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Caryn James

'Her' In, Redford Out: Best and Worst of the Oscar Nominations

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 16, 2014 2:06 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Let's start by stipulating that the Oscars have little or nothing to do with art or even how good a film is. Like any political contest, movie awards are about money and campaigning and popularity and image -- so if a good idea or vision sneaks in, what luck!

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, Crazy-Good Golden Globes Hosts (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 13, 2014 12:07 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Totally fun and totally (allegedly) drunk, the Golden Globes show rose to the crazy-high comic level of its hosts, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. It was loose and as slyly fun as the opening monologue, which at first seemed a bit tame -- until you noticed the edgy lines the hosts slipped in.

Visceral, Tough, Apolitical: Mark Wahlberg in 'Lone Survivor'

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 10, 2014 12:21 PM
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  • 0 Comments
With its solid but conventional filmmaking, Lone Survivor looks like one more popcorn–action movie, this time about Navy SEALS on a mission. But as it puts viewers in the center of a fatal fight in Afghanistan, Peter Berg's fact-based story becomes something timely and deeply important.

For 'Downton' Obsessives: Dan Stevens in 'Summer in February'

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 7, 2014 8:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments
As I said in my review of Downton Abbey, Season 4, we all miss Matthew, and since Julian Fellowes has made it clear that the character is not coming back as a ghost, Summer in February is the closest we're likely to come to a post-death sighting.

Lady Mary Meets Vic Mackey in Funny or Die Spoof

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 3, 2014 10:33 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Lady Mary is the kind of role that could stereotype an actress, but Michelle Dockery has the good sense to be making fun of her aristocratic counterpart already. In this Funny or Die spoof, she plays opposite Michael Chiklis in a pretend -- but painfully close to real -- new TNT crime series, Tough Justice.

'Downton Abbey,' Season 4: Bad Lines, Extra Melodrama, Still Irresistible

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 3, 2014 12:19 PM
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  • 0 Comments
"Kiss me now!" says Lady Edith to her married beau, as they sit the middle of a restaurant. "Kiss me!" says Cora, Countess of Grantham to Lord Grantham as he heads off on a trip. "Kiss me!" says ... oh, at least a couple of other people in season 4 of Downton Abbey, as if writer and creator Julian Fellowes were intermittently channeling dialogue from some bad romance novel.

Fallon, Timberlake, McCartney and Madonna on Christmas SNL (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 22, 2013 10:21 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Jimmy Fallon hosted one of the best Saturday Night Live episodes of the season last night, with Justin Timberlake as virtual co-host, and an extravagant list of guests including Paul McCartney and Madonna.

BEST FILMS OF 2013

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 20, 2013 12:35 AM
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  • 6 Comments
I am absolutely certain about the top three films on this list. But the further down we go, the more absurd it seems to rank films as different as the Coen Brothers' wonderfully layered look at a struggling folk singer in the 60's and Martin Scorsese's bacchanalia of 80's excess.

Will Ferrell Creates Cable News in 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues'

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 18, 2013 12:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Cable news, and CNN in particular, is already such a compromised, pandering mess that it seems beyond parody. Still, there is something hilarious in the idea that a journalistic doofus like Ron Burgundy -- all hair and over-enunciation -- was the first to float the concept that shaped 24-hour news as we know it today. The scene in which Ron arrives at that brilliant idea is a perfect example of the goofy-smart humor of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

Watch Joaquin Phoenix Break Up with Jimmy Fallon

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 12, 2013 10:02 AM
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  • 1 Comment
How good an actor is Joaquin Phoenix? He plays a touchingly heart-broken, love-lorn ordinary guy in Spike Jonze' Her, yet we all suspect his real personality is closer to the bizarro performance art he displays on talk shows and the sort-of doc I'm Still Here. His conversation with Jimmy Fallon last night had a little bit of each.

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