Leftovers: King of California, Zodiac, Gone Baby Gone
By Zach Patterson Friday, 14 Mar 2008

For some reason, I can’t seem to ever commit to a full review of a movie, but I’ll throw a few words at the screen about them anyway.

King of California

Michael Douglas stars as a father who is released from a mental hospital, and explores the strained relationship with his daughter, Evan Rachel Wood, who has essentially had to grow up without him. The movie has a bit of that modern art house feel to it, in which it is a bit of a slow paced and quirky tale with unusual characters. The movie is essentially carried by the persona and charisma of Douglas, who puts in a fine performance as an unbalanced dad who is convinced that there is treasure underneath a Costco in California. Wood plays the young girl who has become the adult with her relationship with her father, but nonetheless buys into his eccentricity and bonds with him over what is essentially a wild goose chase. Their complicated relationship makes the movie, and it has a pretty exciting ending. If you are in the mood for a lighthearted, indie flick, this is a pretty solid choice.

Zodiac

Zodiac is a David Fincher film (director of films such as Seven and Fight Club) that follows the Zodiac Killer murders through the 1970’s. I personally wasn’t all that familiar with this story, so the movie was fairly new ground to me. However, the movie is pretty brilliant, and definitely the best directed one by Fincher yet. It’s another slow but methodical movie (clocking in around 2.5 hours), and there are Oscar worthy performances all around. The movie just has fantastic casting, with Jake Gyllenhall leading the way as the obsessed cartoonist that tries to find the Zodiac killer, Robert Downey Jr. as the quick-witted alcoholic journalist, Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards as memorable and likable detectives, and even bit players in good roles like Brian Cox and John Carroll Lynch. The movie really just pulls you into the era, and Fincher creates an amazing replica of the life and times of the 70’s, and additionally the panic that the Zodiac caused. I think this film largely got ignored by a lot of people, but is a great drama crime noir, and very recommended.

Gone Baby Gone

Ben Affleck definitely has a future in directing. His first turn as a director in Gone Baby Gone turns out to be a pretty awesome movie. The movie follows the abduction of a young girl and main character Casey Affleck’s private investigation into the crime. The movie has some great twists and turns, and in contrast to the previous two movies I talked about, moves pretty quickly. It’s also got a nice sense of humor, which doesn’t get in the way of what is a pretty serious crime drama. The movie also presents an excellent division point for the ending where your own personal morality will likely play into it, and you cannot really blame either side for the decisions they make. Also, really great performances by Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, Casey Affleck, and Michelle Monaghan. Probably my favorite movie I’ve seen so far this year.

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