Celebrity Jews – At The Movies: A Varied Choice
Hotel Artemis, which opens on Friday, June 8, is another Dystopian, quasi-science-fiction thriller. In the near-future, Los Angeles is riot-torn. Jodie Foster plays “The Nurse,” who runs a secret, members-only hospital for criminals. The cast includes Jeff Goldblum, 65, and Jenny Slate, 35.
Hereditary, which also opens on June 8, got glowing reviews when it was played at the most recent Sundance Film Festival. It is described as a unique and very chilling horror movie. Basic plot: When Ellen (Toni Collette) passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. As they find out more about their lineage, they try to outrun a sinister fate that seems to be inherited. Alex Wolff, 20, plays one of Ellen’s sons. Milly Shapiro, 18, makes her film debut playing Ellen’s daughter. She won a special Tony for originating the role of Matilda in the Broadway musical of the same name (2012). I strongly suspect that Shapiro is Jewish, but biographical details are few, as with most film newcomers.
The Hereditary director and writer, Ari Aster, a Brooklyn native, is known for going out on the edge cinematically. His 2011 short fictional film, The Strange Thing about the Johnsons, was about a model black family marred by one nasty secret: molestation. The film got good reviews. Still, Aster, about 30, had to respond to questions about how a “white, Jewish guy” could write and direct such a film. He replied that race had little to do with the story.
Much lighter is Ocean’s 8. This entry in the Ocean’s movies features a gang of female criminals who plot to steal incredibly valuable jewelry from an easy-to-hate Hollywood diva (Anne Hathaway). The all-star cast includes Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling and Sarah Paulson. It was directed and written by Gary Ross (Seabiscuit and the first Hunger Games film), 61. Opens June 8.
The documentary To A More Perfect Union opens on Tuesday, June 12, at the Maple Theater in Bloomfield Township. It’s about the landmark case U.S. v. Windsor (2013), in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act which prohibited the IRS from tax-exempting an inheritance from one same-sex spouse to another (heterosexual married couples have this exemption). Edie Windsor (1929-2017) legally married her partner of 40 years, Thea Spyer, in Toronto, Canada, in 2007 (Spyer, who was Dutch, fled to America just before the Nazis invaded Holland). Spyer, who had long suffered from multiple sclerosis (Windsor nursed her), died in 2009, age 78. She left her estate to Windsor. The IRS told Windsor to pay a $363,000 inheritance tax bill. Top attorney Roberta Kaplan, now 52, agreed to represent Windsor in her fight for equal tax treatment. The documentary tells Windsor and Kaplan’s legal and personal journeys in their own words. It features interviews with them and with other members of their legal team (as well as interviews with their opponents).
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