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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Greetings (1968)

    Greetings 1968

    D: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Brian De Palma. Starring Jonathan Warden, Robert De Niro, Gerrit Graham, and Richard Hamilton.

    Robert De Niro’s first credited feature. He plays one of three New York City twenty-somethings navigating the Vietnam War draft, computer-dating, and JFK conspiracy theories. De Palma structures the film as a series of vignettes, each with its own title card. Continue reading...

  2. A still from Yellowstone Kelly (1959)

    Yellowstone Kelly 1959

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Gordon Douglas. Starring Clint Walker, Edd Byrnes, John Russell, Ray Danton, and Claude Akins.

    Warren Oates’ first credited feature. The story centers on the titular Kelly, a trapper played by Clint Walker who finds himself caught between a Sioux tribe, the US Army, and an alluring Arapahoe hostage. Continue reading...

  3. A still from Prison (1949)

    Prison 1949

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Doris Svedlund, Birger Malmsten, Eva Henning, and Hasse Ekman.

    Bergman’s first feature from his own screenplay. An ambitious movie-within-a-movie following a writer, played by Malmsten, who falls for a prostitute, played by Svedlund. Bergman proffers a dark—bordering on nihilistic—point of view throughout and flexes his formal muscles in an extended dream sequence. The result didn’t resonate—the dream sequence felt pretentious—but I appreciated the uncompromising vision. The scene where Malmsten and Svedlund laugh at a silent film’s inanity to escape their own misery proved a standout.

  4. A still from Isle of Fury (1936)

    Isle of Fury 1936

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Frank McDonald. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Margaret Lindsay, Donald Woods, and E.E. Clive.

    Miscast island melodrama has Bogart as the mustachioed, pith helmet-wearing owner of a South Seas pearl harvesting operation. Conflict arises when the natives refuse to work, and shipwrecked stranger Donald Woods falls for Bogart’s wife. Bogart’s giant octopus fight had me laughing. The ridiculous, exposition-laden finale even more so.

  5. A still from X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

    X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2009

    D: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Gavin Hood. Starring Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds, and Danny Huston.

    Anemic prequel detailing Wolverine’s origin. Reeks of studio interference down to the awkward title. The nonsensical script feels like a Frankenstein amalgam of various drafts stitched together to meet a deadline. The plot-hole leaden result sacrifices gravitas for mass-market appeal, wasting the charismatic cast and stand-out photography.

    Watched on 30 Jan, 2021
  6. A still from Rio Bravo (1959)

    Rio Bravo 1959

    A+: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Howard Hawks. Starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, and Angie Dickinson.

    My favorite movie stars John Wayne as a Texas sheriff struggling to hold a powerful land baron’s no-good brother for murder. Continue reading...

  7. A still from Shivers (1975)

    Shivers 1975

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by David Cronenberg. Starring Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Allan Kolman, Susan Petrie, and Barbara Steele.

    A high-rise apartment’s residents fall prey to a malignant parasite, compelling them to orgiastic violence. Cronenberg mixes ‘50s sci-fi sensibilities with graphic body horror, resulting in a most uncomfortable watch. Continue reading...

  8. A still from Smart Money (1931)

    Smart Money 1931

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Alfred E. Green. Starring Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney, Evalyn Knapp, and Ralf Harolde.

    Little Caesar lite. Robinson plays a small-time gambler (instead of a gangster) who claws his way atop the big city game, only for a woman to prove his undoing. Cagney plays his longtime friend and heavy. I liked the gambling scenes, and Robinson and Cagney’s chemistry, but the lower narrative stakes render this less resonant than the pair’s more iconic films. Boris Karloff makes a forgettable appearance as a pimp in an early dice game.

  9. A still from The Seventh Continent (1989)

    The Seventh Continent 1989

    A-: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Michael Haneke. Starring Birgit Doll, Dieter Berner, Leni Tanzer, and Udo Samel.

    Michael Haneke’s devastating feature debut. Calm waters of menacing monotony surrender to a crushing tsunami of bleak emotion. As the third act unfolded, I struggled to watch. It’s not what Haneke shows, but what he doesn’t show. We fill the gaps with ourselves. The dread overwhelms. I went in cold, only aware that it concerned a middle-class couple. I suggest you do the same, although I’ve already said too much.

  10. A still from The Deadly Companions (1961)

    The Deadly Companions 1961

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Sam Peckinpah. Starring Maureen O'Hara, Brian Keith, Steve Cochran, and Chill Wills.

    Sam Peckinpah’s feature debut. Brian Keith plays a former Union soldier escorting dance-hall singer Maureen O’Hara through Apache country. Peckinpah had neither script nor edit control, rendering this a mediocre work-for-hire effort. Not a good film, but passable thanks to Keith and the strong supporting cast.


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