At the Movies: Opening Friday, Feb. 6
The sci-fi flick, "Jupiter Ascending” was written and directed by “the Wachowskis”, who were formerly known as the Wachowski Brothers and are most famous for their “Matrix films”. No, the “Wachs” are not Jewish and they are no longer known as “brothers” because one of the duo, Larry, is transitioning to the female gender and is now known as “Lana.” The complex “Jupiter” plot posits that an alien aristocratic group has “genetically seeded” living creatures all over the universe. Channing Tatum plays an alien warrior who comes to Earth to protect Jupiter Jones, a house cleaner who is unaware that she is “seeded” genetic alien royalty and the she is the “royal heir to the Earth.” MILA KUNIS, 31, plays Jupiter---and if life imitated her film role—Kunis would be the most powerful Jewish queen since ESTHER.
New on TV
The NBC series, “Allegiance,” which premiered on Feb. 5 at 10PM, is based on an Israeli series. The “Allegiance” premise is similar to “The Americans”, an FX show which premiered in 2013. “The Americans”, which is set during the Cold War 1980s, is about two KGB agents who pose as a married American couple. They have two teen children (who don’t know about them). “Allegiance” is set in the present-day. The back story is that years ago, while the Cold War was still hot, Russian-born Katya (Hope Davis) is tasked by the KGB to recruit American businessman Mark O’Connor (SCOTT COHEN, 53) as a spy. They fall in love and are allowed to move to America, provided they become a “sleeper cell” and obey any future orders from Moscow. They have two adult children---their daughter, Natalie (MARGARET LEVIEVA, 34), knows her parents are spies. Their son, Alex, is a newly-hired CIA analyst who doesn’t know the truth about his parents. (The pilot can be viewed, free, on-line on Youtube, NBC, Yahoo TV, etc.)
The O’Connors live a happy life for decades and think Moscow has forgot about them until they are contacted and presented with a horrible choice. Their lives and the lives of their children are at risk if they do not help with an impending Russian-planned terrorist attack within America—and they are told to turn their son into a Russian agent. Meanwhile, the CIA has assigned Alex to investigate intelligence clues about the same terrorist plot. Advance reviews are good, despite the similarity to “The Americans.”
Most veteran TV watchers know Cohen’s face, if not his name. He’s been good in everything he’s appeared in (“Law and Order”, “Gilmore Girls,” “Kissing Jessica Stein”)—but he’s never had a breakthrough role. Likewise, I have been following the pretty and talented Levieva since she was cast in the short-lived Fox show, “Vanished,” in 2005. Born in Russia, she and her mother moved to Brooklyn in 1991. Her bigger movie roles include “Lisa P” in “Adventureland” (2009), which co-starred JESSE EISENBERG, 31. As with Cohen—here’s hoping this series does big things for her.
Handler in Israel
Comedian CHELSEA HANDLER, 39, toured Israel late last month and met with SHIMON PERES, 91, the former president of Israel. Their discussion covered a wide-range of topics and was filmed as part of an upcoming personal documentary in which Handler explores her Jewish roots and examines Israel from many angles, including culture and history. Handler, the daughter of a Jewish father and a Mormon mother, was raised as a Reform Jew and identifies as Jewish. I expect this documentary will appear on Netflix. Handler plans, starting in 2016, to do a different type of talk show for Netflix. Meanwhile, she’s doing occasional comedy specials and documentaries for Netflix.
The Unites States Men’s National Soccer team is composed of professional players who compete, every four years, for the World Cup and, during “off-years”, like 2015, play some “friendly” matches with other national teams. On Jan. 28, the U.S. lost, 3-2, to Chile. The U.S. starting line-up included two Jewish players: DeANDRE YEDLIN, 21, who currently plays for a UK pro team, and STEVE BIRNBAUM, 24, who plays for the D.C. United MLS club. The Chile game was Birnbaum’s first match for the U.S. National team. He played in the 2011 Maccabi Games in Israel. Tip: get the soccer league kids before the TV on Sunday, Feb. 8, at 10AM (ET)—ESPN 2 is showing the team’s match against Panama. Point out the Jewish
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