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John Frankensteiner has written 43 reviews for films rated ★★★ .

  • Good Boys

    Good Boys

    ★★★

    Seldom are movies exactly as you imagined them, Good Boys is one of those films.

  • Neon Maniacs

    Neon Maniacs

    ★★★

    Let's make a movie called Neon Maniacs.

    We only have one light.

    Is it neon?

    No.

    Fuck it, let's do it anyway.

  • Seven Women, Seven Sins

    Seven Women, Seven Sins

    ★★★

    Uneven anthology (aren't they all?) about the seven deadly sins made by seven different female filmmakers, so Seven Women, Seven Sins is not just a clever title.

    After a bad story about Gluttony, Bette Gordon bats second with a story of Greed, and it's my second favorite segment, playing like a sort of upscale version of her film Variety. Luis Guzman shows up immediately just in case you were unsure who was directing.

    Maxi Cohen's segment on Anger is spectacular,…

  • Alligator

    Alligator

    ★★★

    We think of great movies made by the auteur under stressful conditions as miracles, but a low budget Jaws ripoff about a giant killer gator in a sewer being any good at all is a true miracle. Elevated by a better-than-it-had-to-be script by a young John Sayles and the steady hand of Lewis Teague, it all somehow works. The glue, the heart, the soul, the ability to kill a giant killer gator, though, is the great Robert Forster. He uses…

  • The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

    The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

    ★★★

    I tend to avoid adaptations of great novels because, for the most part, what's the point? But this was on TCM, I had nothing better to do and so I found out that this particular one was pretty good. Miller's direction could be called workman-like, I guess, although there were some flashier flourishes like a long shot following Arkin from the top floor of a restaurant down to the lobby below. It comes across beautifully like a micro-thriller as you…

  • Party Girl

    Party Girl

    ★★★

    Party Girl is the greatest film of all time that contains a jump scare at the mention of the Dewey Decimal System. Been meaning to watch this for a couple of decades, and probably could have continued to not watch it without much loss, but it captures a time and place, a sensibility, and Parker Posey at her most Parker Poseyness, and that certainly counts for something.

  • Trancers

    Trancers

    ★★★

    The type of B Film done with just enough quality and more than was ever expected or required style that there are humans still unborn that will one day cite this as their favorite movie. Ostensibly a Terminator ripoff, it plays more today like Timecop if it was a (slightly) less dumb neon-noir and the main character's name was incredibly upgraded from Max Walker to Jack fucking Deth. 5 star movie for people into '80s B movies, like they don't really get better.

  • Upside Down

    Upside Down

    ★★★

    Conceptual love stories with lame sci-fi elements are for some reason my jam. I don't understand why either. Automatic 2.5 rating, just for being inherently watchable to me. Jim Sturgess is such a bad actor, like impressively bad. It's the type of bad where you find yourself Googling, "Related to Preston Sturges?" Like some Hollywood royalty connection could be the only explanation for such a thing. Then you're reminded he's British and it makes less sense, but also more sense.…

  • CQ

    CQ

    ★★★

    I, for one, do not miss the "Let's try and make Jeremy Davies a thing" era, a man capable of one baffled face in perpetuity. Everything else was fun, though. Weird I missed this before now.

  • Heaven & Earth

    Heaven & Earth

    ★★★

    This strikes me as Oliver Stone attempting to pivot into a more conventional period piece drama, the type of pretty good melodrama that the Oscars eat up, give a lot of awards to and then no one ever thinks about it again. Except, not even the Oscars fell for this one, so Oliver immediately went back to fuck-the-fucking-world and made Natural Born Killers next, like the lunatic he was meant to be.

  • Conceiving Ada

    Conceiving Ada

    ★★★

    "What do you think is the future of cryptography?"
    "I don't think there will be much privacy in the future. We'll need a place to hide."

    High concept, poor execution, but never uninteresting. Minus Tilda Swinton, no one else can act, it's shot like a Windows 95 interactive game and the writing is soap operish and I somehow still enjoyed this movie. The first and last contact between Ada and the main character is beautiful and although they greatly tip their hand for the ending it feels inevitable in the right way. Worth a watch for anyone into that distinctly '90s low-fi sci-fi, currently on YouTube.

  • Houston, We Have a Problem!

    Houston, We Have a Problem!

    ★★★

    The genre of mockumentary that doesn't want you to know it's a mockumentary until whenever seems to mostly be more interesting in theory than it ever actually is. Houston, We Have a Problem! is not one of the exceptions. This one supposes a Tito's Yugoslavia where he cons America for billions of dollars by selling his space program to help them defeat USSR, except his space program fucking blows and he's cleverly taken a program that was draining his budget…