At the movies
“Late Night,” a comedy-drama opening nationwide on Friday, June 14, stars Emma Thompson as a longtime host of a TV entertainment talk show. However, as Katherine Newbury’s entire writing team is male, she gets attacked in the press as a women-hating woman. In response, she hires Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling), a writer without much of a resume. The supporting cast includes Max Casella, 51, Ike Barinholtz, 42, Halston Sage, 26, and Broadway musical star Marc Kudisch, 52.
Opening the same day is the documentary “5B” — its title refers to the San Francisco General Hospital ward that began treating AIDS patients in 1983, the first such specialized ward in the country. “5B” was co-directed by two-time Oscar winner Paul Haggis (making his documentary debut) and Dan Krauss, 46, a UC Berkeley journalism lecturer who has twice been Oscar-nominated in the short-subject documentary category (“The Life of Kevin Carter” in 2006 and “Extremis” in 2017).
The magazine Variety has given “5B” a rave review, saying it’s a straightforward documentary that tells its story through poignant first-person recollections from the medical staff and through interviews with the friends and families of patients. Many people were opposed to the creation of ward 5B, and many were against doctors and others having close contact with AIDS and HIV patients, and the film doesn’t shy away from those topics. However, the 95-minute film does not mention that the most virulent opponent of 5B, the former chief of orthopedic surgery Dr. Lorraine Day, has become a prominent Holocaust denier over the last 20 years. It does give her a lot of screen time, and her interviews do expose her, via her own words, as a homophobe.
Streaming and cable notes
The original Netflix film “Always Be My Maybe,” which became available for subscribers on May 29, is a romantic comedy set in San Francisco (played by Ali Wong and Randall Park), but the reason I’m mentioning it here is because of a funny scene that takes place in a high-tech, wildly expensive restaurant called Maximal. Maximal? Actually, the scene was shot at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco (and is one of many San Francisco location shots featured in the movie).
Another original Netflix film, “Murder Mystery,” begins streaming on Friday, June 14. Adam Sandler, 52, plays a police officer who takes his wife (Jennifer Aniston) on a European vacation. A chance meeting with a stranger gets them an invitation to a family gathering on the yacht of a billionaire. The rich guy gets murdered and the couple become the prime suspects in what is billed as a mystery-comedy.
The second season of the hit HBO series “Big Little Lies” started on June 9, with season 1 available for streaming on a variety of platforms. Shot on location, the series centers on five women who live on the Monterey Peninsula; they are played by Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Zoë Kravitz, 30, with Meryl Streep joining for season 2. Season 1 spoiler alert: In the first season, it was gradually revealed that the husband of one of the women is a rapist and wife-beater. In the second season, Streep plays this man’s mother, who arrives in town to investigate some things that are being covered up. Robin Weigert, 49, returns in her recurring role as therapist Amanda Reisman.
Weigert recently reprised a very different character, Calamity Jane, in HBO’s “Deadwood” movie, which premiered on May 31. Despite great reviews, the “Deadwood” series was abruptly canceled in 2006, so it’s nice to see that the movie ties up many hanging plotlines. Sadly, “Deadwood” creator David Milch, 74, is suffering from Alzheimer’s. There’s a great article in a recent issue of the New Yorker about how he is coping with the disease with the solid support of his wife, Rita Stern, 63. His screenwriter daughter, Olivia Milch, 30, helped him write the movie.