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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Lake Mungo (2008)

    Lake Mungo 2008

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Joel Anderson. Starring Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin Sharpe, and Talia Zucker.

    A faux true-crime documentary covering the drowning death of a teenage girl. The performances convince and the narrative piles twist upon twist with deft precision. Every revelation feels earned, even as the film inches closer and closer to Twin Peaks-style horror. Add a star if you’re a true-crime or documentary fan, but the style kept me at arm’s length though I appreciated the craftsmanship. Great surround mix.

    Watched on 11 Dec, 2021
  2. A still from Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)

    Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 1987

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Lee Harry. Starring Eric Freeman, James Newman, Elizabeth Kaitan, and Jean Miller.

    In a psychiatric hospital several years after the first film, Ricky, the younger brother of the first film’s killer, recounts the events leading to his incarceration. He begins by re-telling the first movie. I knew going in that this entry recycled a ton of footage. Maybe this lessened the sense of feeling cheated. Regardless, I enjoyed this highlight reel of the first film’s sleazy bits. Continue reading...

    Watched on 11 Dec, 2021
  3. A still from Love Affair (1932)

    Love Affair 1932

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Thornton Freeland. Starring Dorothy Mackaill, Humphrey Bogart, Hale Hamilton, Halliwell Hobbes, and Astrid Allwyn.

    Dorothy Mackaill plays a wealthy heiress who falls for an aviation engineer played by Humphrey Bogart. He’s developed a revolutionary new airplane engine but neglects his struggling company to romance her. Continue reading...

  4. A still from Rituals (1977)

    Rituals 1977

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Peter Carter. Starring Hal Holbrook, Lawrence Dane, Robin Gammell, and Ken James.

    A Deliverance knock-off that outdoes its inspiration—at least for the first half. A group of doctors travel into the Canadian wilderness planning to hike out over several days. Where Deliverance showcased the river’s beauty and power, Rituals revels in the land’s brutality. The cinematography finds majesty in savagery as the doctors endure jagged rocks, boggy swamps, and flies. Tons of flies. These early sequences pay off when the doctors awake the first morning to find their boots missing. This proves the first incursion by an unseen assailant determined to torture and kill the group. Continue reading...

    Watched on 09 Dec, 2021
  5. A still from The Hunt (2020)

    The Hunt 2020

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Craig Zobel. Starring Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Ike Barinholtz, and Wayne Duvall.

    A dark farcical take on The Most Dangerous Game pitting America’s political extremes against one another. The biting satire takes no sides, and its nihilistic message—that only a sociopath can survive—resonated. It’s not without problems—an immigrant sub-plot makes no sense, and a certain actress’s reveal proves anticlimactic despite her terrific performance—but this film feels refreshingly dangerous. How else to explain one of my biggest laughs coming when a woman gets shot point-blank in the face?

    Watched on 09 Dec, 2021
  6. A still from Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms (2021)

    Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms 2021

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ethan Spaulding. Starring Jennifer Carpenter, Joel McHale, Ike Amadi, and Artt Butler.

    A superior sequel to Scorpion’s Revenge that eschews overwrought plot in favor of a simple story comprising one long tournament interspersed with ninja fights and some great quips from Joel McHale. Bonus points for all the callbacks to the games’ special moves. Proof less can be more.

    Watched on 02 Dec, 2021
  7. A still from Freaky (2020)

    Freaky 2020

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Christopher Landon. Starring Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton, Celeste O'Connor, and Misha Osherovich.

    Vince Vaughn plays the Blissfield Butcher, a destitute serial killer who stabs a mousey teen played by Kathryn Newton with a magical dagger, causing the two to switch bodies. Continue reading...

    Watched on 02 Dec, 2021
  8. A still from Home Movies (1979)

    Home Movies 1979

    D: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Brian De Palma. Starring Nancy Allen, Mary Davenport, Kirk Douglas, and Vincent Gardenia.

    While teaching a film course at Sarah Lawrence College, Brian De Palma devised a learn-by-doing curriculum. His students would write, produce, and direct a feature under his supervision. But as the project unfolded, the budget grew. Kirk Douglas came aboard to star and De Palma took over directing duties. The result harkens back to De Palma’s early farcical black comedies. Continue reading...

  9. A still from Little Murders (1971)

    Little Murders 1971

    D: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Alan Arkin. Starring Elliott Gould, Marcia Rodd, Vincent Gardenia, and Elizabeth Wilson.

    In a New York City overflowing with muggers, obscene phone callers, and murderous snipers, Elliott Gould plays a nihilistic photographer who finds himself pursued by flighty optimist Marcia Rodd. It’s a black comedy that never winks at the audience despite its ever escalating level of insanity. Continue reading...

    Watched on 29 Nov, 2021
  10. A still from Three the Hard Way (1974)

    Three the Hard Way 1974

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Gordon Parks Jr.. Starring Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, Jim Kelly, and Sheila Frazier.

    This one hurt. The taunt opening follows a young black man escaping from a mysterious prison camp. As he creeps from building to building, the film proffers a disturbing image: a pile of bodies—each of them black—discarded like refuse. Continue reading...

    Watched on 28 Nov, 2021

Pagination

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