Sunday, December 01, 2013

Crystal Math's Review H-Bomb

Faust (2000) **
This Spanish horror film (with English-speaking actors) is more pathetic than scary. It follows John Jasper as he seeks revenge for his dead girlfriend and makes a deal with an old creepy man simply going by M (short for Mephistopheles, whom we all know to be the German demon used in such Faustian tales). He is given powers to turn into a red demon with claws and wings, but before long his killing antics catch up with him and he is arrested for a mass homicide.

Along Jasper's journey he befriends a woman determined to help him save his soul from M so he can finally live a normal life and die peacefully. There's also some crazy Satanic rituals, an underground society of M worshipers taking place in said ritual, and ridiculous amounts of sex that get in the way of a perfectly good movie.

Spooks Run Wild (1941) ***

A group of hooligans known as the East Side Kids are extracted from their big city stomping grounds to a remote rural camp to learn a lesson about responsibility. It just so happens that a killer is on the loose and will stop at nothing to claim the life of his next victim. The Kids want to help out, so they sneak out after curfew and get tormented by Bela Lugosi and his midget.
The ending was a genuine surprise, the buildup had its fair balance between the Kids, Lugosi, and the camp "counselors" who at times seemed clueless. The only caveat were all the groans elicited when the only African-American character would bust out with these terrible one-liners: "I'm so scared I'm turning white!" or "It's so dark I can't even see myself." Although when you think about it, his humor does make up for the fact that the other Kids aren't very memorable (don't ask me to name any of them, I'll just as well name the Seven Dwarfs).

Gravity (2013) ****
Two hours of Sandra Bullock breathing.

Dead End (2003) ****
Just sit right down and you'll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip
Of Laura, Frank, Miss Marion
and the little brother Dick

Good Frank, he was a patriarch
A father, brave and true
His family spoke no complaints
When he took that detour, he took that detour

Young Dick started acting a fool,
Poor Laura lost her mind,
Then Frank and daughter Marion
Just tried to stay alive, just tried to stay alive

Car stopped at an abandon cabin in the middle of the woods,
With Frank the Dad
Wife Laura, too
Their children Marion and Richard
Some lady in white -- is she a ghost? I hope so! Here on this Dead End driiiiiiiive!

(I trust you all were singing that to the tune of the "Gilligan's Island" theme!)

Offspring (2009) **** 1/2
There once was a prequel to The Woman
Who led a tribe that acted like demons
They tracked down human cubs
And chopped you all up
If you dared interfere with their fun.

Stakeland (2010) *** 1/2
Post-apocalyptic every persyn for hirself woop-woop!

A young boy and a man referred to as Mister drive around killing zombie-vampire hybrid creatures and just trying to survive. At times it was bleak and reminded me of The Road, but this one's more action-packed and has an underlying theme of community in a time of struggle and crisis. The final showdown fell short of its potential. I yawned and missed about third of it. But the rest is a'ight.

The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008) ** 1/2
School sucks. Boys suck. God even sucks -- I mean, he's just like one Almighty father placing a curfew on my SOUL.
A slew of young teenage girls experience the overbearing nature of their fathers as they approach their 18th birthdays. Is it that their daughters are discovering boys? One Direction? God? Anyway, the focus of the film -- as you guessed -- is Molly Hartley, who is battling her dark past, hormones, and Catholic high school. The praise on the DVD box claimed it to be "Rosemary's Baby all grown up" but I just didn't see it.

The Brood (1979) ****
Family issues
Homicidal mom hates girl
Unloving midgets

Playback (2012) *
Christian Slater can't save this poor excuse for a Ringu ripoff. No, I can't be bothered with an accompanying image.

Autopsy (1973) ***
Simona is a young intern working at a mortuary when she starts hallucinating that the dead are coming back to life. She begins investigating the deaths as the body count rises and it is blamed on some planetary phenomena. The plot lagged in the middle but had plenty of booty of the female AND male type to keep going until the stunning denouement.

Living Hell (2000) *** 1/2
When old lady Chiyo and young girl Yuki's immediate family are murdered, the two are relocated to live with Yasu and his siblings. Everyone works long hours and Yasu is bound by a wheelchair, so Chiyo and Yuki reveal their true colors and take advantage of him in some exceptionally disgusting sequences. The story is complex and filled with unpredictable twists, and at times the effects and music were laughable in a creepy vein.

Dead Ringers (1988) ****

Jeremy Irons -- whom I can only envision as the voice of Scar in The Lion King -- plays the dual lead roles of twin gynecologists.

Regardless, this film is an amazing show of talent on Irons' part because each twin has distinguishable nuances and features; about a half hour into it you begin to believe that there are two different people occupying the same physical space. Dead Ringers is also a powerful testament to the unique bond shared by twins, sharing a deep emotional connection that seems to meld them into one cosmic being. Despite Johnny Sweatpants and JPX not being twins, I see that they, too, share this bond that surpasses the blood, bone, and fibrous muscle composing our petty physical bodies. I see it everyday when they talk about the legacy of The Monkees, complex plot devices of Archie comics, or the intricate lyrics of a KISS composition.


Octopunk said...

Ha ha, excellent!

I love Dead Ringers but I've only seen it once. It's a fantastic combo of off-putting and evocative.

The African-American's lines in the 1941 flick sound cringey. Man.

Gravity HA! I didn't see it but you've captured my worst fears about it.

JPX said...

I enjoyed both Living Hell and Detour but I haven't seen any of the other films on your list. Damn, Crystal, you watched a lot of films, nice job! Now make your LAZY-ASS boyfriend write something, anything. He hasn't said a word in 3 weeks!

JPX said...

By the way, I've had the Gilligan's Island theme stuck in my head for 15 minutes. Jerk.

Crystal Math said...

Can you believe I still had about 15 reviews to write?!?? I just couldn't bring myself to do it -- it'd mean that I'd have a circus of a math class to deal with the next day!

Octo: I meant to write more for Gravity, especially after giving it such a high rating but I felt like everything that I wanted to say about had already been said.

AC said...

very creative review bomb!