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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from The Peanut Butter Solution (1985)

    The Peanut Butter Solution 1985

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Michael Rubbo. Starring Mathew Mackay, Siluck Saysanasy, Alison Darcy, and Michael Hogan.

    The bizarre story of a boy who suffers a fright and loses his hair. The ghosts of two winos proffer a formula for hair growth which he botches, leading to hair that won’t stop growing. He goes from bald at breakfast to Cousin Itt by dinner. Soon he’s kidnapped by a maniacal paintbrush manufacturer and doped on yogurt while his never-ending hair serves as raw materials for paintbrush bristles. It’s the sort of dark fantasy I enjoyed as a kid and appreciate as an adult. Not a great movie, but I appreciate its refusal to talk down to its audience and the resulting dissonance. What did I just watch?

    Watched on 26 Jun, 2021
  2. A still from Funny Games (1997)

    Funny Games 1997

    A: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Michael Haneke. Starring Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch, and Frank Giering.

    In the late 90s, everyone was championing Scream’s revival of the horror genre, citing its self-aware script, and upending of the genre tropes. But the genuine evolutionary leap occurred a year later, in Austria, with this film. Besides resuscitating the home-invasion genre, Funny Games proves more self-reflexive and layered. All while packing the nihilistic punch Scream lacked. Continue reading...

  3. A still from Psycho Goreman (2020)

    Psycho Goreman 2020

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Steven Kostanski. Starring Nita-Josee Hanna, Owen Myre, Matthew Ninaber, and Steven Vlahos.

    The title threw me. The marketing materials called it PG: Psycho Goreman. I get how writer-director Steven Kostanski was parodying the MPAA rating, but it backfired on me. The “PG” connotation conjured images of watered-down Amblinesque horror, pushing this off my must-see list. Turns out, I was half-right in the best possible way. Continue reading...

    Watched on 24 Jun, 2021
  4. A still from Luca (2021)

    Luca 2021

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Enrico Casarosa. Starring Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, and Saverio Raimondo.

    An entertaining—if unremarkable—tale of a young sea-monster boy who visits the surface world and discovers he can turn into a human. There’s some plot involving another sea-monster boy, a human girl, a bicycle race, and a Vespa scooter, but the film’s standout draw is the atmosphere. It does a terrific job painting a nostalgic picture of 1950s small-town Italy. It charms and packs a few belly-laughs, but, at ninety-five minutes, feels overlong.

    Watched on 23 Jun, 2021
  5. A still from Three O'Clock High (1987)

    Three O'Clock High 1987

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Phil Joanou. Starring Casey Siemaszko, Annie Ryan, Richard Tyson, and Stacey Glick.

    How did I miss this off-beat 80s teen comedy that skews closer to Savage Steve Holland than John Hughes? I loved the formal rigor director Phil Joanou employs in this comedic tale of high-school dweeb Jerry Mitchell who finds himself targeted by the hulking new bully. From long takes of overlapping dialog to an always-interesting shot choice, the film proved a terrific discovery. Continue reading...

    Watched on 19 Jun, 2021
  6. A still from Weekend at Bernie's (1989)

    Weekend at Bernie's 1989

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ted Kotcheff. Starring Andrew McCarthy, Jonathan Silverman, Catherine Mary Stewart, and Terry Kiser.

    I remember seeing this when it first landed on home-video. A pair of young professionals earn an invite to their charismatic boss’s Hampton Island beach house. Upon arrival, they discover their host dead and themselves targeted for a similar fate. In the decades since, I’d forgotten how long it takes to get the pair to the beach and how few antics they employ to convince everyone their boss is still alive. Credit to Silverman and McCarthy for shining through their character’s one-dimensional behavior and salvaging what they could.

    Watched on 12 Jun, 2021
  7. A still from The Human Tornado (1976)

    The Human Tornado 1976

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Cliff Roquemore. Starring Rudy Ray Moore, Lady Reed, and Jimmy Lynch.

    Rudy Ray Moore returns as Dolemite, a fast-talking, kung-fu fighting entertainer. Fleeing a racist Alabama sheriff (J.B. Baron, who struck me as Haley Joel Osment playing Kenny Rogers), Dolemite and crew travel to Los Angeles. There they discover a local mob goon has forced their friend Queen Bee into servitude. Despite the shoddy production (Ernie Hudson sometimes plays one of Moore’s entourage, other times it’s an obvious stand-in), Moore’s charisma and the earnest intent prove endearing.

    Watched on 10 Jun, 2021
  8. A still from Gone with the Pope (2010)

    Gone with the Pope 2010

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Duke Mitchell. Starring Duke Mitchell, Lorenzo Dardado, Jim LoBianco, and Peter Milo.

    How do you review this? A film shot in 1976 but not released until 2010, when editor Bob Murawski assembled the rediscovered footage. A film laden with casual racism but also featuring a very-of-the-moment soliloquy bemoaning the Catholic Church’s culpability in turning a blind-eye to the world’s problems. A film written and directed by a nightclub crooner, yet shot on-location in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, and Rome. Bear with me. Continue reading...

    Watched on 10 Jun, 2021
  9. A still from Cult of Chucky (2017)

    Cult of Chucky 2017

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Don Mancini. Starring Allison Dawn Doiron, Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif, and Fiona Dourif.

    The opening got my hopes up. Picking up from Curse of Chucky’s post-credits tag, Alex Vincent returns as Andy, now an adult suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. We meet him on a date that, of course, doesn’t go well. Andy returns to his isolated cabin. From a secret safe, he removes Chucky, now mangled and disfigured. Chucky cracks wise about the failed date and Andy tortures him with a blowtorch. Continue reading...

  10. A still from Groundhog Day (1993)

    Groundhog Day 1993

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Harold Ramis. Starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, and Stephen Tobolowsky.

    I remember seeing this in the theater and feeling burned. Bill Murray playing a snooty weatherman forced to repeat the titular day over and over in a small Pennsylvania town evoked the meld of dark comedy and fantasy that I’d enjoyed in Scrooged. But Groundhog Day played as a romantic comedy, with Murray spending his repeated eternity becoming a better man to woo his producer, played by Andie MacDowell. At least, that’s how I saw it. Continue reading...

    Watched on 29 May, 2021

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