Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Greek Gods Diffuse and the Count de St-Germain Parties

January 15th, 2019 | 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.


Greek Gods Abroad (Nonfiction, Robert Parker, 2017) After Alexander’s conquests, the Hellenistic kings and colonists outside historic Greece brought the Olympian gods to their new domains — or did they? Parker masterfully looks at what (surprisingly little) we know of blended (or interpreted) Olympian-local deities as well as the way the Greek gods shifted their roles following contact with Egypt, Anatolia, and the East. Parker ranges from polytheistic theology to Arabian epigraphy and back; I bought the book for reference and wound up reading it cover to cover. –KH

Hearts Beat Loud (Film, US, Brett Haley, 2018) With her sights firmly set on pre-med at UCLA, a charmingly dyspeptic Brooklyn record store owner (Nick Offerman) inveigles his talented daughter (Kiersey Clemons) into making music with him. Sweet-natured observational comedy-drama buoyed by affection for its characters and a commitment to the real.—RDL

The Little Drummer Girl (Television, UK/US, BBC/AMC, Park Chan-wook, 2018) Israeli spymaster (Michael Shannon) and agent runner (Alexander Skarsgard) recruit a young British actress to infiltrate a Palestinian terrorist network. Park retunes his style to (mostly) subtle, returning to his signature theme of cyclical vengeance, for this strongly cast and acted Le Carré adaptation. Best 70s color palette ever.—RDL

The Night Comes For Us (Film, Indonesia, Timo Tjahjanto, 2018) Triad enforcer Ito (Joe “The Raid” Taslim) saves a little girl and brings down the ultra-violent wrath of the Triad including his old friend Arian (Iko “Merantau” Uwais). Great fight choreography and tight editing build to a battle of the action stars that has to be seen to be believed. Alternating stunningly beautiful compositions with shatteringly violent fight scenes, this would hit the Pinnacle if the story hung together better. –KH

Rumbullion (Fiction, Molly Tanzer, 2016) When the Count of St.-Germain performs at Julian Bretwynde’s house party in 1743, things get decidedly uncanny. This novella (originally published in 2013) follows Bretwynde’s epistolary attempt to figure out what happened at his own party. (Tanzer’s logline for it is “Rashomon with fops.”) Its weird tone precisely threads the line between funny ha-ha and funny-strange. –KH


Aberdeen (Film, HK, Pang Ho-cheung, 2014) Members of an extended family, including a surface-minded motivational speaker (Louis Koo), his philandering brother-in-law (Erik Tsang) and his struggling actress wife (Gigi Leung) grapple in their various ways with the limitations of fate. Atmospheric ensemble piece lets itself down with a decidedly peculiar set of concluding epiphanies.—RDL

Aldous Huxley’s Hands: His Quest for Perception and the Origin and Return of Psychedelic Science (Nonfiction, Allene Symons, 2015) Examination of the eliptonic interests of Aldous Huxley and his circle, including hand photography experiments conducted by the author’s father to establish a physical marker for schizophrenia in an era of doctrinaire Freudianism. In a case of two books continually interrupting one another, the short bio of Huxley through a KARTASian lens pays off, while the attempt to understand an opaque, eccentric parent struggles to yield the hoped-for epiphany.—RDL

Rulers of the City (Film, Italy, Fernando Di Leo, 1977) Cocky gangland debt collector and an enigmatic gambler become hunted men after swindling a scary mobster (Jack Palance.) Haphazardly switches back and forth between the director’s baseline fatalistic crime drama and goofball action romp. AKA Mister Scarface.—RDL

2 Responses to “Ken and Robin Consume Media: Greek Gods Diffuse and the Count de St-Germain Parties”

  1. Tim Emrick says:

    Greek gods and St-Germain in the same title line? And both Recommened? Whelp, there goes my book budget for the next few months…

  2. Hank Harwell says:

    “I bought the book for reference and wound up reading it cover to cover.” This brings up a good question: When Ken makes his book raids, how many of them (percentage-wise) does he actually read from cover to cover, and how many are simply just for reference-sake?

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