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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Power of the Dog, DIE, and Classic Lubitsch

December 14th, 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.

Recommended

Cluny Brown (Film, US, Ernst Lubitsch, 1946) Suave Czech emigre (Charles Boyer), lightly on the run from Hitler, befriends a sweet young woman (Jennifer Jones) whose love of life is about to be crushed by the English class system. If you ever want to know what the famous “Lubitsch touch” for light, elegant comedy looks like, point yourself toward this gentle romantic comedy of manners.—RDL

DIE Vol. 4: Bleed (Comics, Image, Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, 2021) The kidnapped gaming group discovers what it takes to leave Die. The dismount was always going to be the hardest part of this book to pull off, and Gillen wisely does it in rocket stages honoring each character rather than try for One Big Ending. Hans still arts the big fantasy reveal as well as anyone ever has, while using color like a film score throughout. –KH

The Pursuit of Love (Fiction, Nancy Mitford, 1945) Romantic illusions lead the charismatic daughter of eccentric country nobles to a pair of marriages to unsuitable, undeserving husbands. Pointed yet sympathetic social observation propels this bittersweet comedy of manners and changing mores.—RDL

The Power of the Dog (Film, New Zealand/UK, Jane Campion, 2021) When his kinder, introverted brother (Jesse Plemons) unexpectedly marries, an insecure, hypermasculine rancher (Benedict Cumberbatch) bullies his sweet-natured bride (Kristen Dunst), arousing the protective instincts of her sensitive med student son (Kodi Smit-McPhee.) Sweeping pictorial beauty counterpoints the subtle authority of direction and performance in this noir-themed Western drama.—RDL

Too Late For Tears (Film, US, Byron Haskin, 1948) Status-conscious housewife (Lizabeth Scott) lets her ruthless streak come out when she and her cautious husband (Arthur Kennedy) receive a bag of cash meant for blackmailer Dan Duryea. Acid-etched noir places its femme fatale dead center as its anti-heroic protagonist.—RDL

Not Recommended

Doctor Who: Flux (Season 13) (Television, UK, BBC, Chris Chibnall, 2021) An engineered space-time collapse destroys most of the universe, pitting the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) against sundry chrono-villains as she and her pals struggle to reverse it. A breathless mish-mosh of plotlines, overstuffed with antagonists and supporting characters, answers the unasked question, “What if the whole season played like the set-up to a two-parter?”—RDL

One Response to “Ken and Robin Consume Media: Power of the Dog, DIE, and Classic Lubitsch”

  1. It seems to me that an analysis of why this season of Doctor Who failed would make a great Hut.

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