Armchair pix crix wanted

Home critic race down to three candidates

Satcaster U.S. Satellite Broadcasting has its eye on armchair pic crix.

The movie-oriented sat-TV service has been flooded with entries to its “You Be the Movie Critic” contest, an elaborate national promo stunt that included live auditions last fall in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Seattle and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Now, the long list of wannabe Todd McCarthys and Pauline Kaels has been winnowed to three finalists: Art Almquist of Tucson, Ariz., Brian Black of Seattle and Mary Beth Yentz of Hanscom, Mass.

The finalists will face off March 20 at Planet Hollywood in Beverly Hills, where film pundit Gene Siskel will pick the winner based on “presentation, originality, enthusiasm and film knowledge.” The victor will be featured in a regular movie review seg to air on USSB over the next year; each of the three finalists has already been awarded a year’s worth of USSB’s programming package designed specially for cinephiles.

Reps for the Minneapolis-based USSB say the contest winner’s 3- to 5-minute review segs will be included as part of the satcaster’s monthly behind-the-scenes interview series, “Hollywood Insiders,” hosted by Sundance Film Festival director Geoffrey Gilmore.

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