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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Deadpool (2016)

    Deadpool 2016

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Tim Miller. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, and Ed Skrein.

    Beneath the crude jokes and over-the-top violence lurks a serious film. Okay, maybe not, but Deadpool walks a tonal tightrope with no safety net. Continue reading...

    Watched on 27 Feb, 2021
  2. In Which We Serve 1942

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by David Lean and Noël Coward. Starring Noël Coward, John Mills, Bernard Miles, and Celia Johnson.

    David Lean’s directorial debut. He shares credit with Noël Coward, who also produced, stars, and wrote the screenplay. Continue reading...

  3. I Like Your Nerve 1931

    F: 1 star (out of 5)

    Directed by William C. McGann. Starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Loretta Young, Henry Kolker, and Claud Allister.

    In a banana republic, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. plays an arrogant, entitled American who sets his sites on a snobbish, entitled American played by Loretta Young. The script proffers ample plot involving Young’s corrupt step-father, her aging fiancee, and a farcical kidnapping plot. But my distaste for both characters overrode my interest. Boris Karloff has a forgettable part as Young’s stepfather’s aid.

  4. Five Star Final 1931

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Starring Edward G. Robinson, Marian Marsh, H.B. Warner, and Anthony Bushell.

    Would-be social outrage drama sees Edward G. Robinson editing a New York scandal sheet. Caving to ownership pressure, he assigns amoral reporter Boris Karloff to dredge up a scandalous, twenty-year-old murder story. Continue reading...

  5. Waterloo Bridge 1931

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by James Whale. Starring Mae Clarke, Douglass Montgomery, Doris Lloyd, and Frederick Kerr.

    Mae Clarke plays a showgirl reduced to prostitution in World War I London. During an air raid, she meets a naive but good-hearted soldier played by Douglass Montgomery. You can see where this is going. Continue reading...

  6. Uma 1941

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Akira Kurosawa and Kajirô Yamamoto. Starring Hideko Takamine, Kamatari Fujiwara, Chieko Takehisa, and Kaoru Futaba.

    Akira Kurosawa’s directorial debut. He took over after his mentor, Kajirô Yamamoto, left for a more commercial effort. The story concerns the eldest daughter of a Japanese farming family who convinces her parents to foster a pregnant horse during the winter. I lack the cultural context to appreciate much of the film’s nuance, but the production impressed. Yamamoto insisted on authenticity, so production spanned years to accomodate photographing the passing seasons.

  7. Angel Baby 1961

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Hubert Cornfield and Paul Wendkos. Starring George Hamilton, Mercedes McCambridge, Joan Blondell, and Henry Jones.

    Burt Reynolds’s debut. He plays an aggressive, womanizing good old boy. As the film opens, he’s fooling around with the titular Jenny Angel, a mute young woman played by Salome Jens. When Jenny’s mother catches them, she takes Jenny to Paul, a revival preacher played by George Hamilton. Standing before the congregation, with Paul’s urging, Jenny says, “God” and rediscovers her voice. Soon Jenny’s a preacher herself, but missteps by taking on an opportunistic business partner. Continue reading...

  8. Eggshells 1969

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Tobe Hooper. Starring Mahlon Foreman, Ron Barnhart, Amy Lester, and Kim Henkel.

    Tobe Hooper’s debut feature. An interesting but flawed combination of cinéma vérité and near surrealism. The nonsense story concerns two hippy couples living in a secluded commune house. Unbeknownst to them, the basement houses a mysterious entity. A cavalcade of visually arresting shots and sequences interrupted by stretches of pretentious dialogue and navel-gazing, it announces Hooper as a visual craftsman capable of marrying realistic and formal extremes.

  9. Bad Seed 1934

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Billy Wilder and Alexander Esway. Starring Danielle Darrieux, Pierre Mingand, Raymond Galle, and Paul Escoffier.

    Billy Wilder’s directorial debut. Pierre Mingand plays a spendthrift Parisian socialite cut off by his father. Angry and desperate, he falls in with a loveable gang of car thieves, crosses their cutthroat boss, and falls for the group’s decoy, played by Danielle Darrieux. Wilder made the film in France en route to Hollywood after fleeing Germany. While not as polished as his later efforts, it’s well-produced with engaging car chases and night-shots superior to most Hollywood fare.

  10. X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Bryan Singer. Starring Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, and James McAvoy.

    A convoluted time-travel story that crumbles under the slightest introspection. But I’m hard pressed to care given it retcons Last Stand from existence. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender wring out what little gravitas the material offers.

    Watched on 20 Feb, 2021

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