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Caryn James

Review, "Captain America": A Hero Bland as Milk

  • By Caryn James
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  • July 21, 2011 12:30 PM
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  • 5 Comments
The least you can expect from a superhero is that he’ll be colorful and more dynamic than real life – it’s pretty much the job requirement – but if there is a more homogenized, blander hero than the new Captain America, I haven’t encountered him.

Review: “Harry Potter” and J.K. Rowling’s Cinematic Genius

  • By Caryn James
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  • July 13, 2011 1:00 AM
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  • 3 Comments
“Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic,” Dumbledore tells Harry in the magnificent final installment of the Harry Potter series, but that sentiment doesn’t denigrate screen magic at all. J.K. Rowling’s writing has a visual, cinematic style to match her compelling narrative gifts, and the Potter books and movies have such a graceful, rich symbiosis that while watching the films it’s sometimes hard to say whether I’m recognizing a scene from the novels or remembering it from a movie.

Horrible Bosses: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis in the Real Hangover Sequel

  • By Caryn James
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  • July 7, 2011 12:30 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Horrible Bosses is the funniest comedy since The Hangover – the real Hangover, not this year’s lame sequel. In fact, it is everything you might have wanted a Hangover sequel to be. The outlandish premise is carried by an ideal cast, with Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day as friends plotting to murder one another’s irredeemably awful bosses – not what career-advice books usually counsel, but these poor guys’ powers of invention are a little bit skewed.

Catherine Breillat's Enrapturing "Sleeping Beauty" Opens

  • By Caryn James
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  • July 7, 2011 5:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments
With echoes of Alice in Wonderland, Catherine Breillat’s lyrical and thoughtful The Sleeping Beauty is a fantasy-driven journey through a girl’s awakening to sex and love; you don’t have to be a princess to relate. Now this beautiful, enrapturing film is finally arriving in theaters after having been shown at festivals around the world. (It opens in New York on July 8th, other cities in the next weeks.)

Rapt: French Thriller About Womanizing Mogul Echoes Strauss-Kahn

  • By Caryn James
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  • July 5, 2011 1:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
With unplanned but impeccable timing, this fascinating French thriller about a womanizing business mogul comes just in time to catch the latest Dominique Strauss-Kahn developments. The story is based on the 1978 case of Baron Edouard-Jean Empain (really unknown here), which fortunately has been updated to the present and fictionalized with Yvan Attal as Stanislaus Graff, the arrogant chairman of a huge corporation who, just before he’s about to leave on a trip to China with the French president, is kidnapped and held for ransom.

"Conan O'Brien Can't Stop": Touring as Anger Management

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 24, 2011 2:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments
“It’s like a gall stone,” Conan O’Brien says about his fury at the way he was treated when Jay Leno swiped back the Tonight show. “It just has to work its way through my urethra . .. . and then I’ll be through with those fuckers at NBC.” This doc about his post-Tonight live tour charts that painful process – performing as anger-management therapy -- convinces us that his anger was rooted in a deep sense of fairness, and also manages to be a high-energy, thoroughly entertaining film.

Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern: Big Bolts of Light, Teeny Imagination

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 16, 2011 4:36 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Just when you’re thinking how silly it is for anyone to expect a tiny green eye mask to disguise a superhero’s identity, a woman he has rescued looks adoringly into the Green Lantern’s eyes and says . . . “Hal?!” That recognition offers one of the rare sharp moments in Green Lantern. The film has Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, an underconfident fighter pilot who gets an energy-filled ring and gains superpowers, but mostly it has a lot of hyperactive, glowing green light.

Review, "Super 8": Who Is This Movie For?

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 10, 2011 4:23 AM
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  • 4 Comments
All the way through J.J. Abrams’ perfectly congenial Super 8, I kept wondering: who is this film for? Child-friendly though it is, it’s obviously not aimed at kids, who expect something less nostalgic than the story of middle-school students in a 70’s suburb riding bikes and making a zombie movie. And if you grew up watching E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, you’ll appreciate the references, but a flat-out nostalgia-fest isn’t really enough. Like a too-faithful screen adaptation afraid to tinker with a novel, this adoring homage to Spielberg is easier to admire than to love.

"From Britain With Love": Helena Bonham Carter and Other Imports

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 10, 2011 1:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
We’ve seen Helena Bonham-Carter change in a flash from wild, witchy Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter films to the Queen Mum in The King’s Speech, to the real-life character who showed up at the Golden Globes with playfully mismatched shoes (it was a fashion statement). She is just as engaging in a very different guise: as a bleached blonde, slightly dumpy, none-too-kind 1960’s stepmother who happens to be a divine cook in Toast, the delightful little coming-of-age film that launches From Britain with Love, a series of six new British films.

The Hangover II: Maybe What Happened in Bangkok Should Have Stayed In Bangkok?

  • By Caryn James
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  • May 25, 2011 12:30 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Bangkok – bigger, sexier, sleazier than Vegas! That’s the transparent thinking behind The Hangover Part II. If you’ve been anywhere near a TV or seen a movie trailer lately, you know that this sequel brings Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis to Thailand for another wedding, letting them run amok in a city offering more muck than most.

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