NEW YORK — Jewish-American lunatic David Blaine dominated twitter feeds around America this week, causing television audiences to shout “Agggggh!” “Ewwwww!” and “Whaaaaaat?”
His ABC Network special “David Blaine: Real or Magic” featured new stunts and freak-outs from the so-called close-up magician. While his hipster delivery can sometimes be a bit grating, his reserved nature goes a long way to selling that what he’s doing is real. I mean, he did actually spend days in ice in the middle of Times Square once – I remember, because all the foot traffic made me late for an appointment.
Sticking an ice pick into his hand for grossed-out celebrities like Woody Harrelson, Will Smith and Kanye West was a nice twist. Who cares what everyday schmucks think? Let’s get the reaction of Hollywood’s stars! (When Blaine made a card appear in an orange, screen, icon Harrison Ford barked “Get the [bleep] out of my house!”)
He even got a chance to freak-out magic enthusiast Woody Allen. He did it by swallowing a fish and then spitting it back into his tub. I dunno, it wasn’t one of the more impressive feats from the show, but Woody then gave him a malted to drink, boasting of his prowess in the liquid dessert department.
In other Jewish entertainment news, Adam Levine of the band Maroon 5 (and the show “The Voice”) was named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive. I tend to associate Levine’s music with a) waiting on line at the pharmacy and b) realizing with anguish that I left my iPod at home — but who am I to judge?
Congrats to the lucky gent on his handsomeness. It’s worth noting that just a few months ago Scarlett Johansson was named Sexiest Woman Alive by Esquire Magazine. Maybe these two members of the tribe should meet for coffee or something.
Shonda of the Week:
Imagine this. You go to a concert, hoping to have a good time. Maybe it’s something like the Vans Warped Tour, where multiple acts perform. One of the acts, a “geek rapper” named George Watsky, is so moved by the majesty of his musical masterpiece “I Don’t Give A F*ck” that he is compelled to climb up a 35 ft lighting rig. There you stand, looking up at this putz who then decides to JUMP DOWN into the crowd of people, breaking one woman’s arm and sending another man into the hospital with back damage.
This actually happened in London this week, and, unfortunately, George Watzky is a member of the Hebraic faith. (Well, he’s half-Jewish. Note how I only point this out when it is an embarrassment.) Nevertheless, that half is enough to earn George Watsky the most dubious honor that can befall one of the Chosen People. He is our Shonda of the Week.
New From Hollywood
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: Is it a mooney-gooney love triangle targeting teenage girls or is it a cry for social and economic justice? Can’t it be a little of both?
This sequel to last year’s first installment in the franchise is, without question, vastly superior in every department. Better writing, better character development and a bigger budget for the action and special effects. There are also those outrageous outfits, care of fan-favorite character Cinna, played by half-Jewish musician/renaissance man Lenny Kravitz. I’m definitely hiring him next time I need a gown that can burst into flames to reveal dark bird wings beneath.
Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? An Animated Conversation With Noam Chomsky: In some circles Noam Chomsky is best known for being a firebrand anti-Zionist. But he did have a career as a linguist, scientist, educator and philosopher before strapping on his historical blinders.
Filmmaker Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) sat down with Chomsky for a number of rambling conversations about, among other things, how the mind works. Gondry then went and set this audio to associative (and sometimes free-form) hand-drawn animation. The result is dazzling.
Of note to some will be Chomsky’s recollection of his youth, including suffering anti-Semitic taunts, witnessing pro-Nazi sentiment among other ethnic groups during the outbreak of World War II, and his father’s work as a Hebrew scholar.
Delivery Man: The sin of Onan catches up to Vince Vaughn in ways not predicted in the Book of Genesis in this lighthearted and emotional comedy. Twenty years ago, Vaughn’s character David Wozniak was a frequent donor at a sperm bank. For reasons that are never fully explained, his seed was used over 500 times, thus giving him a whole platoon of offspring. Despite an anonymity clause in the contract, his spawn are pushing a class action lawsuit through to meet their mysterious father.
It’s a far-fetched and somewhat sappy film, but ultimately ends with a warm, humanist message. As unlikely as it may seem, you may find yourself moved.
Also in Theaters
Big Bad Wolves: The Israeli directing team of Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado follow up “Rabies” with an even more chilling and uncomfortable film. “Big Bad Wolves” is the type of movie that begs for symbolic interpretation, but also works on its own terms.
A man is suspected of being a child serial killer, but there is no hard proof. A convinced detective and the father of a recent victim independently decide to take the law into their own hands. When the three end up in the basement of a remote house the most unexpected thing happens: the movie is actually a little… funny? A true experiment in tone (and testing audiences’ boundaries) “Big Bad Wolves” was named the best movie of 2013 by Quentin Tarantino.
Last Vegas: Jewish-American Michael Douglas joins Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Midwestern half-Jew Kevin Kline in “Last Vegas,” a movie that people will half-watch on a plane. Douglas convinces his old cronies to join him for a bachelor party in Vegas, and some good-natured hi-jinks ensue. There are hemorrhoid jokes and “taking my pills” jokes and jokes about not knowing that 50 Cent is the name of a rapper. Proceed with caution.
Attack the Block: This overlooked British sci-fi/comedy/social commentary film from 2011 is playing this week at the Holon Mediatheque. A group of would-be delinquents in a London housing project rise to heroism when they find themselves besieged by blue fuzzy space aliens with sharp teeth and vicious claws. Co-starring is Nick Frost, best known from “Shaun of the Dead” and “The World’s End,” who (tidbit!) spent two years working at Kibbutz Bar’am.