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

 

REBEL IN THE RYE — Review by Susan Granger

Since J.D. Salinger repeatedly refused to allow a movie to be made of “The Catcher in the Rye,” filmmaker Danny Strong decided to dramatize the story of how and why this literary classic was written. Adapting Kenneth Slawenski’s biography, Strong (co-creator of the TV series “Empire”) asserts not only that Holden Caulfield was Salinger’s alter ego but also that Oona O’Neill, daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill, was Sally Hayes. Comtnue reading…

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AMERICAN ASSASSIN — Review by Susan Granger

Derivative but diverting, this timely political thriller centers on covert U.S. operatives zeroing in on terrorist factions and renegade mercenaries. It begins on the Spanish island of Ibiza, where Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) proposes to his blonde, bikini-clad girl-friend, Katrina (Charlotte Vega). She accepts, but their idyllic vacation ends in a bloodbath when Katrina is killed, along with other beach-goers, by Uzi-toting Muslim terrorists from a Libyan group under Adnan Al-Mansur (Shahid Ahmad). Continue reading…

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MOTHER — Review by Susan Granger

If you needed proof of the adage “Love is blind,” look no further than Jennifer Lawrence starring in her boyfriend Darren Aronofsky’s macabre horror/melodrama that’s tinged with increasingly hysterical, pseudo-religious overtones. Writer/director Aronofsky (“Black Swan,” “The Wrestler”) blends “Rosemary’s Baby” with “Requiem for a Dream,” making the cynical assertion that – for the artist – creative inspiration is more important than love or life itself. Continue reading...

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IT — Review by Susan Granger

After the film industry’s weakest Labor Day weekend ever, the release of this new Stephen King-based thriller made the box-office sizzle, more than doubling the record set by “Hannibal” for the biggest horror movie opening of all-time. Helmed by Argentinean director Andy Muschietti (“Mama”), it relates Chapter One of a story about a demonic clown that starts in 1989 in Derry, Maine, and will, eventually, end in the present day. Continue reading…

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A YEAR BY THE SEA — Review by Susan Granger

Based on Joan Anderson’s New York Times best-selling memoir, filmmaker Alexander Janko has made one of those rare, feel-good films that celebrates middle-aged women. At her son’s wedding reception, Joan (Karen Allen) learns that her husband’s New York office is moving to Wichita, Kansas, and she’s expected to go along with the unexpected relocation. Continue reading…

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TULIP FEVER — Review by Susan Granger

Filmed in 2014, then shelved, this costume drama fails on almost all levels, despite a prestigious cast that includes three Oscar-winners: Christoph Waltz, Alicia Vikander and Judi Dench. So what went wrong? Continue reading…

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THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD — Review by Susan Granger

There are no surprises in this buddy action-comedy. Two established American stars (one Caucasian, one African-American), supported by some stalwart, foreign character-actors, engage in lots of violence, peppered with profanity. Continue reading…

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LEAP! — Review by Susan Granger

Aimed specifically at pre-teens, this animated feature has a bizarre history. Originally a French/Canada co-production, titled “Ballerina,” it performed well in Europe last year. Unfortunately, the Americanized version lost its magic somewhere in the mid-Atlantic. Continue reading…

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THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK — Review by Susan Granger

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Only Living Boy in New York” is a shallow, wryly sordid 6. As Brosnan’s character would put it: “It’s serviceable.” Read full review.

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WIND RIVER — Review by Susan Granger

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Wind River” is a powerful, action-packed 8, concluding with the distressing postscript: “There are no records available for tracking missing and murdered Native American women.” Read full review

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DETROIT — Review by Susan Granger

In this scathing docudrama, Kathryn Bigelow, the Oscar-winning director of “The Hurt Locker’ and “Zero Dark Thirty,” depicts the civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the volatile summer of 1967. It begins on the night of July 23 with a violent police raid on “The Blind Pig,” an unlicensed bar and African-American social club located on the second floor of a printing company, inciting what came to be known as the 12th Street Riot. Continue reading…

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THE LAST FACE — Review by Susan Granger

Years ago, Robin Wright, who was married to Sean Penn, optioned this concept as a “passion project,” involving both Penn and Javier Bardem, but funding fell through. When Wright and Penn divorced, Penn obviously got custody, casting his then-fiancée, Charlize Theron, in the role Wright had wanted to play. Born in South Africa, Theron might have been a superb choice, but Penn was so obviously besotted with her beauty that he rapturously photographs her like a glamorous fashion model, not an altruistic doctor. Continue reading…

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MENASHE — Review by Susan Granger

Set in Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox Borough Park neighborhood, this is the story of a Jewish widower (Menashe Lustig) who has lost custody of his beloved 10 year-old son, Rieven (Ruben Niborski). According to strict Hasidic custom, the youngster cannot be raised by a single parent. He must live with a father AND mother, so Menache’s married, financially secure, judgmental brother-in-law, Eizik (Yoel Weisshaus), has become Rieven’s condescending guardian. Continue reading…

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VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS — Review by Susan Granger

From Luc Besson, the visionary French director of “Lucy” and “The Fifth Element,” comes this $200 million sci-fi fantasy, consisting of an episodic series of missions originating on Alpha, a space station in the Magellan Current that keeps expanding, adding new entities, becoming an intergalactic, multicultural hub. Continue reading

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KIDNAP — Review by Susan Granger

Karla Dyson (Halle Berry) is devoted to her six year-old son Frankie (Sage Correa). A single mother, she works as a waitress in a New Orleans-area diner and spends all of her free time with her boy. While Frankie’s playing at a nearby amusement park, Karla steps away to take an important phone call from her attorney; apparently, her ex-husband is suing for sole custody. When she looks up, Frankie’s gone. Continue reading…

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THE EMOJI MOVIE — Review by Susan Granger

For technology luddites and those who have never encountered a smartphone, Emoji are pictographs and ideograms that are used to convey electronic messages via texts. Originating on Japanese mobile phones in the late 1990s, Emojis were popularized by Apple’s iPhone and soon adopted by Android and other mobile operating systems. Their addictive popularity led to inclusion in the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster. While their meanings can be culture-specific, their use is now almost universal. Continue reading…

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ATOMIC BLONDE — Review by Susan Granger

As the Berlin Wall crumbled in 1989, a behind-the-scenes spy thriller was unfolding, revolving around undercover MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), who was dispatched to retrieve information vital to the safety of Western intelligence. As she’s being debriefed by her handlers (Toby Jones, John Goodman), it’s revealed that another MI6 agent, James Gascoigne, had a list of every espionage officer in the city on both sides of the Cold War conflict. Comtonue reading…

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THE DARK TOWER — Review by Susan Granger

If you read Stephen King’s sprawling eight-novel saga, which reportedly took more than 30 years to assemble, you may understand what’s happening on-screen. If not, it’s an epic hit-or-miss proposition. The story begins in earthquake-plagued Manhattan, where teenage Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) is suffering horrific nightmares following the death of his fire-fighter father. When his mother (Katheryn Winnick) sends him to an asylum for psychiatric evaluation, he escapes, literally running for his life. Continue reading…

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AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH: TRUTH TO POWER — Review by Susan Granger

Not long after President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the historic 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, a crack in Antarctica’s ice shelf caused a 1.1-trillion-ton block of ice to calve, forming a colossal iceberg which is already breaking into huge chunks. Couple that with the increasing threat of mega-fires, worsening floods, deeper droughts and worldwide temperatures hitting a record high for the third year in a row. So to call this documentary follow-up to 2006’s Oscar-winning “An Inconvenient Truth” timely is an understatement. Continue reading…

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THE HOUSE — Review by Susan Granger

A strong contender for the Worst Picture of the Year, this new Will Ferrell/Amy Poehler comedy fails on almost every level. Continue reading…

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SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING — Review by Susan Granger

Are you ready for the on-going Spider-Man origin story? This one finds the webslinger joining Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, cavorting with the Avengers like Iron Man and Captain America. Frantic 15 year-old, high-school sophomore Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is frustrated because, although he’s been given an awesome high-tech suit by billionaire Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), he’s told not use his superpowers except on a local level, reporting to Stark’s flunkie, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau). Continue reading…

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THE HERO — Review by Susan Granger

Sam Elliott has never stopped working in films, ever since he made his debut with Paul Newman and Robert Redford in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969). And – in real life – it’s Sam Elliott who eventually married their co-star Katharine Ross. Continue reading…

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BABY DRIVER — Review by Susan Granger

British writer/director Edgar Wright puts the pedal to the metal for this propulsive, music-driven crime caper. The titular Baby (Ansel Elgort) is paying off a debt to crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey) by working as his rubber-burning getaway driver. Doc is the ruthless, short-tempered mastermind behind a series of robberies in Atlanta. Continue reading…

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OKJA — Review by Susan Granger

Inventive director Bong Joon Ho (“Snowpiercer,” “The Host”) has concocted a satirical action-comedy, blended with a controversial, socially-conscious allegorical fable. The prologue introduces Lucy Mirando (Tilda Switon), the ethically-challenged CEO of a powerful, multi-national, agrochemical corporation. She announces that her company will breed a new pig-like creature, a gigantic mammal, to solve the world’s hunger problem, distributing 26 genetically modified super-piglets to locations around the world to be raised by local farmers within their own “eco-friendly” culture. Continue reading…

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THE BEGUILED — Review by Susan Granger

Stylish filmmaker Sofia Coppola (“Marie Antoinette,” “Lost in Translation”) has adapted Don Siegel’s lurid 1971 Clint Eastwood western, based on the pulpy 1966 Thomas P. Cullinan novel. Set in war-ravaged Virginia in 1864, it begins as a badly wounded Union solder, Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell), collapses near Miss Farnsworth’s Seminary for Young Ladies, where he’s spotted by a youngster, curious Miss Amy (Oona Laurence), who is collecting mushrooms in the moss-draped woods. Continue reading…

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