Silver Emulsion

Film Reviews

Underworld (1985)

Underworld (1985)
AKA Transmutations

Starring Denholm Elliott, Steven Berkoff, Larry Lamb, Nicola Cowper, Irina Brook, Art Malik, Brian Croucher, Ingrid Pitt, Trevor Thomas

Directed by George Pavlou

Expectations: Low.


What do you get when you throw 80s synth rock, drug-fiend mutants and horror God Clive Barker together with just a dash of black leather? You get the fairly poor and wholly underwhelming 1985 film, Underworld. There was so much potential here for a good film, but man did it all go to waste. It goes wrong mostly in the writing and the pacing, because above all Underworld is one hell of a boring movie.

It all starts out pretty interesting though. It’s incredibly hard to figure out what the hell is going on, which might be a bad thing for some movies, but it seems to add to the mystique here. There was enough fun and unintentional laughs during this getting-to-know-you period so I didn’t mind too much that I was lost. Anyway, there’s some sort of high-class party going on. A young girl in a white gown decides sleep is better than party and lays down in her bed. This is crosscut with scenes of some crazy rock ‘n’ roll leather-clad assholes, who you know are up to no good, running through the streets. They all wear wraps around their faces to give them some anonymity and the look of half-ass ninjas. So they bust into the estate, steal the girl from her bed, beat down the butler that tries to stop them and run off into the night.

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September 28, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Horror, Movie Reviews, Mystery, Rating: 1 Star, Trash | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Mini-Review: Dark Nature (2009)

Dark Nature (2009)

Starring Imogen Toner, Niall Greig Fulton, James Bryce, Vanya Eadie, Joanna Miller, Jane Stabler, Tom Carter

Directed by Marc de Launay

Expectations: Low.


I should have listened. Before watching Dark Nature, I read numerous impressions of the film, trying to see if I should bother with it. Every single one I found was negative. I decided to watch it anyway simply on the basis that it was distributed in America by site-favorite Troma Entertainment. If they’re endorsing it, it has to have some redeeming value for their fans, right? Not the case actually, as the film is almost completely devoid of anything that would set it apart as a film that Troma should release.

The film opens with a lot of promise. A quick prologue shows a man murder his wife, then after showering, he is murdered himself by an unseen assailant. This leads to a very well-shot credits sequence featuring time-lapse and beautifully composed shots of windmills and countryside. It’s a bit slow, but it’s done so well that it gives the impression that the rest of the film will pay off for a patient viewer. Unfortunately, it never does. None of the characters demand attention, as they are all boring and too standard to be worth caring about. As you would expect they are slowly killed off, but even these scenes are boring as there’s very little gore or suspense to get excited about. Overall, the film is just so boring, even at only seventy-two minutes. I can’t imagine too many people extracting much enjoyment from this film. Definitely one to avoid. It is an unfortunate blemish on Troma’s otherwise pleasing track record.

August 20, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Horror, Mini-Reviews, Movie Reviews, Rating: 1 Star, Trash | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 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

Day Watch (2006)

Day Watch [Дневной дозор (Dnevnoy dozor)] (2006)

Starring Konstantin Khabensky, Mariya Poroshina, Vladimir Menshov, Viktor Verzhbitskiy, Dmitriy Martynov, Aleksei Chadov, Zhanna Friske

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov

Expectations: Low, based on my reaction to the first in the series.


Night Watch ended with some serious potential for this movie to be awesome. A fateful decision had been made and supposedly nothing will be the same. The balance has shifted and all that. The resulting film of Day Watch delivers on almost none of that promise though, instead providing you with lots of non-sensical scenes, a weird pseudo light-hearted mood and even worse pacing than the first.

This film is also based on the 1998 Sergei Lukyanenko novel entitled Night Watch, not its sequel novel Day Watch as you might think. The novel is broken into three parts, with the filmed Night Watch taking on part one and the filmed Day Watch taking on parts two and three. The problem with combining the parts is that it seems like they were written to be companion pieces, working together in a large sense but not in a strict plot point-to-point sense. So combining them results in a more confusing film than the first. I was on board for the first twenty minutes or so thinking that with the first film out of the way I would at least have a basic understanding built in for the sequel. That theory panned out for a short while before they starting jerking the wheel around and losing me again.

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July 3, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Action, Fantasy, Foreign, Movie Reviews, Rating: 1 Star | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mini-Review: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

Starring Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Jennifer Coolidge, Val Kilmer, Brad Dourif, Xzibit, Fairuza Balk, Michael Shannon, Vondie Curtis Hall

Directed by Werner Herzog

Expectations: Low due to Nicolas Cage, but optimistic because of Werner Herzog.


Until now, I had not seen a Werner Herzog movie I didn’t enjoy. I unabashedly love his documentaries. His fiction films are less interesting, but so far I’ve seen enough to know that his work is usually engaging on some level and worth my time. This is not the case with Herzog’s latest, Bad Lieutenant. Nicolas Cage plays the same character he’s been playing for years, the washed up drug-addled fiend that can’t quite get his life together. Does he at least play it well?

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April 12, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Drama, Mini-Reviews, Movie Reviews, Rating: 1 Star, Trash | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments