Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: DC TV > DC Movie

August 16th, 2016 | 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 our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.


1493 (Nonfiction, Charles C. Mann, 2011) Sprawling survey, told with an eye with for telling anecdote, rounds up the ecological, economic, political and military blowback of contact between the Americas and the rest of the world, from the possible anthropogenic origin of the Little Ice Age to the rise of the slave trade. Necessarily less focused than the author’s previous 1491, about pre-Contact American cultures, this sweeping overview demonstrates that globalization, far from being a recent phenomenon, has been transforming the way people live for five centuries now.–RDL

The Lady in the Van (Film, UK, Nicholas Hytner, 2015) Writer Alan Bennett strikes up a reluctant relationship with a querulous homeless woman (Maggie Smith) who proceeds to park her van in his London driveway for the next 15 years. Acerbic drama of hesitation, emotional barriers and mortality also belongs on the very short list of films that accurately portray the writing life. I’m tempted to dock it a point for its awful score, a mush of fake drollery that invites the audience to condescend to its characters and situations.–RDL

Preacher Season 1 (Television, AMC, Sam Catlin, Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, 2016) Criminal (Dominic Cooper) goes straight to step into his father’s boots as a small town pastor in Texas, where he acquires a miraculous power and meets a friendly, dissolute vampire, Stetson-wearing angels, and a megalomaniacal meat magnate. Captures the weirdness of 90s Vertigo comics while softening their smart guy misanthropy by depicting even the minor and/or sinister characters with levels of sympathy. The ambitiously fragmented structure wouldn’t work without the anchoring work of a standout cast including Ruth Negga, Joseph Gilgun and Jackie Earle Haley.–RDL

Swiss Army Man (Film, US, Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, 2016) Desperate castaway (Paul Dano) finds hope of survival by befriending a talking but none-too-animate corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) whose bizarre super powers include propulsive flatulence. In asking the question “what would it look like if Michel Gondry remade Weekend at Bernie’s?” the writer-directors flirt with a couple of dismal outcomes but instead wind up in a place of surprising ambiguity.–RDL


Looking For the General (Fiction, Warren Miller, 1964) Louder than Charles Portis and lesser than R.A. Lafferty, but with much of the spirit of both, Miller’s novel is a quest narrative driving through the eliptonic true believers of the pre-apocalyptic United States. A quintessential Seventies story somehow written before the Sixties got started, it’s weirdly both dated and timeless. Recommended by Howard Waldrop and by James Blaylock, and by me if your big problem with Kerouac was “too few references to John Worrell Keely.” –KH


Suicide Squad (Film, US, David Ayer, 2016) Simultaneously overstuffed and under-thought, this ground-out-by-committee effort still can’t erase John Ostrander’s brilliant original idea, and Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller batters every scene she’s in into something nearly watchable. Decent character turns by most of the non-Will Smith cast and a strong first act make this flick ultimately more disappointing than awful, which is a step up for the cinematic DCU. –KH

2 Responses to “Ken and Robin Consume Media: DC TV > DC Movie”

  1. bwgustaf says:

    You might also want to check out 1491, it’s a support book to 1493 that delves deeper into the american continents to detail the progress of civilizations in mexico, south america, & the amazon rainforest.

    • bwgustaf says:

      if you already read 1491 you might also want to look at mann’s collaborations material world & @ large – which go into exhaustive detail on construction of exotic materials & real world cybercriminals, respectively.

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