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

 

DISOBEDIENCE — Review by Susan Granger

Chilean director Sebastian Lelio, who won this year’s Foreign Language Oscar for the transgender drama A Fantastic Woman, has adapted Naomi Alderman’s novel as his first English-language film, co-writing with playwright Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Ida). Set in Hendon, the north London suburb where the Alderman, a former Orthodox Jew, grew up, it begins as elderly, revered Rav Krushka (Anton Lesser) is giving what will be his last sermon – on the nature of free will, a divine gift bestowed only on humans. Continue reading…

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BOOK CLUB — Review by Susan Granger

Because advertising and trailers can be deceptive, part of a movie critic’s job is to steer audiences to films they may enjoy. This poignant rom-com is directly aimed at older adults – and the matinee audience with whom I viewed it burst into spontaneous applause at the conclusion. In suburban Santa Monica, four lifelong friends meet regularly to sip wine, nibble canapes and discuss their lives as they relate to the chosen book they’re all reading. Years ago, they began with Erica Jong’s “Fear of Flying,” and now they’re into the purple prose of E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Continue reading…

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BAD SAMARITAN — Review by Susan Granger

I suspect most people are interested in this psychological thriller because it stars Scottish actor David Tennant, best known as a former “Doctor Who.” Tennant plays wealthy, psychopathic Cale Erendreich who gets his jollies by kidnapping and torturing women. In a flashback sequence, viewers witness a childhood trauma with a wild horse which, supposedly, serves to explain his sadistic fetish for bridles and bondage. Continue reading…

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AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR — Review by Susan Granger

Have you ever bought one of those giant tubs of hot, buttered popcorn? You know how you feel after you’ve gorged yourself? That’s how bloated I felt after nearly three hours of this massive comic-book spectacle. Continue reading…

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BEIRUT — Review by Susan Granger

Charismatic Jon Hamm (TV’s “Mad Men”) is such a good actor that it’s a shame his considerable talents are wasted on this disjointed political thriller, set in war-torn Lebanon in 1982. Hamm plays Mason Skiles, a top U.S. diplomat, happily married to Nadia (Leila Bekhti) and living in Beirut. Having no children of their own, they’ve taken in Karim (Yoav Sadian Rosenberg), a 13 year-old Palestinian refugee, treating him like “part of the family.” Continue reading…

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A QUIET PLACE — Review by Susan Granger

a quiet place posterSome moviegoers absolutely love to be scared, frightened out of their wits. If so, this dystopian horror thriller is for you. Emily Blunt and her husband John Krasinski play Evelyn and Lee Abbott, a married couple, living on a secluded farm in upstate New York. It’s Day 89 – after most of the civilized world has been decimated by an alien invasion of hideously hungry creatures who detect their prey by super-sensitive sound. Knowing that silence is absolutely essential to survival, the Abbotts, always barefoot and alert, are determined to protect their three young children. Continue reading...

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ISLE OF DOGS — Review by Susan Granger

isle of dogs posterFrom the fertile imagination of filmmaker Wes Anderson comes this unique, stop-motion animated tale of a youngster looking for his lost companion, featuring the distinctive voices of Anderson’s regular repertory company. Set in the Japanese Archipelago in the near future, this dystopian fable, narrated by Courtney B. Vance, revolves around Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin), whose bodyguard dog, Spots (Liev Schreiber), is banished when Megasaki City’s cat-loving, dog-despising Mayor Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura) decrees that, following an outbreak of a type of flu known as Snout Fever, all canines must be exiled to an island previously used for trash disposal. Continue reading…

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DEN OF THIEVES — Review by Susan Granger

Opening with the (unverified) data that Los Angeles is “the bank robbery capital of the world,” there’s also the alarming alert that a heist occurs every 48 minutes. At the Major Crimes unit of the L.A. Sheriff’s Department, ‘Big Nick’ O’Brien (Gerard Butler) is obsessed with these statistics and determined to catch recently paroled Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber), whose band of former Marines-turned-bank robbers, known as “The Outlaws,” are planning to rob the downtown branch of the Federal Reserve for $30 million in unmarked bills. Continue reading...

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PHANTOM THREAD — Review by Susan Granger

Daniel Day-Lewis is one of our finest actors; each performance is precisely researched, resulting in absolute authenticity. Here, he plays eccentric, self-absorbed Reynolds Woodcock, a discerning British fashion designer. In the 1950s, lavish haute couture was revered by rich women and royalty, along with the couturiers. Impeccably groomed, imperious Woodcock demands that his elegant London townhouse home/office revolves around his craftsmanship and whims. Breakfast is silent: no crunching toast or idle chatter. Continue reading…

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THE SHAPE OF WATER — Review by Susan Granger

Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has created a poignant, fantastical fable, set in Baltimore, Maryland, at the height of the Cold War era in 1962. A lonely, mute janitor, Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins), discovers an exotic, aquatic Creature from the Black Lagoon, hidden in a cylindrical tank in a high-security government laboratory, run by sadistic Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) who tortures his amphibian captive with an electric cattle prod. Continue reading…

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MOLLY’S GAME — Review by Susan Granger

Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Miss Sloane”) is sensational as the Colorado-born skier who became America’s poker princess. After years of training to become world freestyle champion, Continue reading...

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WONDER WHEEL — Review by Susan Granger

Woody Allen’s new film returns to the signature giant blue Ferris wheel that looms over Coney Island’s amusement park, recalling his youth, back in the 1950s. Morose, melancholy, migraine headache-plagued Ginny (Kate Winslet), a former actress, works as a waitress at Ruby’s Clam House. Approaching her 40th birthday, she unhappily married to oafish, volatile carousel-operator Humpty (Jim Belushi), whose long-estranged daughter Carolina (Juno Temple) suddenly shows up on their doorstep. Continue reading…

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LADY BIRD — Review by Susan Granger

Actress/screenwriter Greta Gerwig makes an auspicious directorial debut with this perceptive coming-of-age dramedy, chronicling the tempestuous bond between a teenager and her mother. Continue reading…

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THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI — Review by Susan Granger

Since the Ebbing Police Department has been unable to find the killer, Mildred rents three abandoned billboards on a back road to advertise their ineptitude and complacency, focusing on Sheriff William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), who has been privately agonizing about not having solved the crime and is dying of pancreatic cancer. Continue reading…

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DUNKIRK — Review by Susan Granger

W.W.II’s Miracle of Dunkirk has never been addressed in American cinema. It details the epic rescue of 338,000 Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, France: the biggest evacuation in military history. From May 27 to June 4, 1940, the Allies were surrounded on all sides by German forces (never named, just referred to as “the enemy”), while the Luftwaffe repeatedly buzzed and bombarded the beaches. Continue reading…

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THE HUNTER’S PRAYER — Review by Susan Granger

When her wealthy parents are murdered in their suburban New York, home, teenage Ella Hatto (Odeya Rush) is thousands of miles away at a posh Swiss boarding school, sneaking out to a trendy nightclub with her boyfriend Sergio, unaware that she’s next on the assassin’s hit list. Continue reading…

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THE WOMEN’S BALCONY — Review by Susan Granger

The highest-grossing film in Israel in the past three years, this good-hearted, yet provocative comedic drama is about the power of women in a battle against modern religious fundamentalism. Continue reading…

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SNATCHED — Review by Susan Granger

Goofy comedienne Goldie Hawn (“Overboard,” “Bird on a Wire”) hasn’t made a film in 15 years, so I was really looking forward to her return to the silver screen, particularly teaming up with fearlessly funny Amy Schumer. Reviving her obnoxiously neurotic “Teamwork” persona, Schumer plays Emily Middleton, a potty-mouthed loser whose rock-star boyfriend (Randall Park) dumps her just after she’s splurged on a ‘nonrefundable’ vacation-for-two at a resort in exotic Ecuador. Continue reading…

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THE DINNER — Review by Susan Granger

When teenagers commit a heinous crime, how should their parents react? That’s the ethical dilemma propelling writer/director Oren Moverman’s meandering morality play/meditation, based on Dutch novelist Herman Koch’s controversial bestseller, first published in the Netherlands in 2009. Continue reading…

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THE LOST CITY OF Z– Review by Susan Granger

Based on David Grann’s 2009 non-fiction best-seller, this saga chronicles the incredible adventures of a status-seeking British soldier, Col. Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who explored the Amazon River a full century ago. Dispatched in 1906 by the aristocratic Royal Geographical Society, Fawcett’s mission is to map the dangerous, uncharted realms of eastern Bolivia, where it borders with Brazil. Continue reading…

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THE RED TURTLE — Review by Susan Granger

This 80-minute animated fable is memorable for its dazzling aesthetic and imaginative storytelling, which explains its Academy Award nomination. Beginning with a roiling sea, the story revolves around a man who is lost in the waves and washes up on a tropical island, seemingly inhabited only by birds and curious, scuttling sand crabs. As he explores the lush vegetation, thick forests and rock walls beyond the beach, he slips and falls into a crevasse. Instead of drowning in the water below, he finds a way out. And that’s only the first lesson he learns in coping with loneliness and the forces of nature around him. Read on…

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LIFE — Review by Susan Granger

Several years ago, renowned British scientist Stephen Hawking cautioned that contact with alien life could spell disaster for the human race: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the American Indians.” But Hawking’s grim warning has not deterred cosmic exploration. Read on…

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THE BELKO EXPERIMENT — Review by Susan Granger

What does it take to survive at work? That’s the question posed by this psychologically provocative horror/thriller, set in a factory in Bogota, Colombia, where 80 of Belko Industries’ American employees have been relocated. Read on…

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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – Review by Susan Granger

Bill Condon’s hybrid live action/digital remake of the “tale as old as time” has sumptuous special effects and enhanced character backstories. Set in rural France in 1740, it introduces brainy Belle (Emma Watson) whose academic father, Maurice (Kevin Kline), has been imprisoned in the Beast’s labyrinthine castle. Because he was once a spoiled young Prince, spurning pleas for assistance from an old lady/witch, the ghastly, horned Beast (Dan Stevens) has been cursed until he can find true love. Read on…

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BEFORE I FALL — Review by Susan Granger

Lifting the supernatural premise of Harold Ramis’ “Groundhog Day,” this angst-riddled YA melodrama follows 17 year-old Samantha “Sam” Kingston (Zoey Deutch) who must re-live the same crucial Friday over and over again. It happens to be Cupid’s Day in the Pacific Northwest, as Cascadia High School celebrates Valentine’s Day with “val-o-grams” rose deliveries that gauge every student’s popularity. Read on…

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