Caryn James

Obama and Galifianakis' Meta Political Video

  • By Caryn James
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  • March 11, 2014 11:42 AM
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It's hard to imagine that President Obama appearing on Zach Galifianakis' web series Between Two Ferns will really inspire young people to sign up for health insurance. What's easy to imagine is that the newly released Funny or Die video will be a huge hit and do a lot of good for the President's image in other ways.

Will Ronan Farrow's MSNBC Show Be Derailed by His "I Hate Woody" Fame?

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 24, 2014 3:29 PM
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  • 11 Comments
Ronan Farrow began his new MSNBC show today by saying, "I grew up watching the greats of TV news," then delivered his wry list of "Murrow, Cronkite, Colbert." He wasn't really kidding, because Ronan Farrow Daily is all about trying to channel his generation. At a glance the show wasn't rocky; it was flat and safe, which might be worse.

Jimmy Fallon's Beta 'Tonight Show' (Review & Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 18, 2014 1:15 PM
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  • 2 Comments
If you want a sense of what Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show will be, look at his guest list. The first episodes feel like a soft launch.

Stephen Colbert's Book Club Takes on Hemingway (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 22, 2014 12:18 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Ernest Hemingway – genius writer or macho cliche? Or both? Stephen Colbert's latest installment of The Colbert Book Club, lovingly and admittedly stolen from Oprah, lets you choose, as the host puts on a safari jacket, holds a gun and swigs from a wineskin while pretending to have read A Farewell to Arms.

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"

New York Film Festival Review: James Franco Directs 'Child of God'

  • By Caryn James
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  • September 26, 2013 1:24 PM
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  • 2 Comments
If Child of God had been made by James Franco instead of "James Franco," by just another filmmaker instead of the public figure whose career and self-consciously created image seem like one hydra-headed piece of performance art -- actor in blockbusters and indies, fiction-writer, student at too many schools, the guy slyly asked by Stephen Colbert, "Are you a fraud?" (watch the video here) -- it's unlikely anyone would question why it's in the New York Film Festival. The film is a powerful adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's 1973 novel, directed -- and written by Franco and Vince Jolivette -- with such discipline and intelligence that it captures the mordant darkness of McCarthy's world.

The New Heisenberg: Jimmy Fallon Does 'Joking Bad' (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • September 12, 2013 1:29 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Now down to its final episodes, Breaking Bad gets darker, wilder, more go-for-broke. The lighter side? That would be Joking Bad, the latest pop-cult parody from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Stephen Colbert Asks James Franco, 'Are You a Fraud?'

  • By Caryn James
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  • March 6, 2013 11:06 AM
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  • 2 Comments
James Franco has taken on one of his most mainstream roles in the new Disney film, 'Oz the Great and Powerful'; nothing is more mainstream than Disney. (You can read my review here.) But his entire career still has the shape of wide-ranging performance art -- and with a lot more focus, Stephen Colbert's on-screen right-wing persona has so overshadowed the "real" Colbert that the character can be considered one of the most successful, long-running pieces of performance art of all time. So consider the many layers of reality and artifice when Colbert asks Franco, the professor-filmmaker-writer-actor-whatever: "Are you a fraud?"

Kathryn Bigelow's Extended Interview with Stephen Colbert (Video)

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 23, 2013 12:22 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Kathryn Bigelow couldn’t be clearer about the issue of torture in Zero Dark Thirty: “Torture is reprehensible” she told Stephen Colbert, and went to say that the enhanced interrogation shown in her film was one element in the attempt to track down Osama bin Laden, not, as some critics of the film have claimed, the single indispensable element. Directors don’t always have the best takes on their own films, but Bigelow’s explanation is the one that makes the most sense to me.

Cast of 'Downton Abbey' Does 'Breaking Bad' on 'Colbert Report'

  • By Caryn James
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  • December 14, 2012 10:45 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Much of the cast of Downton Abbey  -- including Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern, but not Magge Smith or Michelle Dockery -- has been in New York promoting the Jan. 6th premiere of the new season, and they have faced a flood of uninteresting questions. But if the low point was Savannah Guthrie’s vapid, gushy group interview on Today, the best idea came from The Colbert Report, which enlisted a few of the Downton actors to reenact their series as if it were Breaking Bad.  

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