Caryn James

Wes Anderson Trailers: SNL's with Edward Norton, and the Real 'Grand Budapest Hotel'

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 31, 2013 10:29 PM
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Edward Norton as Owen Wilson in a Wes Anderson film – that is perfect casting, in SNL's trailer for a horror movie a la Anderson: The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders.

'The Square': In Tahrir Square, Beyond Simplistic Headlines

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 24, 2013 9:02 AM
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Television coverage of the political upheavals in Egypt over the past two years, especially the protests in Tahrir Square, was almost always defined by the reporters' distance from events. Even correspondents on the ground surrounded by chaos sometimes exuded a sense of voyeurism, or -- even worse -- a self-congratulatory aura of being in danger, the "Look at how tough I am" pride you see in all those fools in rain slickers standing upright in hurricane-force winds. The reporting from Egypt was valuable and the danger real, of course, but the coverage wasn't considered "foreign news" for nothing, even when referred to with the more enlightened "international news" rubric.

Chiwetel Ejiofor As a 1930's Jazz Musician in the New Miniseries 'Dancing on the Edge'

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 19, 2013 9:01 AM
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There are many reasons 12 Years a Slave is so eloquent and powerful, from Steve McQueen's fluid direction to John Ridley's first-rate screenplay and the cast of actors unafraid to play some of the worst and most heroic elements of character -- but at its heart, the film rests on Chiwetel Ejiofor's performance as a free man turned slave, whose strength, outrage and resilience never begs for the audience's easy sympathy. Anyone who has followed his career knows that performance is no fluke. In earlier films, he has often been the very good center holding a mediocre work in place (Kinky Boots, Dirty Pretty Things).

Review: Juliette Binoche in the Heartbreaking 'Camille Claudel 1915'

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 16, 2013 9:01 AM
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There is not a glimpse of Camille Claudel's graceful, eloquent sculptures in Camille Claudel 1915. But in an especially wrenching scene, as Claudel walks on the grounds of the asylum for mental patients where she will needlessly stay for decades, she picks up a piece of mud, begins to sculpt it in one hand like clay, then throws it to the ground as if it were an unbearable memory of her former life. Once the muse, student and lover of Rodin, the Claudel we see in 1915 -- so quietly and affectingly brought to life by Juliette Binoche -- is not some stereotypical artist lost in a mad hallucination, but a tragic woman whose family callously keeps her entrapped long after she needs the asylum's protection.

Top Films to Watch For From the 51st New York Film Festival

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 13, 2013 12:02 AM
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The New York Film Festival, which ends today, was an especially rich edition. Almost every film, in the main slate and the sidebars, was tempting. And while the festival was heavy with mainstream directors, the choices were anything but kneejerk. Some of the most familiar names took exhilarating new turns.

'Gravity': Alfonso Cuaron's Magical Storytelling

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 2, 2013 11:03 AM
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With Sandra Bullock free-floating and somersaulting head-over-heels through space, Gravity comes loaded with visual dazzle and technical wizardry. But its greatest stunt is the way Alfonso Cuaron takes a flat premise -- a medical researcher barely trained as an astronaut, floating alone for nearly 90 minutes of screen time -- and makes it an enthralling thriller. Bullock plays Ryan Stone, stranded when the space shuttle explodes, but the peril she's in resembles that of an old-fashioned movie heroine tied to a train track -- only in this 21st-century scenario she has to save herself. As he carries us from one near-fatal crisis to another, Cuaron's story-telling becomes the film's best, most magical special effect.

Watch Guillermo del Toro's New Mini-film: The Simpsons 'Treehouse of Horror' Opener

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 2, 2013 10:41 AM
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Whether or not you're a devoted Simpsons fan, you'll want to catch this opener to Sunday's annual Halloween 'Treehouse of Horror' episode, gleefully and lovingly directed by the great Guillermo del Toro.

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