Big screens … and small
Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” will open with a limited theater release on Friday, Nov. 1 then show up on Netflix, which financed the expensive film, on Wednesday, Nov. 27. The well-reviewed movie is based on a memoir by the late Frank “The Irishman” Sheehan (played by Robert De Niro), who claimed to have killed Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). Harvey Keitel, 80, who plays Mafia chieftain Angelo Bruno, has made four films with Scorsese, starting with “Who’s That Knocking at My Door” in 1967.
“The Kill Team” stars Nat Wolf, 24, as a young soldier who is serving in the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11. It’s a fictionalized adaptation of a 2014 documentary of the same name by Dan Krauss, 46, a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and a lecturer there. Krauss, who wrote the screenplay, is making his feature film directorial debut with this movie, which is still in some theaters (it opened Oct. 25) and also can be purchased to stream online. Krauss has received two Oscar nominations for other documentaries he wrote. Rob Morrow, 57, has a supporting role as Wolf’s father.
Amazon Prime’s eight-episode “Modern Love,” which dropped Oct. 18, is inspired by true stories published in a New York Times love column. Julia Garner, 25, stars in episode 5, which is directed by actress Emmy Rossum, 33.
The second, eight-episode season of “The Kominsky Method” dropped Oct. 25 on Netflix. Michael Douglas, 75, stars as Norman, a Hollywood acting coach, with Alan Arkin, 85, as his best friend and agent, and Lisa Edelestein, 53, as his drug-addled daughter. Second season new faces include Paul Reiser, 63, as a teacher who is dating Norman’s daughter and Jane Seymour, 68, as Norman’s old flame.
Tiffany’s ‘Black Mitzvah’
Comedian-actress Tiffany Haddish, 39, who earned an Emmy for a guest performance after hosting “Saturday Night Live” in 2017, began hosting “Kids Say the Darndest Things” on ABC in October. Haddish’s late father was an Eritrean Jew who was deported when she was 3, and she didn’t learn he was Jewish until she was a teen; later, as an adult, she got to know him. Recently, she went to Eritrea to bury him, telling USA Today that she now feels “more connected to her Jewish heritage.” She added that she is studying Hebrew and plans to have a bat mitzvah in which she reads from the Torah. Her hope is to have the ceremony coincide with the premiere of “Black Mitzvah,” a stand-up comedy special coming to Netflix on a date to be determined.
Not widely noted
As I write this, I can’t find anything in the Jewish media about Harvard professor Michael Kremer, 54, one of the three winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics. The only Jew to win a Nobel this year, he has examined what works, and what doesn’t, in charitable giving to alleviate poverty, especially in developing countries. His mother, S. Lillian Kremer, who died last year, was a Fulbright scholar who specialized in Jewish and Holocaust literature.
Gordon Sondland, 62, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and a recent witness in the House impeachment inquiry, has not been in the Jewish media recently, with the exception of the Israeli daily Haaretz. His German Jewish parents were teenagers when they married in Nazi Germany, and his mother (pregnant with Gordon’s older sister) was allowed to go to Russia just before war broke out. His father was smuggled out of Nazi Germany and eventually joined the British army in North Africa, where he decoded German radio messages. His parents reunited in Seattle after World War II, and Gordon was born in Washington state. Over time, he became a wealthy real estate developer and boutique hotel owner. While he has expressed his support for Israel on Twitter, it doesn’t appear that he’s a practicing Jew or that he has been active in supporting Jewish or Israel-related organizations or charities.