Silver Emulsion

Film Reviews

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

Mini-Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo [Män som hatar kvinnor] (2009)

Starring Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Peter Haber, Sven-Bertil Taube, Henrik Vanger, Peter Andersson, Ingvar Hirdwall, Marika Lagercrantz, Björn Granath

Directed by Niels Arden Oplev

Expectations: High. I’d heard nothing but heaps of gushing praise.


Is this the most overrated movie of 2009? No, it’s not quite at Avatar level here, but it is pretty thick. I didn’t hate this movie, it’s just that I honestly didn’t see a lot to get particularly excited about. Despite its interesting story, the film is a painful two and a half hour slog through rape, revenge and murder. It’s definitely well shot and well acted, but it just takes so damn long to get anywhere that any suspense or tension is gone long before it has any real chance at an impact. There’s a fairly graphic rape scene that serves next to no purpose other than to set up a vice versa revenge rape a few minutes later. So there’s about thirty minutes of runtime devoted solely to setting up the fact that our main character is a girl that doesn’t take any shit. I LOVE revenge movies, they are my total bread and butter, but these scenes were just glorified torture porn. Director Oplev could have learned a lot from Taken. Liam Neeson is set up as a complete and absolute badass in one scene, and if memory serves, its done and over in less than five minutes.

I realize this makes me sound like a dude with attention deficit disorder that’s just itching for something to explode, but that’s simply not the case. Great, slow-burn movies are some of the best the cinema has to offer. In order for them to work though, you have to be connected to the characters you are traveling with, and herein lies another flaw of the film. I don’t care about anyone in this movie. The title character is essentially just supporting Michael Nyqvist in her own film, and Nyqvist’s character has got to be a front-runner in the “Most Boring Lead Character of the 2000s” race. This is all quite frustrating, as there are some killer moments peppered throughout the film that just don’t get the chance to shine they deserve. I wouldn’t recommend watching this, but as almost every other review I’ve seen is overwhelmingly positive, I’d say that if you are greatly interested or a fan of the book, you might be better off judging for yourself or trusting someone else’s opinion on this one.

August 6, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Drama, Foreign, Mini-Reviews, Movie Reviews, Mystery, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

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

Don’t Wait, Django…Shoot! (1967)

Don’t Wait Django…Shoot! [Non Aspettare Django, Spara] (1967)

Starring Ivan Rassimov (billed as Sean Todd), Ignazio Spalla, Rada Rassimov, Vincenzo Musolino, Gino Buzzanca, Franco Pesce, Celso Faria, Marisa Traversi, Alfredo Rizzo, Giovanni Sabbatini, Armando Guarnieri, Giovanni Ivan Scratuglia, César Ojinaga, Dino Strano

Directed by Edoardo Mulargia (as Edward G. Muller)

Expectations: Low. These Django clones are starting to wear me down.


Upon starting Don’t Wait Django…Shoot!, I was met with the rapid strum of a guitar and bandits riding horses through the desert to catch an old man high-tailing it in a carriage. I immediately fell in love with the music and the intriguing shot selection. It turns out that the man in the carriage is a horse trader that happens to be Django’s father. Navarro, the bandit leader, claims that Django’s pop took their money, but failed to deliver their horses. Papa Django denies it, and before he can offer a solution, the bandits gun him down. This leads into a fantastic opening credits sequence, with lots of sunset and Django silhouette shots cut to rousing music by Felice Di Stefano.

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July 12, 2010 Posted by | 1960s, Foreign, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars, Special Features, Western | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Alchemist (1984)

The Alchemist (1984)

Starring Robert Ginty, Lucinda Dooling, John Sanderford, Viola Kates Stimpson, Robert Glaudini

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Low. This looks promising, but…


The Alchemist was shot in 1981 but wasn’t released until 1984 in Europe and 1986 in the US. It has a very low-budget look to it that kind of works against my enjoyment, but there was enough here to keep me interested for most of the movie. Part of this could have been the faded VHS source I was watching. I’d love to see it on a nicely mastered DVD, but so far it has yet to be released on the format in the US.

The setup is simple. In 1871, an alchemist lures a woman to his campfire. When her husband comes to rescue her, the alchemist tricks the husband into stabbing his wife. The alchemist curses the man to live as an animal for all of eternity. The credits run over multi-colored slow-motion fire in a great, simplistic sequence. This is a pretty awesome opening and following it, I was ready for an amazing hidden gem of a film.

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July 9, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Night Watch (2004)

Night Watch [Ночной дозор (Nochnoi dozor)] (2004)

Starring Konstantin Khabensky, Mariya Poroshina, Viktor Verzhbitskiy, Dmitriy Martynov

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov

Expectations: High. I had heard great things.


I don’t know how big the Russian fantasy film genre is, but I’ve now seen my first. I wish I could come out and say, “Wow, that was amazing,” but unfortunately my response is a lot more tempered than I hoped it to be. This is a movie that doesn’t really know where it wants to go with itself and thus I was left confused. That’s not to say there’s nothing good here. In fact, there’s quite a bit that is fun to watch and works well. It’s these moments of fun that make the movie frustrating because they work as a sort of carrot on a stick being held out in front of you, driving you on, but you never get the carrot.

The film is based on a 1998 novel by Sergei Lukyanenko. I haven’t read it, but from what I understand, the novel is broken into three parts and this film is based only on the first part. Just judging from the basic ideas presented in the film, I can imagine that this book is pretty good. I’ll probably check it out at some point, so I hope that this story is better on the page. To try to briefly summarize the film’s murky narrative will be a challenge, but I will do my best.

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July 2, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Action, Fantasy, Foreign, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dolls (1987)

Dolls (1987)

Starring Stephen Lee, Guy Rolfe, Hilary Mason, Ian Patrick Williams, Carolyn Purdy Gordon, Cassie Stuart, Bunty Bailey, Carrie Lorraine

Directed by Stuart Gordon

Expectations: Low. I didn’t know this was Empire International before I started watching it, otherwise I would have expected more initially.


With Dolls, I’m continuing my trek through the Empire International/Full Moon catalog. My girlfriend, after watching Ghoulies with me, felt a strong urge to re-watch this film which she had seen as a kid. As the credits began to roll and I saw Empire and Charles Band’s name, I immediately knew why she was compelled to re-watch Dolls. The power of the Full Moon had struck once again and she was powerless to do anything but watch this again. On the strength of Ghoulies I knew that I wanted to watch more of these films, but I had not expected Dolls to be one of them. I love it when a plan comes together. I happened to post my review of Ghoulies last Tuesday and now with this on Tuesday, I’m thinking of making every Tuesday for a while dedicated to Empire International or Full Moon films. I was trying to think of a snappy name for the day, but all I could come up with was Terror Tuesdays or Tuesday Trash. If anyone can think of something cool, let me know. Anyway, look forward to more of Charles Band’s brand of horror.

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June 15, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Comedy, Good Trash, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Fork in the Road (2009)

A Fork in the Road (2009)

Starring Jaime King, Josh Cooke, Missi Pyle, Daniel Roebuck, Silas Weir Mitchell, Rick Overton, William Russ

Directed by Jim Kouf

Expectations: Low. The trailer looked awful, but I gave it a shot.


I took a chance on this movie. I watched the trailer for it a long time ago, probably a year back, and thought it looked horrible. It was obviously shot on video and from what I remember of the trailer there were a lot of people yelling at each other. I generally would have written this movie off immediately as a Coen Bros. rip-off but when I saw it on Netflix Instant and I was in a forgiving mood, I decided to give it a go and put all of my preconceived notions aside. Surprisingly, I’m not sorry that I did.

A young child hangs out of a car window, playing with a fork. He drops said fork and where does it land? Well, dear readers, it lands in the road. Along comes a police cruiser transporting the convict Will Carson. It hits the fork in the road, flips and Will makes his escape. He hides out in a barn and notices some suspicious behavior at the house across the way. A woman drags a man’s body out of the house and struggles to put him into the trunk of a car. From here, as you can probably guess, hijinks ensue.

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June 8, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Blind Side (2009)

The Blind Side (2009)

Starring Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron, Tim McGraw, Jae Head, Kathy Bates

Directed by John Lee Hancock

Expectations: Super low. I’m only watching this because the Academy in all their stupidity granted this one of the abundant ten best picture nominations and I am a glutton for punishment.


Okay, here’s the deal. If I were to rate this movie purely on its technical merits, it would be low. One star perhaps. I won’t do that though as the basis for this movie, the true story, is good enough to add a star to this otherwise boring and pedestrian film. This is post Oscars and everyone knows that Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for this role. If you had any shred of faith left in the Academy, if No Country for Old Men’s sweep a couple of years back had you re-thinking your hatred, then awarding Bullock the Oscar here should quickly stomp out that last dying ember. She does well enough in the role, but she’s exactly the same as she’s been in countless other movies, albeit with a southern accent this time around. To me, that doesn’t spell Oscar worthy. I’d like to see Sandra Bullock play a truly different role and surprise me sometime. I’m not holding my breath though.

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May 14, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Drama, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars, Trash | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments