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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Be Very Very Quiet, It’s a Curse of Vengeance

May 1st, 2018 | 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.

The Pinnacle

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Film, UK/Ireland/US, Yorgos Lanthimos, 2017) Arrogant heart surgeon (Colin Farrell) takes an interest in a dead patient’s son (Barry Keoghan), bringing weird vengeance on his wife (Nicole Kidman) and family. Affectless line readings, hyper-banal dialogue, sun-drenched visuals and boundary-less characters converge to create quietly excruciating tension long before the film reveals its true genre. Such a slow burn that it’s almost a spoiler to tell you it’s supernatural horror, but if I don’t you won’t all watch it, will you?—RDL

Recommended

Founding Fathers Funnies (Comics, Peter Bagge, 2016) Anthology of pieces from 2005-2015 on the foibles and furors of America’s founding fathers (and one or two mothers). Bagge liked Hamilton before it was cool, and Alex (along with Ben Franklin and John Adams) gets most of the ink here. The best piece depicts John Singleton Copley depicting Paul Revere; the only real dud is the too-tepid John Paul Jones segment. –KH

A Quiet Place (Film, US, John Krasinski, 2018) Following an apocalyptic invasion of monsters that track and kill by sound, Lee and Evelyn Abbott (John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) try to preserve their family. Driven by the overwhelming central concept, taut set pieces and rich metaphor proliferate throughout. Even the acting, almost entirely in silence or in ASL, benefits. No, it doesn’t beat the fourth-act fall of most horror films, but in a tight 95 minutes that’s more forgivable. –KH

Okay

Lisa and the Devil (Film, Italy, Mario Bava, 1976) Lost tourist (Elke Sommer) stumbles into a haunted villa presided over by a weird mom and son, and their smugly sinister, mannequin-toting butler (Telly Savalas.) Dream logic gothic horror features Bava’s flair for color and ornate set decor. Savalas shows up his wooden castmates by deciding to act up a storm, complete with Kojak’s iconic lollipop.—RDL

Mr. Holmes (Film, Bill Condon, 2015) An elderly Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) befriends his housekeeper’s boy while struggling to remember the 30-year old case that drove him into retirement. Prestige drama in need of an urgency transfusion. Notable for McKellen’s kind and vulnerable master detective, a break from the current vogue for Sherlock as sociopath.—RDL

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