At the Movie Theaters

“Late Night,” a comedy/drama, opens “wide” on June 14. It stars Emma Thompson as Katherine Newbury, the long-time host of a popular network entertainment talk show. Newbury’s whole writing team is male and she’s attacked in the press as a “woman hating woman.” In response, she hires Molly Patel, a writer without much of a resume (Mindy Kaling.) This hire doesn’t stop criticism that Newbury is an out-of-touch dinosaur and her ratings fall. Newbury asks her writers to make her more relevant again and Patel takes up that challenge. The large supporting cast includes MAX CASELLA, 51 (his father is Jewish); IKE BARINHOLTZ, 42, HALSTON SAGE, 26, and Broadway musical star MARC KUDISCH, 52.

 

Over on HBO and Netflix

The second season of the hit HBO series “Big Little Lies” started last Sunday, June 9. The series centers on five Monterey, California women. All are mothers and all but one is quite well-off. In the first season, it was gradually revealed that the husband of one of the women is a rapist and wife-beater. He is murdered in the last first season episode and the women make a pact to conceal the real circumstances of his death. In the second season, the husband’s mother, played by Meryl Streep, arrives in town determined to find out how her son really died. The stellar cast includes Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Shaliene Woodley, and ZOE KRAVITZ, 30. ROBIN WEIGERT, 49, resumes her recurring role as Dr. Amanda Reisman, a therapist. Yes, she is the same Robin Weigert who just reprised playing a very different character, Calamity Jane, in HBO’s “Deadwood” movie.   

Wouldn’t it be great if the new Netflix film “Murder Mystery”, co-starring ADAM SANDLER, 52, and Jennifer Aniston, is actually good?  In 2011, Sandler co-starred with Aniston in the romantic comedy “Just Go with It.” This re-make of the hit 1969 movie “Cactus Flower” got scathingly bad reviews but still made mucho gelt.  Since then, Sandler has made 17 live action movies. Most got bad reviews.  One got good reviews and a very few got mixed reviews. About half of these flicks made money. His new film is the last entry in a four-pic deal he made with Netflix. The previous three got panned. If Sandler was a talentless hack with unexplainable box-office appeal I’d understand why he makes so many bad movies. But he’s proved over the years that he can be funny and dramatically effective-- most recently in the very good 2017 film “The Meyerowitz Stories,” directed by NOAH BAUMBACH, 49. I can only guess that Sandler lives to work and the quality of his movies’ scripts is a secondary consideration.

In his new movie, Sandler plays a New York City police officer who takes his wife (Aniston) on a European vacation. A chance meeting with a stranger on their airplane flight leads to them getting invited to a family gathering on the yacht of a billionaire. The rich guy gets murdered and the couple become the prime suspects.

The Family Tours and More Tribe Members in “Booksmart”

SARAH JESSICA PARKER, 54, and her husband, MATTHEW BRODERICK, 57, toured Israel for a week starting on May 31. They were accompanied by their son JAMES, 16, and their twin girls, MARION and TABITHA, 9. Parker’s late father was Jewish as was Broderick’s late mother. Both were raised secular, but identify as “culturally” Jewish. According to Parker, Broderick has always been very interested in Jewish history and has spent considerable time studying it. 

In April, I noted that the coming-of-age comedy “Booksmart” had three Jewish cast members: BEANIE FELDSTEIN, 25, SKYLER GISONDO, 22, and NOAH GALVIN, 25. Gisondo’s last name comes from an Italian non-Jewish grandfather. The rest of his “grands” were Jewish. Galvin has a Jewish mother and identifies as Jewish.

I should have also mentioned supporting cast members MOLLY GORDON, 23, and DIANE SILVERS, 21. Gordon has been friends since childhood with Tony-winner BEN PLATT, 25, and co-starred in a “Fiddler on the Roof” production with him when they were teens. She has a big role (“Nicky”) in the TNT crime family drama “Animal Kingdom” starring ELLEN BARKIN, 65. “Kingdom” just premiered its fourth season (first 3 seasons free for Prime members on Amazon Prime.) Also, I just learned that Silvers has a Jewish father. Silvers got on the media radar (including a NY Times profile) with her role in “Booksmart” and a starring role in “Ma”, a horror thriller that opened on May 31.

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