Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Lupin, King John, Son of a Trickster

February 16th, 2021 | 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.


Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock ‘n’ Roll  (Film, US, John Pirozzi, 2014) Documentary chronicles Cambodia’s vibrant, cross-pollinated pop music scene of the 60s, and its abrupt ending with the arrival of the Khmer Rouge regime, which murders all of its leading lights. Ably handles musicological exploration and the inexorable descent into political hell.—RDL [Haven’t seen the doc, but the soundtrack is a banger that I listened to on heavy shuffle while writing The Fall of DELTA GREEN. –KH]

King John (Filmed Stage Play, Canada, Tim Carroll & Barry Avrich, 2015) Scheming King John (Tom McCamus) fights off French efforts to reclaim his continental territory and replace him with their preferred heir, a sweet-natured child. Stratford Festival production keeps the pace rattling in Shakespeare’s ultra-telescoped chronicle of 13th century betrayal and counter-betrayal, juiced with touches of absurdist humor. McCamus plays John as a ruthless twit, a combination observers of current politics may find resonant.. Chances to see this live crop up rarely, and the televised play format works surprisingly well here.—RDL

Lupin Season 1 (Television, France, Netflix, George Kay, 2021) Master thief Assane Diop (Omar Sy) “in the shadow of Arsène” unravels the frame around his dead father, unjustly imprisoned 25 years ago for a theft he didn’t commit. Structurally more Count of Monte Cristo than Lupin, this show’s larcenous procedurals (and Sy’s effortless charisma) shine brightly enough to obscure the occasional idiot plot hook. Looking forward to the actual end of the season, which Netflix for some reason won’t air until summer. –KH

Lupin Season I (Television, France, Netflix, George Kay, 2021) Inspired by the fictional adventures of gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, a master heister and disguise artist (Omar Sy) attempts to clear his late father of the jewel theft that sent him to prison 25 years ago. Glamourous crime procedural cleverly updates an iconic character. If I’d known that the storyline does not resolve in the current batch of episodes, I’d have waited until the next drop, later this year, to start binging.—RDL

Son of a Trickster (Fiction, Eden Robinson, 2017) A snarky high schooler from the Haisla First Nation of northern B.C. already has enough on his hands with his volatile mom, broke dad, troubled woke girlfriend and weed cookie side hustle, when he begins to attract the interest of powerful entities from the spirit world. Sets the stage for supernatural doings with kicky social observation. Part one of a trilogy.—RDL


Cast a Dark Shadow (Film, UK, Lewis Gilbert, 1955) Suave, albeit working class, seducer (Dirk Bogarde) successfully bumps off his rich matronly wife (Mona Washbourne), but finds her replacement, an unsentimental former pub owner (Margaret Lockwood), a tougher nut to crack. Bogarde takes full advantage of a role he is perfectly cast in, from a British mystery stage play with better-drawn characters than that genre generally attempts.—RDL

The Revenge of Frankenstein (Film, UK, Terence Fisher, 1958) Skipping his appointment with the guillotine, Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) sets up shop in a new town, where he resolves to fix his past reanimation mistakes by putting the living brain of his half-paralyzed assistant (Oscar Quitak) into a perfect body (Michael Gwynn.) Underdeveloped ending aside, this is one of the better Hammer sequels, a caustic parable of the elite’s propensity for upward failure.—RDL

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