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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Seed of Chucky (2004)

    Seed of Chucky 2004

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Don Mancini. Starring Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, John Waters, and Billy Boyd.

    My favorite of the series so far. The prior entries helped me appreciate this one’s unpretentious approach. It opens with a stylish sequence shot from the doll’s point-of-view that embraces the sleaze the franchise had been lacking. This sequence and the follow-up both feature a British cast. Then the film pulls back the curtain to reveal a New Nightmare style movie-within-a-movie. It’s a sleazy, gory, funny bit of nonsense that revels in its B-Movie nature. Jennifer Tilly’s fearless, self-deprecating performance deserves more notice.

  2. A still from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

    Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure 1989

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Stephen Herek. Starring Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin, and Terry Camilleri.

    Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves play the titular Bill and Ted, a pair of loveable doofuses and would-be rockers gifted a time machine to complete their high-school history project. The script’s valley slang belies its deft construction. It avoids the idiot plot trope and doesn’t derive comedy from Bill and Ted’s idiocy. Rather, it paints their blissful ignorance as a strength. The easiest way to cope with time-travel’s existential horrors is to simply not consider them.

    Watched on 24 Apr, 2021
  3. A still from Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

    Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood 1988

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by John Carl Buechler. Starring Terry Kiser, Jennifer Banko, John Otrin, and Susan Blu.

    I came with an open mind. I’d heard rumblings it was bad, but rumblings can be wrong. Continue reading...

  4. A still from Sawdust and Tinsel (1953)

    Sawdust and Tinsel 1953

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Åke Grönberg, Harriet Andersson, Hasse Ekman, and Anders Ek.

    I tend to dislike circus movies, for the same reason I dislike circuses. Too much broad artifice and force-fed spectacle. But director Ingmar Bergman’s picture harbors no romanticized notions of circus life. His story sees a tired ringmaster and his mistress treat each other with shocking cruelty as each struggles to escape their lifestyle. Continue reading...

  5. 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...

  6. 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...

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

  9. 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
  10. 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...

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