Here Are The CSA Nominations!


They really should give an Oscar for Best Casting.  But until they do, we’ll just have to be happy with the nominations of the Casting Society of America!


“The Big Short” Francine Maisler, Meagan Lewis (Location Casting)

“The Intern” Bernard Telsey, Laray Mayfield, Tiffany Little Canfield, David Vaccari (Associate)

“Joy” Mary Vernieu, Lindsay Graham, Angela Peri (Location Casting)

“Sisters” Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee, Joey Montenarello (Associate), Adam Richards (Associate)

“Tomorrowland” April Webster, Alyssa Weisberg, Corinne Clark (Location Casting), Jennifer Page (Location Casting)


“Bridge of Spies” Ellen Lewis, Kate Sprance (Associate)

“Mad Max: Fury Road” Ronna Kress, Nikki Barrett

“Spotlight” Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee, John Buchan (Location Casting), Jason Knight (Location Casting), Carolyn Pickman (Location Casting), Joey Montenarello (Associate), Adam Richards (Associate)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Nina Gold, April Webster, Alyssa Weisberg,?Jessica Sherman (Associate)

“Straight Outta Compton” Cindy Tolan, Victoria Thomas, Meagan Lewis(Location Casting), Beth Sepko (Location Casting), Carolyn Pickman (Location Casting), Lucinda Syson (Location Casting), Pat Moran (Location Casting), Judith Sunga (Associate)


“Infinitely Polar Bear” Douglas Aibel, Carolyn Pickman (Location Casting), Henry Russell Bergstein (Associate)

“Me & Earl and the Dying Girl” Angela Demo, Nancy Mosser (Location Casting), Katie Shenot (Location Casting)

“Ricki and the Flash” Bernard Telsey, Tiffany Little Canfield, Conrad Woolfe (Associate)

“Sleeping With Other People” Jennifer Euston, Emer O’Callaghan

“While We’re Young” Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler, Henry Russell Bergstein (Associate)


“Brooklyn” Fiona Weir, Lucie Robitaille (Location Casting), Jim Carnahan (Location Casting),

“Carol” Laura Rosenthal, Maribeth Fox (Associate), Jodi Angstreich (Associate)

“The Danish Girl” Nina Gold

“Room” Fiona Weir, Robin D. Cook, Jonathan Oliveira (Associate)

“Trumbo” David Rubin, Meagan Lewis (Location Casting), Melissa Pryor (Associate)


“Big Stone Gap” Henry Russell Bergstein, Stephanie Holbrook, Erica Arvold, Anne Chapman

“Dope” Kim Coleman

“Grandma” Douglas Aibel, Henry Russell Bergstein

“The Mend”  Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee, Allison Estrin

“Mistress America” Douglas Aibel, Henry Russell Bergstein (Associate)


“It Follows” Mark Bennett

“James White” Susan Shopmaker

“Meadowland” Richard Hicks

“Sisterhood of Night” Laura Rosenthal, Maribeth Fox, Jodi Angstreich

“The Stanford Prison Experiment” Angela Demo


“The Good Dinosaur” Kevin Reher, Natalie Lyon

“Inside Out” Kevin Reher, Natalie Lyon

“Legend of the Neverbeast” Jason Henkel

“Pixies” Brad Gilmore

The Seattle Film Critics Survey Is Mad For Max! We Love You, Seattle!


The Seattle Film Critics Survey announced their nominees for the best of 2015 earlier today and I have to say, their nominations are pretty interesting!  (Also interesting to note is that they did not nominate Oscar front runner Spotlight.) Way to go, Seattle!





  • Cate Blanchett – CAROL
  • Nina Hoss – PHOENIX
  • Brie Larson – ROOM
  • Rooney Mara – CAROL
  • Saoirse RonanBROOKLYN


  • Benicio del ToroSICARIO
  • Tom Hardy – THE REVENANT
  • Oscar IsaacEX MACHINA
  • Mark Rylance – BRIDGE OF SPIES
  • Sylvester StalloneCREED


  • Jennifer Jason Leigh – THE HATEFUL EIGHT
  • Kristen Stewart – CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA
  • Mya Taylor – TANGERINE
  • Alicia VikanderEX MACHINA
  • Kate WinsletSTEVE JOBS



  • EX MACHINAAlex Garland
  • THE HATEFUL EIGHTQuentin Tarantino
  • INSIDE OUTPete Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley (screenplay); Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen (story)
  • SICARIO Taylor Sheridan
  • SPOTLIGHTJosh Singer & Tom McCarthy



  • ANOMALISACharlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, directors
  • INSIDE OUTPete Docter, director
  • THE PEANUTS MOVIESteve Martino, director
  • SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE Mark Burton, Richard Starzak, Julie Lockhart and Paul Kewley, directors
  • WHEN MARNIE WAS THEREHiromasa Yonebayashi, director


  • AMYAsif Kapadia, director
  • CARTEL LANDMatthew Heineman, director
  • KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECKBrett Morgen, director
  • THE LOOK OF SILENCEJoshua Oppenheimer, director


  • THE ASSASSINHou Hsiao-Hsien, director
  • MUSTANGDeniz Gamze Ergüven, director
  • PHOENIXChristian Petzold, director
  • SON OF SAULLászló Nemes, director
  • WHITE GODKornél Mundruczó, director


  • CAROLEdward Lachman
  • THE HATEFUL EIGHTRobert Richardson
  • MAD MAX: FURY ROADJohn Seale
  • THE REVENANTEmmanuel Lubezki
  • SICARIORoger Deakins




  • CAROLPatricia Regan, Jerry DeCarlo
  • MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Lesley Vanderwalt, Damian Martin, Elka Wardega
  • THE REVENANTGraham Johnston, Robert Pandini



  • CREED – “Grip”, Ludwig Göransson, Sam Dew, Tessa Thompson (composers)
  • FIFTY SHADES OF GREY – “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)”, Abel Tesfaye, Stephan Moccio, Jason  Quenneville, Ahmad Balshe (composers)
  • FURIOUS 7 – “See You Again”, Justin Franks, Andrew Cedar, Charlie Puth, Cameron Thomaz (composers)
  • THE HUNTING GROUND – “Til It Happens To You”, Lady Gaga, Diane Warren (composers)
  • SPECTRE – “Writing’s On The Wall”, Sam Smith, James Napier (composers)


  • CAROLJudy Becker (production design); Heather Loeffler (set decorator)
  • CRIMSON PEAK Tom Sanders (production design); Shane Vieau, Jeffrey A. Melvin (set decorator)
  • MAD MAX: FURY ROADColin Gibson (production design); Lisa Thompson (set decorator)
  • THE REVENANTJack Fisk (production design); Hamish Purdy (set decorator)
  • STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENSRick Carter and Darren Gilford (production design); Lee Sandales (set decorator)


  • MAD MAX: FURY ROADBen Osmo, Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff (sound mixing); Scott Hecker, Mark Mangini, David White (sound editing)
  • THE MARTIANMac Ruth, Paul Massey, Mark Taylor (sound mixing); Oliver Tarney (sound editing)
  • THE REVENANTChris Duesterdisk, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Moñtano, Randy Thom (sound mixing); Martin Hernandez, Randy Thom, Lon Bender (sound editing)
  • SICARIOJohn Reitz, Tom Ozanich, William Sarokin (sound mixing); Alan Robert Murray (sound editing)
  • STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENSAndy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, Stuart Wilson (sound mixing); Matthew Wood, David Acord (sound editing)


Here Are The Eddie Nominations! Where’s Spotlight?

So, here’s the thing…the Eddie Awards are a pretty big deal.  The Eddies are given out by ACE, the American Cinema Editors and they are meant to honor the best edited films of the year.  The ACEs are also considered to be a pretty good precursor of what will be nominated for (obviously) Best Editing and Best Picture.

And here’s the thing — it’s rare that a film wins Best Picture without receiving, at the very least, a nomination for Best Editing.  Birdman managed to do it (and it’s odd that Birdman was snubbed for Best Editing since the editing was probably the only thing that kept Birdman from just being a pretentious mess).  However, Birdman was the exception to the rule.

What’s interesting is that Spotlight — which has dominated the critics awards — was snubbed by the Eddies.  What does this mean?  It might not mean anything.  Or it could mean that Spotlight is more popular with the critics than with the industry people who will actually be voting for the Oscars.

(The same thing happened with The Social Network a few years ago.)

What was nominated?  Check them out below and notice that Sicario — a darkhorse that I would love to see nominated — got the nomination that a lot of people were expecting to go to Spotlight.




  • Ant-Man
    Dan Lebental, ACE & Colby Parker, Jr., ACE
  • The Big Short
    Hank Corwin, ACE
  • Joy
    Jay Cassidy, ACE, Alan Baumgarten, ACE, 
Christopher Tellefsen, ACE & Tom Cross, ACE
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
    David Trachtenberg
  • Trainwreck
    William Kerr, ACE & Paul Zucker


  • Anomalisa
    Garret Elkins
  • Inside Out
    Kevin Nolting, ACE
  • The Good Dinosaur
    Stephen Schaffer, ACE


Hallmark Review: Notes from Dad (2013, dir. Eriq La Salle)


This is a movie about a guy who plays the trumpet and gets a job teaching music appreciation at a high school. It would be just wrong of me to not share a couple of personal stories from when I took a class in The History of Jazz and Rock in college now.

My teacher was also a jazz musician. I don’t remember how it came up, but he shared one of the greatest regrets of his life with us. He lived in New York City with his girlfriend only a few blocks from CBGB in the mid to late 1970s. According to him, he was such a jazz snob that he refused to make the short walk down there to see groups like The Ramones as they were blowing up on the music scene. He said it was one of the dumbest things he ever did and regrets it to this day.

The other thing is that music appreciation classes can be amazing things. Music is so interconnected. I remember how his face lit up when he read a paper where I wrote I listened to Dick Dale, then Motörhead (RIP Lemmy) and could hear the similarities in their sound. See if you can hear it. I have embedded two songs below: The Wedge by Dick Dale and Iron Fist by Motörhead.

You also learn interesting things such as that country and rap are actually very similar types of music. In fact, some deliberately fuse the two types of music. Same goes for the blues. I can’t possibly be the only one who heard Nirvana’s cover of Leadbelly’s Ain’t It A Shame at the end of Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015) and thought it was a country song at first. Then again, Leadbelly was a blues and country artist too. The division between the two genres was created by record companies that told blues artists to only record blues and country artists to only record country. In reality, they both played country and blues. Nirvana just took out Leadbelly’s lines about not beating your wife and replaced it with Kurt’s angry sarcastic vocals to get the same point across.

You learn why it shouldn’t have been surprising to anyone why Billy Joe Armstrong could write a song like Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) and songs like Basket Case. Also, that rap and jazz are alike in that improvisation is a central element of both genres of music. I remember in 2002 when Johnny Cash seemed to surprise everyone by taking a Nine Inch Nails song (Hurt) and turning it into a sad and beautiful capstone on his long career. My local San Francisco based alt rock station even played it. They even put a sort of disclaimer saying oh yeah, we are going to play Johnny Cash. If you don’t like it, we don’t care. It’s amazing what he did with this otherwise lesser known Nine Inch Nails song so we are playing it. It’s only in the heads of the fans that artists live in a world where only the art they make exists.

Sadly, this movie isn’t really about music appreciation. That would require copy written music. It’s about a music teacher who is going to get his life back on track while also helping a young brilliant trumpet player realize his potential. And look who plays the teacher!


It’s Eddie Cibrian who played Buddy in Healing Hands. This time he is playing a character named Clay. When he arrives in class he discovers quickly that he has some tough students to deal with and that promising student as well. And no, Coolio won’t be sitting him down in a dark room to sing about living in a Gangsta’s Paradise.

Also, since this is not one of those put a bonnet on it films like The Reckoning, he will also not be sat down by Weird “Al” Yankovic to be told about living in a Amish Paradise.

Instead, he goes outside to see himself from Healing Hands, but named Manny played by Michael Beach

IMG_8917 (1)

Michael Beach? That sounds familiar to me. Not from one of his other many many many acting credits. I know him from Quantum Leap of course!


That’s from the episode called Justice where Sam leaps into a KKK member. During that scene he has to pretend he is a KKK member and prevent Michael Beach’s character from helping an older black man register to vote. Can’t think of why that episode is fresh in my memory at all. Interestingly, Eriq La Salle, who directed this movie, was in an episode of Quantum Leap during the same season of the show as Michael Beach’s episode.

Clay comes back to class the next day and decides to teach the kids the three B’s of classical music.


He brought a record of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, and even manipulates the record with his hand. Sounded very familiar to me. I really wondered where I had heard that before. After racking my brain I figured it out! The particular section he manipulates is from Robin Thicke’s early song When I Get You Alone.

Cause of course it is. Why?


Yep, Alan Thicke is in the movie. He’s barely in the movie, but he is there as a music store owner. You can call it a cameo because he only has a few minutes of screen time. I refuse to believe that’s a coincidence.

Back in the classroom, the principal comes in and tells him he needs to stick to the approved curriculum. Doesn’t say what that is, but obviously connecting modern music with classical music to get the kids interested in the material is a no no.

Now we find out that he is on the outs with his ex-wife and kids because he really let his love of music get in the way of everything else. Oh, and here’s the promising trumpet player.


I could take you blow by blow now (no trumpet pun intended), but there’s no point. As Clay gets closer to the kid who plays the trumpet he has to find ways to connect with him. The experience helps him to find ways of reconnecting with his own child. The school is in trouble and he decides to have the kids form a band to get the school some positive attention. Not really sure how that’s going to save the school, but let’s just tuck that away. He also gets close to the principal because he has to end up with someone.

It’s a nice small scale story like Chasing A Dream that is one of those few Hallmark movies that really breaks from their usual mold. And it does a pretty job of it. I liked Eddie Cibrian and the story is uplifting. It could have been better for sure. This one has a marginal recommendation from me. Just don’t expect a movie about music appreciation. It’s about two people getting their life back on track with music being an important part of that journey.

But how do I end this review? Well, I’ll go the easy way. I mentioned Motörhead and Lemmy passed away recently, so here is Motörhead performing Please Don’t Touch with their friends Girlschool as Motör Headgirl School.

Remembering Vilmos Zsigmund: A Man of Vision

cracked rear viewer

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Not many people have gone from working with Grade-Z hacks like Al Adamson to A-list directors like Steven Spielberg. In fact, I can only think of one…cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, who passed away New Years Day at age 85. “Ziggy” was born in Hungary, and emigrated to America with his friend and fellow cameraman Laszlo Kovacs after the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. The pair travelled to Hollywood, and Zsigmond found work as a cinematographer and camera operator in the world of low-budget moviemaking. He lensed epics for independent auteurs such as Arch Hall (WILD GUITAR, THE NASTY RABBIT, DEADWOOD ’76), Ray Dennis Steckler (THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES), and the aforementioned Adamson (BLOOD OF GHASTLY HORROR, SATAN’S SADISTS, HORROR OF THE BLOOD MONSTERS).

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1964) The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1964)

His big break…

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2015 in Review: The Best of SyFy

Well, here we are!  It’s the first week of January, 2016 and that means that it is time for me to start listing my favorite movies, books, songs, and TV shows of the previous year!  Let’s start things off by taking a look at the best that the SyFy network had to offer in 2015!

Below, you will find my nominees for the best SyFy films and performances of the previous year.  The winners are starred and in bold.  As you’ll quickly notice, it was a good year for films about sharks.  Especially films about zombie sharks!


Best Picture
Lavalantula, produced by Anthony Frankhauser
Night of the Wild, produced by David Michael Latt
Ominous, produced by Peter Sullivan
Sharknado 3produced by David Michael Latt.
They Found Hellproduced by Anthony Frankhauser
*Zombie Sharkproduced by Sam Claitor and Eric Davies.*

Best Director
Nick Lyon for They Found Hell
Mike Mendez for Lavalantula
Eric Red for Night of the Wild
*Misty Talley for Zombie Shark*


Best Actor
*Steve Guttenberg in Lavalantula*
Jason London in Zombie Shark
Barry Watson in Ominous
Ian Ziering in Sharknado 3


Best Actress
Illeana Douglas in Mega Shark vs. Kolossus
Sarah Dugdale in The Hollow
Alexis Peterman in Roboshark
*Cassie Steele in Zombie Shark*


Best Supporting Actor
Tony Almont in Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf
*Robert Englund in Lake Placid vs. Anaconda*
David Hasselhoff in Sharknado 3
Roger J. Timber in Zombie Shark

catherine oxenberg rubber glove

Best Supporting Actress
Becky Andrews in Zombie Shark
Laura Cayouette in Zombie Shark
*Catherine Oxenberg in Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf*
Annabel Wright in Lake Placid vs. Anaconda

Best Screenplay
*Lavalantula, written by Mike Mendez, Neil Elman and Ashley O’Neil*
Robosharkwritten by Jeffrey Lando and Phillip Roth
Sharknado 3written by Thunder Levin
Zombie Shark, written by Greg Mitchell

Best Cinematography
Lavalantula, Richard J. Vialet.
OminousStuart Brereton.
They Found HellRichard J. Vialet.
*Zombie SharkMatt S. Bell.*


Best Costume Design
Mega Shark vs. Kolossus
OminousDarragh Marmorstein.
*They Found Hell, Irina Kotcheva*
Zombie Shark, Kellye Bond

Best Editing
Lavalantula, Robert Dias and Mike Mendez.
Sharknado 3, Christopher Roth.
They Found HellDon Money.
*Zombie SharkMisty Talley.*

Best Makeup
The HollowJoanne Kinchella
*Lake Placid vs. AnacondaDesislava AlexievaRalitsa Roth, Atanas Temnilov*
They Found Hell


Best Score
LavalantulaChris Ridenhour.
Mega Shark vs. KolossusChris Cano and Chris Ridenhour.
*Roboshark, Claude Foisy*
Sharknado 3, Chris Ridenhour and Chris Cano.

Best Production Design
Lake Placid vs. AnacondaBorislav Michailovski
*Mega Shark vs. Kolossus, Fernando Valdes*
OminousStephen Hass.
They Found Hell

sharknado 3 sharks in space

Best Sound
The Hollow
Night of the Wild
*Sharknado 3*
Zombie Shark

Best Visual Effects
*Sharknado 3*
Zombie Shark

Congratulations to all the winners!  Thank you for keeping us entertained in 2015!

Check out last year’s winners by clicking here!  And 2013’s winners by clicking here!

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the best from Lifetime!

Previous Entries In The Best of 2015:

  1. Valerie Troutman’s 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw in 2015
  2. Necromoonyeti’s Top 15 Metal Albums of 2015