Watch a campus comedy starring Melissa McCarthy on HBO. Or stream a portrait of Gilbert Gottfried.
What’s on TV
LIFE OF THE PARTY (2018) eight p.m. on HBO. Melissa McCarthy wowed critics this fall as the lead in the biographical drama “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” But earlier than that, she starred on this lukewarm comedy directed by her husband, Ben Falcone. As Deanna, a middle-aged, newly divorced mom, McCarthy goes again to school after her husband (Matt Walsh) leaves her for one more lady. Despite her newfound confidence and a clique of supportive sorority sisters, Deanna’s escapades are largely forgettable (save for a wild time in the stacks.) Compared to McCarthy’s earlier movies, the zaniness in “Life of the Party” is saved to a minimal, A. O. Scott wrote in his review: “What we witness is less the explosion of pent-up energy than the gentle affirmation of exuberant kindness.” Watch not for gut-wrenching laughs, however to see McCarthy in a comedic function that isn’t a rowdy sidekick.
AMERICAN GODS three p.m. on Starz. The second season of this tantalizing sequence adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel doesn’t debut till March 10. But there’s no hurt in revisiting the first season with this marathon. The present follows Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), a former convict who meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) proper out of jail and agrees to develop into his bodyguard. Little does he know that the job comes with grueling situations: Mr. Wednesday is an “old god” who’s attempting to unite his fellow mythological beings in a combat towards the more and more highly effective “new gods,” who characterize the worst points of fashionable society. Keeping up with the narrative requires some endurance, Mike Hale wrote. But the present is “consistently eye-catching, sometimes in burnished, picturesque ways and sometimes disorienting, grotesque ways.”
GILBERT (2017) on Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, Vudu and YouTube. In his evaluation of this documentary on the comic Gilbert Gottfried, Jason Zinoman wrote, “‘Gilbert’ is that rarest of things, a portrait of a happy comic.” Much of the world is aware of that completely satisfied comedian by means of his shrill and obnoxious stand-up persona — one which mines tragedies and the obscene for laughs. But offstage, as this movie suggests, Gottfried is a soft-spoken, penny-pinching husband and father. We see that facet of him in footage of his day by day life whereas stars like Jay Leno and Whoopi Goldberg attest to his comedian genius.
THE STRANGER (1946) on iTunes, Amazon, Fandor, Netflix, Starz and Vudu. Last month, two Netflix movies — “The Other Side of the Wind” and “They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead” — put Orson Welles’s singular imaginative and prescient in the highlight. Despite all of the filmmaker’s celebrated work, this thriller was the solely box-office hit in his profession. It facilities on a dogged conflict crimes commissioner (Edward G. Robinson) who hunts down the titular character, a big-time Nazi fugitive (Welles) residing in hiding as a Connecticut trainer married to the daughter of an area decide (Loretta Young).
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