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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. Uma 1941

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Akira Kurosawa and Kajirô Yamamoto. Starring Hideko Takamine, Chieko Takehisa, Kamatari Fujiwara, and Kaoru Futaba.

    Akira Kurosawa’s directorial debut. He took over after his mentor, Kajirô Yamamoto, left for a more commercial effort. The story concerns the eldest daughter of a Japanese farming family who convinces her parents to foster a pregnant horse during the winter. I lack the cultural context to appreciate much of the film’s nuance, but the production impressed. Yamamoto insisted on authenticity, so production spanned years to accommodate photographing the passing seasons.

    Watched on
    24 Feb 2021
  2. Angel Baby 1961

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Hubert Cornfield and Paul Wendkos. Starring George Hamilton, Mercedes McCambridge, Joan Blondell, and Henry Jones.

    Burt Reynolds’s debut. He plays an aggressive, womanizing good old boy. As the film opens, he’s fooling around with the titular Jenny Angel, a mute young woman played by Salome Jens. When Jenny’s mother catches them, she takes Jenny to Paul, a revival preacher played by George Hamilton. Standing before the congregation, with Paul’s urging, Jenny says, “God” and rediscovers her voice. Soon Jenny’s a preacher herself, but missteps by taking on an opportunistic business partner. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    23 Feb 2021
  3. Eggshells 1969

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Tobe Hooper. Starring Mahlon Foreman, Ron Barnhart, Amy Lester, and Kim Henkel.

    Tobe Hooper’s debut feature. An interesting but flawed combination of cinéma vérité and near surrealism. The nonsense story concerns two hippy couples living in a secluded commune house. Unbeknownst to them, the basement houses a mysterious entity. A cavalcade of visually arresting shots and sequences interrupted by stretches of pretentious dialogue and navel-gazing, it announces Hooper as a visual craftsman capable of marrying realistic and formal extremes.

    Watched on
    22 Feb 2021
  4. Bad Seed 1934

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Billy Wilder and Alexander Esway. Starring Danielle Darrieux, Pierre Mingand, Raymond Galle, and Paul Escoffier.

    Billy Wilder’s directorial debut. Pierre Mingand plays a spendthrift Parisian socialite cut off by his father. Angry and desperate, he falls in with a loveable gang of car thieves, crosses their cutthroat boss, and falls for the group’s decoy, played by Danielle Darrieux. Wilder made the film in France en route to Hollywood after fleeing Germany. While not as polished as his later efforts, it’s well-produced with engaging car chases and night-shots superior to most Hollywood fare.

    Watched on
    21 Feb 2021
  5. X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Bryan Singer. Starring Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, and James McAvoy.

    A convoluted time-travel story that crumbles under the slightest introspection. But I’m hard pressed to care given it retcons Last Stand from existence. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender wring out what little gravitas the material offers.

    Watched on
    20 Feb 2021
  6. The Driller Killer 1979

    B-: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Abel Ferrara. Starring Abel Ferrara, Carolyn Marz, Baybi Day, and Harry Schultz.

    Abel Ferrara’s debut feature. Despite the lurid title and graphic conclusion, The Driller Killer plays more like a character study than exploitation. Your mileage may vary, but I was onboard for this chronicle of a struggling artist’s descent into madness. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    19 Feb 2021
  7. The Public Defender 1931

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by J. Walter Ruben. Starring Richard Dix, Shirley Grey, Purnell Pratt, and Ruth Weston.

    Not about a lawyer. Richard Dix plays an intelligence officer returned home from the war to his playboy lifestyle. But unbeknownst to all, he’s adopted the secret vigilante persona of “The Reckoner.“ Along with his able assistants Doc and The Professor (played by Boris Karloff in the biggest part thus far in his career), The Reckoner works to expose a cabal of corrupt businessmen. The meager budget precludes any big action scenes or stunt sequences, but I love these sort of pulp vigilante stories. Even if—like this one—they’re quite nonsensical.

    Watched on
    18 Feb 2021
  8. Thirst 1949

    F: 1 star (out of 5)

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Eva Henning, Birger Malmsten, Birgit Tengroth, and Hasse Ekman.

    Slice-of-life drama follows Eva Henning and Birger Malmsten as a young couple trapped in a dysfunctional marriage traveling by train home from Italy. Both convince in their roles, but I couldn’t summon any empathy for their characters. Henning in particular irritated me—a credit to her performance. The film also digresses—via flashbacks and cut-aways—to the couples’ former lovers, who prove just as unengaging. The claustrophobic photography contributes to the sense of entrapment. An accomplished telling of a grating story.

    Watched on
    17 Feb 2021
  9. Happy Death Day 2U 2019

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Christopher Landon. Starring Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu, and Suraj Sharma.

    Flawed sequel abandons the first film’s giallo trappings in favor of a Back to the Future Part II style sci-fi comedy. But director Christopher Landon’s script explains too much, then trips over its own rules. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    16 Feb 2021
  10. The Killer Nun 1979

    D: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Giulio Berruti. Starring Anita Ekberg, Alida Valli, Massimo Serato, and Daniele Dublino.

    The Killer Nun is trash, but not total trash, and that’s a shame. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    15 Feb 2021


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