Aubrey Plaza

The 25 Best Time-Travel Movies Ever Made

Twenty-five years ago this week (yes, twenty-five, look it up) Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure made its theatrical debut, telling for all posterity the tale of two California slackers who use a phone booth/time machine to gather historical figures for a class project. It was but one variation on a favorite cinematic device: time travel. It’s been done in comedies and dramas, sci-fi and action movies, on budgets giant and miniscule, in spaceships and in DeLoreans. There are dozens of time travel flicks out there, but these are our… Read More

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Sundance 2014: Aubrey Plaza Reinvents Herself in ‘Life After Beth’

PARK CITY, UTAH: Aubrey Plaza underplays so adroitly, on Parks & Rec and in films like Safety Not Guaranteed and Funny People, that it’s easy to wonder if she’s working with a limited range — that she’s merely playing the “Aubrey Plaza type” (and it has certainly become a type). If her new film Life After Beth — a dizzy little zombie comedy that premiered at Sundance yesterday — does nothing else, it should put those concerns to rest. She’s magnificent in a role that couldn’t be further from April Ludgate; hell, by the end of the picture, she couldn’t be further from the character she’s playing at the beginning. Her Beth is a brilliantly realized comic creation, and an awe-inspiring testimonial to exactly what she’s capable of. … Read More

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‘Parks and Recreation’ Season 6 Episodes 7 & 8 Recap: “Flouride” / “The Cones of Dunshire”

It’s the second week of back-to-back Parks and Recreation episodes, and while nothing glaringly new happens in the life of Leslie Knope, times they are a-changin’. “Fluoride” is all about coping with the harsh realities of Leslie’s prematurely ending term, upcoming long distance best-friendship, and continuing struggle to get stuff done. It’s an uncomfortable and confusing process, but, as always, everything works out in the end. … Read More

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‘Parks and Recreation’ Season 6 Episodes 5 & 6 Recap: “Fillibuster” / “Recall Vote”

Well, it’s been four long weeks since NBC last allowed us to visit Pawnee, Indiana, disrupting the very young sixth season of Parks and Recreation so they could screw around with their schedule after the quick cancellation of Welcome to the Family, which followed it in the network’s newly revamped Thursday night line-up. And instead of just doing the polite thing and bringing back Community, they put Parks on a three-week hiatus for extra episodes of The Voice, because that’s sensible. And that is why we got a Parks Halloween episode two weeks after Halloween. … Read More

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‘Parks and Recreation’ Season 6 Episode 4 Recap: “Gin It Up”

We’re all so wild about Parks and Recreation’s ensemble of characters and the weird little Springfield-ian world they’ve created there in Pawnee that it’s easy to undersell the show’s value as a quiet yet smart political satire. They’ve gone through waves of heavy engagement (most memorably in the fourth season, with Leslie’s city council run including echoes of the “birther” movement and Obama’s lousy bowling), but last night’s “Gin It Up” episode gave us the best political gags of the young season, with a wicked send-up of scandal-mongering and “special hearing” showboating. As Councilman Jamm promised, “This will be blown way out of proportion. You have my word on it!” … Read More

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‘Parks and Recreation’ Season 6 Episode 3 Recap: ‘Doppelgängers’

There was a moment early in last night’s Parks and Recreation episode, “Doppelgängers,” that was utterly perfect, though it’s difficult to pinpoint precisely why. It came at the conclusion of the prologue, in which Leslie is explaining to the various Eagelton city employees how their departments will be joined with their Pawnee counterparts—save for the Department of Infinity Pool Design and Department of Dressage, of course, which have no match. And at the conclusion of this straightforward explanation, April announces loudly, via a makeshift paper megaphone, “ATTENTION! EAGLETON IS NOW UNDER MARTIAL LAW!” Most shows would treat that as the joke and hard cut to the credits. But this show throws in Leslie’s quick, insistent, “No…” Amy Poehler’s reading of that one-word line is exactly the right combination of assurance for the Eagletonians and loving but stern scolding of her subordinate, and the timing of her immediate cutaway just makes the moment sing. And it’s not a funny line in and of itself, but this show has long past the point of relying on “funny lines.” … Read More

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‘Parks and Recreation’ Season 6 Episode 2 Recap: ‘The Pawnee-Eagleton Tip-Off Classic’

Pawnee’s rivalry with Eagleton, the hoity-toity haves to their have-nots, has been fertile comic soil for Parks and Recreation for the past three seasons, one of those initially slight elements that’s grown, in time, into a reliable touchstone for the series. I’ve always found Eagleton-based plotlines particularly funny for intensely personal reasons; my hometown has an Eagleton of its own, an inner borough of rich assholes who incorporated as their own “city” and are best known for the 15 mile-per-hour speed limit, so all souls driving through have plenty of time to gawk at their gaudy abodes. Eat it, Eastborough! But I digress. The point is, I get Leslie’s hatred for Eagleton, and particularly appreciate her Rickles-style one-liners (“You’ll be too busy polishing your monocle at the caviar store. Knope out!”) in the prologue to last night’s Parks and Rec, “The Pawnee-Eagleton Tip-Off Classic.” … Read More

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‘Parks and Recreation’ Season 6 Premiere Recap: ‘London’

Hour-long episodes of traditionally half-hour sitcoms can be a dicey proposition — as later seasons of The Office proved, it’s easy for even a beloved ensemble comedy to wear out its welcome. Gimmick episodes that find a sitcom transplanted to international shores are similarly sketchy; too often, mere sightseeing is allowed to substitute for narrative, with the sight of our wacky favorites cavorting on foreign soil expected to carry the comic load. Last night’s sixth season premiere of Parks and Recreation is the show’s first double-length episode, and much of the action is in London, a city previously visited by the likes of Friends and Family Ties. But “London,” penned by co-creator Michael Schur and directed by Dean Holland (who helmed five previous episodes), seldom steps wrong. … Read More

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