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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Tokyo Vice, Slow Horses, and the Making of Ghostbusters

May 3rd, 2022 | 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

Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters (Film, UK, Anthony Bueno, 2019) Lots of talking heads – especially Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, and Ivan Reitman – tell the story of the No. 1 film of 1984. Lots of focus on Richard Edlund’s team of SFX makers, and the joy expressed by everyone involved, compensates for the absence of Murray and Moranis. Not a cutting edge “making of” doc, but a justifiably proud film about people justifiably proud to have made a Pinnacle. –KH

Slow Horses Season 1 (Television, UK/US, Apple+, Will Smith, 2022) Sidelined to Slough House, the place MI5 careers go to die, an ambitious young agent (Jack Lowden) ignores the elaborate vituperations of his brilliant, slovenly new boss (Gary Oldman) for an investigation that entraps the department in a false flag scheme. Adaptation of the first in a series of novels by Mick Herron fuses overt le Carré homage with contemporary spy thrills. The result gives Oldman an unforgettable character to make an exquisite meal of, and that he surely does.—RDL

Tokyo Vice Season 1 (Television, US, HBO Max, J.T. Rogers, 2022) Naive gaijin (Ansel Elgort) becomes an oversized bull in a journalistic dishware department when he joins a Tokyo newspaper as a crime reporter, forging contacts with a principled maverick cop (Ken Watanabe), an ambitious club hostess (Rachel Keller), and a neophyte Yakuza (Shô Kasamatsu.) The grounding authenticity of Jake Adelstein’s nonfiction memoir and the energy imparted by the Michael Mann-directed pilot elevates this ensemble crime drama. I would have liked the season closer better had I known to expect a cliffhanger, so I’m telling you that now.—RDL

Okay

Murder at the Vanities (Film, US, Mitchell Leisen, 1934) The fast-talking stage manager of a Broadway revue (Jack Oakie) stays one step ahead of a lunkish cop (Victor McLaglen) when a series of slayings threatens to disrupt an opening night performance already in progress. Very Pre-Code musical mystery is  notable for a Duke Ellington number, a musical ode to marihuana, and as a filmed record of the Vanities series of ultra-racy theatrical extravaganzas.—RDL

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