Jews in the News: Jack Black, Jonah Hill and Natalie Portman

At the Movies: Opening September 21

“The House with a Clock in Its Walls” is a magical, spine-tingling film about adventures of a 10-year-old boy who goes to live with his uncle (JACK BLACK, 49) in a creaky old house with a mysterious tick-tocking heart. Not long after he arrives, the boy accidentally awakens the dead and learns a lot about the secret world of witches and warlocks. Cate Blanchett co-stars and ELI ROTH, 46, directs.

“The Sisters Brothers” is a dark comedic Western. The title refers to two gunslinger brothers, last name “Sisters,” who are hired by a rich man (called “The Commodore”) to kill a Mr. Warm, a prospector who the rich man thinks stole from him. The brothers are played by John C. Reilly and JOAQUIN PHOENIX, 43. The rich guy also hires Morris, a private detective (JAKE GYLLENHAAL, 37) to find Warm and get him to the Sisters brothers. However, Warm, who is a trained chemist, may have a way to find gold easily and that possibility makes Morris think about chucking his assignment and, instead, going into business with Warm. This film got rave reviews early this month when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival and it received a standing ovation from the audience. Frenchman Jacques Audiard won the Silver Lion for Best Director at the festival.

Veteran actors Rutger Hauer and CAROL KANE, 66, have smallish supporting roles as, respectively, the Commodore and the mother of the Sisters Brothers.

The New TV Season Begins

“The Good Cop” is a ten-episode comedy/drama Netflix series that premieres on Friday, Sept. 21. It is based on an Israeli TV series. The American version (which may have a 2nd season if viewers like it) was created by ANDY BRECKMAN, 63 (he was the creator of “Monk” and it remains his biggest hit).  Tony Danza plays a disgraced former NYPD officer who never followed the rules. Josh Groban (who has Jewish ancestry but isn’t Jewish) plays Danza’s straight-arrow son, a NYPD detective. The two become unofficial partners and solve crimes.

Emma Stone and JONAH HILL, 34, co-star in “Maniac,” a Netflix limited series that also premieres on Sept. 21. They play people with differing mental problems who are independently drawn to participate in a mysterious pharmaceutical trial. They hope the drug used in the trial will cure their problems almost instantly. Appearing in recurring roles are JULIA GARNER, 24 (“Ozark”) and JEMIMA KIRKE, 33 (“Girls”).

“Single Parents” premieres on ABC on Sept. 26 (9:30PM). It’s a comedy about Will Cooper (Taram Killiam), a single father of a young daughter. His friends urge to get back in the dating game. BRAD GARRETT, 58 (Robert Barone on “Everybody Loves Raymond”) has a regular role as Douglas, a wealthy widower with young twin daughters. He urges Cooper to “hire a babysitter” and get out there.

More Roseanne

Late last month, “Roseanne” co-star John Goodman spilled the beans to the Sunday Times (UK) that the Roseanne character will end its long run on TV via the on-air death of the character. The re-boot of the “Roseanne” show ended last May when star ROSEANNE BARR, 65, was fired after she issued a stream of what most viewed as racist tweets. Goodman also told the Times: “I know for a fact she’s [Barr] isn’t racist. Barr quickly thanked Goodman for his support.

Re-titled, “The Connors,” the latest iteration of “Roseanne” will premiere on Oct. 16. Meanwhile, as you might have already read, Roseanne did a podcast with Rabbi SHUMULEY BOTEACH, 51, on September 1.  A few highlights: she intends to be in Israel when “The Connors” premieres and will stay there for a few months and study with her favorite teachers; she is not going to “curse or bless” the “reboot”, but will be “neutral” about it; and she’s sorry about what she tweeted, but she’s also sorry she publicly apologized.


“Variety” reports that NATALIE PORTMAN, 37, has closed a deal to star-in and direct a yet-unnamed film about the most famous advice columnists of the 20th century: Dear Abby and Ann Landers. The two were identical twins, born (1918) PAULINE ESTHER FRIEDMAN AND ESTHER PAULINE FRIEDMAN. It’s often been noted that its “odd” that two Jewish ladies from Sioux City, Iowa would become the advice mavens to America (from the heartland to the coasts). But that’s what happened.


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