Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.

 

Articles by Susan Granger

 

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP — Review by Susan Granger

After assisting Captain America and disobeying the Sokovia Accords, goofball Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) – a.k.a. Ant-Man – has been under house arrest for two years, devising elaborate games to play with his 10 year-old daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) while his cronies (Michael Pena, David Dastmalchian, Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris) run their security-consultant business. Continue reading…

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A KID LIKE JAKE — Review by Susan Granger

Originating as an Off-Broadway play in which the titular character never appears, this family drama curiously lacks credibility because there’s too little focus on young Jake. Set in Brooklyn, the story revolves around lawyer-turned-stay-at-home mom Alex (Claire Danes) and her therapist husband Greg (Jim Parsons). They’re perplexed and defensive when their four year-old son, Jake (Leo James Davis), expresses a definitive preference for dressing in Disney princess costumes and playing with so-called girls’ toys. Continue reading…

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HEARTS BEAT LOUD — Review by Susan Granger

One-time singer/musician Frank Fisher (Nick Offerman) struggles to keep afloat, running vinyl record store in the Brooklyn’s hip Red Hook neighborhood and spending off-hours at Sunny’s pub with perpetually stoned bartender Dave (Ted Danson). Frank’s beloved daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons), whom he’s raised alone in the years since her mother died in a bicycle accident, is diligently preparing to leave for UCLA as a pre-med major. Continue reading…

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THE SEAGULL — Review by Susan Granger

Tony Award-winning theater director Michael Mayer’s (“Spring Awakening”) film adaptation of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov’s classic 1896 play focuses on the summer residents of an idyllic, lakeside estate, located about 50 miles from Moscow. Continue reading…

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SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO — Review by Susan Granger

There’s no Emily Blunt as the FBI agent who served as the conscience of the 2015 original, so this sequel come across as amoral, ultra-violent and, unfortunately, all too timely, given the “zero-tolerance’ escalation of U.S. immigration crisis. Indeed, it begins as illegal Mexican immigrants are attempting to cross into the United States. When the Border Patrol stops one of the refugees at gunpoint, he blows himself up, detonating an explosive vest. Continue reading…

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GOTTI — Review by Susan Granger

For many years, John Travolta was obsessed with playing mobster John Gotti, aging from 32 to 61. “John Gotti Jr. gave me his father’s coat, jackets, shirts, neckties, watches, cufflinks, pocket squares – and the whole wardrobe fit me perfectly,” he recalls. A fighter, schemer and gossip, John Gotti was “the last modern gangster,” according to Travolta. Continue reading…

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HEREDITARY — Review by Susan Granger

Australian actress Toni Collette becomes the new ‘scream queen’ in Ari Aster’s terrifying psychological thriller about parents left with a diabolical legacy after the family matriarch’s death. This ominous story begins with a terse eulogy for dementia-addled, 78 year-old Ellen Taper Leigh by her dry-eyed daughter Annie Graham (Collette), who describes her difficult mother as so secretive and suspicious that she won’t be missed by those left behind. Continue reading…

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WOMAN WALKS AHEAD — Review by Susan Granger

In the 1880s, a wealthy, widowed artist, Catherine Weldon (Jessica Chastain), traveled by train from New York City to the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the Dakota Territory to paint a portrait of iconic Chief Sitting Bull, the last surviving Sioux warrior to defeat Lt. Col. George Custer almost 15 years earlier. Continue reading…

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WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR — Review by Susan Granger

Admittedly, it’s too early to talk Oscar, but I’d be stunned if Morgan Neville’s uplifting documentary about TV’s Mister Rogers doesn’t get a nomination and, perhaps, win. A look behind-the-scenes of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” reveals many surprises. The real Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian pastor who viewed the mass media of children’s television as his ministry. Arriving at the end of the turbulent 1960s, his soft-spoken, yet persuasive message was one of love and kindness. Continue reading…

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FIRST REFORMED — Review by Susan Granger

Ethan Hawke plays an alcoholic, emotionally tormented, cancer-plagued pastor in this bleak, character-driven drama. In upstate New York, Reverend Ernst Toller (Hawke) impassively tends an old Dutch Reform church, best known for its historical importance. Years ago, it was a stop on the Underground Railroad for escaped, Canada-bound slaves. Continue reading…

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OCEAN’S 8 — Review by Susan Granger

oceans 8 posterOpening with a scene reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven (2001), this caper comedy introduces the late, lamented Danny Ocean’s younger sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock), leaving prison after five-years, eight months and 12 days behind bars. Swinging into action, Debbie purloins beauty products from Bergdorf Goodman, forges a posh Manhattan hotel registration, liberates a suitcase off a bellman’s cart and contacts her cool wing-woman Lou (Cate Blanchett) to explain an intricate scheme she’s been working on during her incarceration. Continue reading…

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UPGRADE — Review by Susan Granger

If you’re into grisly, gruesome, dystopian sci-fi, you might watch this low-budget, revenge saga from writer/director Leigh Whannel (“Saw,” “Insidious”). One evening when automobile mechanic Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) takes his tech-exec wife, Asha (Melanie Vallejo), to visit a reclusive client, billionaire inventor Eron (Harrison Gilbertson), Asha’s self-driving car goes awry – after which she is killed by a gang of thugs and he is left as a quadriplegic. Continue reading…

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ZOO — Review by Susan Granger

If you’re searching for a feel-good, family film, I recommend Colin McIvor’s “Zoo,” a crowd favorite on the festival circuit. Based on a true story, it’s about how rebellious 12 year-old Tom Hall (Art Parkinson) and his friends save Buster, a baby elephant, during 1941 air raids on Northern Ireland. Continue reading…

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ALWAYS AT THE CARLYLE — Review by Susan Granger

always at the carlyle posterAbout 30 million people watched actress Meghan Markle marry Britain’s Prince Harry, topping the 22.8 million who saw his older brother, Prince William, marry Kate Middleton in 2011 – proving, once again, that Americans love to get a glimpse of the lifestyles of the rich and famous. In that vein, writer/director Matthew Miele (Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s) offers a 90-minute glimpse inside Manhattan’s legendary Upper East Side hotel, where Bobby Short held forth in the Cafe Carlyle for decades and Woody Allen still plays the clarinet. Continue reading…

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SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY — Review by Susan Granger

If you’ve ever wondered who Han Solo was and where he came from before joining Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and the Rebel Alliance on Tatooine, this adventurous prequel supplies the answers. Since Harrison Ford cannot go back to his youth, his sassy, sardonic scoundrel role is played by Alden Ehrenreich (Tetro, Hail, Caesar!), which may or may not have been a mistake. You’ll have to judge. Continue reading…

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DEADPOOL 2 — Review by Susan Granger

Bottom line: this subversive sequel is long, loud – and very funny! The foul-mouthed, facially disfigured, yet indestructible anti-hero Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is still madly in love with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and they’re thinking of having a baby, when tragedy strikes. Vengeance is inevitable. Continue reading…

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LIFE OF THE PARTY — Review by Susan Granger

Actress/producer/co-writer Melissa McCarthy collaborated with her husband/director Ben Falcone on this flaccid, cliché-riddled mom-com, set at (fictional) Decatur University. It begins as Deanna (McCarthy) and her husband, Dan (Matt Walsh), drop off their daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon) at her sorority house for her senior year. Leaving the campus, Dan tells her he wants a divorce; he’s having an affair with a real-estate agent (Julie Bowen) who has already put their house on the market. Continue reading…

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DEAR DICTATOR — Review by Susan Granger

Westport native Lisa Addario and her husband/screenwriting-directing partner Joe Syracuse came up with a crazy idea: What if a rebellious teenager became the pen-pal of a notorious, Castro-like tyrant of a small Caribbean island nation – and he suddenly arrived on her doorstep? That’s what happens when sullen 16 year-old Tatiana (Odeya Rush) satisfies her Social Studies teacher’s (Jason Biggs) assignment to “write to a famous person” by choosing Gen. Anton Vincent (Michael Caine), who responds, and a cordial correspondence ensues. Continue reading…

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OVERBOARD — Review by Susan Granger

Question: Why remake Garry Marshall’s screwball comedy starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell? Answer: Hollywood’s push for diversity now focuses on Latin American superstar Eugenio Derbetz. In the original, Hawn played a snobbish, spoiled heiress who hires carpenter/widower Russell to remodel a closet on her yacht. Then she rudely refuses to pay his bill. Later that night, when she falls overboard and develops amnesia, Russell claims she’s his wife, the mother of his four boys. Continue reading…

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THE ESCAPE OF PRISONER 614 — Review by Susan Granger

Set in upstate New York in what seems to be the 1960s, this wannabe comedic adventure begins as two bumbling deputies, Thurman Hayford (Jake McDorman) and Jim Doyle (Martin Starr), are summarily fired by cantankerous, corrupt Sheriff Wilson (Ron Perlman), because they’ve made no arrests since there’s been no crime committed in their tiny town of Shandaken for years. Continue reading…

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BYE BYE GERMANY — Review by Susan Granger

Set in Frankfurt in 1946 after World War II, this is the droll story of a group of Jewish survivors living in a U.N. Displaced Persons camp who band together to sell high-end ‘dowry’ linens to raise enough money to emigrate to America. Led by David Bermann (Moritz Bleibtreau), whose family’s once-elegant linen emporium was ravaged by the Nazis and now stands in ruins, they become peddlers. Continue reading…

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THE RIDER — Review by Susan Granger

​Chinese-born writer/director Chloe Zhao, who lives in Denver, Colorado, obviously feels a deep affinity for America’s heartland, introducing intriguing, off-beat Native American characters we seldom see on the silver screen. Set and filmed on the desolate, poverty-stricken Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, The Rider is the melancholy story of Sioux cowboy Brady Jandreau, playing himself, in a Badlands docudrama. Continue reading…

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FINDING YOUR FEET — Review by Susan Granger

Audience Award Winner for Best Narrative Feature at the 2018 Palm Springs International Film Festival, this charming British comedy is aimed specifically at a senior citizen audience, like “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” When snobbish, straitlaced ‘Lady’ Sandra Abbott (Imelda Staunton) discovers that her soon-to-retire police commissioner husband (John Sessions) has been having an affair with her best friend (Josie Lawrence), she flees from social humiliation in suburban Surrey to seek refuge with her estranged, older sister Elizabeth (Celia Imrie), known as Bif. Continue reading…

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I FEEL PRETTY — Review by Susan Granger

Certainly no one knew that Amy Schumer’s ‘empowerment’ comedy would be released the same week that intrepid Southwest Airlines pilot Tammi Jo Shults safely landed her crippled aircraft. But timing is everything. In the aftermath, no one asked Ms. Shults about her dress-size or brand of make-up. That’s irrelevant in a world where a woman’s training, skill and intelligence are valued far above her physical appearance. But not in insecure Renee Bennett’s world, where a woman is judged only by how she looks. So when Renee (Schumer), wearing a bra and spanx, sees herself in a full-length mirror, she’s filled with self-loathing. Continue reading…

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RAMPAGE — Review by Susan Granger

If A Quiet Place could be considered sublime horror, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new monster movie, based on a 1986 arcade game, falls into the ridiculous category. Back in 1993, there was breakthrough bio-engineering technology, known as CRISPR, which gave scientists a way to treat incurable diseases through genetic editing. In 2016, fearing its misuse, the U.S. Intelligence Community designated genetic editing a “Weapon of Mass Destruction and Proliferation.” Continue reading…

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