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

 

THE HANDMAIDEN — Review by Susan Granger

Set in 1930s Korea, during the Japanese occupation, auteur Park Chan-wook’s romantic melodrama revolves around larcenous Sookee (Kim Tae-ri), an ambitious pickpocket recruited to help a con man, known as Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo), who is planning to seduce lovely, lonely Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee) to obtain her large inheritance. This aristocratic Japanese heiress lives in a magnificent manor house, deep in the woods, with her tyrannical uncle Kouzuki (Cho Jin-woong), an avid collector of rare exotic books whose tongue has turned black from licking his ink brushes. Read on…

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INFERNO – Review by Susan Granger

Director Ron Howard and actor Tom Hanks have previously collaborated on The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Angels and Demons (2009). So what happened to their adaptation of Dan Brown’s thriller is a mystery. This time, renowned Harvard art historian/“symbologist” Robert Langdon (Hanks) gets mixed up with a villainous billionaire, Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), who is determined to reduce the world’s population by unleashing a sinister super-virus as an apocalyptic plague. But Langdon doesn’t know what’s happening when he awakens in Florence, Italy, in a hospital room. He has amnesia, plus a nasty cut on his head. At his side is Dr. Siena Brooks (Felicity Jones, whose two front teeth, unfortunately, resemble Chiclets). Read more…

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CERTAIN WOMEN — Review by Susan Granger

Kelly Reichardt is a feminist filmmaker, based in Portland, Oregon, known for her minimalism in “River of Grass,” “Old Joy,” “Meek’s Cutoff,” “Night Movies,” “Wendy and Lucy.” Adapting short stories by Maile Meloy, she has created a cinematic portrait of several disparate women set in desolate Livingston, Montana. Read on…

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KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES –Review by Susan Granger

Dying is easy. Comedy is difficult.” Just after Jeff and Karen Gaffney (Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher) pack their children off for summer camp, mysterious new neighbors move into a house in their secluded cul-de-sac in an Atlanta suburb. They’re Tim and Natalie Jones (Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot). He claims to be a travel writer, a master of many languages who blows glass for a hobby; she’s an Israeli social-media consultant, enmeshed in food blogging and charity work. Read on…

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OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL – Review by Susan Granger

I’ve always been fascinated by the Ouija Board. For the past century, this creepy board game, manufactured by Hasbro, has intrigued players around the world. Its popularity rose sharply after America’s Civil War, since families lost so many loved ones in battle, many of whom remained unidentified. Using the Ouija Board, grieving relatives often gathered in the parlor to consult the ‘spirits’ for reassurance. Read on…

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AMERICAN HONEY – Review by Susan Granger

British filmmaker Andrea Arnold finds cinematic inspiration in a group of young American drifters, those tattered, tattooed, often defiant, yet seemingly aimless teenagers that lurk around places like Walmart. One of them is abused, 18 year-old Star (Sasha Lane) who deposits her two younger half-siblings in the care of their disaffected mother before blasting out of Muskogee, Oklahoma, with a group of hard-partying rowdies who drift around in a white van, hustling questionable magazine subscriptions. Read on…

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WILD OATS – Review by Susan Granger

Eva (Shirley MacLaine) is a retired 10th grade social studies teacher who, when her husband dies, accidentally receives a $5 million check from his life insurance policy, instead of the $50,000 that she expected. Her first impulse is to return it, but then her best friend Maddie (Jessica Lange), whose husband has just left her for his young secretary, suggests that she endorse and deposit the check immediately so they travel to an exotic place and have some well-deserved fun. Read on…

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QUEEN OF KATWE – Review by Susan Granger

Based on a true story, this film chronicles how talented Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga) from the poverty-stricken streets of Katwe, a township that’s south of Kampala, the capital of Uganda, became a world-class chess champion. Her journey begins when resilient nine year-old Phiona meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), who runs a sports outreach program of the local church’s youth ministry, teaching scrappy slum kids, struggling to survive, how to play chess – bribing them with a free cup of porridge. Read on…

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MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN — Review by Susan Granger

Adapting Ransom Riggs’ 2011 young-adult novel would seem like a perfect fit for the macabre imagination of eccentric filmmaker Tim Burton. Too bad he squanders this spine-tingling opportunity. When shy, teenage Jake Portman (bland Asa Butterfield) is summoned to his beloved grandfather’s tract home in suburban Florida, he realizes that the old man is dying, the victim of nefarious thugs. Read on…

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CLOWNTOWN – Review by Susan Granger

Extreme fear of clowns is so prevalent that there’s a word for it: “Coulrophobia.” That could be reason enough to avoid Tom Nagel’s cheapo horror film that revolves around a group of friends who get stranded in a seemingly abandoned town, only to discover that they’re being stalked by vicious psychopaths dressed as circus clowns. Read on…

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DEEPWATER HORIZON — Review by Susan Granger

When an explosion on April 10, 2010, ignited the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, the blowout lasted 87 days, leaking 4.9 million gallons into the Gulf, resulting in the worst ecological disaster in American history. Told through the perspective of Chief Electronics Technician Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg), it begins normally, as he bids goodbye to his wife (Kate Hudson) and young daughter, hoping to snag a ‘dinosaur bone’ for her to show to her class in school. Read on…

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THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS — Review by Susan Granger

If you’re in the mood for an old-fashioned, historical melodrama, this should be your choice. Returning from W.W. I in 1919, embittered Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) takes a job manning a lighthouse on an isolated, windswept island called Janus, off the coast of Western Australia. A taciturn fellow of few words, he wants to escape from the carnage of civilization and be left in solitude. Read on…

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BRIDGET JONES’ S BABY — Review by Susan Granger

The long-awaited third installment begins as charmingly awkward, accident-prone Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is celebrating her 43rd birthday – alone, once again – with Celine Dion’s “All By Myself.” A funeral flashback reveals that Bridget’s caddish boss, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), has died and her longtime lover, successful barrister Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), is married to a woman named Camilla. Read on…

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FINDING ALTAMIRA – Review by Susan Granger

Focusing on the conflict between religion and science, this story revolves around the 1879 discovery of a cavern in Northern Spain that’s filled with pre-historic paintings of galloping bison. Jurist and amateur archeologist Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola y de la Pedrueca (Antonio Banderas) and his nine year-old daughter Maria (Allegra Allen) enjoy roaming the countryside of Cantabria, observing nature and chronicling their findings. Read on…

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MORGAN – Review by Susan Granger

It’s interesting that Luke Scott decided to make his directorial debut with this sci-fi thriller – since his father, Ridley Scott, made one of the first movies about Artificial Intelligence – “Blade Runner” (1982) – about a cop who hunts humanoid replicants. In many ways, “Morgan” resembles “Blade Runner.” Instead of a teeming metropolis, however, it’s set in a top-secret, remote facility, a decrepit mansion located deep in the woods, where a risk-management consultant, Lee Weathers (Rooney Mara), is sent to investigate and evaluate a scientific experiment that seems to have gone awry. Read on…

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HELL OR HIGH WATER — Review by Susan Granger

Reminiscent of “Unforgiven” and “No Country For Old Men,” this gritty, contemporary Western, set in West Texas, focuses on the Howard brothers, who concoct a plan to wreak revenge on the greedy bank that swindled their dying mother out of her land. Brooding divorced dad Toby (Chris Pine) is determined that his two sons inherit the oil-rich family acreage which is under threat of foreclosure. So he turns to his sociopathic, ex-con brother Tanner (Ben Foster) for help. Read on…

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BEN HUR — Review by Susan Granger

Why remake “Ben Hur” (1959), the epic sword-and-sandals adventure that set an Oscar record, sweeping 11 out of the 12 categories in which it was nominated, including Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler) and Best Actor (Charlton Heston)? This new version, produced by Mark Burnett (TV’s “Survivor,” “The Voice”) and Roma Downey (TV’s “Touched By an Angel”), the husband-and-wife team behind the 10-hour TV miniseries “The Bible,” returns Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ” to its devoutly religious roots. Read on…

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ANTHROPOID — Review by Susan Granger

Based on the true story behind two Czechoslovakian operatives’ mission to assassinate S.S. General Reinhard Heydrich, this wannabe WW II thriller should be more suspenseful than it is. In December, 1941, when Czechoslovakian loyalists Josef Gabcik (Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubis (Jamie Dornan) parachute from London into their Nazi-occupied homeland, they must devise a way to implement “Operation Anthropoid.” Read on…

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INDIGNATION — Review by Susan Granger

Retaining authenticity in adapting Philip Roth novels has often been a problem, as evidenced in “The Human Stain,” “Elegy” and “The Humbling.” So “Indignation” at least has veracity going for it. Set in 1951, this coming-of-age story revolves around industrious Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman), a working-class Jewish teenager from Newark, New Jersey, who earns a scholarship to a small, Christian college in Ohio, primarily to avoid being drafted and sent to fight in the Korean War. Read om…

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PETE’S DRAGON — Review by Susan Granger

Set in the Pacific Northwest, this heart-warming, folkloric fantasy begins with an automobile accident in which four year-old Pete (Levi Alexander) loses both of his parents. Scared and stranded in the deep woods, orphaned Pete is soon befriended by a gentle, 24 foot-long dragon with moss-green fur, whom he names Elliot, after the dog in his favorite children’s book. Read on…

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ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS – Review by Susan Granger

On BBC-TV, off-and-on from 1992 to 2004, the cult sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous” was just that. As a full-length feature film, it’s only fair. First of all, you’ve got to know who’s who and what’s what in order to understand anything. Otherwise, it’s like coming into the middle of a stranger’s glitzy party, knowing no one. The plot revolves around the misadventures of two bawdy, Bollinger-boozing, middle-aged fashionistas. Enlisting the help of her BFF Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley), British publicist Edina “Eddy” Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) is determined to sign a new client: supermodel Kate Moss. Read on…

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BAD MOMS –Review by Susan Granger

Believing that you’re the absolute center of your child’s universe can lead to helicopter parenting – and being a smothering mother causes incredible stress. Just ask exhausted 32 year-old Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis). Living in suburban Chicago with a man-child husband (David Walton) and two spoiled preteens (Oona Lawrence, Emjay Anthony), she’s juggling the demands of family and working with millennials at a hip coffee company. Read on…

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OUR LITTLE SISTER — Revew by Susan Granger

Based on Akimi Yoshida’s popular graphic novel “Umimachi Diary,” Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda (“Nobody Knows,” “I Wish,” “Like Father, Like Son”) has created a wistful, episodic melodrama about families. When the three twentysomething Koda sisters – Sachi, Yoshino and Chika – travel north to Yamagata for the funeral of their estranged father, they discover that they have a teenage half-sister (Suzu Hirose) from his second marriage. Read on….

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THE INFILTRATOR — Review by Susan Granger

It’s a new twist on a familiar story, as a law-abiding everyman becomes entangled with Pablo Escobar’s Medellin drug cartel. Back in 1986, Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston) was a devoted husband and father, working as a U.S. Customs agent in Tampa, Florida. In the opening scene, he’s about to make an undercover drug deal in a bowling alley when the microphone strapped to his chest overheats, the excruciating pain almost blowing his cover. Read on…

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GHOSTBUSTERS — Review by Susan Granger

The infectious charm of the original “Ghostbusters” (1964) was the goofy chemistry between bright, slyly satiric “SNL” comedians (Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson) and ectoplasmic special effects. The problem with this mediocre re-make is not the gender-redo but its lack of originality, along with a scarcity of in-jokes, irony and cynicism – and a repetition of the same supernatural special effects. Read on…

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