IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

‘Harold and Kumar Escape’ is a Can’t Miss film

Kal Penn and John Cho reprise their stoner roles in “Escape From Guantanamo Bay.” Also hot this week: “Real Time With Bill Maher” season finale and Mario Batali’s new book.
/ Source: contributor


If nothing else, “Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay” sounds like a tough location shoot. Fortunately, the boys aren’t there for long, and neither is the film. In fact, if you’ve ever eaten at a White Castle — the site of a previous adventure by the stoner duo — you’ll know that sometimes it’s harder to escape that drive-through line. In this newest entry, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are mistaken for terrorists. Miraculously, they do escape from the notoriously secure penitentiary, but then have to elude a rabidly determined Homeland Security chief (Rob Corddry), who believes they represent a new, more virulent strain of terrorist and are not simply two slackers who like to smoke dope. Warning: If they put people in Guantanamo Bay for being politically incorrect, these filmmakers would land in solitary confinement. (New Line Cinema, opens Friday)


Speaking of political incorrectness, the dalai lama of that particular pursuit is Bill Maher, and not just because he used to have a show with that name in the title. In his current show, “Real Time With Bill Maher,” I particularly like the way he invites three distinguished panelists from the world of politics and entertainment, conducts a rousing discussion on some of the most serious topics of the day, and then goes after targets in the news with jokes and language that would have been censored from “The Aristocrats.” It’s fun to watch a congresswoman’s eyelashes curl up in embarrassment while she giggles along. This week is the season finale of “Real Time,” and since there is plenty of stuff in the news to blast and not much more time in which to do it, expect Maher to go out with a major bang. And lots of expletives. And a load of laughs. (HBO, Friday, 11 p.m.)


If you’ve watched the show “Flight of the Conchords,” you know that the tandem of the title is not exactly Simon and Garfunkel. Whereas Simon and Garfunkel took themselves and their music seriously, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement do not. However, they act like they do. They’re completely deadpan, which is what makes them so funny. And actually, their novelty style of music is as creative and memorable in its own wacky way as Simon and Garfunkel were when they were at their most solemn. “Flight of the Conchords” is now also a new full-length CD — the first by McKenzie and Clement — with versions of the New Zealanders’ insanely heartfelt songs, including such standards as “The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room)” and “Mutha’uckas.” Don’t take them seriously, but don’t let them know you don’t take them seriously. That would ruin everything. (Sub Pop)


The only problem I have with “Death of a Cyclist” is that the story revolves around an affair between a geometry professor and his wealthy married mistress. The geometry professor I had in high school … well, let’s just say he wasn’t exactly Cary Grant, OK? But this 1955 Spanish classic by director Juan Antonio Bardem is about more than two middle-aged people hooking up. It’s also a commentary about fascist rule, about guilt, infidelity and the separation of the classes. “Death of a Cyclist” gets the full Criterion treatment on DVD, with extras that include a documentary on the life of Bardem (uncle of actor Javier, who just won an Oscar) and a booklet with an essay by cinema scholar Marsha Kinder and a piece by the director himself about the state of Spanish cinema in ‘55. This is about as exciting as it will ever get for a geometry professor, so take advantage. (Criterion Collection)


Memorial Day is the unofficial start of barbecue season. But as anyone who has ever wielded a long-handled spatula over hot coals understands, barbecue season has no beginning and no end. It’s year-round. Even people buried in six-foot snowdrifts in the dead of winter manage to sneak the hibachi out onto the patio or deck for a little sausage fest. What grillers sometimes lack, however, is imagination. That’s where Mario Batali, the world-renowned chef and restaurateur, comes in with his new cookbook, “Italian Grill.” It contains 80 recipes and a lot of color photos of sumptuous dishes hot off the old barbecue. How about this: Rosticciana, which are Italian-style ribs. If Memorial Day can’t come soon enough for your grillers, why wait? (Ecco)