Glee creator to make film about Jewish activist

By Jennifer Lipman, July 5, 2010

A play about a Jewish Aids activist is to be made into a film by the creator of television show Glee.

American Jewish playwright Larry Kramer is to adapt his semi-autobiographical 1985 drama The Normal Heart for the screen.

Mr Kramer drew on his experiences as one of the founders of the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) in the early 1980s to create the part of advocate Ned Weeks.

The GMHC were crucial in challenging the idea that Aids was only a “gay cancer”.


Spielberg slips down celebrity list

By Jennifer Lipman, June 29, 2010

Film director Steven Spielberg has seen his star power plummet in the last year according to the Forbes Celebrity 100 list.

Mr Spielberg, who directed the Oscar winning film version of Schindler’s List, was ranked 22nd on the annual list which ranks stars according to their earnings, web hits and media coverage, falling from the seventh spot in 2009.

However the 63-year-old director, one of several Jewish names who made the list, still commanded an impressive $100 million pay (£66 million) in the past year between June 2009 and 2010.


Jason Isaacs film wins festival award

By Jennifer Lipman, June 28, 2010

A black comedy starring Jewish actor Jason Isaacs has won a top prize at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Skeletons, a film about two exorcists whose work starts to hit a little close to home, received the Michael Powell award for best new British feature film.

The jury said the film, released on July 2, won because of its "original vision and dark humour".

Mr Isaacs, perhaps best known for playing the evil Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, stars with Ed Gaughan and Andrew Buckley in the film.


Review: Whatever Works

June 24, 2010

Woody Allen's last film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, seemed to signal a long-awaited return to form after the embarrassing badness of his British-set movies. The fact that the next film was set in Manhattan gave further hope to long-suffering fans of the prolific writer-director. However, Whatever Works turns out to be only fitfully funny and at times strangely unpleasant.


Indian Jews protest Bollywood Hitler film

By Jennifer Lipman, June 23, 2010

Members of the Indian Jewish community have slammed plans to make a Bollywood film about Hitler’s final days.

Filming is set to start in two months time but Anupam Kher, the actor due to play the Nazi leader, has now dropped out after facing criticism.

At the beginning of June Indian producers announced they were making a film about the end of the Third Reich.


Twilight star remembers Nazi victims

By Jennifer Lipman, June 22, 2010

Twilight star Kristen Stewart has paid her respects to victims of the Holocaust on a visit to Berlin.

The actress, 20, was accompanied by minders as she walked around the Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

Comprising nearly 3000 white concrete blocks, the memorial opened in 2005 to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust.

Ms Stewart was in the German capital to promote the latest outing in the Twilight saga, Eclipse.

The film, in which the actress plays a teenager in love with brooding vampire Edward Cullen, opens in British cinemas on July 9.


Review: Macgruber

By Jonathan Foreman, June 17, 2010

Since its launch 35 years ago, the US satirical comedy series, Saturday Night Live, has launched the careers of many stars, including Eddie Murphy, John Belushi, Bill Murray and Michael Austin Powers Myers. At least 10 spin-off films have been made based on the show's recurrent sketches. Unfortunately few of them have been any good and most have been dire. Only The Blues Brothers (1980) and the two Wayne's World movies achieved much success at the box office.


Israelis cast aside differences

June 17, 2010

A new Israeli film, Ajami, which opens in the UK this week, tells the story of co-existence amid mutual suspicion in the eponymous neighbourhood in Jaffa – chosen because this is a district where Jews, Muslims and Christians are able to live together as neighbours, despite their emnity.

The film, itself a Jewish-Arab collaboration by Jewish writer/director Yaron Shani and his Arab-Israeli colleague Scandar Copti, tells the stories of a small group of characters.


Review: The Killer Inside Me

By Jonathan Foreman, June 3, 2010

I was dreading The Killer Inside Me. I knew from multiple spoiler-filled articles in the Sunday papers and elsewhere that Michael Winterbottom's version of the book by pulp novelist Jim Thompson features scenes of extremely graphic violence.

I also knew that Winterbottom had justified his depiction of vicious violence in the predictable pseudo-high-minded way of "serious" filmmakers who court controversy by indulging in slasher-film cruelty - it apparently is important that we filmgoers get a lesson in what violence really looks like.


Inside Israel's Oscar film factory

June 3, 2010

There is no doubt that Israeli film now commands a significant international presence. However, what is less well known is that so many award-winning Israeli directors, writers and producers are graduates of Tel Aviv University's (TAU) Film and Television School.

Situated in a non-descript grey building on the Ramat Aviv campus, where cats lurk in its basement corridors and studios are piled with what on first glance appears to be junk, it is described by its academics and former students as "special".