I confess, I had barely heard of filmmaker brothers Josh and Ben Safdie before reading the amazingly good reviews for their new film Good Time (opens Friday, Aug. 11). Born and raised in New York, they are distantly related to famous Israeli architect Moshe Safdie, 78. The Safdies are independent filmmakers who previously have made two low-budget feature films and one documentary. Those films also got very good notices.
Good Time may be their breakthrough film. But you have to make the choice whether the harrowing subject matter is something you want to see at all, and/or prefer to see on your home screen. Robert Pattinson (Twilight) gives what Variety calls a “career high in [a] nervy thriller.” Pattinson plays Conny, a scuzzy career criminal. A botched bank robbery he participated in lands his mentally handicapped brother, Nick (played by Ben Safdie, 31), in jail. Over the course of one long night, Conny delves into the underworld and engages in spasms of violence in a desperate and dangerous attempt to get his brother out of jail. The supporting cast is equally praised by Variety, including Jennifer Jason Leigh, 55, as Conny’s “incandescently wasted girlfriend.”
Josh, 33, and Ben directed the film, and Josh and Ronald Bronstein, 43, wrote the screenplay. My guess is that Hollywood has finally noticed the brothers and is now trying to get them to direct somewhat more popular material. Time will tell.
OVER ON DISNEY
That’s So Raven was a Disney Channel series that ran from 2003-2007, and starred Raven-Symoné as Raven, an African-American teen with psychic powers. Anneliese van der Pol, now 29, played Chelsea, Raven’s best friend. On July 21, the Disney Channel revived the show under the title Raven’s Home. Raven and Chelsea are now divorced moms raising their children in a shared home.
Van der Pol was born in the Netherlands, the daughter of a non-Jewish Dutch father and an American Jewish mother. She was named after Anne Frank. She grew up in America and was raised Jewish. Recently, van der Pol told E! TV that in real life: “I run a nice Jewish home — the toilet seat has to be down.”
LARRY AND JERRY IN THE NEWS
The old partners Jerry Seinfeld, 63, and Larry David, 70, were back in the news recently. David, while promoting the upcoming revival of his HBO series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, confirmed that he and Sen. Bernie Sanders, 75, are related (“I forget,” David said, “like third cousins or something like that.”). It was already known that the two would appear on one episode of the upcoming season of the PBS series Finding Your Roots. A reporter who had seen an advance DVD copy of the episode asked David about being related to Sanders — and David confirmed they were related.
Seinfeld, while appearing on comedian Norm MacDonald’s podcast, said that he would tell him the “best Jew joke of all-time,” but that MacDonald and other non-Jews probably wouldn’t get it. The joke: “Two Gentile businessmen meet on the street. One of them says, ‘How’s business?’ The other one says, “Great.” As Jerry predicted, MacDonald did not understand it.
Nate Bloom COLUMNIST