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Caryn James

Movie Review: Leighton Meester and Minka Kelly in The Roommate

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 4, 2011 8:48 AM
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My Evil Twin did not write this review, although by the end it may seem that way. The Roommate, with Leighton Meester and Minka Kelly in a would-be Single White Female psycho-thriller, has many problems, but here is a big one: it is a terrible movie, yet it probably needs to make a ton at the box office just to earn back its budget for lip gloss.

Natalie Portman in "The Other Woman," Deja Vu

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 3, 2011 2:15 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Riding the tail feathers of Black Swan, The Other Woman finally arrives in theaters tomorrow, a month after it began its on-demand run. As I said when I reviewed it on VOD, Don Roos’ drama about a woman mourning her dead child and trying to adjust to being a stepmother is an irredeemable muddle; even Natalie Portman’s fierce performance can’t save it. Here's a link to that review.

Movie Review, "Cold Weather": Indie Vision Meets Sherlock Holmes

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 2, 2011 5:35 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The label independent film is tossed around so casually it can mean almost anything, but Cold Weather – written, directed and edited by Aaron Katz – displays a true independent vision. This accomplished, small-scale work dares to break a fundamental rule of movie-making: it starts out as one kind of film and playfully, successfully swerves into another.

The Season Of Depressing Movies: Why Make Yourself Sad?

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 28, 2011 3:30 AM
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Biutiful is eloquent, touching, artistic and – let’s be honest – one of the saddest movies you’ll ever see. You won’t leave the theater dancing. But you won’t be sorry you saw it.

Movie Review: The Tough Yet Poetic "When We Leave"

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 27, 2011 2:47 AM
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A young man points a gun at a woman while she walks down the street holding a small boy’s hand. As we soon learn in the long flashback that leads us full circle to this point, the man is the woman’s, Umay’s, much-loved younger brother, and she has been trying desperately to create a life with her son apart from her intolerant, old-world family. From this very first scene, Austrian writer/director Feo Aladag’s remarkable, tough yet poetic When We Leave makes us feel we have stepped into Umay’s prisonlike existence, set in the world of Turkish immigrants in Germany.

Sundance-At-Home Film Review: Visceral Australian Drama “Mad Bastards”

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 24, 2011 2:30 AM
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Set in the isolated Kimberley region of Western Australian, director Brendan Fletcher’s gripping, unsentimental father-son film is even more intriguing when you know its background. Mad Bastards follows three generations: 13-year old Bullet, a budding arsonist; his grandfather, Tex, a police officer who tries to set him straight; and TJ, the wayward father Bullet has never known. Not a fresh idea, but one that steadily draws us in with its realism.

Sundance-At-Home Film Review: Gregg Araki's "Kaboom"

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 23, 2011 5:12 AM
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Here’s a line you’re not likely to hear in any other story of college love gone wrong. Smith, a bisexual freshman, tells his worried best friend Stella about her ex-girlfriend: “Dude, you have a fatal-attraction stalker with supernatural powers – you have every right to be freaked out.” Kaboom is the most playful film Gregg Araki has done yet, a comedy shot in crisp bright colors that sends up horror movies and sci-fi, and even toys with Araki’s own constant theme of voracious sexuality.

The Company Men: Best on Screen This Weekend

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 21, 2011 4:59 AM
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A year after it played at Sundance, The Company Men opens wider today, with Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper as executives whose lives spiral down when they're laid off. And despite any rumblings of an economic recovery, John Wells' tough, poignant film is as wrenching and realistic as ever.

Movie Review: It’s Seth Rogen’s Green Hornet

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 12, 2011 5:01 AM
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Even slimmed down, Seth Rogen brings the good-hearted shlubiness of his Knocked Up character to his superhero’s role in The Green Hornet. Michel Gondry may be its director – and he’s usually a film’s wizard -- but The Green Hornet is Seth Rogen’s show. As actor and writer he provides its most winning qualities.

Gwyneth Sings . . . on Jimmy Fallon

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 4, 2011 4:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Gwyneth Paltrow has been singing all over the place lately, on Glee, on the Country Music Awards, all to promote her new film Country Strong (coming Friday, after a very limited December opening). January, of course, is generally losers’ month at the movies, and Country Strong belongs in that dumping ground. Paltrow’s role as a Kelly Canter, a country star trying to come back after half-hearted rehab, is a much lesser yin version of Jeff Bridges’ yang in Crazy Heart.

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