Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: The Last of Us, Cocaine Bear, and Psionic Norwegian Kids

March 28th, 2023 | 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.


Aftersun (Film, UK, Charlotte Wells, 2022) As seen through a veil of unanswered adult memory, a young girl (Frankie Corio) vacations with her covertly troubled dad (Paul Mescal) at a disappointing tourist resort. Delicately acted, observation-driven naturalistic drama about the way parents protect their kids by hiding who they really are.—RDL

The Innocents (Film, Norway, Eskil Vogt, 2022) Young kids in an apartment complex develop interconnected psionic powers—but one of them is a bad seed. Horror of high-stakes conflict between children made all the more disturbing by its naturalistic presentation.—RDL

The Last of Us Season 1 (Television, US, HBO, Craig Mazin, 2023) In a post-apocalyptic present stalked by fungal zombies, a smuggler closed off by his tragic past (Pedro Pascal) reluctantly agrees to transport a sharp-witted teen (Bella Ramsey) across country to a lab that hopes to turn her immunity into the plague into a vaccine. Brilliantly realized survival horror built around the unusually clear dramatic arc of its videogame source material.—RDL


Banacek Season 1 (Television, US, NBC, George Eckstein, 1972-1973) Insurance investigator Thomas Banacek (George Peppard) investigates impossible disappearances for a 10% recovery fee while radiating self-satisfaction, romancing suspects, and dropping “old Polish proverbs.” Peppard’s airy vibe still has its qualities, the padded interstitial scenes less so, but the mysteries are genuinely fun and challenging. –KH

Cocaine Bear (Film, US, Elizabeth Banks, 2023) Brave nurse (Keri Russell) tries to rescue her daughter as a cocaine bear tears its way through a string of victims in the Chattahoochee–Oconee National Forest. Horror comedy delights in entropic mayhem; peaks too soon.—RDL

Deliver Us From Evil (Film, South Korea, 2022) Ex-spy turned assassin delays his retirement to rescue the young daughter he never knew he had from Thai organ traffickers, pursued by his last victim’s ultra-violent blood brother. Well-staged hard action follows the recent Asian cinema trope of depicting Thailand as a sun-baked Wild West.—RDL


F9 (Film, US, Justin Lin, 2020) Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) come out of hiding to stop his brother (John Cena) from capturing a world-threatening technology. Disquieting nods toward self-awareness deep into a franchise that works when it fully commits to pure stupidity. I can’t tell whether Diesel is becoming a worse actor with each installment or if Lin has stopped trying to pick his less embarrassing takes.—RDL

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