Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Indian Ultra-Action, Korean Supersoldier Teens, and JFK Redux

September 26th, 2023 | 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.


Charles, Dead or Alive (Film, Switzerland, Alain Tanner, 1969) After decades of suppressed discontent, the aging head of a family watchmaking firm drops out to live with a bearish sign painter and his girlfriend. Politics and philosophy hang out and smoke together in the kitchen in a personal-scaled observational drama that presages Jarmusch and the 80s American indie movement.—RDL

JFK: Director’s Cut (Film, US, Oliver Stone, 1991) New Orleans DA Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) obsessively investigates JFK’s assassination, culminating in the conspiracy trial of Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones). An absolute masterpiece of editing and a stacked cast of greats propels Stone’s best film to dizzying heights of manic sham history (shamanic history?). The director’s cut adds 17 minutes of typical Stone over-egging and one terrific set piece in an airport that perfectly, alchemically combines the paranoia and homophobia driving the film. –KH

Thunivu (Film, India, H. Vinoth, 2023) Badass outlaw Dark Devil (Ajith Kumar) hijacks a bank heist in progress, but discovers a deeper chicanery. Impossibly high-octane action shifts to economic message pic (with some high-octane action) in the third act, but it’s a sign of how much fun I was having that I still wanted a longer final payoff after two and a half hours. Without the Tamil film lover’s investment in Ajith Kumar’s stardom, one could also pick nits about the relentless focus on Dark Devil leaving his foils, foes, and allies a little one-dimensional. –KH

The Witch Part 1: The Subversion (Film, South Korea, Park Hoon-jung, 2018) Unassuming rural teen (Kim Da-Mi) overcomes her shyness to enter a competitive pop star reality TV show, attracting the attention of the sinister conspiracy that raised her as a psychokinetic supersoldier. Effective SF/horror pursuit thriller with hard-hitting, gory super fights.—RDL


Hallowe’en Party (Fiction, Agatha Christie, 1969) When an odious young girl is drowned in the apple-bobbing bucket at a tween Hallowe’en party, mystery writer Ariadne Oliver brings in her friend Hercule Poirot to investigate. A fairly sharp mystery lurks beneath a constant croaking refrain on the topic of “sex-crazed mental patients wandering the streets these days” (in fairness, Dame Agatha was 79 when she wrote it) but once more Christie’s disinterest in human behavior tells against the novel. [The extremely loose basis for the new Branagh Poirot film.] –KH

Safe In Hell (Film, US, William A. Wellman, 1931) A fallen woman (Dorothy Mackaill) vows to be true to her sailor fiancee after fleeing a manslaughter charge to a Caribbean island favored by unsavory fugitives.  Scabrous Pre-Code melodrama hews to a twisted morality while reveling in the lurid.—RDL


Fierce Cop (Film, Hong Kong, Tai-Lee Chan, 2020) In an unnamed, not-Chinese country, a hard-charging cop (Richie Jen) searches for the retaliating gangsters who have kidnapped his young son. Routine police thriller features brutal, energetic fights staged by action director Kenji Tanigaki.—RDL

Not Recommended

Batwoman (Film, Mexico, René Cardona, 1968) Wealthy philanthropist slash masked vigilante slash wrestler (Maura Monti) investigates an evil scientist who has been killing athletes for the pineal glands he needs to repopulate the world with marauding fish-men. Our heroine wrestles in a very familiar gray costume and bat mask, but when crime-fighting opts for cape, cowl, and bikini. To live up to the synopsis this kitsch thriller would have to be a little bit better made and several notches less sexist.—RDL

Comments are closed.

Film Cannister
Cartoon Rocket
Flying Clock
Film Cannister