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

 

WONDER WOMAN — Review by Susan Granger

According to Fandango, “Wonder Woman” is the summer’s most anticipated movie. It’s the fourth – and best – in DC’s Extended Universe, following “Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad.” I grew up reading “Wonder Woman” comics and watched TV’s kitschy Lynda Carter, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting Princess Diana’s standalone superhero movie. Now she’s here! Continue reading…

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EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING — Review by Susan Granger

There have been so many movies about attractive young people falling in love, while facing potentially fatal illnesses, that there’s now a new sub-genre called Sickness Porn. Adapted from YA novels – like “The Fault in Our Stars,” “If I Stay,” “Me Before You,” “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” among others – its roots can be traced back to “Love Story” (1970). Continue reading…

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PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES — Review by Susan Granger

This is the fifth installment of the floundering franchise which has become a lengthy commercial for the newly revised ‘ride’ at Disney theme parks. Argh! Continue reading…

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THE WEDDING PLAN — Review by Susan Granger

You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy “The Wedding Plan,” but it wouldn’t hurt…. When her evasive fiancé breaks off their engagement a month before their nuptials, 32 year-old Michal (Noa Koler), who was raised non-religious but has devoutly embraced Orthodox Judaism, refuses to cancel the guests’ invitations or relinquish the reception venue and date which, significantly, falls on the last night of Hanukkah. Continue reading…

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BAYWATCH — Review by Susan Granger

This raunchy, big-screen riff off TV’s ‘90s action-comedy “Baywatch” kicks off the silly summer season with tryouts for the elite team of tanned, toned lifeguards that patrol Emerald Beach. Under the watchful eye of no-nonsense Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson), the wannabees are narrowed down to pudgy Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass), sassy Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario) and cocky Matt Brody (Zac Efron), a disgraced bad boy who thinks his two Olympic gold medals should make him a shoo-in. Continue reading…

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ALIEN: COVENANT — Review by Susan Granger

Back in 1979, Ridley Scott helmed the shocking sci-fi thriller “Alien,” starring Sigourney Weaver, and containing one of the most terrifying moments I’ve ever seen on the screen, heralded by the memorable slogan: “In space, no one can hear you scream.” Continue reading…

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KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD — Review by Susan Granger

Director Guy Ritchie diminishes the magnificent Arthurian legend and the mythology of the sword known as Excalibur to brutal butchery in this indecipherable medieval muddle. Continue reading…

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NORMAN — Review by Susan Granger

The satirical subtitle says it all: “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,” as New York-born Israeli writer/director Joseph Cedar fashions a dryly witty character study. Continue reading

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BORN IN CHINA — Review by Susan Granger

This G-rated Disneynature documentary focuses exclusively on animal species unique to China: pandas, golden snub-nosed monkeys, snow leopards, Chiru antelope and red-crowned cranes, a traditional Chinese symbol of good fortune and longevity. Educational, it’s filled with spectacular landscapes and extraordinary close-ups of animal activity, centering on three specific families over the span of a year, beginning and ending in the spring. Continue reading…

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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 — Review by Susan Granger

For this action-driven sequel, writer/director James Gunn cleverly revisits the irreverent comic book concept of maverick mercenaries that he created for the 2014 original. In 1981 in Missouri, the prologue shows Peter Quill’s mom (Laura Haddock) and ‘spaceman’ dad (a very youthful Kurt Russell) driving in their 1979 Ford Cobra to a special place in the forest where he plants something bizarre. Continue reading…

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THE CIRCLE — Review by Susan Granger

Tackling the “Me-centric” revelatory culture of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., James Ponsoldt’s timely thriller delves into the ubiquitous perils of contemporary technology. When Mae Holland (Emily Watson) goes to work for The Circle, a massively powerful social media company in the San Francisco Bay Area, she’s thrilled. Beginning as a ‘guppy,’ she’s assigned to a Customer Service desk, where she’s expected not only to excel but also to participate in off-hour and weekend events with her co-workers. Continue reading…

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THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS — Review by Susan Granger

The numbers tell the tale: the eighth installment of this long-running series revved up an estimated $532.5 million worldwide, setting a new record for an opening weekend. Build around muscle cars, drag racing and the importance of family, this high-speed action thriller brings back Vin Diesel as gruff, monosyllabic Dominic Toretto, and it’s filled with spectacular, globe-spanning vehicular destruction. Continue reading…

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THE PROMISE — Review by Susan Granger

Because of strong ties with the Turkish government, American presidents have never acknowledged the Ottoman Empire’s systematic annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1918 as “genocide.” So this sprawling, historical epic begins in 1914 as Mikael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac), an ambitious, young apothecary in Siroun, a small southern Turkish village, is betrothed a local girl so he can use her dowry to attend medical school in Constantinople, promising to marry her once he’s a doctor. Continue reading…

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GHOST IN THE SHELL — Review by Susan Granger

If you’re into the latest whiz-bang technology, this dystopian sci-fi thriller is a live-action remake of Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 cyberpunk anime, based on Masamune Shirow’s popular 1989 manga series. Its publicity campaign has focused on Scarlett Johansson’s appearing to be ‘almost’ naked, dashing around a futuristic cityscape in a flesh-colored, skin-tight casing; she’s a cyborg law-enforcement officer known as the Major. The gimmick is that when she dons this “thermoptic” suit, she is basically invisible. Continue reading

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GIFTED — Review by Susan Granger

If you’re searching for a fascinating, feel-good, family film with a provocative premise, choose “Gifted.” Seven year-old Mary Adler (Mckenna Grace), a child prodigy, lives happily in a coastal Florida trailer park with Uncle Frank (Chris Evans) and her one-eyed cat named Fred. But now it’s time for her to go to a real school and, hopefully, make some friends her own age. Continue reading…

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GOING IN STYLE — Review by Susan Granger

Bill Gates once said, “Banking is necessary, banks are not.” Which may be why bankers and banks have become popular cinematic villains. Like the hapless brothers in last year’s “Hell or High Water,” three Brooklyn-based seniors suddenly realize that – because of a nefarious local bank – they’re going to be broke and homeless. Joe (Michael Caine) comes up with the idea of an armed robbery after conferring with a sleazy Williamsburg Savings Bank manager (Josh Pais) about his adjustable mortgage that has suddenly tripled, threatening him, his divorced daughter and beloved granddaughter with foreclosure and eviction. Read on…

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THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE – Review by Susan Granger

As years go by, more and more poignant survival stories that have been buried in Holocaust history are surfacing. This one begins on a beautiful day in 1939 at Poland’s Warsaw Zoo, where Antonia Zabinska (Jessica Chastain) is helping her husband Jan (Belgian actor Johan Heldenberg) tend the animals. That afternoon, she resuscitates a newborn elephant calf who cannot breathe – with its distraught mother’s at her side. But then German aircraft appear overhead, and bombs reign down, killing many of the terrified beasts, while others escape to roam the city’s streets. Read on…

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WILSON — Review by Susan Granger

Based on Daniel Clowes’ 2010 graphic novel, this dark comedy revolves around an eccentric, middle-aged misanthrope who lives in a shabby apartment with Pepper, his engaging wire fox terrier, and is prone to befriend and then brusquely criticize strangers when they’re out for a walk. After his father dies of cancer and his only friend moves away, irascible Wilson (Woody Harrelson), who is far too forthright and honest, makes a half-hearted attempt to socialize, mentioning to a lonely companion (Margo Martindale) that he misses his ex-wife Pippi (Laura Dern), who left him 17 years ago. Read on…

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TABLE 19 — Review by Susan Granger

Angst-riddled weddings have always been ripe for satire but this rom-com doesn’t satisfy even the most meager expectations. Eloise McGarry (Anna Kendrick) was supposed to be Maid-of-Honor at her oldest friend’s Midwestern wedding but then the bride’s brother/Best Man, Teddy (Wyatt Russell), breaks up with her – via a text message. So clumsy, insecure Eloise finds herself relegated to a remote section of the reception, seated with the losers that the bridal couple felt obligated to invite but hoped wouldn’t come. Read on…

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LOGAN — Review by Susan Granger

As the “X-Men” saga continues, Logan (Hugh Jackman) – a.k.a. Wolverine – is caring for cranky, critically ill Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), along with the albino Caliban (Stephen Merchant), in a hideout along the Mexican border. It’s 2029, when mutants are almost extinct. Weary Logan earns his living as a chauffeur, driving his own limousine, and drinking far too much. But he’s still the feral mutant with massive claws and a trigger-sharp temper. Read on…

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A UNITED KINGDOM — Review by Susan Granger

In London in 1947, the future King of Botswana, Prince Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), who was studying law at Oxford, met a beautiful Englishwoman, Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), at a Mission Society dance and, soon after, they impulsively married. That’s just the beginning of this intriguing true story. Original opposition to their union came not only from Ruth’s racist father (Nicholas Lyndhurst) but also from the British government. Britain’s South Africa regime had recently introduced the policy of apartheid, so a biracial couple ruling a neighboring country seemed out of the question. Read on…

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A CURE FOR WELLNESS — Review by Susan Granger

When a young, ambitious Wall Street investment banker is dispatched to Switzerland to retrieve his company’s CEO from a mysterious, idyllic spa, encased in an Alpine castle, he discovers that the concept of “wellness” is open to macabre interpretation. Upon his arrival, Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) observes the elderly, outwardly contented residents wandering around in white robes, playing croquet, yet no staff member seems willing to tell him where his boss, Harold Pembroke (Harry Groener), is. As the plot twists and turns, Lockhart is in an automobile accident. Awakening with a broken leg, he discovers he’s now a patient, cared for by suavely sinister Dr. Heinrich Volmer (Jason Isaacs), who explains that the spa’s miraculous rejuvenation treatment comes from the water. Read on…

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THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE — Review by Susan Granger

This inventive, animated spin-off of 2014’s “The LEGO Movie” astutely ridicules the Caped Crusader, beginning with the title sequence, since “All important movies start with a black screen.” In the opening scene, self-centered Batman (Will Arnett) protects Gotham City from a series of desperados, led by the demented Joker (Zach Galifianakis), then regales its citizens about his heroics. When he’s not crime-fighting, narcissistic Bruce Wayne lives in luxurious isolation with his loyal butler, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes). After microwaving leftover lobster, Wayne watches ‘Jerry Maguire” in his Bat Theater – until he’s joined by eager orphan Dick Grayson (Michael Cera). Read on…

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TONI ERDMANN — Review by Susan Granger

Going into the Oscar Foreign Language race as an overwhelming favorite, German filmmaker Maren Ade’s poignant comedic-drama revolves around a practical-joking father who tries to reconnect with his uptight daughter by creating an outrageous alter-ego. Within that context, Ade satirically tackles feminism, workplace sexism, international capitalism, and German arrogance within the European Union.
After his beloved dog dies, divorced, middle-aged music teacher Winifred Conradi (Peter Simonischek) feels totally lost. So he tries to reconnect with his only child – daughter Ines (Sandra Huller) – who is obsessive about her executive consulting work in Romania. Read on…

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THE COMEDIAN — Review by Susan Granger

Back in 1983, Robert De Niro played a sociopathic wannabe celebrity in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” starring Jerry Lewis. Obviously, the delusional character intrigued De Niro because in “The Comedian,” he’s a former TV sit-com star, Jackie Burke. Aging Burke has hit hard times, unable to move beyond nostalgic references to “Eddie’s Home.” One night when an obnoxious heckler with a web-cam taunts him at a comedy club in Hicksville, Long Island, he clobbers the guy in a scuffle that winds up on YouTube. Read on…

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