James on screenS

Rating Title | Year Quote Author
1 46%

Beautiful Creatures (2013)

"Sumptuous-looking, crisply directed, wonderfully cast and far wittier than the drippy, earnest Twilight Saga. A captivating tale with a tongue-in-cheek sense of play. "

Posted Feb 14, 2013

Caryn James

2 93%

The Gatekeepers (2013)

"Totally fascinating and unexpected. No bravura filmmaking here, but rich, often startling observations about anti-terrorism, torture and the amorality of it all. "

Posted Jan 30, 2013

Caryn James

3 64%

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

"Thank goodness for Martin Freeman, who makes Bilbo a feeling person & a hobbit. Otherwise, the film is so awed by its technical ingenuity that character and story fade away. "

Posted Dec 5, 2012

Caryn James

4 75%

Killing Them Softly (2012)

"A disappointing, derivative noir that gets its spark from Pitt and Gandolfini's performances. Slight and pulpy, but it's aiming for arty and trenchant. "

Posted Nov 30, 2012

Caryn James

5 87%

Life of Pi (2012)

"Full of 3D wonders, but in the end no more than an easygoing, unchallenging adventure movie. Ang Lee is a master whose films can be emotionally powerful; Life of Pi isn't. "

Posted Nov 20, 2012

Caryn James

6 92%

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

"The title is the only clunky thing in this smart, witty film. Cooper & Lawrence find the balance between being likable and making us queasy. De Niro & Weaver are miraculous. "

Posted Nov 16, 2012

Caryn James

7 63%

Anna Karenina (2012)

"Knightley and Taylor-Johnson are so passionless they might was well be animatronic. The theatrical conceit is more stunt than inspiration, the film cold as a Russian winter."

Posted Nov 14, 2012

Caryn James

8 92%

Skyfall (2012)

"Sam Mendes adds freshness in this smart, character-driven film, as middle-aged Bond thrives in today's terror-ridden world. Still loaded with action, the best Bond in years. "

Posted Nov 8, 2012

Caryn James

9 78%

Flight (2012)

"Washington may save a planeload of people, but he can't save this manipulative, predictable, cliched film, so typical of Zemeckis' sturdy, unoriginal style. A well-made sham."

Posted Nov 2, 2012

Caryn James

10 96%

Argo (2012)

"Affleck's thoughtul, extremely entertaining film shifts easily from the threatening to the comic, capturing the odd mix of fear and absurdity that informs the national mood. "

Posted Oct 10, 2012

Caryn James

11 43%

The Paperboy (2012)

"I admire the film's terrific acting and ability to draw you into its lurid world, but Daniels is daring to the point of wrong-headedness. This is pulp, which wants to be more."

Posted Oct 4, 2012

Caryn James

12 85%

The Master (2012)

"Intelligent, chilly and fascinating, this uneven film didn't need 70 mm. It's a taut eye-to-eye war between Hoffman, magnificent as an egotist, and Phoenix, his needy follower"

Posted Sep 22, 2012

Caryn James

13 87%

Arbitrage (2012)

"A shrewd satisfying thriller with a magical twist in Gere's performance. Instead of a demonized tycoon - Bernie Madoff as Satan - we see a fully-realized character. "

Posted Sep 13, 2012

Caryn James

14 41%

Little White Lies (2012)

"Inspired by The Big Chill, Canet's appealing homage makes deja vu seem like a good thing. His warm ensemble piece engages us right through to its final visceral punch. "

Posted Aug 23, 2012

Caryn James

15 61%

The Awakening (2012)

"West is so underused, he barely gets to raise an eyebrow in this watchable but pedestrian film, with Hall ghostbusting in a Downton Abbey setting. Cliched and never chilling."

Posted Aug 17, 2012

Caryn James

16 64%

Cosmopolis (2012)

"Smart and stylized - which doesn't innoculate this story of a sad billionaire against lethal familiarity and dullness. Pattinson's stiffness works, but the dialogue is vapid."

Posted Aug 17, 2012

Caryn James

17 64%

The Campaign (2012)

"When clever meets silly in this political spoof, silly always wins, but the cartoonish exaggeration works with some swift, perfectly timed comedy. "

Posted Aug 8, 2012

Caryn James

18 79%

Ruby Sparks (2012)

"Neurosis hasn't seemed this adorably sane since Woody Allen. Clever, funny, expertly walking the line between arty and mainstream, Ruby Sparks is a lovable romantic comedy. "

Posted Jul 25, 2012

Caryn James

19 51%

Savages (2012)

"Slick and vapid, with characters worse than stick figures. In the age of 'Breaking Bad,' Stone's action-rush about drugs and violence just seems old. "

Posted Jul 6, 2012

Caryn James

20 35%

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

"The high-concept joke fades fast in this Abe-meets-vampires mashup, saddled with clunky 3-D, a lame screenplay, and actors as stiff as the statue at the Lincoln Memorial. "

Posted Jun 22, 2012

Caryn James

21 56%

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

"A sunny, charming apocalypse film that overcomes its contrived premise. Even the off-beat pairing of Steve Carell and Keira Knightley works better than you'd imagine. "

Posted Jun 21, 2012

Caryn James

22 91%

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

" Not a sci-fi movie but a droll, totally charming, un-hokey romantic comedy about two misfits. The film belongs to Aubrey Plaza's deadpan, touching, understated performance. "

Posted Jun 8, 2012

Caryn James

23 29%

Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding (2012)

"Fonda's clever casting and good-humored performance can't save this clunky, obvious mess - ludicrous from its contrived premise on. A waste of Beresford and the actors."

Posted Jun 7, 2012

Caryn James

24 28%

Bel Ami (2012)

"Can Pattinson act without fangs? Not so much. As a social climber and 19th c. gigolo, his robotic acting matches the stately direction, which negates the sexy, messy theme. "

Posted Jun 6, 2012

Caryn James

25 94%

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

"No one has an eye or sensibility like Anderson's, but this is a chilly disappointment. The unaffecting kids are meant to be the emotional center, yet the adults steal the film."

Posted May 25, 2012

Caryn James

26 58%

Hysteria (2012)

"Might have been a one-note joke, but Wexler, Dancy and Gyllenhaal make it a witty, slyly feminist comedy of sexual manners."

Posted May 17, 2012

Caryn James

27 37%

Dark Shadows (2012)

"You don't have to know the 60's afternoon soap to fall for this funny pop confection, but you do need to appreciate its light, spoofy tone. If you do, it's a ghoulish joy. "

Posted May 9, 2012

Caryn James

28 97%

Monsieur Lazhar (2012)

"Don't be put off by its hokey-sounding subject: this unexpectedly powerful, subtle little film is exquisitely made, enormously moving and politically-charged. "

Posted Apr 13, 2012

Caryn James

29 84%

The Hunger Games (2012)

"Lawrence is terrific, but the film is a sleek, competent example of a big-budget, sure-fire commercial hit without much soul or style. "

Posted Mar 23, 2012

Caryn James

30 43%

Casa de mi padre (2012)

"This Spanish-language spoof of bad old Western movies is like a looser, goofier version of a Christopher Guest film. "

Posted Mar 16, 2012

Caryn James

31 51%

Being Flynn (2012)

"De Niro's fullest role and strongest performance in years as a proud, self-deluded writer on a relentless downward spiral. A reminder that De Niro is still the best."

Posted Mar 1, 2012

Caryn James

32 26%

This Means War (2012)

"Witherspoon, Pine or Hardy could carry a film alone. Together the results are three times worse in McG's flat,cobbled-together action-romance. "

Posted Feb 14, 2012

Caryn James

33 13%

W.E. (2012)

"A beautifully-shot, disappointing mess. Riseborough is brilliant as Wallis Simpson, but Wally (Cornish) is as ludicrous a character as you'll see on screen this year. "

Posted Feb 3, 2012

Caryn James

34 56%

Albert Nobbs (2012)

"Close is unconvincing as a man,but accept the premise and the character's strength,bravery and heartbreaking sadness come through. McTeer is amazing in Garcia's eloquent film."

Posted Jan 25, 2012

Caryn James

35 80%

Haywire (2012)

"This walloping(literally; everybody gets walloped) spy-action movie is built around Carano, but the real fun comes from the international adventure and dream supporting cast. "

Posted Jan 17, 2012

Caryn James

36 77%

War Horse (2011)

"Spielberg still knows how to make a crowd-pleasing blockbuster, but this sweeping, comfortably old-fashioned WWI cliche has the soul of a hollow chocolate Santa. "

Posted Dec 21, 2011

Caryn James

37 55%

In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011)

"Not a celebrity vanity project, but an astute, dramatically gripping, deeply feminist work. Despite some script problems, the film is a surprising triumph in so many ways. "

Posted Dec 20, 2011

Caryn James

38 60%

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

"Not as surprising as the original, but every bit as much fun: a popcorn detective movie in Victorian clothes, with high-tech action and droll humor. "

Posted Dec 14, 2011

Caryn James

39 79%

Shame (2011)

"Lower your expectations.Scene for scene, effectively intense, with fierce performances, but McQueen sets up a narrative and never follows through.Why are these people damaged?"

Posted Nov 30, 2011

Caryn James

40 94%

Hugo (2011)

"Thoroughly enchanting. Transports us into a magical world of movies, yet looks forward in its embrace of dreams and imagination. The first truly artistic use of 3D I've seen. "

Posted Nov 22, 2011

Caryn James

41 84%

My Week with Marilyn (2011)

"Williams is a wonder, Redmayne terrific but this sharp film is less about Monroe than about a cultural moment: fame, movie pr, Olivier's old-school acting vs. Method."

Posted Nov 22, 2011

Caryn James

42 89%

The Descendants (2011)

"Clooney is brilliant as the emotionally jolted hero of Payne's droll yet immensely moving film. In its perfectly wrought eloquence, it may be the best film of the year. "

Posted Nov 16, 2011

Caryn James

43 91%

Into The Abyss (2011)

"Haunting and urgent.Herzog's tough-minded film takes an uncompromising stand against the death penalty,but goes beyond to look at the larger issue of crime and blighted lives "

Posted Nov 10, 2011

Caryn James

44 43%

J. Edgar (2011)

"It's not Leo's fault, but this shallow, conventional biopic is a snooze. On the Eastwood scale closer to Flags of Our Fathers - Serious, Important, Dull - than masterful."

Posted Nov 8, 2011

Caryn James

45 79%

The Last Rites of Joe May (2011)

"Maggio's film may be small, but it's full of texture."

Posted Nov 2, 2011

Caryn James

46 50%

The Rum Diary (2011)

"Despite an occasional gleam in Depp's eye, this is something you'd never associate with Thompson:sluggish. Robinson directs so earnestly it might be A Portrait of the Artist."

Posted Oct 24, 2011

Caryn James

47 30%

Sarah Palin: You Betcha! (2011)

"Sometimes amusing but too familiar - from yesterday's facts to a Michael Moore-ish structure - the doc does create a convincing portrait of Palin as the ultimate Mean Girl. "

Posted Oct 1, 2011

Caryn James

48 94%

Moneyball (2011)

"Sophisticated and hugely entertaining, with Pitt and Hill an unlikely but terrific buddy team. A delight even for someone who knows and cares next to nothing about baseball."

Posted Sep 23, 2011

Caryn James

49 93%

Drive (2011)

"Gosling's amazing, subtle performance - body language, a glance of his eyes - turns this psychologically charged action movie into more than a genre piece."

Posted Sep 14, 2011

Caryn James

50 84%

Contagion (2011)

"Soderbergh is always intriguing, but this plague thriller should have been more than an all-star health warning. The banal screenplay suits some cheapo cable movie."

Posted Sep 4, 2011

Caryn James

Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile