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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. Malignant 2021

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by James Wan. Starring Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, and Michole Briana White.

    Marinates a Frank Henenlotter plot in a slew of genre trappings, then spoils it with some awkward wire-fu action and an unfortunate lack of humor. The bird’s-eye shot of Annabelle Wallis running through her house left me wishing director James Wan would make a straight giallo.

    Watched on
    30 Sep 2021
  2. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls 1970

    B-: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Russ Meyer. Starring Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Marcia McBroom, and John Lazar.

    Commentary watch. Screenwriter Roger Ebert proves entertaining and enlightening.

    My favorite anecdote shed light on how director Russ Meyer achieved the film’s unusual tone. According to Ebert, Meyer convinced the performers they were playing a straight drama. When some expressed concern about the film’s comical nature, Meyer assuaged them with earnest discussions about their character’s motivations in each scene. I love it.

    And Ebert can’t find Pam Grier either, leading me to believe she’s not present in the final cut.

    Watched on
    29 Sep 2021
  3. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls 1970

    B-: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Russ Meyer. Starring Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Marcia McBroom, and John Lazar.

    A satirized Valley of the Dolls. The story follows an all-girl rock-and-roll trio and their manager, who head to Los Angeles. There, they succumb to fame, sex, drugs, and murder. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    26 Sep 2021
  4. Croupier 1998

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Mike Hodges. Starring Clive Owen, Nick Reding, Nicholas Ball, and Alexander Morton.

    Clive Owen plays Jack, an aspiring writer who takes a job as a croupier in a London casino. He soon decides the job would make an excellent book. But his protagonist’s perverse addiction to watching people lose bleeds into Jack’s sense of morality. Complicating matters, a mysterious punter played by Alex Kingston offers Jack a lucrative but dangerous proposition. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    25 Sep 2021
  5. Last Stop on the Night Train 1975

    B-: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Aldo Lado. Starring Flavio Bucci, Macha Méril, Gianfranco De Grassi, and Enrico Maria Salerno.

    Two girls traveling on an overnight train cross paths with two dangerous young men. What begins as sleazy exploitation escalates to a brutal rape sequence. It’s a Last House on the Left remake I didn’t see coming. But, by that point, the film had demonstrated enough competence that I grit my teeth and endured. I’m glad I did. Though structured as a rape-revenge picture, the ending proffers an acerbic condemnation of class-based justice that haunted me. Worth watching if you’re up for the challenge.

    Watched on
    24 Sep 2021
  6. Bob le Flambeur 1956

    B-: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. Starring Roger Duchesne, Isabelle Corey, Daniel Cauchy, and Guy Decomble.

    Bob is an aging hood turned compulsive gambler. He drives a nice car, wears nice clothes and always has money in his pocket. He keeps a foot in the underworld but maintains a friendship with the local police chief. But Bob’s luck is running out. Facing bankruptcy, he hatches a desperate plan to rob a coastal casino. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    22 Sep 2021
  7. Dead of Night 1974

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Bob Clark. Starring John Marley, Lynn Carlin, Richard Backus, and Henderson Forsythe.

    Andy, a young Vietnam draftee believed killed-in-action, returns home to grateful parents in a small Florida town. Though he appears fine on the outside, Andy is… different. Detached, icy, unfeeling and possessed with a terrible desire to kill. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    21 Sep 2021
  8. Good Times 1967

    F: 1 star (out of 5)

    Directed by William Friedkin. Starring Sonny Bono, Cher, and George Sanders.

    In his autobiography, The Friedkin Connection, director William Friedkin chronicles the improbable path to his debut feature, a musical comedy starring Sonny and Cher. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    20 Sep 2021
  9. Brink of Life 1958

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Eva Dahlbeck, Ingrid Thulin, Bibi Andersson, and Barbro Hiort af Ornäs.

    Ingmar Bergman directs this story of three women sharing a maternity hospital room. The monologue-laden script lacks visual action. Bergman compensates by filling the screen with close-ups and the performers rise to the challenge. Still, the trite ending underwhelmed. Eva Dahlbeck’s final collaboration with Bergman.

    Watched on
    19 Sep 2021
  10. Point Break 1991

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Starring Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, and Lori Petty.

    Keanu Reeves plays Johnny Utah, an FBI agent fresh out of Quantico assigned to the Los Angeles robbery division. He’s paired with a gruff veteran partner, Pappas, played by Gary Busey. Together they tackle a years-long series of bank robberies. Pappas harbors a much-maligned theory that the perpetrators are surfers and Johnny believes him. Johnny goes undercover, posing as a surfer and finding a friend in the charismatic Bodhi, played by Patrick Swayze. Of course, Bodhi’s behind the robberies, and Johnny’s soon in too deep. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    18 Sep 2021


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