All posts by Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..

Director’s Chair with Julio Quintana

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Frank and Kyle are honored to be joined with filmmaker Julio Quintana to discuss his film, THE VESSEL starring Martin Sheen and produced by Terrence Malick and Sarah Green. Julio is a Malick protege, working as an intern on THE TREE OF LIFE.

THE VESSEL is now available to rent or own on streaming platforms, but please purchase the disc on Amazon that includes the English language and Spanish language version of the film.

 

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For Your Ears Only: FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

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Returning for our next installment of our James Bond series, For Your Ears Only,  Frank and Podcasting Them Softly’s James Bond expert, Tom Zielinski, are joined with fellow Bond aficionado, Paul Sparrow-Clarke.

The Raymond Benson Auteur Series: David Lynch Part II

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Raymond, Tim, and Frank finish their discussion about David Lynch’s filmography. They cover WILD AT HEART to TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN. Please visit Raymond’s website for more information on his latest novel and where to order it!

 

Halloween Special: Fred Dekker’s NIGHT OF THE CREEPS

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Join Frank and filmmaker turned Podcasting Them Softly co-host, Derek Wayne Johnson as they unveil PTS’s Halloween episode featuring a lively chat about Fred Dekker’s 80s masterpiece, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS.

Victor Sjostrom’s THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE

‘The Phantom Carriage’ (1921) dir. Victor Sjostrom

‘Lord, please let my soul come to maturity before it is reaped’

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There’s a certain feeling that Halloween used to invoke when I was younger. It was a fun combination of dread and danger, ghost stories, candy and staying up late. It was crawling under a blanket on the couch and watching PG-Rated haunters with my parents or friends who would come over for a sleepover.

As I grew older this ambiance was replaced with R-Rated films and even more R-Rated shenanigans. It became profanity-laced MST3K style drinking bashes with my friends while watching zombies tear flesh and women get naked. Over the years that ‘old Halloween feeling’  if you want to call it that had all but been forgotten. But then the other day I crawled under the covers and watched Victor Sjostrom’s ‘The Phantom Carriage’ and that Halloween Spirit I hadn’t felt in so long – came roaring back and it felt fucking great!

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This film had been on my list for a while. I’m ashamed it took me so long to get around to it. ‘The Phantom Carriage’ is a timeless tale of the macabre. The kind of horror that seeps into your bones. It does a tremendous job of combining the visceral elements of your old-timey chiller with a deeper, more philosophical message. Age has only benefitted this film. Its eerie tone enhanced by the years. The seamless F/X work gives one the impression they are experiencing something truly supernatural and the minimalist score by Mattie Bye for the 1998 restoration really underscores the film’s foreboding tone. Each frame simmers with a sorrowful terror that is captured magically by cinematographer Max Wilen. This is a special cinematic experience and one can see why it was a personal favorite of Bergman’s and Kubrick lifted an entire sequence of it for ‘The Shining’.

‘The Phantom Carriage’ opens with a couple ne’er-do-wells drinking in a graveyard on New Year’s Eve and one of them tells an old tale – that the last person to die each year has to drive the Carriage of Death that goes from door to door collecting the souls of the departed for the following year. When one of the men is killed in a brawl he joins an old friend on the doomed carriage and must revisit the shitty life decisions he made and their consequences before being able to reconcile the ghosts of the past which haunt him in the present. The film unfolds with flashbacks within flashbacks but is shrewdly broken up into 5 parts as to not become convoluted or tiresome.

This Halloween if you’re looking for a truly atmospheric and unsettling film that will get under your skin, turn the lights off and watch ‘The Phantom Carriage’. Trust me.

Review by Damian K. Lahey

The BLADE RUNNER 2049 Mega Podcast

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The crew has been assembled: Frank, Nate, Kyle, Ben, and Patrick talk in length about BLADE RUNNER 2049. Is Rick Deckard a human or a replicant? What is the film saying? How amazing is Roger Deakins? Well, that answer is obvious. We hope you all enjoy!

Martin Scorsese’s THE COLOR OF MONEY 

THE COLOR OF MONEY is one of those films that really shouldn’t exist, but thankfully it does. It was one of those “one for you” Scorsese films that he made for the studio so he could get other, less commercial and seminal, projects off the ground.

What’s refreshing about the film, is that it doesn’t rely, at all, on the film that came before it and the term sequel is a rather loose way to describe the picture. Paul Newman won the Oscar for his reprisal as Fast Eddie Felson and it has more times than not been called his make up Oscar, his award for a career of wonderful, unique, and cool performances. Bob Hoskins is the cinephile favorite for his turn as George in MONA LISA, and for outstanding has Hoskins was Newman more than deserved the Oscar.
The pairing of the old and stoic Newman and the young and fresh Tom Cruise is a cinematic treat, shored up wonderfully by supporting turns and the fast paced editing and camera work. Scorsese builds a quick and glossy narrative about hustling and playing the long con. 
One of Scorsese’s strengths is the use of popular music, and this film might just be one of his finest displays of his love for music. From the original score by Robbie Robinson, and Eric Clapton’s IT’S IN THE WAY THAT YOU USE IT and Warren Zevon’s seminal tune WEREWOLVES OF LONDON; this picture has a rocking soundtrack and even cooler imagery that’s cued up to the music. 
THE COLOR OF MONEY is Scorsese’s best film that’s nearly forgotten by all. Films like KUNDUN and AFTER HOURS have found their niche markets and rabid appreciation, yet THE COLOR OF MONEY is that film that quietly continues to slide under the radar and is often glossed over if discovered by most. It’s a film about survival and embracing the passion within yourself. It’s truly a great film, and one of the best of the 80s.