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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Hawkeye, Finch, Eternals, and The Velvet Underground

January 25th, 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

Eyes of Fire (Film, US, Avery Crounse, 1983) On the Ohio frontier in 1750, Shawnee pursue an exiled adulterous preacher (Dennis Lipscomb) and a band of exiles including the daughter of a witch (Karlene Crockett) into a haunted valley. Surprisingly layered script, some really good manitou-ish creepiness, and an original story more than make up for the primitive special effects and slightly flat ending in this folk-horror Western. Also, getting to legitimately describe a movie as a “folk-horror Western” is pretty great. –KH

Five Little Pigs (Fiction, Agatha Christie, 1942) When the daughter of convicted murderess Caroline Crale tasks Hercule Poirot with finding the real killer after 15 years, his little grey cells get their greatest workout. Christie’s use of five narrative voices in flashback adds the layers to character and incident she usually neglects, and the puzzle is up there with her best misdirections. Finally, a Poirot novel I can Recommend. –KH

Hawkeye Season 1 (Television, US, Disney+, Jonathan Igla & Kevin Feige, 2021) Spoiled Hawkeye fangirl Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) crosses paths with the beat-up, world-weary Avenger (Jeremy Renner) while incurring the wrath of the tracksuit mafia. Good casting and chemistry, better-than-average fights, and a relatively tight series length keep the remarkably dumb story afloat. Any show that gets me to root for Jeremy Renner must be doing something right. –KH

Hercules in the Haunted World (Film, Italy, Mario Bava, 1961) To break the hold of vampire king Lico (Chrisopher Lee) over his beloved Deianira (Leonora Ruffo), brawny demigod Hercules (Reg Park) and his lothario hero pal Theseus (George Ardisson) brave the dangers of Hades. Peplum meets gothic horror as the ongoing series gets the full Bava treatment, from psychedelic color palette to scary imagery that must have blown the terrified minds of kiddie matinee attendees during its original release.—RDL

Ted Lasso Season 2 (Television, US, Apple+, Bill Lawrence, 2021) As AFC Richmond struggles to regain its spot in the Premier League, Ted (Jason Sudeikis) bumps heads with the new team psychologist (Sarah Niles) and Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) flirts with a mysterious dating app paramour. With the main cast satisfyingly united at the end of the previous season, this outing strains a bit for dramatic tension, settling from fresh new wonder status to comforting hangout show.—RDL

The Velvet Underground (Film, US, Todd Haynes, 2021) Rock band biodoc is in perfect hands with Haynes, who adopts avant garde visual techniques of Warhol and his circle to lay out the narrative of the seminal pre-punk art band, reclaiming Lou Reed’s gay icon status along the way.—RDL

Okay

Eternals (Film, US, Chloe Zhao, 2021) When their ancient enemy monsters return, an immortal alien,  superbeing (Gemma Chan) reunites her scattered team of covert social engineers to fight them. Admirably ambitious, mostly stunning-looking shot at departing from established MCU formulas fails to find an efficient path into its complicated mythology and twisting narrative.—RDL

Finch (Film, US, Miguel Sapochnik, 2021) Determined survivor of a solar flare catastrophe (Tom Hanks) builds a humanoid robot (Caleb Landry-Jones) to guard his dog and accompany him on a cross-country journey. Sapochnik makes fine use of Hanks’ proven ability to carry a film as the only visible human onscreen, but draws the horror of his post-apocalypse so thoroughly that it fights the intended sentimentality of the father-son dramatic arc.—RDL

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