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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Arrowsmith (1931)

    Arrowsmith 1931

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by John Ford. Starring Ronald Colman, Helen Hayes, Richard Bennett, and A.E. Anson.

    Ronald Colman charms as a promising young doctor who tries small-town medicine but finds himself drawn to research. After landing at a prestigious New York institute, he discovers a cure for bubonic plague. A West Indies outbreak provides an opportunity to test his work but also tests his resolve to maintain a detached, scientific approach. Continue reading...

  2. A still from Frankenstein (1931)

    Frankenstein 1931

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by James Whale. Starring Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff, and John Boles.

    Like Dracula, I’ve seen this movie countless times. Boris Karloff still shines as the monster, but this latest viewing gave me a new appreciation for Jack Pierce’s makeup work. Even in the harsh daylight scenes blown up to 4k, it looks seamless. I always forget how those daylight scenes open up the picture. The lack of echo during the mountain chase finale betrays the soundstage artifice, but the genuine outdoor scenes are fantastic. Continue reading...

  3. A still from California Split (1974)

    California Split 1974

    A: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Robert Altman. Starring George Segal, Elliott Gould, Ann Prentiss, and Gwen Welles.

    My favorite gambling movie. George Segal and Elliott Gould amble through card rooms, tracks, and bars, culminating in a high-stakes Reno poker game. Director Robert Altman’s cynical—yet often humorous—portrait conveys a visceral sense of Segal and Gould’s swings. Short on plot but long on atmosphere, it’s the closest thing to being there.

  4. A still from Bride of Chucky (1998)

    Bride of Chucky 1998

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ronny Yu. Starring Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, Katherine Heigl, and Nick Stabile.

    A post-Scream reboot that turns up the meta-humor and turns down the horror. Continue reading...

  5. A still from Watchmen (2009)

    Watchmen 2009

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Zack Snyder. Starring Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, Carla Gugino, and Malin Akerman.

    In an alternate 1985 where the US won the Vietnam War and Nixon is still President, an aging costumed hero’s murder proves the tip of a dark conspiracy. Continue reading...

    Watched on 17 Apr, 2021
  6. A still from Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

    Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives 1986

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Tom McLoughlin. Starring Thom Mathews, Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen, and Kerry Noonan.

    Jason’s back, and he’s brought meta-humor. Continue reading...

  7. A still from Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972)

    Get to Know Your Rabbit 1972

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Brian De Palma. Starring Tom Smothers, John Astin, Katharine Ross, and Orson Welles.

    Brian De Palma’s first studio film. Tom Smothers plays a burned-out corporate exec who quits his high-paying job to become a tap-dancing magician. Continue reading...

  8. A still from Way Back Home (1931)

    Way Back Home 1931

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by William A. Seiter. Starring Phillips Lord, Effie Palmer, Frank Albertson, and Bette Davis.

    Starts rough, with an inert, talky scene where Phillips Lord spins a folksy yarn about his finances. Things improve as the script settles into a rural melodrama involving a pair of young lovers looking to elope and the return of an adopted boy’s brutish biological father. Bette Davis plays one of the young lovers in her then biggest part to date. She’s fine, if unremarkable in the role. Continue reading...

  9. A still from The Mad Genius (1931)

    The Mad Genius 1931

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Michael Curtiz. Starring John Barrymore, Marian Marsh, Charles Butterworth, and Donald Cook.

    John Barrymore plays a crippled Russian dancer turned puppeteer, who raises a young boy to achieve the success that escaped him. Continue reading...

  10. A still from Summer with Monika (1953)

    Summer with Monika 1953

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Harriet Andersson, Lars Ekborg, Dagmar Ebbesen, and Åke Fridell.

    Ingmar Bergman arrives. In Stockholm, teens Harry and Monika work dead-end jobs. A chance meeting leads to a date. Romance blossoms between dreamer Harry and free-spirit Monika. But a fight with her drunken father forces Monika to flee her home. Soon, Harry and Monika decide to quit their jobs and run away together in Harry’s father’s boat. They find paradise in the Stockholm archipelago but said paradise proves short-lived. Continue reading...

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