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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME” – M. Frank

Can You Ever Forgive Me   -7.5

 

In two words: Author Alcoholic

 In a rare non-comedic role, Melissa McCarthy shows the dramatic side of her talents by playing a down-in-her-luck author, Lee Israel, who sadly finds herself on the outs with her literary agent, her publisher and everyone else who avoids her like a rotten smell, other than her cat. Set in New York City in the 1970s and 80s, where she lives in a ramshackle, filthy apartment, there’s hardly a scene in the movie where McCarthy is not sipping on a glass of Scotch.  She had been a successful author once, profiling numerous celebrities like Tallulah Bankhead, Katherine Hepburn, Estee Lauder and others. Now she’s barely able to get past the alcohol induced writer’s block. 

       On the edge of being evicted by her landlord, coupled with a number of other debts, Lee stumbles on a an easy money scheme to deal with selling bogus documents signed/written by other famous authors of the past, often worth anywhere from $50 to thousands, depending. She established a friendship with a gay man, interestingly named “Jack Hock,” another down-and-out drunk drug user played by Richard E. Grant, where they share a few laughs

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: A STAR IS BORN – 8.5

A Star is Born – 8 .5

In a word: Captivating

     This is a great movie, with superb acting and an ample supply of modern-age music which, for some, could have been moderated a bit to allow for more appeal to all audiences.

     First a question: What does Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and Lady Gaga all have in common? They all played lead roles in a smash movie titles “A Star Is Born.” (1937, 1954, 1976 and 2018) This might well be considered the best of the lot. (Until the next rendition sometime in the mid 2050s)

     While the plot is basically the same in each film, (down and out show-biz fellow discovers a future star)  I cannot imagine better acting in the lead role than what Lady Gaga gives us in her first major film. She is virtually intoxicating, not only for her dramatics, but her music, which is not only singing, she renders the epitome of bridging modern rock with classic love songs. (I’ve never heard La Vie En Rose sung better) Gaga realistically crosses the gamut of raw emotion from learning that she is truly beautiful and vastly talented, as deeply imparted by a smitten

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “WHITE BOY RICK” – 7

WHITE BOY RICK – 7

 

In a word:  Depressing.

     If you are adverse to a barrage of bad language, plus graphic violence, do not see this movie.

     Set in Detroit around 1984, this is a deep, dark film giving us a vivid peek into the underworld of drugs and dealers, depression, dysfunction and misery.

     Mathew McConaughey deftly plays the role of a struggling single father of two teens, one a female junkie who lives in the streets and the other, Rick Wershe Jr., age 15, who spends most of his miserable life interacting with dopers and thieves in the hood, often the only white person in the mix. This was during the crack epidemic of the 1980s.

     Wershe Sr. sells guns illegally to make ends meet but soon attracts attention from the FBI. Federal agents convince his son, Rick Jr., to become an undercover drug informant in exchange for keeping his father out of prison. When young Rick gets in too deep, he finds himself seduced by the lure of easy money and becomes a drug dealer himself.

     This is based on a true story which comes together at the end, which I will omit for this article.

     McConaughey is

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: OPERATION FINALE – 8

“Operation Finale”  –  8

 

In a word:  Chilling

     This is a well-done biopic film about the background and capture of Adolf Eichmann in 1960 by Israeli commandos, one of the highest level Jew killers from WWII.

     This takes place fifteen years after the end of World War II, Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad and security agency Shin Bet – led by heroic agent Peter Malkin (Isaac) – launched a daring top-secret raid to capture the notorious Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), who had been reported dead in the chaos following Nazi Germany’s collapse but was, in fact, living and working in a suburb of Buenos Aires, Argentina under an assumed identity. Malkin and his operatives plot and execute the abduction under the cover of darkness just a few feet from Eichmann’s home. Determined to sneak him out of Argentina to stand trial in Israel, Malkin and Eichmann engage in an intense and gripping game of cat-and-mouse in which they are barely able to get the plan off the ground in time.

     What seemed unrealistic, was the clumsy way the Mossad Israelis people went about the actual capture.

     I well remember this headline story in 1960, as people of the free world still

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE-FALLOUT 8.5

MISSION IMOSSIBLE – FALLOUT  –  8.5

 

In a word: breathtaking

     You gotta like pure action-thriller movies to enjoy this flick. In doing so, do not expect much in the way of reality, it’s all about edge-of-your-seat implausible scenes, that – in this case – don’t really matter very much. What matters is the pace, the non-stop action, death defying stunts and THE man who drives every scene: Tom Cruise. 

     Here’s a brief plot,  (admittedly) partially plagiarized from an on-line notation: 

Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and the IMF team join forces with CIA assassin August Walker (played by Henry Cavill) to prevent a disaster of epic proportions. Arms dealer John Lark and a group of terrorists known as the Apostles plan to use three plutonium cores for a simultaneous nuclear attack on the Vatican, Jerusalem and Mecca, Saudi Arabia. When the weapons go missing, Ethan and his crew find themselves in a desperate race against time to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands”

     Some of the dialogue is stilted, almost as if they’re resting before leaping into the next action scene. Alec Baldwin, playing a former CIA chief, wasn’t bad, but he was Alec Baldwin, too well known off

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “LEAVE NO TRACE”- 9

LEAVE NO TRACE” – 9

 

In two words:  Classic drama

If you are looking for a movie that has lots of action, guns, chases, and car crashes, skip this film. As well, if you’re interested in comedy, violence, foul language, sexual inferences, war, peace, blaring music, sci-fi, horror, or mega-stars, don’t see this  However, if you get hooked on deep drama, human struggles, the love between a deeply trouble father and his loyal teenage daughter, who share a life of total independence and isolation…and all the difficulties and emotions that derive from there, don’t miss this movie.

The story focuses on two characters. Will is a soft-spoken, deeply troubled former veteran who struggles with a form of PTSD that compels him to live a life of isolation. He also is the widowed dad of a teen girl called Tom to whom he is devoted but flawed by his inability to cope with society in general. So, they live off nature, in the parks and forests of Oregon until, one day, they are discovered by park officials, separated and brought into the concrete jungle of “civilization” to be subjected to “civilizing.”  

After days of tests and interviews, satisfied

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: SICARIO – DAY OF THE SOLDADO – 9

SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO:  9

 

In a word:  Intense

Finally, a good riveting action-packed movie in July, amidst a muddle of mediocre releases.

     This is a good film for these times, because it highlights stark realities collectively involved in the world of illegal immigration at the Mexican border, particularly all the off-shoots of drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, corruption and violence associated with it.

     The early scenes show us suicide bombings inside a retail store set off by radical Islamic extremists. This leads to the focus of the movie which is the CIA operative played by Josh Brolin who is secretly assigned by the government to penetrate the cartels in order to bring criminals to justice, including the use of violence and murder if needed. Brolin’s character teams up with Alejandro Gillick, deftly played by Benicio Del Toro, who has his own tragic history connected to the deaths of loved ones. These two fine actors drive the movie, which is deep in emotion and awash with violence, particularly with the use of modern technology.

     In addition to the two fine actors names above, the story also involves two teen kids, each within separate plots. Played by Elijah

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