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Jewish Journal

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  • ‘The Rabbi’s Cat’ got your French tongue

    January 23, 2013 | 3:23 pm

    At only 41, Joann Sfar has enjoyed a meteoric rise in France, rocketing from cartoonist to filmmaker in short succession.

    Sephardi on his father’s side and Ashkenazi on his mother’s, Sfar created “The Rabbi’s Cat” graphic novels beginning in 2005— critical darlings, steeped in...

  • Slavery’s horrific shadow lives on — and so does Hitler’s

    January 17, 2013 | 11:54 am

    Quentin Tarantino’s "Django" is sparking controversy — and not just for its flagrant use of the n word. According to African-American film critic Tim Cogshell (quoted by Erin Aubry Kaplan in the Times), “The surreal liftoff that happens at some point in ‘Basterds’ [Tarantino’s take...

  • Spielberg’s year? ‘Lincoln’ nabs 12 Oscar nominations

    By Danielle Berrin

    January 10, 2013 | 8:33 am

    Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," a film about the passage of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery, garnered the most Academy Award nominations of any film this year, including Best Picture as well as nods in three major acting categories, achievement in directing for Spielberg and...

  • 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...

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  • Benh Zeitlin: Conquering his ‘Beasts’

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    January 2, 2013 | 3:10 pm

    In 2008, while doing research for what would become his first feature, “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Benh Zeitlin climbed inside the pickup truck he had purchased for $500 and drove down each of the five roads leading to the bayou’s edge about 80 miles south of New Orleans. At the...

  • ‘Hammer’ Time — Again?

    January 2, 2013 | 2:09 pm

    Everyone’s favorite certified circumcised private dick is poised for a big return.

    Nearly 10 years after “The Hebrew Hammer” hit theaters in 2003, there’s talk of a sequel featuring the titular Orthodox hero. Filmmaker Jonathan Kesselman, a native of Van Nuys, is eyeing a May...

  • 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...

  • Holocaust, Jewish themes remain prominent among foreign Oscar offerings

    By Tom Tugend

    December 14, 2012 | 2:24 pm

    The long-forecast “Holocaust fatigue” among filmmakers and their audiences has not yet arrived, judging by the entries for 2013 Oscar honors by producers and directors in numerous countries.

    Each of a record 71 foreign — meaning non-English-speaking — countries has submitted its...

  • 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...

  • Letters to the Editor: Bill Maher, Witold Pilecki, ‘Lincoln’

    December 12, 2012 | 10:18 am

    A Word to the Unwise

    I didn’t get around to reading the Dec. 7 issue of the Jewish Journal until late last night, and when I saw the Danielle Berrin column, “Q&A With Bill Maher,” the words of Joseph Welch came to mind when he said to despicable Sen. Joe McCarthy, “Have you no...

  • Man behind anti-Islam film that stoked riots has no regrets, New York Times says

    November 26, 2012 | 11:27 am

    The Egyptian-born Coptic Christian who made the anti-Islam film that sparked protests across the Muslim world has no regrets about his insulting portrayal of the Prophet Mohammad, according to an interview with the New York Times.

    In his first public comments since the 14-minute...

  • Man behind anti-Islam film that stoked riots has no regrets, New York Times says

    November 26, 2012 | 11:27 am

    The Egyptian-born Coptic Christian who made the anti-Islam film that sparked protests across the Muslim world has no regrets about his insulting portrayal of the Prophet Mohammad, according to an interview with the New York Times.

    In his first public comments since the 14-minute...

  • The first Jewish president? Lincoln, in the Abrahamic tradition

    By Tom Teicholz

    November 14, 2012 | 12:13 pm

    Abraham Lincoln has been dead for almost 150 years, yet suddenly he’s everywhere. At the Skirball Cultural Center, you can see an original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Lincoln, amid an impressive array of founding American documents. The Huntington Library is...

  • Bali to Thailand on Air Asia (video)

    By Lisa Ellen Niver

    November 13, 2012 | 3:03 am

     

    Bali to Thailand on Air Asia

    Video: Bali to Thailand on Air Asia
    Our two months in Indonesia went almost as quickly as this video of the flight from Bali to Phuket, Thailand on Air Asia! The islands of both countries are so beautiful. We spent July-August 2012 in Bali and...

  • One Israeli Creation for the Weekend

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    November 9, 2012 | 12:31 pm

    Beaufort is a 2007 Israeli war film, directed by Joseph Cedar, who stands behind many great Israeli films. The film was co-written by Cedar and Ron Leshem, and is based on Leshem's novel of the same name.


    Beaufort takes place in the year 2000, and tells the story of an IDF unit...

  • 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...

  • Filmmaker explores dark family saga in ‘The Flat’

    October 18, 2012 | 3:19 pm

    "The Flat," a documentary directed by Israeli writer and filmmaker, Arnon Goldfinger, uses a vacant Tel Aviv apartment as a jumping-off point for a journey through history, and a unique look at the way different generations view the Holocaust.

    The film, which opens on Friday in...

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

    By Pat Sierchio

    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,...

  • ‘The Possession’ possesses the box office

    September 4, 2012 | 2:03 pm

    “The Possession” is off to a devilishly good start at the box office, grossing $21.3 million -- making it the second best opening for a movie on Labor Day weekend after “Halloween” in 2007, which brought in $30.6 million. Based on the dybbuk, a malevolent Jewish spirit, and the...

  • 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”...

  • Sam Raimi’s latest horror flick draws on ‘true’ tale, Jewish exorcism

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    August 22, 2012 | 4:03 pm

    Back in 2004, the horror-flicks mogul Sam Raimi was riveted by a Los Angeles Times article headlined “A Jinx in a Box?” which recounted the strange history of a wine cabinet brought to this country by a Polish concentration camp survivor. The box contained “allegedly, one...

  • Sam Raimi’s latest horror flick draws on ‘true’ tale, Jewish exorcism

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    August 22, 2012 | 3:59 pm

    Back in 2004, the horror-flicks mogul Sam Raimi was riveted by a Los Angeles Times article headlined “A Jinx in a Box?” which recounted the strange history of a wine cabinet brought to this country by a Polish concentration camp survivor. The box contained “allegedly, one...

  • 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...

  • At one-film-a-year pace, Woody Allen not slowing down

    August 6, 2012 | 3:21 pm

    Funny, serious, and controversial, Woody Allen’s films evoke many emotions—but his Jewish upbringing sticks out in them like a matzo ball in chicken soup.

    With Allen’s new movie, “To Rome With Love,” opening this summer and his “Bullets Over Broadway” set for a musical...

  • ‘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...

  • It’s always about sex — or is it?  Ask David Frankel

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    August 1, 2012 | 12:53 pm

    “Nobody in this world thinks they’re having enough sex,” said director David Frankel, whose film “Hope Springs” spotlights a beleaguered 60-something couple played by Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. “Watch any night on television, or any comedian in a nightclub, and...

  • Filmmaker forges intimate portrait of artist-activist Ai Weiwei

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    August 1, 2012 | 12:43 pm

    In 2010, Alison Klayman sat in a car in Chengdu, China, with her camera rolling as the internationally renowned conceptual artist and dissident Ai Weiwei scuffled with police, who were pushing and pulling at him and his entourage. The melee had erupted as Ai was attempting to file a...

  • 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...

  • A meditation on the Bulgaria and Colorado tragedies

    July 20, 2012 | 10:56 am

    Dear friends and colleagues,

    The month of Av has come upon us in a manner true to historical form. Mishenikhnas Av, m’ma’atin b’simha… When the month of Av begins, we are told, we are instructed to diminish our joy. Sadly, a week of violence and tragedy all over the world...

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