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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Carrie (1976)

    Carrie 1976

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Brian De Palma. Starring Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, and John Travolta.

    I’d seen Carrie at least twice prior. I remembered it as a competent, albeit unremarkable Stephen King adaptation. Having now seen director Brian De Palma’s prior films, I came away from this viewing with a renewed appreciation. This is De Palma’s baby, for better and worse. Continue reading...

    Watched on 15 Sep, 2021
  2. A still from Behind the Mask (1932)

    Behind the Mask 1932

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by John Francis Dillon. Starring Jack Holt, Constance Cummings, Boris Karloff, Claude King, Bertha Mann, and Edward Van Sloan.

    Boris Karloff plays a low-level goon working for Mr. X, a mysterious drug smuggling kingpin. The G-Men have been trying to unmask Mr. X but have only dead agents to show for their efforts.

    Now, I’m going to spoil some plot twists. Said twists reveal themselves to the astute viewer within the first ten minutes, and it’s near-impossible to discuss the film without discussing the plot. Continue reading...

    Watched on 12 Sep, 2021
  3. A still from Next of Kin (1989)

    Next of Kin 1989

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by John Irvin. Starring Patrick Swayze, Liam Neeson, Adam Baldwin, and Helen Hunt.

    Patrick Swayze plays a Chicago cop caught between his job and hometown loyalties after mobsters kill his brother and his Appalachian kin demand revenge. The casting department deserves a revisionist award. Liam Neeson, Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, and Ben Stiller all turn up in supporting parts. The mix of procedural and revenge drama proves as believable as Neeson’s country accent, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

    Watched on 11 Sep, 2021
  4. A still from Wild Strawberries (1957)

    Wild Strawberries 1957

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, and Gunnar Björnstrand.

    Ingmar Bergman’s story of a lonely old man revisiting the events that hardened him reminded me of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, minus the supernatural aspects. Victor Sjöström convinces as the lead, but the pat ending felt disingenuous.

    Watched on 10 Sep, 2021
  5. A still from From Beyond (1986)

    From Beyond 1986

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Stuart Gordon. Starring Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ted Sorel, and Ken Foree.

    Two scientists working in an eerie New England mansion discover a parallel dimension. But the denizens of this other dimension prove deadly. Jeffrey Combs plays the surviving scientist whose mental scars land him in an institution. Barbara Crampton plays a psychiatrist who springs Combs to help her recreate the experiment. Disaster ensues. Continue reading...

    Watched on 05 Sep, 2021
  6. A still from Road House (1989)

    Road House 1989

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Rowdy Herrington. Starring Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott, and Ben Gazzara.

    Patrick Swayze plays Dalton, a bouncer tasked with taming a rowdy Missouri bar. The job soon escalates into Dalton freeing the town from the grip of a local gangster played by Ben Gazzara. Sam Elliott plays Dalton’s friend and mentor. Continue reading...

    Watched on 04 Sep, 2021
  7. A still from Versus (2000)

    Versus 2000

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ryûhei Kitamura. Starring Tak Sakaguchi, Hideo Sakaki, Chieko Misaka, and Kenji Matsuda.

    Director Ryûhei Kitamura’s debut feature sees Hong Kong gangster characters put through an anime-inspired plot set in a Lucio Fulci world shot by Sam Raimi. Sprinkle dashes of Peter Jackson, John Woo, and Siu-Tung Ching and you have a sense of the wild ride. Credit to Kitamura for being blatant in his influences but never devolving into pastiche.

    Watched on 02 Sep, 2021
  8. A still from Nobody (2021)

    Nobody 2021

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ilya Naishuller. Starring Bob Odenkirk, Aleksey Serebryakov, Connie Nielsen, and Christopher Lloyd.

    Bob Odenkirk plays Hutch, an everyman stuck in suburban hell. His days are the same, his wife has become a stranger, and his son doesn’t respect him. An attempted home robbery unleashes years of pent-up frustration, but the fallout sends Hutch on a collision course with the Russian mafia. Continue reading...

    Watched on 02 Sep, 2021
  9. A still from Dirty Dancing (1987)

    Dirty Dancing 1987

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Emile Ardolino. Starring Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach, and Cynthia Rhodes.

    Not the dance musical I expected. Instead, it proffers a coming-of-age drama closer to The Karate Kid than West Side Story. It’s shot with a male gaze and even features even a training montage. Great sense of atmosphere and good chemistry between Swayze and Grey.

    Watched on 21 Aug, 2021
  10. A still from Truth or Dare? (1986)

    Truth or Dare? 1986

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Tim Ritter and Yale Wilson. Starring John Brace, Mary Fanaro, Bruce Gold, and A.J. McLean.

    A man returns home to find his wife in bed with his friend. He snaps, embarking on a self-mutilation spree fueled by childhood memories of playing “Truth or Dare.” He’s committed to a local institution, but soon he’s free again, sporting a blank copper mask, stalking his ex-wife, and killing anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path. Shot-on-video but sporting a budget large enough to feature fire stunts, a catchy theme song, and solid practical effects. The result lands in the uncanny valley between talented amateur and apathetic professional. Not good, but entertaining, especially when you realize it’s set in Florida.

    Watched on 19 Aug, 2021


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