The whodunit feature film “Knives Out” is one of the big holiday-season releases of 2019, with a heavyweight all-star cast and rave reviews to match leading up to the Nov. 27 opening in theaters.
Right among all the big names — from Daniel Craig and Chris Evans to Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson and Christopher Plummer — is multi-talented Portville native Riki Lindhome, the comedic performer, producer and director who is best known as half of the comic duo Garfunkel & Oates and co-creator of Comedy Central’s “Another Period.”
In “Knives Out” Lindhome plays Donna Thrombey, daughter-in-law of wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Plummer), who invites his extended, dysfunctional family to his remote mansion on his 85th birthday in hopes of reuniting them all.
Unfortunately, the day after the birthday party, Harlan is found dead. The police, along with experienced detective Benoit Blanc (Craig), are called in to investigate — and the twists and turns that would make Agatha Christie dizzy are on.
Justin Chang’s review in the Los Angeles Times declares the film “Ingenious and irresistible” and “a criminally good time.”
He writes, “Harlan may be dead, but it is his family’s moral obliviousness, their obscene wealth and monstrous privilege, that (director Rian) Johnson keeps eviscerating in this extravagantly entertaining movie. ... To watch as the Thrombeys tear themselves apart is to experience a wave of schadenfreude so heady and intoxicating that the revelations of whodunit and why almost feel like third-act bonuses.”
Lindhome, who some reviewers this past week lamented was underutilized in “Knives Out,” delighted in the plot.
“One of the things I like about Rian’s take on the whodunit are how many twists there are,” she says in a promo interview. “With ‘Knives Out’ there’s just one after another, after another, and any sort of loose thread that you think is nothing, it all becomes something in the movie, like any little clue or any little throwaway thing … and then by the end everything is woven together in this masterful puzzle.”
With the movie out next week, Lindhome also directed a second season of episodes of “Under a Rock with Tig Notaro,” found now on the popular comedy streaming site Funny or Die.
The premise of “Under a Rock” is that comedian Notaro is a famous person who doesn’t recognize famous people. In each episode, a famous guest is introduced as “this person” and then proceeds to dole out clues and answer questions from Notaro to reveal their identity.
Amazon’s Alexa serves as the only additional character, assisting Notaro if she needs additional information. Guests include NFL Network’s Rich Eisen; Kaley Coco, Penny in “The Big Bang Theory”; and Lena Headey, Queen Cersei in “Game of Thrones.”
The first season of “Under a Rock,” which garnered more than 5 million views, featured guests such as Julie Bowen, James Van Der Beek and Wyclef Jean, none of whom Notaro recognized.
Born in Coudersport, Pa., and a 1997 graduate of Portville Central School, Lindhome is an Emmy nominee and joined with co-star Natasha Leggero to create and produce “Another Period.” They starred as pampered and servant-abusing sisters whose Newport, R.I., family chases useless-celebrity status and pointless fame — albeit in the Victorian-style early 1900s.
Lindhome has had roles in several television shows and movies, including “The Big Bang Theory,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Gilmore Girls” and “The Last House on the Left.” She’s also had appearances in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Pushing Daisies” and “Changeling.”