Jewish Journal

Melissa Weller

  • Sundance 2016: Jewish highlights

    1 week ago

    Award nominations aren’t all that set the film world aflutter each January. It’s a time not only to look back on the past year’s highs and lows, but also to get a sneak peek at this year’s slate. The Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the United...

  • Under ‘The Skinny’: Sundance introduces new comedy about bulimia

    2 weeks ago

    When someone mentions eating disorders, what comes to mind? 

    Is it salads? Laxatives? Karen Carpenter? Maybe a high-cheeked supermodel walking the runway for New York Fashion Week? Or Victoria’s Secret’s youngest set of bony hips, lying on the shores of Ibiza in a low-rise...

  • ‘The Barkley Marathons’: Oh, how the many have fallen

    December 8, 2015 | 2:35 pm

    Rat Jaw.

    Testicle Spectacle.

    Son of a Bitch Ditch.

    The Bad Thing.

    These are some of the obstacles that participants in the little-known Barkley Marathons can expect to encounter. Hunger Games, eat your heart out.

    With its legacy and rich history virtually untapped,...

  • Laugh Factory, an annual sanctuary for the ultra-unaffiliated

    September 30, 2015 | 12:20 pm

    For 35 years, the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood has been a revolving door of comedy legends and hopefuls, up-and-comers and burnouts, roaring crowds and silenced rooms. It’s seen boys become men and men become girls. 

    But whichever way the punches roll any given night, the...

  • Sister Girl

    October 14, 2014 | 2:16 pm

    *Contains massive spoilers*

    Before Gone Girl hit theaters, it had already established itself as more than just the latest David Fincher drama or an early Oscar contender. Gone Girl — adapted into a screenplay by Gillian Flynn from the 2012 bestseller by Gillian Flynn — turned...

  • Masters of Sex is back and you should watch it if you want to

    July 13, 2014 | 11:00 am

    "That question is outside my area of inquiry."

    This is Dr. William Masters’ response to his wife’s curiously hopeful and innocently hopeless question, “Did they fall in love?”

    She and her husband are lying awake in their separate beds after a night in his lab. And “they,” whose...

  • ‘Orange is the New Black’ season 2 pre-cap: Standing still is hard

    June 6, 2014 | 1:14 pm

    Season 2 of Orange is the New Black, a Netflix original series from the brilliant Jenji Kohan and based on the memoir by Piper Kerman, was released today. Chances are you’ve heard of it. This show is so important for so many reasons, not least because it’s hilarious, so for those...

  • Calendar June 7-13

    June 4, 2014 | 10:05 am

    SUN | JUN 8


    This is the second go-round for Na’Amat USA Young Professionals’ annual Comedy Night, boasting a lineup of hilarious professional comics baring their stand-up chops in the heart of West Hollywood. Na’Amat works tirelessly to advance...

  • Calendar May 31 - June 6

    May 28, 2014 | 9:48 am

    SAT | MAY 31


    In limited release this week is “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn,” the latest from director Phil Alden Robinson (“Field of Dreams”). Based on the 1997 award-winning “The 92 Minutes of Mr. Baum,” an Israeli film from the late...

  • ‘Chef’ and the redefining of starving artist

    May 14, 2014 | 2:54 pm

    Talk about food for the Seoul.

    For decades, writer/director/actor Jon Favreau has been a staple in the film world, indie and beyond. All over the map, he appeared alongside Keanu Reeves in The Replacements and in other kooks like Daredevil, then turned around and directed the...

  • Locke your seatbelts: Hardy takes the wheel

    May 1, 2014 | 4:25 pm

    Be nice to the drivers with whom you share the road, you don’t know the battles they’re fighting.

    Touted as a one-man play, longtime screenwriter and two-time feature director Steven Knight said his wheels started spinning about the film-as-play format while on set his first...

  • ‘Under the Skin’ sets Scarlett ablaze

    April 9, 2014 | 1:02 pm

    Scarlett Johansson has had a very busy year, least of which from dealing with the Oxfam and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions hoopla we’ve covered so extensively. With two box-office smashes opening last weekend and fresh from her role in the Oscar-contended Her, Johansson is...

  • James Franco: Of Entice and Rejection

    April 3, 2014 | 1:19 pm

    Call it luxury or call it tragedy, but history writes that celebrities aren’t typically known for their moral upstanding, especially in the field of sexual (mis)conduct. Google almost anyone with an IMDB page and throw “controversy,” “affair” or “sex tape” into the search bar —...

  • Community Seder round-up

    April 2, 2014 | 3:19 pm

    Discover the eternal meaning of the haggadah and enjoy a seder complete with hand-baked matzah, wine/grape juice and your favorite traditional meal at Chabad of Simi Valley. RSVP by April 9. Suggested donation ($30 adult, $18 child). April 14. 7:30 p.m. 4464 Alamo St., Simi Valley....

  • Fighting ‘Gravity’ and other motion picture musings

    February 26, 2014 | 1:48 pm

    Some chalk talk on the 86th annual Oscar tournament.

    Best Picture 

    Winner: Dallas Buyers Club 
    Wild Card: 12 Years a Slave

    12 Years a Slave has all the ingredients for best picture pie; it’s a deep-pocketed period piece that forces painful retrospection of our own harsh and...

  • ‘Broad City’ a broad mess

    January 24, 2014 | 4:44 pm

  • Tomorrow's techtopia pulls today's heart strings:
    Thoughts on a Spike Jonze love story

    January 7, 2014 | 1:48 pm

    Some time ago, a friend of mine was having trouble with his longtime girlfriend. One day, while having some boneheaded conversation about the psychological implications of bullet trains or something equally inconsequential, he says, “Gotta run, she’s home. We fought again this...

  • Payne’s ‘Nebraska’ a small-town triumph

    December 8, 2013 | 1:20 pm

    Imagine what a movie showcasing an ordinary, lukewarm existence might look like. One without mobs or crooked cops and the only color in the characters’ lives is the blue on their collar. Worse still, life is totally ordinary and you live in Billings, Montana. Your great romantic...

  • The problems with the problems with ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’

    November 5, 2013 | 4:06 pm

    Describing exactly the way Blue is the Warmest Color affected me, as I’m sure it did millions of people, is a struggle, especially from a critical standpoint. It’s an intimate and subjective reflection of people, places and times, carrying the hours with tides of raw emotion rather...

  • Review: ‘Kill Your Darlings,’ but phone it in

    October 22, 2013 | 5:19 pm

    Those who walked into the theater hoping to walk out with an enlightened appreciation of the significance surrounding these legendary writers and the Beat Movement they inspired were surprised, at best, to find a chick flick noir instead. Set in 1943, “Kill Your Darlings” follows...

  • Emmys tell bleak tale of broadcast TV

    September 24, 2013 | 5:52 pm

  • The Newsroom: Second season, second thoughts

    September 4, 2013 | 12:46 pm