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Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff: Last Night in Soho, The French Dispatch, and Minor Romantic Disasters

November 9th, 2021 | Robin

 

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

All Hands on Deck (Film, France, Guillaume Brac, 2020) Entranced after a one-night encounter with a charming redhead, a brash but needy home nurse (Eric Nantchouang) makes a 600 km journey to surprise her during her countryside family vacation, roping in his reserved best buddy and their nebbishy ride sharer. Sun-dappled comedy of romantic negotiation and minor disasters in a Rohmeresque vein.—RDL

The French Dispatch (Film, US/Germany, Wes Anderson, 2021) Upon the death of founding editor Arthur Howitzer, Jr. (Bill Murray) the staff of the French Dispatch magazine assemble a final “best-of” issue; anthology film ensues. Dense yet light like the perfect meringue, these comic vignettes examine the inability of art to remain separate from life and (ideally) vice versa. Almost a self-parodic ode to fussy perfection amid chaos, it always charms and in two out of three cases (the comic turn on the Mai ‘68 ironically lacks engagement) absolutely lands perfectly. –KH

Last Night in Soho (Film, UK, Edgar Wright, 2021) Country mouse Eloise (Thomasin Mackenzie) moves to London to study fashion design, and finds herself mystically intertwined with Soho ‘60s girl Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy). Although the fourth act drops the film from magnificent urban genius-loci folk-horror into a more conventional register, Wright’s commitment to old-fashioned virtues like color, sound, music, editing, and lighting more than complements his interrogation of the dangers and sins of nostalgia; if he’d stuck the landing this would be up there in counterpoint with Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time … in Hollywood as an urban symphony. –KH

Runaway Train (Film, US, Andre Konchalovsky, 1985) Hardened bank robber (Jon Voight) and chatterbox tagalong (Eric Roberts) bust out of an Alaska maximum security facility only to wind up on the titular out-of-control vehicle. Though based on an unproduced Akira Kurosawa screenplay, the guiding ethos of this gritty, frozen actioner is that of co-writer Edward Bunker, America’s great writer of prison life.—RDL

The Sicilian Clan (Film, France, Henri Verneuil, 1968) Hardened bank robber (Alain Delon) brings the criminal family who helped him bust out of prison, as headed by no-nonsense patriarch Jean Gabin, into a mid-air jewel heist. Lino Ventura also stars as the cop on their trail. Caper with noir motifs oozes vintage cool. Verneuil shot English and French versions simultaneously; you want the International cut, on disc in North America but not on streaming.—RDL

Okay

Whipsaw (Film, US, Sam Wood, 1935) Federal agent (Spencer Tracy) goes undercover as the self-appointed bodyguard to a good-hearted jewel thief (Myrna Loy) on the run from her partners’ rivals. The script of this crime romcom spends more time on plot than character, but it’s still fun to see the leads together.—RDL

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