Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Ant-Man, Women Talking, and The Fabelmans

March 7th, 2023 | 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.


Athena (Film, France, Romain Gavras, 2022) When the Athena housing project in Paris erupts in revolution after cops kill a young boy, his three brothers (Dali Benssalah, Sami Slimane, Ouassini Embarek) choose their sides. The resulting Homeric drama occurs against a propulsively filmed, jawdropping action backdrop with moments of pure humanity throughout.  –KH

The Fabelmans (Film, US, Steven Spielberg, 2022) Young wannabe film director Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) realizes that his art can immiserate as well as exalt him, not least by revealing his parents’ (Paul Dano and an amazing tightwire Michelle Williams) marital difficulties. Spielberg turns his rollercoaster mastery (and Janusz Kaminski’s luxe lensing) to semi-autobiography, and for about two acts achieves riveting perfection. I was actually relieved when the bones of artifice showed up toward the end, but the final scene may be the best one of the century. –KH

The Green Years (Film, Portugal, Paulo Rocha, 1963) Callow hick (Rui Gomes) arrives in the big city of Lisbon to become a cobbler and woo a thoughtful maid (Isabel Ruth.) New wave observational drama starts out wry and sweet, then takes a dark turn..—RDL

King Con (Nonfiction, Paul Willetts, 2018) From the teens into the 40s, the charismatic, bisexual, cocaine-confident swindler and vaudevillean Edgar Laplante adopts the guise of a Cherokee prince to spend and scam his way across America and Europe. True crime biography presents a particularly egregious example of the still persistent pretendian phenomenon. Notable for its anti-hero’s use of patriotic fervor to grease his marks, which reaches its apogee when he embraces Italian fascism.—RDL

Son of the White Mare (Film, Hungary, Marcell Jankovics, 1981) Aided by his only somewhat less awesome brothers Stonecrumbler and Irontemperer, the hero Treeshaker ventures to hell to rescue the princesses of the three good seasons from the many-headed dragon husbands who keep them captive. Animated feature tells a myth of the steppe peoples with graphic, boldly stylized visuals.—RDL

Women Talking (Film, US, Sarah Polley, 2022) With the men away bailing out the community members who repeatedly tranquilized and sexually assaulted them, the women of a Mennonite community collectively decide whether to leave, or stay and fight. Drama of passion and ideas features heightened dialogue, a mastery of cinematic space, and stunning performances from an ensemble headed by Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy and Sheila McCarthy.—RDL


Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Film, US, Peyton Reed, 2023) An experiment gone awry drags the whole ant-clan into the quantum realm to face Janet Van Dyne’s (Michelle Pfeiffer) past and Kang the Conqueror (a morose Jonathan Majors). By-the-numbers plot deliberately ignores everything interesting, original, or specific to the quantum realm (and Kang) on its way to flabbily set up the next endless cycle of MCU film and TV. Michelle Pfeiffer gets to act, though, which is nice. –KH

Lake of Dracula (Film, Japan, Michio Yamamoto, 1971) A young woman clashes with her envious sister when the events from a vividly terrifying childhood dream acquire prophetic reality. A step less eerie than its predecessor, the second in the director’s vampire trilogy preserves the barest bones of the Stoker novel. Notable for Dracula’s sinister plan of having himself FedExed to his victim’s home.—RDL

Mondocane (Film, Alessandro Celli, Italy, 2021) In post-collapse Italy, a pair of young teen pals put their mutual loyalty to the test when they join a murderous communal gang. Dystopian social realism kept in second gear by weak staging and composition.—RDL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Film Cannister
Cartoon Rocket
Flying Clock
Film Cannister