In this corner …
“Bleed for This” is a biopic about real-life middleweight boxer Vinny Pazienza (played by Miles Teller), and one of several films I’ll be looking at this week.
The story behind “Bleed” is that in 1991, shortly after winning a title fight, Pazienza was in a serious car accident. Not only did he defy his doctors’ predictions by walking again, but he also defied their orders not to fight again.
Katey Sagal, 62, and Ted Levine, 59, co-star as Vinny’s mother and trainer, respectively. The movie, which opens Friday, Nov. 18, is directed by Ben Younger, 44, who grew up Orthodox, and made a splash with his first movie, “Boiler Room” (2000). His best known follow-up was “Prime” (2005), which starred Meryl Streep as a Jewish psychiatrist flustered by her young adult son’s (Bryan Greenberg, 38) romance with one of her patients.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is based on a J.K. Rowling (“Harry Potter”) novel of the same name. It opens Friday, Nov. 18. The story begins in 1926 as a wizard has just completed a global trip documenting magical creatures. During a stopover in New York, things go very wrong and some creatures escape.
A major figure in the mishap is Jacob Kowalski, a non-wizard (Dan Fogler, 40). Other Jews with big parts include Ezra Miller, 24 and Ron Perlman, 66. By the way, two major characters in the film, the sisters Tina and Queenie Goldstein, apparently are Jewish in the opinion of Rowling, who said in an online chat that they are distantly related to the character Anthony Goldstein, who is the only explicitly Jewish wizard in the “Harry Potter” series.
‘Loving’ on the big screen
“Loving” is a dramatization of the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia couple who married across state lines in 1958 and then were prosecuted in Virginia for the crime of interracial marriage. Ordinary working-class, rural people who just wanted to be left alone, they were represented by the ACLU. The film opens Friday, Nov. 18.
The Lovings were represented by two young Jewish lawyers, Bernie Cohen, now 81 (played by Nick Kroll, 38) and Phil Hirschkop, now 79, (played by Jon Bass, 30ish). Eventually, the Supreme Court took the case and its 1967 ruling in “Loving v. Virginia” struck down all state laws barring interracial marriage.
The “Loving” filmmakers acknowledged they drew from “The Loving Story,” a great 2012 HBO documentary directed by Nancy Buirski, 71. HBO has moved it to “first spot” on its documentary list because of the new film.
More at the local cinema
“Nocturnal Animals,” which won the grand jury prize at the Venice Film Festival, opens Wednesday, Nov. 23. Jake Gyllenhaal, 35, plays a novelist and the main character in his new book, and Isla Fisher, 40, co-stars as the wife in the novel. The director, Tom Ford, is also a fashion designer, and he got Gyllenhaal’s permission to put out a “Jake” lipstick; he also has a lipstick called “Drake,” after the famous Jewish rapper. During a recent appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in which the host put on some Jake lipstick, a reference was made to the Drake line. “That’s OK. He’s Jewish, too,” Gyllenhaal quipped … Hailee Steinfeld, 19, stars as Nadine in “Edge of Seventeen,” a coming-of-age story that is a drama with some comedy. It opens Friday, Nov. 18. Kyra Sedgwick, 51, co-stars as Nadine’s well-meaning but ineffective mother.
Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.