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

 

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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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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CHAPPAQUIDDICK — Review by Susan Granger

First used in 1954, the term “affluenza” refers to an inability to understand the consequences of one’s actions because of financial privilege. That, plus the corrosive arrogance of being a Kennedy in Massachusetts, explains why Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s hopes of ever becoming President of the United States sank on the night of July 18, 1969. Continue reading…

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READY PLAYER ONE — Review by Susan Granger

Sci-fi, virtual reality and nostalgic pop culture collide in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s sprawling 2011 best-seller about a teenager’s quest to win a game that will give him control of a massive digital universe. Set in 2045 in dystopian Columbus, Ohio, the story revolves around Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), an orphaned nerd, living in “the stacks,” a grimy, vertical trailer park. Like everyone else, Wade spends most of his time immersed in a virtual game-room called the Oasis where one can be whoever one wishes. Continue reading..

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PACIFIC RIM UPRISING — Review by Susan Granger

Anticipation of the international box-office is what propelled this generic sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 epic “Pacific Rim,” which flopped in the United States but made millions overseas. Laden with special-effects, its sci-fi plot pitted humans against the Kaiju, which are alien-engineered sea monsters that emerged from a multidimensional gateway, known as the Breach, located on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. Continue reading…

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LOVE SIMON — Review by Susan Granger

This new, upbeat romantic comedy has already broken records: it’s the first major studio PG-13 wide-release, playing in multiplexes, as opposed to art houses, to revolve around an openly homosexual adolescent. Based on Becky Albertalli’s 2015 YA novel, “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” the narrative introduces popular, 17 year-old high school senior Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), who ruefully notes he’s never ‘the leading guy.’ Instead, he’s relegated to being ‘the best friend.’ Continue reading…

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THE BOY DOWNSTAIRS — Review by Susan Granger

The problem with awkward, indecisive, ordinary people is that they’re dull to watch – and filmmaker Sophie Brooks’ low-key rom-com hits all the boring buttons. Returning to New York after spending three years in London, 30’ish Diana (Zosia Mamet) is an aspiring writer who, ostensibly, works in a bridal shop but, judging by her spacious Fort Greene apartment, is still being financially supported by her indulgent father. Continue reading…

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DEATH WISH — Review by Susan Granger

There’s little to recommend director Eli Roth’s reboot of Michael Winner’s 1974 vigilante thriller in which a mild-mannered architect, played by Charles Bronson, utilizes his military training to become a vengeful killer after thugs invade his home, kill his wife and assault his daughter. Moving the location from New York to Chicago, we’re introduced to Dr. Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis), who lives in posh suburbia. That’s where his wife Lucy (Elisabeth Shue) is murdered and his college-age daughter Jordan (Camilla Morrone) is left comatose in a bungled burglary. Continue reading…

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THE FORGIVEN — Review by Susan Granger

Based on Michael Ashton’s play, “The Archbishop and the Antichrist,” this intense docudrama examines the (fictionalized) relationship between the iconic South African cleric Desmond Tutu and a notorious, white-supremacist murderer who is seeking clemency. In the mid-1990s when the Archbishop (Forest Whitaker) was appointed by then-President Nelson Mandela to head the Truth and Reconciliation Committee to confront the atrocities of apartheid, one of the defendants was Afrikaner Piet Blomfeld (Eric Bana), an unrepentantly racist psychopath. Continue reading…

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EVERY DAY — Review by Susan Granger

Based on David Levithan’s YA best-seller, this angst-filled, adolescent fantasy revolves around someone who awakens every morning in a different body. While the novel took place through the eyes of A, a sensitive soul who temporarily occupies the bodies of unsuspecting teenagers for a period of 24 hours, this dramedy shares the focus with 16 year-old Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) who is taken for granted by her cocky, chain-smoking boyfriend Nathan (Justin Smith). Continue reading…

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A FANTASTIC WOMAN — Review by Susan Granger

Filmmaker Sebastian Lelio examines the emotional stigma of transgender in this sensitive, Oscar-winning Chilean film. In Santiago, Martina Vidal (Daniela Vega) and Orlando Onetto (Francisco Reyes) are in love. She’s a young waitress/cabaret singer; he’s 20 years older, the owner of a printing company. After celebrating Martina’s birthday one evening, Orlando becomes ill, suffering a fatal aneurysm. Martina rushes him to the emergency room, but he dies on the operating table. Continue reading…

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RED SPARROW — Review by Susan Granger

When Russian prima ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) suffers a devastating injury, the Bolshoi will no longer pay for her Moscow apartment and care for her ailing mother (Joely Richardson). That’s when her lecherous Uncle Vanya (Matthias Schoenaerts), deputy director of Russia’s external intelligence agency SVR, makes her an offer she cannot refuse. Continue reading…

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ANNIHILATION — Review by Susan Granger

annihiation posterFollowing “Ex Machina,” writer/director Alex Garland has concocted an ominous sci-fi thriller drenched with a pervasive sense of foreboding and dread. It begins as a professor of cellular biology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Lena (Natalie Portman), is interrogated by Lomax (Benedict Wong) in a hazmat suit. Displaying no emotion, she calmly explains how her military husband, Kane (Oscar Isaac), was dispatched on a secret mission and disappeared. Almost a year passes before he returns, looking bizarrely catatonic and experiencing convulsions. When Lena summons an ambulance, she’s mysteriously kidnapped along with her now-comatose, dying husband, who is placed in quarantine by federal authorities.Continue reading…

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THE 15:17 to PARIS — Review by Susan Granger

On Thalys passenger train 9364 bound for Paris on August 21, 2015, three brave Americans intercepted a terrorist who was determined to kill as many people as possible. Their spontaneous heroism inspired Clint Eastwood not only to film their story but also to cast Spencer Stone, Alex Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler as themselves. Continue reading…

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WINCHESTER — Review by Susan Granger

Supposedly “inspired by actual events,” this Gothic ghost story revolves around widowed Sarah Lockwood Winchester (Helen Mirren), who inherited a vast fortune from her husband, William, whose family founded the fabled Winchester Repeating Arms in New Haven, Connecticut. From 1864 until her death in 1922, Sarah supervised construction of an elaborate estate In San Jose, California, a project supposedly instigated by a New England seer to delay her own demise and, perhaps, calm the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles. Continue reading…

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EARLY MAN — Review by Susan Granger

With a filmography that includes “Chicken Run,” “Wallace and Gromit” and “Shaun the Sheep,” U.K.-based Aardman Animation specializes in Claymation, a labor-intensive form of stop-motion that uses figures made of clay. Animators pose the figures for each frame – every movement, every gesture – with 24 frames for each second of film. For every shot, the seven-inch-tall silicone figures are bolted into place on cleverly detailed sets that stand about two-feet high. Mouth movements are synched to pre-recorded vocal tracts. Continue reading…

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BLACK PANTHER — Review by Susan Granger

Exactly a decade after Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a powerful, new superhero has arrived – and he’s sensational! The warrior T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is the Prince/protector of the fantastical African nation of Wakanda, an isolated, secretive kingdom that’s rich with Vibranium – the mythic ‘alien’ metal that comprises Captain America’s shield. This invaluable resource has enabled incredible technological advances including magnetic transfers, superconductors, and spaceships. Continue reading…

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50 SHADES FREED — Review by Susan Granger

The final episode of this inexplicably successful, soft-core porn franchise opens with billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) dazzling his bride, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson),with an ostentatious display of his staggering wealth: his jet, his yacht, his chef, etc. Continue reading…

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