Recently by Michael Frank

The Uncertainty of Indie Filmmaking: An Honest Interview with Harpoon Director Rob Grant

"If Rotterdam said no, probably no one would be watching this film." - Rob Grant
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Most profile pieces begin with a description of what the celebrity was wearing when they were interviewed. These pieces talk about the location, about the coolness and power the A-lister emoted, about how they felt to be in their presence. Rob Grant, director of Harpoon, is a different type of filmmaker. I sat down with Grant on a brisk morning in Brooklyn. We were bundled up in jackets, and the wind was blowing deeply into the recorder, leaving most of it ripe with static. He had bright blue eyes, a beard, a huge smile on his face. It was his

Fantastic Fungi Movie Review: Mushrooms Are (Finally) Cool

Louie Schwartzberg's "Fantastic Fungi" is a fascinating, story-driven documentary that makes you believe in the power of these mighty organisms.
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Fungi aren't something stapled to the front of people’s minds. They aren't something we think about on a daily basis. We don’t even know how to pronounce the word. They're an afterthought, as are mushrooms. For most people, they’re an add-on. They’re good with other things, parts of a whole, not standalone products. Louie Schwartzberg has different ideas, though. Fantastic Fungi, which is narrated by the critically beloved Brie Larson and who I’m sure will bring in an audience by being connected to this film, is a documentary that wastes little time in telling you the importance of fungi and

Blade: Original Motion Picture Score Review: Hauntingly Unclear

The score of the cult classic Blade from 1998 is getting its first LP release, and what a beautiful vinyl it is.
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Blade is a cult classic for a reason. It features a jacked-up Wesley Snipes, loads of vampires, buckets of blood, and action scenes that purr because of the speed of the swords. It came out in 1998, and it was ahead of its time for comic book heroes and the success they would soon enjoy. Over twenty years later though, we have received the most underrated part of Blade in physical form: an LP of the score by Mark Isham released by Varèse Sarabande It's a score that doesn't immediately jump out at you. It refrains from massive builds and

Harpoon (2019) Movie Review: A Gory, Gutsy, Giddy Voyage

Filled with blood and betrayal, Harpoon is sometimes tough to swallow, but easy to love.
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The first 15 minutes of Rob Grant’s Harpoon are slow. Grant is methodical in the way he introduces each character, using archival footage and flashbacks to give all the exposition one needs for a good story. We understand each of our three protagonists, or antagonists by the end of the film, and can plainly see where they fit within the interlocking friendships. The roles are set. The pecking order is established. And with that, Harpoon doesn’t just walk or run to the next conflicts, it sprints at breakneck speed, shattering everything in its path. The film centers around three friends,

Fantastic Fest 2019 Review: Koko-di Koko-da: Horror Through Repetition

Dying over and over shouldn't be fun, but Koko-di Koko-da sure is a creepy joyride.
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I’ve never been a huge fan of horror movies. Jump scares, bloody creatures, and demonic possessions aren’t really my cup of tea. I see them all as one movie: a predictable, harrowing couple of hours that never ceases to keep me up at night. Johannes Nyholm’s Swedish drama Koko-di Koko-da just changed my mind. Slapping together Groundhog Day with Cabin in the Woods, Nyholm produces a low-budget, comedy-horror-drama of sorts that extends the boundaries of genre. You won’t be falling out of your seat or covering your eyes with your hands while watching the film, you will be chuckling at

Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison Movie Review: A Collective Concert of Shared Heritage

The norteño supergroup pays homage to Johnny Cash and to Latinos everywhere through heartfelt time spent at this California prison.
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Though norteño music will be new to many who stumble across Netflix’s new documentary, Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison, it has been a staple of Mexican culture for decades. Los Tigres del Norte, a family band that has popularized an entire genre of regional music by releasing over 50 albums, have been family picnic regulars of Mexican-American households since the early 1970s. The San Jose natives travel to Folsom Prison, a California institution that is famous for visitors, not inmates. Los Tigres, or “little tigers” as they were known by immigration officials, are beloved for singing songs, rather

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