October 28, 2016
        Ten Contenders will compete for Best Documentary Short Subject                "The Circle" and "The Lost City of Z": Which potential 2016 contenders got bumped to 2017?                Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Stacy Keach at Hollywood Film Awards                Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster        

SXSW Secret Screening a bust; Harry Knowles up next

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: The “Secret Screening” held Monday afternoon at SXSW turned out to be a big surprise … mainly because it wasn’t one of the titles most people were guessing out in the line.

In what was one of the most buzzy moments of this year’s fest so far, the crowd that piled into the Paramount Theater around 2 p.m. speculated wildly on what SXSW programmers had in store.

A rumor that Kenneth Branagh’s “Thor” was on the docket was shot down when no one received 3D glasses on the way in. A rumor that the 20th Century Fox theme song was heard over the house speaker system as audio was tweaked sent fans to the Web to see what the studio had on the release schedule? Would it be “Rio?” Maybe an early look at Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life?”

None of the above.

Instead, Mike Cahill’s Sundance drama “Another Earth,” introduced by star and co-writer Brit Marling, played to mixed reviews. A difficult story of a young woman affected by a tragic car accident, “Earth” references a unique bit of science-fiction, but doesn’t develop either the sci-fi or the human relationship that it’s meant to support. While I liked the idea behind “Earth,” it was tough to defend the film’s illogical plotting (and even tougher to ignore the loud chuckles from the Paramount crowd).

Luckily, SXSW has one more trick up its sleeve tonight. Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News will preside over an anniversary screening back at the Paramount tonight, and speculation is running rampant. Knowles has said he is picking a retro film, but that could be to throw people off his trail. We’ll know soon enough. I’m off to the Paramount, Will report back later. I hope and pray it’s “E.T.”

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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