Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Late Night With the Devil, Burgess Does Bond, and Oliver Sacks

July 9th, 2024 | 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.


Late Night with the Devil (Film, US, Colin Cairnes & Cameron Cairnes, 2023) In a bid to reverse his spiraling ratings, a weaselly talk show host (David Dastmalchian) invites a medium, a debunking magician and a demon-possessed girl and her handler onto his Halloween episode. A fun stew of 70s cultural references serves up a fresh angle on Satanic horror, with Dastmalchian joining the ranks of character actors capable of carrying a movie.—RDL

Night Games (Film, Sweden, Mai Zetterling, 1966) Brooding scion (Keve Hjelm) brings his fiancee (Lena Brundin) to his family manor, prompting his reckoning with his chaotic upbringing at the hands of his erratic, hypersexualized mother (Ingrid Thulin.) Drama of trauma and escape framed in stark sixties modernism, with an extraordinary final sequence skewering the supporting cast of decadent hangers-on. Shocking in its day and still shocking now, so look for content warnings.—RDL

Oliver Sacks: His Own Life (Film, US, Ric Burns, 2019) Having completed his memoir and learned that he has months left to live, the renowned neurological clinician and author sits down for a biographical interview. Sacks’ personal presence reveals elements obscured in his written works, making the surprising details of his early flailing and delayed acceptance.—RDL

Tremor of Intent (Fiction, Anthony Burgess, 1966) Adventurous British agent spectacularly bungles his assignment to retrieve an erstwhile school chum, a scientist who has defected to the Soviet Union. Brings unexpectedly deep characterization and Catholic eschatology to an outrageous, stinging satire of Fleming, Greene, and le Carré.—RDL


A Thousand Billion Dollars (Film, France, Henri Verneuil, 1982) Conspiracy turns to murder when obsessive journalist Paul Kerjean (Patrick Dewaere) investigates a multinational’s attempt to buy into a French electronics firm. Pointed political thriller slackens the pace compared to Verneuil’s previous efforts, but maybe that’s because the score is a piano quartet and not by Ennio Morricone.—RDL


How to Rob a Bank (Film, US, Stephen Robert Morse and Seth Porges, 2024) True crime documentary describes the career of Seattle bank robber Scott Scurlock, who hit 19 banks between 1992 and his suicide during a police standoff in 1996. Though touted as a different kind of crime doc, it’s the same talking-heads, fat cops reminiscing, reconstructions in filter, and occasional map you’ve seen a thousand times. The case itself is pretty interesting, though.—KH

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