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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Juno and the Paycock (1929)

    Juno and the Paycock 1929

    F: 1 star (out of 5)

    Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Starring Sara Allgood, Edward Chapman, Barry Fitzgerald, and Maire O'Neill.

    An unengaging adaptation of Seán O’Casey’s play about a poor Dublin family undone by an unexpected windfall during the Irish Civil War. Hitchcock limits his formal rigor to constructing long takes which—combined with the monologue-heavy script—give the sense of watching a filmed stage performance. The film even drops O’Casey’s final gut-punch scene. Often ignored in Hitchcock’s oeuvre for good reason.

    Watched on 02 Nov, 2020
  2. A still from Mandy (2018)

    Mandy 2018

    A+: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Panos Cosmatos. Starring Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, and Ned Dennehy.

    Nicolas Cage plays a logger in the Pacific Northwest living a bucolic life with his girlfriend Mandy. A Manson-like cult invades their home, murders Mandy, and leaves Red for dead. But Red survives and descends on the cult like a hellish spirit of vengeance. Continue reading...

    Watched on 31 Oct, 2020
  3. A still from Fright Night (1985)

    Fright Night 1985

    A+: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Tom Holland. Starring Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, and Roddy McDowall.

    During a late-night make-out session, a suburban teen sees two men carrying a coffin into the neighboring basement. Intrigued, he spies on the nightly goings-on next-door, only to discover his suave new neighbor—played by Chris Sarandon—has fangs. Desperate for help, he turns to the local creature-feature host, an aging horror star played by Roddy McDowall. Continue reading...

    Watched on 31 Oct, 2020
  4. A still from Hocus Pocus (1993)

    Hocus Pocus 1993

    F: 1 star (out of 5)

    Directed by Kenny Ortega. Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, and Omri Katz.

    On Halloween night in Salem, Massachusetts, a transplanted L.A. teen inadvertently resurrects three witches, played by Midler, Parker, and Najimy. With a single night to live, they attempt to steal the town’s children’s life to extend their existence. Continue reading...

    Watched on 31 Oct, 2020
  5. A still from Play Motel (1979)

    Play Motel 1979

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Mario Gariazzo. Starring Ray Lovelock, Anna Maria Rizzoli, Mario Cutini, and Antonella Antinori.

    I expected a sleazy giallo and I got a sleazy giallo. The catchy folk-rock theme song? That surprised me. Continue reading...

    Watched on 30 Oct, 2020
  6. A still from Torso (1973)

    Torso 1973

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Sergio Martino. Starring Suzy Kendall, Tina Aumont, Luc Merenda, and John Richardson.

    In scenic Perugia, Italy, a masked killer strangles two female university students, sparking a manhunt. Another student may have recognized the murder weapon, leading to threatening phone calls from the killer. Alarmed, she retreats to a cliff-side villa with four girlfriends, including an American exchange student, played by Suzy Kendall. The killer, of course, follows. Continue reading...

    Watched on 30 Oct, 2020
  7. A still from Giallo in Venice (1979)

    Giallo in Venice 1979

    F: 1 star (out of 5)

    Directed by Mario Landi. Starring Leonora Fani, Jeff Blynn, Gianni Dei, and Michele Renzullo.

    I have a soft-spot for over-the-top exploitation films. I gave Island of Death a four-star review, praising its “everything-but-the-kitchen sink approach that pushes the film past any genuine scares or mean-spirited umbrage, and firmly into parody.” Giallo a Venezia is no parody. Continue reading...

    Watched on 29 Oct, 2020
  8. A still from Hack-O-Lantern (1988)

    Hack-O-Lantern 1988

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Jag Mundhra. Starring Hy Pyke, Gregory Scott Cummins, Katina Garner, and Carla B..

    So-bad-it’s-good schlock sees Hy Pyke masterminding a satanic cult in rural California. He’s out to initiate his incestuous son on Halloween night. ’80s fashions, nice location photography, and Pyke’s grand-camp performance buoy the wooden acting and specious plotting. Not for everyone, but lots of fun.

    Watched on 28 Oct, 2020
  9. A still from Don't Torture a Duckling (1972)

    Don't Torture a Duckling 1972

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Lucio Fulci. Starring Florinda Bolkan, Barbara Bouchet, Tomas Milian, and Irene Papas.

    In rural Italy, a reporter and socialite struggle to uncover the culprit behind a rash of child murders. Unlike Fulci’s prior thrillers, Don’t Torture a Duckling nudges closer to horror, playing like a werewolf story. Continue reading...

    Watched on 27 Oct, 2020
  10. A still from Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

    Ant-Man and the Wasp 2018

    D: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Peyton Reed. Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, and Walton Goggins.

    Opens strong, with creative production backing real emotional stakes via Rudd’s bond with his daughter. Devolves into a series of set pieces where Rudd—once again—proves expendable.

    Watched on 24 Oct, 2020


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