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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Incredibles, Ant-Man and Southern Werewolves

July 10th, 2018 | 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.

The Pinnacle

Incredibles 2 (Film, US, Brad Bird, 2018) Elasti-Girl (Holly Hunter) and Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) switch domestic roles when she becomes the face of a tech mogul’s (Bob Odenkirk) attempt to restore the public image of superheroes. Literally everything works here, from Bird’s writing to the beyond-state-of-the-art action sequences, but special kudos to Michael Giacchino’s score, which perfectly homages spy-fi soundtracks of yore while kicking the animation into over-overdrive. Maybe it doesn’t aim super-high, but replicating a Pinnacle fourteen years later remains pretty incredible. –KH


Ant-Man and the Wasp (Film, US, Peyton Reed, 2017) With hours left in his house arrest, Scott (Paul Rudd) agrees to help erstwhile partner Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and ever-truculent quasi-mentor Hank (Michael Douglas) recover her mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the quantum zone. The comic banter between the engaging cast of this warm and generous romp is so deceptively loose and fun—which is to say, precisely and painstakingly timed—that it’s almost a drag when the plot galumphs in to interrupt it.—RDL

The Endless (Film, US, Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead, 2018) Two brothers (Benson and Moorhead) who escaped from a “UFO death cult” a decade ago return to it after receiving a mysterious videotape. Slow (but never easy) burn starts with family drama, escalates to weirdness, and achieves cosmic horror by the end, ably abetted by Jimmy Lavalle’s creepy electronic score. –KH

GLOW Season 2 (Television, US, Netflix, Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, 2018) Ruth’s eagerness to add her input to the show bruises her friendship with Sam; Debbie channels divorce rage into her new role as producer. Nary a sophomore season slackening in sight as the the writing swerves around obvious choices as expands its always-sympathetic attention to the rich cast of supporting characters.—RDL

The King and the Chorus Girl (Film, US, Mervyn LeRoy, 1937) The aunt (Mary Nash) and chief aristocratic attendant (Edward Everett Horton) to a young deposed king encourage an American showgirl (Joan Blondell) to rouse him from his alcoholic despond by resisting his romantic overtures. Charming light romantic comedy gains extra crackle from a script by Norman Krasna and Groucho Marx.—RDL

Mongrels (Fiction, Stephen Graham Jones, 2016) Teen grows up on the run in the hardscrabble rural south, protected by his impulsive uncle and survival-hardened aunt, both werewolves. Rich, evocative family story told with the structures and techniques of literary fiction in which an extensively extrapolated set of lycanthrope rules becomes part of the realist texture .—RDL


Archer: Danger Island (Television, US, FXX, Adam Reed, 2018) The latest run of Archer seasons swaps in multi-episode story arcs for the procedural nonsense that marked earlier years, to the general detriment of comedic density: time spent advancing a plot is time not spent making drunken sex jokes. This season sets the show’s cast, suitably rejiggered, in a 1938 Pacific air adventure serial that shows Reed’s love for the material, but again shorts the rapid-fire comedy. –KH


Legion Season 2 (Television, US, FX, Noah Hawley, 2018) As David Haller (Dan Stevens) sort-of races the Shadow King (Navid Negahban) to the latter’s body, he questions everything about his quest. If anything the shots this season are more gorgeously inventive than ever, so it’s a shame Hawley lards the season with story side trails and literally sophomoric explorations into pop cogsci and pop ethics. Maybe “we know nothing” isn’t the best spine for a series narrative, especially when almost nobody can act well enough to earn viewer sympathy. The show quotes The Who a lot, so I will, too: “Why should I care?” –KH

Not Recommended

RocknRolla (Film, UK, Guy Ritchie, 2008) Betrayals, scams and side hustles ripple outward from a crooked real estate deal brokered by a bullying thug (Tom Wilkinson.) Without a throughline a screenplay is just a series of incidents, in this case not especially compelling ones. Kudos to the casting director; you sure couldn’t assemble this cast on crime flick budget today.—RDL

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