TV and movie news
The Showtime series “Homeland,” which is based on the Israeli television series “Hatufim” (also known as “Prisoners of War”), premiered on Oct. 2. Claire Danes stars as Carrie Mathison, a CIA officer reassigned to the States after running an unauthorized operation in Iraq. While in Iraq, a secret contact told Mathison about an American soldier who was captured by al Qaida and “turned” while in captivity. When Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) is rescued by the Delta Force after years in captivity, Mathison is pretty certain he’s secretly working for al Qaida. Her boss ignores her, so she turns to her former boss and mentor, CIA Mideast division head Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin, 58). He agrees to help her monitor Brody and possibly prevent a terrorist attack.
Two films opening Friday, Oct. 7 are “Real Steel” and “The Ides of March.” “Steel” is a weird combo of sci-fi and sports film. In the near future, robots have replaced humans in the boxing ring. Hugh Jackman plays a (human) boxer who loses his chance to become a champ when robots take over. He becomes a small-time promoter and teams up with his son to build a robot boxing champ. This film features a lot of high-tech film wizardry (computer animation and real, state-of-the art robots). The director, Shawn Levy, 43, learned a lot about these technologies directing the “Night at the Museum” movies.
“Ides of March” stars George Clooney as Gov. Mike Morris, a Democratic presidential candidate. Ryan Gosling co-stars as an idealistic Morris staffer who learns about dirty politics on the campaign trail. The great cast includes Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood, 24, as an intern on the Morris campaign. (Wood, as I noted before, identifies as Jewish. Her mother is a Jew-by-choice. Her father isn’t Jewish.)
“Ides” is directed by Clooney, with an adapted screenplay by Clooney and Grant Heslov, 46. Heslov, a sometime actor and producer, got a 2006 Oscar nomination (with Clooney) for writing “Good Night and Good Luck,” about journalist Edward Murrow. Heslov directed Clooney in the 2009 film “The Men Who Stare at Goats.” The two are close friends and business partners.
The pretty and talented Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer, 42, has just been cast as Superman’s mother, Lara, in an upcoming film about the “Man of Steel.”
A San Francisco jewel
Longtime Bay Area residents of baby boomer age or older surely remember the Sidney Mobell fine jewelry stores in San Francisco. The stores, and owner Sidney Mobell, now 85, were frequently in the news because Mr. Mobell created fabulous precious objects based on ordinary objects, such as a Monopoly game set, a Mickey Mouse watch and a sardine can.
Mr. Mobell was a frequent guest on Johnny Carson and, as I recall, was often in Herb Caen’s newspaper column. In 1995, Mr. Mobell sold his stores, and in 2002, he donated 20 of his jeweled creations, including a solid gold Monopoly set worth $2 million, to the Smithsonian Institution. Mr. Mobell is the subject of a Sept. 22 Smithsonian website article, “The Jeweled Art of Sidney Mobell,” that includes photos and info on where you can see his dazzling works. Read it at http://tinyurl.com/3gpb9mh.
Schon: Stop believin’
Many readers have asked if Neil Schon, a member of the rock band Journey, is Jewish. No, he is not (not even “a little”). Schon recently left his (fifth) wife to begin a romantic affair with Michaele Salahi, who infamously crashed a White House State dinner with Tareq Salahi, her now-estranged husband. Tareq, whose father is Palestinian, has hit every media outlet denouncing Schon. At least this spat is not another Jewish-Arab fight.