machina,” by Alex Garland

“Inside Out,” screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen

“Spotlight,” by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy

“Straight Outta Compton,” screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff


“The Big Short,” by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay

“Brooklyn,” by Nick Hornby

“Carol,” by Phyllis Nagy

“The Martian,” by Drew Goddard

“Room,” by Emma Donoghue


“Embrace of the Serpent” (Colombia)

“A War” (Denmark)

“Mustang” (France)

“Son Of Saul” (Hungary)

“Theeb” (Jordan)


“Bear Story”


“Sanjay’s Super Team”

“We Can’t Live without Cosmos”

“World of Tomorrow”


“Ave Maria”

“Day One”

“Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)”





“Cartel Land”

“The Look of Silence”

“What Happened, Miss Simone?”

“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”


“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”

“Body Team 12”

“Chau, Beyond the Lines”

“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah”

“Last Day of Freedom”



“The Hateful Eight”

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

“The Revenant”



“Ex Machina”

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

“The Martian”

“The Revenant”

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”


“Mad Max: Fury Road”

“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared”

“The Revenant”


“The Big Short”

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

“The Revenant”


“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”




“The Danish Girl”

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

“The Revenant”


“Earned It” from “50 Shades of Grey”

“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”

“Simple Song #3” from Youth

“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”

“Writing’s On The Wall” from Spectre


“Mad Max: Fury Road”

“The Martian”

“The Revenant”


“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”


“Bridge of Spies”

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

“The Martian”

“The Revenant”

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”


“Bridge of Spies”

“The Danish Girl”

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

“The Martian”

“The Revenant”


“Bridge of Spies”


“The Hateful Eight”


“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”


Some early thoughts on the Oscar noms…

The Academy could have had 10 best picture nominees, but decided otherwise. “Inside Out” could have been in there. It got a best animated feature nom, but it could easily be a best picture nom.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Carol” could have been in the top nominees. But nope, the Academy decided to snub ’em. Same thing happened to “Straight Outta Compton.”

Of the main nominees, “The Revenant” appears to have the big momentum, with nods in nearly all the major categories.

Quentin Tarantino got snubbed. He could easily have been a screenplay nominee. But nope. The only nom in a major category: supporting actress for Jennifer Jason Leigh.

More to come when I get more caffeinated.