Michael Douglas, Lena Dunham and Jason Reitman

Nate Bloom blogs on this week's Jews in the News.

Roots Update; Three New Films, Stand-Up & Skating

This week’s “Jewish-related” films, etc., are more varied than usual. But before I describe them, I want to give you a long heads-up: MICHAEL DOUGLAS, 79, and LENA DUNHAM, 37, will be the guests on the “Finding Your Roots” on Tuesday, April 2 (PBS). Their paring isn’t an accident: “Roots” episodes often pair celebs with similar backgrounds (Jewish, African-American, etc.).

Next week, I will write about Dunham and Douglas’s ties to Judaism and a ‘nice’ coincidence: Douglas has an interesting PBS series that will be released next month and Dunham is now filming a promising new Netflix series that she co-wrote with her husband.

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” will open in theaters on March 22. It is the 5th film in the “Ghostbusters” film franchise. The 4th film, Ghostbusters: “Afterlife” (2021) got mixed reviews and I thought it was just okay (I loved the first two films). But “Afterlife” made a lot of money and that paved the way for “Frozen”.

“Afterlife” was co-written by, and directed by JASON REITMAN, 46 (“Juno”, “Up in the Air”). Reitman’s co-writer was GIL KENAN, 47 (“Poltergeist”). They switched jobs for “Frozen”: Kenan directed, and he co-wrote “Frozen” with Reitman.

PAUL RUDD, 54, starred in “Afterlife” and he has a lead role in “Frozen”. The new Ghostbuster cast that made its debut in “Afterlife” returns for “Frozen”, as does the original Ghostbusters, who also appeared in “Afterlife” (Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Annie Potts, and Ernie Hudson).

Here's the plot: the new and old Ghostbusters join forces to save New York City from a death-chilling foe.

On March 21, Amazon Prime will premiere “Road House”, a re-make of the hit 1989 film of the same name. JAKE GYLLENHAAL, 43, plays Dalton, a former pro mixed martial arts fighter who is hired to bring order to a rowdy Florida bar. He also has to battle an evil, rich businessman who wants to put the bar out-of-business.

Gyllenhaal, as usual, is very fit and often reveals his amazing chest muscles and his stomach “six-pack” muscles.

The film’s director, DOUG LIMAN, 58, has helmed many hits, including “The Bourne Identity”.

Advance reviews say Gyllenhaal is quite good, but the “Road” script is kind-of-disjointed and there’s too much obvious CGI use in the fight sequences. However, Jake’s muscles are real, not CGI.

Comedian DAVE ATTELL, 59, has a solo, Netflix stand-up special which premieres on March 26. Entitled “Hot Cross Buns”, the official description says: “Attell unloads in this blistering stand-up special on hard seltzers, strip clubs, unsatisfying snacks, and his wild trip to a petting zoo.”

Attell has been a comedy stalwart since the mid-‘90s, with many comedy specials and appearances on “Letterman”, HBO, and Comedy Central.

“Rest in Peace” is an Argentine film that begins streaming on Netflix on March 27. The film central character is Sergio. He’s facing mounting bills and his health is deteriorating. Then an unlikely way out appears to him. He might be able to get out of his problems and also safeguard his family’s well-being. But he has to leave his home and disappear forever.

The film was co-written by, and directed by SEBASTIAN BORENSZTEIN, 60, an Argentine landsman. To “understand” Sebastian, you have to know something about his father, MAURICIO BORENSZTEIN (1927-96), a very famous comedian in Argentina who performed under the stage name “Tato Bores”. He entertained in theaters and on TV.  His forte was political humor. One bio says: “His ironic TV monologues, delivered at a fast pace, became a reference point for generations of Argentines”.

After college, Sebastian wrote copy for ads, but quickly switched to screenwriting under his father’s guidance. He also produced and directed his father’s shows.

He went on to write and direct acclaimed TV series. His biggest film hit is “Chinese Take-Away” (2011), which he wrote and directed. This comedy-drama was a big box-office winner in Latin America.

This year’s World Figure Skating Championship is held in Montreal (March 20-24). Peacock and NBC pretty much cover all the events. Two Israelis are in the competition. But an American, JASON BROWN, 29, is the only Jewish skater likely to make it into the finals. On March 23 (8-10PM), NBC will air a special that will cover highlights.

Brown, who had a bar mitzvah ceremony, won an Olympic bronze medal in the 2014 team event and was the U.S. national champion in 2015. In the 2024 U.S. Championships, he was 3rd in the short program and 2nd in the free skate.


Add Comment