At the Movies; Opening Nov. 17
“Justice League” features iconic DC Comic characters. Israeli actress GAL GADOT, 32, who played the title role in “Wonder Woman,” an uber-smash last summer, returns as Diana/Wonder Woman. EZRA MILLER, 25, had a cameo as the Flash in “Batman v. Superman” (2016), but “League” represents his real debut in the part. On the “dark side”: JESSE EISENBERG, 34, re-appears as baddie Lex Luthor.
The plot is too complex to lay-out here, but here are two fun footnotes: First, last year, it was leaked that the script described Barry Allen, the secret alter-ego of the Flash, as a young Jewish man. However, about a week ago, Ezra Miller hinted that Allen’s Jewish identity was dropped in the final film cut. We’ll see. Second, every member of the (good guy) Justice League, except Wonder Woman, was created or co-created by a Jewish writer (Batman, Superman, Aquaman, the Flash, and the Cyborg).
“Wonder” is based on best-selling novel of the same name. August "Auggie" Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) is a young boy born with a facial deformity. He’s been in and out of hospitals for years. His mother (Julia Roberts) and his father (Owen Wilson) stand-by him as he tries to fit in at a new school, Beecher Prep.
Advance publicity describes "Wonder" as a heartwarming comedy-drama. A trailer featuring MANDY PATINKIN, 64, lives up to that description. Patinkin plays Mr. Tushman, a funny, caring man who is the principal of Beecher Prep. Upon first meeting Auggie and his mother, he makes them smile by telling them what he’s had to put up with because of his last name: “Hi, I’m Mr. Tushman and I’ve heard it all: tushie, buttman, buttface, Mr. Tucas.” Later in the trailer, Tushman encapsulates in one line his plan for Auggie: “He can’t change the way he looks, but maybe we can change the way we see.” DAVEED DIGGS, 35 (“Hamilton”) has a supporting role as Mr. Browne, a hip English teacher who inspires his students, including Auggie.
Tribe Members Punish Baddies
The first 17 episodes of “The Punisher” will be released on Netflix on Friday, Nov. 17. JON BERNTHAL, 41, stars in the title role. “The Punisher” is the alter-ego of Frank Castle. Castle/The Punisher is a fearsome vigilante. “The Punisher” has appeared in Marvel Comics since the 1970s and he’s taken on just about every group of baddies you can imagine. It the first season of the Netflix series, he exacts revenge on those who killed his family and then uncovers a larger conspiracy.
EBON MOSS-BACHRACH, 39, has a major supporting role as David Linus "Microchip" Lieberman (often just called “Micro”). In the comics, Micro supplied Castle with high tech equipment. There are hints that their relationship may be more complex in the series. (By the way, it’s easy to assume that Micro/Lieberman is a Jewish character. I don’t think that has ever been made explicit in the comics. Contact me if you know me to be wrong).
Moss-Bachrach has appeared in many indie films and TV guest roles. His most high profile role was in “Girls,” the HBO series. He played Desi Harperin, a musician whom main character Marnie was long involved with.
On Sunday, Nov. 5, “60 Minutes” profiled ALMA DEUTSCHER, a 12-year-old music prodigy. You run out of superlatives describing her and her accomplishments. She’s charming, upbeat, and insightful. She began playing piano and violin before age 5 and has long been a virtuoso on both. She began composing at age 6. At age 10, she wrote her first full length opera, “Cinderella.” (In her version, the prince is a poet. Cinderella finds a poem of his and puts it to music). “Cinderella” opened in Vienna last December and will by presented by a San Jose company next month.
Alma, who was born and raised in Britain, is the daughter of well-known Israeli linguist GUY DEUTSCHER, 47. He’s a U.K. university professor and amateur musician. His British wife, Janie Steen Deutscher (Alma’s mother), is also an academic (medieval literature) and amateur musician (I don’t know if she’s Jewish). I do know that Alma has dual Israeli citizenship. I was charmed by an Israeli TV clip of Alma, age 8. She appeared, in Israel, on an educational music program. She seamlessly moved from Hebrew to English as she talked to the show’s hosts.