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'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.

'Blue Jasmine': Woody Allen's Most Successfully Tragic Yet Witty Film

  • By Caryn James
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  • July 22, 2013 2:50 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Witty about social pretensions, eloquently moving about failure and loss, acerbic about family relations -- Blue Jasmine feels like a rich destination Woody Allen has been heading toward for years. It's as if the sibling drama of Interiors were handled (more successfully) with credibility and humor, and Manhattan's skewering observations about money and class given tragic weight, in a film that elicits full, grounded performances from actors as predictably good as Cate Blanchett, as head-spinning as Andrew Dice Clay.

Daniel Day-Who? Louis C.K. Does Lincoln

  • By Caryn James
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  • November 4, 2012 10:17 AM
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  • 0 Comments
What if Louis C.K. had been cast in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln instead of Daniel Day-Lewis? Or, as SNL had it, what if the character of Lincoln merged with the character from his television series Louie -- stand-up comic, acerbic observer of life, and in this case emancipator of slaves and preserver of the union?

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