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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Deadpool 2 and Lovecraft Illustrated

May 29th, 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.


Arrow Season 6 (Television, US, CW, Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle, 2017-2018) As dissension rocks Team Arrow and Oliver adjusts to fatherhood, a hacker/gangster partnership tightens its grip on the city. Gets the show’s grim groove back by splitting the heroes, and hiring top character actors Kirk Acevedo and Michael Emerson as the big bads.—RDL

The Italian Connection (Film, Italy, Fernando di Leo, 1972) Small-time pimp (Mario Adorf) shows surprising grit when, due to mob machinations above his pay grade, a pair of New York hit men (Henry Silva, Woody Strode) show up in Milan looking to snuff him. Wild, lurid poliziotteschi resolves a corrupt, chaotic universe with underdog ultraviolence.—RDL

Lovecraft Illustrated (17 vols.) (Fiction, H.P. Lovecraft and Pete von Sholly, 2014-2018) Von Sholly’s bold, colorful, pulp-inflected cartoons help re-establish Lovecraft as first and foremost an author of weird, scary stories. The early volumes mostly cover one story each, with some scholarly pieces or inspirational fictions as addenda; the later ones pack in several shorter works per volume. Texts are the Joshi-edited versions, although one or two typos creep back in. –KH

Raazi (Film, India, Meghna Gulzar, 2018) During the 1971 Indo-Pakistani crisis, a dying Indian spy plants his daughter Sehmat (Alia Bhatt, ever more superb) in the household of a Pakistani general as bride to his son Iqbal (Vicky Kaushal). Gulzar flavors her tense, realistic spy thriller with a love story, the acting and genuinely human characters bringing both off without a hitch. Jaideep Ahlawat excels with underplayed stoicism as Sehmat’s handler, and the score by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy provides both period and emotional beats par excellence. –KH

Supernatural Season 13 (Television, US, CW, Andrew Dabb, 2017-2018) Sam and Dean become surrogate dads to an angsty nephilim as his real father, Lucifer, schemes to regain his full power. Worth it for the Scooby Doo episode alone, this show is still finding just enough freshness to keep its very specific formula spinning.—RDL


The Chelsea Murders (Fiction, Lionel Davidson, 1978) DCS Warton doggedly, if not particularly effectively, pursues three main suspects in a series of killings in Chelsea, connected both by by killer-sent letters and by the victims’ initials to the district’s famous poetical inhabitants. Davidson wrote very infrequent novels, each of which seem to be in a different style and genre. This one combines an airy, cynical tenor with a somewhat hectic murder mystery that Davidson explicitly compares to a game of three-card monte. The result, while a rocketing good read (as are all Davidson’s works), doesn’t carry the immediacy or the power of his best thrillers. –KH

Crime Seen: From Patrol Cop to Profiler, My Stories from Behind the Yellow Tape (Nonfiction, Kate Lines, 2015) Author recounts her career with the Ontario Provincial Police, starting with highway patrol and undercover operations to top leadership posts, with a notable stint as the province’s first Quantico-trained criminal profiler in the middle. A fresh local (to me) angle on the forensic psychology memoir. The sections covering the upper management years do get a bit press release-y.—RDL

Deadpool 2 (Film, US, David Leitch, 2018) Meta metahuman Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) tries, intermittently, to stop future soldier Cable (Josh Brolin) from killing a young mutant (Julian Dennison) who goes bad in the future. The original film had enough juice that the sequel can run on that during its own slack periods, which are not insubstantial. Deadpool would also seem to be an odd franchise within which to examine the morality of murder; further, the temptations of irony and snark predictably undercut it. But the fights are fun, and Zazie Beetz’ Domino deserves a trilogy of her own. –KH

Deadpool 2 (Film, US, David Leitch, 2018) Left suicidal by a loved one’s murder, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) reluctantly decides to protect a super-powered kid (Julian Dennison) from grim time-traveling warrior Cable (Josh Brolin.) With the original’s dizzying tonal surprises now an established quantity, this amiable follow-up pelts the viewer with enough gags and action sequences to keep the plates spinning.—RDL

The Flash Season 4 (Television, US, CW, Todd Helbing, 2017-2018) The Flash battles the Thinker, who is hunting metas, including louche new teammate the Elongated Man, to absorb their powers. A shift to a lighter tone comes at first in the form of inane hijinks, which fortunately recede as the stakes rise later on.—RDL

Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History (Nonfiction, Mike Pesca, ed., 2018) This collection of 31 essays runs the gamut from Jon Bois’ absurdist “What if Basketball Rims Were Smaller Than Basketballs?” to Mary Pilon’s earnestly sociological “What if Title IX Never Was?” My favorites include Claude Johnson’s alternate beginning for the NBA and Julian Zelizer’s “What if Nixon Had Been Good at Football?” but most of them don’t make too many waves, in memory or history. –KH

One Response to “Ken and Robin Consume Media: Deadpool 2 and Lovecraft Illustrated”

  1. Pete Von Sholly says:

    Thanks for the nice review (Lovecraft from PS) I have a new tome (only 24 hours left!) on Kickstarter right now that is a must for Lovecraft fans!
    Please take a look- but hurry! : )

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