AT THE MOVIES
7 Days at Entebbe opens March 16 — it’s the fifth movie to dramatize the famous Israeli raid in 1976 that rescued 102 Israelis from captivity at the Entebbe airport in Uganda. The Israelis had been passengers on an Air France plane that was hijacked by four German far-left radicals and several Palestinians who belonged to a non-PLO terror group. The film is directed by Brazilian Jose Padilha, best known for hit Brazilian action pics and for directing two episodes of the Netflix series Narcos.
[similar id=40646 type=all]
I’ll cut here to the bottom line: Based on many film festival reviews, the consensus is to not waste your money on a theater showing — but if you are fascinated by the raid, do rent it to get another take. Leading reviewers (Hollywood Reporter, Variety, etc.) say that the film is curiously flat. The most controversial detail is the death of raid leader Yoni Netanyahu (the brother of the current Israeli prime minister) at the start of the raid and not near its climax, as many reports said — and other films depicted. Padhila says he relied on info from other commandos on the raid. Rosamund Pike and Daniel Bruhl play two of the German hijackers and most reviewers think their depiction is too sympathetic. On the other hand, the Palestinians, reviews say, are not “gussied up.” The best part, reviews said, is the depiction of the arguments in Jerusalem between Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and others about what to do.
On Feb. 28, Zoe Lister-Jones, 35, appeared on the Stephen Colbert show to promote her CBS TV series Life in Pieces. Colbert asked her about her last name and she replied her parents hyphenated their last names into one name. She added that she had a different first name for the first 10 days of her life. Her (Jewish) mother, she explained, was into kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) and it was an old belief to give a child a “terrible, crappy name for the first 10 days of its life and it will keep evil spirits away … so she named me Dirt Pan. It worked, I’m still here.”
Colbert mentioned her 2017 film, Band Aid, which I recently saw for the first time on Showtime. While I knew the film received good reviews, I liked it much more than I thought I would. Lister-Jones wrote and directed this film about a couple (Lister-Jones and Adam Pally, 35) who work out their problems in the marriage via forming a band that sings songs about their marital problems.
The movie couple is Jewish, but relaxed about it, and Jewish content comes up naturally. Their problems are “achingly” realistic. Fred Armisen is wonderful as the quirky neighbor they enlist to play drums. Trust me: worth watching on Showtime or streaming for $4.
The Netflix series Love, a quirky romantic comedy with drama, started streaming its entire third and final season on Friday, March 9. The series was co-created by Judd Apatow, 50, Lesley Arfin (a writer for Girls), 38, and Paul Rust, 36. I watched the first two seasons and it’s worth your time. Rust plays Gus, a decent, smart and kind guy who aspires to be a scriptwriter. Gus, who looks like a dark-haired Woody Allen, is in an off-and-on relationship with Mickey, an attractive radio program manager. She often behaves badly and has drug and alcohol problems.
In real life, Rust is married to Arfin, a quite attractive woman who had an alcohol problem she’s written about (she’s now long sober). Gus, I should note, looks so stereotypically Jewish that other characters often ask Gus if he is Jewish and he tells them that he isn’t, but everyone thinks he is. In a publicity round table last year, Rust told the story of how he met Arfin. They were both at the same party, and Arfin asked Sarah Silverman whether he is a member of the tribe. Silverman told her, “If he’s not, his face should sue God.”
[similar id=40708 type=all]
In my last column, I said that Paramount cable station series Heathers, based on a 1988 film, was set to begin on March 7. Like the original, the series includes murders of some high school students. This plot line didn’t sit well with Paramount in light of the recent real-life Florida high school shooting and Heathers has been shelved for the foreseeable future.
Also, I said that Jason Alexander, 58, was going to guest star in an episode of Young Sheldon set to air on March 15. The info I got on that was wrong: Young Sheldon is being bumped for the NCAA basketball tournament and Alexander will appear later this season.