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Caryn James

'Her' In, Redford Out: Best and Worst of the Oscar Nominations

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 16, 2014 2:06 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Let's start by stipulating that the Oscars have little or nothing to do with art or even how good a film is. Like any political contest, movie awards are about money and campaigning and popularity and image -- so if a good idea or vision sneaks in, what luck!

'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.

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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