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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Horror of Dracula 1958

    A-: 4.5 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
  5. 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
  6. Black Christmas 1974

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Bob Clark. Starring Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, and John Saxon.

    It’s grown on me. I wrote a snarky review in 2011 that bemoaned the final girl’s “fit of acting” as she goes up the stairs instead of out the door, but time has been kind to Black Christmas. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    04 Dec 2020
  7. Border Patrol 1943

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Lesley Selander. Starring William Boyd, Andy Clyde, Jay Kirby, and Russell Simpson.

    William Boyd returns as Hopalong Cassidy, now a Texas Ranger who uncovers a shady mining town controlled by a despotic mayor, played by Russell Simpson. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    02 Dec 2020
  8. Hoppy Serves a Writ 1943

    D: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by George Archainbaud. Starring William Boyd, Andy Clyde, Jay Kirby, and Victor Jory.

    Robert Mitchum’s inauspicious debut. He plays a grunt in an outlaw gang that’s fled into Oklahoma, where Texas sheriff Hopalong “Hoppy” Cassidy, played by William Boyd, lacks jurisdiction. Mitchum’s part amounts to a single forgettable line. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    02 Dec 2020
  9. Fear and Desire 1953

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Starring Frank Silvera, Kenneth Harp, Paul Mazursky, and Stephen Coit.

    Stanley Kubrick’s feature debut. During an unnamed conflict, four soldiers crash-land in enemy territory and confront the horrors of war. According to the IMDb, Kubrick disowned the film, comparing it to “a child’s drawing on a fridge.” Fair enough, if said child possesses Kubrick’s potential. Continue reading...

    Watched on
    30 Nov 2020
  10. Salvation! 1987

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Beth B. Starring Stephen McHattie, Dominique Davalos, Exene Cervenka, and Viggo Mortensen.

    An early but impressive performance from Viggo Mortensen. A black comedy script indicting America’s class gap and televangelism. A visual esthetic inspired by contemporary Italian horror. A nightmarish home-invasion sub-plot. A soundtrack driven by New Order and Arthur Baker. How have I never seen this? Continue reading...

    Watched on
    27 Nov 2020


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