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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Alien Invaders, Italian Psi Horror and Body-Shifting Love

April 19th, 2016 | 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 our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.

The Pinnacle

The Housemaid (Film, South Korea, Ki-Young Kim, 1960) Stern piano teacher’s tryst with the family’s obsessive live-in maid sends his claustrophobic household spiralling into mayhem. Acid-drenched domestic noir takes a chainsaw to class hypocrisies.—RDL

Recommended

Attack the Block (Film, UK, Joe Cornish, 2011) Barbarian thug (John Boyega) gains a moral sense while defending his South London council block against alien invaders. Bumping score, effective action, and tight direction overcome a simplistic script to drive in a genre triple. –KH

The Beauty Inside (Film, South Korea, 2015) Furniture maker who wakes up every morning in a new body of unpredictable sex, age, and sometimes nationality falls in love with a woman who struggles to adjust to his condition. Gently pretty romantic drama explores the emotional consequences of its fantastical premise. Adapts a 2012 English language interactive Facebook webisode dealie. —RDL

Dawn of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Monet, Zola, Bernhardt, Eiffel, Debussy, Clemenceau, and Their Friends (Non-fiction, Mary McAuliffe, 2011) Paints a portrait of life in Paris from the aftermath of the Communard uprising to the turn of the 20th century with vignettes of the city’s most notable cultural figures, politicians, and innovators. Solid, readable introductory survey of its chosen time and place.—RDL

Green Room (Film, US, Jeremy Saulnier, 2016) Punk band winds up trapped in a club surrounded by white supremacists intent on wiping them out. Tense, violent survival thriller starring Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and Alia Shawkat, with Patrick Stewart as head bad guy.—RDL (Seen at TIFF ‘15; now in North American theatrical release)

How to Steal the Mona Lisa (Non-fiction, Taylor Bayouth, 2016) Complete and oh-so-gameable plans for detailed heists of six artifacts, from the Mask of Tutankhamen to the Crown of Queen Elizabeth II to oh yes the Mona Lisa. Straight-faced joy for the caper fan. –KH

Shock (Film, Italy, Mario Bava, 1977) 7 year old exhibits ominous supernatural symptoms after his mom and stepfather move back to the house she was living in when his father killed himself. Final film by the maestro of dreamlike horror finds him putting a more than overt psychosexual spin on the late 70s/early 80s psi-horror cycle.—RDL

Good

Black Camelot (Fiction, Duncan Kyle, 1978) In early 1945, a disreputable Irish journalist and a disgraced SS commando team up to exploit an ill-gotten list of British businessmen who had been too friendly with the Nazis once upon a time. Begins as a spy novel, then a crime novel, and by the time it turns into a war thriller — set behind the scenes of the final destruction of Wewelsburg Castle — you’re having enough fun to buy the contrived last act. –KH

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