Billy Crystal donates to Hebrew University

By Jennifer Lipman, September 22, 2010

When Harry Met Sally star Billy Crystal has been described as “a real mensch” after he made a large donation to Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

The American Jewish actor, 62, has given a “substantial” amount to the institution’s Peace through the Performing Arts programme, which has run projects uniting Israeli and Palestinian students for more than a decade.


Sacha Baron Cohen to play Freddie Mercury

By Jennifer Lipman, September 17, 2010

Sacha Baron Cohen is to take on the role of the legendary Queen singer Freddie Mercury.

The Ali G comedian will star in a film scripted by The Queen writer Peter Morgan.

Queen guitarist Brian May said Mr Baron Cohen had been interested in the role for some time

The film’s producer Graham King said: “With Sacha in the starring role, coupled with Peter's screenplay and the support of Queen, we have the perfect combination to tell the real story behind their success”.


On this day: Lauren Bacall is born

By Jennifer Lipman, September 16, 2010

At the age of 86 Lauren Bacall remains one of Hollywood’s leading ladies. Born in New York to European immigrants, her father left the family when she was five.

At 19 she appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar and caught the attention of director Howard Hawks, who cast her in To Have and Have Not.

Like many Jewish actors of the time, she changed her name as she launched her career. Ms Perske became the less-overtly Jewish Ms Bacall, star of How to Marry a Millionaire and The Big Sleep.


Review: The Other Guys

By Jonathan Foreman, September 16, 2010

If, like the writers of The Other Guys, you have seen and enjoyed scores of Hollywood action flicks featuring pairs of mismatched cops, you will probably find this movie a rich source of laughs and references. If you are not a fan of the genre that it lovingly and often cleverly spoofs, you are less likely to appreciate its virtues.

Directed by Adam McKay and starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, The Other Guys begins as straightforward parody then evolves into something more unpredictable and bizarre. Its jokes do not always work but when they do, they are very funny indeed.


Esti Ginzburg: IDF soldier, model, Bond girl?

By Jennifer Lipman, September 1, 2010

Jewish filmmaker Joel Schumacher has tipped the Israeli star of his latest film to be a future Bond girl.

Esti Ginzburg, a model who is currently serving in the Israeli army, plays the lead in Mr Schumacher’s new film “Twelve”.

The drama about drug users in New York also stars rapper 50 Cent and Chace Crawford, the Gossip Girl actor with whom she has been romantically linked.

Mr Schumacher, 71, told Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that the Israeli actress would “get far in life”.


Review: Scott Pilgrim vs The World

By Jonathan Foreman, August 26, 2010

Edgar Wright's exuberant film is aimed almost exclusively at young people who have grown up playing video and computer games with pumped up sound effects and extreme but unrealistic violence.

But unlike similarly inspired movies, it aspires to the sweetness of the John Hughes romantic comedies for teenagers. And it is an extraordinary attempt to create a film language that evokes and mimics (and occasionally even makes fun of) not just comics but also the various electronic entertainments of today's texting, twittering youth.


How vodka revived a film-maker's Jewish spirit

By Anthea Gerrie, August 26, 2010

It started as an obsession with his grandmother's romantic teenage years in pre-revolutionary Russia. But it grew into a desire to make good on his great-grandfather's pledge to do right by the village where he lived and prospered.

Documentary-maker Dan Edelstyn has revived the vodka business his family once owned to breathe new life into a down-at-heel Ukrainian village, and at the same time discover his own roots.


Hoffman, Streisand, Stiller film together again

By Jennifer Lipman, August 25, 2010

Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman and Ben Stiller are to be reunited on screen.

The trio are all set to appear in Little Fockers, the third installation in the successful Meet the Parents series.


Justin Long's not very kosher film

By Jennifer Lipman, August 24, 2010

Actor Justin Long has revealed the kosher conundrum at the centre of his new film Going the Distance.

Scenes from the comedy film, which also stars Drew Barrymore, were shot at the home of an Orthodox Jewish couple from Queens in New York.

But the script called for Mr Long’s character to eat a hamburger at their dining room table.

“The prop guy was making the burgers on the grill that they owned. They found out about it and got very upset because it was not kosher food.”

However he said the studio replaced the grill and utensils after the shoot.


Maggie Gyllenhaal's hysterical new film

By Jennifer Lipman, August 20, 2010

Hollywood actress Maggie Gyllenhaal is to star in a film about the invention of the vibrator.

In the upcoming film Hysteria, the Jewish actress will play the daughter of a doctor whose specialty is curing women of hysteria – in an unorthodox fashion.

The script is based on a true story, and follows a love affair between her character and one of her father’s assistants.