Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: As Louise Brooks finds clues, a secret struggle to control feng shui sites rages

April 2nd, 2019 | 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.


Buried for Pleasure (Fiction, Edmund Crispin, 1948) Adrift after editing Langland’s poetry, detective don Gervase Fen decides on a whim to run for Parliament. But his would-be constituency suffers not just from murders, but escaped lunatics, frustrated love, and obsessive pub renovations, leaving Crispin ample scope for his Wodehousian comic instincts. In this one, the side plots outshine the murder, but Fen makes as good a straight man as he does a sleuth. –KH

Fengshui (Film, South Korea, Park Hee-kon, 2018?) Righteous geomancer aasists a callow king boxed in by his chief minister, who has gained a lock on the nation’s qi power by installing his ancestors in auspicious graves. Court intrigue drama tells a secret history of Korea as a fight over places of special power. –RDL

Louise Brooks: Detective (Comics, Rick Geary, 2015) Geary turns his crime-seeking eye to a fictional mystery involving washed-up actress Louise Brooks in 1942 Wichita. The actual mystery is a fine short, but Geary’s real strength as always is his strong line art and his subtle ability to evoke milieu. –KH

Shakespeare: The World as Stage (Nonfiction, Bill Bryson, 2007) Part of the short-form “Eminent Lives” series, Bryson’s mini-biography of the world’s greatest playwright happily brings speculation about the Swan of Avon back to the thin grounds of fact, while serving as a fine primer on Shakespeare’s life and work. A good-humored, but resolutely skeptical, roundup of the “anti-Stratfordian” theorists puts the perfect coda on an evening’s read. –KH

Young Törless (Film, Germany, Volker Schlöndorff, 1966) Prim new boarding school student becomes a complicit observer to the abuse of a classmate. Subtle realism and a sense of place give breathing room to this moral tale, based on a 1906 novel but suffused with consciousness of the Holocaust.—RDL


Who Is Dracula’s Father? (Nonfiction, John Sutherland, 2017) Sutherland teases out some inconsistencies and mysteries in Bram Stoker’s masterpiece novel, but never drills very deep into any of them. Still, a handy resource for Dracula Dossier players or Directors. –KH


Us (Film, US, Jordan Peele, 2019) On a visit to their summer home, a prosperous black family meets their monstrous doppelgangers. What begins as a superbly uncanny “underclass horror” film suddenly lurches tonally into fightemups and narratively into incoherence. Lupita Nyong’o is wonderful in both roles in every moment, but without a meaningful throughline, even she can’t save the film from its, er, monstrous doppelganger. –KH

Venom (Film, US, Ruben Fleischer, 2018) Maverick reporter (Tom Hardy) screws up his relationship with his lawyer fiancée (Michelle Williams) while investigating her science mogul client (Riz Ahmed) but gets a shot at redemption through his merger with a murderous alien parasite. Tongue-in-cheek CGI fest plays with the werewolf motif and intermittently achieves dumb fun.—RDL

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