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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Friday the 13th (1980)

    Friday the 13th 1980

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Sean S. Cunningham. Starring Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor, and Robbi Morgan.

    There’s no hockey mask and no Jason. Yes, an unknown killer picks off young people working to re-open a New Jersey summer camp, but the plot hews closer to a Giallo than a modern slasher. Continue reading...

  2. A still from The Camp on Blood Island (1958)

    The Camp on Blood Island 1958

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Val Guest. Starring André Morell, Carl Möhner, Walter Fitzgerald, and Edward Underdown.

    André Morell plays a stiff sergeant leading a group of POWs in a Japanese prison camp ruled by cartoonishly sadistic jailers. There’s a great twist that pits Morell against a ticking clock and propels the film along. This isn’t high drama ala The Bridge on the River Kwai, just well-executed exploitation that delivers the goods thanks to a commanding turn by Morell and director Val Guest’s formal economy.

  3. A still from L'Age d'Or (1930)

    L'Age d'Or 1930

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Luis Buñuel. Starring Gaston Modot, Lya Lys, Caridad de Laberdesque, and Max Ernst.

    How does one review this movie? A surrealist tale presented as a series of vignettes, the film offers no story. The lone through-line concerns two lovers struggling to consummate their relationship. Continue reading...

  4. A still from Captain Marvel (2019)

    Captain Marvel 2019

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden. Starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, and Jude Law.

    Brie Larson deserves better. She’s a rare performer whose innate charisma can smooth over a film’s rough edges. Captain Marvel has many. Consider the film’s first quarter. An exposition-laden opening meanders to a surprisingly cheap-looking set piece on an alien world. The script proffers a mystery around Larson’s character’s identity, but it doesn’t engage. Larson does. Continue reading...

    Watched on 08 Nov, 2020
  5. A still from Up the River (1930)

    Up the River 1930

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by John Ford. Starring Spencer Tracy, Claire Luce, Warren Hymer, and Humphrey Bogart.

    Debut feature for both Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart. Tracy plays the beloved ace pitcher for a prison baseball team. He’s the sort of inmate who, after returning to prison following a failed escape, assures the warden he’ll give notice before his next attempt. Continue reading...

  6. A still from Quatermass 2 (1957)

    Quatermass 2 1957

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Val Guest. Starring Brian Donlevy, John Longden, Sidney James, and Bryan Forbes.

    Disappointing sequel to The Quatermass Xperiment sees Brian Donlevy returning in the titular role, but the character has changed. A bulldog in the first film, this script affords Quatermass little agency. Continue reading...

  7. A still from Hellraiser (1987)

    Hellraiser 1987

    A: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Clive Barker. Starring Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, and Sean Chapman.

    Clive Barker’s debut feature. Frustrated with her effete husband and sedate lifestyle, a woman schemes to aide a former lover on the run from sadomasochistic creatures from another dimension summoned by a magical puzzle box. As one such creature says, “We have such sights to show you!” Continue reading...

  8. A still from Juno and the Paycock (1930)

    Juno and the Paycock 1930

    F: 1 star (out of 5)

    Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Starring Sara Allgood, Edward Chapman, Barry Fitzgerald, and Maire O'Neill.

    Unengaging adaptation of Seán O’Casey’s play about a poor Dublin family undone by an unexpected windfall during the Irish Civil War. Hitchcock limits his formal rigor to constructing long takes which—combined with the monologue-heavy script—give the sense of watching a filmed stage performance. The film even drops O’Casey’s final gut-punch scene. Often ignored in Hitchcock’s oeuvre for good reason.

  9. A still from Mandy (2018)

    Mandy 2018

    A+: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Panos Cosmatos. Starring Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, and Ned Dennehy.

    Nicolas Cage plays a logger in the Pacific Northwest living a bucolic life with his girlfriend Mandy. A Manson-like cult invades their home, murders Mandy, and leaves Red for dead. But Red survives and descends on the cult like a hellish spirit of vengeance. Continue reading...

    Watched on 31 Oct, 2020
  10. A still from Fright Night (1985)

    Fright Night 1985

    A+: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Tom Holland. Starring Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, and Roddy McDowall.

    During a late-night make-out session, a suburban teen sees two men carrying a coffin into the neighboring basement. Intrigued, he spies on the nightly goings-on next-door, only to discover his suave new neighbor—played by Chris Sarandon—has fangs. Desperate for help, he turns to the local creature-feature host, an aging horror star played by Roddy McDowall. Continue reading...

    Watched on 31 Oct, 2020


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