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Ken and Robin Consume Media: UFO Revelations, Werewolves, and an Occult Artist

March 2nd, 2021 | 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

The 11th Green (Film, US, Christopher Münch, 2020) His Air Force general father’s death leads alternative journalist Jeremy Rudd (Campbell Scott) to a decades-long UFO coverup. Talky and (perhaps purposefully) irresolute, with high concepts (such as astral conversations between Eisenhower and Obama) not quite realized, some viewers (such as those married to me) may consider it Good at best. But Scott’s natural, comfortable acting in increasingly unreal circumstances ballasts the funhouse boat through an at-times-enthralling deep state dark ride. –KH

My Year of Rest and Relaxation (Fiction, Ottessa Moshfegh, 2018) Aided by a financial cushion and a therapist whose freedom with the prescription pad borders on the shamanic, a young New York woman decides to spend the first year of the new century sleeping as many hours as physically possible. Sleepwalking becomes a metaphor for the death of Clinton-era innocence in the caustically funny story of a protagonist who goes rogue by pulling the covers over her head.—RDL

Pool of London (Film, UK, Basil Dearden, 1951) By striking a deal to sneak a package onto his docked ship, a brash American sailor (Bonar Colleano) unwittingly involves himself and his sensitive Jamaican shipmate (Earl Cameron) in the aftermath of a jewel heist gone wrong. Ensemble crime drama paints a detailed social portrait, including an ahead-of-its-time treatment of racism, without stinting on the thrills.—RDL

The Witch of Kings Cross (Film, Australia, Sonia Bible, 2020) Documentary profile of artist, polyandrist and Pagan sex magician Rosaleen Norton portrays her battles with cops and reporters in conservative 50s Australia as a harbinger of the counterculture. Its visual techniques, including extended sequences of interpretive dance, are outré by documentary standards but nowhere near as subversive as the subject’s actual work, shown extensively here. Our Norton segment appears in episode 307.—RDL

The Wolf of Snow Hollow (Film, US, Jim Cummings, 2020) Small-town cop with anger issues John Marshall (Cummings) attempts to lead the investigation into a string of horrific murders during the full moon. Portraying Marshall’s broken-ness not just by dialogue and plot stress but by elliptical editing, the end result seems almost as if John Cassavetes made a werewolf movie, but had Douglas Sirk shoot it — Natalie Kingston’s superb cinematography revels in open spaces and truculent faces. Robert Forster is of course wonderful in his final role as Marshall’s ailing sheriff father. –KH

Good

The Battered Bastards of Baseball (Film, US, Chapman & Maclain Way, 2014) When his supporting gig on Bonanza runs out, actor Bing Russell starts up an independent ball team in the single-A league, sparking a real-life scrappy misfit underdog story. Talking heads include Bing’s son Kurt, who briefly played for the team between his Disney era and grown-up movie stardom.—RDL

Death Shadows (Film, Japan, Hideo Gosha, 1986) Geisha daughter of a criminal forced to serve as an undercover cop finds a use for her lethal acrobatic ribbon when she inherits over his mission to retrieve a document that incriminates a prominent clan. Samurai crime film features byzantine plotting and stylistic flourishes unthawed in time from the mod mid-60s.—RDL

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