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Watch Comedy From Obama, O'Brien, Spielberg at the White House Correspondents Dinner

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 28, 2013 11:59 AM
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This year's White House Correspondents' Dinner gave us a few insights about comedy:

Your Burning Oscar-Show Questions Answered, MacFarlane to Best Dead People

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 25, 2013 1:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The Oscar show was bloated with movie music that had no reason being there. (A tribute to Chicago? Other than the fact that the Oscar show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron also produced that movie .. oh yeah, that’s why). It had Seth MacFarlane, whose jokes might have been offensive if they weren’t so stale and dull. It had Adlele singing the theme from Skyfall, only to have her voice struggle to be heard over the orchestra. No sound editing at this all-musical Oscars? Ugh.

Predicting the Oscars: Don't Trust Me, Trust Nate Silver

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 23, 2013 9:30 AM
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I was thinking this might be the first year in recent memory when the Oscars actually held some suspense about the winners. Is anything really a lock for Best Picture? What about that wacky Best Directors race, already full of also-rans? Then I read Nate Silver’s thoroughly lucid and compelling analysis in his FiveThirtyEight blog, so: Argo, Argo, Argo. And Spielberg.

Watch The Oscar Nominations: The Good, The Bad, The What Were They Thinking?

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 10, 2013 10:44 AM
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What a relief! It looks like the Oscar show might actually be fun, thanks to Seth MacFarlane. When he and Emma Stone announced the nominees, MacFarlane commented with barbed lines that were as edgy as anything Ricky Gervais did during his controversial Golden Globes gigs. After announcing the Best Supporting Actress category, he congratulated the nominees with, “You five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.” Too far? I’ll always choose a host who crosses the line rather than someone tame and snoozy.

The Best Films of 2012

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 18, 2012 9:00 AM
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My top three films of 2012 were easy to name, if not to order. Each is amazing, each wildly different from the other two, but they form a trio of incomparable experiences. There’s a deep dropoff from those three to the others, all fantastic --  though more flawed. I didn’t reach for ten movies (you do remember that I’m math-challenged?) because lists are arbitary enough. But every one of these eight films is worth your time, over and over again.

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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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?

Steven Spielberg's Latest: Laser Cats 7 (SNL Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 15, 2012 10:34 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Steven Spielberg played himself in an SNL Digital Short last night, as the ostensible director of the latest installment of Laser Cats  -- the low-tech, sci-fi series with Andy Samberg and Bill Hader, a perfect franchise for a guy obsessed with space aliens. Although the Spielberg alter ego called attention to what he crowingly called his “Hitchcockian cameo” in the film, the real homages were to E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Jurassic Park.

Top Oscar Surprises: Gary Oldman and Demian Who?

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 24, 2012 10:41 AM
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  • 7 Comments
The awards season zooms ahead now that the Oscar nominations have been announced. What didn’t we see coming? And what were those voters thinking? Never mind; a pointless question. Here’s a look at the biggest surprises and how they change the race.

From The Apocalypse to Twitter: Top Four Things To Watch For At The Golden Globes

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 14, 2012 11:08 PM
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  • 1 Comment
We could stretch it to more than four, but let’s stay focused. All ears, of course, will be on Ricky Gervais, as we wonder what he can possibly do to top his hilarious, irreverent turn as host last year. The first five minutes should tell.

"War Horse": Is It Steven Spielberg Or Monty Python?

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 21, 2011 9:18 AM
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  • 3 Comments
It is as sweeping and as comfortably old-fashioned as a John Ford movie, but War Horse has the soul of a hollow chocolate Santa. It’s not as if Steven Spielberg has forgotten how to make a crowd-pleasing blockbuster. All the pieces of this World War I movie are in place, from Janusz Kaminski’s velvety cinematography to a sweep over time and history that self-consciously -  and in this case falsely - announces some ambition. But Spielberg has never been so lethally cliched before, settling into a tired, sentimental genre without any attempt at either modernization or homage. I’m sure all those people who left the film weeping are sincere, but we know how easy it is for a story about a boy and his dog – or a horse, or whatever – to play on obvious emotions without really registering anything.

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