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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “THE GOOD LIAR” -10. M. Frank

“THE GOOD LIAR” – 10

     In a word: Engrossing

 

     This is a great movie, with shades of Agatha Christie and John Grisham creating a plot with so many twists and turns that keep the viewer lasered to the characters while anticipating what comes next in every scene. For people who like mystery, this is a do-not-miss film.

     The irony is that this film may not draw appeal among the bread-and-butter movie goers, the massive count of youths and millennials who keep the film industry thriving. The usual come-ons are absent.  There are no sex scenes, no nudity. No one uses the “F” word as a perennial adjective. Guns and bombs are not going off in every other scene. No Sci-fi or super natural. There is a scene or two involving struggles and one killing, but the story does not surround those events as the basis for the storyline. What does emerge will surprise everyone.

     The main characters are not a young hot woman and a sexy jock, nor politically correct mixed races as we often see today. Rather, the story encompasses two lonely British people in their late 70s, a widow and widower deftly played by Helen Mirren and

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “HARRIET” – 9.5

“HARRIET” – 9.5 

 

     In a word:  Powerful

A month ago, I wrote a movie review of “Judy” that began like this:

     “I can see it coming …“And the Oscar goes to – Renee’ Zellweger”…

Now I say, Whoa, not so fast. I hadn’t yet seen “Harriet.”

     It will be a tight Oscar race for best actress because a lesser known, 32 year-old British actress named Cynthia Erivo has given the movie industry one of the greatest female performances ever.

     The “Harriet” in this movie centers on a slave woman known in her earliest years as “Minty” who later changes her name to Harriet Tubman, a woman of unbridled courage and tenacity in the pre-civil war era in which she was responsible for hundreds of slaves being rescued and brought to freedom in the north, and later to Canada, while under the most hazardous of conditions.  She had escaped from the hands of her slaveholders in 1849 Maryland at great risk and steadily became a fearless, storied conductor on the Underground Railroad until the Civil War was over.

     This is not just a “slave era” movie in which the audience witnesses endless whippings and beatings, and heart-breaking plots

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DECADES OF ADDICTION KILLED MY BOY

(This Op-Ed by yours truly, appears in Florida Today, 20 October 2019, under title “I Got The News Families of Addicts Fear.”)

 

In 1972, a flower-child, divorced mother of a 12-year-old named Bennett introduced her son to marijuana. Pot use had been common in the household, so she said to Bennett, “Here. Try this. You don’t have to do this behind my back.”

So he did. Not only that, he found her secret stash in a closet and brought a pocketful to school, which turned out as a lucrative endeavor, hoisting his status to a seventh-grade drug dealer.

Not only did his mother ignorantly and wrongfully teach him that drugs were harmless, the subliminal message was worse, as he wondered why the one person who is supposed to protect her child from wrongdoing, actually encouraged it. So he wondered: Why doesn’t my mom love me?

Fast forward to age 18. After several episodes of runaway behavior, minor crimes and shifting residences with his single father, Bennett began showing signs of mental problems. A prominent psychiatrist diagnosed him as “manic-depressive,” which entitled Bennett to Social Security disability income from the government. Bennett spent three months in a treatment center

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “JUDY” – 9/10

“JUDY” – 9 out of 10

     In a word:  Depressing

 

     I can see it coming …“And the Oscar goes to – Renee’ Zellweger”…

     She carried the entire movie. Zellweger wasn’t just playing the role of Judy Garland, she WAS Judy Garland. This is a one-woman show in which the now-deceased actress/singer was the complete center of attention in nearly every scene. Without doubt one of the best female performances in Hollywood history. When the movie ended and the credits were rolling on the screen, audience members remained glued to their seats, many wiping tears. Students of theater and motion pictures would to do well to see this film, maybe more than once.

     Judy gives us a stark background of the arduous life led by this tiny bundle of talent that most of us, from her era, knew little about. My succinct “in-a-word” label: Depressing, is not attributed to the movie as a whole, but rather a take-away denoting the highs, lows and misery endured in the constant conflicts within Judy Garland’s life.

     Those of us who are old enough to recall Judy Garland’s movies, from Wizard of Oz to the second edition of A Star is Born and more,

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “DOWNTON ABBEY” 9/10

A Frank movie review

“Downton Abbey” –  9 out of 10.

In a word: Exquisite     

     I never watched the TV series (same name), so I bring an independent assessment of this movie untainted by past images, stories and opinions.

     I wasn’t going to see the movie either, as I admittedly pre-judged this film as just another turn of the century British drama, where the elite are stuck-up, condescending, proper and boring.  But a little arm-twisting by my dear wife of 32 years convinced me to acquiesce and give it a try.

     I’m glad I did. This was an extraordinary film with plenty of sub-plots and interesting characters that kept me glued to the story, enhanced by a talented array of class-A thespians such as Dame Maggie Smith, Mathew Goode, Elizabeth McGovern and many more. If you need sex, foul language, violence and guns to spice a story, you’ll learn that good movies can be produced without those elements. Yes, it’s rated PG, a rarity these days.

     Set in early 20th century England, most of the film is centered within on the great Downton mansion amid the sprawling countryside, from which the photography is utterly captivating. The movie offers a

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY BENNETT

 

 

Born on the 11th of September 1960, during the waning winds of Hurricane Donna in Miami, Bennett Arthur Frank would be 59 years old today. His life, not surprisingly, came to an end earlier this year. He had one lifelong adversary, which in the long run, could not be overcome, despite endless offers of love from family members and all the programs, experts, doctors, counseling, medicines and even a couple short-term incarcerations.

There was not an evil bone in his body. He harmed no one deliberately, but himself. Yes, we all tried to help, we all sacrificed and watched, we all suffered with pity, anger, anxiety and hopelessness. He tried, now and then, to shed the monster, but the monster would forever prevail. Sadly, he lived so deep in the muck, he never realized how much he was truly loved. Finally, we came to learn that he saw love from others as a weakness upon which to prey.

His poetry came from the heart. And, rightfully, his book was published. His poems should be a text book for psychologists, recovering victims and well-meaning family. It’s titled “Black Hole,” his abode, indeed. 

I will forever remember that 9/11 day

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My Stories “Before They Go Untold”

Five years ago, I was contacted by a media/videographer who was interested in my background. She wanted to conduct a 15-minute interview about life as a kid, as a stepson of mobsters, then a career cop/homicide detective, and some of the stories that might be of interest to others. The name of the program was “Before They Got Untold” – with Molly Park. 

Though the video is 5 years old, and with time on my hands waiting for a visitor named Dorian, I thought it might of interest to some of my fans and friends.  So…here is the link:

Marshall Frank, 75, Talks About Becoming a Detective in Miami, FL – YouTube

While I am at it I might as well plug my book of memoirs, “From Violence to Violence”…which chronicles a difficult childhood, living with gangsters, music, police, multiple marriages and kids, and much more. Signed copies are available, just e-mail me at MLF283@aol.com.  Books are $15 including shipping.
(Books have had two different publishers….same content)

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