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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Boba Fett, Belfast, and the Hand of God

February 15th, 2022 | 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.

Ken is on the road.

Recommended

Belfast (Film, UK, Kenneth Branagh, 2021) A nine-year-old boy (Jude Hill) sees his world suddenly upturned when his street becomes a battlefield in Northern Ireland’s sectarian conflict, with his father (Jamie Dornan) wanting to leave and his mother (Caitríona Balfe) equally determined to stay. Heartfelt but by no means treacly memoir film threads its character-driven moments together by disciplined adherence to its throughline.—RDL

The Book of Boba Fett (Television, US, Disney+, Robert Rodriguez, 2021-2022) With trusty assassin Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) at his side, Boba Fett (Temeura Morrison) recalls a transformative experience in the desert and declares dominion over Jabba the Hutt’s former territory. The structural discursions of this backdoor third season of The Mandalorian will inspire less head scratching if you go in knowing that this is Rodriguez’s chance to remake Desperado with Star Wars characters.—RDL

A Letter to Three Wives (Film, US, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1949) When a friend sends them a catty note informing them that she’s run off with one of their husbands, an ambitious radio playwright (Ann Sothern), rags-to-riches bootstrapper (Linda Darnell) and nervous town newcomer (Jeanne Crain) recall moments of crisis in their marriages. The underrated Darnell is particularly affecting in this quasi-satirical domestic drama, from an era where it was possible to acknowledge the status consciousness even of sympathetic characters.—RDL

Manson (Nonfiction, Jeff Guinn, 2013) Biography covers Charles Manson from childhood to imprisonment, placing him and his crimes in their historical and social context. A definitive work of serious history provides complicating detail at odds with the streamlined version of events that has passed into popular myth.—RDL

Good

The Hand of God (Film, Italy, Paolo Sorrentino, 2021) A withdrawn Neapolitan teen (Filippo Scotti) from a large, bumptious family dreams of a filmmaking career and copes with the intermittent warfare between his prank-playing mother (Teresa Saponangelo) and philandering father (Toni Servillo.) Episodic memoir film shows Sorrentino’s brilliant, visually stunning scene making, but also his lesser interest in placing those elements into a fully coherent narrative.—RDL

Okay

Teen Spirit (Film. UK/Germany, Max Mingella, 2018) Isolated Isle of Wight teen (Elle Fanning) enlists the aid of a broken down former opera tenor (Zlatko Burić) as she enters a reality show singing contest. Fanning’s screen presence does the heavy lifting in an underdog competition drama that isn’t so much ambivalent about its protagonist’s goal as clinically detached from it.—RDL

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