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Thu10292020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

The Bluths are back together again—with more simultaneous screen time than in Season 4—in the latest Arrested Development reunion on Netflix.

The plotting of this season involves a little too much crazy stuff regarding Lucille 2 (Liza Minnelli) and the shared girlfriend (Isla Fisher) of Michael (Jason Bateman) and George Michael (Michael Cera), making things a bit haphazard. That doesn’t stop it from being very funny.

There’s a lot of weirdness at play. Buster (Tony Hale) does jail time (during which he touches a mouse!), while Tobias (David Cross) obsesses with impersonating everybody in the family. Cross remains the funniest guy on this show; he goes full-blown insane this season. Gob (Will Arnett) is dealing with feelings for fellow magician Tony Wonder (Ben Stiller), so he makes a visit to a Closet Conversion facility (which is not what he thinks). Maeby (Alia Shawkat), for reasons I won’t explain, winds up brilliantly impersonating an old Jewish woman in a retirement community.

Even it is a bit frantic, Arrested Development remains one of the funniest shows on TV. (Who knew Henry Winkler was going to be so funny when he grew up?) When it slows down for stuff like a barbecue at Ron Howard’s house (including cameos by Bryce Dallas Howard and the rest of the Howard family), it’s as funny as it ever was.

Netflix currently has eight episodes streaming now, with eight more coming later this year.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing

The late Anton Yelchin got one of the best roles of his career as Pat in Green Room, the nerve-shredding horror film from director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin).

Pat is a member of a punk band on the tail end of a lousy tour playing dive bars—and, ultimately, a skinhead bar—in the hopes of making enough money to get back home. That skinhead-bar gig pays the band members enough, but as they are heading out the door, they see something they shouldn’t—and mighty bad things happen.

Confined to the green room, the band ultimately confronts Darcy (Patrick Stewart), a tired, quiet, dangerous bar owner who can’t let the band go, even though they turned in a pretty good set. The confrontation that ensues is terrifying, bloody stuff.

Yelchin is his usual great self here, a fine role near the end of his fine career. Imogen Poots, Joe Cole and Alia Shawkat are all terrific in supporting roles.

Saulnier is the real deal. He’s put together a movie in which not a single second is wasted. His career is going to be fun to watch.

Anton Yelchin … it’s fucking awful that you are gone so soon.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The package includes small behind-the-scenes featurette and a commentary from Saulnier.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing

Writer-director Maggie Carey has put together a shockingly naughty sex comedy set in the early ’90s and featuring female protagonists. In The To Do List, Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation, Safety Not Guaranteed) continues her cinematic wonder streak as Brandy, a class valedictorian and super-virgin.

After some discussions with her best buds (Alia Shawkat and Sarah Steele), she decides she needs to make a sex “to-do” list to ready her for the rigors of college life. This results in a lot of awkward sex acts among high school grads, with some of them performed by best bud and secret admirer, Cameron (Johnny Simmons).

Brandy gets a summer job as a lifeguard, where she pines for Rusty Waters (Scott Porter) and works for a deadbeat boss (the hilarious Bill Hader; he’s Carey’s real-life husband). Plaza proves that she is game for anything, including a fantastically crude play on the Caddyshack “doodie” scene, and all sorts of bodily fluid exercises.

Clark Gregg may be this year’s funniest movie dad, and Rachel Bilson scores uproarious laughs as Brandy’s bitchy sister. However, when it comes to the film’s supporting performances, nobody beats Hader, who does his best screen work to date. He has a scene—one in which he is simply being woken up—that is sheer comic brilliance.

Carey is a great comedy writer, and I’m anxious to see what she comes up with next. This offering brings to mind great sex comedies like Risky Business; it’s a major relief from more recent sex comedies like the overrated American Pie series.

As for Plaza, master of the deadpan, she is one of the more enjoyable comic actresses working today. If you haven’t seen her in Safety Not Guaranteed yet, see that movie as soon as possible.

Special Features: Carey and Hader provide a commentary. You also get outtakes, deleted scenes and an interview with Carey.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing

Writer-director Maggie Carey has used compelling female protagonists to put together a shockingly naughty sex comedy set in the early ’90s.

Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation, Safety Not Guaranteed) continues her cinematic wonder streak as Brandy, class valedictorian and super-virgin. After some discussions with her best buds (Sarah Steele and Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat), she decides she needs to make a sexual “to-do” list to ready her for the rigors of college life. This results in a lot of awkward sex acts among high school grads, with some of them performed by best-bud and secret admirer, Cameron (Johnny Simmons). Brandy gets a summer job as a lifeguard, where she pines for Rusty Waters (Scott Porter) and works for a deadbeat boss (the hilarious Bill Hader, Carey’s real-life husband).

Plaza proves that she is game for anything, including a fantastically crude play on the Caddyshack “doodie” scene, and all sorts of bodily-fluid exercises.

Clark Gregg just may be this year’s funniest movie dad, and Rachel Bilson scores uproarious laughs as Brandy’s bitchy sister.

As far as summer films go, this one has the most laughs per minute—and I can’t wait to see what Carey comes up with next. She writes a mean script.

The To Do List is now playing at the Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 (72777 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage; 760-770-1615) and the Century Theatres at The River (71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage; 760-836-1940).

Published in Reviews