Abraham Lincoln

RVIFF Reviews: A Space Age Housing Project, Finnish Metalheads, and Secrets Revealed in a Saab 900

September 16th, 2022 | Robin


A Ken and Robin Consume Media Special Feature


At the end of last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, my wife Valerie and I decided to break up with it, after decades of attendance. We have replaced it with RVIFF, the Robin and Valerie International Film Festival. It’s the festival you can play along with at home, with a curated roster of streaming titles I’m excited to see. Daily capsule reviews roll out throughout the festival, with a complete list in order of preference dropping a day or two afterwards. Review ratings are out of 5.


The Trouble with You (France, Pierre Salvadori, 2018, 4) Guilt-ridden police chief (Adèle Haenel) tries to help an embittered ex-con (Pio Marmaï) her husband and predecessor framed for a jewel robbery. Haenel shows how star power works by investing this irreverent cop comedy with a performance of simmering emotion.

Gagarine (France, Fanny Liatard & Jérémy Trouilh, 2020, 4) Soulful high school student stays behind in his housing project, which like him is named after Yuri Gargarin, after it is slated for demolition. Mix of lyricism and social realism laced with elegiac imagery of a vanished space age.

Heavy Trip (Finland, Juuso Laatio & Jukka Vidgren, 2018, 4) After twelve years of practice and the completion of one original song, a metal band that practices in the guitarist’s parents’ basement sets its sights on the Northern Damnation music festival in Norway. Good-natured broad comedy with SCA Vikings and a wolverine punch-up, powered by the screams of a thousand reindeer on their way to reindeer hell.

Drive My Car (Japan, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, 2021, 5) A theater director (Hidetoshi Nishijima) marked by a tragic event finds a kindred spirit in the taciturn young woman hired to drive him around during a production in Hiroshima. Long, strange journey into the mysteries of what we chose to hide and what we must eventually reveal.

Based on a Haruki Murakami story.

Due to moderate demand, the RVIFF shirts I made for the two of us are now available in the Ken and Robin merch store.



If you enjoy this special text feature of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff podcast and don’t already support our Patreon, consider tossing a few bucks in the tip jar. Or check out my book on action films and their roleplaying applications, Blowing Up the Movies. Or the roleplaying game inspired by the Hong Kong films I first encountered at TIFF, Feng Shui 2.

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