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Caryn James

Watch Joaquin Phoenix Break Up with Jimmy Fallon

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 12, 2013 10:02 AM
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  • 1 Comment
How good an actor is Joaquin Phoenix? He plays a touchingly heart-broken, love-lorn ordinary guy in Spike Jonze' Her, yet we all suspect his real personality is closer to the bizarro performance art he displays on talk shows and the sort-of doc I'm Still Here. His conversation with Jimmy Fallon last night had a little bit of each.

Watch Jehane Noujaim, Director of 'The Square,' on 'The Daily Show'

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 5, 2013 11:41 AM
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Netflix is releasing Jehane Noujaim's taut , smart, timely film The Square in January, but as she told Jon Stewart on The Daily Show last night, the film still cannot be shown in Egypt.

'The Returned': Zombies with Elan and Souls, Speaking French

  • By Caryn James
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  • November 29, 2013 8:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The back-from-the-dead characters in Sundance Channel's smart, enthralling series The Returned have much more élan than your usual zombies – and not only because they speak French, although that helps. There's no lurching around, no corroded faces slipping away from the skull. These are flesh and blood people who have returned to their isolated mountain town years after they were dead and buried, resuming their existences where they left off, while time for others has moved on. Camille, 15 years old when her school bus crashed, walks back in the door one day with no idea of how she got there, only to find that her twin, Lena, is now 19.

Rotten Tomatoes Meets Fox News on 'Colbert Report'

  • By Caryn James
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  • November 5, 2013 1:26 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Fox News is such an easy target to bash – totally deserved, but easy. Now The Colbert Report brings a hilarious fresh spin, by Tweeting out comments from positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, substituting Fox News shows and names for the movies. Works perfectly, as in this substitution for The Omen: "All references to prophecy and the Antichrist aside, Shepard Smith Reporting achieves its horrors the old-fashioned way. #PraiseFOX"

Wes Anderson Trailers: SNL's with Edward Norton, and the Real 'Grand Budapest Hotel'

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 31, 2013 10:29 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Edward Norton as Owen Wilson in a Wes Anderson film – that is perfect casting, in SNL's trailer for a horror movie a la Anderson: The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders.

Chiwetel Ejiofor As a 1930's Jazz Musician in the New Miniseries 'Dancing on the Edge'

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 19, 2013 9:01 AM
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  • 1 Comment
There are many reasons 12 Years a Slave is so eloquent and powerful, from Steve McQueen's fluid direction to John Ridley's first-rate screenplay and the cast of actors unafraid to play some of the worst and most heroic elements of character -- but at its heart, the film rests on Chiwetel Ejiofor's performance as a free man turned slave, whose strength, outrage and resilience never begs for the audience's easy sympathy. Anyone who has followed his career knows that performance is no fluke. In earlier films, he has often been the very good center holding a mediocre work in place (Kinky Boots, Dirty Pretty Things).

Watch Guillermo del Toro's New Mini-film: The Simpsons 'Treehouse of Horror' Opener

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 2, 2013 10:41 AM
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Whether or not you're a devoted Simpsons fan, you'll want to catch this opener to Sunday's annual Halloween 'Treehouse of Horror' episode, gleefully and lovingly directed by the great Guillermo del Toro.

Tina Fey as Blerta, The New Roommate on 'Girls' (SNL Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • September 29, 2013 10:18 AM
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  • 1 Comment
It's easy to spoof Girls, from Lena Dunham's very particular delivery to her character's unlimited insecurity and narcissism. But host Tina Fey took an entirely fresh approach in the best of the sketches from last night's otherwise tame Saturday Night Live, as a new roommate -- a peasant crone named Blerta who blurts out the truth to the friends. "Don't speak. They will know you are simple," she advises Shoshanna. But she saves the most perfect observation for Hannah (perfectly played by new cast member Noel Wells) at the end.

'Broadchurch': BBC America's Great New Detective Series

  • By Caryn James
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  • August 5, 2013 9:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Great detective series are never about the crimes; they're about great detectives, and BBC America's Broadchurch has one. With a depth that goes beyond formula drama, Olivia Colman plays Ellie Miller, a wife and mother in the sea- side town of Broadchurch, who finds herself investigating the murder of the 11-year-old boy next door, her own son's best friend. Ellie has a practical, crimped hairstyle that may be the worst in the history of haircuts. She wears the drab gray pantsuit that lady-detectives in most crime shows try to glam up; she doesn't. She is empathetic, engaging, and down-to-earth -- qualities that only grow as she slowly realizes that someone in her own apparently wholesome community, someone she has to know, killed that little boy and left his body on the beach.

Thugs We Love: Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight As 'Ray Donovan' and His Killer Dad

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 28, 2013 9:02 AM
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Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan arrives in the All-American tradition of good/bad heros: Tony Soprano, Walter White, all the other deeply flawed, often murderous family men who have been at the center of so many of the best recent series. Unlike those hereos, Ray's unwanted sidekick is his killer father: Jon Voight runs away with the show as Mickey Donovan, whom we meet when he gets out of a Boston-area prison -- and races to commit a murder too stunning to reveal. That is one hard-case bad dad.

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