A bridge (game) too far, a musical Echo and movies - what's on TV?

A number of recent movies you may have missed when they were in theaters – since many are not ready to return to regular movie going – will be shown on TV soon.

 ‘DIRTY TRICKS’ (photo credit: YES)
‘DIRTY TRICKS’
(photo credit: YES)

While many may think of the game of bridge as rather staid, the new series from Yes Docu, Dirty Tricks, shows that the competitive Bridge world is a maelstrom of drama. Dirty Tricks was directed by Daniel Sivan and will become available on Yes VOD and Sting TV starting on November 18, and episodes will be shown on Yes Docu from November 21-23 at 9 p.m. It tells the story of the Israeli player, Lotan Fisher, a wunderkind who was known as “the Michael Jordan of Bridge” and who was accused of cheating by his archrival about five years ago. The scandal had major repercussions on the professional, big-bucks Bridge circuit and not everything is what it seems at first. The suspenseful series is billed as a “true-crime comedy documentary.”

We’ve had the Israeli drama series, Topaz, about the Mizrahi music world and now there is The Echo of Your Voice, a new series about the Ashkenazi music world, which will be broadcast on KAN 11 on Mondays and Tuesdays at 9:15 p.m. starting November 22. The more you enjoy Israeli music, the more you’ll like the show. It focuses on Koby Shemer (Itamar Rothschild) whose late father, Ari, was a musical legend, along the lines of Arik Einstein. Koby’s own musical career stalled a long time ago and now his son, Lenny (Orr Amrami-Brockman, a popular Ukraine-born Israeli singer who was one of the finalists in the Next Star for Eurovision contest), a charismatic and gifted singer, has been invited to join a popular singing competition on television. As Koby tries to cope with being the son of and father of stars, he tries to get his career started again and also looks for love. This series won the Best Actor Award at Series Mania – the prestigious television competition in France – for its three leads, Rothschild, Amrami-Brockman and Shmuel Vilozni. Shlomi Shaban composed the 70s-style songs for the series. It’s a well-made look at how talent can seem to skip a generation and was directed by Tom Shoval, whose latest film is Shake Your Cares Away.

A number of recent movies you may have missed when they were in theaters – since many are not ready to return to regular movie going – will be shown on TV soon. M. Night Shyamalan’s Old, one of his most successful movies since The Sixth Sense, is not what I recommend seeing if you are still nervous about the pandemic, but it will start showing on Hot VOD Cinema starting on November 22. It’s about a bunch of vacationers who go to an isolated beach where it turns out you age decades in a few hours, which is how many parents felt when we were all in lockdown. Instead of that, I’d recommend Moshe Alpert’s Kinneret: Sea of Life, which is also about a secluded beach, but it’s one where a desert cat grows up on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and it features beautiful photography that won’t give you nightmares, which will be available on Hot VOD Cinema starting on November 24. If you’re curious about Saving Shuli, the Israeli comedy that has become the biggest local hit in decades, you can see it on Hot VOD Cinema starting on November 25, and it’s definitely a popcorn movie. It is also available at the yes Movie Store and on Cellcom TV.

Following the success of Ted Lasso, there are several other high profile series and movies that have been released on Apple TV+, featuring some of the top actors in Hollywood, but so far none have been nearly as good as the unexpectedly successful soccer drama.

Tom Hanks stars in Apple TV+’s Finch, a movie about an engineer who is one of the only survivors in a post-apocalyptic world. It tells of how he trains a robot to take care of his dog, since he is dying of radiation poisoning. It’s On the Beach meets Lost in Space meets Benji and it’s a chore to watch. Hanks, who proved in Cast Away that he can carry a movie with only a volleyball as a costar, does his likable, regular-but-funny-guy shtick and it’s meant to tug at our heartstrings as the planet collapses around him and his cute dog looks on in sweet close-ups. But as so much recent news has made clear, Earth is in danger from climate change, and I would rather spend the time we have left rewatching old Hanks movies that are so much livelier and less portentous, like Sleepless in Seattle or Splash.

Paul Rudd (credit: MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)Paul Rudd (credit: MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)

As someone who has spent a great deal of time socially with psychiatrists, I have heard quite a few twisted stories of doctors and patients becoming enmeshed, so I was very interested in the new Apple TV+ series, The Shrink Next Door. It’s based on a podcast by the same name that told the true story of Dr. Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf (played by Paul Rudd, aka the Sexiest Man Alive, according to People magazine), who is being investigated for taking advantage of a patient, Marty Markowitz (Will Ferrell), during 27 years of therapy. The story is a fascinating look at how fine the line can be between unorthodox therapy and an outright scam, and Ike eventually convinces Marty to cut ties to his sister and give him control of his finances. But as compelling as the real story may be, the early episodes of the series which were released to the press, are underwhelming. It is made watchable by the talent of Rudd and Ferrell, who turn it into a kind of twisted ‘bromance,’ and by Kathryn Hahn as Marty’s sister. The three have a great time playing off each other, and I hope the series picks up as it progresses. In spite of the many twists and turns, the first four episodes move rather slowly.

Those who have recently written about how they think gentile actors should not play Jews will be unhappy with the casting of Ferrell and Hahn, but no one can fault their performances here and just about anyone watching it would assume they are Jewish. An announced biopic of Joan Rivers that was set to star Hahn was canceled and Hahn is so funny and likable here – as she always is – that it’s clear she would have been great portraying the late comedian.