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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Angst (1983)

    Angst 1983

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Gerald Kargl. Starring Erwin Leder, Robert Hunger-Bühler, Silvia Ryder, and Karin Springer.

    Angst opens with a young man out-processing from prison. Through voice-over, we learn he’s committed murder and spent more than half his life behind bars. He exits prison, wolfs down a small meal in a diner, botches murdering a cab driver, flees in terror, and stumbles upon a secluded estate. He breaks in and terrorizes the inhabitants. Continue reading...

    Watched on 14 Oct, 2021
  2. A still from Lords of Chaos (2018)

    Lords of Chaos 2018

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Jonas Åkerlund. Starring Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer, and Sky Ferreira.

    I’m not a fan of Norwegian Black Metal or even its more accessible forebears. But Lords of Chaos is the Raging Bull of Norwegian Black Metal movies. Continue reading...

    Watched on 13 Oct, 2021
  3. A still from The Virgin Spring (1960)

    The Virgin Spring 1960

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg, Gunnel Lindblom, and Birgitta Pettersson.

    While not the first rape-revenge picture, The Virgin Spring proved a direct influence on Last House on the Left and its countless imitators. But director Ingmar Bergman isn’t interested in the visceral revenge thrill exploited by those remakes. He’s more concerned with the aftermath—of survivor’s guilt and rationalizing brutal violence. And of the never-present God facilitating the perpetual cycle. Continue reading...

  4. A still from Castle Freak (1995)

    Castle Freak 1995

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Stuart Gordon. Starring Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Jonathan Fuller, and Jessica Dollarhide.

    Despite the tenuous connection to H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Outsider,” Castle Freak plays like a typical creature feature. Continue reading...

    Watched on 08 Oct, 2021
  5. A still from The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

    The Slumber Party Massacre 1982

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Amy Holden Jones. Starring Michelle Michaels, Robin Stille, Michael Villella, and Debra De Liso.

    I went in knowing this had an all-woman creative team, but it was only after watching that I learned feminist activist Rita Mae Brown wrote the script as a slasher parody, but producer-director Amy Holden Jones shot it as a straight exploitation picture. Continue reading...

    Watched on 08 Oct, 2021
  6. A still from The Vast of Night (2019)

    The Vast of Night 2019

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Andrew Patterson. Starring Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz, Gail Cronauer, and Bruce Davis.

    The impressive opening raised my expectations. The time is the late 1950s, the height of the Red Scare. The place is a small New Mexico town where no one locks their doors and everyone knows everyone. We learn this via a long Aaron Sorkinesque tracking shot following our leads as they walk and talk amongst the locals gathering for a high school basketball game. Continue reading...

    Watched on 07 Oct, 2021
  7. A still from Dagon (2001)

    Dagon 2001

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Stuart Gordon. Starring Ezra Godden, Francisco Rabal, Raquel Meroño, and Macarena Gómez.

    Stuart Gordon’s take on Lovecraft is becoming my favorite. He delivers the source material’s existential dread and world-building while stirring in a liberal dose of sleaze. While this would have offended the prudish author, it sets the stories outside conventional morality, heightening the sense of an ancient “other” lurking below society’s norms. Continue reading...

    Watched on 06 Oct, 2021
  8. A still from Child's Play (2019)

    Child's Play 2019

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Lars Klevberg. Starring Tim Matheson, Ben Daon, Zahra Anderson, and Serge Jaswal.

    This reimagining of Chucky as a rogue AI feels like a Black Mirror story with slasher tropes grafted on, or a slasher story punched up to be more “relevant”. The idiot plot overshadows some terrific moments—some chilling, some hilarious. Cutting the ridiculous origin prologue would help.

  9. A still from The Magician (1958)

    The Magician 1958

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Max von Sydow, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand, and Naima Wifstrand.

    Set in the mid-nineteenth century, Max von Sydow plays Vogler, a traveling mute magician who opens the film arriving in a small town with his assistants. The local elites waylay the party, intent on prosecuting them for their own selfish reasons. But Vogler proves more cunning than they anticipated. Continue reading...

  10. A still from Donnie Darko (2001)

    Donnie Darko 2001

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Richard Kelly. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, and Holmes Osborne.

    Writer/director Richard Kelly marries a Lynchian Möbius strip plot to a teen rebel story with terrific results. A few notes fall flat—the Smurfs exchange reeks of post-Tarantino imitation—but Jake Gyllenhaal impresses in a difficult role.

    Watched on 02 Oct, 2021


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