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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from The Skin Game (1931)

    The Skin Game 1931

    D: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Starring Edmund Gwenn, Jill Esmond, C.V. France, and Helen Haye.

    Gwenn plays Hornblower, the ambitious and somewhat unscrupulous head of a new-moneyed family. His expanding factory empire puts him at odds with the Hillcrists, an old-moneyed family. The Hillcrists find themselves powerless until they discover a secret about Hornblower’s daughter-in-law. Continue reading...

    Watched on 09 Jan, 2021
  2. A still from X-Men (2000)

    X-Men 2000

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Bryan Singer. Starring Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, and Famke Janssen.

    X-Men wowed me on opening day. It’s lost some luster in the decades since, but it still outshines more recent DC and lesser Marvel offerings. Continue reading...

    Watched on 09 Jan, 2021
  3. A still from The Day the Sky Exploded (1958)

    The Day the Sky Exploded 1958

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Mario Bava and Paolo Heusch. Starring Paul Hubschmid, Madeleine Fischer, Fiorella Mari, and Ivo Garrani.

    Like Lust of the Vampire, an uncredited Mario Bava assumed the director’s chair after the credited director abandoned the project. The plot concerns the first atomic rocket mission into space. The pilot runs into unexplained trouble and has to abandon the mission. I feared this would devolve into a cheap Quatermass knock-off, but I’m pleased to report we’re not subjected to any laughable rubber-suited aliens. Continue reading...

    Watched on 08 Jan, 2021
  4. A still from Music in Darkness (1948)

    Music in Darkness 1948

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Mai Zetterling, Birger Malmsten, Olof Winnerstrand, and Naima Wifstrand.

    A lesser Bergman effort sees upper-class Malmsten blinded in a military accident. During his recovery, he inspires lower-class Zetterling to pursue an education. She falls for him, but their class divide proves too large an obstacle. Time passes. Malmsten slides further down the social ladder, while Zetterling ascends. A chance meeting reunites them. You can see where this is going. Continue reading...

    Watched on 08 Jan, 2021
  5. A still from Seas Beneath (1931)

    Seas Beneath 1931

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by John Ford. Starring George O'Brien, Marion Lessing, Mona Maris, and Walter C. Kelly.

    An uneven amalgam of war picture, spy drama, and romance. In late WWI, O’Brien captains a naval crew aboard a decoy ship posing as merchant marines. They’re hunting for a notorious German U-boat. Continue reading...

    Watched on 07 Jan, 2021
  6. A still from Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)

    Let Sleeping Corpses Lie 1974

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Jorge Grau. Starring Cristina Galbó, Ray Lovelock, Arthur Kennedy, and Aldo Massasso.

    The dead are returning to life in murderous rages. You drive up to a remote country house. All is dark. You get out of the car and call out, attracting your brother-in-law’s reanimated corpse, which attacks with ferocity. You struggle, but make it back inside the car and peel out. Here, the film almost lost me because our lead drives a few hundred feet, then pulls over and exits the car. Why? Because the script needs to reunite two characters. This bit of lazy writing proves the lone blemish on what’s otherwise a terrific zombie picture. Continue reading...

    Watched on 06 Jan, 2021
  7. A still from Nightcrawler (2014)

    Nightcrawler 2014

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Dan Gilroy. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, and Riz Ahmed.

    Scathing indictment of the news media. Gyllenhaal plays a ghoulish sociopath who stumbles into a career filming the graphic aftermath of car crashes, domestic violence, and home invasions. He sells his wares to Russo, who plays the graveyard-shift news manager at a local TV station. Continue reading...

    Watched on 04 Jan, 2021
  8. A still from Crimes of the Future (1970)

    Crimes of the Future 1970

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by David Cronenberg. Starring Ronald Mlodzik, Jon Lidolt, Tania Zolty, Paul Mulholland, Jack Messinger, Iain Ewing, William Haslam, Raymond Woodley, and Stefan Czernecki.

    Set in a dystopian future where a freak accident has killed all postpubescent women, Crimes of the Future follows Adrian, director of the dermatological clinic that caused the accident. Continue reading...

    Watched on 03 Jan, 2021
  9. A still from The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971)

    The Blood on Satan's Claw 1971

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Piers Haggard. Starring Patrick Wymark, Linda Hayden, Barry Andrews, and Michele Dotrice.

    Misses more than it hits, but the hits are home runs. Set in rural 18th-century England, the story concerns some strange remains unearthed in a local field. Soon hairy, clawed arms are emerging from floors and the village children have formed an evil cult. Continue reading...

    Watched on 03 Jan, 2021
  10. A still from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Chris Columbus. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and Richard Harris.

    Engaging—albeit overlong—sequel to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Harry, Ron, and Hermione race to uncover the culprit behind several petrifications at Hogwarts. I enjoyed the atmosphere and world-building, but wished Columbus had coaxed a better performance from Radcliffe and toned down Grint’s mugging.

    Watched on 02 Jan, 2021


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