Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Wakanda Forever, a French Action Thriller, Plus Burglars, FIFA, and Other Criminals

November 22nd, 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.

The Pinnacle

Lost Bullet (Film, France, Guillaume Pierret, 2020) Furloughed to work as mechanic for a fast pursuit police squad, a determined convict (Alban Lenoir) is framed for murder and escapes to clear his name. Tight actioner with brilliantly conceived, precision-executed car chases and hand-to-hand fights, anchored by a smart script where each member of its last cast of characters pursues their own specific agenda.—RDL


The Burglar Who Met Fredric Brown (Fiction, Lawrence Block, 2022) After reading Fredric Brown’s classic novel What Mad Universe, obsolescent burglar-bookseller Bernie Rhodenbarr sideslips into a world where he can pull one last job. Each of Block’s dozen Burglar books is something of a delicate confection, and this one reaches Viennese levels of sweetness while slightly neglecting the tight plotting in favor of fond metafiction. If you haven’t read any Rhodenbarr capers yet, this is where to finish, not where to begin. –KH

Esther Povitsky: Hot For My Name (Television, US, Comedy Central, Nicholaus Goossen, 2020) Punchy, perfectly delivered standup bits interspersed with Esther’s bemused parents gently negging her, finishing with a musical number. A pure standup special would have been my personal preference, but everything here works. –KH

FIFA Uncovered (Television, US, Netflix, Miles Coleman & Daniel Gordon, 2022) Docuseries meticulously lays out the case that the corruption of the organization that rules World Cup football is not an anomaly, but has been its core mission since sponsorship money first flooded into the sport. The biggest proof it offers for the hubris of FIFA bigwigs is that all of them agree to appear on camera for interviews, confident that their powers of weaselry will once again prevail for them.—RDL

The Interrupters (Film, US, Steve James, 2011) Documentary profiles former Chicago gang members who now work for a city program directly intervening to defuse disputes that might otherwise escalate to murder. Presents the sociological issues while wisely placing the emphasis on the people working to redeem themselves and rescue others.—RDL

Lost Bullet (Film, France, Guillaume Pierret, 2020) On work release for the cops, ace mechanic Lino (Alban Lenoir) must find the titular bullet and clear his name after being framed for murder. Perfectly tuned actioner remarkably eschews suspense for adrenaline, and commendably refrains from murdering a bunch of bystanders. –KH

The Poisoned Chocolates Case (Fiction, Anthony Berkeley, 1929) Six members of the Crimes Circle, including both of Berkeley’s series detectives, attempt to solve a Scotland Yard cold case: Sir Eustace Pennefather receives a mysterious box of chocolates, gives them to fellow clubman Graham Bendix, and Bendix’ wife Joan dies of poison. Each member proposes a strong solution in turn, demolishing the previous solution (and demonstrating the fundamental arbitrariness in mystery novel construction) along the way. Clever and arch, a remarkable feat of deconstruction for 1929; the linked edition contains two more solutions, by Christianna Brand and Martin Edwards. –KH


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Film, US, Ryan Coogler, 2022) After the death of King T’challa, Wakanda faces renewed factionalism at home and a rising rival vibranium kingdom, Talokan, ruled by Namor (Tenoch Huerta). It’s hard to resent the film’s decision to mourn Chadwick Boseman, but it adds another half-hour when not much happens, along with a pointless CIA subplot, an overlong Namor backstory, and the introduction of a superfluous super-scientist to a movie ostensibly about Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright). Lupita Nyong’o is great as superspy Nakia, and props for having the final fight in daylight, I guess. –KH

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