The Silver Emulsion Podcast: Ep. 48 – The Thing

Silver Emulsion’s annual Horrific October kicks off with the John Carpenter classic, The Thing! Listen and enjoy! 🙂

Also: the show is now on iTunes! So if you feel like subscribing there, or rating/reviewing the show, feel free to share your thoughts!

Music Notes

Intro:

  • Videovalvontaa – The Thing

Middle:

  • Rudy Ray Moore – The Queen
    • Dolemite: the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (iTunes, Amazon)

Outro:

  • The Fame Gang – Spooky
    • Spooky / Night Rumble – Part II 45 RPM Single (Amazon, Discogs)

If you’ve got feedback, throw it into the comments below or email it to me via the contact page! We’ll include it in a future show!

The podcast is embedded directly below this, or you can go directly to Podbean (or use their app) to listen. If you want to subscribe, paste http://silveremulsion.podbean.com/feed/ into whatever reader you’re using.

Quick Takes: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Under the Skin, High Road to China

cap2_1Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
threestar

Starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Maximiliano Hernández, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones
Directed by Anthony Russo & Joe Russo

I liked Captain America: The Winter Soldier much better than I liked the first Cap movie, but it definitely wasn’t the game-changing superhero movie that I had heard it was. Good thing I don’t expect much other than heroes fighting villains in my superhero movies! Simply put: if you like the Marvel movies, definitely watch this. It features a lot of fun action and a few great things are introduced that will probably deliver more in later movies down the road. I do have to say that I’m surprised by how little any of the post-Avengers movies connect to each other. I don’t think it’s especially necessary, but with the idea that these movies are part of a “phase” now, it does make one think they ought to be more related than they are. But whatever, this one’s got Cap, Black Widow and Falcon all kickin’ ass and takin’ names, so I was more than happy with what I got.

UndertheSkinUnder the Skin (2014)

Starring Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay, Dougie McConnell, Kevin McAlinden
Directed by Jonathan Glazer

This is why I avoid trailers. Unfortunately, I happened to see the trailer for Under the Skin multiple times over the past few months while I saw repertory screenings at the local arthouse. The trailer is packed full of surreal, engaging imagery, and the marketers even went so far as to use quotes that suppose that director Jonathan Glaser might be an “heir to Kubrick.” So by the time I actually saw Under the Skin, it was thoroughly overhyped and unable to deliver on my expectations. But I definitely liked it. It’s a strange little science fiction movie that creates a significant, believable portrayal of an alien on Earth with effectively no budget and mostly non-professional actors. There’s lots of nudity throughout, and much of it feels gratuitous and only there to add to the film’s hype (given Johansson’s fame). This, in turn, made me imagine the film with the character genders reversed but the nudity the same, and what the reception may have been like then. I’m guessing it wouldn’t be quite the critical darling it seems to be and it probably would’ve been NC-17, too. Apparently, like the men in the film, even critics can succumb to the beauty of Scarlett Johansson.

highroad_1High Road to China (1983)
twohalfstar

Starring Tom Selleck, Bess Armstrong, Jack Weston, Wilford Brimley, Robert Morley, Brian Blessed, Cassandra Gava, Michael Sheard
Directed by Brian G. Hutton

High Road to China is an enjoyable, entertaining film… when it’s not being annoying and too slowly paced. I had hoped to see more of China in a film with this title (and considering that it was co-produced by Hong Kong’s Golden Harvest), but it really is about the road TO China. The aerial footage of the bi-planes, whether it’s grand scenes of scenic beauty or old-fashioned dogfights, is gorgeous and adds considerably to the film’s draw. Evidently, at the time of release this was seen as a Raiders of the Lost Ark clone, but the two films couldn’t be more different. High Road to China is a much more low-key adventure, with a much less likeable hero, but in this day and age of green screen, CG landscapes, it was wonderful to see actual planes flying in the actual air over the actual mountains. If you’re a Tom Selleck fan, definitely give this one a shot.

Uncle Jasper reviews: Hard Target (1993)

Starring Jean Claude Van-Damme, Lance Henriksen, Yancy Butler, Wilford Brimley, Kasi Lemmons, Arnold Vosloo, Willie C. Carpenter

Directed by John Woo


To the seasoned viewer of early 90s action films there are only two things wrong with Hard Target. One, there are like twenty dudes trying to kill Van Damme at any given moment and Al Leong is not one of them. Two, the painfully obvious musical selection “Born on the Bayou”, which could have made any scene in this film infinitely more awesome, is not played until the end credits. Despite these two obvious flaws, the movie was a pleasant experience to return to since I had last viewed it over 15 years ago.

Hard Target is forever cemented in history as the film that brought John Woo to Hollywood. Language barriers as well as unfamiliarity with the Hollywood system were obvious concerns. The brass over at Universal Pictures were apparently shitting themselves so badly over letting John Woo take the reins of this film that they hired producer Sam Raimi to babysit the production. Woo was working in horrendously stifling conditions, being given only two months to shoot the film, and was relentlessly hounded by studio execs to go easy on the violence, which ironically is the very reason he became such a desired Hollywood import in the first place.

Continue reading Uncle Jasper reviews: Hard Target (1993) →

The Thing (1982)

Starring Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Donald Moffat, Richard Masur, David Clennon, Charles Hallahan, Joel Polis, T.K. Carter, Richard Dysart, Thomas G. Waites, Peter Maloney

Directed by John Carpenter

Expectations: High. Seen this a few times, but it’s been about eight years or so since the last time.


As I mentioned in my review of Cigarette Burns, John Carpenter is one of my favorite directors. Before I had really ventured into the depths of horror filmmaking, Carpenter was there to introduce me to the genre proper. Sure, I had seen Universal monster movies and a few honest horror flicks as a kid, but it was this film and Prince of Darkness that really opened my eyes to the possibilities of horror. I was first exposed to his brand of cinema a few years earlier still, when trolling around the local video store during my elementary school years and my eyes fell upon the VHS box for Big Trouble in Little China. I instantly loved the movie just based on that art. I begged and pleaded to take it home and eventually wore my parents down. I was not let down by that film and I watched it a few times over the next couple of years. I never forgot the name that came up prior to the title, announcing that the film you were watching was the vision of a singular character, this mysterious figure named John Carpenter. Flash forward a few years to when I noticed that same name on The Thing and Prince of Darkness and I’ve never looked back. Carpenter is the first director I remember obsessing over, and he’s still got a very special place in my heart.

The Thing follows a research group stationed in Antarctica, opening with grand landscape shots and a helicopter tracking a dog across the vast snow fields. When a man leans out of the chopper and fires at the dog, we know some foul shit is afoot. The Thing is brilliant in its plotting, cutting out any extraneous bullshit and getting right down to the interesting stuff. As this opening scene unfolds we are introduced to our main group of characters, including Kurt Russell, Keith David and the Quaker Oats man himself, Wilford Brimley. The Thing is easily one of Carpenter’s best films, coming at a creative high after four fantastic films (Assault on Precinct 13 thru Escape From New York). The Thing succeeds because it is a very classically made picture, evoking the slow, careful pacing of an older generation, and thus requiring a different type of investment than your standard horror/sci-fi fare. The Thing is a slow-burn but incredibly rewarding, dishing out intense scenes and killer special FX.

Continue reading The Thing (1982) →




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