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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Heavy Fu, Demon Sight, and Our First Split Decision

May 17th, 2016 | 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 our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.

The Pinnacle

They Look Like People (Film, US, Perry Blackshear, 2015) Think Frailty but about self not family, and set in Brooklyn, and you’re in the right neighborhood. Nothing cheats, nothing lies, nothing is certain for way longer than you’d believe possible in this story of a man (MacLeod Andrews) who knows that most people are demons, and the best friend (Evan Dumouchel) who invites him into his life. Men of my generation like to reference Grosse Pointe Blank about friendship — They Look Like People takes it to the next generation and the next level, on two rock-solid performances by the leads in a humanistic horror key. (Seen at CIFF ‘15; now on Netflix streaming in North America.) –KH

Recommended

The Iceman (Film, US, Ariel Vroman, 2012) Withdrawn family man (Michael Shannon) shields his beloved wife and kids from his career as a spectacularly prolific mob hitman. Aptly grim true crime drama portrays murder for hire as grinding skilled labor.—RDL

Ip Man 3 (Film, HK, Wilson Yip, 2015) In 1959 Hong Kong, Wing Chun master Ip Man (Donnie Yen) must deal with thugs trying to muscle his kid’s school, handle a would-be rival (Zhang Jin), and comfort his wife (Lynn Hung). Good thing Wing Chun teaches balance! Only in a Hong Kong film is a sensational three-minute fight between Donnie Yen and Mike freaking Tyson a third-act-turn set piece instead of the climax.–KH

Killzone 2  (Film, HK, Soi Cheang) HK cop (Wu Jing) thrown into a Bangkok prison by organ traffickers has no way of knowing that he is the one bone marrow donor who can save the leukemia-stricken daughter of its one honest guard (Tony Jaa.) Baroque fight flick is best enjoyed by setting aside the thought that it will bear any resemblance whatsoever to the first installment. (Seen at TIFF ‘15, where it played under its international title, SPL2: A Time For Consequences; now opening theatrically in the US.) —RDL

Last Man on Earth Season 2 (TV, Fox, 2015-2016) Tandy (Will Forte) worms his way back into the good graces of his fellow survivors only to see the power dynamic shift again when his astronaut brother (Jason Sudeikis) returns to earth. Few shows of any kind, let alone character-driven comedies, use cinematic techniques to such effect, moving from squirmy laughs to true pathos.—RDL

The Law (Film, France, Jules Dassin, 1959) In a Sicilian fishing town, a larcenous bombshell (Gina Lollobrigida) eludes the local gangster and other figures of sinister patriarchy to pursue a handsome agronomer (Marcello Mastroianni) sent from the north to drain the place’s surrounding swamps. Sun-baked melodrama of not-exactly-suppressed passions from the director of Rififi and Night and the City. Set in Italy, spoken in French, helmed by an American in blacklist exile.—RDL

Mistress America (Film, US, Noah Baumbach, 2015) Uncertain college freshman gets swept up in the chaotic wake of her seemingly cooler soon-to-be stepsister (Greta Gerwig, also co-writer.). Updates the rapid-fire screwball comedy to the NYC hipster world.—RDL

Okay

Captain America: Civil War (Film, US, Joe & Anthony Russo, 2016) As the US Secretary of State seeks to put the Avengers under United Nations control, a conspiracy involving Captain America’s old partner Bucky sets them against each other. Crisply executed fan service moments webbed together by a series of sloppy script contrivances.—RDL

Keanu (Film, Peter Atencio, 2016) Relentlessly middle-class cousins Clarence (Key) and Rell (Peele) decide to impersonate gangbangers to retrieve the world’s cutest kitten after a robbery. If your YouTube feed is Key & Peele sketches, cat videos, and George Michael, then this is the film for you. Otherwise, you might want more jokes than just two.—KH

2 Responses to “Ken and Robin Consume Media: Heavy Fu, Demon Sight, and Our First Split Decision”

  1. Scott Haring says:

    Just a little confused — the title refers to a “first split decision” — what is it? You two don’t seem to disagree on anything in this column.

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