While there are many narratives points of view and even stories being explored in Zodiac everything revolves around the true saga of the Zodiac killer in late 1960s Northern California. He first struck on July 4 1969—and then as would become his signature stamp chillingly willingly spread the news. First he called in to report his own murder. Then a month later he sent to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper a letter claiming responsibility and a coded message that when deciphered offered clues. His murders tormented a hysterical public but his rituals tormented those who tried the hardest to catch him namely the Chronicle’s cartoonist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and chief crime reporter (Robert Downey Jr.) as well as two detectives (Mark Ruffalo Anthony Edwards). The cartoonist Robert Graysmith had no business obtaining inside information or the infamous Zodiac letters sent to his paper but so obsessed was he with the case that he risked everything to conduct his own research—which yielded new clues a book and ultimately this movie. Zodiac’s biggest asset might be the casting director because the movie’s lineup of actors could not be better cast for their respective roles. Only a movie with recognizable names running (at least) 17 deep could feature Adam Goldberg for less than a minute. Gyllenhaal the lead only in star wattage isn’t required to display any real dramatic fireworks and the fact that he’s able to resist shows even more maturity than his work in Brokeback Mountain. Downey Jr. meanwhile is asked for some high drama and delivers with ease; it’s child’s play for one of today’s very best actors. If Zodiac were released a few months earlier he would’ve been collecting the Best Actor statuette for his performance as the fast-talking and -living reporter. Ruffalo like Gyllenhaal has no trouble whatsoever toning it down but he can just as seamlessly evoke the tension and frustration of his one-step-away detective when necessary. And former ER mainstay Edwards in his first movie in almost three years is a perfect non-threat complement to the other actors. It’s that kind of unselfishness—not to be confused with any form of unwillingness—that exemplifies this superb collaborative cast which also boasts Brian Cox Chloe Sevigny Dermot Mulroney and many more. Throughout his career director David Fincher has been known as a—for lack of a non-alliterative term—visual visionary. With Zodiac the notoriously rigorous auteur goes in a completely different direction: He tells instead of for the most part showing. That doesn’t mean certain of Fincher’s scenes don’t look otherworldly but gone is memorable imagery like that from Seven Panic Room and Fight Club which tended to often in a good way overpower the story. In its place is primarily dialogue over two and a half hours worth and the way Fincher makes it work in contrast to and juxtaposition with his past work establishes him as a truly singular filmmaker. Such a tag wouldn’t be complete without his other main accomplishment in Zodiac of weaving together several genres. What is obviously first a true crime story turns into a police procedural a murder mystery a writer’s tale a scary movie (in parts) and it could even be said a period piece. If Fincher and writer James Vanderbilt—who adapted Graysmith’s novel for the screen—weren’t careful with their transitions and just altogether gifted this film could've wound up a mess. But that’s why two and a half hours is a necessary running time—and Fincher is why you’ll leave the theater wishing it were even longer!
Shea O'Brien Foley, a former employee at George Lucas' Northern California mecca Lucasfilm, was arrested Oct. 8 for allegedly stealing images, storyboards and video files for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. This also included taking an advanced copy of the nearly completed film and secretly screening it for Aintitcoolnews.com movie critic Harry Knowles two months before the film was released. Variety reports Foley was tracked by the Lucasfilm staff through the screen name "Shay" used in Star Wars chat rooms. He was released on $200,000 bail Monday.
Looks like Pamela Anderson and her beau Kid Rock may tie the knot next month in Las Vegas. The Associated Press reports Hank Williams Jr., who has been recording with Kid Rock, spilled the beans to an concert audience in Dallas last weekend, saying he was going to be attending the wedding. Kid Rock is currently touring with Aerosmith and will be at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Nov. 9.
Arizona clothing manufacturer MPA International has filed a $205,000 suit against Ivana Trump alleging she illegally transferred funds from her clothing company, House of Ivana, to buy property in Florida and pay for repairs on her yacht. AP reports the former wife of wealthy developer Donald Trump could not be reached for comment.
The large-scaled items which were stolen Friday from the set of the Mike Myers' comedy The Cat in the Hat were found in a field in California Sunday. Some of the items, including a giant pair of glasses, a door key and golf ball, were broken and had graffiti written all over them, which may help lead police to the thieves.
Phoenix Pictures is developing a feature film based on the Zodiac killer, who committed at least 37 murders in the San Francisco area between 1966 to 1978. The film will focus on Robert Graysmith, a San Francisco Chronicle editorial cartoonist who, in 1968, was the recipient of letters from the Zodiac killer outlining his murderous deeds. Graysmith went on to write two books on the subject and claims he identified the killer, but because of competing investigations and other circumstances, the suspect was never apprehended.
Speaking of which, while a real-life sniper continues to terrorize the Washington, D.C., area, 20th Century Fox has decided to delay the Nov. 15 release of their thriller Phone Booth, starring Colin Farrell, due to its sensitive content concerning snipers. The film centers on Farrell's character who answers a pay phone and is told by a unseen gunman he will be shot if he hangs up.
Dustin Hoffman and Ray Romano are negotiating to join forces on the political comedy Mooseport (great title!). The story follows a former U.S. president ready to settle down in a East Coast town (Hoffman) whose plans are dashed when some of the townspeople implore the former president to fill the empty mayor's seat. His opposition is an unassuming hardware store owner (Romano) who becomes very popular.