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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. 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.

  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. A still from Versus (2000)

    Versus 2000

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

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

    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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. A still from The Suicide Squad (2021)

    The Suicide Squad 2021

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by James Gunn. Starring Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, and Joel Kinnaman.

    Aims for Guardians of the Galaxy with Deadpool’s sense of humor. Lacks either film’s heart, but the profane antics elicited multiple belly laughs.

    Watched on 19 Aug, 2021
  9. A still from Phffft (1954)

    Phffft 1954

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Mark Robson. Starring Judy Holliday, Jack Lemmon, Jack Carson, and Kim Novak.

    Jack Lemmon’s second feature re-teams him with Judy Holliday. They play a couple who divorce after eight years of marriage then can’t help crossing paths. It’s lighthearted and predictable, but fun. Seeing a mustachioed Lemmon dance the mambo with comedic gusto while Holliday matches him in vigor proved a highlight. Kim Novak plays a Monroesque ditzy blonde who takes a liking to Lemmon. Bonus points for the script treating Holliday’s position as a successful woman as matter-of-fact rather than an anomaly.

  10. A still from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)

    Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle 2004

    A-: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Danny Leiner. Starring John Cho, Kal Penn, Ethan Embry, and Rob Tinkler.

    John Cho and Kal Penn play roommates who spend a Friday evening getting high, then set out on a quest for White Castle sliders. This unpretentious stoner-comedy has aged well, with its racially-tinged social satire still resonating. Cho and Penn have great chemistry and the parade of cameos all kill, including an unrecognizable Christopher Meloni as a disfigured tow-truck driver.

    Watched on 14 Aug, 2021


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