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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Doctor Sleep, The Irishman, and a 60s Op Art Head Trip

November 19th, 2019 | 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

The Irishman (Film, US, Martin Scorsese, 2019) Sponsored by mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), hitman Frank Sheeran (Robert de Niro) becomes the right-hand man of union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). De Niro actually puts in the acting work in his portrayal of a “good soldier,” and Scorsese wisely reins in Pacino just enough for his showboat Hoffa to work perfectly, but the real star is unimaginably Joe Pesci (!!) as the voice of tired reason (!!!). Scorsese out-Scorseses himself (and in one scene out-Hitchcocks Hitchcock) then dares to show his moral wrecks and wreckers in a calm, deadly light. –KH

Recommended

The Deuce Season 3 (Television, US, HBO, David Simon, 2019) As the Martino brothers (James Franco) pay the inevitable toll for their mob ties, Eileen (Maggie Gyllenhaal) sees demand for her classy feminist erotica dwindle in the VHS market. The show’s touching, downbeat final season completes Simon’s thesis as grand-scale political and economic forces grind down its cast of shadow economy workers.—RDL

The Prisoner (Film, France, Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1968) Fascinated by the bondage photography of her thickheaded artist husband’s imperious gallerist (Laurent Terzieff), a TV news producer (Elizabeth Wiener) initiates a mutually self-destructive love triangle. Drama of eros, thanatos and neurosis features saturated colors, arresting op art visuals, and a hallucinatory freak-out that stands as the kink counterpart to 2001’s hyperspace sequence. AKA Woman in Chains.—RDL

Okay

Doctor Sleep (Film, US, Mike Flanagan, 2019) Left a barely functional alcoholic by the events of The Shining, Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) protects a young psychic girl (Kyliegh Curran) from a truly ridiculous team of shine-eaters led by, and I wish I were kidding, a vampire named Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson). With dread gone, we’re left with a movie that’s a decent secret-mutant-battle flick until it becomes a literal travesty of Kubrick. –KH

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