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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Iron Man (1931)

    Iron Man 1931

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Tod Browning. Starring Lew Ayres, Robert Armstrong, Jean Harlow, and John Miljan.

    Solid melodrama set in the boxing world. Ayres plays the titular Iron Man, a lightweight pugilist with a blind spot for opportunistic Harlow. Armstrong underplays a meaty role as Ayres’s manager.

  2. A still from Victor Crowley (2017)

    Victor Crowley 2017

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Adam Green. Starring Parry Shen, Kane Hodder, Laura Ortiz, and Dave Sheridan.

    Set 10-years after Hatchet III, Crowley returns to terrorize the survivors of a plane crash. This entry regresses to the first two films’ visual style, betraying its rushed production at every turn. Its meta-context regulates Crowley to a plot device versus the central focus. The result feels like an “Elseworlds” entry versus a true continuation of the franchise. Not a total burn, but disappointing.

  3. A still from X2: X-Men United (2003)

    X2: X-Men United 2003

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Bryan Singer. Starring Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, and Ian McKellen.

    I’d long considered X2: X-Men United superior to the first film. Revisiting it, I’m not so sure. The opening set piece with Alan Cumming launching a teleport assault on the White House still thrills, but the film never matches this height. Continue reading...

    Watched on 16 Jan, 2021
  4. A still from Knife in the Water (1962)

    Knife in the Water 1962

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Roman Polanski. Starring Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka, Zygmunt Malanowicz, and Anna Ciepielewska.

    A married couple picks up a college-age hitchhiker and invites him aboard their sailboat for an overnight outing in Poland’s Lake District. Nothing happens, yet everything happens. Continue reading...

  5. A still from The Utah Kid (1930)

    The Utah Kid 1930

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Richard Thorpe. Starring Rex Lease, Dorothy Sebastian, Tom Santschi, Mary Carr, Walter Miller, and Lafe McKee.

    I watched The Utah Kid because it features an early performance from Boris Karloff. As a solid B-oater with competent leads and above-average photography and stunts, it surprised me. Cringe-worthy dialogue may litter the clunky script, which has the titular outlaw Kid fall for a woman kidnapped by his outlaw gang, but the barroom brawl’s choreography proved a standout, as did the Kid’s bloody bullet wound. For his part, Karloff proves forgettable as an evil henchman.

  6. A still from Piercing (2018)

    Piercing 2018

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Nicolas Pesce. Starring Christopher Abbott, Laia Costa, Mia Wasikowska, and Will Brill.

    Piercing concerns a troubled family man driven to seek out a stranger to fulfill a dark desire. But like Roger Ebert said, “It’s not what a film is about, but how it is about it.” Continue reading...

    Watched on 13 Jan, 2021
  7. A still from It Should Happen to You (1954)

    It Should Happen to You 1954

    F: 1 star (out of 5)

    Directed by George Cukor. Starring Judy Holliday, Jack Lemmon, Peter Lawford, and Michael O'Shea.

    Jack Lemmon’s feature debut. He plays Pete, an aspiring documentary filmmaker who chances on Judy Holliday’s character in Central Park. Holliday plays Gladys Glover, a naïve—and somewhat ditzy—former girdle model yearning for fame. Spying an open billboard in Columbus Circle, she uses her life’s savings to plaster her name on it for three months. Continue reading...

  8. A still from Port of Call (1948)

    Port of Call 1948

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Nine-Christine Jönsson, Bengt Eklund, Mimi Nelson, and Berta Hall.

    Port of Call proffers a social outrage drama akin to Bergman’s earlier It Rains on Our Love, but lacks that film’s sense of whimsy. Jönsson charms as a troubled factory girl desperate to escape her life, but I struggled with Eklund as a dock worker who can’t forgive Jönsson’s past. His stoic countenance through most of the film borders on opaque, robbing his talky, emotive third-act tirade of its impact. Given the similarities to It Rains on Our Love, this feels like a step backward for Bergman.

  9. A still from Man of the World (1931)

    Man of the World 1931

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Edward Goodman and Richard Wallace. Starring William Powell, Carole Lombard, Wynne Gibson, Lawrence Gray, Guy Kibbee, and George Chandler.

    Powell plays an American ex-pat living in Paris. A gentleman in outward appearance, he’s the secret publisher of a well-read scandal sheet, and earns his living blackmailing wealthy tourists to keep their names out of it. A chance meeting with his latest mark’s daughter—played by Lombard—forces him to reconsider his life. Continue reading...

  10. A still from The Skin Game (1931)

    The Skin Game 1931

    D: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Starring Edmund Gwenn, Jill Esmond, C.V. France, and Helen Haye.

    Gwenn plays Hornblower, the ambitious and somewhat unscrupulous head of a new-moneyed family. His expanding factory empire puts him at odds with the Hillcrists, an old-moneyed family. The Hillcrists find themselves powerless until they discover a secret about Hornblower’s daughter-in-law. Continue reading...

Pagination

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