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Caryn James

James McAvoy Meets Himself in 'X-Men: Days of Future Past'

  • By Caryn James
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  • May 22, 2014 8:49 AM
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Bryan Singer's bold, entertaining X-Men: Days of Future Past is not as sleek or as clever as X-Men First Class, but it makes up for those lapses with a fiercely emotional performance by McAvoy and some dazzling set pieces.

'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.

Your Burning Oscar-Show Questions Answered, MacFarlane to Best Dead People

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 25, 2013 1:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The Oscar show was bloated with movie music that had no reason being there. (A tribute to Chicago? Other than the fact that the Oscar show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron also produced that movie .. oh yeah, that’s why). It had Seth MacFarlane, whose jokes might have been offensive if they weren’t so stale and dull. It had Adlele singing the theme from Skyfall, only to have her voice struggle to be heard over the orchestra. No sound editing at this all-musical Oscars? Ugh.

Predicting the Oscars: Don't Trust Me, Trust Nate Silver

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 23, 2013 9:30 AM
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I was thinking this might be the first year in recent memory when the Oscars actually held some suspense about the winners. Is anything really a lock for Best Picture? What about that wacky Best Directors race, already full of also-rans? Then I read Nate Silver’s thoroughly lucid and compelling analysis in his FiveThirtyEight blog, so: Argo, Argo, Argo. And Spielberg.

Zach Galifianakis' Between Two Ferns: Oscar Questions As They (Maybe) Ought To Be

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 11, 2013 12:25 PM
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  • 1 Comment
In a promo for 'Pitch Perfect' that seems to have been on an endless loop on my On Demand Chanel lately, Rebel Wilson gushes “We had such fun” making the movie. Just once, I would love to hear an actor say: “It was hell, we hated each other, I never want to work with those losers again.” Just once.  In the meantime, we have Zach Galifianakis’ new Oscar installment of his faux-web show, 'Between the Ferns'. Galifianakis, as the idiot host, talks to real-life nominees Jennifer Lawrence, Naomi Watts, Christoph Waltz, Anne Hathaway and Amy Adams about, as he puts it  “all of their Oscar buzzness around them.”  His question to Watts – “Do you have to shrink yourself to get into the camera?” -- is only slightly more ridiculous than some actual questions I’ve heard.

SNL's Preview of The Next 18 Hobbit Movies (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 20, 2013 11:26 AM
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Some people (and I‘ll never be one of them) can’t get enough of Perter Jackson’s Hobbit movies. SNL offers a preview of how Jackson plans to take advantage of that – split the next Hobbit installments into 18 different films: in one, Frodo forgets something back at the shire and has to turn around, in another the whole crew (including Jennifer Lawrence as the Elf Queen) splits a complicated dinner bill. There's "Apple Maps: An Unexpected Detour," and the dwarves assembling an Ikea dresser.

Pants On Fire: SNL Cold Open Takes on Lance Armstrong, Manil Te'o, Jodie Foster (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 20, 2013 10:40 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Jennifer Lawrence was a likable host on SNL, pretending to trash-talk her Oscar contenders, but the writers didn’t give her their sharpest material. There was a commercial for Silver Linings Playbook during the show, but no sketch about it – what a lost opportunity (although Jason Sudeikis did wear Bradley Cooper’s trash bag workout clothes in a promo). Instead, the cold open gave us SNL at its topical best, with Piers Morgan welcoming a pants-on-fire lineup of guests.

Watch The Oscar Nominations: The Good, The Bad, The What Were They Thinking?

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 10, 2013 10:44 AM
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What a relief! It looks like the Oscar show might actually be fun, thanks to Seth MacFarlane. When he and Emma Stone announced the nominees, MacFarlane commented with barbed lines that were as edgy as anything Ricky Gervais did during his controversial Golden Globes gigs. After announcing the Best Supporting Actress category, he congratulated the nominees with, “You five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.” Too far? I’ll always choose a host who crosses the line rather than someone tame and snoozy.

Clunky Title, Terrific Film: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence in 'Silver Linings Playbook'

  • By Caryn James
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  • November 16, 2012 9:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
David O. Russell is the master of messed-up families, from the incestuous mother-son duo in Spanking the Monkey through the loving fraternal rivalry of The Fighter and even the band-of-brothers military guys in Three Kings. But he has never had a family so superbly cast and played as the one  in Silver Linings Playbook.

Jennifer Lawrence Outwits Outlasts Outplays in The Hunger Games

  • By Caryn James
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  • March 22, 2012 8:49 AM
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  • 4 Comments
The massive audience for The Hunger Games is easily split into two camps. There are fans of the books, who are likely to approve of the terrific Jennifer Lawrence while picking out all the details missing from Suzanne Collins’ novels. And there are people like me, blank slates about Collins’ tween-targeted series, for whom the film is a sleek, competent example of a big-budget, sure-fire commercial hit without much soul or style. And if you can’t get excited about characters in a televised fight to the death  - the premise that has Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, shooting arrows through a forest for survival – what can you get excited about?

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