Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Rediscovered Photos, Wonder Woman and a Classic in 70mm

March 8th, 2016 | Robin

March 8, 2016

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 our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.

The Pinnacle

2001: A Space Odyssey (70mm) (Film, US, Stanley Kubrick, 1968) One of the few films to achieve the actual sublime, 2001 demands to be seen in its original 6-track sound and 70mm format. Petition your local art house cinema today! Try to forget Clarke’s novel and watch it on the nonverbal level it’s written and filmed at. –KH


Europe in Autumn (Fiction, David Hutchinson, 2014) Magical-realist spy novel set in Europe ca. 2050 as it disintegrates back into microstates. Plausible tradecraft and arch tone disguise the growing weirdness in the life and world of chef-courier-smuggler Rudi until the vertiginous fourth-act turn. –KH

Finding Vivian Maier (Film, US, John Maloof & Charlie Siskel, 2013) Man buys a cache of photo negatives at auction, leading him to discover the work of a world-class street photographer who worked in reclusive secrecy until her death, supporting herself as a nanny. Documentary investigation into the layers of mystery surrounding the life of its subject finds revelation within revelation, not all of them redemptive.–RDL

The Secret History of Wonder Woman (Non-fiction, Jill Lepore, 2014) New research into the unconventional family life of Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston traces the surprising mix of early feminism, psychology, showmanship and kink behind comics’ iconic superheroine. Engagingly fills in the blanks on a secrecy-shrouded founding figure of geek culture. –RDL

Vanishing Point (Film, US, Richard C. Sarafian, 1971) Enigmatic man (Barry Newman) hired to drive a car from Colorado to San Francisco turns the gig into a quixotic, Benzedrine-addled multi-state police pursuit. Drive-in exploitation meets the American New Wave in this existential distillation of 70s culture. —RDL

The Weapon Makers (Fiction, A.E. van Vogt, 1952) Like KARTAS itself both Canadian and nuts, Van Vogt wrote crazy dream-logic stories in a seemingly straight-up SF idiom, but I hadn’t known he’d written a sequel to The Weapon Shops of Isher. This novel nearly blows up that one while dropping a half-dozen mindfreezing revelations into 220 pages, then stops. Or wakes up. –KH

The Witch (Film, US, Richard Eggers, 2016) This eerie film about “the witch of the wood” harrowing an exiled Puritan farm family tells its very standard horror story with very gripping freshness, not despite but because of its 400-year-old idiom. Score and casting are particular triumphs. –KH

WTF Podcast Ep. 638, Sacha Baron Cohen. Baron Cohen notoriously ducks interviews as himself in favor of in-character appearances, so this long talk with the maestro of in-depth comedy chat provides a rare opportunity. Like Steve Martin, the real self turns out to be studious and thoughtful, especially when delving into his background in classical clowning and buffon. —RDL


How Strange to be Named Federico (Film, Italy, Ettore Scola, 2013) Through mix of documentary and biopic techniques, the director (We All Loved Each Other So Much, La Nuit de Varennes) recalls his lifelong friendship with Federico Fellini. The most interesting bits aren’t about their respective filmmaking careers but their shared background as cartoonists for the satirical magazine Marc’Aurelio. Its elegiac passages take on an extra poignancy knowing Scola passed away a few weeks ago.–RDL

Hunting Che (Non-fiction, Mitch Weiss and Kevin Maurer, 2013) Tells the story of the capture of Che Guevara in Bolivia in 1967 from the unusual perspective of the US Green Berets who trained the Bolivian Army Rangers who got him. The Bolivian hunters and their CIA allies also get spotlight time. Too journalistic (just say “no” to invented dialogue and inner thoughts) for hardcore military history buffs, but provides a wealth of previously unknown detail about this paradigmatic brushfire mission. –KH


Warrior: Frank Sturgis, CIA’s No. 1 Assassin-Spy (Non-fiction, Jim Hunt and Bob Risch, 2011) Hunt is Sturgis’ nephew, so when he provides Uncle Frank with his alibi for November 22, 1963, it’s not that convincing. Neither is the book’s slapdash research, but goodness me did Uncle Frank have a life! From running guns to Fidel to trying to kill him, to Watergate and Angola, it makes you want to read a better book on Sturgis that doesn’t exist. –KH

6 Responses to “Ken and Robin Consume Media: Rediscovered Photos, Wonder Woman and a Classic in 70mm”

  1. Chris Shorb says:

    Looking forward to listening to this one.
    Question – will this replace segments such as Ken’s Bookshelf and Robin and Ken’s various film fest reports?
    I do so love the reports of book treasures found at various used bookshops the world over; and as someone who does not see many movies, I enjoy your capsule reports thereon. I know now there is a place for them, I also liked them sprinkled throughout other episodes.

    • KenH says:

      Ken and Robin Consume Media exists entirely in the still silent voice of text and can only be listened to in your heart.

      Thus, it complements but can never replace Ken’s Bookshelf or the Film Fest reports. Books bought for the Bookshelf may take weeks, months, or even years to appear in Ken and Robin Consume Media, for example.

      • Chris Shorb says:

        Hah! I even listened to the Patreon mini-episode, and heard you and Robin talk about this very thing.

        Now my only choice is whether to listen to it in the scotch burnished tones of Ken, or the retsina smooth sounds of Robin… For amusement, I might read it all in my mind in Ethel Merman’s voice…

    • Robin says:

      The one change you’ll hear on the podcast is that the new Tell Me More segment inspired by Ken and Robin Consume Media will replace Recommendation Engine.

  2. AndrewTBP says:

    I can’t help thinking of spacecraft whenever I hear An der schönen blauen Donau.

  3. Tim Emrick says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed Secret History of WW when I read it last year. I grew up on the Lynda Carter TV series, so she’s long been one of my favorite superheroes. I have been reading the New 52 WW as my local library acquires each new collected volume, so I devoured Secret History as soon as they got that in, too.

    I’ve only recently started listening to the podcasts here, and am now chastising me slightly younger self for not properly catering to my love of Hite- and Law-style weirdness. I am currently atoning by digging around in the archives.

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