Sundance Screening Room returns with Oscar shorts, “Mr. Turner,” “Hits”

MR TURNER

The Sundance Cinemas Screening Room calendar is revving up again at the end of the month, presenting foreign films, documentaries and indies every week start on Jan. 30.

I’ll be back doing post-show chats for a couple of the films (more of those to come), and I’ll have some details coming soon on how you can win tickets to those movies. But until then, here’s a look at what’s coming:

2015 Oscar Nominated Shorts” (Jan. 30 and Feb. 6) — This increasingly popular series presents all 15 Oscar-nominated short films this year — Animation, Live-Action and Documentary — in three separate screenings for a two-week run. Aside from a chance get an edge in your Oscar pool, it’s a great chance to see some of the innovative work being done in short-form films, especially the animated fare.

Hits” (Feb. 13) — My review from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival is here. The directorial debut of “Mr. Show” co-creator David Cross is a scathingly funny satire about YouTube nation, as the denizens of a small town — from a wannabe pop star to a municipal gadfly — fight with each other to achieve viral immortality. In addition to the one-week run, there’s a very interesting Feb. 12 screening where audience members can basically pay what they want to see the film. (It’s worth putting some cash in the tip jar for.)

Antarctica: A Year on the Ice” (Feb. 20) — This documentary doesn’t follow the march of the penguins, but instead looks at the human denizens of Antarctica and what they do to keep their sanity in harsh and isolated circumstances.

Mr. Turner” (Feb. 27) — This new Mike Leigh film sparked an Internet meme when an Oscar presenter mangled cinematographer Dick Pope’s name when announcing his nomination Thursday. Aside from that, the film got nominations for production design and costume design, but Timothy Spall was shut out of a Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of the grunting, spitting, rutting painter.

What-We-Do-In-the-Shadows

What We Do In the Shadows” (March 6) — I missed this one at the UW Mini Indie Film Festival last fall, so I’m looking forward to catching this horror comedy, co-written by “Flight of the Conchords” Jemaine Clement as one of several vampires trying to co-exist in the same house. It’s not easy having the same roommate for hundreds of years.

Leviathan” (March 13) — This Russian film, which just won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, is an allegory about Vladimir Putin’s rule, about a cruel small-town mayor who makes life miserable for a worker who dares to defy him.

Queen and Country” (March 20) — In the latest comedy-drama by legendary British director John Boorman (“Hope and Glory”), two young Brits go off to fight the Korean War.

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