Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Capes, Cops, Copperfield

June 1st, 2021 | 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 Boys Season 1 (Television, US, Prime, Eric Kripke, 2019) When a corporate superhero’s homicidal negligence kills his girlfriend, a nebbishy electronics retailer (Jack Quaid) is drawn into a cell of operatives, led by a ruthless wetworker (Karl Urban), that fights to shut them down—while at the same time falling for the super team’s light-powered new ingenue (Erin Moriarty.) Unlike other revisionist superhero takes, this adaptation of the Garth Ennis/Darick Robertson keeps a moral compass or two in its tool kit. Antony Starr plays its psychopathic Superman/Captain America figure with multi-layered brilliance.—RDL

The Personal History of David Copperfield (Film, UK, Armando Iannucci, 2019) Twists of fortune pull a studious young man (Dev Patel) up and down a social ladder populated by lovable eccentrics and contemptible villains. Sunny, mad dash through the Dickens novel, performed with brio by Patel and a supporting cast including Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi and Tilda Swinton.—RDL

The Multiversity (Comics, DC, Grant Morrison & divers hands, 2015) Under attack by extracosmic embodiments of fear, the heroes of various Earths of the DC Universe investigate and fight back, alone and in concert. A classic Grant Morrison high concept riff on the Silver Age DCU, in which each Earth was another Earth’s comic books. Occasionally reaches true peaks of genius homage, especially in the Charlton-Watchmen story, the Earth-Prime Ultra Comics comic, and the Shazam! tale, but never dull or easily anticipated. A little too in the weeds for casual fans, maybe. –KH

Peaky Blinders Season 3 (Television, BBC, Steven Knight, 2016) As Arthur (Paul Anderson) looks for redemption and a way out, a sinister priest/spy (Paddy Considine) squeezes Tommy (Cillian Murphy) into a double game involving White Russian emigres. False suspense and other series-extending tricks start to creep in around the edges of the show’s narrative compression and big finish suspense.—RDL

We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops, and Corruption (Nonfiction, Justin Fenton, 2021) As the doomed effort to prosecute police officers for the death of Freddie Gray grinds through Baltimore courts, a much-lauded anti-gun squad boldly steals a staggering quantity of cash and drugs from the city’s dealers. Journalistic true crime saga exposes the lack of accountability at the heart of America’s policing meltdown, with a command of storytelling that more than withstands the inevitable comparisons to the genre-defining books of David Simon.—RDL


The Burnt Orange Heresy (Film, US/Italy, Giuseppe Capotondi, 2020) Glib art critic (Claes Bang) brings his self-possessed new inamorata (Elizabeth Debicki) to the villa of a collector (Mick Jagger) who wants him to steal a painting from the legendarily reclusive artist (Donald Sutherland) living in his guest house. Crisp dialogue and characterizations elevate this art-world noir, though the script misses the point of the Charles Willeford novel it adapts, downgrading its anti-hero’s perverse intellectual motivation tof standard issue weaselry.—RDL

Let’s Not Meet (Film, US, Ryan Callaway, 2018) Pizza delivery girl Aya (Breanna Engle) gets drawn into bad doings in the woods, along with five campers she didn’t much like in high school. On its zero budget, this film accomplishes a lot: introduces a raft of characters you believe in and sort of care about, spins a creepy backstory with perhaps too much exposition, provides good slow-burn scares in places. The acting and lighting punch considerably above their weight; the editing and camera setups a little less so. Not quite Owlman great, but well above the microbudget horror average. –KH

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