Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Top Gun, Ghostbusters, We Own This City

June 7th, 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.


Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Film, US, Jason Reitman, 2021) When their mom moves them to the middle of nowhere, teen scientist (Mckenna Grace) and her normie brother (Finn Wolfhard) discover a world-shaking mystery in the secret basement of their late, estranged grandfather. Latest attempt to revive the franchise that has never really been a franchise is surprisingly effective, thanks to Reitman’s patient focus on character, not to mention love for Harold Ramis and his own dad.—RDL

Labyrinth of Cinema (Film, Japan, Nobuhiko Obayashi, 2019) On an old movie house’s last night, three audience members are pulled through the screen and into a history of Japan’s military history as told through movies. Initially kooky and frenetic, increasingly somber, epic-length look at the love of film and how it obscures and illuminates the lure of war.—RDL

The Long Divorce (Fiction, Edmund Crispin, 1950) Incompletely incognito, Gervase Fen investigates a plague of poison-pen letters in the town of Cotten Abbas as hatred turns to murder. Effortless braiding of plot, character, puzzle, wit, horror, and irony mark this as classic Crispin. The only real flaw might be that one of the puzzles is a bit too easy, but Crispin has a lot of balls to keep in the air. –KH

Top Gun: Maverick (Film, US, Joseph Kosinski, 2022) Egotistical, hypertalented movie star Tom Cruise (Maverick), battling age and obsolescence in a new world of streaming, IP, and CGI, is called back by his loyal patron Jerry Bruckheimer (Iceman) to make one last practical-effects, live-action blockbuster by detourning the film that retroactively doomed his species (Star Wars). Glorious real-life US Navy jets combine with Claudio Miranda’s luminous cinematography to produce an ecstatic emotional bricolage that approximates a fine fighter-pilot movie. –KH

We Own This City (Television, US, HBO, David Simon & George Pelecanos, 2022) Federal investigators unravel the massive corruption of a Baltimore anti-gun task force led by motormouth cop Wayne Jenkins (Jon Bernthal.) Adaptation of Justin Fenton’s also highly recommended nonfiction book extends Simon’s examinations of Baltimore policing to its current nadir, treating Jenkins’ malfeasance as the egregious but inevitable result of continued devotion to the war on drugs.—RDL


Born Reckless (Film, US, John Ford, 1930) After a heroic stint in WWI, the head of a heist crew (Edmund Lowe) goes straighter as a nightclub owner, but can’t quite quit his old underworld buddies. Worth a look for students of the gangster picture, as an example of the genre right before Little Caesar and The Public Enemy cemented its baseline structure. Ford’s touch is most apparent in the brief wartime sequence.—RDL

One Response to “Ken and Robin Consume Media: Top Gun, Ghostbusters, We Own This City”

  1. Melendwyr says:

    I’d like to request that you review Everything, Everywhere, All at Once.

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