Caryn James

Fallon, Timberlake, McCartney and Madonna on Christmas SNL (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 22, 2013 10:21 AM
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Jimmy Fallon hosted one of the best Saturday Night Live episodes of the season last night, with Justin Timberlake as virtual co-host, and an extravagant list of guests including Paul McCartney and Madonna.

BEST FILMS OF 2013

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 20, 2013 12:35 AM
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  • 6 Comments
I am absolutely certain about the top three films on this list. But the further down we go, the more absurd it seems to rank films as different as the Coen Brothers' wonderfully layered look at a struggling folk singer in the 60's and Martin Scorsese's bacchanalia of 80's excess.

Will Ferrell Creates Cable News in 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues'

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 18, 2013 12:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Cable news, and CNN in particular, is already such a compromised, pandering mess that it seems beyond parody. Still, there is something hilarious in the idea that a journalistic doofus like Ron Burgundy -- all hair and over-enunciation -- was the first to float the concept that shaped 24-hour news as we know it today. The scene in which Ron arrives at that brilliant idea is a perfect example of the goofy-smart humor of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

Watch Joaquin Phoenix Break Up with Jimmy Fallon

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 12, 2013 10:02 AM
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  • 1 Comment
How good an actor is Joaquin Phoenix? He plays a touchingly heart-broken, love-lorn ordinary guy in Spike Jonze' Her, yet we all suspect his real personality is closer to the bizarro performance art he displays on talk shows and the sort-of doc I'm Still Here. His conversation with Jimmy Fallon last night had a little bit of each.

'American Hustle': When Brilliant Acting is More than Enough

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 11, 2013 9:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Bradley Cooper in pink hair curlers says it all. So does Christian Bale's giant pot belly and glued-down combover, and Jennifer Lawrence's poufy blonde 'do. It makes sense that a film about small-time cons reinventing themselves and a big FBI scam never quite lets you forget that you're watching bravura acting.

Emma Thompson: Non-Twinkling, Non-Cavorting and Wonderful in 'Saving Mr. Banks'

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 9, 2013 8:58 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The encouraging scene in the trailer for Saving Mr. Banks has Emma Thompson as the recalcitrant author P.L. Travers, telling her agent why she does not want Walt Disney to put her heroine on screen. "I know what he'll do to her -- she'll be cavorting and twinkling," she says, with great derision.

Watch Jehane Noujaim, Director of 'The Square,' on 'The Daily Show'

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 5, 2013 11:41 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Netflix is releasing Jehane Noujaim's taut , smart, timely film The Square in January, but as she told Jon Stewart on The Daily Show last night, the film still cannot be shown in Egypt.

Christian Bale in the Brutal, Steel-Town Drama 'Out Of The Furnace'

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 4, 2013 8:59 AM
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  • 2 Comments
In Steve McQueen's artful 12 Years a Slave and Peter Berg's fraught Lone Survivor (opening soon), the violence is difficult to sit through, but worth it for those films' serious drama and wrenching realism. Scott Cooper's Out of the Furnace doesn't come close to justifying its extreme brutality. This story of two brothers -- Christian Bale and Casey Affleck -- pushed to violence in a Pennsylvania steel town is so overwrought that their problems seem orchestrated by Screenwriting 101 rather than fate.

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