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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Elvis, Everything Everywhere and The Flash

July 5th, 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.

Recommended

Elvis (Film, Australia/US, Baz Luhrmann, 2022) On his deathbed, petty, venal promoter “Col.” Tom Parker (Tom Hanks) narrates a morphine-fueled melodrama of the life of musical demigod Elvis Presley (Austin Butler). Trademark Baz freneticism slows down a bit (as did the King) when it gets to Vegas, but always offers something to watch and listen to in between conventional biopic beats. Butler (game and open) and Hanks (a morality-play Satan) don’t so much play off each other as star in their own separate movies, which is after all the point of this one. –KH

Everything Everywhere All at Once (Film, US, Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, 2022) Harried laundromat proprietor (Michelle Yeoh) learns to draw abilities from her varied alternate selves to protect the multiverse from destruction at the hands of an ultra-powerful nemesis. Inventively nerdtroped, exuberantly kooky family reconciliation drama.—RDL

The Flash Season 8 (Television. US, The CW, 2021) Barry’s archnemesis Reverse Flash (Tom Cavanagh) returns to rewrite the timeline and awaken powerful cosmic forces. The show does what Supernatural did at a similar point in its run, settling into its core elements—speedsters, pseudoscience and affirmations and delivering reliable genre comfort viewing.—RDL

Rams (Film, Iceland, Grímur Hákonarson, 2015) A slaughter order stemming from an outbreak of livestock disease escalates tensions between sheep farming brothers who haven’t spoken a word to each other in 40 years. The grim drollery of Icelandic humor comes to the fore in this snowy ode to rural recalcitrance.—RDL

Good

The Mask of the Vampire (Fiction, Paul Halter, 2014) In 1901, a vampire panic grips the English village of Cleverley when the dead wives of Count Radovic are discovered in the tomb  with stakes in their chests. Two John Dickson Carr-style locked room murders plus a possible vampire should have delighted me beyond expression, but Halter’s style (perhaps hampered by his translator) remains too detached to truly achieve Gothic takeoff despite the promising set-up, and his detective, the Wildesque Owen Burns, is a not-entertaining-enough jerk. However, the ludicrously tangled plot resolves superbly, which is (I suspect) why most people read Halter in the first place. –KH

Time (Film, HK, Ricky Ko, 2021) Elderly members of a once-vaunted hit team (Patrick Tse, Bo Bo Fung, Lam Suet) reteam to confront the rigors of old age, finding a surprising new sideline and new friend along the way. Valedictory for three stalwarts of the Hong Kong movie acting repertory sweetly handles its occasionally harsh subject matter.—RDL

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