Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: The Woman King, Fleishman is in Trouble, and Inuk Kids on Bikes vs. Alien Monsters

February 21st, 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.


A Curious Boy (Nonfiction, Richard Fortey, 2021) Memoir follows the author’s progression from science-obsessed youngster in post war Britain to the advent of his career as the Natural History Museum’s renowned trilobite expert. A skilled science writer makes the leap to more personal writing, with evocative results.—RDL

Fleishman is in Trouble (Television, US, Hulu/FX/Disney+, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, 2022) A former magazine writer mired in suburban despond (LIzzy Caplan) recounts the divorce story of her college friend, uptight hepatologist Toby Fleishman (Jesse Eisenberg), whose hard charging talent agent ex (Claire Danes) has inexplicably ghosted him and their kids. Brilliantly acted and directed satirical drama of money, class, marital expectation and shifting perspectives. Read the excellent source novel first to see how differences in medium can radically shift the impact of an extremely faithful adaptation.—RDL

Slash/Back (Film, Canada, Nyla Innuksuk, 2022) Teen Inuk girls defend the tiny Arctic settlement of Pangnirtung from a gruesome alien menace. Fun kids on bikes creature feature with side dishes of empowerment and local Indigenous culture.—RDL

The Woman King (Film, US, Gina Prince-Bythewood, 2022) In 1820s Dahomey, the tough-minded leader (Viola Davis) of the Agojie, the kingdom’s cadre of women warriors, prepares for a war of liberation against the superior forces of the Oyo Empire and discovers an unexpected connection to a cocky but determined recruit (Thuso Mbedu.) Historical epic of stoic empowerment recalls David Lean and event pictures of the 60s, with the addition of energetically staged modern mass fight choreography.—RDL


In the Earth (Film, UK, Ben Wheatley, 2021) During a deadly plague, a feckless biologist (Joel Fry) and his sensible ranger guide (Ellora Torchia) find folk horror and a research product gone violently awry in the woodland depths. Wheatley revisits favorite themes in this reduced-scale forest freakout.—RDL

Thunder on the Hill (Film, US, Douglas Sirk, 1951) When a party transporting a distraught young woman (Ann Blyth) to the gallows takes refuge from a flood at a Norwich convent, a problem-solving nun (Claudette Colbert) sets out to prove her innocence. Sirk forgoes his characteristic florid irony, devoting his technique to hide the stage play origins of this atmospheric investigative thriller.—RDL

Ken was on the road this week.

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