Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Matthew Ross' FRANK & LOLA: all about love and betrayal and noir and not much else

Matthew Ross (not to be confused with Matt Ross, who recently gave us the wonderful Captain Fantastic) certainly garnered a game cast to star in his new feature, FRANK & LOLA. What film fan would not be interested in seeing a movie with Michael Shannon, Imogen Poots, Michael Nyquist, Emmanuelle Devos and Justin Long? All of these performers (and several others) do their best with what has been set before them. But by the end of this too-long (even at 87 minutes) pastiche of been-there-done-that, you are likely to be tapping your fingers on whatever solid surface is nearby, while muttering, "This was a big nothing."

Mr. Ross, pictured at left, may think he is telling us something important (or even interesting) about love and its discontents, including jealousy, revenge, and the like. But there is nothing here we have not seen elsewhere and handled much better.

Content-wise, and for all its nice sets and locations (Las Vegas and Paris), the movie offers so little new or novel in the plotting that you may feel that there simply must be some big reveal to be expected by film's end. Don't.

Shannon and Poots (shown above and below, left and right, respectively) play hot-n-heavy lovers who barely know each other but fall at-first-sight, then spend the remainder of the movie lying and/or acting like filmdom's biggest fall guy. The effect is nicely acted but distinctly under-whelming. Most ten-year-olds will have a keener idea of the perils of love and lust than is to be found in this film. Ms Devos and Misters Long and Nyqvist add some class and charm to the proceedings, to little avail. This is one of those movies that will have you scratching your head as to why it ever got made -- let alone saw a release on digital HD and VOD.

But here it is. So, if you've a mind, you can find this release, via Paladin and Universal Studios, on VOD at your local cable channel or perhaps streaming somewhere. Good luck.

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