Jews in the News: Genevieve Robert, Seth Rogen and Mayim Bialik

At the Movies: Opening May 4

I was hoping that new French language film, “Godard Mon Amour,” would be a charming period comedy. The director, MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS, 51, showed he could do light comedy with “The Artist” (2011), a silent pic that got the best picture Oscar. The basis of his new film, “Godard Mon Amour,” are memoirs written by the late Anne Wiazemsky, who was 19 years old when she married famous French movie director Jean Luc Godard, then 37, in 1967. The film covers one year (1967-68). We see Godard trying to incorporate the burgeoning radical political movements of the late ‘60s into his filmmaking. “Godard” also touches on how contemporary cultural changes influenced the dynamics of the couple’s marriage.  Most reviews said the premise was not at fault---a smart comedy of manners could have been crafted from this material.  However, leading critics say that the script, and the direction, misses the mark and the film just doesn’t work as a bio or as a comedy.  Hazanavicius is the grandson of Lithuanian Jews who settled in France. His parents, children during the Nazi occupation, survived in hiding.

However, advance reviews are pretty good for “Tully,” a comedy/drama directed by JASON REITMAN, 40.  The “Tully” script is by Diablo Cody, who also wrote the acclaimed 2007 film, “Juno,” which Reitman also directed. Charlize Theron plays Margo, a harried mother of three, including a newborn, who is ‘gifted’ a night nanny by her wealthy brother (Mark Duplass). Hesitant at first to accept his extravagance, Margo comes to form a unique bond with her young nanny. More than a nanny, she is the confidant and friend that Margo needed (her husband is a largely absent jerk).  Reviews say the early scenes focusing on Margo’s problems are perhaps too grim, but the film takes off with the nanny’s arrival. Reitman is the son of famous director IVAN REITMAN, 71 (“Ghostbusters”) and his wife, French Canadian actress GENÉVIEVE ROBERT, a Jew-by-Choice. Ivan’s parents were Holocaust survivors.

Streaming and a Really Big Big Bang

Now streaming is “Honeymoon Tour,” a Netflix special that stars husband-and-wife stand-up comedians NATASHA LEGGERO, 44, and MOSHE KASHER, 38. It’s divided into three, thirty-minute parts. Leggero does stand-up alone; Kasher does stand-up alone; and then they amusingly counsel audience couples together. Leggero was about five months pregnant during filming (she gave birth to a girl in February). Much of their stand-up shtick relates to the pregnancy. Leggero and Kasher also talk a lot about her conversion to Judaism, including the fourteen, 4-hour conversion classes that they attended together. Be warned: there is a lot of bawdy or edgy humor. Also now streaming on Netflix is “Seth Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity.” This one-hour special combines sketches, stand-up, and music. The intent of the special is to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. The big cast includes ROGEN, NICK KROLL, SARAH SILVERMAN, JEFF GOLDBLUM, IKE BARINHOLTZ, SACHA BARON COHEN, and Seth’s wife, LAUREN MILLER ROGEN, 35 (Lauren’s mother, now 67, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 55).

Longs heads-up: the season finale of “The Big Bang Theory” airs on CBS on Thursday, May 11 at 8PM.  It features the highly anticipated wedding of Amy (played by everybody’s favorite Jewish celeb, MAYIM BIALIK) to Sheldon (Jim Parsons). Of course, the whole regular cast will be in the episode (the Jewish members---SIMON HELBERG, 37, as Howard; MELISSA RAUCH, 37, as Bernadette; KEVIN SUSSMAN, 47, as Stuart). It’s unclear as of press time whether JUNE SQUIBB, 88, who has guest starred as Sheldon’s grandma or “Meemaw”, will be in the finale.

Mark Hamill, 66, the “Star Wars” star, has an “undefined” role in the episode. Bialik, 42, went bananas a couple of weeks ago when she met Hamill for the first time. She shared her reaction with her 2.6 million Instagram followers: “He shook my hand. I can’t handle it…It was amazing.” What Bialik probably doesn’t know is that Hamill has a Jewish great niece and a Jewish great nephew with many celeb connections. Mark’s older brother was married to a Jewish woman. Their daughter, CAMERON HAMILL, married (1997) former Obama budget director PETER ORSZAG, now 49, before a rabbi and they had two (now teenage) children. Peter and Cameron divorced and, in 2010, a rabbi presided over the marriage of Orszag to BIANNA GOLODRYGA, 39. She’s a Russia-born TV journalist whom I am sure you will recognize if you “Google” her. This striking looking and smart woman is currently a CBS and CNN correspondent/co-anchor. She and Orszag have two young children.


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