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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Kill a Dragon (1967)

    Kill a Dragon 1967

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Michael D. Moore. Starring Jack Palance, Fernando Lamas, Aldo Ray, and Kam Tong.

    I reviewed Kill a Dragon over a decade ago during this site’s first incarnation. My logs tell me folks are looking for that review, so I revisited it. I had no recollection of the film, nor any sense of déjà vu re-watching it. This may serve as review enough. Continue reading...

    Watched on 16 Dec, 2020
  2. A still from Maléfique (2002)

    Maléfique 2002

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Eric Valette. Starring Gérald Laroche, Philippe Laudenbach, Clovis Cornillac, and Dimitri Rataud.

    Maléfique opens with a man named Carrère saying goodbye to his wife and young son. He is a white-collar criminal and today marks his first day in prison. We meet his cellmates: Lassalle, an older librarian of few words, Marcus, a brash young man whose large breast implants clash with his brawny physique, and Pâquerette, a man-child with a penchant for eating things.

    After establishing these characters and their interpersonal dynamics, the plot kicks into gear. The men discover a moldy diary that doubles as a spell book. Eager to escape, the men try some incantations but discover magic carries a high cost. Continue reading...

    Watched on 15 Dec, 2020
  3. A still from Crisis (1946)

    Crisis 1946

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Inga Landgré, Stig Olin, Marianne Löfgren, and Dagny Lind.

    Ingmar Bergman’s first feature. Inga Landgré plays Nelly, an 18-year-old girl raised by a piano-teacher in a small village. Nelly yearns for something more and sees an escape when her estranged mother arrives to claim her. But happiness eludes Nelly in the big city, where a complex triangle forms between her, her mother, and her mother’s gigolo boyfriend. Continue reading...

    Watched on 13 Dec, 2020
  4. A still from Die Hard (1988)

    Die Hard 1988

    A+: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by John McTiernan. Starring Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, and Reginald VelJohnson.

    “It will blow you through the back wall of the theater!” Does anyone remember that tagline from the film’s trailers and print ads? It makes no sense, yet it’s my go-to description for folks new to Die Hard. Continue reading...

    Watched on 12 Dec, 2020
  5. A still from Christmas Evil (1980)

    Christmas Evil 1980

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Lewis Jackson. Starring Brandon Maggart, Jeffrey DeMunn, Dianne Hull, and Andy Fenwick.

    Christmas Evil isn’t the sleazy Santa slasher you’d expect. Continue reading...

    Watched on 11 Dec, 2020
  6. A still from Lust of the Vampire (1957)

    Lust of the Vampire 1957

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Mario Bava and Riccardo Freda. Starring Gianna Maria Canale, Carlo D'Angelo, Dario Michaelis, and Wandisa Guida.

    Mario Bava’s directorial debut. A hybrid mystery and mad-scientist picture. In contemporary Paris, young women turn up drained of blood. The press screams vampire. Dario Michaelis plays a reporter determined to uncover the truth. The case leads to his estranged cousin, her gothic castle, and the secrets they hold. Continue reading...

    Watched on 10 Dec, 2020
  7. A still from Colt Comrades (1943)

    Colt Comrades 1943

    D: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Lesley Selander. Starring William Boyd, Andy Clyde, Jay Kirby, and Teddi Sherman.

    Follows Border Patrol and Hoppy Serves a Writ in the Hopalong Cassidy series. Hoppy and his deputies buy a ranch and settle down, only to run up against a crooked cattle baron played by Victor Jory.

    Weakest of the three Cassidy films I’ve watched so far. Lots of filler shots, lingering takes, and Andy Clyde’s tepid slapstick. That said, Robert Mitchum shines in his meatiest (albeit shortest) part in the series thus far, playing yet another outlaw grunt.

    Watched on 10 Dec, 2020
  8. A still from Jack Frost (1997)

    Jack Frost 1997

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Michael Cooney. Starring Scott MacDonald, Christopher Allport, Stephen Mendel, and F. William Parker.

    In 2016, I gave Jack Frost a one-star review, calling it “bad, even by movie-about-a-killer-snowman standards.” I was wrong. Continue reading...

    Watched on 09 Dec, 2020
  9. A still from Horror of Dracula (1958)

    Horror of Dracula 1958

    A-: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Terence Fisher. Starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, and Melissa Stribling.

    Howard Hawks’s recipe for a good movie comprised “three great scenes and no bad ones.” Hammer’s first entry in its Dracula franchise gives us exactly that. Continue reading...

    Watched on 08 Dec, 2020
  10. A still from The Family Stone (2005)

    The Family Stone 2005

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Thomas Bezucha. Starring Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, and Diane Keaton.

    Dermot Mulroney brings his uptight, upper-crust girlfriend (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) to his tight-knit, liberal family’s Christmas get-together, where he plans to ask for his grandmother’s wedding ring. The film mixes family drama and romantic comedy but commits to neither. The stellar cast’s innate charisma shines, but the film feels ashamed of its rom-com ambitions. It raises some interesting points around inclusion, tolerance, and dialogue, only to fall back on reductive tropes. It’s a rom-com dressed up in a family drama; as if it yearns to prove it’s about more than meet-cutes, but meet-cutes are all it offers.

    Watched on 05 Dec, 2020

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