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Caryn James

"War Horse": Is It Steven Spielberg Or Monty Python?

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 21, 2011 9:18 AM
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It is as sweeping and as comfortably old-fashioned as a John Ford movie, but War Horse has the soul of a hollow chocolate Santa. It’s not as if Steven Spielberg has forgotten how to make a crowd-pleasing blockbuster. All the pieces of this World War I movie are in place, from Janusz Kaminski’s velvety cinematography to a sweep over time and history that self-consciously -  and in this case falsely - announces some ambition. But Spielberg has never been so lethally cliched before, settling into a tired, sentimental genre without any attempt at either modernization or homage. I’m sure all those people who left the film weeping are sincere, but we know how easy it is for a story about a boy and his dog – or a horse, or whatever – to play on obvious emotions without really registering anything.

Dominic West As A Serial Killer in "Appropriate Adult"

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 6, 2011 8:55 AM
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No one wants to sympathize with a serial killer, yet real life has shown us how often they charm their victims. Dominic West eerily walks that line between seductive and repellent in Sundance Channel’s sharp psychological thriller Appropriate Adult (a film premiering Saturday at 10 PM ET). West plays the real-life Fred West (happily for him, no relation) who tortured and killed at least a dozen women over more than a decade, including one of his own daughters. Sometimes he had an accomplice – his wife.

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