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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Christmas Evil (1980)

    Christmas Evil 1980

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Lewis Jackson. Starring Brandon Maggart, Jeffrey DeMunn, Dianne Hull, and Andy Fenwick.

    Christmas Evil isn’t the sleazy Santa slasher you’d expect. Continue reading...

    Watched on 11 Dec, 2020
  2. A still from Lust of the Vampire (1957)

    Lust of the Vampire 1957

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Mario Bava and Riccardo Freda. Starring Gianna Maria Canale, Carlo D'Angelo, Dario Michaelis, and Wandisa Guida.

    Mario Bava’s directorial debut. A hybrid mystery and mad-scientist picture. In contemporary Paris, young women turn up drained of blood. The press screams vampire. Dario Michaelis plays a reporter determined to uncover the truth. The case leads to his estranged cousin, her gothic castle, and the secrets they hold. Continue reading...

  3. A still from Colt Comrades (1943)

    Colt Comrades 1943

    D: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Lesley Selander. Starring William Boyd, Andy Clyde, Jay Kirby, and Teddi Sherman.

    Follows Border Patrol and Hoppy Serves a Writ in the Hopalong Cassidy series. Hoppy and his deputies buy a ranch and settle down, only to run up against a crooked cattle baron played by Victor Jory.

    Weakest of the three Cassidy films I’ve watched so far. Lots of filler shots, lingering takes, and Andy Clyde’s tepid slapstick. That said, Robert Mitchum shines in his meatiest (albeit shortest) part in the series thus far, playing yet another outlaw grunt.

  4. A still from Jack Frost (1997)

    Jack Frost 1997

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Michael Cooney. Starring Scott MacDonald, Christopher Allport, Stephen Mendel, and F. William Parker.

    In 2016, I gave Jack Frost a one-star review, calling it “bad, even by movie-about-a-killer-snowman standards.” I was wrong. Continue reading...

    Watched on 09 Dec, 2020
  5. A still from Horror of Dracula (1958)

    Horror of Dracula 1958

    A-: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Terence Fisher. Starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, and Melissa Stribling.

    Howard Hawks’s recipe for a good movie comprised “three great scenes and no bad ones.” Hammer’s first entry in its Dracula franchise gives us exactly that. Continue reading...

  6. A still from The Family Stone (2005)

    The Family Stone 2005

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Thomas Bezucha. Starring Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, and Diane Keaton.

    Dermot Mulroney brings his uptight, upper-crust girlfriend (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) to his tight-knit, liberal family’s Christmas get-together, where he plans to ask for his grandmother’s wedding ring. The film mixes family drama and romantic comedy but commits to neither. The stellar cast’s innate charisma shines, but the film feels ashamed of its rom-com ambitions. It raises some interesting points around inclusion, tolerance, and dialogue, only to fall back on reductive tropes. It’s a rom-com dressed up in a family drama; as if it yearns to prove it’s about more than meet-cutes, but meet-cutes are all it offers.

    Watched on 05 Dec, 2020
  7. A still from Black Christmas (1974)

    Black Christmas 1974

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Bob Clark. Starring Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, and John Saxon.

    It’s grown on me. I wrote a snarky review in 2011 that bemoaned the final girl’s “fit of acting” as she goes up the stairs instead of out the door, but time has been kind to Black Christmas. Continue reading...

    Watched on 04 Dec, 2020
  8. A still from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (2013)

    Batman: The Dark Knight Returns 2013

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Jay Oliva. Starring Peter Weller, Ariel Winter, David Selby, and Wade Williams.

    An animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novel that sees a middle-aged Batman (voiced by Peter Weller) emerge from a ten-year retirement to reclaim Gotham. Continue reading...

    Watched on 03 Dec, 2020
  9. A still from Border Patrol (1943)

    Border Patrol 1943

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Lesley Selander. Starring William Boyd, Andy Clyde, Jay Kirby, and Russell Simpson.

    William Boyd returns as Hopalong Cassidy, now a Texas Ranger who uncovers a shady mining town controlled by a despotic mayor, played by Russell Simpson. Continue reading...

  10. A still from Hoppy Serves a Writ (1943)

    Hoppy Serves a Writ 1943

    D: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by George Archainbaud. Starring William Boyd, Andy Clyde, Jay Kirby, and Victor Jory.

    Robert Mitchum’s inauspicious debut. He plays a grunt in an outlaw gang that’s fled into Oklahoma, where Texas sheriff Hopalong “Hoppy” Cassidy, played by William Boyd, lacks jurisdiction. Mitchum’s part amounts to a single forgettable line. Continue reading...

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