Silver Emulsion

Film Reviews

Trancers 5: Sudden Deth (1994)

Trancers 5: Sudden Deth (1994)

Starring Tim Thomerson, Stacie Randall, Ty Miller, Teri Ivens, Mark Arnold, Clabe Hartley, Alan Oppenheimer, Lochlyn Munro, Jeff Moldovan, Stephen Macht

Directed by David Nutter

Expectations: Moderate.


When we left Jack Deth in Trancers 4, he had just vanquished the Trancer leader, Lord Caliban. All was set right in the alternate dimension of Orpheus and Jack could sit back knowing he saved not only his own dimension, but his new one as well. Trancers 5 informs new viewers of the previous events with a quick retelling featuring hilarious narration. At the culmination of this, the screen literally rips apart and Trancers 5 begins in earnest with the Tunnel Rats’ action-packed, swashbuckling assault on Caliban’s castle. Damn! That’s the way you start a movie!

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August 24, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Action, Fantasy, Good Trash, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 & 1/2 Stars, Science Fiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trancers 4: Jack of Swords (1994)

Trancers 4: Jack of Swords (1994)
AKA Trancers 4: Journeys Through the Darkzone

Starring Tim Thomerson, Stacie Randall, Ty Miller, Teri Ivens, Mark Arnold, Clabe Hartley, Alan Oppenheimer, Lochlyn Munro, Jeff Moldovan, Stephen Macht

Directed by David Nutter

Expectations: Moderate.


Trancers 4 dispenses with most of the series conventions you’re familiar with and places Jack Deth in an entirely new setting, a medieval, Robin Hood-style era of all things. Surprisingly, it works well and makes Trancers 4 very enjoyable for fans of the series. Jack has become the true definition of a time cop, wiping out disturbances as they come up, jumping back in time and killing them at their source. Through narration we learn that Jack actually wiped out all of the Trancers throughout time, so he’s busy helping out with other problems such as Jack’s recently completed mission to kill the Solenoids, a race of vicious plant creatures. Soon, Jack is given another mission, but a Solenoid stowaway jumps him and the timepod rockets off-course. This Solenoid looks great and it’s a shame he only gets a minute or so of screen time.

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August 17, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Action, Fantasy, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars, Science Fiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Indian Runner (1991)

The Indian Runner (1991)

Starring Viggo Mortensen, David Morse, Patricia Arquette, Valeria Golino, Charles Bronson, Dennis Hopper

Directed by Sean Penn

Expectations: High. I’ve really liked the other films of Penn’s that I’ve seen. How can you not be excited by that cast list too?


I don’t know the exact story of how Sean Penn came to be a director as well as a fantastic actor, but what it boils down to is this, the guy can make a movie. The Indian Runner is his first excursion into work behind the camera, and despite some minor flaws, it is a powerful and emotional film. Sean Penn heard the Bruce Springsteen song, Highway Patrolman (off the excellent acoustic album Nebraska), and was so moved by its story, that he wanted to write an entire film based upon it. The Indian Runner inexplicably does what it sets out to do and successfully translates the song into a film, expanding the narrative yet still remaining true to Springsteen’s two central characters, a pair of very different brothers.

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August 4, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Drama, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trancers III: Deth Lives (1992)

Trancers III: Deth Lives (1992)

Starring Tim Thomerson, Melanie Smith, Andrew Robinson, Telma Hopkins, Megan Ward, Stephen Macht, R.A. Mihailoff, Helen Hunt

Directed by C. Courtney Joyner

Expectations: Moderate. The 2nd was OK.


Jack Deth has stooped to new lows. As the film starts, Deth advertises his private investigation business focused on cheating husbands with a low-budget television commercial featuring a bevy of cute girls in Santa’s Helpers costumes and a VHS video camera in hand. The end of the ad is punctuated with a shotgun blast to the TV from a disgruntled liquor store robber. He runs back to the counter trying to get the money from the prerequisite Asian store owner, when suddenly a high-pitched squeal hurts their ears. They are bathed in orange light and a time capsule that kinda looks like a phone booth materializes. A crazy looking alien thing pops out and asks, “Where’s Jack Deth?” The alien promptly tracks Jack down and takes him back to the future with him. Oh no!

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August 3, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Action, Good Trash, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars, Science Fiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Mini-Review: To Die For (1995)

To Die For (1995)

Starring Nicole Kidman, Joaquin Phoenix, Alison Folland, Matt Dillon, Casey Affleck, Illeana Douglas, Dan Hedaya

Directed by Gus Van Sant

Expectations: None.


This is a mildly entertaining movie about a pretty girl who has high aspirations to be on television. She’ll do anything. Simple enough. Usually with this type of film, there’s some level of intrigue, but this is not the case with To Die For. The film is told through a pseudo-documentary style and you know pretty much what happens in the first couple of minutes. I’m okay with that, as long as the characters are interesting, but I’m sorry to say that they aren’t. Nicole Kidman’s character is the only one even remotely absorbing and she does well in her role, with some exceptional moments. Most of the other players are overacted caricatures of American stereotypes with Matt Dillon and Joaquin Phoenix battling for the main offender trophy. Illeana Douglas is the best of the supporting cast, but then I always enjoy her in anything, so I could be biased.

This is all coupled with Gus Van Sant’s ugly, boring camera work and editing, making it readily apparent that this one just wasn’t made for me. I can say one thing about Van Sant’s work, he’s consistent. His shot selection never ceases to frustrate and annoy me. I had seen this before when it came out and I didn’t like it then. I like it less now. Avoid it, unless you generally like Van Sant’s work or you want to see Joaquin Phoenix or Casey Affleck in early roles.

July 30, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Comedy, Drama, Mini-Reviews, Movie Reviews, Rating: 1 Star, Trash | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Goodfellas (1990)

Goodfellas (1990)

Starring Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Expectations: High. Love it, does it hold up?


If someone were to tell me that they thought Goodfellas was Scorsese’s best film, I really couldn’t argue with them. I might not agree but it is a completely valid position, as Goodfellas is one of the best films of the 1990s and still holds up today. The film is just as skillfully made as you remember it being, twenty years later. Goodfellas opens in the middle of the story, in the middle of a scene even, after some minimalist but effective Saul Bass titles. Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci drive through the dark of night when strange sounds come from the back of the car. They pull over and open the trunk, revealing a bloody mess of a man. Joe Pesci violently stabs him repeatedly before De Niro opens fire. Liotta chimes in via voiceover, “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” This scene serves as an introduction to the film, but repeat viewers will recognize it also as one of the most important moments in these character’s lives, defining and shaping everything that ultimately comes to each of them.

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July 28, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Drama, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trancers II: The Return of Jack Deth (1991)

Trancers II: The Return of Jack Deth (1991)

Starring Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, Megan Ward, Biff Manard, Martine Beswick, Jeffrey Combs, Alyson Croft, Telma Hopkins, Art LaFleur

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Moderate. It’s a sequel.


Six years after the original, Charles Band got around to making another Trancers film. He successfully reunites the entire cast of part one, as well as a few new faces. By this point, Empire International had collapsed and his new company, Full Moon Entertainment, had risen from its ashes to bring us more of the Charles Band brand of campy flicks I love. Trancers 2, just like in real life, picks up six years after the events of the original and Jack Deth is still stranded in the past, 1991 to be exact. Using the current year as the setting works really well, because acknowledging the production year allows the film to age a lot better. Instead of picking some arbitrary number for the time, we are treated to 1991, 1991 style. The Raiders are forever the Los Angeles Raiders and passenger vans come in two varieties, the Chevy Astro and the Ford Aerostar. Oh, it’s good to be back.

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July 27, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Action, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars, Science Fiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uncle Jasper reviews: Carnosaur (1993)

Carnosaur (1993)

Starring Diane Ladd, Raphael Sbarge, Jennifer Runyon, Harrison Page, Ned Bellamy, Clint Howard, Frank Novak

Directed By Adam Simon


Hi folks. Welcome to today’s installment of “Shit My Dad Used to Rent”. Today we have 1993’s ultra-schlocky Dino-ploitation classic, Carnosaur. Now let’s not bullshit ourselves here, there is only one reason this film ever saw the light of day. Cranked out and released less than a year after Steven Spielberg’s mega blockbuster Jurassic Park, Carnosaur sought to take a T-Rex sized bite out of the dino-mania propagated by that smash hit. Surprisingly, it is based on an Australian novel written six years before Michael Crichton’s bestseller ever saw the light of day, even though the film itself reeks of a shameless cash-in attempt.

But for a kid going through dinosaur withdrawal after Spielberg’s hit disappeared from theaters, imagine the shit-eating grin I must have had on my face when my dad brought this one home. I was a little put off by the ghetto-looking rubber T-Rex on the VHS sleeve, but with a title like Carnosaur it seemed like a dream come true. This would be Jurassic Park with a darker edge. As much as I loved watching Sam Neil and Jeff Goldblum run away from those carnivorous monsters, Jurassic Park had a severe shortage of what I think we all really wanted to see, dinosaurs eating people. I understand toning it down in order to secure that coveted PG-13 rating, but without blood and guts it amounted to a fun and suspenseful adventure, not the dino-horror film I think I was initially hoping for. But fuck it dudes, who needed Jurassic Park? I had Carnosaur now!

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July 26, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Horror, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Tromeo and Juliet (1995)

Tromeo and Juliet (1995)

Starring: Jane Jensen, Will Keenan, Valentine Miele, Maximillian Shaun, Steve Gibbons, Sean Gunn, Debbie Rochon, Lemmy

Directed By: Lloyd Kaufman


Tromeo and Juliet is the Troma vision fully realized. It may as well have been titled “Lloyd Kaufman’s Mission Statement in Five Acts”. It is a film so deviously ingenious in its execution that it manages to both subvert and pay tribute to Shakespeare’s original work while at the same time raising serious questions about what human beings choose to elevate or ridicule as art. It is hands down the best film I’ve seen in months and the only thing I could think about right now is getting this review finished so I can watch it again. Orson Welles had Citizen Kane, Frank Capra had It’s a Wonderful Life, John Ford had Stagecoach, and Lloyd Kaufman has Tromeo and Juliet. These films are all masterpieces from their respective creators… but only one of them features gigantic penis monsters and random acts of nipple piercing.

The most shocking thing about Tromeo and Juliet is just how faithful it is to the bard’s original story. I think this says a lot right off the bat. When you pop in a Troma film on DVD I’m sure most take on the lackadaisical attitude of “…well, it ain’t Shakespeare.” But wait! This time it is Shakespeare! Oh shit, what now? In concept alone the film forces you to pay attention, but the story is so screamingly accurate and fits so astonishingly well into the Troma mold that questions have to be raised about just how classy Shakespeare’s work really was, or just how lowbrow and awful a film like The Toxic Avenger should really be regarded. Never before have I seen the line between “art” and “trash” so thin and opaque. These blurred distinctions are enough to completely shatter the rigid perceptions held by elitist art snobs and make the lovers of B-grade trash feel vindicated in their pursuit for sleaze.

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July 22, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Action, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fargo (1996)

Fargo (1996)

Starring Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Harve Presnell, Kristin Rudrüd, Tony Denman, Larry Brandenburg, Steve Reevis, John Carroll Lynch, Steve Park

Directed by Joel Coen

Expectations: I’ve seen this a bunch of times, I expect to still enjoy it.


Fargo is a twisted tale that begins with a disclaimer that it is based on a true story. The Coens put this on their film because there are certain elements taken from true events, but the actual overall story is theirs. This doesn’t diminish its impact at all, in fact, it’s such a well written story in its probable improbability that you can easily believe it to be true, which in the world of film is all that really matters.

Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) drives down a snowy road to meet two men at a bar. He has hired these men to kidnap his wife, in an effort to get her wealthy father to pay the ransom which Jerry will use to pay off debts and then give a small share to the kidnappers. It’s all so ludicrous that it has to be true, right? I mean, you can’t make that kind of stuff up.

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July 21, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Comedy, Drama, Movie Reviews, Rating: 4 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments