Silver Emulsion

Film Reviews

The Sword and the Lute (1967)

The Sword and the Lute [琴劍恩仇] (1967)

Starring Petrina Fung Bo Bo, Lo Lieh, Chin Ping,  Jimmy Wang Yu, Ivy Ling Po, Yueh Hua, Cheng Miu, Lily Ho Li Li, Margaret Hsing Hui, Wu Ma, Ku Feng, Lee Wan Chung, Lau Leung Wa, Kao Pao Shu

Directed by Sui Jang Hung

Expectations: High, after how much I enjoyed The Twin Swords.


The Red Lotus Temple has been burned to the ground and the twin swords of Chin Ping and Jimmy Wang Yu have been entrusted with the beautiful but lethal Phoenix Lute. The lute is more than a simple musical instrument, it is capable of shooting hundreds of needles at once; crippling, killing and maiming anyone in its path. They must take it back to the Jin family, where it is to be destroyed by the Fish Intestine Sword (or the less-fun translation, Invincible Sword).

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December 15, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Action, Drama, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Temple of the Red Lotus (1965)

Temple of the Red Lotus [江湖奇俠] (1965)
AKA “The Red Lotus Monastery”

Starring Jimmy Wang Yu, Chin Ping, Ivy Ling Po, Lo Lieh, Petrina Fung Bo Bo, Tien Feng, Ku Feng, Wu Ma, Kao Pao Shu, Lau Leung Wa, Chen Hung Lieh, Chiu Ming, Feng Yi, Ko Lo Chuen, Kok Lee Yan, Lam Jing

Directed by Sui Jang-Hung

Expectations: Moderate, as this is such an early Shaw and it’s bound to be rough, but I’ve been building a lot of mind-hype for this over the past few months.


It all had to start someplace, and for the Shaw Studios, this is evidently the first of their films to include martial arts sequences. It fared very well at the box office, spawned two sequels (which I will be looking at in the coming weeks), and launched an entire genre. While Come Drink With Me and The One-Armed Swordsman may be more well-known films from this early period in Shaw history, Temple of the Red Lotus was their first color martial arts film and is notable for that if nothing else.

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December 3, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Action, Drama, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Laserblast (1978)

Laserblast (1978)

Starring Kim Milford, Cheryl Smith, Gianni Russo, Ron Masak, Dennis Burkley, Barry Cutler, Mike Bobenko, Eddie Deezen, Keenan Wynn, Roddy McDowall

Directed by Michael Rae

Expectations: Low. The boring pace of End of the World leaves a bad taste in my mouth.


Laserblast reportedly had a budget of $280,000, and producer Charles Band knew just where to spend it. Virtually every penny was sunk straight into entertainment and a finale that delivers slow-motion explosion after slow-motion explosion, further proving that the worth of a movie can exist on explosions alone. Add in some killer stop-motion aliens and a giant laserblaster as cherries on top and we’ve got ourselves a movie!

Laserblast opens as a crazed freak with a giant laserblaster on his arm jumps around in the desert. An alien ship lands and two upright-walking turtles without shells get out and pull their own, smaller laser guns. A short fight ensues, but the aliens are too clever and end up singeing the dude into fine black ash. They board their ship and set out for the far-reaches of the galaxy, but they forgot one thing. The human’s giant laserblaster!

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November 30, 2010 Posted by | 1970s, Good Trash, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars, Science Fiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mini-Review: Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Favreau

Directed by Jon Favreau

Expectations: Low.


 

I’ve tried to write something about Iron Man 2 for the past week or so and every time I get a couple of paragraphs in I lose interest. This is an adequate analogy for the film as it’s fun while you’re watching it, but there’s absolutely no substance backing it up. It’s a blockbuster, so I don’t necessarily need substance but Iron Man 2 fails to make it up with the killer action sequences and mind-numbing explosions that you expect. It has its share to be sure, but none of them are all that great. Probably my favorite moment of the film was watching Robert Downey Jr. work with his holographic hand-controlled computer interface, which was a fun advancement on the tech seen in Minority Report.

Overall, I liked the cotton candy of Iron Man 2 though. Mickey Rourke, despite a poor accent, is a great addition to the cast. It’s unfortunate that his part in the film is rather minor, as he has to share the villain limelight with Stark’s failing heart. As much as I love Don Cheadle, he is a step down from Terence Howard for this role. Cheadle seems much too soft, but does come into his own by the end of the film, when both Downey and him are suited up and ready to go. Scarlet Johansson is another wasted person, completely superfluous to the film and the story. It’s nice to lay the seeds of The Avengers movie within this film, but for me the S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff was pretty forced. Fuck it though, Sam Jackson as Nick Fury was fairly fulfilling and promises good things to come.

If you liked Iron Man, give this one a go with your brain set to mild indifference. If you go in riding high, you will only be disappointed with this sequel. It fulfills the childhood dreams of watching dudes in robot suits shoot lasers and shit, but not much else. The character relationships are incredibly shallow here and seem to marginally move past what was laid out in the first film. It’s fun and I enjoyed it quite a bit, but it definitely leaves you wanting.

November 19, 2010 Posted by | 2010s, Action, Mini-Reviews, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Hideous! (1997)

Hideous! (1997)

Starring Michael Citriniti, Rhonda Griffin, Mel Johnson Jr., Jacqueline Lovell, Tracie May, Jerry O’Donnell, Andrew Johnston, Mircea Constantinescu, Alexandru Agarici

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: High, the trailer on Video Zone was pretty awesome looking.


 

Hideous! falls into that strange category of films that succeed in being entertaining, despite an overwhelming amount of stupid moves that would otherwise equal a film abomination. I suppose one could argue that Charles Band is a master of such feats. Apparently, it didn’t do as well as they would have liked though, as there was never a sequel when it’s obvious they could have gone on a tirade of these kinds of movies if the market supported it. It’s kind of a shame because I’d love to see what other types of fucked up, half-grown human fetuses the team at Full moon could have conjured up.

The plot of Hideous! is played completely for laughs. Right from the get-go the light tone is established with three hard-working dudes working at a sewage treatment plant, fishing out random things from the sludge. With all this talk of sewage I almost thought I was watching a Troma movie for a second! The guys pull out a grotesque blob of flesh and one of the men recognizes it as something special. He quickly whisks it away and puts it in the hands of Belinda Yost (Tracie May), a dealer in all things deformed. This begins a struggle between two of the biggest collectors of rare mutations that eventually lands everyone involved stuck inside a castle, hunted down by the little nasties. Yeah, pretty much the Full Moon go-to plot, but the film is designed strictly to entertain and it does just that, as long as you have your expectations set properly.

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November 16, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Comedy, Good Trash, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Ghost Writer (2010)

The Ghost Writer (2010)

Starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton, James Belushi, Eli Wallach

Directed by Roman Polanski

Expectations: Low. As much as Polanski is a great, this looks like it will be so-so.


 

The Ghost Writer, the new film from Roman Polanski, is a thinly veiled tale about Tony Blair Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), a British ex-Prime Minister who is being accused of war crimes, specifically of turning terrorists over to the CIA so that they could be tortured. One of the terrorists died and now while the shit hits the fan, ghost writer Ewan McGregor must come in and help Lang finish his memoir. Lang’s previous ghost writer was found washed up on the beach, a belly full of booze and the cause of death questionable. McGregor gets down to business and over the course of the film uncovers some information his unfortunate predecessor was investigating when he died.

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November 3, 2010 Posted by | 2010s, Drama, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars, Thriller | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Creeps (1997)

The Creeps (1997)

Starring Rhonda Griffin, Justin Lauer, Phil Fondacaro, Bill Moynihan, Kristin Norton, Jon Simanton, Joe Smith, Thomas Wellington, J.W. Perra, Andrea Squibb

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Low.


 

What better to close out our month-long horror extravaganza than The Creeps, a film boasting not one, not two, but four classic monsters! Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Mummy and The Wolfman are back to raise hell, but this time there’s a catch. This being a Charles Band film, the man known for his obsession with little monsters, they’re all played by little people! And in true Full Moon style, The Creeps is also filled to the brim with other assorted weird shit that wouldn’t make it past the brainstorming phase at another studio. The Creeps succeeds in another, more surprisingly way as well. The film pulls directly at my heartstrings, not with its gripping story or its tortured characters, but with its depiction of a video store circa 1997.

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October 31, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971)

The Cat o’ Nine Tails  [Il gatto a nove code] (1971)

Starring James Franciscus, Karl Malden, Catherine Spaak, Horst Frank, Aldo Reggiani, Carlo Alighiero, Rada Rassimov, Tom Felleghy, Emilio Marchesini, Ugo Fangareggi

Directed by Dario Argento

Expectations: High. I’m pumped after watching his début. I hope this is good.


 

Hot off the tails of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Dario Argento concocts another horror mystery thriller to get you on the edge of your seat. That was the intention anyway. Unfortunately, The Cat o’ Nine Tails is a step back in every way, and ends up being a much less satisfying film for it. That’s not to say that it’s horrible though, it’s definitely something worth sitting down with. Just don’t expect to be enthralled every minute. The film has a bad rap with fans, critics and even Dario Argento himself, who has called it his least favorite of his films. I honestly feel that the hate is a bit misguided, as this really isn’t all that bad of a movie.

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October 6, 2010 Posted by | 1970s, Foreign, Horror, Movie Reviews, Mystery, Rating: 2 Stars, Thriller | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Rawhead Rex (1987)

Rawhead Rex (1987)

Starring David Dukes, Niall Tóibín, Cora Venus Lunny, Ronan Wilmot, Donal McCann, Heinrich von Schellendorf

Directed by George Pavlou

Expectations: Moderate.


Like The Quiet Man before it, Rawhead Rex takes us on location to the green hills of the Emerald Isle, bonny old Ireland. Unlike The Quiet Man, Rawhead Rex is about an ancient god/devil buried deep underground that is resurrected and takes out his revenge on anyone that happens upon his path. There is seemingly so rhyme or reason to his rampage, but if you’re watching a movie called Rawhead Rex, I’m sure you’re more concerned with good horror fun and gore than character motivations and realistic storytelling.

As with Tuesday’s film Underworld, Rawhead Rex is written by Clive Barker (from his short story) and directed by George Pavlou. This film is a marked step up from Underworld in every area, but it still doesn’t achieve greatness. They even refer to the shittiness of the previous film, as a man watches it on television and sleeps soundly from the boredom of it all. Rawhead Rex has the distinct feel of a great 80s horror short story, part Universal monster horror and part gruesome violence, but the pacing is once again pretty poor. There just isn’t enough to hold together an entire movie here.

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October 1, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Trancers 6: Life After Deth (2002)

Trancers 6: Life After Deth (2002)

Starring Zette Sullivan, Jennifer Capo, Robert Donavan, Timothy Prindle, Jere Jon, Jennifer Cantrell, Ben Bar, James R. Hilton, Kyle O. Ingleman, Gregory Lee Kenyon, Douglas Smith

Directed by Jay Woelfel

Expectations: Low.


Trancers 6 is quite the surprising little movie. Instead of simply being the cash-in I expected it to be, it was pretty damn entertaining and loosely fits into the Trancers time line fairly well. Let’s not mince words here though, Trancers 6 is not for the average viewer. Most people will look at this film with disgust and hurl an endless stream of insults at it. This film is not for them though. It is for the tired, the hungry, the huddled masses of Trancer fans who waited eight long years between installments. By all accounts, the series was over and should have never been resurrected, but thanks to Zette Sullivan’s fun performance, a ridiculous story and some incredibly funny special FX, we’ve got a mostly fun movie on our hands.

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August 31, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Comedy, Good Trash, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars, Science Fiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment