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Caryn James

Christian Bale in the Brutal, Steel-Town Drama 'Out Of The Furnace'

  • By Caryn James
  • |
  • December 4, 2013 8:59 AM
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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.

Game Change: Julianne Moore, Sarah Palin and Lamebrain Politics

  • By Caryn James
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  • March 7, 2012 8:45 AM
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Sarah Palin can whine all she wants, but no reasonable person believes that the creators of Game Change went out of their way to make her look shallow and ridiculous – she didn’t need any help with that. But the HBO film will certainly play better to people who see Palin as a blight on politics. This behind-the-scenes dramatization of her abrupt choice and disastrous campaign as John McCain’s running mate is a fast, smart and totally enjoyable tragi-comedy. Julianne Moore is an impressive Palin clone, right down to her confident walk and wave. But Game Change is also a cynical (if all too obvious) cautionary tale about the bubble-headed way elections work today. Palin just happens to be the best example we have.  

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