Caryn James

'The Square': In Tahrir Square, Beyond Simplistic Headlines

  • By Caryn James
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  • October 24, 2013 9:02 AM
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Television coverage of the political upheavals in Egypt over the past two years, especially the protests in Tahrir Square, was almost always defined by the reporters' distance from events. Even correspondents on the ground surrounded by chaos sometimes exuded a sense of voyeurism, or -- even worse -- a self-congratulatory aura of being in danger, the "Look at how tough I am" pride you see in all those fools in rain slickers standing upright in hurricane-force winds. The reporting from Egypt was valuable and the danger real, of course, but the coverage wasn't considered "foreign news" for nothing, even when referred to with the more enlightened "international news" rubric.

Michael B. Jordan in Taut, Flawed 'Fruitvale Station'

  • By Caryn James
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  • July 12, 2013 9:03 AM
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Fruitvale Station is tense, galvanizing and a little disappointing -- an odd combination that is easily explained. The drama, which won both the arty Grand Jury Prize and the populist Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, is brilliantly acted by Michael B. Jordan in the fact-based story of Oscar Grant, a young black man trying to pull his life together, who was shot to death by a white transit cop in Oakland. His performance is matched by Octavia Spencer's as his mother. And Ryan Coogler has directed an extremely well-made example of a certain kind of film: gritty-indie style, full of hand-held tracking and camera-phone inserts. But Coogler's screenplay is too neat and manipulative -- a quality that undermines the film artistically, yet may be the key to any commercial success. Fruitvale makes everything easy on the audience.

Watch Sundance Panel "The Power of Story ..."

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 30, 2012 6:42 PM
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If you missed the Sundance panel “The Power of Story: In the Beginning” – my conversation with four terrific screenwriters who also direct, produce and perform – you can watch the entire lively, witty discussion here.

Please Join Me for Live Streaming Sundance Panel, "The Power of Story."

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 25, 2012 2:21 PM
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Have you ever wondered how a writer's artistic vision survives the journey from page to screen? Please join me - in person if you're in Park City or right here through this live video stream - when I moderate a Sundance panel with four terrific writers. "The Power of Story: In the Beginning . . ." will happen Friday, Jan 27th at 5:30 ET (3:30 MT in Sundance). The panelists, with widely varying but equally strong voices, include:

Paradise Lost 3 Comes to HBO

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 10, 2012 12:06 PM
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When Paradise Lost 3 premieres on HBO on Thursday, it will be the same smart, cogent doc that was shown at the New York Film Festival last fall: the absorbing story of the West Memphis 3, who were wrongly accused of murder as teenagers and recently freed after nearly 20 years in prison. But now the film arrives shadowed by some unexpected competition: the documentary West of Memphis, produced by Peter Jackson and his wife and partner Fran Walsh. Even more interestingly, producer credits also go to Damien Echols, the West Memphis teenager had been sentenced to death, and his wife, Lorri Davis.

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