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Caryn James

Oprah and Forest Whitaker in 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'

  • By Caryn James
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  • August 26, 2013 10:27 PM
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Lee Daniels' The Butler is some serious, probably effective Oscar bait. It is also -- these things so often go together -- audience-pandering History Lite. Forest Whitaker, as a butler who serves at the White House through eight Presidents, from Eisenhower to Reagan, gives a dazzling performance; he is by far the film's greatest strength. But even he can't make up for a movie calculated to spoon feed viewers a civil rights lesson that lets us feel good about the country's progress, without adding much substance or nuance to the conversation.

Coriolanus Opens and Ralph Fiennes Has a Pillow Fight With Andy Cohen

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 20, 2012 11:31 AM
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Publicizing a film makes for very strange sleepovers. Ralph Fiennes’ stunning modern-day version of Coriolanus – which Fiennes directed and stars in – arrives in theaters today after a brief awards-qualifying run in December. Set in a country resembling Serbia during the war, with Fiennes as the prickly and ambiguous military hero Coriolanus, the Shakespearean high drama is fraught with topical issues including political ambition and pandering, loyalty and betrayal of family and country - so I can’t really explain why Fiennes’ promotion included turning up on Andy Cohen’s cocktail-infused talk show Watch What Happens Live on pajama night. It was last night’s stunt show in which Cohen and guests Fiennes and Holly Hunter all wore pjs and animal slippers, and ended up having a raucous pillow fight.

Ralph Fiennes Talks About Directing Coriolanus (Video Interview)

  • By Caryn James
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  • November 23, 2011 10:59 AM
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Ralph Fiennes’ career has taken him from the swoon-inducing romantic hero of The English Patient to noseless Voldemort in the Harry Potter series. Now, in his fierce, accomplished first film as director, he has extended his range again with a topical, centuries-old political drama: Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, in which he plays the thorny title character, a war-hero turned candidate for office.

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