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Caryn James

Josh Lucas in Chris Eyre's Eloquent "Hide Away"

  • By Caryn James
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  • May 29, 2012 10:28 AM
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Josh Lucas usually plays the charming sidekick or caddish ex-boyfriend, and more recently starred as the hunted-down lawyer in the predictable, quickly-cancelled television version of The Firm. He gets a better chance and gives a powerfully touching performance in Chris Eyre’s eloquent, beautifully-made little indie Hide Away.

Bill Murray, Kids and Madras Pants: Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom"

  • By Caryn James
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  • May 25, 2012 9:00 AM
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“I had to work with a bunch of scouts, kids. No money can make that right, can it?” asks Bill Murray, wearing ridiculous Madras pants as a 1965 Dad, in a delightful, droll little 3-minute behind-the-scenes look at Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. The featurette is exactly what Anderson and Murray fans might have hoped for. Moonrise Kingdom itself is a chilly disappointment.

Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal In Witty, Slyly Feminist "Hysteria"

  • By Caryn James
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  • May 17, 2012 9:38 PM
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Hysteria, one of the highlights of the Tribeca Film Festival, is now opening in theaters. If you misssed my Tribeca review of this sharp witty film, here it is:

The Vampire Who Came To Dinner: Johnny Depp and Tim Burton Do Dark Shadows

  • By Caryn James
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  • May 8, 2012 9:30 AM
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I’m a big fan of Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and vampires in general, so Dark Shadows is a film with my name on it. But you don’t need that perfect storm of tastes to fall for this funny pop confection. You don’t even have to be familiar with the 60’s afternoon soap opera the film is based on, but you do need to appreciate of the movie’s tongue-in cheek wit. Burton sets the story in the disco 70’s period of the television show, then tweaks the horror genre and bubblegum culture. Take one look at Depp as 200-year-old undead Barnabus Collins in the daylight – a visual homage to Michael Jackson complete with pasty-white skin, sunglasses, black fedora and giant umbrella – and you have a sense of the movie’s light-hearted, spoofy tone.

Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal In the Witty "Hysteria"

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 24, 2012 12:34 PM
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Hysteria, one of the highlights of the Tribeca Film Festival, is now opening in theaters. If you misssed my Tribeca review of this sharp witty film, here it is:

Tribeca Highlight: Emily Blunt In Lynn Shelton's Your Sister's Sister

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 21, 2012 3:32 PM
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It’s a small relationship film with a big bold impact: witty, nuanced, beautifully acted, Your Sister’s Sister is one of the best movies so far at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The Secrets of Monsieur Lazhar

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 13, 2012 9:02 AM
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Monsieur Lazhar may have lost the Best Foreign Language Oscar to A Separation – I can’t argue with that; A Separation is extraordinary – but if any film could have given it a real challenge, it might have been this unexpectedly powerful, subtle little film from Canada: exquisitely made, enormously moving and politically-charged. Don’t be put off by its hokey-sounding subject: a substitute teacher takes over a class. This gem from director Philippe Falardeau is far from the inspirational snooze that description suggests.

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?

Will Ferrell Sings, Rides, Says Hola In Casa de Mi Padre

  • By Caryn James
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  • March 16, 2012 8:26 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Over time I’ve come to recognize my reaction to Will Ferrell comedies – they’re funny on first viewing, though not relentlessly laugh-til-you-cry hilarious. But on second or third viewing their cleverness kicks in even more, scene-for-scene, and their humor seems to grow. (That’s especially true of the praying to the Baby Jesus scene in Talladega Nights.) So while there is plenty to laugh at in Casa de Mi Padre, his Spanish-language spoof of bad old Western movies, I suspect its many moving parts will seem even more comic over time.

Being Flynn: Yes, De Niro's Still Great

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 29, 2012 7:36 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Being Flynn is a perfectly good title for a film about an aimless young man who works in a Boston homeless shelter, where his long-vanished father turns up one night. But the memoir it is based on has a GREAT title: Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. Despite that loss,  the acerbic, thoughtful, colorful drama of Nick Flynn’s book comes through in Paul Weitz’s film. Even more impressive, it delivers Robert De Niro’s fullest role and strongest performance in years as the father, Jonathan Flynn, a proud, self-deluded writer on a relentless downward spiral.

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