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Television

Tehran: A Suspenseful Television Miniseries

Israel and Iran are the worst of enemies. Iran regularly call for Israel’s destruction and supports its most implacable enemies. Israel, in turn, works ceaselessly to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program and undermine its regional proxies. Their conflict is an existential battle tailor-made for the big screen or television. Tehran, the new eight-part Apple TV miniseries, […]

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Television

Love, Lights, Hanukkah!

Twinkling Christmas trees and flickering Hanukkah candles are the illuminating bookends of the Hallmark Channel’s newest seasonal movie, Love, Lights, Hanukkah! Filmed in Vancouver, but set in Cleveland, Mark Jean’s feel-good movie celebrates not only the miracle of Hanukkah, the Maccabees’ victory over the Syrians, but the miracle of a mother connecting with a long […]

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Television

Downfall Of A Titan

Dominique Strauss-Kahn rolled the dice and lost. DSK, as he was popularly known, blundered in a moment of incredible stupidity, setting into motion castastrophic events that cost him his career, tarnished his reputation and destroyed his marriage. DSK was managing director of the International Monetary Fund and a potential president of France when disaster struck on […]

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Television

Mank Resurrects A Legendary Hollywood Creative Partnership

David Fincher’s workmanlike film, Mank, shines a spotlight on one of the most productive collaborative partnerships in the annals of the Hollywood movie industry. Citizen Kane, the enduring 1941 cinematic classic, was the brainchild of Herman Mankiewicz, a seasoned wordsmith who struggled with alcoholism, and Orson Welles, a precocious upstart who basked in self-adulation. Now […]

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Television

Mosul — A Gritty War Drama

Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, was conquered by Islamic State in June 2014 and recaptured by Iraq in July 2017. Matthew Carnahan’s gritty war drama, Mosul, which is now available on Netflix, focuses on a small Iraqi police squad as it carries out a mopping-up operation on the eve of Mosul’s liberation. He dedicates the […]

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Television

Valley Of Tears — A Powerful Israeli War Drama

The Yom Kippur War, which unfolded over a period of three weeks starting on October 6, 1973, traumatized Israel. During the course of the hostilities, some 2,600 Israeli soldiers were killed and 11,000 were wounded, a horrendous casualty toll for a country of Israel’s size. Israel had grown cocky since its dazzling victory in the […]

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Television

Devil’s Island — The Gateway To Hell

I watched Papillon, Michael Noer’s usually gripping 2017 film, on Netflix the other night. It’s based on an international bestseller published in the late 1960s. The author, a petty thief from Paris named Henri Charriere, was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1931. For the next 14 years, he languished in a remote and hellish prison in […]

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Television

The Life Ahead

Romain Gary’s novel, The Life Before Us, has been converted into a warm-hearted feature film, The Life Ahead. Now available on the Netflix streaming network, it stars the legendary Italian actress Sophia Loren, and is directed by her son, Edoardo Ponti. Loren, 86, plays Madame Rosa, a Holocaust survivor and former prostitute who earns a living babysitting […]

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Television

Rise Of The Nazis

Germany was a liberal democracy until Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. After his appointment as chancellor in January of 1933, Germany fell into the hands of a murderous fascist clique that persecuted dissidents and Jews, destroyed democratic institutions and invaded neighboring countries. Germany’s descent into dictatorship is explored in Rise of the Nazis, which starts […]

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Television

The Queen’s Gambit

I don’t know how to play chess, but I was riveted by Netflix’s new seven-part series, The Queen’s Gambit, a mesmerizing drama revolving around a young American woman who wins acclaim as an international chess champion. Created by Scott Frank and Allan Scott, it held me in thrall from start to finish. Isla Johnston plays […]