Skivvy's Reviews

→ in

Here to learn. And judge silently.
So this is a review thread, I saw some others and thought it looked like fun! Sometimes these will look like a college thesis. Sometimes I'll vomit words and gush senselessly.

Page 1:

Heathers (1988)

Lawless (2012)

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

Kill Your Darlings (2013)
"Chaos is what killed the dinosaurs, darling!"
-- Jason Dean, Heathers (1988)

Here to learn. And judge silently.
dir. Michael Lehmann

Heathers, a satirical black comedy directed by Michael Lehmann and written by Daniel Waters, is - to put it bluntly - a weird ass film. Or so it seems as the movie opens, depicting three girls named Heather batting croquet balls at Winona Ryder’s head protruding from the Astroturf.

From that moment on, the film lives up to the promise of those first moments, delivering a strange thrill-ride that posits Winona Ryder’s character - Veronica Sawyer - as a de facto member of Westerburg High School’s most prominent and socially powerful clique, known infamously as “the Heathers.” The Heathers, consisting of three separate girls all named (you’d never guess) Heather, are viciously mean, both to others and to each other, and the only thing Veronica wants more than to punch them all in the face multiple times is to be one of them. This is one of the film’s first and foremost points as it satirizes not only the stereotypical John Hughes-esque teen movies that were startlingly popular at the time of Heathers’ release in 1988, but society and the high school experience in general.

The film quickly gets really dark really fast as Veronica meets and is instantly wooed by Jason Dean, the movie’s stereotypical “Bad Boy” love interest, portrayed by Christian Slater. Though at first it seems that J.D. will be the normal misunderstood male lead of a movie like Heathers, Heathers makes yet another jarring commentary as it quickly becomes clear that not only is J.D. not all that misunderstood - he’s actually really dangerous. In a revenge prank gone wrong, Veronica and J.D. not-so-accidentally give the leader (and most vicious) of the Heathers a wake-up cup full of drain cleaner, instantly killing her. To cover their tracks, the two concoct a plan to make the popular girl’s death look like the suicide of a tortured soul, and in doing so set in motion a chain of events that only snowballs.

Heathers was a film wildly ahead of its time, and was only recognized as the biting, often hilarious commentary on society and culture that it is years after its initially disappointing debut. The summary of this entire thing is that Heathers is everything that you wish the oft-quoted comedy cult classic Mean Girls was, filled with darker symbolism, darker themes, darker humor, and a far more interesting voice.

From the highly symbolic red scrunchie that opens the movie to the film’s absurdly intense climax, Heathers is the kind of flick that deserves to be watched a hundred different times for a hundred different reasons.

** As of August 2014, Heathers is available to watch on Netflix Instant.

Looking forwards to more of your reviews!

I like Heathers personally, but I'd rate it a little bit lower than you do. Still a good review, though.
Cobpyth's Movie Log ~ 2019

I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Heathers is a fantastic film, and I think you've managed to explain why pretty well, I look forward to more of your reviews. Ignore Zotis, you go ahead and give it 5 stars if that's what you want to give it.

Skivvy good review, I enjoyed reading it and I'm glad to see Heathers has fans! I give your review

I also give Heathers a
when compared to other movies of that type/genera.

Compared to all movies I'd give it a solid

Here to learn. And judge silently.
Lawless (2012)
dir. John Hillcoat

Lawless, based on the book The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant, originally possessed an all-star cast that featured James Franco, Ryan Gosling, and Amy Adams, and was set to begin filming in early 2010. Financial issues prevented this, and when filming fell through, Shia LaBeouf was the only actor of the original cast to remain attached. Good. This was one of the better performances I’ve seen him give, and the character was well-suited to LaBeouf’s strengths.

The film follows the lives of the infamous bootlegging Bondurant brothers, who made and sold alcohol in the hills of Franklin County, Virginia during Prohibition. Legends abound regarding how the brothers, in particular the eldest Forrest (portrayed by Tom Hardy), were invincible, unable to be killed, and this proves fairly accurate as the Bondurants parade all over the county, being shot, stabbed, beaten to a pulp, and even, in Forrest’s case, having their throat slit, all while recovering with nary more than a cool scar and another knick on the legend’s roster. It’s also one of the film’s low points, as it piles on bloody sequences and gunfights and fails to make an impression regarding the characters.

For a movie that originally boasted the cast that it did, and later boasted a cast that was by no means unimpressive, including Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, and Gary Oldman, the film provided very little in terms of characterization for any of the leads. LaBeouf’s character Jack was unlikable to the point of being annoying, Forrest was likable at points, and I can’t even remember the name of the third brother despite his position as Forrest’s second-in-command.

Jessica Chastain and Guy Pearce both did their best with what they were given, with special recognition to Guy Pearce for his portrayal of the film’s villain, the deliciously evil Deputy Charlie Rakes. Dane Dehaan played the film’s most lovable character, a crippled young moonshiner named Cricket Pate, and gave a good performance as well. None, however, were able to inject life or humanity into what should have been a very human film, and none were able to fight their way through the clinical coldness that the script had to offer.

I didn’t end the movie hating it, so I can’t say that it was a terrible film. It was beautifully shot and the story itself was interesting enough. Rather, I have to say that the film left me with something that, in a movie’s case, is worse than hate: apathy.

** As of August 2014, Lawless is available to watch on Netflix Instant.

Fixed that for you
Oh thanks, apparently I've been using the expression wrong for years and no one corrected me before. Much appreciated.

Btw, I did like Heathers. It's a good movie. I mean if it's your favorite movie of all time you could give it 4.5, but 5 stars just needs to be reserved for the pinnacle of human achievement.

Good stuff.

Even though I've had a massive crush on Winona Ryder since I was a little kid, I'm not a really fan of Heathers, but it's decent. I'd give Lawless the same rating as you did.

I think Skivvy and I have total opposites in films we like.

I don't like Heathers but gave Lawless a 97%

Lawless scored highly for me as it was based on the true story of the Bondurant Brothers.
I think the pulled back nature of the film allows it to be more believable... although, some of the stuff that happened in real life was much more brutal and outlandish and they actually toned some of it back for the film or cut it out completely as the truth could have been seen as so outlandish and violent, that audiences wouldn't believe it.
Originally Posted by doubledenim
Garbage bag people fighting hippy love babies.

Bots gotta be bottin'

Here to learn. And judge silently.
Ah man, I wanted to love it because it had Tom Hardy and Dane Dehaan in it, I just couldn't get behind any of the characters. There wasn't enough characterization for me. To each his own, though!

Here to learn. And judge silently.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)
dir. Kerry Conran

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, written and directed as the childhood-fostered brain child of first-time director Kerry Conran, is - to put it in one word - cheesy. But that's sort of the point: the film aims to harken back to pulp science fiction of the 1920s and 30s, and does so with a sort of underdog flair.

The film follows the adventures of reporter Polly Perkins as she attempts to solve the mystery of six scientists who have mysteriously gone missing, the seventh of whom is murdered after attempting to warn her that an apocalypse is upon them, mentioning only the name “Totenkopf”. Just at about that time, an army of giant friggin' robots descends upon the world and wreaks havoc as only an army of giant friggin' robots can, and Polly meets up with Sky Captain, or as she calls him, Joe, who's her world-rescuing pilot ex-boyfriend.

This movie gets a lot of flack for a lot of reasons – Gwyneth Paltrow's character, Polly, is vaguely annoying, and in today's standards, the special effects are kind of meh. Also, it's got a weird ambiance to it, one that makes me feel like the movie would look 100% better in black and white. And the colorist needs to not be a colorist anymore, because the entire movie looks like it's got a really bad Instagram filter on it.


It also deserves a lot more praise than it gets. Firstly, Sky Captain was one of the first movies ever to be shot entirely on a digital backlot, and paved the way for films like Avatar, Sin City, Speed Racer, and Alice in Wonderland. For its time, it was highly ambitious, and really, the story is decent. It's just like it intends to be, completely evocative of pulp sci-fi. Kerry Conran basically got kicked out of Hollywood after he made it, and it makes me sad, because he really seems to have had a great visual eye.

(Also, be sure to check out this
demo reel of the John Carter of Mars adaptation that Conran wanted to helm before Disney pulled the rug out from under him because how cool does that look)

Here to learn. And judge silently.
Kill Your Darlings (2013)
dir. John Krokidas

Kill Your Darlings is a film that seeks to tell the fascinating story of the early Beat Generation, which consisted of several famous literary minds who dominated counterculture in the 1950s, including poet Allen Ginsberg (Howl and Other Poems) and authors Jack Kerouac (On the Road) and William S Burroughs (Naked Lunch).

It begins in the 1940s at Columbia University, when Ginsberg first comes in contact with the charismatic and entrancing Lucien Carr, and is instantly besotted with Carr’s wild nature and charm. Carr, in turn, introduces Ginsberg to the wild world of sex, drugs, and off-the-beaten-path poetry, along with William S Burroughs, a wealthy drug addict, and Jack Kerouac, an alcoholic ex-navy author who oozes machismo. These people, in turn, become Allen’s closest friends and fellow artists as they seek to defy the literary norms of their day and accomplish a sort of “poetic revolution”. This is all accompanied by a lot of smoldering eyes between Ginsberg and Carr, and also the slow reveal of Carr’s troubled backstory, including his former suicide attempt and the dysfunctional (and possibly abusive) relationship between he and his lover/stalker David Kammerer.

Sounds complicated in writing like that, but it isn’t at all.

What is complicated, though, is my feelings toward the film. I was vaguely familiar with the story going into the movie, so if you aren’t you might have had a different experience than me, but it really did sort of taint the ending for me. The historical details of what happened go like this: Lucien Carr was abandoned by his father as a small child and raised by a fairly absentee mother, until eventually he came to meet David Kammerer when he was 14 and Kammerer was 28, since Kammerer was his Boy Scout leader. Kammerer emotionally manipulated Carr, who’d never had a father figure and was also emotionally unstable himself, into a weird co-dependent relationship that Carr couldn’t escape. No matter where Lucien went, David followed and enticed him back into the relationship with whatever he wanted: presents, emotional payoff, even a trip to Mexico. This relationship, and Carr’s own mounting shame over it and self-blame, led to a suicide attempt that David saved him from. Lucien’s mother then sent him to New York, where David once again followed, only now things get interesting.

Now comes the part when Carr gets older and the dynamic becomes different, when he’s charismatic and brilliant and establishing relationships outside of David Kammerer, at just about the time that Kammerer’s mental health is really starting to unravel. When Carr tried to break off their relationship once more, Kammerer tried to murder Jack Kerouac’s cat in retaliation - throwing that in there to emphasize the “crazy unstable guy” thing.

Eventually this all led up to Lucien stabbing David multiple times in a park with a Boy Scout Knife, then dumping him in the Hudson River, where he drowned.

In the movie, though, and this is my biggest problem with it, Carr’s murder of David Kammerer is depicted as his anger and shame over his own sexuality leading him to kill his lover, which is then brushed aside as “straight guy defends his honor against rampant gay rapist/stalker” by the media and everyone else. Which is way, way an oversimplification of what happened. At one point. Ginsberg, who is wonderfully portrayed by Daniel Radcliffe, remarks to Carr’s mother, who has just him about Kammerer’s abusive history,, “He didn’t have to stick with him, did he?” As in, he could have left any time. Just like, “women who are being abused can just leave, so it’s their fault.” Which is crap.

Now, I’m not saying that Carr was the innocent hetero kid who bravely defended his honor, that entire story was a crock of hooey cooked up to save Lucien from the electric chair. My understanding of what really happened was that he was a troubled but brilliant kid who was locked in an abusive relationship that went way, way bad. It just really rubbed me the wrong way, though, that the film brushed off all the abuse and manipulation involved in the really complicated relationship between Carr and Kammerer and just made it, “REPRESSED HOMOSEXUAL RAGE DAMN LOOK AT THAT POLITICAL POINT I JUST MADE”. It just completely glosses over all the messy stuff about the story.

As for the movie itself, I did like it. A lot. Like, I’m going to buy it on DVD a lot, which is a big compliment from me. Even though Daniel Radcliffe was the top-billed actor, this was Dane Dehaan’s movie, and he portrayed Lucien Carr expertly. The script was good, the story (save my dislike of the ending) was good, and overall, it was just a really, really good movie.