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Sightseers, Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus, The Films of Chester Novell Turner



Sightseers (NR)


Fitfully funny and brazenly confident in the haziness of its ambitions, Sightseers is a dark comedy whose underlying themes of class and arrested emotional maturity are as casually discarded as the many victims of its central characters. Tina and Chris, played by the film's writers, Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, are newish lovers whose fates have crossed too late in their lonely lives to divert the burgeoning psychopaths from their paths toward self-destruction. Chris is saddled with cringe-worthy boundary issues and a vindictive streak that burns deeper than eager-to-please Tina imagines. Yet, as a newlywed Pennsylvania couple who allegedly killed for thrills showed us just last week, violence and romance make for a heady brew. Sightseers' humor is a bit too aggressive, its murder too passive, but the dark road trip through the British Isles remains quite enjoyable. — Justin Strout


Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus (NR)

Sundance Selects

After a string of awkward teen flicks like Superbad and Youth in Revolt, Michael Cera is back and desperately trying to change his itchy hipster image by taking more cinematic risks, most notably in a pair of bizarre travelogues from Chilean director Sebastián Silva: Magic Magic and this latest release, Crystal Fairy. Here, Cera is perfectly cast as Jamie, a grating, nervous, constantly feeming dork who is obsessed with drugs, more specifically hallucinogenics. While in Chile, he hooks up with a flighty, devil-may-care American hippie-chick named Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffman) and, with his roommates, they embark on a road trip to find a special cactus that will grant them visions. While this might sound like a recipe for fun, it's a true circle of hell that only gets wider once they start taking said cactus drug. Nowhere near as enlightening or thoughtful as it thinks it is, in the end, Crystal Fairy is just a real bum trip. — Louis Fowler


The Films of Chester Novell Turner (NR)

Massacre Video

I hate to use a phrase as trite as "must be seen to be believed," but there really is no other way to describe the low-budget, shot-on-camcorder urban fright flicks of Chester Turner. Surreal doesn't even begin to describe these creepy, otherworldly and, at times, hilariously amateurish horror tales that are unlike anything any other filmmaker has made. The first film, Black Devil Doll From Hell, tells the story of a deeply religious woman who buys a strange doll and finds herself in a battle for her soul as the foul-mouthed puppet comes to life with the intention to drag her to Satan's lair. Turner's other film is the even more trippy Tales From the Quadead Zone that plays on fears of hunger, hatred and hell in a trio of tales designed to ... well, like I said, they need to be seen to be believed. And even then, after the movies are over, you'll still question if what you just watched, actually happened. It did. — Louis Fowler

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