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  • Arie Posin on his Russian dissident parents and ‘The Face of Love’

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    March 17, 2014 | 2:10 pm

    Arie Posin is the co-writer and director of “The Face of Love,” starring Annette Bening as a widow, still very much in love with her late husband (Ed Harris), who becomes obsessed with a man (Harris again) who is a dead ringer for her late spouse.  Now in theaters, the movie is...

  • Jonah Hill’s not-so-nice Jewish guy

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    January 6, 2014 | 5:48 pm

    In January, 2012, when Jonah Hill -- who first became famous for his comic roles in raunch-fests-with-heart, like “Superbad” -- had just received an Academy Award nomination for his dramatic turn as a shy statistics whiz in Bennett Miller’s baseball saga “Moneyball,” he told the...

  • Bob Odenkirk on ‘Nebraska’ and ‘Breaking Bad’

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    November 15, 2013 | 5:32 am

    Actor Bob Odenkirk seems to be everywhere these days, on screens large and small.   Having burst into the comedy zeitgeist with series like “The Larry Sanders Show,” and “Saturday Night Live,” he’s best known for playing Saul Goodman, meth-cooker Walter White’s sleazy but...

  • Love and anger in the time of AIDS

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    November 6, 2013 | 2:07 pm

    In 1981, Larry Kramer, the author and gay-rights provocateur, became alarmed as he witnessed large numbers of gay men become horribly ill and die in droves of a mysterious illness. The New Yorker was enraged that the government and the media seemed to be ignoring what had been...

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  • ‘Book Thief’ a story of pure beauty, pure destruction

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    November 6, 2013 | 1:57 pm

    Markus Zusak still remembers how his mother, a German Lutheran immigrant to Australia, vividly described the day she saw the Jews being marched to Dachau in her hamlet near Munich. 

    “There was an old, emaciated man who couldn’t keep up with the others, and a teenage boy ran up...

  • George Segal on ABC’s ‘The Goldbergs,’ ‘Where’s Poppa?’ and playing Jewish

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    August 28, 2013 | 11:31 am

    Actor George Segal, the late film critic Roger Ebert once noted, “is good at playing the harassed son of the archetypical Jewish mother. In ‘No Way to Treat a Lady” [1968], he was the vice cop whose mother kept wanting him to finish his soup before rushing to rescue Lee Remick.”

    ...
  • Jon Voight — Chabadnik at heart

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    August 21, 2013 | 4:49 pm

    On a recent afternoon at Lenny’s Deli in Westwood, Jon Voight reached into a black satchel and pulled out a well-worn copy of Paul Johnson’s “A History of the Jews,” then began reading aloud from the text, his fingers carefully tracing the words. Looking professorial, he glanced up...

  • Thor Freudenthal on ‘Percy Jackson,’ grandparents on Schindler’s list

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    August 8, 2013 | 10:20 am

    The whirling, sea-belching monster Charybdis.  A Manticore with a lion’s body and scorpion’s tail.  A man-eating Cyclops.  These are just a few of the beasts threatening the teenaged heroes in Thor Freudenthal’s adventure fantasy “Percy Jackson:  Sea of Monsters,” the second film...

  • Noah Emmerich of ‘The Americans:’  Emmy Awards watch

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    June 29, 2013 | 6:18 pm

    Actor Noah Emmerich folded his lanky body into a chair at L’Ermitage Hotel and pretended to clandestinely scan the lobby. “Those guys over there could be suspicious,” he quipped, and then added, “You don’t have a poison pen, do you?”

    The affable actor was joking, of course --...

  • Bar Paly of ‘Pain & Gain,’ Israel’s other ‘Bar’ supermodel

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    April 30, 2013 | 4:57 pm

    Bar Paly is the new hot export from Israel.

    Previously we’ve heard all about Bar Refaeli, the flaxen-haired Sports Illustrated cover girl who romanced Leonardo DiCaprio. 

    [Video: Bar Refaeli’s scandalous new ad]

    Now Israel has raised yet another Bar – supermodel, that is --...

  • Michael Shannon on ‘The Iceman’ by Israeli filmmaker Ariel Vromen

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    April 26, 2013 | 11:25 am

    ...
  • David S. Goyer talks ‘Batman,’ ‘Man of Steel’

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    April 18, 2013 | 11:05 am

    David S. Goyer, the scribe behind Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” trilogy and the highly anticipated Superman reboot “The Man of Steel,” opening June 14, was sipping English breakfast tea while nursing a cold recent at the Four Seasons Hotel.

    The 47-year-old writer was...

  • ‘The Americans’ - Straighten up and spy write

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    February 20, 2013 | 10:59 am

    Joe Weisberg is an ex-CIA agent and creator of FX’s new spy thriller “The Americans,” which spotlights KGB agents deep undercover in the United States. But back in 1989, he was a Yale University graduate flying to the Soviet Union on his own clandestine Jewish mission. His goal was...

  • Bruce Cohen: A career full of ‘Silver Linings’

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    February 19, 2013 | 7:42 am

    Producer Bruce Cohen, a best-picture nominee for his work on “Silver Linings Playbook,” has been obsessed with the Academy Awards since he was 8. During a recent interview at his Hollywood Hills home, looking dapper in plaid pants and shoulder-length blond curls , Cohen exuberantly...

  • For David O. Russell, it takes family

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    January 23, 2013 | 4:40 pm

    Director David O. Russell’s past efforts include the much-lauded “Three Kings” and the Oscar-winning “The Fighter,” but it is “Silver Linings Playbook,” the story of a bipolar teacher, that he sees as his most personal drama to date. The film is a contender for eight Oscar,...

  • What Judd Apatow thinks of the Jewish Journal

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    January 9, 2013 | 8:27 am

    “It’s an honor to be insulted by you,” I told Judd Apatow during an interview about his new comedy-drama, “This is 40,” about the midlife angst suffered by record label owner Pete (Paul Rudd) and his wife, Debbie (Leslie Mann). 

    “Yes, exactly!” Apatow replied.

    I’d interviewed...

  • Paul Rudd Q & A:  ‘This is 40’

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    December 28, 2012 | 12:37 pm

    “There are a couple of Jewish jokes that I think are just great,” actor Paul Rudd said, eagerly, leaning forward on a couch at the Four Seasons Hotel, where he was recently promoting his new Judd Apatow film, “This is 40.”  “This Jewish kid asks his dad, ‘Can I borrow $30?'  And...

  • Judd Apatow mines midlife angst for ‘This Is 40’ [BONUS TRAILER]

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    December 19, 2012 | 3:41 pm

    “I insult myself all the time in my movies, so why not you?” comedy mogul Judd Apatow joked during a recent interview.

    He was addressing my question about a scene in his new movie, “This Is 40,” where a shlubby journalist wearing a yarmulke shows up to do an interview and is...

  • Travis Fine on “Any Day Now”

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    December 13, 2012 | 9:35 am

    In the first image of Travis Fine’s heartrending new film, “Any Day Now,” set in the 1970s, Marco (Isaac Leyva), a 12-year-old with Down’s syndrome, roams the streets of a city, lost, bewildered and clutching a child’s doll. The film then flashes back to tell of how Marco was taken...

  • Brandon Cronenberg’s ‘Antiviral’ oozes into AFI Fest

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    November 3, 2012 | 12:06 am

    Exploding heads, techno-genitals, mutant offspring, a humanoid fly. Such are some of the monstrous images in David Cronenberg’s early “body horror” films, a la “Videodrome,” “Scanners,” “The Brood” and, of course, 1986’s “The Fly, ” starring Jeff Goldblum. Now Cronenberg’s...

  • Henry Jaglom’s ‘45 Minutes from Broadway’

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    August 27, 2012 | 11:01 pm

    Henry Jaglom’s 18th film, “Just 45 Minutes From Broadway,” revolves around an eccentric family of actors with roots going back to the Yiddish theater, spotlighting one spring in their ramshackle country house outside New York City.  There’s the patriarch, George “Grisha”...

  • Craig Zobel’s ‘Compliance’ and the Holocaust-inspired Milgram Experiment [VIDEO]

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    August 15, 2012 | 3:26 pm

    Craig Zobel’s controversial new film “Compliance” revolves around a prank caller, impersonating a policeman, who manipulates employees at a fast food restaurant into sexually assaulting a co-worker—a plot based on dozens of jaw-dropping, real incidents that have occurred...

  • ‘Killer Joe’s’ William Friedkin:  ‘I could have been a very violent person’ [VIDEO]

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    August 2, 2012 | 3:10 pm

    William Friedkin, the Oscar-winning director of “The French Connection,” The Exorcist” and now “Killer Joe”—about a violently dysfunctional Texas family—was courtly and chivalrous at the Four Seasons hotel recently, moving a comfortable chair over for me and offering coffee...

  • David Geffen:  prickly and terse about his Judaism

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    July 23, 2012 | 4:01 pm

    David Geffen, the notoriously press shy billionaire Hollywood mogul, stared at me as if I had asked him to yank out a tooth.  The setting was PBS’ summer 2012 press tour on July 22, where he was promoting the American Masters documentary, “Inventing David Geffen.” I queried how...

  • Brooke Shields, Richard Chamberlain and Teller on “Exorcist’s” demon [SLIDESHOW]

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    July 6, 2012 | 11:04 am

    What’s the character of the demon like in John Pielmeier’s “The Exorcist,” adapted from William Peter Blatty’s novel, opening July 11 at the Geffen Playhouse? “He’s actually rather inventive and playful, in the sense that he likes to play with people’s lives,” said...

  • Dog ‘Guru’ Justin Silver puts owners on tight leash [SLIDE SHOW]

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    July 5, 2012 | 10:14 am

    When it comes to canines going to the dogs, trainer Justin Silver has seen it all: the pooch whose owner treated it like a baby, complete with diaper changes; the bulldog named Beefy who refused to take a walk unless he was schlepped down the street on a skateboard; the modeling...

  • Andrew Garfield:  The Jewish Spidey [SLIDESHOW]

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    July 2, 2012 | 5:49 pm

    While watching “The Amazing Spider-Man,” I was struck by how much Andrew Garfield-as-Spidey – or rather, his alter-ego, Peter Parker – reminded me of the kind of gangly geeky-cute guys you’d develop a crush on at Jewish summer camp. 

    And that casting perhaps makes sense,...

  • Miri Ben-Ari performs for the president today

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    June 25, 2012 | 3:30 pm

    I spoke to the Grammy-winning hip-hop singer and violinist Miri Ben-Ari a few minutes ago, just as the Israeli-born artist was about to take the stage at Boston Symphony Hall to perform for President Barack Obama and a sold-out crowd of 1,800 viewers at an Obama Victory Fund 2012...

  • ‘That’s My Boy’ reviews:  They could have been worse

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    June 17, 2012 | 9:05 pm

    Adam Sandler’s raunch-fest “That’s My Boy” hit theaters in time for Father’s Day, starring Jewish icons Sandler and Andy Samberg (“Saturday Night Live”) as the reconciling father and son. And not unexpectedly, critics aren’t exactly embracing the film, while...

  • Donna Summer memories

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    May 17, 2012 | 12:47 pm

    When the news came that Donna Summer—the disco diva who rose to fame with pulsing hits such as “Last Dance” and “Bad Girl” – died today at 63, Jewish publicist Michael Levine called with some memories of the cultural icon.  “I grew up in New York, and when she became a...

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