At the Movies: Opened Wednesday, Nov. 23
“Nocturnal Animals” won the Grand Jury prize at the prestigious Venice Film Festival. It’s really three movies in one. JAKE GYLLENHAAL, 35, plays a novelist and the main character in this novelist’s new book. He gives the manuscript to his ex-wife (Amy Adams) to read. The story of her failed marriage to the novelist and the harrowing tale told in the novel, both told in full cinematic form, constitute the bulk of the film. ISLA FISHER, 40, co-stars as the wife of the novel’s main character.
The director, Tom Ford, is also a famous fashion designer and he got Gyllenhaal’s permission to put out a “Jake” lipstick, telling him that “Jake, every woman should have your on your lips.” There is also a Ford-line lipstick called, “Drake,” after the famous rapper, and Gyllenhaal told Jimmy Kimmel, “That’s okay, he’s Jewish, too.”
“Allied” stars Brad Pitt as Max Vatan, an intelligence officer who meets Marianne (Marion Cotillard), a French resistance fighter, in 1942 while on a secret North African mission. Later in the war, they reunite in England, get married, and have a child. Then Vatan is shown evidence that she’s a German sleeper spy and he’s under extreme pressure to kill her or be killed himself. He then sets out on a dangerous mission to clear her name. LIZZIE CAPLAN, 34 (“Masters of Sex”) has a big supporting role as Max’s sister.
The opening date for “Rules Don’t Apply” was changed at the last minute. But before that happened a lot important critics saw the film and issued reviews. Nobody gave it a rave, but a narrow majority of reviews say it has a lot of flaws, but is worth seeing. It’s probably the last film to be directed by Warren Beatty, now 79. He co-wrote the script and co-stars as the legendary businessman Howard Hughes, who owned RKO film studio from 1948-1955. Hughes was a famously weird and while his eccentricities are amusing, they may have too big a place in the film. MATTHEW BRODERICK, 54, has big supporting role as a Hughes’ top flunky.
The youth market is served by centering the story, at first, on Marla, a pretty young actress (Lily Collins). Marla is signed by Hughes and soon falls for Frank, her RKO studio driver (ALDEN EHRENREICH, 26). Frank and Marla have a cute romance. They are both virgins and religious Christians. But their swooning puts them at risk of being fired because Hughes has an ironclad rule barring driver/actress romances. Sadly, most reviewers say the Hughes’ story and the young couple’s story never really mesh and the couple’s story is not satisfactorily resolved.
Ehrenreich, has I’ve reported, has been cast to play Han Solo in the upcoming “Star Wars” re-boot film. Collins is the daughter of famous musician Phil Collins. Her maternal grandfather, JACK TAVELMAN, was Jewish and owned a swank Beverly Hills clothing store that “be-suited” many big studio execs and some stars, including GEORGE BURNS. It was at its peak during the era depicted in “Rules.”
Tough Union Chief, Tough Jew
Voice actors represented by the SAG-AFTRA union went on strike on Oct. 21 against video game makers who record dialogue. SAG represents about 160,000 actors, broadcasters, and voice over artists. This isn’t a major strike, since only about 5,000 actors record dialogue for game makers. Still, the fact that the union’s president, GABRIELLE CARTERIS, 55, authorized a strike is a surprise. She was named president after Ken Howard died last March in the middle of his term. Most studios, the “NY Times” writes, felt that Carteris would “leave the sluggish union on cruise control.” But the strike has put them on notice that she’s feisty. Also she pushed through a California law in August which will help with age discrimination in the industry.
Those really familiar with Carteris knew she could push-back. She’s best known for playing Andrea Zuckerman on “Beverly Hills, 90210.” The producers didn’t know her real age (29) or religion when, in 1990, they hired her to play a 16-year-old. However, they did decide to make Andrea the most explicitly Jewish character in the series. So they shouldn’t have been shocked when Carteris decided to wear a Star-of-David on set. A Jewish executive asked her to take it off, saying “Middle America doesn’t want to see this.” Carteris, a practicing Jew, refused to remove the Star unless other cast members were banned, too, from wearing religious symbols like crosses. The execs couldn’t get around this point, so they banned wearing any religious symbols.