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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. To All the Boys: Always and Forever 2021

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Michael Fimognari. Starring Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish, and Anna Cathcart.

    Full disclaimer: I haven’t seen the series’ prior two films. Still, I had no trouble picking up the story. The engaging cast almost compensates for the telegraphed plot and overlong runtime.

    Watched on
    14 Feb 2021
  2. The Wolverine 2013

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by James Mangold. Starring Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Tao Okamoto, and Rila Fukushima.

    Set after X-Men: The Last Stand, a bulked-up Wolverine travels to Japan and encounters a shadowy plot involving a dying industrialist. Three movies in one. The best: an engaging story where the titular character confronts his seeming immortality. Less interesting: comic-book antics involving ninjas and giant samurai armor. Shoe-horned-in: ties to the disappointing prior film. Terrific location photography.

    Watched on
    13 Feb 2021
  3. Happy Death Day 2017

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Christopher Landon. Starring Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, and Charles Aitken.

    A giallo Groundhog Day buoyed by Jessica Rothe’s engaging performance and an efficient script. It could have better subverted the genre by showcasing some elaborately unhinged death scenes, but it proves entertaining nonetheless.

    Watched on
    12 Feb 2021
  4. Dark Star 1974

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by John Carpenter. Starring Dan O'Bannon, Dre Pahich, Brian Narelle, and Cal Kuniholm.

    John Carpenter’s feature debut. A tough film to review. A low-budget sci-fi picture that includes a beach ball alien pet, sentient bombs, and satirical allusions to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    11 Feb 2021
  5. Private Property 1960

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Leslie Stevens. Starring Kate Manx, Corey Allen, Warren Oates, Jerome Cowan, Robert Wark, and Jules Maitland.

    Starts strong, with Corey Allen and Warren Oates as a pair of disturbed drifters who sight frustrated housewife Kate Manx at a Los Angeles filling station and trail her to her home in the hills. There Allen poses as a landscaper and hits on Manx. Then nothing much happens for an hour. We’re given seventy minutes of setup against ten minutes of payoff. After opening the film dripping with impulsive menace, the long-game con Allen works on Manx feels incongruous. Strong performances all around, but this plays like a short stretched to feature length.

    Watched on
    10 Feb 2021
  6. Down Terrace 2009

    B-: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ben Wheatley. Starring Robin Hill, Robert Hill, Julia Deakin, and David Schaal.

    Ben Wheatley’s feature debut. Bill, the patriarch of a Brighton-based crime family, and his son Karl return to their titular home after a six-month prison stint. There they struggle to uncover an unknown informer in their crew. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    09 Feb 2021
  7. The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond 1960

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Budd Boetticher. Starring Ray Danton, Karen Steele, Elaine Stewart, and Jesse White.

    Entertaining revival of the classic Warner Bros. gangster picture. Ray Danton plays the titular Diamond, a small-time thief who claws his way to the top of the New York rackets. Warren Oates—in just his second credited feature—plays Diamond’s sickly brother. Watching the gleefully cynical Diamond off competitors and toss aside compatriots with no remorse as he climbs the criminal ladder proves great fun. But the film stumbles when it downshifts into melodrama. Portraying Diamond as needy or clingy contradicts the archetype. There’s a reason the classic Warner gangsters went down shooting.

    Watched on
    08 Feb 2021
  8. The Perfection 2018

    B-: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Richard Shepard. Starring Marie Maskell, Allison Williams, Christina Jastrzembska, and Glynis Davies.

    After a decade away caring for her ailing mother, a cello prodigy returns to the musical world, where she meets a fellow prodigy. Bad things ensue. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    07 Feb 2021
  9. X-Men: First Class 2011

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Kevin Bacon.

    How does an X-Men movie set in 1962 without Wolverine work? Continue reading...

    Watched on
    06 Feb 2021
  10. The Cat o' Nine Tails 1971

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Dario Argento. Starring James Franciscus, Karl Malden, Catherine Spaak, and Pier Paolo Capponi.

    I’d long considered Dario Argento’s sophomore effort a disappointment, but upon revisiting I discovered a competent—albeit unremarkable—mystery film. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    05 Feb 2021


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