Silver Emulsion

Film Reviews

Verboten! (1959)

Verboten! (1959)

Starring James Best, Susan Cummings, Tom Pittman, Paul Dubov, Harold Daye, Dick Kallman, Stuart Randall, Steven Geray, Anna Hope, Robert Boon, Sasha Harden, Paul Busch, Neyle Morrow, Joe Turkel

Directed by Samuel Fuller

Expectations: High, it’s Sam Fuller.


Verboten! is notable for a few reasons. It is Sam Fuller’s first World War II movie, it was the last picture produced by RKO and it’s a damn fine piece of 1950s cinema. Opening with a bang as all Fuller pictures do, we are thrust into the action as a pair of soldiers are under assault from some Germans hiding behind a jeep. After a well-placed grenade they take a moment’s rest under a road sign that reads Trinken Verboten!, but their rest is short as they have orders to enter the town of Rothbach and clear out a sniper nested there. Queue Beethoven’s Fifth and run for cover!

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December 10, 2010 Posted by | 1950s, Action, Documentary, Drama, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars, War | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Starring Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins, Dylan Baker, Olivia Burnette, Larry Hankin, Richard Herd, Matthew Lawrence, Edie McClurg, Ben Stein, Michael McKean, Kevin Bacon

Directed by John Hughes

Expectations: One of my favorite films. I relish the chance to watch it again.


John Candy is Del Griffith. Traveling shower curtain ring salesman.

Steve Martin is Neal Page. Uptight advertising executive.

Two guys who never would have given a passing thought to each other are thrown together by chance amidst the holiday rush to get home for Thanksgiving. Without a doubt, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is one of my favorite comedies of all time. It hits all the right notes and even in adulthood it remains funny and solid throughout, perhaps even moreso. It has been my go-to Thanksgiving movie for a number of years and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. What makes it so endearing and memorable, in addition to its clever situations and jokes, are the rewarding, heartfelt characters played by two wonderful actors.

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November 24, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Falkenau, the Impossible (1988)

Falkenau, the Impossible [Falkenau, Vision de L’Impossible] (1988)

Starring Samuel Fuller

Directed by Emil Weiss

Expectations: High. I have been eagerly anticipating watching this since I reviewed The Big Red One a couple months back.


 

After moving to France following all the NAACP hoopla surrounding his last American film White Dog, Sam Fuller seemed to finally get the adoration and credit he always deserved at the hands of many European filmmakers and fans. One way they showed this gratitude was by making documentary films about the man, starring and narrated by Fuller himself. This is the first of these that I will be reviewing for the site and it is an apt place to start after recently looking at Fuller’s epic WWII film, The Big Red One. That film ends with the liberation of the Falkenau concentration camp, and it is this event that is the main subject of this documentary.

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November 5, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Documentary, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars, Short, War | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bewitched (1981)

Bewitched [蛊] (1981)

Starring Ai Fei, Chen Li Li, Hussin Bin Abu Hassan, Melvin Wong, Lin Wei Tu, Fan Lei, Jenny Leung, Leung Gwing Wan, Chow Kin Ping, Chan Laap Ban, Lee Sau Kei

Directed by Kuei Chi-Hung

Expectations: Moderate. Poster looks cool, heard it was crazy.


 

Holy shit! This is how you do a magic movie! I haven’t seen a lot of films concerning black magic, but I can’t imagine many of them are able to top this absolute tour-de-force of occult cinema. I went in with some fairly tempered expectations, as both Oily Maniac and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires were lots of fun in their own ways, but ultimately not all that mind-blowing. Right from the get go you know you’re in for something completely different though, as the first few minutes feature some children uncovering a dead child’s body while playing in the park. The body is taken to the coroner who removes the cause of death, a nine-inch steel spike driven through the child’s skull! Directly before this we get the ominous credit of “Introducing: Renowned Malay Sorcerer Hussin Bin Abu Hassan” and the spooky opening narration on the mysterious nature and uses of witchcraft, leaving the truth of the tale up for the viewer to decide. Oh yes, this is gonna be good.

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October 27, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Foreign, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars, Special Features | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)

The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)

Starring Lance Henriksen, Rona De Ricci, Jonathan Fuller, Stephen Lee, Frances Bay, Jeffrey Combs, Oliver Reed

Directed by Stuart Gordon

Expectations: Low. For whatever reason, my enjoyment of the previous Stuart Gordon films didn’t pump me up for this at all. I just had this overwhelming sense that it would be stupid for some reason.


 

Wow! It’s a state of shock and awe over here at the Silver household, as I am floored at the level of sheer awesome on display in The Pit and the Pendulum. I went into this film thinking absolutely nothing about it. I’ve enjoyed every Stuart Gordon film I’ve seen so far, but I’d never heard anyone talk about this one, so I suppose subconsciously I assumed it was shit. That couldn’t be further from the truth though as The Pit and the Pendulum is one of the most engrossing, tense movies to ever come out of Full Moon Entertainment.

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October 22, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Drama, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Suspiria (1977)

Suspiria (1977)

Starring Jessica Harper, Udo Kier, Joan Bennett, Alida Valli, Stefania Casini, Miguel Bosé, Flavio Bucci, Barbara Magnolfi

Directed by Dario Argento

Expectations: High. It’s Suspiria, even normal people have heard of it, so I’m assuming it’s good.


 

Well I guess there’s a reason why this is so popular! Suspiria is the Italian horror film to see if you don’t care for Italian horror films, as it has enough creepiness, fear and mystery to make it one hell of an interesting movie. Argento’s previous films tend to need a bit of coaxing and mental adjusting to experience properly. I don’t mean this necessarily in a bad way, it is a natural process I go through when I venture down a new path of foreign films. I find that I need to see a few before I can understand the rhythms and the flow they move at. I don’t watch foreign movies for more of the same, and in order to properly absorb them, some leeway must be given to allow for them to grow on me. If nothing takes root after a few films, then I leave that path behind and try something new. Coming into Suspiria I was a bit unsure if I’d continue down the Giallo path, but I find myself constantly thinking back to the Argento films I’ve watched over this past month and while I might have been less than completely impressed initially, I am haunted by the inventive shots and horrific scenes contained within them. Suspiria solidifies my interest in the Italian horror genre and is probably the most immediately likable of the Argento films I have seen so far.

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October 20, 2010 Posted by | 1970s, Foreign, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Temple Grandin (2010)

Temple Grandin (2010)

Starring Claire Danes, Catherine O’Hara, Julia Ormond, David Strathairn

Directed by Mick Jackson

Expectations: Moderate. It’s a TV movie, how good can it be?


Going into this one, I had virtually no knowledge of who Temple Grandin is, and I come out of the film filled with respect and admiration. She is a person who refuses to be stopped by a closed door, a brave woman in a world that doesn’t completely understand her. She has accomplished more than most “normal” people despite her autism and must truly be applauded for her work in the fields of autism and animal rights.

Temple Grandin opens with Temple (Claire Danes) coming to live on a ranch with her aunt (Catherine O’Hara) in preparation for her first days at college. Temple is a high-functioning autistic and becomes fascinated with the cattle at the ranch. One day she sees the cattle being put into a machine that holds them still so that they can be inoculated. At first, she is scared of the machine but becomes accepting when she sees that the cow feels comforted by the security it affords. She soon takes to the machine herself, as she avoids almost all physical human contact, and it gives her the security of a hug without the fear of actually touching another person.

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September 19, 2010 Posted by | 2010s, Drama, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Once Upon a Time in China 2 (1992)

Once Upon a Time in China 2 (1992)

Starring Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Rosamund Kwan, Max Mok, Zhang Tielin, David Chiang, Hung Yan-Yan, Yen Shi-Kwan

Directed by Tsui Hark

Expectations: High. I haven’t seen it in a while and I’m really looking forward to the Jet Li / Donnie Yen fight.


So back when I started this site in April, I wrote up some of my thoughts after revisiting one of the classics from my youth, Once Upon a Time in China. I’ve wanted to get down to business and watch the much-loved sequel since then, but only recently got around to it. Wow, I gotta say… this one is even better than the first. It’s possible that I feel this way because I recently watched the original and I had less of an adjustment period, but whatever, Once Upon a Time in China 2 is a damn pleasing film.

While the recently reviewed Ip Man was set during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Once Upon a Time in China 2 takes place just after the First Sino-Japanese War. Taiwan has been handed over to Japan and outside influence is getting stronger. The White Lotus clan is angry that Westerners have come to China and brought all their nasty wares with them. They wish to kill the foreigners and rid the land of everything related to them. Led by the Immortal Kung (Hung Yan-Yan), they are ultra-nationalists and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals.

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September 8, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Action, Drama, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Ip Man (2008)

Ip Man [葉問] (2008)

Starring Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Gordon Lam Ka-tung, Chen Zhihui, Louis Fan, Shibuya Tenma

Directed by Wilson Yip

Expectations: High.


Ip Man is a rare breed of kung-fu film. It is the type of film that could easily crossover into mainstream popularity, excellently introducing new viewers to the world of Hong Kong cinema through its stellar fights, performances and high production values. Winner of the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Film, Ip Man successfully takes the style of early 90s Hong Kong movies into the 21st century by featuring little to no computer enhancement, instead focusing on and trusting in the skill of its stars. The film succeeds on multiple levels and achieves everything it attempts to convey on screen. This is a kung-fu epic similar in scope and tone to Once Upon a Time in China, and thoroughly recaptures my interest in the genre.

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September 1, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Action, Drama, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Inception (2010)

Inception (2010)

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Tom Berenger, Dileep Rao

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Expectations: Extremely high. Through the roof even.


I’ve been a big Christopher Nolan fan since the release of Memento several years ago. I patiently wait for each of his films and relish the moment when a new one is unleashed on the unsuspecting masses. Nolan is one of the best working directors right now and with Inception he proves that even without Batman, his films can be successful within the mainstream culture. He is the new superstar director for our age with a firm, virtually unmatched grasp on filmmaking and storytelling. He’s at the top of his game in Inception, skillfully making over two and a half hours fly by at a good pace as I sat on the edge of my seat for most of the film.

I went into Inception only knowing a few minor details about it. I had seen the first trailer released months ago once and then completely avoided everything after. This really works to the film’s advantage as I had almost no idea what was coming next. If you can, see the film as uninformed as possible. As much as I enjoy having readers, I advise you stop reading now if you haven’t seen the film. I’m not going to lay out the plot or anything but I do plan on mentioning a few aspects that would be better off experienced without prior knowledge. You’ve been warned!

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August 27, 2010 Posted by | 2010s, Action, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars, Science Fiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments