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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from The Road to Singapore (1931)

    The Road to Singapore 1931

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Alfred E. Green. Starring William Powell, Doris Kenyon, Marian Marsh, and Louis Calhern.

    Night in the tropics. Jungle drums pound as a woman gazes out her bedroom window. The camera pulls out, tracking over acres of dark jungle, to settle behind a man standing on his porch, gazing at the woman’s bungalow in the distance.

    Sure, the shot’s tracking over an obvious paper-mâché model, but kudos to director Alfred Green for trying. This is a movie whose reach exceeds its grasp. Continue reading...

  2. A still from To Joy (1950)

    To Joy 1950

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Maj-Britt Nilsson, Stig Olin, Birger Malmsten, and John Ekman.

    To Joy concerns two promising violinists, played by Stig Olin and Maj-Britt Nilsson. He’s ambitious and frustrated. She pursues him. The two marry, have children, but drift apart as Olin fails to achieve his dreams. Continue reading...

  3. A still from Broadminded (1931)

    Broadminded 1931

    F: 1 star (out of 5)

    Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Starring Joe E. Brown, Ona Munson, William Collier Jr., Marjorie White, and Holmes Herbert.

    Joe E. Brown heads west with his skirt-chasing cousin, ending up in Pasadena where he enrages a towering South American, played by Bela Lugosi. Grating and unfunny from the outset, Brown’s shtick annoyed me, and that’s all the film offers. Miscast as a Latino heavy, Lugosi compounds the error by over-emoting.

  4. A still from Deadpool (2016)

    Deadpool 2016

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Tim Miller. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, and Ed Skrein.

    Beneath the crude jokes and over-the-top violence lurks a serious film. Okay, maybe not, but Deadpool walks a tonal tightrope with no safety net. Continue reading...

    Watched on 27 Feb, 2021
  5. A still from In Which We Serve (1942)

    In Which We Serve 1942

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by David Lean and Noël Coward. Starring Noël Coward, John Mills, Bernard Miles, and Celia Johnson.

    David Lean’s directorial debut. He shares credit with Noël Coward, who also produced, stars, and wrote the screenplay. Continue reading...

  6. A still from I Like Your Nerve (1931)

    I Like Your Nerve 1931

    F: 1 star (out of 5)

    Directed by William C. McGann. Starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Loretta Young, Henry Kolker, and Claud Allister.

    In a banana republic, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. plays an arrogant, entitled American who sets his sites on a snobbish, entitled American played by Loretta Young. The script proffers ample plot involving Young’s corrupt step-father, her aging fiancée, and a farcical kidnapping plot. But my distaste for both characters overrode my interest. Boris Karloff has a forgettable part as Young’s stepfather’s aid.

  7. A still from Five Star Final (1931)

    Five Star Final 1931

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Starring Edward G. Robinson, Marian Marsh, H.B. Warner, and Anthony Bushell.

    Would-be social outrage drama sees Edward G. Robinson editing a New York scandal sheet. Caving to ownership pressure, he assigns amoral reporter Boris Karloff to dredge up a scandalous, twenty-year-old murder story. Continue reading...

  8. A still from Waterloo Bridge (1931)

    Waterloo Bridge 1931

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by James Whale. Starring Mae Clarke, Douglass Montgomery, Doris Lloyd, and Frederick Kerr.

    Mae Clarke plays a showgirl reduced to prostitution in World War I London. During an air raid, she meets a naive but good-hearted soldier played by Douglass Montgomery. You can see where this is going. Continue reading...

  9. A still from Uma (1941)

    Uma 1941

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

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

  10. A still from Angel Baby (1961)

    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...

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