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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Oh, for a Man! (1930)

    Oh, for a Man! 1930

    F: 1 star (out of 5)

    Directed by Hamilton MacFadden. Starring Jeanette MacDonald, Reginald Denny, Marjorie White, and Warren Hymer.

    Opera diva Jeanette MacDonald runs roughshod over everyone in her life only to fall for cat-burglar Reginald Denny, who she meets when he burgles her bedroom. Denny, of course, has aspirations of a singing career himself. Continue reading...

  2. A still from Wild Company (1930)

    Wild Company 1930

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Leo McCarey. Starring Frank Albertson, Joyce Compton, Sharon Lynn, and H.B. Warner.

    Frank Albertson plays a powerful tycoon’s gadabout son who falls for a gangster’s moll and finds himself implicated in a nightclub owner’s murder. Opens strong with Albertson playing an engaging drunk, but devolves into a preachy social outrage melodrama. Bela Lugosi’s small role as the unfortunate nightclub owner proves unremarkable.

  3. A still from Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)

    Spider-Man: Far from Home 2019

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Jon Watts. Starring Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Marisa Tomei.

    Unpolished script suffers from repetitive exposition, forced comedy, and trite plotting. This one needed another year in the oven.

    Watched on 21 Nov, 2020
  4. A still from Hatchet III (2013)

    Hatchet III 2013

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by BJ McDonnell. Starring Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Zach Galligan, and Caroline Williams.

    Picks up where part 2 ends. The bigger budget manifests in location photography and formal rigor that match the script’s ambitions. Crowley is a hulking, roaring beast. The script’s usual mix of humor and violence includes some well-timed self-deprecating jabs. A belabored side-plot involving the original films’ heroine and a reporter drags but almost pays off with a laugh-out-loud cameo. Edges the original for my favorite of the series thus far.

  5. A still from The Criminal Code (1930)

    The Criminal Code 1930

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Howard Hawks. Starring Walter Huston, Phillips Holmes, Constance Cummings, and Boris Karloff.

    Howard Hawks’s second sound picture. A competent prison-reform drama that nevertheless feels like a work-for-hire job. Walter Huston’s electric as a former district attorney turned prison warden, and Boris Karloff maximizes his role as a grudge-bearing convict. But Phillips Holmes doesn’t register as the hard-luck protagonist. Ditto Constance Cummings as his love interest.

  6. A still from Avengers: Endgame (2019)

    Avengers: Endgame 2019

    A: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, and Chris Hemsworth.

    A satisfying conclusion to 11-years of Marvel films. The “time heist” plot proves secondary to a series of images and moments recreating the pre-adolescent awe I experienced reading the source comics. Not as resonant as Infinity War, but just as entertaining.

    Watched on 14 Nov, 2020
  7. A still from Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

    Friday the 13th Part 2 1981

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Steve Miner. Starring Betsy Palmer, Amy Steel, John Furey, and Adrienne King.

    Still no hockey mask, but we have Jason (sporting a burlap sack over his face) stalking a group of camp counselors.

    This entry has grown on me. I originally preferred the first film’s dingy atmosphere and documentary style, but I’ve come around to this sequel’s superior execution. The supporting cast proves more memorable, and the script provides the final-girl with real agency.

  8. A still from Friday the 13th (1980)

    Friday the 13th 1980

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Sean S. Cunningham. Starring Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor, and Robbi Morgan.

    There’s no hockey mask and no Jason. Yes, an unknown killer picks off young people working to re-open a New Jersey summer camp, but the plot hews closer to a giallo than a modern slasher. Continue reading...

  9. A still from The Camp on Blood Island (1958)

    The Camp on Blood Island 1958

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Val Guest. Starring André Morell, Carl Möhner, Walter Fitzgerald, and Edward Underdown.

    André Morell plays a stiff sergeant leading a group of POWs in a Japanese prison camp ruled by cartoonishly sadistic jailers. There’s a great twist that pits Morell against a ticking clock and propels the film along. This isn’t high drama ala The Bridge on the River Kwai, just well-executed exploitation that delivers the goods thanks to a commanding turn by Morell and director Val Guest’s formal economy.

  10. A still from L'Age d'Or (1930)

    L'Age d'Or 1930

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Luis Buñuel. Starring Gaston Modot, Lya Lys, Caridad de Laberdesque, and Max Ernst.

    How does one review this movie? A surrealist tale presented as a series of vignettes, the film offers no story. The lone through-line concerns two lovers struggling to consummate their relationship. Continue reading...

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