Silver Emulsion

Film Reviews

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)

Starring Roddy Piper, Sandahl Bergman, Cec Verrell, William Smith, Rory Calhoun

Directed by Donald G. Jackson & R.J. Kizer

Expectations: High. With a name like Hell Comes to Frogtown, it has to be good.


The term cult classic gets thrown around a lot, but more often than not, the films referenced just don’t deserve the moniker. Hell Comes to Frogtown however, is a true cult classic. Starring Rowdy Roddy Piper and Valeria from Conan the Barbarian, Sandahl Bergman, the film plays out like a wild, testosterone-fueled, post-apocalyptic male fantasy. It never betrays its B-movie roots or pretends to be something other than super-fun trash. Instead, directors Donald G. Jackson and R.J. Kizer put the pedal to the metal and go full-bore into the oblivion of Frogtown.

Roddy Piper plays Sam Hell, a man with a high sperm count in a very infertile world. The governmental department Med-Tech places a C4-laced chastity belt on Hell and contracts him to enter Frogtown and save a group of nubile women taken hostage by the Frog leader, Commander Toty (pronounced Toady…get it? He’s a frog!). Along for the ride are Spangle (Sandahl Bergman) and Centinella (Cec Verrell), a pair of Med-Tech operatives tasked with keeping Sam Hell safe and ready to procreate.

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August 11, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Action, Comedy, Good Trash, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 & 1/2 Stars, Science Fiction | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Crossing (2000)

The Crossing (2000)

Starring Jeff Daniels, Roger Rees, Sebastian Roché, Steven McCarthy

Directed by Robert Harmon

Expectations: Low. I’m hoping this will educate me a bit on what led to Washington’s Crossing.


I’m currently taking a History class and a couple of the assignments are to write film reviews. I decided that I wouldn’t let these reviews just fade into the ether, instead posting them here as well as turning them in as homework. Because of this, the reviews will be slightly different than the normal type of stuff I put out, as the professor has laid out a few questions that need to be answered that I don’t generally ask myself. I’ve also edited this a bit to be a little more in line with this website. Anyway, enjoy… or not. Whatever.

The film opens with a short narration, setting the scene for those not intensely familiar with the material. As suspected, The Crossing seeks to dramatize the events surrounding George Washington’s decision to cross the Delaware River during the American Revolution. It looks to convey the risk-taking nature of Washington and his creative way of problem solving. Crossing the river was an unexpected tactic and one that could have gone completely wrong. The opening narration is followed by a scene of a cannon getting stuck in a ditch on the side of the road. Washington commands the men to leave it and continue on without, illustrating to the viewer just how desperate the American forces were. They’re on the run from the British, slowly breaking down and losing numbers. The film effectively shows how Washington chose to attack the Hessian camp in Trenton by crossing the river at night, despite all good odds. It proves the point how someone backed up against a wall, with no good options, will do their best to survive and continue fighting. The British, being the super-powered confident force, just didn’t have that kind of resolve backing them up.

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July 31, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Drama, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trancers (1985)

Trancers (1985)

Starring Tim Thomerson, Helen Hunt, Michael Stefani, Art LaFleur, Telma Hopkins, Richard Herd, Anne Seymour, Biff Manard

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Very high. 80s Sci-fi is hard to top for me.


Police Trooper Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) hurtles back in time to 1985 to apprehend the dangerous criminal Whistler, who is seeking out the ancestors of the future society’s city council and killing them off. Whistler can turn weak minded people into zombie-like creatures called Trancers with his psychic powers and Jack Deth is the only man crazy enough for the job. Deth is a rough and tumble, no frills badass that throws his badge to the ground in the first five minutes and writes the rules as he sees fit. For instance, right before the injection that will send him back in time, the lab techs show Deth the body of Whistler in their lab. The scientists explain that they recovered the body and brought it in so that when he brings Whistler back to the future, they will already have him in custody. Instantly I thought, “Kill him now! Don’t let his body live!” Great minds think alike as Jack Deth takes me up on my offer, whipping out his pistol and shooting the body, causing it to explode! Oh yeah!

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July 20, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 & 1/2 Stars, Science Fiction | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Django Kills Softly (1967)

Django Kills Softly [Bill il taciturno] (1967)
AKA Django Kills Silently

Starring George Eastman, Luciano Rossi, Liana Orfei, Mimmo Maggio, Peter Hellman, Spartaco Conversi, Claudio Biava, Federico Boido, Paul Maru, Antonio Toma, Martial Boschero, Giovanna Lenzi, Ilona Drash, Enrico Manera, Federico Pietrabruna

Directed by Massimo Pupillo (as Max Hunter)

Expectations: Low. I have hope going in to these clone films, but I’m not expecting much at all.


Django Kills Softly opens as a group of bandits ride up on a small family’s camp and murder them. Django comes down from a hill and kills the bandits that have stayed behind to loot the wagon. My first thought is that George Eastman is no Franco Nero. During the credit sequence, Eastman poses and smiles at the camera, clearly pleased with the good deed he has done. I knew then that this would be a different Django film, one that didn’t seek to actually use or expand on the character from the Corbucci film, but only use his name to capitalize on the success of the initial film and its drawing power. This Django doesn’t have a coffin or a machine gun and is more talkative and less dark. In fact, he’s only referred to as Django once towards the end of the film. In order to rectify this in my mind, I took to thinking of his character as a younger, more light-hearted version of Django, as if this was a prequel of sorts before things turned dark.

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July 7, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Foreign, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 & 1/2 Stars, Special Features, Western | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vigilante (1983)

Vigilante (1983)

Starring Robert Forster, Fred Williamson, Richard Bright, Rutanya Alda, Don Blakely, Joseph Carberry, Willie Colón, Joe Spinell, Carol Lynley, Woody Strode

Directed by William Lustig

Expectations: Moderate. I was hoping that I’d enjoy this as much as Walking the Edge.


Vigilante opens with Fred Williamson walking out of complete darkness. He has a cigar in his mouth and ominous, droning electronic music builds in the background.

“Hey. I don’t know about you guys, but me, I’ve had it up to here. There are some forty-odd homicides a day on our streets. There are over two million illegal guns in this city. Man, that’s enough guns to invade a whole damn country with. They shoot a cop in our city without even thinking twice about it. Ah, come on. I mean, you guys ride the subway. How much more of this grief we gonna stand for, huh? How many more locks we gotta put on our goddamn doors? Now we ain’t got the police, the prosecutors, the courts or the prisons. I mean, it’s over. The books don’t balance. We are a statistic. Now I’m telling you…when you can’t go to the corner and buy a pack of cigarettes after dark because you know the punks and the scum own the street when the sun goes down and our own government can’t protect its own people then I say this pal, you got a moral obligation. The right of self-preservation. Now you can run, you can hide, or you can start to live like human beings again. This is our Waterloo, baby! If you want your city back…you gotta take it. Dig it? Take it!”

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June 30, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Action, Drama, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Walking the Edge (1983)

Walking the Edge (1983)

Starring Robert Forster, Nancy Kwan, Joe Spinell, A Martinez, James McIntire, Wayne Woodson, Luis Contreras, Russ Courtney

Directed by Norbert Meisel

Expectations: Moderate. It could have gone both ways, but I love a good revenge film.


I watched this movie for a couple of reasons. First, when I pulled the filmography of Empire International this was at the top of the list. From what I understand they distributed the film at some level, but seem to have played no part in the actual production. Charles Band is listed as an uncredited executive producer on IMDB as well. I’m not posting this in my Tuesday series though as it’s not a true Charles Band picture and it will appeal to a completely different set of viewers. The other reason I watched it was Robert Forster. I must admit that I didn’t know who he was until Tarantino’s Jackie Brown came out, but I was immediately a fan. His subtle nature in that film was so charming and real that I’ve wanted to check out some of his older films ever since. Well, it took thirteen years but I’ve finally come around and done just that. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

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June 26, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Action, Drama, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mini-Review: This Film is Not Yet Rated (2006)

This Film is Not Yet Rated (2006)

Starring Kirby Dick, Jack Valenti, Kimberly Peirce, Alison Anders, John Waters, Becky Altringer

Directed by Kirby Dick

Expectations: Medium.


This Film is Not Yet Rated looks to pull the tablecloth out from under the MPAA and expose their asinine film rating system. I am the choir this film is preaching to, I’ve been the guy complaining about the stupidity of the rating system for years. Therefore, this film didn’t teach me anything new, but it does entertain for the most part. If you haven’t noticed, films are rated arbitrarily and more for sexual content than for violence. This speaks to our generally conservative and sometimes backwards culture, where violence is more okay than sex for kids to see.

This film is great for the uninitiated to see the rating practices of the MPAA. The film and its director, Kirby Dick, are a bit extreme in their methods of obtaining the information for the film, resulting in something that will play well to people of like minds, but won’t necessarily sway combative viewers. It reminds me of Michael Moore’s films in this way, albeit a lot less well-made. It is interesting but a bit too long, check this one out if you’re in the mood for a bit of investigative journalism.

June 20, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Documentary, Mini-Reviews, Rating: 2 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Magic Blade (1976)

The Magic Blade [天涯明月刀] (1976)

Starring Ti Lung, Lo Lieh, Ku Feng, Tang Ching, Ching Li, Lily Li Li-Li, Fan Mei-Sheng, Chan Shen

Directed by Chor Yuen

Expectations: High.


My expectations for this were just soaring after watching Shaolin Intruders. The two films have absolutely nothing to do with each other except that they’re both Shaw Bros. pictures and Tang Chia choreographed the fights, but you could connect most any Shaw Bros. film with that logic. Needless to say, I was let down. The Magic Blade is an interesting movie as it doesn’t really contain a magic blade. You might expect there to be one in a film titled The Magic Blade, but not in this film. There is the rather neato blade that Ti Lung uses throughout the film, but magic isn’t exactly the adjective I’d use to describe it. It’s on a harness attached to his arm that allows it to spin when he wants it to, but it isn’t really used all that much in the film so don’t get too worked up about it. This is possible magic blade candidate number one. Number two is where I’m placing my money though, as the film revolves around everyone trying to get a hold of it. The weapon in question is the mysterious Peacock Dart, a weapon so powerful that… well, I’ll let them explain it.

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June 16, 2010 Posted by | 1970s, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mini-Review: Sid and Nancy (1986)

Sid & Nancy (1986)

Starring Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb, David Hayman, Debby Bishop, Andrew Schofield

Directed by Alex Cox

Expectations: Low.


I wasn’t expecting much going into this. I liked the film, but I found it a bit on the boring side. Gary Oldman is fantastic as Sid Vicious, the definite star of the show. That’s also part of the problem I had with the film though, as he outshines nearly every other actor in it. He seems to embody not just Vicious but the punk ethos itself, while the majority of the rest of the cast looks like they’re playing dress-up at punk rock school. I’m probably being a bit biased here, but I couldn’t get past it while watching the film. Chloe Webb is pretty good as Nancy but she does get pretty annoying. I suppose that was part of the point though, so I can’t complain too much.

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June 13, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Drama, Mini-Reviews, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

MacHeads (2009)

MacHeads (2009)

Starring a bunch of MacHeads

Directed by Kobi Shely

Expectations: Low. I like Macs but I’m not a fanboy.


MacHeads tells the story of how the Mac community grew from an extremely dedicated bunch of computer nerds into millions of users that may or may not even own an Apple computer. The shift in Apple’s focus from the computer to the handheld device signaled the company’s rise in mainstream popularity, while also causing its hardcore fanbase to dwindle. Fanbase may be a strange word to use for a company but if you’ve ever talked with one of these folks you realize that hardcore Mac users really are huge fans of the company and what they stand for.

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May 29, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Documentary, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , | 2 Comments