Category Archives: Features

Oscar nominations announced

"Hugo" was nominated for 11 Oscars, including best director for Martin Scorsese and best picture.

Oscar nominations were announced today and, as usual, there were few surprises. That said, I didn’t expect to see Demián Bichir make his way into the best actor race for “A Better Life.” Certainly, people like his performance, but his chances seemed slim going into today’s nominations. So, you never know what’s going to happen. I was also pleased to see the strong support for Terrence Malick and “The Tree of Life.” This is a great film that got too little attention from Critics’ organizations.

Following is a complete list of nominees …

Best Picture

“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
“The Help”
“Midnight in Paris”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

Actor in a Leading Role

Demián Bichir in “A Better Life”
George Clooney in “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin in “The Artist”
Gary Oldman in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt in “Moneyball”

Actor in a Supporting Role

Kenneth Branagh in “My Week with Marilyn”
Jonah Hill in “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte in “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer in “Beginners”
Max von Sydow in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

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Interview with ‘Haywire’ star Gina Carano

I recently interviewed “Haywire” star Gina Carano for the Reno Gazette-Journal because she has spent a lot of time in the Reno area and her father still lives there. If you’re interested, you’ll find the full piece here:

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‘The Artist’ tops Las Vegas Film Critics Society’s Sierra Awards

Jean Dujardin, left, and Berenice Bejo in a scene from "The Artist." The movie won Best Picture in the Las Vegas Film Critics Society's annual Sierra Awards.

It’s a big day for movie awards. Not only did the Broadcast Film Critics Association announce the nominees for its annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards today, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society announced the winners of its Sierra Awards. I vote in both groups, so I always like to publicize the winners.

“The Artist” was the big Sierra Awards winner, nabbing five honors, including Best Picture. The male star of the film, Jean Dujardin, picked up Best Actor, and the movie also nabbed Best Score, Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction.

“Hugo” also performed well, winning awards for Best Family Film and Best Film Editing and helping its young star, Asa Butterfield, take the Youth In Film honor.

Following is a complete list of winners, plus the Las Vegas Film Critics Society list of the top 10 films of 2011.

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‘Hugo,’ ‘The Artist’ lead Critics’ Choice nominees

Martin Scorsese, front, and Ben Kingsley work on the film "Hugo," which received 11 nominations for the Critics' Choice Movie Awards

Longtime readers know that I’m a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association thanks to my affiliation with Alice Radio (96.5 FM in Reno, NV) and Idaho Country (KQFC-FM in Boise, ID). Today our organization released its nominee list for the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, which will be telecast live at 8 p.m. Jan. 12 on VH1. Often, Critics’ Choice award winners go on to nab Oscars, so the nominee list gives you a nice look at the movies that are likely to be players in the coming months.

Martin Scorsese’s charming family film “Hugo” and the beautiful silent-movie “The Artist” led all contenders this year with 11 nominations each. Also toward the top of the pack were “The Help” and “Drive,” each scoring eight nominations.

Following is a complete list of nominees. Winners will be revealed live during the Jan. 12 VH1 broadcast.

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BFCA: Best of Blu-ray winners

20th Century Fox's 40-Year-Evolution "Planet of the Apes" box set was selected as a top Blu-ray release by the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Regular readers know that I’m a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), which doles out the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards every year. Recently, the membership completed voting on the inaugural Critics’ Choice Best of Blu-ray competition, and the winners were announced this week. For the competition, several major studios submitted their favorite Blu-rays released between 2006 and 2011, and BFCA members voted on those titles, choosing “bests” for each year.

It’s important to note that not every studio competed in this competition and the nominees were self-selected by the movie studios.  The BFCA membership then chose its favorites from among the studio-selected nominees. Because the field of competitors was limited, it’s hard to call this an exhaustive best-of-the best list, but I do feel that all winners are worthwhile and serve as excellent examples of Blu-ray at its finest.

Following is a press release from the BFCA Web site with all winners announced …

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Romantic comedies that are actually funny

I just wrote a piece for the Reno Gazette-Journal that focuses on romantic comedies that are actually funny. Yes, it’s out just in time for Valentine’s Day. Check it out here:


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Joe Satriani interview in the Reno Gazette-Journal

I recently interviewed guitarist Joe Satriani for the Reno Gazette-Journal. He’s performing in Reno on Jan. 14. If you’re a fan of his music, check out the story here:

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Top 10 movies of 2010

Recently, I wrote a piece on the top 10 movies of 2010 for the Reno Gazette-Journal, and I thought I would share my list with you. For the full story with comments on each film go to the RGJ Web site.

10. Secretariat

9. The Town

8. The Fighter

7. Kick-Ass

6. I’m Still Here

5. Black Swan

4. Toy Story 3

3. The King’s Speech

2. Inception

1. The Social Network



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Kristoffer Polaha has high hopes for his new series, ‘Life Unexpected’

Kristoffer Polaha in "Life Unexpected."

When “Life Unexpected” premieres tonight on The CW, nobody will be more anxious to see the response than former Reno resident Kristoffer Polaha.

The 32-year-old actor stars in the series, along with Shiri Appleby (“Roswell”), Brittany Robertson (“Dan in Real Life”) and Kerr Smith (“Dawson’s Creek”), and he has high hopes for its future.

“So far, this has been a really cool experience, and we’re going to see what happens with the show next week,” he said. “It’s got a really great heart. Every script is better than the last one.”

Click here for full story:

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Get in the Halloween spirit with spooky entertainment

Drag MeNothing gets you in the mood for Halloween like watching a scary movie or two, and we’re in the fortunate position of having several good, recent horror flicks in movie theaters and video stores. Even better, you can find a couple solid horror offerings on TV. That means even folks watching their budget can afford to get spooked. Read on for my picks of the best of recent horror entertainment.

On video

“Orphan”: You’ll have to wait until Tuesday to catch this one, as that’s when it’s being released on Blu-ray and DVD. Don’t hesitate to put it on hold though. It’s the best horror film I’ve seen this year. Click here for the full story:

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