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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from The Greene Murder Case (1929)

    The Greene Murder Case 1929

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Frank Tuttle. Starring William Powell, Florence Eldridge, Ullrich Haupt, and Jean Arthur.

    Disappointing follow-up to The Canary Murder Case has William Powell reprising his role as dilettante sleuth Philo Vance investigating a wealthy family where the last surviving heir stands to inherit a fortune. Continue reading...

  2. A still from Charming Sinners (1929)

    Charming Sinners 1929

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Robert Milton. Starring Ruth Chatterton, Clive Brook, Mary Nolan, and William Powell.

    I watched a low-res encoding of a scratchy print replete with frame and audio drop-outs on a Russian social networking site. Beggars can’t be choosers.

    Ruth Chatterton plays a kept wife whose husband is conducting a not-so-discreet affair with her best friend. William Powell plays her former flame returned to town. The sinners in question (Chatterton’s husband and best friend) prove far from charming, rendering the title a case of flagrant false advertising. Continue reading...

  3. A still from Captain America: Civil War (2016)

    Captain America: Civil War 2016

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, and Sebastian Stan.

    A better version of Age of Ultron that regulates the big-bad to the background to focus on the group dynamics.

    Watched on 25 Jul, 2020
  4. A still from Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge (2020)

    Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge 2020

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ethan Spaulding. Starring Jennifer Carpenter, Joel McHale, Ike Amadi, and Steve Blum.

    Animated quasi-remake of the 1995 live-action original. Lacks the franchise’s imaginative production design and quirky sense-of-humor. Makes up some ground with over-the-top graphic violence and Joel McHale.

    Watched on 22 Jul, 2020
  5. A still from Ant-Man (2015)

    Ant-Man 2015

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Peyton Reed. Starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, and Evangeline Lilly.

    Breaks the Marvel formula where heroes acquire their powers at a great personal cost. As Rudd says, he’s expendable.

    Watched on 18 Jul, 2020
  6. A still from The Canary Murder Case (1929)

    The Canary Murder Case 1929

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Malcolm St. Clair and Frank Tuttle. Starring William Powell, Jean Arthur, James Hall, and Louise Brooks.

    William Powell’s second talkie and first leading role. He plays Philo Vance, a dilettante detective who uses “psychology” to solve the locked-room murder of a notorious showgirl. Continue reading...

  7. A still from The Black Watch (1929)

    The Black Watch 1929

    F: 1 star (out of 5)

    Directed by John Ford. Starring Victor McLaglen, Myrna Loy, David Torrence, and David Rollins.

    John Ford’s first sound picture. Victor McLaglan plays a British Army Captain who decamps for India on a secret mission to infiltrate the forces of Yasmani, a mysterious figure threatening the Crown’s interests. Myrna Loy plays Yasmani, carrying over her silent-era typecasting as an exotic vamp. Continue reading...

  8. A still from Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

    Avengers: Age of Ultron 2015

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Joss Whedon. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, and Chris Hemsworth.

    With the Infinity Saga done, it’s easier to forgive this entry for what it is: a plot-heavy middle chapter in a larger story that regulates the Ultron character to a McGuffin.

    Watched on 11 Jul, 2020
  9. A still from Blackmail (1929)

    Blackmail 1929

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Starring Anny Ondra, John Longden, Sara Allgood, and Charles Paton.

    Alfred Hitchcock’s first sound picture. A Scotland Yard constable covers for his girlfriend after realizing she’s implicated in a murder. The two then fall afoul of a blackmailer. Hitchcock shot this silent then added the sound scenes later and it shows, but his formal mastery is still amazing. Love the rack focus reflection shot in the opening sequence.

  10. A still from Behind That Curtain (1929)

    Behind That Curtain 1929

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Irving Cummings. Starring Warner Baxter, Lois Moran, Gilbert Emery, and Claude King.

    Boris Karloff’s first talkie. His contribution comes via a bit part as lead Warner Baxter’s vaguely Arabian manservant. Though billed as a mystery, the film plays as a melodrama. Baxter and Lois Moran play would-be lovers kept apart by Moran’s murderous, philandering husband and the script’s insistence that Moran behave like an impetuous child.

Pagination

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