At the Movies
“A Dog’s Journey” is a film sequel to hit 2017 film “A Dog’s Purpose.” Both are based on a series of novels that tell their story from the dog’s perspective. The novels/films center on a dog named Bailey who changes the lives of his human families. JOSH GAD, 38, returns as the voice of Bailey. (Opens Friday, May 17)
“Trial by Fire” tells the true story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in Texas (2004) for killing his three young children via a deliberately set fire. There were and are serious allegations that scientific and other evidence that the fire was accidental was suppressed and, therefore, an innocent man was executed. Laura Dern co-stars. The film was directed by EDWARD ZWICK, 66 (“Glory”, “Defiance”). Opens May 17.
On TV and Streaming
PAUL RUDD, 50, hosts the season finale of “Saturday Night Live” (May 18, NBC). I suspect that Rudd’s appearance marks the end of the publicity push for his latest film, “Avengers: Endgame,” in which he plays Ant-Man. The film doesn’t need any more publicity—it’s now the second biggest grossing film of all time (2 billion dollars and counting).
“Blood and Treasure,” a new CBS series, premieres on Tuesday, May 21. The first two episodes, “The Curse of Cleopatra---Parts I and II”, are shown together on the 21st (9-11PM). Two good-looking people, Matt Barr and Sofia Pernas, star as, respectively, a brilliant antiquities expert and a cunning art thief who team up to catch a ruthless terrorist who funds his attacks through stolen treasure. Israeli actor ODED FEHR, 48, who is best known for co-starring in hit movie “The Mummy” (1999), has a co-starring role as the terrorist, Karim Farouk.
Appearing in a recurring role (“Roarke”) is Canadian-American actress ANNA SILK, 45. She was born in Newfoundland, where her mother is a prominent actress and theater director. She moved to Toronto in 1999, where she worked steadily in Canadian TV shows. She re-located to Los Angles in 2007, where she met her future-husband, SCOTT COOPERMAN, at an acting workshop. They wed civilly in 2009 and in a Jewish ceremony in 2011, after Silk converted to Judaism. They now have two young sons, SAMUEL and LEVI AARON. “Blood” is her first big American TV role.
“Catch-22,” an original six-episode miniseries begins streaming on May 17 on Hulu. All the episodes will be released on the 17th. Of course, it is based on the famous satirical novel (1961) of the same name by JOSEPH HELLER (1923-1999). The novel was inspired by Heller’s own experience in WWII. He enlisted at 19 and flew 60 combat missions on a B-25 as the plane’s bombardier (i.e., bomb dropper). His novel (and the series) centers on Yossarian, a bombardier. Yossarian’s big problem is that the number of missions he has to fly until he is rotated home keeps on being raised. There is a lot of other misigosh going and the novel’s description of that misigosh caught the wave of the anti-establishment sentiment of the ‘60s and made the novel a favorite of the hip. Will it play as well, today? We’ll see.
Some advance reviews are very good (Forbes, the Hollywood Reporter), while others are decidedly mixed (Variety). All praise Christopher Abbott, who plays Yossarian.
The series was co-produced by George Clooney. He directed two episodes and he has a co-starring role. GRANT HESLOV, 55, an actor who has been Clooney’s producing partner for decades, co-produced the series, and also directed two episodes. Heslov has a big supporting role as Doc Daneeka, the character who explains what “Catch-22” means. The large cast includes British Jewish actor RAFI GAVRON, 29, as Aarfy Aardvark and JON RUDNITSKY, 29, as McWatt.
If you like the new series, you might want to see or re-see the 1970 film version of “Catch-22”, directed by the late MIKE NICHOLS. It got mixed reviews when it opened and didn’t make much money—but has become a cult favorite in the last twenty years. ”Catch-22” is a tricky novel to film and you can be the judge where Nichols did better, or worse, than Clooney and Heslov. Nichols’ version starred ALAN ARKIN, now 85, as Yossarian and ART GARFUNKEL, now 77, as Nately.
ANDREW GARFIELD, 35, and Jessica Chastain will co-star in an upcoming Fox Searchlight film about the late TV evangelist Tammy Faye Baker and her husband, Jim Bakker. They rode high in the ‘70s and ‘80s until financial and sex scandals brought down the Bakker empire. MICHAEL SHOWALTER, 48 (“The Big Sick”) directs.