Jews in the News: Kat Graham, Lizzy Caplan and Seth Rogen

New on Those Streaming Services

“How It Ends” is an original Netflix movie that began streaming on July 13. Will (Theo James) and Samantha (KAT GRAHAM, 28) are a Seattle-based couple who hope to marry soon. Will flies to Chicago to ask Sam’s father, Tom (Forrest Whitaker), for his permission to wed his daughter. Will and Tom don’t hit it off. Tom goes to the airport and finds out that a huge earthquake has hit the West Coast and all flights are cancelled. Shortly thereafter, Tom and Will decide to drive to Seattle. Along the way, many bad things happen.

Graham is the daughter of a Liberian father and an American Jewish mother. She was raised Jewish and has an Israeli half-brother. She has a strong music recording career, but has been looking for a breakthrough acting hit. In 2017, she co-starred in the Tupac Shakur bio-pic, “All Eyez on Me.”  Sadly, “Eyez” flopped and “How it Ends” has received mostly negative reviews. Graham’s “hit hunt” will continue.

On July 24, Netflix began streaming a new, one-woman stand-up special starring ILZA SHLESINGER, 35.  I’ve seen Shlesinger before and her humor is in the vein of AMY SCHUMER, if a notch or two less clever. Still, she’s worth watching. Nice to note: on May 12, Shlesinger wed NOAH GALUTEN, 35 (the wedding photos show a particularly lovely chuppah). The groom is a Los Angeles restaurant owner, food critic and food book writer (James Beard award nominee). MAYIM BIALIK, 42, attended.

I know this sounds a bit sexist, but I’ve got to say that Shlesinger is a beautiful woman and she was just “wow” in her wedding dress.

“Extinction,” an original Netflix film, begins streaming on July 27. Capsule plot: Peter (Michael Pena) is plagued by dreams of a space alien invasion. His nightmare comes true when an extraterrestrial force begins exterminating the people of Earth. However, Peter, we learn, may have been born with the psychic power to stop them. LIZZY CAPLAN, 36 (“Masters of Sex”) co-stars as Alice, Peter’s wife.

“Castle Rock” began streaming on Hulu on July 25. Co-produced by J.J. ABRAMS, 52, it weaves together parts of Stephen King’s large body of work. A number of King’s works are set in the fictional Maine town of Castle Rock and other works reference the town. Veteran actor SCOTT GLENN, 77, co-stars as the world-weary, now-retired sheriff of Castle Rock. JANE LEVY, 28, (“Suburgatory”) is also a series’ regular.  Advance reviews are good, if not great.

“Like Father” is a comedy that begins streaming on Netflix on August 3. Kristen Bell plays Rachel, who is left standing at the wedding altar by her fiancée. Her father (Kelsey Grammar), who she has not seen since she was a small child, shows up for the wedding, uninvited. They get really drunk together and decide to take her pre-paid honeymoon cruise together. SETH ROGEN, 36, co-stars as a nice guy Rachel meets on the cruise ship and gradually sparks fly. The film was directed and written by Seth’s wife, LAUREN MILLER ROGEN, 35. Ms. Rogen has had smallish acting parts in a number of films, including several starring her husband. The only full-length feature she co-starred in (and co-wrote) was the 2012 comedy, “For a Good Time Call.”  I thought it formulaic and not very funny. I’m hoping “Like Father” is much better.

He’s probably got the Barista Vote

More than rumors are flying that HOWARD SCHULTZ, 67, the recently retired head of Starbucks, is considering a presidential run. Last month, he indicated he was considering the idea in a CNBC interview. This interview led to a spate of articles, including a July 13th article in “Vanity Fair,” in which it was noted that Starbucks investors were worried that a Schultz run could result in a boycott of the chain by Trump supporters.

I was struck by the opening of the “Vanity Fair” piece, which listed a group of “centrist billionaires” who rumors say might run for president. “Vanity Fair” didn’t mention this, but all but one are Jewish (former NYC mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, 76; Disney head BOB IGER, 67, Citibank honcho Jamie Dimon, and reality TV star/entrepreneur MARC CUBAN, 59.)

Schultz probably has a political leg-up on these guys because he came from a really poor family and there is no Wall Street, Hollywood, or high tech hocus-pocus about how he made his money. Plus Jimmy Fallon gave him a campaign slogan in a recent monologue: “Make Americano Great Again.”


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