Maria Bamford gets deep, Maya & Marty kill, and more must-sees

Thursday 5.26
Maria Bamford’s new half-hour series, Lady Dynamite, is full of odd comedic rhythms that take a little getting used to, but digesting it slowly might be the best way to reveal its riches. It’s a funny, semi-autobiographical, self-aware satire that deals with serious family issues, mental illness, and the cruel and unforgiving entertainment industry. All 12 episodes are available to stream on Netflix now, but take it slow there, bingey-pants. Stop rushing through everything!

%{[ data-embed-type=”oembed” data-embed-id=”https://youtu.be/1gSxKR0Cirs” data-embed-element=”aside” ]}%

Friday 5.27
Speaking of odd, The Lobster opens in Kansas City theaters today. If this new film from Yorgos Lanthimos is anything like his stunning 2009 movie (and surprise Oscar-nominee) Dogtooth, it will be full of hard truths. Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star in a speed-dating nightmare in which the person who doesn’t find a perfect mate is turned into the animal of his or her choice. You already know by now if this premise excites you. It’s called The Lobster!

%{[ data-embed-type=”oembed” data-embed-id=”https://youtu.be/vU29VfayDMw” data-embed-element=”aside” ]}%

Saturday 5.28
Before the recent spate of superhero movies codified a look and feel that, even in the best of outcomes (see Captain America: Civil War), is getting pretty stale, Guillermo del Toro brought the demonic man-beast Hellboy to life and cast a 54-year-old Ron Perlman in the title role. The KC Central Library is screening Hellboy for free at 1:30 p.m. as part of its Planet Comicon series, and it’s worth seeing to be reminded of  creator Mike Mignola’s twisted vision of a “superhero,”  as rendered by del Toro.

%{[ data-embed-type=”oembed” data-embed-id=”https://youtu.be/kA9vtXbbhVs” data-embed-element=”aside” ]}%

Sunday 5.29
It seems like every punk-rock band worth its weight in vinyl has a documentary these days, but The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead, out on Blu-ray and VOD now from Cleopatra Films, has everything you want in a rock doc. It puts the spotlight on this seminal U.K. band, featuring music that still sounds timely and exciting, fantastic archival footage, and a couple of engaging subplots that people who don’t even care about the music will likely find compelling.

%{[ data-embed-type=”oembed” data-embed-id=”https://youtu.be/GVI8SOt3OvI” data-embed-element=”aside” ]}%

Monday 5.30
Tonight on the History Channel is the first installment of a four-night, eight-hour miniseries called Roots. Yes, that Roots, only newly re-imagined with Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne and other notable actors and directors. The trailer looks slick but mildly disappointing, but I’ll hold out hope. Based on Alex Haley’s controversial — at least partially plagiarized — family memoir, which itself spawned the TV event of the ’70s, the story of Roots serves as a potent reminder of America’s despicable history of slavery, no matter how much of the story is “fiction.”

%{[ data-embed-type=”oembed” data-embed-id=”https://youtu.be/YWKkoJAigmc” data-embed-element=”aside” ]}%

Tuesday 5.31
When NBC aired the one-off The Maya Rudolph Show in May 2014, I was sure it would get picked up. Rudolph is talented, and the sketches and songs alike featured a nice mix of winking and sincere humor. Two years later, the Lorne Michaels-produced Maya & Marty revives the variety-show format tonight, and Rudolph shares the spotlight with co-host Martin Short. If you saw the SNL 40th-anniversary special, you know that together they killed, so I’m raising a glass to another TV experiment — with all kinds of celebrity guest stars.

%{[ data-embed-type=”oembed” data-embed-id=”https://youtu.be/spiCcHiwsjo” data-embed-element=”aside” ]}%

Wednesday 6.1
Watching the new four-movie Blu-ray set of Blood Bath from Arrow Video is like going to Roger Corman B-film school. It features four radically different cuts of a movie that started as a 1963 Yugoslavian, Welles-influenced art-heist thriller and ended as a vampire film. The Americanized Corman release (a failure) was supervised by Francis Ford Coppola, so Corman hired Jack Hill to shoot more footage, which became Blood Bath. This was then recut and retitled Track of the Vampire. The fascinating video essay on the movie’s history is longer than most of the movies!

%{[ data-embed-type=”oembed” data-embed-id=”https://youtu.be/3gzbFsJ1wig” data-embed-element=”aside” ]}%


Eric Melin is the editor of Scene-Stealers.com and president of the KC Film Critics Circle.

Categories: A&E