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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Leary in Love, Selena in the Zoom Kitchen

December 15th, 2020 | 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

My Psychedelic Love Story (Film, US, Errol Morris, 2020) Joanna Harcourt-Smith recounts her cameo-studded tale of lysergic acid and international intrigue as Timothy Leary’s lover and confidant from his fugitive years to his coming out as an FBI informant. Master documentarian Morris gives the archival clips and images suitably trippy graphic treatment while hewing closely to his protagonist and her story.—RDL

Strange Cargo (Film, US, Frank Borzage, 1940) Irresistible hardened criminal (Clark Gable) escapes from the French Guiana penal colony, accompanied by a tough saloon performer (Joan Crawford) and a mysteriously prophetic Bible-toter (Ian Hunter.) Expressionistic parable of survival and redemption.—RDL

The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth  (Nonfiction, Mark Mazzetti, 2013) The Global War on Terror sends the eternal CIA pendulum between analyst and cowboy swinging hard to the latter, as it transforms into a people-killing agency intertwined with the Pentagon. This ably organized account of post-9/11 to Obama spy games crisply paints a cast of bureaucratic infighters, freelancers and loose cannons.—RDL

Good

Selena + Chef Season 1 (Television, US, HBOMax, Aaron Saidman, 2020) Pop star and cooking novice Selena Gomez makes dishes under the Zoom supervision of LA chefs. Provides suitable amounts of Selena, chefs, and cooking to fit the bill — it won’t really rock the world of any experienced home cook, but that’s not really its job. Attempts at byplay with Selena’s family and friends mostly stay out of the way of the cooking. –KH

Under Occupation (Fiction, Alan Furst, 2019) In 1942 Paris, thriller writer Paul Ricard stumbles into a Resistance operation and joins up. Ricard’s story is not so much a novelistic arc as a series of episodes, some gripping some oblique; Furst’s (still considerable) gift for evocative description is all some stretches have going for them. Furst should probably be praised for avoiding the “real thriller echoes fake Ambler thriller” throughline, but should not be left off the hook for avoiding a throughline altogether. –KH

When Pigs Fly (Film, Germany/US, Sara Driver, 1993) In a rough hewn town somehow both in New Jersey and in Ireland, the gift of a haunted chair saddles an alcoholic jazzman (Alfred Molina) with ghostly houseguests, a child and a bartender (Marianne Faithfull) he once knew. Ramshackle hipster ghost comedy alternates whimsy and melancholy. —RDL

Not Recommended

Evelyn Prentice (Film, US, William K. Howard, 1934) Brilliant attorney (William Powell) defends a young woman charged with the murder of a cad, not knowing that his neglected wife (Myrna Loy) was also dallying with the victim.  Most 30s movies turn into hot nonsense the moment they enter a courtroom and that’s certainly true of this labored melodrama, which gives the frequent costars little opportunity to sparkle together.—RDL

One Response to “Ken and Robin Consume Media: Leary in Love, Selena in the Zoom Kitchen”

  1. RoyalCBD says:

    MDhFvp Major thanks for the article. Really Cool.

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