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Christian

Zodiac

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I just moved this to the top of my queue. I didn't like it in the theater at all, I just found it long-winded and boring, as if the top of Fincher's roller coaster was well in front of Panic Room and it has just been downhill ever since. Benjamin Button is one thing -- I'm fairly certain that while it was semi-OK in the theater, time and space have convinced me that I won't even try it again. But Zodiac is a different bird for me. I didn't like it in the theater, but it appears on way too many Top 10 of the Decade lists. Gotta give it one more try and see if I was simply in a fouly that day.

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To love ZODIAC, which I do think is a pretty excellent film in most respects (aside from Gyllenhaal, it's pretty damn fantastic), you have to have a real fondness and hunger for historical detail. It's going to seem long-winded to anybody who's not interested in the amount of information and accuracy Fincher's intending to deal out, but it's exactly those qualities that make ZODIAC so impressive. He's not intending to dress the case up so much as he is trying to present it, following the rhythms of actual police work, and the beats of the case itself.

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It's definitely a film for lovers of the procedural: loose ends, dead ends, and once in a while, a hint of some truth. I had a hard time with it the first time as well, but subsequent viewings were rewarding.

Edited by TBeane

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Ryan H. wrote:

: To love ZODIAC, which I do think is a pretty excellent film in most respects (aside from Gyllenhaal, it's pretty damn fantastic), you have to have a real fondness and hunger for historical detail.

Heh. I'm the guy who watches HBO's Rome on DVD with the historical text-commentary track turned on, just so I can pick up all the historical references. So, yeah, fondness and hunger, definitely. :)

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TNT and TBS came out with their list of original programming that would airing over the next TV season, and listed a number of projects in development, including this one...

GRAYSMITH - Based on the life of cartoonist, writer and part-time private detective Robert Graysmith (author of Zodiac and many other books), this series will follow the renaissance man himself as he uses an unconventional approach and unusual skills to solve crimes. GRAYSMITH comes to TNT from Scott Free Productions and executive producers Ridley Scott (Robin Hood, The Good Wife) and Tony Scott (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, The Good Wife) and executive producer/writer Dan Gordon (The Hurricane).

I didn't catch the words "loosely based" anywhere here, but I'm guessing that's the case.

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The AV Club posted a very nice look at the movie for their essay series The New Cult Canon.

Yeah. It has me chomping at the bit to watch the film again.

Actually, have to say me too. Believe it or not. But I think I'm just as excited to see the club's review of Inside in a few weeks.

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I'll read the AV piece, and I suspect it will only heighten my appreciation of this brilliant film, but I want to register my distaste at the title of the article series: The New Cult Canon.

Can we please not call a big-budget studio film a "cult" film? I realize the term has taken on loosey-goosey definitions/connotations over the years, but I don't see how anyone could think of Zodiac as a cult movie. Just because it was overlooked upon its initial release? That's not a good enough reason.

Edited by Christian

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I'll read the AV piece, and I suspect it will only heighten my appreciation of this brilliant film, but I want to register my distaste at the title of the article series: The New Cult Canon.

Can we please not call a big-budget studio film a "cult" film? I realize the term has taken on loosey-goosey definitions/connotations over the years, but I don't see how anyone could think of Zodiac as a cult movie. Just because it was overlooked upon its initial release? That's not a good enough reason.

I've always taken "cult film" to mean a movie that has a devoted fanbase, but was otherwise ignored by the mainstream even if released widely. This could include big-budget movies as well. Where do you get your definition?

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I have always interpreted that column similarly. There is also a predictive element here, such that the writers think these films will someday still command a very avid following among a smallish group of people. These are films that have staying power despite their initial commercial reception.

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I'll read the AV piece, and I suspect it will only heighten my appreciation of this brilliant film, but I want to register my distaste at the title of the article series: The New Cult Canon.

Can we please not call a big-budget studio film a "cult" film? I realize the term has taken on loosey-goosey definitions/connotations over the years, but I don't see how anyone could think of Zodiac as a cult movie. Just because it was overlooked upon its initial release? That's not a good enough reason.

I've always taken "cult film" to mean a movie that has a devoted fanbase, but was otherwise ignored by the mainstream even if released widely. This could include big-budget movies as well. Where do you get your definition?

Granted that "cult" means a "small, devoted base of followers" (according to some definitions I just looked up, to confirm), but the term "cult movie," when I was coming of age, was applied to Troma and other mostly low-budget films ("Repo Man" -- was that a studio movie?). It rarely was applied to major studio releases, which had scads of promotion and were characterized as either hits or failures, both artistically and commercially.

Edited by Christian

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Well, the Star Trek films were produced by Paramount, and they were always described as having a "cult following", were they not? Certainly compared to the Star Wars films, which went mainstream in a big way.

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Well, the Star Trek films were produced by Paramount, and they were always described as having a "cult following", were they not? Certainly compared to the Star Wars films, which went mainstream in a big way.

Were they? I always thought the show had a cult following, and that the first movie was generally characterized as "not all that great," or worse. Things took a turn for the better with Wrath of Kahn, but I don't know if "cult movie" ever occurred to me as a descriptive term.

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Granted that "cult" means a "small, devoted base of followers" (according to some definitions I just looked up, to confirm), but the term "cult movie," when I was coming of age, was applied to Troma and other mostly low-budget films ("Repo Man" -- was that a studio movie?). It rarely was applied to major studio releases, which had scads of promotion and were characterized as either hits or failures, both artistically and commercially.

Repo Man was one of the first films I thought of after your post from earlier, and yes, it was a major studio film.

I've always considered cult films to include everything from low-budget b-movie fare (Ed Wood's stuff), big studio stuff that tanked but found a niche audience after its initial release (Big Lebowski is a good example here), rediscovered genre gems (Carnival of Souls), and so on. Zodiac was considered a commercial flop, even though it at least broke even. And despite the critical appreciation the film received (and love from film fans), it seems to have more of a quiet, fantastical fanbase than, say, Fight Club or Social Network.

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I've been persuaded that my concerns about the term "cult movie" were misplaced.

Now onto the article itself.

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Jason Panella wrote:

: Zodiac was considered a commercial flop, even though it at least broke even.

Well, that's debatable. Box Office Mojo estimates it had a $65 million production budget -- which doesn't include prints & advertising -- and says the film grossed less than $85 million worldwide (with less than half of that coming from North America). If you figure that theatres keep at least a third of the box-office revenue, then no more than $57 million went back to the studio. That's a net loss even BEFORE we take the cost of prints & advertising into account.

DVD, Blu-Ray, TV and other revenue streams might have made up for the loss further down the road. But I think it's safe to say the film did not break even during its theatrical release.

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Harris Savides, DP on Zodiac, as well as The Game, Milk, Elephant, Birth, Somewhere, and other films and music videos, has died. He was 55.

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Man claims the Zodiac Killer was his father.

 

Stewart, a vice-president at a cleaning company in Baton Rouge, alleges that his father was the Zodiac Killer, who is believed to have killed at least five people in Northern California, and famously sent letters and cryptograms to Bay Area newspapers. The murders were never solved.
 
Stewart reached the conclusion that his father was the serial killer after twelve years of research, Tina Andreadis, a publicist at HarperCollins, told me today.

 

 

Wasn't it not too long ago that another guy was claiming his father killed the Black Dahlia? Either offspring make the best detectives or....

Edited by NBooth

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Streaming on Netflix.  Caught it last night.  Couldn't sleep afterwards.

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12 minutes ago, Buckeye Jones said:

Streaming on Netflix.  Caught it last night.  Couldn't sleep afterwards.

I watched it once, years ago, and certain scenes have stuck in my head in a way few films manage. I recently bought the DVD, so I'll be interested to see what I think of the whole on my imminent rewatch. Nobody in Hollywood does darkness like Fincher.

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