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Caryn James

Thugs We Love: Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight As 'Ray Donovan' and His Killer Dad

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 28, 2013 9:02 AM
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Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan arrives in the All-American tradition of good/bad heros: Tony Soprano, Walter White, all the other deeply flawed, often murderous family men who have been at the center of so many of the best recent series. Unlike those hereos, Ray's unwanted sidekick is his killer father: Jon Voight runs away with the show as Mickey Donovan, whom we meet when he gets out of a Boston-area prison -- and races to commit a murder too stunning to reveal. That is one hard-case bad dad.

John Oliver Plays 'Where in the World is Edward Snowden?' (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 25, 2013 10:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments
During the reassuringly funny Jon Oliver era at The Daily Show, the substitute host has begun every night by telling us why Jon Stewart isn't around. Last night Oliver explained Stewart "is currently in Moscow, or Ecuador, or on a flight somewhere or has escaped from the National Zoo -- we don't know." That intro set up a later segment tracing not leaky Edward Snowden's travels, but the U.S. ineptitude in getting him back -- Oliver imitated a sad former boyfriend trying to call Hong Kong -- and the television coverage that has been almost entirely based on filling time with maybes. His commonsensical yet outraged response: if you don't know where he is, stop guessing!

'World War Z': Deja Vu, Plus Brad PItt and Zombies

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 21, 2013 8:49 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Brad Pitt chasing zombies should not be boring to watch, especially if you like Brad Pitt, which I do, and zombies, which I'm perfectly OK with. Improbable though it sounds, Marc Forster's World War Z is dull and pretty easy to dislike, partly because it so slavishly follows the tired and increasingly tiresome formula of summer action movies: family in danger, hero springs into action, then we're all bludgeoned with an hour of uninspired special effects.

Stealth Netflix Arrival: Matthew Rhys in Clever Suspense Film 'The Scapegoat'

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 17, 2013 9:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments
If you like Matthew Rhys as the Americanized KGB agent in FX's terrific 80's spy series The Americans, and think he might be even more dashing with his natural-born British accent, then Netflix is streaming a film for you. In The Scapegoat, set in 1952 and based on a Daphne du Maurier story, he plays the dual role of John Standard and Johnny Spence, one a recently laid-off teacher of Greek, the other his lookalike, the ne'er-do-well son of a once-rich factory-owning family now struggling to stay afloat. Written and directed by Charles Sturridge (a director of the classic Brideshead Revisited), with EiIeen Atkins ideally cast as the family's imperious, morphine-addicted matriarch, The Scapegoat is darkly delightful, with swapped identities, intrigue, murder, and a great pile of an aristocratic house to rival Brideshead. Made for ITV and shown on television in Britain, (and on the Ovation network here) it plays like an exceptional installment of Masterpiece Mystery, except it's not.

'Man of Steel': Superguy For Our Times

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 13, 2013 9:02 AM
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  • 4 Comments
If casting really were everything, Man of Steel would be phenomenal: Henry Cavill soars away with the title Best Looking Superman Ever; Russell Crowe brings emotional depth to the role of his father, Jor-El; Michael Shannon glowers as Jor-El's power-hungry nemesis, General Zod, yet makes us see that Zod believes he's trying to save their planet from destruction. (Why Jor-El has an Australian accent and Zod sounds American remains a nagging mystery. Are they from different parts of Krypton?) Diane Lane and Kevin Costner are unexpected but touching as the lovable and loving Earth parents who found the baby Superman when his pod from outer space crashed on their Kansas farm.

Gillian Anderson's Tense, Don't-Miss Netflix Series, 'The Fall' (Review)

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 7, 2013 9:00 AM
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  • 9 Comments
Early in her enthralling new series The Fall, Gillian Anderson -- as a detective named Stella Gibson -- indulges in what she calls a "sweet night," a concept she has borrowed from an African tribe. A woman asks a man to her bed for the night, knowing she'll kick him out for good in the morning. Of course it's a lot harder to escape a sweet night without repercussions if you're a London detective in Belfast searching for the serial killer of young professional women.

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