Things are heating up on the movie front, and not soon enough. We've got a brand-new Fincher movie and more animals than you can shake a stick at. Whatever that means.
Zodiac: Fincher's back. Did you hear me? Fincher's back -- go! Run, to the theaters, now! Who knows when it might happen again? I'm kidding, of course. But the fact that the director of Seven and Fight Club has lately been taking so long between movies (his last was Panic Room, in 2002) means the arrival of Zodiac is almost something of an Event.
I'm happy to say that the film -- in which Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo are all characters trying to track down the 1960s San Francisco serial killer who calls himself Zodiac -- does not disappoint. It's a smart, intense thriller, brilliantly acted, and far more psychologically disturbing than violent (though there are a couple of early scenes that are not for the squeamish). The only drawback is that at slightly over 2 1/2 hours, it's kind of long; and given the subject matter, the R rating, and Fincher's reputation for violence, it's not as broadly marketable a film as, say, a movie starring John Travolta and Tim Allen ...
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Wild Hogs: And hey, whaddya know? We've got a movie starring Travolta and Allen right here. They, along with William H. Macy and Martin Lawrence, play surburbanites who deal with their midlife crises by buying Harleys and hitting the road. I have to say, when you work in movies and attend press screenings you tend to exist in a bubble; but when I saw Dreamgirls over Christmas with my parents, the Wild Hogs trailer played before the movie -- and the audience was howling with laughter. This movie's got mass appeal coming out the wazzoo (sp?), so watch out, Ghost Rider! There's a new gang of middle-aged bikers in town.
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Black Snake Moan: Seems like Samuel L. Jackson just can't get enough of those mother-f&#!*n snakes. If there's another actor who's starred in back-to-back movies with the same animal in the titles, please let me know. This one ain't on a plane, though, and in fact there are no actual snakes to be found (with the exception, as Jackson told us in his Unscripted interview, of "trouser snakes"). Jackson's a bluesman who takes it upon himself to cure a young girl (Christina Ricci) suffering from the debilitating disease known as nymphomania; his treatment consists of chaining her to his radiator and feeding her steaks. (Doctors: Do not try this at home.) The premise itself is a little ludicrous, it's true. But the film, which is directed by Craig Brewer, the man behind Hustle & Flow, is a bonafide crowd-pleaser -- and in not quite the same way than SOAP was. (That's a good thing, by the way.)
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Drumroll, please. My picks: below. Your picks: due by Saturday at 2pm. Have a good one, and keep on playin' the blues.