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Alfred Hitchcock, George Clooney, Bortfort: What’s new on TV?

CM 03/05/2021


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 If you need more proof of the genius of Alfred Hitchcock – calling him “the master of suspense” is like calling the Grand Canyon a ditch – you can learn more about him in the new documentary I Am Alfred Hitchcock, by Joel Ashton McCarthy, which starts running on HOT8 on May 3.

It’s a fascinating look at the connections between Hitchcock’s life and work and how he was able to use his own fears, insecurity and obsessions to manipulate audiences.
The main commentators are contemporary filmmakers, both veterans, such as Steven Spielberg, and younger directors, including Eli Roth.
The film dances around the issue of Hitchcock’s undeniable misogyny, which may soon make him and his work a target of the cancel culture. It does not gloss it over, showing interviews in which he gives one of his famous quotes, from French playwright Sardou, “Torture the women!” and shows how he expressed this philosophy in his treatment of starlet Tippi Hedren in The Birds.
In that film, in order to film a bird attack on the heroine, he actually had birds attack the actress over the course of a week. What he captured on film is undeniably realistic and terrifying, but what he did to Hedren (the mother of Melanie Griffith and the grandmother of Fifty Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson) was unspeakably cruel.
The film does not go into detail over Hedren’s claims that he propositioned her and that, when she turned him down, he threatened her that he would make sure she never worked again, claims that are widely believed in Hollywood.
While no one can condone this behavior, this is a documentary by film geeks for film geeks, and it tries to find a way to love Hitchcock’s work while rejecting some of his behavior.

GEORGE CLOONEY is too young to have acted for Hitchcock, but had they been working at the same time, the master director would undoubtedly have cast the actor as one of his attractive psychopaths or blundering regular guys.
Clooney is turning 60, and Yes is celebrating his birthday with a retrospective of his films, starting on May 6 and running throughout the month on Yes Drama Movies, YesVOD and Sting TV.
We are all used to seeing him as a big star, but a little over 20 years ago, when he played the devoted pediatrician and heartbreaker Dr. Doug Ross on the TV series ER, it was very unusual for television actors to cross over to the big screen. But cross over he did, and you can see some of his most enjoyable performances in such films as the Coen brothers’ Intolerable Cruelty and Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven, still the most fun of the Ocean’s films.
He was arguably at his best in 2009’s Up in the Air by Jason Reitman, in which he plays a man who goes around the country laying people off from companies, but allows his more soulful side to break through his charm as he falls for an executive played by Vera Farmiga, and reluctantly mentors a spirited young woman (Anna Kendrick, in one of her star-making roles). The movie is a kind of dark rom-com, but also has something deeper to say about the corporate culture in which human beings are a disposable resource.
I just caught up with Bortfort, the new Israeli-Norwegian suspense series about ISIS taking hostages, which is running on HOT3, HOT VOD and Next TV.
It stars Amos Tamam (Srugim) as Arik, an up-and-coming Israeli politician who gets drawn into a web of intrigue when Pia, the daughter of a Norwegian woman (Anneke von der Lippe) he worked with while negotiating the Oslo Accords, is kidnapped by ISIS in the Sinai, along with two Israeli friends.
Tamam, playing a little older than he is (his hair has been sprayed gray) does a decent job with a cliché-ridden script.
The two episodes released to the press feature one bombshell per hour, but they are telegraphed, and you will likely guess them long before Arik does.
The series is a bit of a Fauda reunion, with Raida Adon and Shadi Mar’i among the cast. In spite of the occasional predictability, though, Bortfort is enjoyable and the cast is likable.
THE EXECUTIVES at Netflix must love shows about Eurotrash on the wrong side of the law – they commission so many of them. Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally enjoy watching series about young attractive cocaine dealers/prostitutes/gangsters etc. lounging by the pool in some Mediterranean resort, but they start to blur into each other.
Madame Claude, a based-on-a-true story movie, more or less falls into this category. Like just about everything on Netflix, it’s very well done, about a tough-as-nails woman who runs a brothel in Paris in the late ’60s/early ’70s and develops a love-hate relationship with one of her call girls, an upper-class woman who was sexually abused as a child.
It’s got all the ingredients for a successful series – groovy music, a twisty plot that involves government corruption, spectacular Parisian apartments, sex – except for a compelling main character.
Karole Rocher gives a good performance in the lead, but it’s hard to know what we’re supposed to make of her. Is she a woman deserving of sympathy running a business in a man’s world and allowing young women to manipulate men in order to fulfill their dreams, or a coldhearted user who callously allows her employees to be abused, even killed? She is a bit of both, and it becomes a bit tedious watching her bring about her inevitable downfall.
French Exit, a new film by Azazel Jacobs starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges, starts running on May 13 on HOT Cinema VOD, and while it might sound intriguing, it’s a real letdown.
It’s the story of a widow (Pfeiffer) who isn’t as rich as she thinks she is and travels with her son (Hedges) to Paris. She’s the kind of character that used to be called “kooky” and now seems merely eccentric and self-indulgent, although apparently we’re meant to adore her.
Pfeiffer gives one of her best performances, but the movie is glacially paced and flat. Wes Anderson can make these kinds of offbeat characters quirky and appealing, but Jacobs lacks Anderson’s light touch.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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