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ehle64
Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:31 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
Our discussion on one of the most interesting films to be released in 2007.


Last edited by ehle64 on Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:18 am; edited 2 times in total
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ehle64
Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:34 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
Marc wrote:
ZODIAC is an intensely haunting film. It has little of Fincher's spooky gothic flourishes and explicit violence, but still manages to unsettle and at times frighten. Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. are terrific.


billyweeds wrote:
I'll see Marc and raise him on this one. Zodiac is the first really great film I've seen in ths last several years. And not only Rufffalo and Downey are praiseworthy. Jake Gyllenhaal plays his more gollygosh role with tremedous vitality and verisimilitude. I think it's Gyllenhaal's best performance since October Sky.


billyweeds wrote:
Zodiac is my favorite American movie since Sideways. Make of that what you will.


Marc wrote:
billy,

I'll be seeing ZODIAC again. I think it may end up being one of the best of 2007. Some of the aerial shots in the film are jawdropping. Its replication of the era is spot-on. And there is a sense of dread that infuses the entire film. Fincher is a master.
ZODIAC did poorly at the box office. Which doesn't surprise me. This is a complex and demanding film. Its rich with detail and requires one's full attention. Its not a hyped up serial killer flick like SEVEN or SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Its a cerebral thriller that relies on characterization and police procedure, not shocks and blood.


billyweeds wrote:
Though Marc's description of Zodiac is completely on target, the movie is not without scenes of almost unbearable suspense and outright horror for those who need those in a thriller. It's not really a thriller, you see, but an investigative movie on the order of All the President's Men--and with a musical score by President's Men 's David Shire.

Word of mouth may improve Zodiac's box office, but I wouldn't count on it. Its contemplative, sometimes melancholy mood and its length may work against it with audiences. Compared with Zodiac, the excellent Silence of the Lambs does indeed seem hyped-up and almost exploitational.

It's that rarest of experiences for me, the long, long movie that I wished were even longer. I loved every nanosecond of this film.


Marc wrote:
billy,

in the beginning of ZODIAC there is a series of scenes that take place in the late 60s involving a boy and girl on a date. There are shots of a drive-in called Ed's. The girl and boy go to lover's lane. The girl has a Sandra Dee-style hairdo.
Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man is on the radio. I'm thinkin' this reminds me of AMERICAN GRAFFITI.....but a really dark and spooky AMERICAN GRAFFITI.
Fincher is playing with our heads. He's taking pop culture iconography (GRAFFITI) and showing us an alternative nightmare teen dream (Zodiac).
Later in ZODIAC, Candy Clark, star of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, appears in a small role . Cool move Fincher.


Last edited by ehle64 on Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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ehle64
Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:34 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
billyweeds wrote:
Ruffalo is probably my favorite current movie "star," and Gyllenhaal and Downey aren't very far behind. Mark has got to start holding back on the pasta, however. He's beginning to pork, and I have Brando visions going on.


yambu wrote:
i liked Zodiac a lot, though I don't expect it will make my best film list this year.


billyweeds wrote:
Just read Stephanie Zacharek's review of Zodiac for the first time. I had been avoiding it for fear of unintended spoilers, and I was glad I had avoided it, because spoilers are there for sure.

It's one of Zacharek's most laughably inept jobs of reviewing. She's so far off base it's not even worth discussing. Will I stop reading her? Probably not...but maybe, and that's a huge step for me, since I like her, sometimes, a lot. But she's too in love with her own silly iconoclasm for me to stomach.


Marc wrote:
billy, Zacharek does the kind of personal hatchet job on Fincher I associate with Dargis. Dargis gives ZODIAC a great review - insightful and passionate. Its as if Dargis and Zacharek have switched places.




Befade wrote:
Billy........he really was NOT chunky.....it's just that he had so much hair.....fluffy and curly that you saw a big head and thought a big body went with it.


Last edited by ehle64 on Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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ehle64
Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:02 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
Befade wrote:
I thought the acting was absolutely sensational. Especially Jake Gyllenhaal.......he really portrayed absent-mindedness to a T......once he got interested in the Zodiac case....nothing else came into his consciousness.....and he had no knack at all for self-questioning.....when he played off of Robert Downey, Jr. it was hilarious. Downey's character was the utmost of eccentric cynicism......but I wonder if it's unsettling for him to play a drunk with his history?

Anyway......I liked it......but.....because I knew SPOILERS that the Zodiac was never caught/solved......I knew it wouldn't have the kind of satisfying ending that I'm used to enjoying from my own affinity for murder mystery/book/tv shows like Criminal Minds, CSI, or 48 hours Mystery........But perhaps it really was solved (by Jake's character).......just not prosecuted.

What was your take on how this affected the suspense?


yambu wrote:
Befade wrote:
.......But perhaps it really was solved (by Jake's character).......just not prosecuted......
*SPOILER** Subsequent DNA tests on Arthur Leigh Allen excluded him, but for its climax, the film ignored that little fact.


billyweeds wrote:
Befade--My answer is complicated. But the bottom line is that I thought the movie was so wonderful--and not just in the acting, btw, but in every possible way--that the fact you mention didn't bother me one single solitary iota. The movie was not about "finding the killer," but about the process of investigation and the trancelike state it put everyone into.

Comparing this film even slightly unfavorably with such superficial examples as Criminal Minds, 48 Hours and CSI is unfair to both Zodiac and excellent television melodrama like 24.


yambu wrote:
billyweeds wrote:
The movie was not about "finding the killer," but about the process of investigation and the trancelike state it put everyone into.....
Of course it was about finding the killer. SPOILER - Robert Graysmith longed to confront "Z", and in the final scene he had no doubt that he had. The audience couldn't know for sure. History, not the movie, says it was the wrong guy.


Befade wrote:
Billy.......I'm sorry.....but I always want to know WHO done it.


Marc wrote:
Quote:
but I always want to know WHO done it.


Zodiac did it. And thats what the movie is about. Zodiac not only murdered people he also put the whammy on people. Zodiac went beyond being just a killer to an almost pathological obsession for many cops and journalists. The movie isn't about who Zodiac is. Its about the effect Zodiac had on a city and the people who were trying to stop him. Because we don't ultimately know who Zodiac is the movie deals with the huge hole that not knowing created in a community and the people whose job was to document and protect the community from this unknown force. The movie is about the incredible soul destroying frustration that not finding the killer created in the people who were supposed to find him. ZODIAC, the movie, takes a huge chance in building its story around the lack of closure. I find this its most courageous and satisfying aspect. And the fact that the movie doesn't tie things up in a tidy package will probably be its commercial downfall. Too bad.


billyweeds wrote:
Well said. I hope word of mouth improves the box office for the movie.


Last edited by ehle64 on Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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ehle64
Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:09 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
Syd wrote:
Saw Zodiac, and liked it quite a bit. I thought it got better the deeper I went into it. Very good acting from Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo. I liked the pretty woman who was playing Melanie and it turned out it was Chloe Sevigny, who I don't think I've seen before, since I've been too cowardly to watch Boys Don't Cry. About all I knew about the case beforehand came from the trailer and the knowledge that there was a killer. The movie was as much about the disintegration of the people involved in the case as the murderer himself. It captured the period very well.

I wonder if they ever checked the envelope for squirrel DNA.


Earl wrote:
This is one of IMDB's links of the day. It's from the San Francisco Chronicle and it's not so much about the qualities of Zodiac as a film as much as how (un)realistically it depicts a typical newsroom:

Quote:
Hollywood filmmakers are big fakers. This becomes especially clear when they create a movie or a television show about your chosen profession.

Whether you're a doctor watching "Grey's Anatomy" (doesn't anybody at this hospital ever do rounds?), a lawyer watching "Law & Order" (how did they get from an arrest to a murder trial in three days?) or some guy on a deserted island watching "Lost" (what are these people doing for clean underwear? And why doesn't anybody have scurvy?), the problems are in the details.

Which is why I could never totally get into "Zodiac," an otherwise solid movie that happens to take place inside The Chronicle. Despite good acting, a fascinating story and a great director, the reporters' work spaces are way too tidy. From television comedies such as "Ugly Betty" to big-budget movies such as "The Devil Wears Prada," directors and production designers seem incapable of re-creating the gravity-defying clutter that fills most American newsrooms.


Full article here.

Media are in an especially advantageous position to complain when their profession is portrayed inaccurately because they have a microphone and a built-in audience. Very few people paid much attention, for example, when archaeologists griped about how Indiana Jones treated precious artifacts.


billyweeds wrote:
From Box Office Guru:

Fifth place went to the well-reviewed serial killer pic Zodiac which took in an estimated $6.8M, down a disturbing 49%, for a ten-day tally of $23.7M. Paramount's $65M production hoped to benefit from word-of-mouth, but instead suffered the worst drop by far of any film in the top ten thanks in part to competition from its R-rated foe 300. A disappointing final take of $34-37M seems likely making it director David Fincher's lowest grossing film ever.

So much for my hopes for box-office-saving word of mouth. Bummer, but I'll be seeing it again today.


billyweeds wrote:
Saw Zodiac again. The movie is amazing. It seems too short at two hours and forty minutes, and is over before you know it.

Then there are those who find it boring. I find them boring.


Ghulam wrote:
I too liked Zodiak a lot. Very capably directed by David Fincher ( not the stylized mush of Fight Club here). Mark Ruffalo is excellent. The narrative is powerful and rivetting.


Last edited by ehle64 on Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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ehle64
Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:17 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
Melody wrote:
I'm one of those people who found Zodiac a snoozer. I miss the old David Fincher. But I love Robert Downey Jr. and his neck kerchief. The movie would have been better if he'd had a more prominent role. Ditto the criminally underused Chloe Sevigny.


billyweeds wrote:
Melody--Though I too could have used a little more Chloe, I don't know how he could have fit her in more; it would have made the movie even longer. She improved considerably what could have been a terminally dull role. As for Downey, I think his role was exactly the right length. I was happy to spend more time with Ruffalo and Gyllenhaal.


Melody wrote:
Zodiac spoilers, I guess

The only purpose for Chloe's character seems to have been to illuminate how obsessed Jake was with the case. Which was drummed into us repeatedly, and quite dully, for AT LEAST a half hour too long. Did she have a bigger role in the book? I don't know, and frankly don't care now.

We jump around in time with a simple on-screen blurb: "Three months later." "Four years later." etc. So instead of showing us just bits and pieces of long-suffering Chloe, making us (well, maybe just me) think there was a real role for her coming down the line, why not a montage to show Jake getting married, having kids, getting divorced, and being obsessed throughout that whole period? Wouldn't that have gotten the point across without making us sit through every fucking little detail Jake comes across? "Lookie what I found! These same books I used to find the killer are missing from the base library!"

I mean, come ON. By the end, I could give a shit who the killer is/was; I just wanted it to end.


Ghulam wrote:
Half way through Zodiak, I too had the "snoozer" feeling that Melody mentioned, but it lasted for leass than 10 minutes. The drama gathered steam and kept me involved and interested. The three main characters, the professional, the alcoholic and the boy scout (known as the "retard") are developed very well and come alive.


billyweeds wrote:
Worthwhile excerpts from a thoughtful review of Zodiac by The New Yorker's David Denby:

The great film critic Manny Farber once praised what he called “termite art,” by which he meant the kind of small, stubborn movie that chews its way through a narrow piece of turf. David Fincher’s Zodiac is mollusk art: the movie keeps elaborating itself out of its own discharge, hardening its emotions, anxieties, and energies into a shell of obsession....Moving swiftly, but with precise attention to the emotional coloring of such things as weather and light and dour institutional spaces, Fincher runs through interrogations, trips to the library, the sorting and matching of mounds of evidence. Fincher has changed direction. The creator of the nutty, sub-fascist Fight Club and the dumb fright movie Panic Room has suddenly devoted himself to (of all things) manners and jurisdictional niceties—the way people talk to one another in a newspaper office, the hassles over evidence between the police of one city and those of another. He has discovered the everyday working world, and he’s fascinated by its moods and small tensions, its endless give-and-take.

Zodiac is superbly made, but it’s also a strange piece of work....As Zodiac goes on and on, and it becomes clear that no dénouement is possible (the crime was never solved), we have to ask what the reason for all this cinematic blind-alleying might be. Any honest neurotic could probably tell you: the emotional payoff of an obsession is not attaining some longed-for goal—it’s the obsession itself, which fulfills certain needs. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be an obsession.


The entire review is available at

http://tinyurl.com/2ldroy


Marc wrote:
ZODIAC is not boring.


billyweeds wrote:
It's the farthest thing from boring. It is riveting every marvelous nanosecond of the way.


Ghulam wrote:
It might have been boring if it had been the story of Zodiak. But it is the story of Robert Graysmith, Paul Avery and Inspector Toschi.


billyweeds wrote:
And their story might have been boring had it been played by actors less fascinating than Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Robert Downey Jr.
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ehle64
Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:22 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
Melody wrote:
The stars of Zodiac give great performances. Let there be no doubt. It's the direction that's snooze-inducingly lifeless and even careless.

SPOILER

To take just one example, those two kids at the beginning of the movie are supposed to be horny teenagers making out on Lover's Lane, right? They aren't even touching one another, much less making out. She's leering at him with a mouth full of braces and he looks like he's about to pass out. I didn't buy for one second that the killer was insanely jealous of this girl, who was apparently his neighbor and someone he was familiar with, because she was with someone else, driving him to open fire on them.

END SPOILER

Has Fincher ever been able to portray women as feminine, romantic types? Never. As much as I love his greatest work, Fight Club, Helena Bonham Carter's character is way over the top. The only "intimacy" we see her share with another human being is her screaming while Brad Pitt fucks the living daylights out of her. Her dress and makeup suggest a crazy crack whore, rather than a confused woman seeking connection in support groups.

How about a lesser work by Fincher, the gross-out Se7en, where the only breathing (for a while, anyway) female in the movie, Gwyneth Paltrow, ends up with her head in a box, courtesy of the killer? 'nuff said.

He may have come closest in Panic Room, where Jodie Foster, never a paragon of femininity anyway, turns muy macho to defeat the bad guys. Along the way, she's allowed to show motherly concern for her diabetic daughter, a giant step for Fincher ... and one he blows all to hell in Zodiac with the aforementioned drab, lifeless, pigtailed cameo of Chloe Sevigny.

I don't exactly know how this turned into a treatise on "The Fincher Women," I guess because I wouldn't know how to write a treatise on "How Boring is David Fincher?" pre-Zodiac. I hope this is just a phase.


billyweeds wrote:
ZODIAC SPOILER

The "kids" at the beginning--a married woman and a nerdy weirdo--are in some kind of offbeat relationship where she pulls all the strings. She gets him to park with her--I never got that they were there to make out--to get away from her husband or something. Then this other guy shows up that she apparently knew. It was strange and scary, but never in the least erotic. And not meant to be.
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ehle64
Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:25 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
I don't remember the survivor's gf?/wife?/lover to have braces and I just got back from the film. The Film. Discuss my friends.

I usually don't go this far, but I'm afraid that this film doesn't have much standing legs in the greedy multiplexes, so do yourselves a favor (or horror if it turns out) and see this movie immediately.

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billyweeds
Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:29 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20405 Location: New York City
Unless a miracle happens, Zodiac will be my top film of 2007 and will not be nominated for the Oscar. Business, in other words, as usual.

For the record, I don't remember any braces on Darlene, either.
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Marc
Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:41 am Reply with quote
Joined: 19 May 2004 Posts: 8423
Quote:
For the record, I don't remember any braces on Darlene, either.


she has braces. a detail that makes the scene even more complex. here's a woman who acts like a teenage girl (and probably is), but is married, has braces, which is mildly freakish for a married person, and seems to want to have a fling with a really immature kid. My take is that she had a real problem being a young wife and was still feeling her oats. Perhaps she was a flirt. Perhaps she flirted with the wrong guy. Perhaps the guy was Zodiac who then became obsessed with her.
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ehle64
Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:45 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
You and Mel have such sharp eyes. Perhaps I was so wrapped up in the approaching terror to even notice.

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ehle64
Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:48 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
What’s most interesting to me about Zodiac is Fincher’s direction. Yeah, a double entendre, the direction he’s heading with his filmmaking career, and also the sublime Direction that went into the remarkable pacing of such a complex picture.

see you tomorrow.

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ehle64
Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 1:26 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
Melly Mel -- I'd really love to hear your take on the Linda Ferrin character. I found her to be well realized by Clea DuVall.

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Joe Vitus
Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:25 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 14498 Location: Houston
Mentioned it in another forum, but Earl and I should be seeing it tomorrow.

I popped in here now just to congratulate Ehle on a perfect excercise in cinematic obsession. As far as I can tell, this movie deserves all the punch it can get.

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ehle64
Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 4:04 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
Thanks, joe. Now I'm just sure you'll hate it. Which could be a good thing for this forum. The two Texans gangin' up on all the crazy coastal folk. From what I've seen on my first viewing, it's something special. I certainly hope, like billy, upon second it will remain so. I know I loved Babel the first time I saw it. It moved me. The second time, getting past the storylines into a more filmmaking mode of thought, moved me more. The third time, I swooned. I hope Zodiac lives up to that and, ah, what the hell, then some.

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