Caryn James

Movie Review, The Other Woman: Natalie Portman’s Latest, Straight Off the Shelf

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 3, 2011 6:10 AM
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  • 7 Comments
Long before Black Swan, Natalie Portman was making some daring choices. Her bravado as the stripper in Closer and her delicately-directed short for New York, I Love You would be enough to signal an adventurous career. And in The Other Woman she creates sympathy for a truly idiosyncratic character. Emilia was a pregnant mistress turned wife, then grieving mother when her infant died. You can feel a big “But ...” coming here. Don Roos’ misbegotten screenplay and muddled direction are so hopeless all you can do is wonder “Who are these people?”

Restored Version of The Leopard for New Year's: How Did It Survive the 1963 Trailer?

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 30, 2010 3:22 AM
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  • 1 Comment
What better way to begin a new year than watching The Leopard, Luchino Visconti's ever-enthralling saga about a proud aristocratic family trying not to crumble when Garibaldi's army lands on its doorstep, marching toward a unified Italy and the 20th century? The epic is at once a magnificent escape into the past and a warning about the dangers of clinging to it. In New York, Film Forum begins a two-week run of the latest restoration, which premiered this year at Cannes, on New Year's Eve. (Next best if you're not in New York: The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray.)

Christmas Oddity # 1: Creepy Santa in "Rare Exports"

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 23, 2010 2:15 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Like many of you I’ll be taking a break over the holiday weekend, but I leave you with a few off-beat recommendations to come back to, no matter what your mood: pre-ghost Scrooge, post-ghost Scrooge, or ready to escape into another world. First: Creepy Santa. Cheers!

Sofia Coppola's Extraordinary "Somewhere"

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 20, 2010 5:00 AM
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Sofia Coppola’s lovely chamber piece Somewhere feels like – and I mean this is the best possible sense – a love letter to her Dad.

What the Coens Said About "True Grit"

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 20, 2010 2:00 AM
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  • 3 Comments
By sheer luck – or bad planning turned good – the screening of True Grit I was invited to was followed by a Q&A with Joel and Ethan Coen and Hailee Steinfeld, the 14-year old whose screen presence rivals Jeff Bridges’ and Matt Damon’s. No photos were allowed at the screening (it was mostly for Producers Guild and BAFTA members), so trust me: without her braids an old-West costume, Steinfeld looked like the poised, glossy-haired young woman she is.

Best On Screens This Weekend

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 17, 2010 2:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments
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TRON Legacy: The Only Two Sequences You Need to See

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 17, 2010 2:15 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The test of a genre movie is whether it can cross over to a broader audience. Do you care about Harry Potter if you hardly know what Hogwarts is? Alfonso Cuaron’s stylish, haunting Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azbakan makes you care. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 zooms its way beyond action-hero fans. The elaborately artificial video-game-come-to-life TRON: Legacy, not so much.

Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole: Beyond the Amazing Frozen Forehead

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 16, 2010 8:00 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Every now and then, between splashy commercial misfires (Australia!) and arty little misfires (Fur) Nicole Kidman does something that proves she didn’t become a star entirely because of high-profile marriages, that she’s more than a walking, talking, cautionary tale about Botox. She really can act, and she is amazingly subtle, restrained and moving in Rabbit Hole, her best work since The Hours. It’s a role that plays to her strength: a woman so brittle it seems as if a slight wind would make her snap.

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