Caryn James

Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington On Race, the N-Word & 'Django Unchained' (Video Interview)

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 20, 2012 8:58 AM
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When I asked Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington if they had refused anything that director Quentin Tarantino asked them to do or say in Django Unchained – you can imagine that these very smart African-American actors, playing slaves, might tell their white director where to draw the line -- I got a very revealing non-answer. “We’ll keep that private,” Foxx said, then went on to describe the dynamics on set, including what he thinks about the N-word, how Leonardo DiCaprio felt saying it, what Samuel L. Jackson told Leo in rehearsal.

Christoph Waltz on Quentin, Race in America, and 'Django Unchained' (Video Interview)

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 20, 2012 8:53 AM
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Django Unchained proves that Christoph Waltz’s amazing performance as a Nazi in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds was no fluke. He is every bit as vivid, and sly in a completely different way, in Tarantino’s latest film about slavery, violence and pre-Civil War America. To say that Waltz plays Dr. King Schultz, a bounty hunter who buys and frees the slave played by Jamie Foxx, then helps him find his wife, doesn’t begin to hint at the way the character develops, or how Waltz, perfectly in sync with Tarantino once again, subtly makes his character a moral compass as well as a fast-shooting Western sidekick, sometimes funny and sometimes eloquent.

The Best Films of 2012

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 18, 2012 9:00 AM
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My top three films of 2012 were easy to name, if not to order. Each is amazing, each wildly different from the other two, but they form a trio of incomparable experiences. There’s a deep dropoff from those three to the others, all fantastic --  though more flawed. I didn’t reach for ten movies (you do remember that I’m math-challenged?) because lists are arbitary enough. But every one of these eight films is worth your time, over and over again.

Was it Smart or Dumb? Who Survived the 'Homeland' Season Finale?

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 17, 2012 12:08 AM
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There are very few things in Homeland, with its endless twists and reversals,  that are irrefutably true, but this comment from Saul to Carrie in the season 2 finale is one of them: “You are the smartest and the dumbest fucking person I’ve ever known.”  Sometimes you can say the same thing about the show. (If you haven’t watched the finale yet – why are you reading this? Come back later. Because here’s what did and didn’t happen.)

Touching Kids' Chorus, F-Bombing Sam Jackson, McCartney And A Llama: SNL's Great Christmas

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 16, 2012 8:36 AM
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Just as it did when the show returned after 9-11, Saturday Night Live found a way to eloquently acknowledge a tragedy and move on to comedy. In the eerie but appropriate cold open, the New York City Children’s Chorus sang “Silent Night,” with the line “sleep in heavenly peace” a piercing tribute to the children lost in the Newtown shooting. But after a brief black screen, followed by the kids saying, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night,” the show’s Christmas episode turned out to be one of the best – if most retro -- of the season, with Martin Short as host and Paul McCartney as musical guest.

Cast of 'Downton Abbey' Does 'Breaking Bad' on 'Colbert Report'

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 14, 2012 10:45 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Much of the cast of Downton Abbey  -- including Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern, but not Magge Smith or Michelle Dockery -- has been in New York promoting the Jan. 6th premiere of the new season, and they have faced a flood of uninteresting questions. But if the low point was Savannah Guthrie’s vapid, gushy group interview on Today, the best idea came from The Colbert Report, which enlisted a few of the Downton actors to reenact their series as if it were Breaking Bad.  

Charlotte Rampling and Michelle Dockery Go Spying in Sundance Channel's 'Restless'

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 7, 2012 9:00 AM
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  • 6 Comments
Once a spy, always a spy – that’s the premise of the sleekly entertaining and wonderfully (if sometimes implausibly) cast thriller Restless. The two-part period piece on Sundance Channel (Part 1 premieres tonight, Part 2 next Friday) offers a double-whammy of time periods. The story begins in the 1970’s with a single mother and graduate student named Ruth Gilmartin. Because she is played by Michelle Dockery  -- Lady Mary from Downton Abbey – and is every bit as commonsensical as that character we get the added wit of seeing Lady Mary transported to the future, where she wears hippie-chic bellbottoms and oversize sunglasses.

Colbert's Hobbit Week Maps New York As Middle Earth

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 5, 2012 1:06 PM
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I may not be a big Hobbit fan (review here) but I do love The Colbert Report, which is now in the middle of Hobbit week. Tolkien-obsessed Stephen Colbert visited the film's set in New Zealand and famously won a Hobbit trivia contest, beating out one of its screenwriter’s, Philippa Boyens. This week’s guests have included Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman (in that interview Colbert came as close as I’ve ever seen him to stepping out of his fictional character and gushing with fandom), with Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis still to come.

'The Hobbit' Review: Bilbo Lives! Everyone Else, Not So Much.

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 4, 2012 12:00 AM
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  • 104 Comments
I have never been a Lord of the Rings fanatic, so take that into account, but The Hobbit made me miss Voldemort. I spent a fair amount of time during Peter Jackson’s latest installment in his Tolkien franchise comparing it to the Harry Potter movies, thinking how savvy J.K. Rowling’s approach to magic has been, how successful in the broadest way those films are.

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