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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Everything Everywhere, The Protege, Argentinean Noir and Italian Jack London

April 19th, 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

The Attorney (Film, South Korea, Woo-seok Yang, 2013) Convention-busting outsider lawyer (Song Kang-ho) becomes an unlikely foe of the 80s South Korean dictatorship when he takes on the case of a student tortured into a false subversion confession. Crowd-pleasing political courtroom drama powered by Song’s movie star charisma.—RDL

The Beast Must Die (Film, Argentina, Román Viñoly Barreto, 1952) When his son is killed in a hit and run accident, an urbane mystery novelist (Narciso Ibáñez Menta) vows to identify and kill the culprit. Menta’s interiorized performance contrasts with the big acting of his cast members in this atmospheric film noir character study, the first of several adaptations of a pseudonymously written mystery novel by Cecil Day-Lewis.—RDL

Everything Everywhere All At Once (Film, US, Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, 2022) Overstressed laundromat owner Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) discovers she’s the crux of the multiverse. Merely by not squandering Yeoh this film does better than almost any other thing she’s been in for decades; by allowing her a full emotional range from the quotidian to the cosmic it justifies a lot of (let’s face it) stupid comedy and cardboard metaphysics. The supporting cast (James Hong, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stephanie Hsu) is also terrific, as is the best Wong Kar-Wai parody/tribute you’re likely to see. –KH

Martin Eden (Film, Italy, Pietro Marcello, 2019) After meeting a sweet-natured girl from a well-to-do family, a sailor and laborer resolves to educate himself and become a writer. Adaptation of the Jack London autobiographical novel, relocated to Italy and with period details scrambled, compresses time with a refreshingly staccato editing style.—RDL

Good

The Protégé (Film, US, Martin Campbell, 2021) Assassin Moody (Samuel L. Jackson) rescues an orphan in 1991 Vietnam; she (Maggie Q) seeks revenge for his killing 20 years later. Maggie Q is always magnificent, but Campbell never quite decides if he’s making a hitman rom-com (Michael Keaton as love interest is a choice) or a revenge thriller or even a Freudian journey and as a result doesn’t quite do any of those things. Q and Keaton actually kind of mesh, and the spy-combat stuff is not at all bad thanks to Campbell’s pro chops, but it never actually hits high gear. –KH

Okay

Killing Eve Season 4 (Television, BBC, Laura Neal, 2022) As Villanelle (Jodie Comer) takes an unlikely stab at redemption, Eve (Sandra Oh) adopts a more kinetic role in hunting the Twelve. Sour fizzle of a final season loses track of its characters’ core qualities, cycling them through changes to have something for them to do.—RDL

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