Monday, March 27, 2006


Disturbing Foreign Movie of the week:

I know my readers, and I'm telling you now, many (if not most) of you will not make it through this movie.

The movie is made up of three short stories (each about 40 min. long), each with a different writer, director and production crew. In fact, they come from three different countries (Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan), and therefore - three different languages.

There is a movement, in asian cinema, to redefine the horror movie genre. The idea being that, in order to scare you, they have to exploit the things that really creep you out - that you'll be thinking of long after the movie is over. They know that teenagers being hacked up by mutants or zombies, or even ghosts - is NOT scary. It's disgusting, but not scary. I mean, c'mon! People just laugh at that stuff. I bet that nobody really laughed at AUDITION , the benchmark of this new wave of horror flicks.

There aren't any zombies here, just ordinary people. Stephen King, at his best, knows what scares people. Ordinary people, maybe even ourselves, are capable of much greater horror than any pissed off ghost. That's why "Misery" was much creepier than, say, "It" (Good grief! A giant spider? Step on the damn thing and move on!).

The three stories in THREE EXTREMES are examples of this new movement. The first one is the one that I think most people will walk out of. It breaks a lot of taboos that I think most people aren't ready to see broken. The second places a good man in a dire situation where he must choose between two evils. The third is f***'ing messed up (damn those Japanese).

The usual warnings apply here:

  • This is NOT a date flick!
  • Don't watch it if you are easily offended
  • Don't watch it if you get scared easily
  • Don't watch it if you've just eaten chinese dumplings
  • Keep in mind that I listed this under "disturbing" movies, so don't blame me if you can't sleep for the next couple weeks.
  • This is NOT a date flick!
Enjoy ---- if you dare.....


Movie of the week:

Shakespeare wrote "Titus Andronicus" very early in his career. It may have been his first tragedy. He had heavy competition and a reputation to make, so with Titus A. , he went for the throat. Audiences loved it when somebody gets killed in very nasty ways - so there's plenty of that here. But, at the same time, it's so completely over the top that it's absurd. He knew that you couldn't have constant mayhem without a little comedy relief, a little wink to the audience. You might say Titus was the Freddy Krueger of the day.

Titus A. was never considered one of Shakespeare's best works. BUT - This movie, TITUS, elevates the prose to exceptional level. The real star of the movie is the art direction. Now, if you don't think art direction is important, you'll be surprised how beautiful this film really is. I'm not generally a big fan of movie adaptations of Shakespeare, but this is a big exception!.

Here's a few reasons why I think you'll like this movie:

  • It's filmed in Rome, Italy - (realize that Rome is made up of both ancient and modern parts)
  • It's so slick that you forget you're watching Shakespeare.
  • Jessica Lange is really good at playing evil.
  • You expect, at any moment, that Anthony Hopkins will break out into his Hannibal Lecter, and realize that he would not be out of character
  • The ending is great!

Warning: It's extremely violent and graphic - even for Shakespeare.

It's long - so start early and make lots of popcorn.



From the Archive 8/19/2004
Movie of the week:
KILL BILL, Volume 2

Good movie-making. I recommended the first part wholeheartedly. Now you have to watch the rest of the story. Still filled with lots of movie references and inside jokes. But even if don't get the inside jokes, there's still plenty to like. I think the ultimate Kung Fu reference is the fact that they cast David Carradine as Bill.

I know what you're wondering, after seeing Kill Bill, Vol.1, you're probably asking, "will she ever kill Bill?" You'll just have to watch to find out.


Monday, March 20, 2006


This week's movie:

I'm not going to get this right. If I tell you too much about this movie, you're going to get the wrong impression and probably won't want to see it. But, if I don't say anything, why would you want to watch a movie you've never heard of - just on my say so? I guess I'll just have to take that chance.

This movie consists of nine scenes from nine stories about nine different women. Each scene, shown in a single unbroken shot, shows a slice from that woman's life. You don't get to know what came before (although you can guess for the most part), and you don't get to know what comes after (ditto). I, at first, felt a little let down because I wanted more - but that's the whole idea. You fill in the rest.

I found myself thinking a lot about these women since I saw the film, wondering what became of them, running through all the little scenarios through my head. Even though this is only one film, you remember nine of them.


From the Archive 4/26/2004
KILL BILL, vol.1

Even if you don't like Quentin Tarantino's movies, you have to admit that they got style. This one is his best (and don't be yelling "Resevoir Dogs" at me - this is the one).

It's violent. But the violence is so absurd, you'll be laughing at it 20 minutes into the flick. It's clever and slick, as are most QT's movies.

This film has an added benefit to those of you who have watched a Bruce Lee feature or two. There are lots of references to those old movies: the yellow track suit that Uma wears through most of the film; the soundtrack; plently of references to The Green Hornet; etc...

This is what movies should be: a good time.


Monday, March 13, 2006


Welcome to my new film blog. Most of you were probably directed here from my email recommendations. Those of you who wandered here my other means - welcome to FranksFilms. Frank's video recommendation of the week.

This is NOT a movie review site. I won't tell you if a movie is good or bad. If I think a movie is bad - I just won't recommend it. These are movies that I liked and I'll tell you why I liked them. There are no guarantees that anyone else in the entire planet will like the film. That's up to you to discover on your own.

If you're not already on my email list, and would like to be, just post a comment to that effect, or email me direct at . I'll notify you approximately once a week when the new movie has been posted.

This week's movie:

It's a love triangle!

Real life brothers (and filmmakers) , Mark and Michael Polish, play real life brothers who suddenly fall in with a young prostitute, Penny. I know your imagination is probably taking you in a bizzare direction right now, but it's not that sort of film. I won't tell you any more about the plot. You could look up the whole plot synopsis if you want to, although I would recommend going in knowing as little as possible. (It's R rating is for language - not for "adult situations").

I really like the atmosphere of this movie. I'm not sure how to explain this. The sibling bonding, I think, is dealt with in a very realistic way. The brothers are withdrawn at first, and so you only get to know them gradually.

The few people that I know who have seen this film, have all loved it.

Maybe you will too?


Movie of the week: (4/27/2004)

First of all, the movie is NOT in spanish, it is in english. Secondly, the plot does not involve prisoners of any kind, nobody is held hostage, and again, nobody speaks spanish here . It's not what you would expect. It's a little slow at first and takes its time getting going, but that's because the film is establishing all the characters and all the plot elements that are to fall into place later in the movie.

This is one of David Mamet’s best screenplays. If you're not familiar with Mamet, check his credentials here. Being a playwright, his screenplays usually feature slick stylish dialogue, and a plot twist or two.

As a departure from his usual characters, Steve Martin is very ominous as a man who may or may not have gotten off the seaplane.


Monday, March 06, 2006


Movie of the week (5/25/2004)

Not what you think. It's not about the war in Iraq. It's not about Saddam. It's not about WMD's, or terrorists, or AlQueida. It's not even about Iraq. It's not even about Bagdad. I don't know why it's called Bagdad Cafe. I don't even remember if it's the name of the cafe in the story. I don't care - it doesn't matter. Enough with all the tacit implied questions.

It's funny and smart and moving, and filled with characters you don't normally see in movies. I have yet to find anybody, who has seen this, that hasn't liked it.

I'm not going to tell you what it's about. You should rent and watch it without any preconceptions. But if you absolutely must get a more in-depth review, the link below will take you to Roger Ebert's review of the movie. More info can be had at the Internet Movie Database link above (on the movie title).

Roger Ebert's review of Bagdad Cafe



From the Archive: (4/16/2004)

This is a creepy little documentary. Or is it a documentary. You're never really sure right up to the ending credits. It's about an independent filmmaker who conducts a series of interviews with an aging ex-marine who claims to have been the trigger man at the JFK assassination. Is he crazy or is he for real? I won't give away too much, but it's pretty fast-paced.

If you're a conspiracy theory aficionado, this is the movie for you.

Warning: It's low budget. Don't expect buildings and stuff to blow up.