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Massawyrm Says ZODIAC Is Perfect, Except...

Published at: March 1, 2007, 7:53 a.m. CST


Hola all. Massawyrm here. Okay, before I begin this review I just want to say two words. Panic Room. There. Now I said it. Now the complete infallibility of David Fincher has been called into question. You can’t scream “But he’s a Genius!” at the screen without accounting for Panic Room. Was Panic Room bad? God no. But it certainly wasn’t Fight Club. Or Seven. It had flaws, big ones. But if you’re the type of person who feels that Panic Room is an underrated, unappreciated masterpiece – then you’re gonna love this. Because this is MUCH better than Panic Room. Problem is, it’s still no Fight Club and nowhere near Seven. Zodiac is a film comprised of superb, well-crafted pieces. There is not a single piece that you can pull out, analyze and juxtapose to any other piece and find to be flawed. Every single piece of this movie is eloquent, well thought out and perfectly executed. So what’s the problem? There’re just too many pieces. About an hour’s worth. What we have here is a really great directors cut – a film that would be loved and revered by an audience that saw the ‘studio’s version’ first. The hour and 45 minute version. The version cut by an editor that knew what story the audience wanted to see. You see, there is a really great story here, but this is a story for completists. This is EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about the Zodiac murders, except who definitively did it. They have a theory, of course, but this is about presenting ALL the evidence. This is Robert Graysmith’s book laid out. This is an historical EPIC…that just happens to be set only about 35-40 years ago. And like most historical epics, this movie fails by trying to tell ALL of the story, rather than just the part that matters to this particular film. Contextually, historically, does everything here matter? Sure. Contextually, cinematically, does it? No. This movie is about Robert Graysmith (Gyllenhaal.) It pretty much begins with the story of Graysmith’s obsession with the Zodiac case and it certainly ends with his obsession with the Zodiac case. But somewhere in-between it becomes Detective David Toschi’s (Ruffalo) story, while wandering through several other small stories. And it’s all great stuff. Every last bit of it. It’s just too much. The story loses focus, and the audience begins to wonder what it is they’re watching. I mean what the hell happened to Graysmith? Oh wait, there he is! Oh, he’s gone again. The second act is entirely a tale of interwoven stories that, while properly relaying the mounting frustration and obsession, also properly conveys the tedium of dead end leads. After dead end lead. After dead end lead. After dead end lead. Which…surprise, surprise…picks back up the moment we return to the story of Graysmith. In fact, this film could be a wonderful film if it were just the first, third and portions of the second act. Wait. Wonderful? No. It could be awesome. This is one of those films I can’t wait to see edited by some third year film student on his laptop. The film this most reminded of was, oddly enough, Almost Famous. The first time I watched the theatrical cut of it, I just plain dug it. But I wasn’t IN LOVE with it yet. I wanted more. Then I watched the Bootleg Cut and drank in every single character that I needed to fall in love with. I became rabid about my love for the film. And yet, watching that cut, I understood that I NEEDED to watch the theatrical cut first. I needed to see the hero’s journey before watching the version that wanders away with secondary and tertiary characters for minutes at a time. Because the Bootleg Cut could just DRAG for anyone not already in love with the characters or material. Now let me be very clear. This isn’t a bad movie – it’s a great movie that loses its focus. And at times makes you want to check your watch. I mean, this is a 160-minute film. Think about that for a moment. You’re about to get on board with a 160-minute detective film that can’t tell you who the killer really is because no one knows for certain. The Zodiac is the 20th century’s Jack the Ripper. He didn’t have the highest body count, nor were his the grisliest of murders. But he was flashy, he scared the living shit out of people and we never found him. So he became legend. And he ruined a lot of lives – outside of the victims and their families. Men who became obsessed with bringing him to justice. Men who ruined their lives chasing him. This movie struggles to show several of them, taking you to the point at which each man finally gives up, leaving only one obsessed man standing. And really, it only needs to focus on the last man, Graysmith. I feel like I would have enjoyed this a lot more if we just followed his journey, watched the investigation through his eyes, rather than through those of multiple characters. If we met all of these wonderful characters as he does, rather than sometimes 10 years before he does, I feel like they would have been much more potent and the story would have felt more alive. So what works? Everything else. Visually it’s fantastic. This is a very toned down David Fincher – one that seems to have learned his lesson from his gimmick-heavy run in Panic Room. Sure there’s new stylistic choices here, and man are they something. But they never dominate the story or get done more than they should (coughcoughwallsocketflythroughscough.) They’re just right. This is the David Fincher we fell in love with visually. He does an amazing job setting the years and giving the whole movie this very All the President’s Men look and feel. And he progresses through time with incredible ease. And hell, he even manages to make you feel the tastelessness of a classic film. A film you love. You hear clips from the movie and shrink into your seat. Because you see the movie in a context you may never have. And every single performance in here is fantastic. Gyllenhaal is wonderful and does a great job transforming from starry-eyed kid to bitter, obsessed investigator. Mark Ruffalo gives a great, layered performance we probably shouldn’t have seen most of, as we watch him get more and more tired until he just plain gives up. As good as he is (hell, as good as he most always is) his character is really the grossest indulgence of the film. Which is sad because he is so god damned good. And then there’re a slew of great supporting roles by a number of my deep fried favorites – Elias Koteas, Donal Logue, Phillip Baker Hall, Clea DuVall, Robert Downey Jr., Brian Cox. Every last one of them marvelous. But ultimately it is just too much. It’s like a night at the buffet after having had two plates too many. The whole thing is spoiled because Fincher couldn’t show any restraint. Even at almost three hours, he still feels the need to lay on about three pages of text to wrap the whole thing up. I think his eyes were bigger than his stomach this time around. Sadly, there won’t be a toned down edited version out there for people to begin with, then move onto this if they are so inclined. It doesn’t work that way. The extended directors cut is the version in theatres, and this time around, I wish it weren’t. Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
Woot! I got through the whole review without spelling it Se7en…oh fucking hipster hell…




Readers Talkback

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  • March 1, 2007, 7:57 a.m. CST

    FIRST

    by THE KNIGHT

    ...

  • March 1, 2007, 7:58 a.m. CST

    Can't wait

    by THE KNIGHT

    to see this on Friday... Don't dissappoint me Finch!!!

  • March 1, 2007, 7:58 a.m. CST

    PS

    by THE KNIGHT

    That avatar is pretty sick! but funny indeed...

  • March 1, 2007, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Second

    by henrydalton

    Well, I'm new... gimme a break. Really hope Fincher knocks this one out the park. Yet again.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:04 a.m. CST

    Still interested

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Something to watch at home for sure. But I likes me some Fincher so bring it on.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:05 a.m. CST

    That's a shame.

    by Allfather Starr

    Still, if you want cool geek news go to the BBC website where you can find out the official release date of the JJ Abrahms Star Trek movie. Or wait about six days til these guys get round to putting up the info, right after they've installed the Valentine's day animation. Now aren't you glad Harry dispelled those rumours he was so proud to dispel. Aren't ya? Well, aren't ya? Well, guess you would be if he followed up his crowing with a story about this. Ho hum.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:06 a.m. CST

    And

    by henrydalton

    That's really interesting, comparing it to Almost Famous - definately in my top 5 personal favourite films. I dunno if it would be in there if I'd just seen the director's cut first. Probably still would. But this whole overindulgence from directors thing is getting a little silly *cough* Jackson *cough*

  • March 1, 2007, 8:09 a.m. CST

    Thanks Massawyrm

    by evilmasterfoo

    I agree completely. We saw this last nite at a free screening and it sure is long. I didn't check my watch as many times as I did in Ghost Rider, but we left thinking that this version should have been on the DVD instead. But the performances are terrific.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:25 a.m. CST

    Damn you Fincher!

    by brycemonkey

    Seems like he peaked too early. He'll be back, hopefully with a good editor...

  • March 1, 2007, 8:26 a.m. CST

    from reading all the reviews

    by just pillow talk

    it sounds like the great performances are the common theme. I will definitely check this out on DVD.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:27 a.m. CST

    Nice review, Massawyrm

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    Also, thanks for the tip on Almost Famous. That's a film I like a lot, and I didn't even know there was another version (never been released here in windy England as far as I can tell). I've just Amazoned the bugger. Nine quid!

  • March 1, 2007, 8:26 a.m. CST

    That was a really well written review

    by Spandau Belly

    I'm really impressed that you would actually give concrete reasons for trimming a film down and cutting scenes with actors you like. I've watched lots of deleted scenes on DVDs and the smart directors are always the ones who will introduce deleted scenes and talk about how much they loved the scene but had to make the decision to cut it for greater narrative gain.<br><br>That being said, I think Kingdom of Heaven is much better as a director's cut. I've watched the director's cut with some friends who never saw the theatrical cut and they loved the movie. Ridley Scott admits that he got a little happy with the scissors and trimmed too much for the theatrical cut.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Franklyn

    by henrydalton

    Bootleg Cut of Almost Famous was released here in England about 5 years ago - you need to check it out, it's fantastic! :D

  • March 1, 2007, 8:31 a.m. CST

    Just IMDB'd the editors on this...

    by brycemonkey

    Frankly I don't know why you'd have either editor working a 3 hour Fincher movie. Editing is such a huge part of any movie I don't know why these guys (who have very limited Editing credits, and even fewer highlights) were chose. Bah!

  • March 1, 2007, 8:32 a.m. CST

    This idiot hated 300

    by iwontwin

    Just kidding, its probably going to be a bunch of man porn, thats boring. The exact same problem plagued KING KONG, it was over stuffed, we didnt need that bug pit scene, or maybe the dinasour stampeed.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:33 a.m. CST

    P.S. David Fincher

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    David Fincher's career is, I think, a great demonstration of why directors get too much credit. Give this guy a great script (Seven, Fight Club) and he has the talent to turn in a classic. With more mediocre stuff like The Game and Panic Room, though, no amount of skill and inspiration can elevate the material. Also, Alien 3, which really speaks for itself - beautifully polished turd.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Thanks, henrydalton

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    Amazon's warehouse folk are working on it as we speak. God bless those guys, they send us all so much good stuff.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:37 a.m. CST

    Fight Club.

    by CatVutt

    Personally, I thought that was the most transparent, pretentious piece of shit I ever sat through. Utter crap. Panic Room was tolerable, for what it was, but I'll never understand the Fight Club love. Maybe because saw it right after I saw American Psycho, but I never bought into a single minute of the damn thing.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Ahh Fight Club...

    by brycemonkey

    Lets keep this simple before it degenerates... You either think Fight Club is one of the best movies made in the last 10 years or you don't. Simple as that. The only difference is that if you subscibe to the former (like me) you get a lot of enjoyment from a fantastic movie. If not, well, too bad.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:52 a.m. CST

    George Lucas is a genius...

    by Napolean Solo

    Yet he did The Phantom Menace. I won't even accout for that, yet his genius remains. Now i don't think David Fincher is a genius at all, but one film shouldn't be the defining factor in a believers opinion.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:55 a.m. CST

    CatVutt

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    brycemonkey is probably right, but I'm an idiot so I'm going to ask anyway:<p>Why is Fight Club transparent and pretentious? I'm just interested to know. Peace and all that.

  • March 1, 2007, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Fanedit.org

    by Kizeesh

    Will be standing by on-hand to meet your dreams Wyrmy. As soon as the DVD is out.

  • March 1, 2007, 9:04 a.m. CST

    HELLO!?!? Alien 3 anybody?

    by drucifer4490

    Fincher was never infallible. Alien3 was terrible.

  • March 1, 2007, 9:04 a.m. CST

    that was a damn great differentiating review

    by AllieJamison

    i think. good avatar, too, btw.

  • March 1, 2007, 9:05 a.m. CST

    Dont talk about Fight Club!!!!

    by godzillasushi

    Yeesh RULE ONE.

  • March 1, 2007, 9:05 a.m. CST

    The Game was just OK

    by CuervoJones

    Alien3 was just OK Panic Room was just OK

  • March 1, 2007, 9:08 a.m. CST

    The Black Dahlia: The Cut That Makes Sense

    by Spandau Belly

    COMING NEVER!<br><br>Apparently Fincher was trying for years to get Dahlia off the ground but the studio stonedwalled him and so he did the Zodiac instead.<br><br>Does anybody here know if that's true? Why would the studio block him from doing one retro murder mystery and then let him do another? And why not let a commerically solid director like Fincher do the Dahlia but give it to the most hit and miss director ever: DePalm?

  • March 1, 2007, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Black Dahlia, Alien3, Zodiac length

    by myspoonistoobig

    By all reports this is NOT the Director's Cut. Prepare for even more shit in the eventual DVD release, if EW is to be believed.<P>As for Black Dahlia and Alien3, Black Dahlia was made at a different studio than Zodiac, so it's not the same people blocking him from one and giving him another. And everyone should know that Alien3 was destroyed by the studio, not by Fincher. The workprint on the Quadrilogy DVD is better than the theatrical cut, and I bet if Fincher had actually been in control at any point, the movie would be great (or at least more better).

  • March 1, 2007, 9:19 a.m. CST

    Alien 3 is underrated

    by Lost Prophet

    nowhere near the worst of the series. People get upset about it because there were no weapons and newt got killed etc, but I seem to remember the no-weapons thing being Sigourny Weavers fault. And frankly, Fuck newt- I don't want to see a child in a fucking Alien movie, unless said child gets mutilated. Newt worked in Aliens, but to keep her going in the next film would have been poor. <p>The quality of the series diminishes with each sequel culminating in the big bucket of shit that is AvP.

  • March 1, 2007, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Glad to hear it's long

    by notbad

    I haven't seen the film yet so obviously I can't say whether or not including all of the stories works for the film - but I'm glad to hear all of this is here. I was actually getting worried that the audience would only get the Graysmith version, since his book was used as a source for the film. If you look into all of the people who surrounded this case and its investigations, you'll find that many people don't agree with Graysmith's account. There are numerous people with varying opinions on what happened and who the Zodiac could be. I think this is another aspect of the story that makes the whole Zodiac case so interesting.

  • March 1, 2007, 9:20 a.m. CST

    forgot about the workprint

    by Lost Prophet

    It is far superior to the cinema release- and is possibly why I keep thinking it is underrated

  • March 1, 2007, 9:22 a.m. CST

    I got horny

    by iwontwin

    watching ripley do the alien in the 4th film, or was that the third.

  • March 1, 2007, 9:41 a.m. CST

    I actually really liked Panic Room

    by StovetopStuffin'

    It may not be his best, but it is by FAR better than 90% of the crap that gets to theaters. And I also really liked that Graysmith wasn't the main focus for the whole movie. It made it feel very real to me. It showed how the killer made an impact in all these people's lives, directly and indirectly.

  • March 1, 2007, 9:41 a.m. CST

    I didn't like "Panic Room" too much and yes I don't

    by Proman1984

    think Fincher is necessarily a genious. That said "Fight Club" was very very good but that's it. Hope this movie is good too.

  • March 1, 2007, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Alien ^3 sucked the cock

    by CTU Mole

    "Let's shit all over Cameron's film, kill all the characters and shave Sigourney Weaver bald just because I'm edgy". Gratefully, he improved after that.

  • March 1, 2007, 9:51 a.m. CST

    RE: "Just IMDB'd the editors on this..."

    by number5withabullet

    First of all, editing has very little to do with the actual content you see on screen. The producers and directors ultimately use their judgement to decide what shows up in the film, so if the film is overstuffed that's likely Fincher's fault. Editing is more about pace and tone, about catching certain moments and making sure scenes don't drag or blow by. It's much more artistic than just deciding what storylines belong in the movie. Just look at some fantastic editing in a movie like, say, "The Wild Bunch." Lou Lombardo made that movie Peckinpah's masterpiece because he knew where the moments of gravity were. Anyways, I hope Zodiac is good, and I'm looking forward to it, but there isn't much worse than a bloated movie WITHOUT asking for it. Great review.

  • March 1, 2007, 9:54 a.m. CST

    wow...an hour's worth?

    by kuguy3000

    Man, am I ever glad that I don't over-analyze my films that much. You guys have it down to a science now, it seems....<br> <BR> An hour's worth of great film here? It's comments like this that really make me question whether or not these 'reviewers' are truly capable of watching a film, analyzing a film, commenting on a film, and then truly deciding on a film, even on multiple viewings, let alone just one. <br> <br>There's absolutely no focus on just enjoying the damn thing, and that's probably why you 'critics' get all huffy when the general public (as they often do) completely ignore you. We all understand that it's people like you that write (or rewrite) the history books, etc, but most of us live in the present...say whatever you want about films in terms of quality and content, but for the majority of us they're entertainment first, aesthetic pieces second.

  • March 1, 2007, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Fincher hates Alien3

    by Saluki

    When Panic Room swung around, he stated there is nothing in Alien3 he would do the same. It really wasn't his project in any real sense either. Then again, he now likely wouldn't do anything from Panic Room the same. He is an ever changing director it seems.

  • March 1, 2007, 10:22 a.m. CST

    FTM.

    by CatVutt

    The whole thing just didn't work for me at all. For starters, the 'twist' to it, I picked up on very early on, which as I said, may have been because I'd recently watched American Psycho, and not long before that, The Sixth Sense, so I was probably predisposed to notice. And though I wasn't particularly enjoying it anyway, when that happened, the movie turned to complete shit because I couldn't buy that the followers would actually buy into psyhosis-boy, and if they did, then they were absolute fucking morons, which completely undermines the oh-so-very-dramatic point that the film seems to be trying to make. It just failed for me on every possible level. That's not to criticize anyone who felt differently, obviously...I just came away with no feeling but that the whole thing was horribly misguided.

  • March 1, 2007, 10:29 a.m. CST

    So If I understand this correctly

    by JohnnyS2

    The studio decided to release a LONGER version of the film as opposed to a version they cut that was 50 minutes shorter? Fincher must've been real convincing.

  • March 1, 2007, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Cheers, CatVutt

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    I get what you're saying. The twist works a little better in the book, but I always felt the film had enough going on in other areas (great performances, photography, soundtrack, design) that I was prepared to forgive it that one flaw, and it never came across as pretentious to me. I supposed people relate to the core idea (self-hating consumer destroys himself so he can build something better) or you don't.<p>Good of you to respond. Most just shout out THAT SUCKS! and run off. Dirty cowards.

  • March 1, 2007, 11:09 a.m. CST

    I think you missed the point, CatVutt

    by CTU Mole

    The point WAS that they were all fucking morons. The speeches about materialism were consistent with the messages in the film but the methods the 'space monkeys' went about were obviously fucked up. That's why the critics who called the film fascist just didn't get it.

  • March 1, 2007, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Okay, before I begin I just want to say one word..300

    by caravaggio

    check out rottentomatoes.com 300 has a perfect 100 so far DARE TO BE DIFFERENT MAS! you're such a star! fart.

  • March 1, 2007, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Seven is overrated...

    by blackmantis

    ...it's 90 minutes of meandering setup that could have been done in 10, for a 10 minute payoff, basically a short film concept (a brilliant one, I'll admit) drawn out to feature length.

  • March 1, 2007, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Am I the only one who didn't like Seven?

    by chrth

    It just didn't do anything for me. And I thought the ending was just ... I don't know, I don't want to say lame, but I can't think of a better word. Yeah, I would've shot Kevin Spacey too--just to shut him up.

  • March 1, 2007, 11:50 a.m. CST

    WHAT'S IN THE BOX!?!?!?!

    by caravaggio

  • March 1, 2007, 11:49 a.m. CST

    I love The Game

    by Slugworth

    I like it better than Seven, but less than Fight Club.

  • March 1, 2007, 11:55 a.m. CST

    I agree The Game was good and

    by kilik777

    Yes Panic Room was weaker than his others but it definitely is still better than the majority of crap out there. Heres some good recent dvd's to look out for. http://tinyurl.com/pv8do

  • March 1, 2007, 12:01 p.m. CST

    Think you missed the point of this one . . .

    by lavaboat

    I think this review speaks more to the reviewer's abbreviated attention span than anything else. This was a case that dominated it's participants for YEARS. I'm guessing this was a film that dominated Fincher for a number of YEARS. In a film like Zodiac the passage of time becomes a character itself, a sort of sad invisible force that quietly carries you along . . . and you barely notice because obssession can be so static. Fincher's working on a big stage here with big ideas and he's brought it in at 160 minutes. The reviewers criticisms are absurd to me.

  • March 1, 2007, 12:07 p.m. CST

    I agree, lavaboat

    by Doctor_Sin

    I mean, I got the impression that the film was not just about the terror of the killings, but the terror of helplessness and futility. We need to see how the killings effect many people in big, significant ways, so that it means something when we see them fall by the wayside as time and frustration wear on. The film is about an "endurance contest" of sorts. Its length, imo, reflects that.

  • March 1, 2007, 12:26 p.m. CST

    There's blame to go around for

    by veritasses

    Panic Room. The acting, screenplay, story and editing all have their issues. That being said, compared to most of the other stuff being made, it isn't all that bad.

  • March 1, 2007, 12:42 p.m. CST

    hey Yack

    by just pillow talk

    Watched Thank you for Smoking last night. It was pretty good...MOD squad meetings were great. And Katie should have been naked...I would have given up my secrets to her anytime...ride 'em cowgirl!

  • March 1, 2007, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Fight Club

    by mrbong

    that was the one with soap, yeah?

  • March 1, 2007, 1:10 p.m. CST

    So we'll all end up liking it more on dvd? Whaetever.

    by nopix

    This doesn't sway me in the least. I want to see everything but the kitchen sink thrown in and explored. It's a fact film. JFK, All The Presidents Men, Sydney Lumet comparisons. Length is fine. Fuck this, if Peter Jackson can get away with whatever length he wants, then a no holds barred film about the long ass Zodiac case should be fine.

  • March 1, 2007, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Dear Massy: Se7en IS THE TITLE OF THE FILM.

    by vivavitalogy

    You hipster fuck. I'll start taking you seriously when you stop ending all your reviews with "smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em."

  • March 1, 2007, 1:28 p.m. CST

    By the way...

    by vivavitalogy

    The LAST thing anybody wants is some 3rd year film school student editing anyhting. Nine times out of ten they are eihter holier than thou hipster fucks who couldn't cut it in the porn industry or disgruntled critics.

  • March 1, 2007, 1:30 p.m. CST

    They made a fighting video game based on Fight Club

    by Spandau Belly

    which I thought totally went against what the movie was saying. I look forward to first person shooters based on Match Point and The Deer Hunter.

  • March 1, 2007, 1:33 p.m. CST

    Alien3 is a terrible film, but I don't blame Fincher

    by successor

    If you watch the Quadrilogy documentary, you'll see that Fincher was put in an untenable creative position. After Vincent Ward left over "creative differences," Fincher picked up the slack and had to make due with an incomplete script that was being rewritten daily. The sets had already been built and they had to make the Summer '92 release date. No director, no matter how great, would have been able to create a good movie with so many things already locked in. Not to mention that it was Hill and Giler who wrote the awful script, with Sigourney Weaver's bad ideas thrown into the mix.

  • March 1, 2007, 1:37 p.m. CST

    The wrong guy....

    by banditmania

    Graysmith gets too many things wrong in his books.

  • March 1, 2007, 1:37 p.m. CST

    After "Aliens" the whole thing started sinking

    by Doctor_Sin

    Sorry, but the second film was the apex of this series and it never recovered. 3 was not as good, which made it look worse. Resurrection was complete garbage. AvP may have sold a couple toys, but was it worth the wait? Hell no. It was sub-Sci-Fi channel bad.

  • March 1, 2007, 1:39 p.m. CST

    Alien3 is underrated

    by TanSnakeGroan

    The Special Edition (not technically Fincher's cut being that he washed his hands of the project) is pretty damn good.

  • March 1, 2007, 1:50 p.m. CST

    The length of the film is necessary.

    by El Scorcho

    I'm seeing this tomorrow but I read the book last year. This case sprawled several separate decades and ruined these men's lives (hence the tagline "There's more than one way to lose your life to a killer"). Graysmith's story alone isn't enough to fill out a film. Toschi and Avery were just as interesting and to leave them out would be a crime. This is simply one of the most fascinating stories I've ever read and I cannot wait to see it on the big screen, by Fincher no less. I was one of the people bitching about the running time of LOTR films and everyone attacked me. I shall use their argument here. This story involved me the way I'm sure LOTR did them and and it just needs to breathe to get its point across. It's not a typical Hollywood package in a nice brown wrapper... that's the point.

  • March 1, 2007, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Yack - best part was arguing over

    by just pillow talk

    which one of their industries kills off the most people...oh, and "you'll make a great father"....<p>I concede the non-movement of my bill...

  • March 1, 2007, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Not Fight Club or 7? Good.

    by Christopher3

    Judging by the trailers, this one has a Pakula/"All the President's Men" look to it.

  • March 1, 2007, 2:29 p.m. CST

    I'm with you Slugworth!

    by theBigE

    No one else here likes "The Game?" It's far-fetched, but fun! I'll wait for DVD on this one. I hate to keep checking my watch in the theater.

  • March 1, 2007, 2:46 p.m. CST

    The Game is a good movie

    by Bob_Loblaw_Jr

    And if there is a Matchpoint first person shooter, can we shoot Woody Allen in it.

  • March 1, 2007, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Fincher

    by number5withabullet

    I'm sure I'll like this movie, even though Panic Room was Fincher's worst movie to date. The evolution of his career is really interesting, actually. For such a stylistic guy he really is an actor's director, with a great eye for nuance and tone. That's what sets him and some of the others apart. Fincher realizes a cool film is more than camera angles and shadows and computer generated shots that go through solid objects. The performances that he commands are always top notch, and a lot of actors evolve themselves with roles in his films. Talented guy. By the way, I really like "The Game" too. It would have been weird if Jodie Foster had played Sean Penn's role like was originally intended.

  • March 1, 2007, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Seven

    by emeraldboy

    stunned me into silence when I saw it. When I left the cinema, i couldnt speak. I couldnt take my eyes off it. Seven and Fight room are finchers masterpiece's. I didnt like panic room. Like the style of sure. The story was a mess. woman buys a fancy apartment. robbers break in looking for something. Then the old turns man Bauchau turns and form that point on i was lost and didnt really care. Foster was good and the daughter. Whittaker, leto were wasted.

  • March 1, 2007, 3:22 p.m. CST

    FTM again.

    by CatVutt

    I'll give you the fact that Fight Club is a great LOOKING movie. No dispute there. I just felt hammered over the head with the central conceit of the thing. And again, good cheer to those who loved it. I'm sure I love a lot of things that other people wouldn't understand.

  • March 1, 2007, 4:50 p.m. CST

    "and the audience begins..."

    by Hail

    "...to wonder what it is they’re watching." Thank god Massawrym knows how the audience is feeling. Otherwise, my personal feelings on the film might be wrong..

  • March 1, 2007, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Epics.....

    by Hail

    ....all epic's need ample running time. If this as a smallscale epic (if such a thing exists) as everyone claims it is, then what's the beef with sitting back an soaking it all in....besides...with ticket prices rising it might as well get my money's worth...

  • March 1, 2007, 6:45 p.m. CST

    THE GAME is his underrated effort, not PANIC ROOM!!

    by Drath

    Why do people never mention The Game? Is it because a life was saved and not ruined at the end? Is it because the very very end felt like a set up for more intrigue we weren't gonna get to see? I don't know, I don't really care since most people bitch about The Game if they metion it all. Unlike Fight Club, which thanfkully recovered from the negativity and is now beloved as it should have been all along--Dr. Strangelove ending and all. I want to see Zodiac, but I'm gonna wait for the DVD. I don't live in the city and for me it's just too hard to get to a theater, and honestly I think these movies are more satisfying when they scare you in what should be the comfort of your own home. Although maybe I'll change my mind if someone I know wants to see it. Strange but Jake Gyllenhaal seems like he was born to be in a Fincher movie. It must be the remnants of Donnie Darko still on him.

  • March 1, 2007, 7:17 p.m. CST

    Black Dahlia

    by Tired Eagle

    Since Fincher couldn't get the studios to sign off on his epic-length Black Dahia pic, he made an epic-length Zodiac instead. Maybe the studios were right about his plans for The Black Dahlia -- although nothing could have been worse than what DePalma did with it...

  • March 1, 2007, 7:46 p.m. CST

    The Game owns your asses

    by THXER

    ...although you might be too dim to realize it.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:01 p.m. CST

    Fincher's past efforts

    by Kizeesh

    Alien 3 is great. Anyone who says otherwise is foolish, yes it has problems, but taken as a standalone movie its very good. Too many folk hate it because it messes with their neatly packaged Aliens ending.<p> The Game is also great, its a tad pedestrian at times but its clever and I think works very well as a character piece.<p> Se7en is just plain brilliance<p> Fight Club is also brilliant.<p> Panic room was very silly and had plot-holes the size of Michigan. It was also very obviously the point where Fincher realised that there was such a thing as too much CGI. Still its well acted and cleverly put together. That is all.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:04 p.m. CST

    Paragon Complex

    by BadMrWonka

    even though almost no one in america uses "an" with "historical", it is considered correct either way. this is because in the word, "historical", the first syllable is unstressed. if he wrote "an history", that would be wrong.<p>if you're gonna be a grammar nazi, you gotta be correct, man...

  • March 1, 2007, 8:15 p.m. CST

    Seven rules, and I enjoy Alien 3

    by Chief Redcock

    I also like Panic Room more than Fight Club. I'm weird, I know.

  • March 1, 2007, 8:31 p.m. CST

    Casey Jones is in this?

    by TheRevengeOfBayouWilly

    I'm in.

  • March 1, 2007, 9:36 p.m. CST

    Se7en was great the first time around..

    by Ironmuskrat

    I remember seeing se7en in the theater and being freaked out by it, I couldn't believe some of the shit I was seeing at the time. Watching it again however plot was full of holes and a bit too clever for its own good, especially watching the ending a second time. Still a great movie, but only if you go into it not having any idea what it is about. Alien 3 would have been a great movie if it had been called Alien 2 and Aliens had never been made. Panic room was good, not great. The Game was great until the end and I thought to myself..you got to be kidding, you can't seriously have me believe people could really pull that shit off with someone getting killed or hurt. Wait a minute, what was this talkback about again? =)

  • March 1, 2007, 10:29 p.m. CST

    Fincher's movies are great when you're 16.

    by I Hope You Die

    Or if you only ever try to watch them once (second viewing leads to embarrassment). And that's only true for Se7en and Fight Club. Possibly The Game.

  • March 1, 2007, 11:58 p.m. CST

    I must be the only person who

    by CherryValance

    loves The Black Dahlia and dislikes Se7en. In fact my abiding memories of Se7en including dark alleys, rain, and spaghetti. I have never understood what was so great about it. Dahlia, you have to watch a couple times to get everything. If you still hate it after that, okay.

  • March 2, 2007, 12:12 a.m. CST

    dahlia over se7en?

    by BadMrWonka

    holy cow, that's interesting. and...um...you know that Fincher didn't direct Dahlia, right? it was DePalma. it was also terrible.

  • March 2, 2007, 1:17 a.m. CST

    "...what story the audience wanted to see"

    by readingwriter

    You wrote: "The version cut by an editor that knew what story the audience wanted to see." What audience would THAT be? The audience that was waiting to see Seven or Fight Club--and what audience was THAT? A work SUMMONS an audience or it appeals to the studio's/filmmaker's invented idea of one. The movies that most stuck with me were the ones I had no idea I would love, the ones that SURPRISED me. This Entertainment Tonight way of thinking is fine for Adam Sandler movies, but why does every movie have to be judged by the standards of the crowd pleaser? Zodiac is (appears to me) an attempt at a large-scale newspaper epic using a serial killer at its center. I'd say that's something different with the material, and shaving it down to be just another "track the killer" movie done well is what's wrong with movies today. If even AICN is calling for the taming of David Fincher movies, we be in trouble.

  • March 2, 2007, 1:17 a.m. CST

    Prefering Dahlia over Seven...

    by readingwriter

    ...is like prefering Zardoz to 2001.

  • March 2, 2007, 1:18 a.m. CST

    preferring

    by readingwriter

    damned Spellcheck-lessness!

  • March 2, 2007, 1:57 a.m. CST

    So, Gyllenal is the Danny Glover in "Saw"?

    by Mike_D

    interesting.

  • March 2, 2007, 8:17 a.m. CST

    Paragon Complex

    by brycemonkey

    As has been pointed out it is 'an historical. It is also 'an hotel' or even 'an hospital'. If English isn't your first language you shouldn't try and correct other people's grammer :-P

  • March 2, 2007, 8:22 a.m. CST

    Zardoz is a much underrated film

    by Kizeesh

    Red Nappy FTW

  • March 2, 2007, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Robert Downey Jr is in the film too

    by BitterMan23

    You mention Clea Duvall but not Downey???

  • March 2, 2007, 10 a.m. CST

    The problem with Se7en

    by chrth

    Is that a lot of it is pointless, or contrived. What if two single cops not interested in allusions were assigned to the case? This is how the movie goes:<p> Detective 1: Well, this is 5 murders so far. Any ideas?<p> Detective 2: Nope. Wanna go get lunch?<p> Kevin Spacey: I'm turning myself in to fulfill the pattern!<p> Detective 1: There's a pattern?<p> [Later]<p> Kevin Spacey: I grew envious of you, Detective 2. I paid a visit to your girlfriend. Become rage!<p> Detective 2: Dude, you kill Cheryl?!? Oh Thank God, I was getting so sick of that bitch. Come on, let's get you back to jail.

  • March 2, 2007, 4:11 p.m. CST

    brycemonkey

    by BadMrWonka

    I know your heart's in the right place, but you aren't entirely correct there. first off, it's always correct and acceptable to write "a historical epic" or "a hotel". the only time you MUST use "an" is with a silent h, as in "an hour". the only time it's acceptable to use "an" with a hard h, is when the first syllable does not carry the emphasis. "an hisTORical epic". so you can't say "an HOSpital".

  • March 2, 2007, 8:31 p.m. CST

    Actually now that I've seen Zodiac

    by CherryValance

    this film takes the exact same stance as The Black Dahlia. People hated that movie because it had little to do with Elizabeth Short and focused on how working on the case affected 3 people. Zodiac had little to do with the victims of the Zodiac or the killer himself and focuses on how trying to find the killer affected 3 people. I guess it just comes down to whether you love or hate either De Palma or Fincher. </p> And Zardoz could use a remake. If it wasn't for that red diaper, it'd be great 70's SciFi.

  • March 3, 2007, 2:08 a.m. CST

    cherry

    by BadMrWonka

    I didn't hate Dahlia because of what it was focused on. I hated it because it was boring, overwraught, and relies on Josh "pearl harbor" hartnett for unfortunately lacking dramatic effect. it was, in my opinion, not merely a partially misguided attempt, it was a train wreck. the last half hour was unbelievably bad.

  • March 3, 2007, 2:35 a.m. CST

    Wow Massawyrm

    by one9deuce

    You have no idea what you're talking about. The film is ZODIAC not ROBERT GRAYSMITH. This film doesn't have a protagonist though-line like most all studio fare does. It's about how Zodiac affected the lives of those trying to catch him. It's really not that complicated. <p> And David Fincher did an amazing job with Alien 3. There is nobody on this planet that was more disappointed with Alien 3 than I was, but the fault most certainly doesn't fall on Fincher. The concept for the film was just totally flawed. And the teaser trailer announcment of "In 1979 we learned that in space no one can hear you scream, but in 1992 we'll learn that on Earth, everyone can hear you scream" sure didn't help. And Sigourney demanding that there not be any weapons was ridiculous. You're a great actress Sigourney, but leave the writing/directing to those that know what they're doing. What was Fox thinking?! Fincher did the best job ANYONE could have done in that situation.

  • March 3, 2007, 2:38 a.m. CST

    And another thing Massawyrm

    by one9deuce

    There is only ONE best cut of any film. Any other version is inferior by default.