Netflix goes to the Golden Globes

‘Parasite’ buzzes, ‘Fiddler’ ‘facts’ and ‘Fauda’ frontman goes ‘Underground’

ZERO MOSTEL in Fiddler (photo credit: COURTESY YES)
ZERO MOSTEL in Fiddler
(photo credit: COURTESY YES)
There weren’t too many surprises in the Golden Globe nominations for television, except that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the body that gives out the awards, seems to have had enough of Game of Thrones, which only got one nomination in the major categories, for actor Kit Harington. The Globes have moved on and are recognizing other dramas, among them such returning favorites as The Crown, Killing Eve, Big Little Lies and Succession – all of which are available on HOT, YES, Netflix and Cellcom. The fifth nominee, The Morning Show from Apple TV, has received mixed reviews.
In the Best Series – Comedy category, two Jewish-themed series were prominent, The Kominsky Method, which can be seen on Netflix, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which is available only on Amazon Prime.
Another trend is that this year, the line between movies and television has blurred more than ever. Three of the five nominated movies in the Best Picture-Drama category are Netflix films. These movies are Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, currently streaming, and Fernando Meirelles’ The Two Popes, which will be released on Friday. These films are playing in theaters but the vast majority of audiences will watch them at home.
One of the films that is generating a great deal of Oscar buzz, and not only in the Best International Feature category, is Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, which will be airing on HOT VOD and YES VOD starting on December 26. The film, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and which opened the Jerusalem Film Festival this summer, is a black comedy/tragedy about a poor family that insinuates itself into a rich household. It is set almost entirely indoors and should play well on the small screen, and will also be shown throughout the next month at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. It’s dark but gripping and memorable.
The acclaimed documentary, Max Lewkowicz’s Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles, which will be shown on YES Docu on December 22 at 10 p.m. (and on YES VOD and StingTV), is a love letter to Fiddler on the Roof, which is still so beloved today but which almost didn’t make it to Broadway. A play based on Sholem Aleichem stories about a Jewish family in Eastern Europe seemed like a long shot, in spite of the talent involved in the show: lead actor Zero Mostel, composer Jerry Bock, lyricist Sheldon Harnick, producer Hal Prince and director/choreographer Jerome Robbins.
Joel Grey, the director of the current Yiddish production, asks the question, “What is it that makes it speak in so many languages, and everybody thinks it’s about them?” and the movie tries to answer it, with the help of such Fiddler devotees as Stephen Sondheim and Lin Manuel Miranda
Michael Bay’s frenetic action thriller 6 Underground, currently streaming on Netflix, features Lior Raz, who is best known as Doron Kavilio on Fauda, as the super villain.
The premise is that a billionaire tech entrepreneur (Ryan Reynolds) fakes his own death and then gathers five other like-minded off-the-grid espionage specialists (among them Melanie Laurent, who starred in Inglourious Basterds) to destroy the bad guys that the US and other Western governments won’t. Raz plays the most worst of the baddies, Rovach Alimor, an evil dictator of a country called Turgistan. He’s first seen at the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, contemplating a painting of Napoleon, and from then on the clichés never stop coming. He even orders his martini shaken, not stirred, like James Bond at the intermission of a production of Richard III, and discusses Shakespearean revenge and retribution.
Rovach spouts a lot of portentous dialogue like, “Listen closely, the enemy is us. We must target him not where he is strong but where he is weak.” He’s unsmiling and glowers with an appropriate air of menace, so it’s a good international bad-guy debut. But the rest of the movie is a pyrotechnic festival set to pop tunes that is marred by an extraordinarily confusing timeline and no real suspense.
For those who crave better quality action, Season Three of Raz’s series Fauda will begin broadcasting on YES on December 26 and will be on Netflix in 2020.