Caryn James

New York Film Festival Preview, 'Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq'

  • By Caryn James
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  • September 30, 2013 8:59 AM
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"The tragedy of Tanny is epic," Jacques d'Amboise says of his one-time ballet partner, referring to the event that makes Nancy Buirski's eloquent documentary Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq, a moving human drama rather than simply a film about a great dancer. Tanaquil Le Clercq was the current wife and muse of George Balanchine in 1956 when, while on a European tour, she was stricken with polio. In the worst kind of tragic irony, she never walked again.

Tina Fey as Blerta, The New Roommate on 'Girls' (SNL Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • September 29, 2013 10:18 AM
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It's easy to spoof Girls, from Lena Dunham's very particular delivery to her character's unlimited insecurity and narcissism. But host Tina Fey took an entirely fresh approach in the best of the sketches from last night's otherwise tame Saturday Night Live, as a new roommate -- a peasant crone named Blerta who blurts out the truth to the friends. "Don't speak. They will know you are simple," she advises Shoshanna. But she saves the most perfect observation for Hannah (perfectly played by new cast member Noel Wells) at the end.

New York Film Festival Review: James Franco Directs 'Child of God'

  • By Caryn James
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  • September 26, 2013 1:24 PM
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  • 2 Comments
If Child of God had been made by James Franco instead of "James Franco," by just another filmmaker instead of the public figure whose career and self-consciously created image seem like one hydra-headed piece of performance art -- actor in blockbusters and indies, fiction-writer, student at too many schools, the guy slyly asked by Stephen Colbert, "Are you a fraud?" (watch the video here) -- it's unlikely anyone would question why it's in the New York Film Festival. The film is a powerful adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's 1973 novel, directed -- and written by Franco and Vince Jolivette -- with such discipline and intelligence that it captures the mordant darkness of McCarthy's world.

Rudd and Giamatti in 'All Is Bright': Would You Buy a Christmas Tree from These Men?

  • By Caryn James
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  • September 25, 2013 9:05 AM
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An offbeat, affecting little dark comedy, All is Bright was called Almost Christmas when it was shown at the last Tribeca Film Festival. Luckily, nothing has changed except for the less blatantly seasonal new title. Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd play down-on-their-luck Canadians who come to New York to live in a camper and sell Christmas trees for a month, trailing a fraught personal connection.

Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal In Surprising 'Prisoners'

  • By Caryn James
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  • September 16, 2013 9:02 AM
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Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners sounds cookie-cutter conventional, and in fact there is nothing fresh in the concept: two little girls are abducted, and the father of one of them goes after a suspect the police have released. The clock is ticking ... and other cliches we've heard way too many times before. But the film is so sharply directed, tautly edited, so rich and believably acted -- Hugh Jackman is the fierce and desperate father, Jake Gyllenhaal the obsessed but coolly rational detective -- that you quickly forgive its tired story. Nothing else is tired in Prisoners, one of the most intense, satisfying thrillers to appear in years.

The New Heisenberg: Jimmy Fallon Does 'Joking Bad' (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • September 12, 2013 1:29 AM
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Now down to its final episodes, Breaking Bad gets darker, wilder, more go-for-broke. The lighter side? That would be Joking Bad, the latest pop-cult parody from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Lynn Shelton's Family Close-Up, 'Touchy Feely'

  • By Caryn James
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  • September 9, 2013 8:57 AM
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  • 2 Comments
As we know from moisturizer commercials -- and are reminded by an unlikely source, Lynn Shelton's Touchy Feely -- extreme close-ups of skin are not pretty, full of cracks and lines and bumps. We see these shots because Rosemarie De Witt plays Abby, a massage therapist whose emotional life is quietly deflating, in a film that sets out to explore the emotional crevices beneath its characters' skins.

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