Caryn James

Sundance-At-Home Film Review: Visceral Australian Drama “Mad Bastards”

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 24, 2011 2:30 AM
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Set in the isolated Kimberley region of Western Australian, director Brendan Fletcher’s gripping, unsentimental father-son film is even more intriguing when you know its background. Mad Bastards follows three generations: 13-year old Bullet, a budding arsonist; his grandfather, Tex, a police officer who tries to set him straight; and TJ, the wayward father Bullet has never known. Not a fresh idea, but one that steadily draws us in with its realism.

Sundance-At-Home Film Review: Gregg Araki's "Kaboom"

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 23, 2011 5:12 AM
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Here’s a line you’re not likely to hear in any other story of college love gone wrong. Smith, a bisexual freshman, tells his worried best friend Stella about her ex-girlfriend: “Dude, you have a fatal-attraction stalker with supernatural powers – you have every right to be freaked out.” Kaboom is the most playful film Gregg Araki has done yet, a comedy shot in crisp bright colors that sends up horror movies and sci-fi, and even toys with Araki’s own constant theme of voracious sexuality.

The Company Men: Best on Screen This Weekend

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 21, 2011 4:59 AM
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A year after it played at Sundance, The Company Men opens wider today, with Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper as executives whose lives spiral down when they're laid off. And despite any rumblings of an economic recovery, John Wells' tough, poignant film is as wrenching and realistic as ever.

Rickygate, Day 5: Ricky Speaks. Video Highlights.

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 21, 2011 3:52 AM
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Piers Morgan was trying – more like straining – to be clever when he deadpanned his intro to Ricky Gervais’ appearance on Piers Morgan Tonight: “Some say his crime was worse than Watergate.” But it does feel like we’re in Day 5 of Rickygate, the post-Golden Globes dissection of his brilliant skewering of Hollywood self-importance and egotism. This was a much luckier booking for Morgan's show than Oprah was.
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TV Tonight: Amy Poehler's "Parks and Rec" and Other Smart Sitcoms

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 20, 2011 6:24 AM
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There are so few really smart network sitcoms -- I'd count four, including ABC's Modern Family -- it's hard to say whether it's good or bad that three of them are back-to-back on NBC on Thursday. The network has been floundering for years, but it has also been steadily redefining its comedy with series like The Office and the brilliant 30 Rock that rely on droll wit rather than punchlines.
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TV Review, Onion News on IFC

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 20, 2011 4:23 AM
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The Onion’s website promotes its new mock-news show, Onion News Network, with a pitch-perfect skewering of cable blowhards and anchors: the fake network’s stereotypical blonde anchor, Brooke Alvarez, is “Smugger than Keith Olbermann. Louder than Sean Hannity. Prettier than Anderson Cooper.” That ad is also funnier than most of what you’ll find on the half-hour show. (It starts Friday on IFC, 10 ET.)
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How to Watch Sundance at Home

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 19, 2011 5:45 AM
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  • 1 Comment
As you read about the festival, with its crowds and frigid weather, you can console yourself by thinking that you're snug and (relatively) warm at home. But inevitably a little Sundance-envy creeps in. Luckily, you can have best of both because there are more ways than ever to experience the festival and even some of this year's films at home.

Watch Daniel Radcliffe Behind the Scenes on Broadway

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 18, 2011 9:31 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Why did Danel Radcliffe choose the musical revival How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying as his next Broadway show? Equus was a creaky revival too, but that choice was obvious: he got to be extremely dramatic (not to mention famously naked). Maybe he just wants to sing and dance.
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TV Review, "Piers Morgan Tonight"

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 18, 2011 5:19 AM
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  • 1 Comment
After rivers of annoying self-promotion, Piers Morgan Tonight finally arrived on CNN to replace Larry King, and while there’s not a lot you can learn from one episode – especially when the guest is the thoroughly atypical Oprah Winfrey -- here’s what I do know. Piers was much less smarmy than his endless braggadocio had led me to expect.
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TV Review: Ricky Gervais' Golden Globes Implosion

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 17, 2011 6:58 AM
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  • 37 Comments
If you were watching Ricky Gervais host the Golden Globes on Sunday, for the first hour you could tell you were watching a go-for-broke performance that would become -- and I‘m not exaggerating – legendary, a benchmark by which other flameout hosting gigs are measured. In his opening monologue Gervais took on Scientologists and accusations of bribery in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that hands out the Globes.
More: TV Reviews

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