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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

    Hellbound: Hellraiser II 1988

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Tony Randel. Starring Doug Bradley, Ashley Laurence, Clare Higgins, and Kenneth Cranham.

    The big-bad dangles from an extradimensional entity’s unending tree-trunk-sized penis. And that’s not the film’s most bonkers aspect. Continue reading...

  2. A still from Starry Eyes (2014)

    Starry Eyes 2014

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kölsch. Starring Alex Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan, and Fabianne Therese.

    Alex Essoe plays Sarah, an aspiring Hollywood starlet. She endures rejection after rejection until an unusual audition lands her a callback for a horror film from a mysterious production company. Continue reading...

    Watched on 20 Jan, 2021
  3. A still from Arizona (1931)

    Arizona 1931

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by George B. Seitz. Starring Laura La Plante, John Wayne, June Clyde, and Forrest Stanley.

    John Wayne’s fourth credited role. The film opens during the big Army-Navy football game. Wayne plays Army’s star senior quarterback, so beloved he’s not expected to end his sentences with “sir” when talking to the brass. He’s also a womanizer. After the game, with graduation and an assignment to Arizona looming. he jilts his longtime girl, played by Laura La Plante. Continue reading...

  4. A still from M (1931)

    M 1931

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Fritz Lang. Starring Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, and Otto Wernicke.

    If I graded on technical merit alone, M would warrant five stars. Director Fritz Lang’s formal mastery belies his experience. This was his first sound picture, yet he’s already innovating, delivering possibly the first instance of cross-cutting dialogue in cinema. Continue reading...

  5. A still from Left Bank (2008)

    Left Bank 2008

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Pieter Van Hees. Starring Eline Kuppens, Matthias Schoenaerts, Sien Eggers, and Marilou Mermans.

    Left Bank proffers an interesting story about Marie, a promising track star who suffers an unexpected health setback. She moves into her new boyfriend’s Left Bank apartment to recover. Finding herself with an abundance of free time, Marie investigates the former tenant’s unexplained disappearance. Continue reading...

    Watched on 18 Jan, 2021
  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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
  9. 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...

  10. 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.

Pagination

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