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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Midnight Mass, Cinematographer Friendship, and a Brilliant Social Realist Procedural

October 5th, 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.

The Pinnacle

Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Film, US, Eliza HIttman, 2020) To evade Pennsylvania’s parental consent laws, a high schooler (Sidney Flanagan) and her cousin (Talia Ryder) travel to NYC, where she can have an abortion. Social realist procedural where the tightening suspense is driven by the question of whether she can navigate the many obstacles between the protagonist and the procedure she needs.—RDL

Recommended

Midnight Mass (Television, US, Netflix, Mike Flanagan, 2021) Communion takes on a new meaning when a young substitute priest (Hamish Linklater) arrives in a dying island fishing town, bringing with him a monstrous secret. Expansively paced creature feature, as hyperverbal as a bullshitting youth pastor, drinks from the cup of Stephen King.—RDL

No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos (Film, US, James Chressanthis, 2008) Dual documentary profile of fast friends László Kovács and Vilmos Zsigmond, who escaped the 1956 Soviet crackdown on Hungary to come to America and redefine the look of American films with their poetic realist style. Ably weaves together the personal, historical and aesthetic threads of its story. Key Kovacs titles: Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Paper Moon, Ghostbusters. Zsigmond: McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Deliverance, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.—RDL

Queen of Hearts (Film, Denmark, May el-Toukhy, 2019) Uncompromising lawyer (Trine Dryholm) loses her self-control when her wayward teenage stepson (Gustav Lindh) comes to live with the family. Drama of threatened bourgeois  domesticity, directed with subtle authority, showcases a brilliant performance from its lead.—RDL

Okay

The Killing of the Tinkers (Fiction, Ken Bruen, 2002) Cokehound ex-cop returns home to Galway and takes an assignment investigating the murders of tinkers, mostly by getting blitzed and waiting for secondary characters to swing by and give him information. Crime series authors often get bored with mystery construction to concentrate instead on open-ended character development, but it doesn’t usually set in during the second book in a series.—RDL

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