Jews in the News: Jonah Hill, Nate Ebner and Maggie Gyllenhaal

At the Movies: Opening October 26

“Mid90s” marks the directing debut of JONAH HILL, 34. He also wrote the film. While billed as a comedy/drama, the reviews I’ve read describe it as a pretty gritty film with just a chuckle now and again. It follows Stevie, a 13-year old with a tough home life. His working class mother has a parade of guys coming through. His much older brother beats him up. Stevie finds an alternate family among a group of rowdy new friends who hang out at a local skate shop and often get into trouble.

Likewise, “Beautiful Boy” isn’t exactly a Disney film. It’s based on memoirs by journalist DAVID SHEFF, 62, and his son NIC, 36, about Nic’s battle with “meth” addiction. Nic was raised by his father and step-mother in an affluent San Francisco suburb. He was a golden boy (wrote, painted, surfed) until he got hooked. The film focuses on the efforts of his parents (including his mother) to understand why he got addicted and why he backslid after several rehab stays.

Steve Carell plays David and TIMOTHéE CHALAMET, 22, plays Nic. Most critics noted that many scenes are good, but the film, they said, often has a slick, superficial feel. Quite a few, however, praised Chalamet, including the Chicago Tribune reviewer: “Chalamet’s terrific throughout, accessing and deploying every kind of emotion in unpredictable combinations. It’s an ideal follow-up for him, coming after his Oscar-nominated turn in the languidly beautiful romance ‘Call Me By Your Name.’” (This film may not open in a theater near you on the 26th).

The Tribe on the Gridiron

Here are the Jewish players on an NFL roster as of Oct. 15: NATE EBNER, 29, defensive back, New England; ALI MARPET, 25, center, Tampa Bay; MITCHELL SCHWARTZ, 29, offensive tackle, Kansas City; MICHAEL DUNN, 22, linebacker, Jacksonville (practice squad); ANTHONY FIRKSER, 22, tight end, Tennessee; and JOSH ROSEN, 21, quarterback, Arizona. Rosen, a rookie, began starting with his team’s 4th game.

What about Julian Edelman, the star New England receiver?  Well, in common parlance, he is 1/8 Jewish (a Jewish great-grandfather) and he was raised Christian. Yes, he’s a friend of Israel and has a real affection for his Jewish roots. However, I don’t count him as Jewish for the purpose of this column. I leave it you to decide how you “view” him.

More TV/Streaming Catch-Up and Premieres

Now streaming on Netflix is the original film “The Kindergarten Teacher.” It is based on the critically acclaimed Israeli film of the same name that was written and directed by NADAV LAPID, 43. In this re-make, MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL, 40, stars as Lisa, the teacher. Lisa is bored with her work and her family life isn’t fulfilling. Then, a boy in her class spouts a brilliant short poem seemingly out of the air. Lisa is convinced he is a genius and actively mentors him. But is she mentoring him only to make herself feel special and is she crossing the appropriate teacher-student boundaries?  (Reviews of this re-make are almost all positive).

Now streaming on Netflix is the 30-minute documentary “Long Shot”. It tells the true, but unlikely story of how evidence was found that validated the alibi of an innocent man accused of murder. Without spoiling things, let me just say that comedian LARRY DAVID, 71, improbably had a hand in this. David is charming and funny in his interview segments.

Wanderlust” is a “steamy” six-episode BBC series that began streaming on Netflix on Oct. 19. Joy, a therapist (Toni Collette) and Alan, a teacher, find that their marriage is in a rut, sexually and otherwise, and consider openly seeing other people. Brit actress SOPHIE OKONEDO, 50, plays Angela, Joy’s therapist. Okonedo, who was Oscar-nominated for her performance in “Hotel Rwanda” (2004), was raised Jewish by her white, Jewish mother. Her father is Nigerian.  She told a Brit TV station: "I feel as proud to be Jewish as I feel to be black."

“Tell Me a Story” begins streaming on CBS All-Access on October 31.  The publicity release says: “Set in modern day New York…the world’s most beloved fairy tales are re-imagined as a dark and twisted psychological thriller.”  The handsome JAMES WOLK, 33 (“Mad Men”) is a series regular.

“Homecoming,” based on a well-received fictional podcast of the same name, starts on Nov. 2 on Netflix. Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts) is a caseworker assigned to a young veteran at a secret government facility. ALEX KARPOVSKY (“Girls”), 43, a series regular, plays Craig, another employee at the facility.


Add Comment