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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Saint Maud (2019)

    Saint Maud 2019

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Rose Glass. Starring Morfydd Clark, Caoilfhionn Dunne, Jennifer Ehle, and Marcus Hutton.

    I wanted to like this more. In an English seaside town, Maud, a pious young nurse, arrives to care for a dying former dancer. Maud’s charge ridicules her religious sincerity, but Maude remains resolute, determined to save the woman’s soul. The film explores the psychological horrors of a slow death and dissociative obsession. Spoilers follow. Continue reading...

    Watched on 19 Feb, 2022
  2. A still from God Told Me To (1976)

    God Told Me To 1976

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Larry Cohen. Starring Tony Lo Bianco, Deborah Raffin, Sandy Dennis, and Sylvia Sidney.

    Every so often, a movie grabs you from the opening sequence with immersive atmosphere and a ripe premise. When these films go south—as they often do—it disappoints. But sometimes, only sometimes, these films save themselves by leaning into the bad. God Told Me To is such a film. Spoilers follow. Continue reading...

    Watched on 18 Feb, 2022
  3. A still from Audition (1999)

    Audition 1999

    B+: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Takashi Miike. Starring Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki, and Jun Kunimura.

    If you’ve never heard of Audition, please go watch it now. Don’t look at any posters, or read any synopsis. I envy folks going in cold. Continue reading...

    Watched on 17 Feb, 2022
  4. A still from Joint Security Area (2000)

    Joint Security Area 2000

    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Park Chan-wook. Starring Lee Yeong-ae, Lee Byung-hun, Kang-ho Song, and Kim Tae-Woo.

    At the guarded border between North and South Korea, gunshots shatter the nighttime silence. Two North Korean soldiers lay dead in their guardhouse, as a South Korean soldier, bloodied and wounded, limps toward the south. Both sides mobilize troops and exchange gunfire. The next morning, accusations fly. South Korea claims the North abducted the soldier. North Korea claims the South Korean guard crossed the border and committed a massacre. The Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission calls in a Swiss investigator to discover the truth. Continue reading...

    Watched on 17 Feb, 2022
  5. A still from Valentine (2001)

    Valentine 2001

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Jamie Blanks. Starring Denise Richards, David Boreanaz, Marley Shelton, and Jessica Capshaw.

    Sometimes a movie fails to live up to its potential. When a high-minded drama fails to resonate or an actioner fails to thrill, I feel burned. But when a slasher fails to exploit a forward-thinking social commentary, I’m more lenient. So it is with Valentine, the story of five grade-school friends, now young women, who find themselves stalked by an unknown assailant as Valentine’s Day approaches. Continue reading...

    Watched on 14 Feb, 2022
  6. A still from My Bloody Valentine (1981)

    My Bloody Valentine 1981

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by George Mihalka. Starring Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, and Keith Knight.

    Twenty years ago, in a small Nova Scotian mining town, a cave-in trapped several miners. The men on watch were AWOL at a Valentine’s Day party, forcing the lone survivor to resort to cannibalism. After his rescue, the survivor donned his mining gear and murdered the negligent men. Since then, the town hasn’t celebrated Valentine’s Day.

    Now a fresh group of young miners and their girlfriends want to have a Valentine’s Day party. Unbeknownst to them, someone wearing a miner’s outfit has begun offing locals. The mayor and sheriff keep the killings under wraps and cancel the party. But the frustrated miners move the party to the mine. Soon, the youngsters find themselves trapped underground with the killer. Continue reading...

    Watched on 14 Feb, 2022
  7. A still from Sightseers (2012)

    Sightseers 2012

    B: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Ben Wheatley. Starring Alice Lowe, Kenneth Hadley, Steve Oram, and Eileen Davies.

    After Kill List’s neo-noir horror, director Ben Wheatley pivots to black comedy with this story of Tina and Chris, a dysfunctional couple touring the English countryside in a camper. After an accident that sees them backing into a passing cyclist, the bodies pile up, testing the relationship. Continue reading...

    Watched on 13 Feb, 2022
  8. A still from Scarface (1983)

    Scarface 1983

    A-: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Brian De Palma. Starring Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

    Most remakes disappoint. Scarface proves an exception. It reimagines Howard Hawks’ 1932 gangster picture as a contemporary psycho-sexual thriller with terrific results. Continue reading...

    Watched on 12 Feb, 2022
  9. A still from Daniel Isn't Real (2019)

    Daniel Isn't Real 2019

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer. Starring Miles Robbins, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Sasha Lane, and Mary Stuart Masterson.

    Blind spots are dangerous. They can obscure critical flaws. But what makes them insidious is you often don’t recognize them. Continue reading...

    Watched on 11 Feb, 2022
  10. A still from The Four of the Apocalypse... (1975)

    The Four of the Apocalypse... 1975

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Lucio Fulci. Starring Fabio Testi, Lynne Frederick, Michael J. Pollard, and Harry Baird.

    I’m struggling with this review. On the one hand, I liked the story of four outcasts making their way across wild west Utah, pursued by a maniacal outlaw. The plot proved a surprising exploration of immoral versus evil. The cast engages and director Lucio Fulci and his cinematographer exploit the Austrian locales to present a heightened version of the frontier west that’s both beautiful and brutal.

    And yet, it didn’t resonate. Perhaps it’s the dated folk-pop soundtrack. Perhaps it’s how Rob Zombie seems to have modelled his look after the film’s villain. Or perhaps it’s how the standard definition stream lends the film a false sense of cheapness. Whatever the cause, the film deserves a high definition rewatch.

    Watched on 10 Feb, 2022


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