Silver Emulsion

Film Reviews

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

Bride of Re-Animator (1991)

Bride of Re-Animator (1991)

Starring Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Claude Earl Jones, Fabiana Udenio, David Gale, Kathleen Kinmont, Mel Stewart, Irene Forrest, Michael Strasser, Mary Sheldon

Directed by Brian Yuzna

Expectations: Moderate.


Okay, so Re-Animator is a 80s horror classic. Bride of Re-Animator is a poor follow-up on many levels, but it has so much crazy imagery sprinkled throughout its ninety-six minutes that it’s impossible to simply dismiss it and call it a day. Just about everything good working for the first film is here, but all of it in diminished form, so viewers are left with a less-than-animated sequel that fulfills some insane fantasies of the morbid mind, but forgets to completely entertain along the way.

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September 14, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 1 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Indian Runner (1991)

The Indian Runner (1991)

Starring Viggo Mortensen, David Morse, Patricia Arquette, Valeria Golino, Charles Bronson, Dennis Hopper

Directed by Sean Penn

Expectations: High. I’ve really liked the other films of Penn’s that I’ve seen. How can you not be excited by that cast list too?


I don’t know the exact story of how Sean Penn came to be a director as well as a fantastic actor, but what it boils down to is this, the guy can make a movie. The Indian Runner is his first excursion into work behind the camera, and despite some minor flaws, it is a powerful and emotional film. Sean Penn heard the Bruce Springsteen song, Highway Patrolman (off the excellent acoustic album Nebraska), and was so moved by its story, that he wanted to write an entire film based upon it. The Indian Runner inexplicably does what it sets out to do and successfully translates the song into a film, expanding the narrative yet still remaining true to Springsteen’s two central characters, a pair of very different brothers.

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August 4, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Drama, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Uncle Jasper reviews: Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (1991)

Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (1991)

Starring Rick Gianasi, Susan Byun, Bill Weeden, Thomas Crnkovich, Larry Robinson, Noble Lee Lester, Brick Bronsky, Pamela Alster, Fumio Furuya

Directed by: Lloyd Kaufman, Michael Herz


Baby murders! Disembowelment! Cocaine! Gratuitous sex! …all within the first three minutes! You guessed it. It’s time for another classic from our friends at Troma Entertainment.

Don’t let that fool you though. Sgt. Kabukiman is actually a pretty mild shot from the Troma cannon. If you want your gore, titties, and trademark tasteless imagery, you’ll get it here. Just don’t go in expecting a stomach-churning, gender-bending workout on the scale of Poultrygeist or Terror Firmer. This is why I nominate Sgt. Kabukiman as an excellent choice for those seeking a decent entry-level Troma film. Trust me, after this one you’ll know if you want to dive deeper into this stuff.

Sgt. Kabukiman obviously derives its influence from campy, ham-fisted superhero action like the Adam West Batman series of the 1960s. There’s a lot of goofy-ass cartoon humor littered throughout, and while that’s usually the thing I look forward to least from the folks at Troma, it actually seems to serve the material a little better here. Fans shouldn’t worry too much though. You’ll still get moments of silly and disgusting over the top gore, as well as the complete lack of social consciousness you laid your hard-earned bucks down for.

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July 19, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Action, Comedy, Good Trash, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Winterbeast (1991)

Winterbeast (1991)

Starring Tim R. Morgan, Mike Magri, Charles Majka, Bob Harlow, Lisa Breer, Dori May Kelly

Directed By Christopher Thies


Winterbeast is the total package, absolutely sublime entertainment that continues to deliver hours after the film ends. I am still reeling and giddy in delight of the heaping spoonfuls of crazy imagery and completely irrational moments that this film threw at me. We should all stop and take a moment to consider ourselves blessed that we live in a world that allows stuff like this to see the light of day. The acting, editing, and staging are so bad, and fly so deliberately in the face of film theory that it reaches levels of incoherency not seen since the French new-wave.

It’s hard to decide where to begin, but the film’s most entertaining moments are the scenes featuring one-of-a-kind stop motion creatures brutally murdering random hikers and mountain climbers. Far from Harryhausen’s workshop scraps, these creatures actually come off as being created and animated with tremendous care. In fact, watching these things only made me long for the days when this lost cinematic art was the standard for on screen special-effects. There are about five or six different creatures, but my personal favorite was the giant, featherless zombie chicken (that actually predates Poultrygeist by 15 years). It is only when miniature clay versions of the actors are incorporated with the monsters that it comes off as trashy, but no less entertaining. Their death scenes end up looking like outtakes from old Mr. Bill shorts. I kept waiting for one of them to be torn apart while screaming “Oh noooooooo!”

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July 1, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Horror, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go To College (1991)

Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go To College (1991)

Starring Kevin McCarthy, Evan Mackenzie, Eva La Rue, Patrick Labyorteaux, John Johnston, Billy Morrissette, Hope Marie Carlton, Marcia, Wallace, Stephen Lee, Jason Scott Lee, Andrew Barach, Matthew Lillard

Directed by John Carl Buechler

Expectations: High. The first two are horror/comedy gold.

(No Stars)


If I allowed myself to give negative stars, this would have a toilet full of them. Ghoulies III is a film that offends me on a deep level because it takes something I genuinely love and completely trashes it. It reminds me of the Star Wars prequels in that way, and if there’s one thing you don’t want to do, it’s remind me of the Star Wars prequels. Ugh. As soon as I’m done with this review I’m going to disregard that this film ever existed. On that cheery note, let’s get down to business.

First off, this is a direct-to-video sequel that was not produced by a Charles Band company. As far as I can tell he had nothing to do with this film, although the director, John Carl Buechler, did make a few films with Empire International and did the FX for a ton more. He definitely has the cred to be respectable, so I can’t imagine why he agreed to make this, other than needing quick cash to pay off a loan shark or something. Realistically, there’s nothing terribly wrong here with the FX or the directing, but more with the writing choices and the direction they decided to take the series. After watching this, it isn’t hard to imagine why this is screenwriter Brent Olson’s only credit on IMDB.

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June 29, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Comedy, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 0 Stars, Trash | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Future Kick (1991)

Future Kick (1991)

Starring Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Meg Foster, Chris Penn, Eb Lottimer, Al Ruscio, Jeff Pomerantz

Directed By Damian Klaus


Before Hollywood discovered the Hong Kong film industry in the late 90’s we had to settle for the local stuff like Future Kick. Back then martial arts films were pretty much advertised by how many kickboxing championships or karate tournaments the lead actor had won. Most of the time, these titles were completely fabricated or taken totally out of context, but we didn’t care. Remember those trailers for Bloodsport and Kickboxer heralding the coming of Van Damme to the US as if it was like a visit from the pope? They threw out all kinds of bullshit spiel like “…nine time reigning karate champion of the world, Jean Claude Van Damme”. We loved it, but once Jackie Chan’s Rumble in the Bronx got its much belated release stateside, it pretty much opened the floodgates to a world of martial arts that America hadn’t seen since the heyday of Bruce Lee. Van Damme, Steven Seagal, and all of those slow white guys we once thought were awesome gradually disappeared from movie screens across America in favor of the new flavor.

Don “The Dragon” Wilson was one of those guys.

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June 24, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Action, Good Trash, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Science Fiction, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Special Feature: Once Upon a Time in China (1991)

My new friend J.P. and I share a love for Hong Kong movies. We are celebrating it with a special double post Siskel/Ebert kind of review for one film. This time around, the film is Tsui Hark’s Once Upon a Time in China. Make sure you head over to his site when you’re done here to read his thoughts on the film. Now back to your regularly scheduled reviews.


Once Upon a Time in China [黃飛鴻] (1991)

Starring Jet Li, Yuen Biao, Rosamund Kwan, Jacky Cheung, Kent Cheng, Yee Kwan Yan

Directed by Tsui Hark

Expectations: High. I love this movie.


Bravery soaring! Magnanimity overflowing!

It has been at least eight years since I’ve seen this. Back when I was watching nothing but Hong Kong movies with my friends, this was one of our top films. Going into watching this again, I had incredibly high expectations. There was no way it could live up to those kind of hopes, and in some ways it doesn’t, but overall I still really love this film. My tastes have changed over the years and it struck me how old the film felt. It didn’t feel like 1991, it felt more like 1971. That was when it hit me. This movie has more in common at a base level with a traditional Shaw Brothers kung fu flick than I had ever noticed before. The fight choreography and wire work are completely modern, but it has the feeling and the charm of a classic from the Run Run Shaw studio. In this way, Once Upon a Time in China is a look back, while taking a step forward.

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April 25, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Action, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Special Features | , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments