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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. 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
  2. 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.

    Watched on 18 Aug, 2021
  3. 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
  4. A still from Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

    Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan 1989

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Rob Hedden. Starring Jensen Daggett, Kane Hodder, Scott Reeves, and Tim Mirkovich.

    I remember when this premiered. I was too young to drive but old enough for my folks to drop me and my friends off at the theater. In a lesser summer, maybe I would have tried to sneak into a screening. But that was the summer of Batman. Besides, word spread fast that Jason didn’t end up in New York until the final twenty minutes. That they should have called it Jason Takes a Cruise. Continue reading...

    Watched on 13 Aug, 2021
  5. A still from Texas Cyclone (1932)

    Texas Cyclone 1932

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by D. Ross Lederman. Starring Tim McCoy, Shirley Grey, Wheeler Oakman, John Wayne, and Wallace MacDonald.

    Tim McCoy plays Texas Grant, who arrives in the small frontier town of Stampede and finds the locals mistaking him for Jim Rawlings, a lawman believed killed five years prior. After finding Rawlings’s widow struggling to hold on to her ranch, Grant decides to pose as Rawlings and help drive a band of crooks out of town. John Wayne plays a ranch hand who throws in with Grant. Walter Brennan plays the local sheriff.

    McCoy’s fine, but Wayne proves the draw. He exudes charisma and towers over the rest of the cast, but his dialog delivery remains stiff. Still, it’s novel seeing Wayne play a supporting part in a better-produced version of the B-grade oaters he’d star in for the next seven years.

    Watched on 11 Aug, 2021
  6. A still from The Seventh Seal (1957)

    The Seventh Seal 1957

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bengt Ekerot, and Nils Poppe.

    The movie where the knight plays chess with Death. Time has rendered the once iconic imagery almost comical. Indeed, throughout much of the first act, I couldn’t shake an unintended sense of amusement as the production’s Gregorian chants, smoke-filled sets, and chain-mail costumes evoked Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But critics hold writer-director Ingmar Bergman’s film in high esteem for good reason. Starting with a scene in a tavern that begins innocent but turns dark at a rapid pace, the film gripped me. Continue reading...

    Watched on 09 Aug, 2021
  7. A still from Five Elements Ninjas (1982)

    Five Elements Ninjas 1982

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Cheh Chang. Starring Tien-Chi Cheng, Tien-Hsiang Lung, Meng Lo, and Michael Wai-Man Chan.

    The Shaw Brothers do ninjas. Solid fight choreography early as two rival kung fu clans meet in a martial challenge. The losing clan calls in the mysterious five elements ninjas, a Japanese group that destroys the rival clan using a variety of inventive techniques. A lone warrior survives and seeks ninja training. He later returns and we’re treated to some bonkers fight scenes packed with over-the-top violence and liberal amounts of Hammeresque blood. An entertaining ride but the lower production values and flatter performances pale next to the superior Duel to the Death.

    Watched on 08 Aug, 2021
  8. A still from Better Off Dead... (1985)

    Better Off Dead... 1985

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Savage Steve Holland. Starring John Cusack, David Ogden Stiers, Kim Darby, and Demian Slade.

    John Cusack plays a Northern California teenager who finds himself lost after his girlfriend dumps him for the captain of the ski team. Between half-hearted suicide attempts, he hatches a plan to win her back. He’ll ski the notorious K-12 slope. Continue reading...

    Watched on 06 Aug, 2021
  9. A still from 24 Hour Party People (2002)

    24 Hour Party People 2002

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Michael Winterbottom. Starring Steve Coogan, Lennie James, John Thomson, and Paul Popplewell.

    24 Hour Party People isn’t a documentary. In chronicling the rise and fall of the legendary “Madchester” music scene it chooses legend over fact whenever possible. A badge it wears with pride. Continue reading...

    Watched on 05 Aug, 2021
  10. A still from Obsession (1976)

    Obsession 1976

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Brian De Palma. Starring Cliff Robertson, Geneviève Bujold, John Lithgow, and Sylvia Kuumba Williams.

    Cliff Robertson plays a wealthy New Orleans land developer. As the film opens, he and partner John Lithgow have just closed a lucrative deal. We meet Robert’s wife and nine-year-old daughter who soon fall prey to kidnappers. Robertson double-crosses the kidnappers, leading to a car chase and his family’s death. Fast-forward fifteen years and Roberts, on a business trip to Italy, chances upon a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to his late wife. Continue reading...

    Watched on 02 Aug, 2021


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