Abraham Lincoln

Ken Pulls Off His Rubber Mask, Revealing Robin With His Detective Dee Review

July 31st, 2018 | 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.


Bombshell: the Hedy Lamarr Story (Film, US, Alexandra Dean, 2017) Documentary recounts the life of the Hollywood star whose beauty eclipsed the quality of her roles, and whose efforts as an inventor led to the frequency-hopping technology underlying wi-fi and GPS. Inspiring and sad in equal measure.—RDL

Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Affair with a Famous Cartoonist (Graphic Novel, Bill Griffith, 2015) The opportunity to look through a trove of family documents sends the author down a research rabbit hole into his deceased mother’s secret romantic life. Autobiography becomes a web of hidden and unknowable adjacent biographies, with the comics medium heightening interior drama as no other form could.—RDL

Mission: Impossible — Fallout (Film, US, Christopher McQuarrie, 2018) Superspy Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise, effortlessly effortful) must deal with the titular fallout from the previous film while being saddled with a thuggish CIA observer (Henry Cavill). Cavill (perhaps on purpose) plays it as Dark Peter Lupus, as this installment homages the TV show repeatedly and well. Of course it still finds room for three insane chase sequences and the by-now-expected sudden but inevitable betrayal. –KH

Ugly Delicious (Television, Netflix, David Chang and Peter Meehan, 2018) Iconoclastic restaurateur Chang brings in a dream team of food writers and fellow chefs to look at of change and tradition in food culture. Refreshingly takes the piss out of hagiographical food TV cliches while still getting the salivary glands vicariously flowing. If you’re going to watch out of order, start with the episode on the African American food experience and the fraughtness of fried chicken.—RDL


Conflict (Film, US, Curtis Bernhardt, 1945) Engineer with a yen for his sister-in-law (Humphrey Bogart) thinks he’s successfully bumped off his wife, until a trail of strange clues starts to indicate otherwise. Exercise in pseudo-Freudian paranoia delivers the noir mood through the perspective of a then-unusual anti-hero protagonist.—RDL

Deadline at Dawn (Film, US, Harold Clurman, 1946) When a good-hearted but slow-thinking sailor (Bill Williams) gets mixed up with a blackmailer’s murder, a dance-hall girl (an unusually restrained Susan Hayward) and a philosophical cabbie (Paul Lukas) team up to find the real killer. Clifford Odets script, based on a Cornell Woolrich story, elevates an unmemorable storyline with pearls of hardboiled dialogue and a knack for quickly drawn, unexpected characterizations.—RDL

Detective Dee: the Four Heavenly Kings (Film, China, Tsui Hark, 2018) When the nation’s chief investigator (Mark Chao) is entrusted with the all-powerful Dragon Taming Mace, the ambitious Empress Wu (Carina Lau) schemes with sorcerers of the martial arts world to reclaim it from him. The plotting that connects the delirious action set pieces is on the labored side this time out, making this the slightest of the series. But, hey, we’re not here for the plot, and this does offer up the best, nuttiest “and now the CGI characters fight” sequence ever.—RDL

One Response to “Ken Pulls Off His Rubber Mask, Revealing Robin With His Detective Dee Review”

  1. Hank Harwell says:

    I’m a huge Mission Impossible fan from the first run of Peter Graves’ TV series (still not crazy about what they did to Mr. Phelps in the first movie). I think the last several films have been the best, building on the events from the previous films. My only complaint is that the villains’ motivations in the last two seem nebulous: When they destroy the world order and destabilize the governments in charge, what then? It seems somewhat ill-defined, which doesn’t make sense how meticulous they appear in their missions.

    That said, even though I can start to detect the pattern of when something is a fake-out, they are still fun romps in the spy genre. I think I shocked my wife when I said that I think I prefer Mission Impossible over most Bond films.

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