Jewish Journal

Pat Sierchio

  • ‘The Blob’: How fame took shape from an amorphous sci-fi classic

    June 1, 2015 | 3:46 pm

    By Jack Harris’ own account, his life has been a dream come true. His career in show business began during the bygone days of vaudeville and has spanned 10 decades. Along the way, he has crossed paths with a galaxy of Hollywood luminaries that includes Mary Pickford, George Burns...

  • Bar mitzvah film school

    May 15, 2015 | 12:40 pm

    Over the years I’ve attended several bar mitzvahs — most of them at the movies.

    Not being Jewish, I’ve only attended one actual bar mitzvah — which took place during the Nixon era — and the only memories I have of it are eating Baked Alaska and trying to swipe whiskey sours from...

  • Boomer-era movies reflect 50 years of change

    June 25, 2014 | 3:18 pm

    Movies have long been a mirror of our culture, reflecting the attitudes, morals and fashions of the times. That’s as true for films made during the baby boomer era as any other time. But when Hollywood set its sights on this new demographic of box-office boosters, they were aiming...

  • Long, winding path to ‘Boardwalk’

    March 12, 2014 | 1:57 pm

    David Rosen and his wife of 50 years had been living happily in their Coney Island home, but when the tranquility and safety of their Jewish community came under attack from a violent street gang, the aging cafeteria owner was forced to take a stand. 

    “I left one country; I’m not...

  • You know you’re a boomer if ...

    July 19, 2013 | 10:55 am

    — You grew up believing that eating all your vegetables would help starving children in China.

    — You took an Iowa Test with a No. 2 pencil in school … and that’s all you ever knew about Iowa.

    — When you were a child, your favorite television shows were hosted by clowns, cowboys...

  • Proud to be a boomer

    July 19, 2013 | 10:28 am

    Being a baby boomer is more than a statistic, it’s a state of mind. Boomers rock and everyone knows it. And by everyone I mean the baby boomers. We baby boomers tend to have a high opinion of ourselves, and there is plenty of evidence that supports that notion.

    We are the...

  • Roman Polanski gives his side of the story

    May 29, 2013 | 10:39 am

    “People that don’t know me have an opinion of me that comes from the media. And that’s so far remote from what I am that I can’t even try to straighten it out.” These words from the controversial film director and provocateur Roman Polanski about his public image are the basis of a...

  • Israel Film Fest to fete Martin Landau

    April 10, 2013 | 2:13 pm

    When he was barely out of his teens, Martin Landau was already a successful cartoonist working for the New York Daily News. In fact, the young artist was being groomed by the paper as its next theatrical caricaturist. Landau knew that if he got the job, he would never give it up. 

  • ‘Zero Dark’ writer faces the controversy

    February 19, 2013 | 11:32 am

    The time: 2003. The place: Black Site — Undisclosed Location. A battered man strung up by his wrists is being questioned by an interrogator. When he refuses to answer, he is forced to the ground and held down by three men wearing ski masks. A black towel is wrapped around his face,...

  • Alan Arkin relishes his role as a team player

    February 19, 2013 | 5:59 am

    Alan Arkin is not an actor who seeks individual glory. But that hasn’t prevented the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from singling him out several times. This year, Arkin has again been nominated for an Oscar, this time as best supporting actor for his work in the...

  • Mark Boal’s journey from journalism to movie chronicler of the Middle-East wars

    February 11, 2013 | 10:21 am

    The time: 2003. The place: Black Site: Undisclosed Location. A battered man strung up by his wrists is being questioned by an interrogator. When he refuses to answer he is forced to the ground and held down by three men wearing ski masks. A black towel is wrapped around his face...

  • Space Shuttle Columbia: From Shoah to the stars

    January 23, 2013 | 12:48 pm

    On Feb. 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated as it re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, tragically taking the lives of all seven astronauts on board. Among those who never returned home were Israeli Air Force Col. Ilan Ramon — Israel’s first and only astronaut — and a...

  • Faith, not just gayness, informs filmmaker’s works

    September 5, 2012 | 10:59 am

    This has been a good year for filmmaker Ira Sachs. His new feature, "Keep the Lights On," received a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and won the prestigious Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. And while the intensely personal,...

  • Why the Original Wolf Man Howled

    February 10, 2010 | 2:00 am

    “I am the Wolf Man!”

    This proclamation was not made by Lon Chaney Jr., who starred in the 1941 film “The Wolf Man.” Nor was it pronounced by Benicio Del Toro, who takes on the title role in the 2010 remake of the horror classic. These words belong to Curt Siodmak, the...

  • Going home again is truly a family affair for filmmaker Azazel Jacobs

    September 3, 2008 | 9:04 pm

    "I remember at an early age being told in school that Jews were a minority in the world," filmmaker Azazel Jacobs mused. "And I remember just not believing that because I lived in New York City and thinking they must have things wrong because I was surrounded by so many Jews. That...
  • Guerilla filmmaker brings verite ‘Pleasure’ to robbery

    June 12, 2008 | 2:33 pm

    Josh Safdie is riding high. He has just returned from the south of France, where his first feature, "The Pleasure of Being Robbed," had the distinction of being the only American entry in the Director's Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. "I asked them out of curiosity what other...
  • Spurlock embarks on a cinematic quest for Osama

    April 17, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    When writer/director Morgan Spurlock ("Super Size Me") discovered he was going to become a father two years ago, he was concerned about the tumultuous state of the world into which his child was being born. Spurlock's wish was to give his child a safer and more harmonious place to...
  • Movies: ‘Chicago 10’ finds modern parallels to 1968 trial

    February 28, 2008 | 5:00 pm

    "I have a strong kinship with Abbie Hoffman," admitted Brett Morgen, writer and director of the semidocumentary film, "Chicago 10." "I haven't seen anyone in my lifetime that spoke to me the way he did."

    Hoffman, for those too young to remember, was a civil rights activist and...

  • TV: From Bensonhurst to Vermont, via Hollywood

    February 21, 2008 | 5:00 pm

    Gary David Goldberg did not set out to be a screenwriter. He was already 30 when a teacher at San Diego State University guided him toward the profession. That fateful nudge set Goldberg on his path to becoming a successful writer/producer and director of a string of films and...
  • Reitman follows heart to quirky ‘Juno’

    December 6, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    When Jason Reitman decided to become a filmmaker, he was not only following the path of his father, producer-director Ivan Reitman, but that of his heritage as well.

    "I think Jewish people are great storytellers," the 30 year-old film director said. "Celebrating our heritage and our...

  • Frank, Dean and Sammy back from the dead and live on stage

    November 29, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Las Vegas in the early 1960s was a swinger's paradise; a glamorous desert oasis where high-rolling guys and dolls came to bake in the sun by day and party in the air-chilled casinos at night. And during those ring-a-ding years there was no place hotter or cooler in town than the...
  • Films: Dementia ordeal inspires comic tale of ‘The Savages’

    November 29, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Tamara Jenkins knows firsthand what an overwhelming task it is to care for a parent suffering from dementia. While she was in her mid-30s, she had to help care for both her father and grandmother during their final days in a nursing home.

    She also knows that no matter how grave a...

  • A new film series of Biblical proportions:<BR>The Ten Commandments -- they're baaaaack!

    October 18, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    "Eight in 10 Americans know two all-beef patties are in a Big Mac, but just over four in 10 -- 41% -- can't name 'Thou shall not kill' as one of the Ten Commandments," according to a 2007 study.

    Those not-too-surprising results reported by Kelton Research is why producer...

  • Think you know ‘The Jazz Singer’? You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!

    September 20, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    On Oct. 6, 1927, audiences attending the premiere of "The Jazz Singer" at New York's Warner Theatre witnessed a revolution that gave voice to a medium that had lived in silence since its birth, more than 30 years before. With his double-barrel delivery of the improvised line, "Wait a...
  • Feisty, prolific SF author Harlan Ellison bares ‘Sharp Teeth’ in bio-pic

    August 2, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    The first question in the book "Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism" asks "Can one doubt God's existence and still be a good Jew?" Ask author Harlan Ellison and he'll tell you that for him the answer is 'yes.'

    "It stems from and resonates with my blood and bones and gristle." The...

  • ‘The Ten’ (commandments) return to the big screen as a comedy

    July 26, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    The Ten Commandments have been around for a long, long time. Ever since the 13th Century B.C.E., to be exact. Yet in all this time there have only been two major live theatrical motion pictures made about them; the 1923 silent version and the 1956 epic starring Charlton Heston,...
  • Alan Arkin—not just another kid From Brooklyn

    February 15, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    "I can say what I want. I still got Nazi bullets in my ass!"

    Such acerbic rants by Grandpa Hoover pretty much sum up the foul-mouthed, drug-sniffing, sex-crazed curmudgeon Alan Arkin plays in the Oscar-nominated film, "Little Miss Sunshine." Alan Arkin

    The performance is one that Arkin has...