Opening in theaters on Friday, May 3 is “Long Shot,” a romantic comedy-drama starring Seth Rogen, 37, and Charlize Theron. Rogen plays Fred Flarsky, a brash (Jewish) reporter for a liberal alt-weekly. He loses his job and shortly thereafter he runs into Charlotte (Theron), his old babysitter, who is now the secretary of state. Fred charms her with his self-deprecating humor and his memories of her youthful idealism. She decides to run for president and hires Fred to punch up her speeches. They begin a romantic affair that threatens to torpedo her campaign.
Advance reviews are mostly very good, and Rogen gives his best dramatic performance to date. Most say the leads have real chemistry and that makes their film romance plausible. “Long Shot” was directed by Jonathan Levine, 42, who also helmed “50/50” (2011).
New on Netflix
“Bonding” is a seven-episode comedy series that began streaming on Netflix on April 23. Peter, a young gay man, acts as a bodyguard-assistant for a friend, a grad student who moonlights as a dominatrix. Tiff, the dominatrix, is played by Zoe Levin, 25.
Levin was born in Chicago and went to a Chicago Jewish day school through the fourth grade. Her family then moved to Glencoe, a heavily Jewish suburb. She began performing at the nearby JCC in Skokie at age 8. In 2014, she got her first notable TV role in “Red Band Society,” a short-lived Fox series about a group of seriously ill teenagers. “Bonding” is Levin’s first starring role.
Starting May 3, “Last Summer,” an original Netflix film, offers a familiar plot: High school grads wrestle with love and friendship during their final summer together before heading off to college. Halston Sage, 25, has a large role as Erin, one of the grads. Sage co-starred as Alara Kitan in the first two seasons of “The Orville,” a Fox sci-fi series. Her character’s recent departure from the show was written so she can easily come back. It appears that Sage left “The Oroville” to free herself up for other projects.
The third and final nine-episode season of “Easy” begins on May 10. It is a dramatic anthology series about characters whose stories are frequently interconnected. Palo Alto native Dave Franco, 33, who played Jeff in the first two seasons, returns this season. So does Marc Maron, 55, who plays Jacob; and San Francisco native Aya Cash, 36, who plays Sherri.
“Wine Country,” an original Netflix film, premieres on Friday, May 10. In this comedy-drama, six very different female friends set out to sample new wines in the Napa Valley, but they end up re-examining and rediscovering their decades-long friendships. The actresses playing the friends include “SNL” veterans Maya Rudolph, 46, Rachel Dratch, 53, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who also directed. Much of the movie was filmed in the town of Calistoga and at nearby wineries, and the film features jokes about Napa and wine tasting, as well as tasting menus. Jason Schwartzman, 38, appears in one of those tasting scenes.
Poehler told Wine Spectator that the film is loosely based on an actual trip that she and some other women took to Napa. She said: “We did all get together for Rachel [Dratch]’s birthday one year in wine country. We did have dance parties in the living room and have kind of teary conversations in the hot tub, and go into the deep end as most female friendships do.”
Last March, a 50th anniversary “Laugh-In” special was filmed, live, at a Los Angeles theater. The tape of the special will premiere on Netflix on May 14. Lily Tomlin will host and appear as two of her famous “Laugh-In” characters. Jewish stars appearing include Billy Crystal, 71, Tiffany Haddish, 39, Brad Garrett, 59, Jon Lovitz, 61, Jeff Ross, 53, Natasha Leggero, 45, and Michael Douglas, 74.