All posts by Marshall Frank

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: "EMMA" – 5/10

Movie:         “Emma”
Rating:         5 out of 10.
In a word:   Boring
 
     Be prepared for one more adaptation of the 1815 Jane Austen novel, first filmed in 1996 starring Gwyneth Paltrow. This movie, starring Anya Taylor-Joy follows the same basic characters within like-settings, mainly the breathtaking countryside of inner England dotted with landscapes and mansions much like any other period-based film about old England, to include a smattering of snobbery.
     If you like that genre, though unoriginal, you’ll like this movie. For sure, the photography is inspiring and the costumes awesome. The cast of actors played their roles well, including Miss Taylor-Joy’s lead.
     If there is criticism earned, it must be attributed to the director, Autumn De Wilde who gave us one scene after another of Emma’s gazing eyes and close-up expressions ad nauseam, slowing the film to a point of sheer boredom.
     The plot is simple: Emma Woodhouse is a young, beautiful, and vain woman who lives in a large mansion on the Hartford estate of her elderly father in the village of Highbury. She has no wish to marry, but enjoys pairing her family and friends. The film mostly follows Emma and her friend Harriet as they experience friendships, love and heartbreaks, complete with an array of misunderstandings because no one ever comes to the point in a conversation.
     One interesting item of trivia: When the gentleman, Mr. Knightly, asked Emma for her hand in marriage, the close-up shows the actress suffering from a nosebleed, that was apparently unscripted. But they left it in the movie anyway.
     Lovers of old-English aristocracy will like this film. Otherwise, be prepared to yawn.
     I give it a 5 out of 10.
Emma. (2020) – Trivia – IMDb
 
 
 
 
 

My Interview 2015.

 
Five years ago, I was recruited by a local videographer to participate in one of her programs where she delved into the lives of her subjects via one-on -one interviews.  Here is that 16-minute video…which may be of no interest to anyone, but seeing as I stumbled on it during a research mission, I thought I’d pass it on. 
The first section covers some of my early life being guided by a bona fide gangster and his wife, (my mother) with the last half being more about working as a cop in Miami, more specifically, in Homicide. Some folks might find it of interest.
Here’s the video: 
Marshall Frank, 75, Talks About Becoming a Detective in Miami, FL – YouTube

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW – "1917" – 10.0

“1917”  –  Rating:   10.0
     In a word:  Intense
 
Alex Heeney is a movie critic who writes for Seventh Row. In regards to “1917”, he opines: 
    1917 is breathtaking in every way. A chamber drama tucked inside an exquisitely rendered war epic, 1917 is more heart-stopping thriller than traditional war movie.
     Before writing this review, I accessed a number of other professional critics to see if there was a consensus, because I had agreed totally with Mr. Heeney. The great majority of critics I found shared similar feelings about this picture.
     I think this will go down as one of the top ten war movies of all time, on a level with “Saving Private Ryan,” “Midway” and “Schindler’s List.”
     The basic premise of the story is as simple as it is complicated. During the final stages of WWI when Great Britain was in a critical position in the French countryside fighting the Germans, Lance Corporal Blake and Lance Corporal Schofield, young soldiers each, are selected by the field commander to embark on a harrowing foot mission to deliver a critical message to another American brigade commander thought to be trenched in miles away. The dire message, which could only be delivered by hand, is a matter of life and death for the other brigade. Time was of the essence. Not only that, one of the assigned soldiers is aware that his brother on the other side is facing certain death if the message is not received in time.
     The cinematography is outstanding throughout. One scene after another, we found ourselves caught up in the intensity and the horrors of war, as these two brave soldiers dodged one obstacle after another. The sense of realism reminded me of “Private Ryan.” 
     Did the soldiers achieve their goals?  Watch the movie.
     Director Sam Mendes is rightfully in line for a Best Director Oscar, one of nine other categories in which this movie earned nominations, including best cinematography.  
     The boys who played starring roles – Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay — certainly had their fitness tested to the limits in scene after scene of grueling dangers and near-impossible obstacles, not to mention having to wade through a sea of dead bodies.
     Alex Heeney said it best. It is breathtaking indeed. A heart-stopping thriller. As war films go, this movie would be tough to top. And, there’s very little bad language and no sexual references. 
     I give it a rare 10.
1917 (2019) – IMDb

STATISTICS, ENFORCEMENT AND THE RACIAL DIVIDE

Black Live Matter is a group that carries a lot of clout in the political-racial landscape in America. That’s obvious. What’s not obvious are the statistical facts about alleged racism in law enforcement and justice which shows that all people of all ethnic and racial bases can, and often are, holding prejudices. Of course, Black Lives do Matter, but that’s not to the exclusion of white, browns, Latinos, Asians, females, males, midgets and giants. We ALL matter.
     Too often we hear about terrible disparities in crime statistics and the justice systems in general, particularly as it pertains to race. Based on sheer numbers, it appears that these systems, comprising police, courts and prisons, are prejudiced against black people, invoking accusations of systemic racism at its worst. For the most part, it’s simply not true. Key word: “systemic.”
     Yes, statistics are grossly disproportionate. But there’s a reason. FBI and the Bureau of Justice reveal that over a period of 28 years, 1980 to 2008, over 52 percent of murders were committed by blacks, while 45 percent were by whites. Yet blacks comprise only 12.7 of the population, and black males only 6.3 percent. Thus, citing the sheer numbers of whites versus blacks in criminal research, lopsided population ratios has nothing to do with a racist system. It means a very small segment of the population is responsible for a disproportionate number of violent crimes. That’s just a fact.
     Statistics are not a valid gauge from which to judge fairness. If we were held to a ratio goal, based on demographics, females should occupy prison cells by 51 percent and males only 49 percent. But records tell us that only 10.5 percent of homicide convictions are female. Even more ridiculous is suggesting that males are unfairly targeted for sex crime arrests compared to females. Never mind, that 98.9 percent of all arrests for rape are males.
     Unfair? Should cops be arresting people according to population ratios pertaining to race and gender? Should half of those arrested for perpetrating rape, be women?
     Of course, that’s absurd. But so is claiming that the prison populations should comprise numbers in line with racial demographics.
    Some folks constantly invoke the bane of racism, which does more harm than good. That may be warranted in isolated cases, but not all. I recently engaged in a short debate with a local African-American attorney, compliments of Florida Today’s civility discussion program, in which the topic was the “Black Lives Matter” movement which suggests that too many cops are predisposed to systemic bias against blacks. The debate never addressed the origins of that movement which, in truth, had nothing to do with racial discrimination.
     “Black Lives Matter” spiraled from the 2014 shooting death of 18 year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, after he had just robbed a local store. When Officer Darren Wilson spotted two suspects walking on the roadway, he stopped and ordered them to get off the street. Big boy Brown charged the police car and sucker-punched the cop through the window, then attempted to wrest the officer’s pistol away. Imagine how surprised that cop was.
     Brown had committed serious felonies. As he turned away, the officer rightfully ordered the felon to stop, at gunpoint. Instead, Brown again charged the officer in a menacing manner. This mammoth “boy” stood over six feet and weighed over 300 pounds. Wilson fired. Brown died.
     Some media journalists used explosive terms emphasizing how the “child” was “unarmed,” which ignited the community into outrage. The shooting was ultimately deemed justified when a grand jury heard testimony from several eye witnesses, all black. Eric Holder, Attorney General, did not file federal charges because there were none validated.
     The town of Ferguson suffered riots causing damages to homes and businesses by the millions. The department was criticized for not having enough black officers, in contrast to demographics. Never mind, that most local young adult blacks could not qualify because of police records, or had no interest in being associated with law enforcement. It was tough to get young black males to apply.
     I understand that dilemma, having faced similar situations following the Miami riots of 1980.
     The Ferguson incident remains the poster case which elevated “Black Lives Matter” to prominence though based on a falsehood. Officer Wilson didn’t shoot Michael Brown because he was black. The “boy” had already assaulted and attempted to disarm the cop. And, the “boy” was huge.
     There’s always more to the story. Sure, there may be exceptions, but to blame crime’s lopsided statistics on actions taken by on-the-line officers as “systemic” racism is just not true. Not in today’s climate.
     Truth be told, ALL lives matter.
 
 

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: "UNCUT GEMS" – 1.0

 
“Uncut Gems” – 1 out of 10.
 
In a word:  Frenetic
     If you like good movies don’t bother seeing “Uncut Gems.” It’s the greatest waste of viewer dollars I’ve seen in a long time.
     The premise of the plot:  A crime thriller about Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score. When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a high-risk and dangerous act, balancing business, family, and adversaries on all sides in his pursuit of the ultimate victory.
     The movie had way too many implausible scenes. For  example, the bad guys kidnap Ratner, drive him around then bring him to where his own car is parked. There, the bad guys strip him nude and deposit him into the trunk. Minutes later, in the darkness of the trunk, Ratner is using his cell phone to call his wife, who, in fact, comes to help him out.
     Cell phone in the darkness of an auto trunk? Naked?
     If you like the sounds and optics of New York City, viewers will get plenty of that. People who are concerned about crime and vulgarity, prepare for an overdose, particularly the “F” bomb and “MF” that seems to adorn every sentence of dialogue. In some spots, the dialogue is lost in all the frenzy because we cannot hear over the relentless screaming by people or the blaring of backdrop music which would be better used as a “hands off” torture technique at Gitmo.
     We walked out after an hour. 
     Pure junk film.
     I give it a 1 out of 10, only because Sandler is a surprisingly adept actor. 
Uncut Gems (2019) – IMDb