Monday, March 05, 2007

The Weekend in Reviews

Since I saw two movies this weekend, which is more than I've seen in like six months, I'll post this entire entry in review format.

Ventura: *****
I started the weekend by headin out to Ventura on Friday night. The drive out was nothing compared to the fun had for the entire weekend. I always enjoy goin out to Ventura, as that's where all my high school buddies reside and it brings back memories of a better, more easy living point in my life. I know Ventura better than Santa Barbara, and everywhere I go I know someone out there. Good food, good times, and probably the funnest group of guys ever was what I experienced this weekend. Signified by Snapper Jack's Taco Shack, a couple nights at HM's condo, and a bunch of cool friends, this weekend could have only been made better by having a longer weekend. Unfortunately Ventura can't do anything about that, so I still give this town five stars.

Zodiac: ****
This movie was long but enjoyable, and far better than 2005's "The Zodiac". There was a decent crew in the film, including America's on again off again drug addict Robert Downey Jr. Backing him was the never-aging Jake Gyllenhaal. Also included are a bunch of big-ish names that haven't been around in forever, including Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, John Carroll Lynch, and Elias Koteas.

The Zodiac killer started his reign of terror in 1966 when he killed a young female student. He sent an anonymous letter to the police department of the local county, which hadn't picked up any leads on the evidence left at the crime scene. Over decades the Zodiac killer would murder young men and women across three other counties, while intermittently sending letters and coded messages to local newspapers as well as to the local police departments. While many suspects were questioned, no one was ever convicted as the serial killer.

During the murders Robert Graysmith (Gyllenhaal), an employee of one of the local newspapers, took it upon himself to follow the murder trail of the infamous murderer, with decoding his messages while searching for the man's identity. Even years after no one had heard from the Zodiac killer, Graysmith continued with his research and eventually led police with convincing evidence back to one of their previous suspects. Unfortunately, after nearly twenty years since the murders began, the prime suspect died and the case has remained one of California's biggest unsolved crimes.

While the story may be years old, it is still considered one of great intrigue and mystery by those who followed it. Ruffalo and Edwards played decent roles of detective buddies while showing the growing frustrations with the case that had developed over the years it was being worked on. Robert Downey Jr. is one of my favorites and he has another stand out role in this movie, playing a drunk loud-mouthed reporter. The only complaint I have about this crew is that Jake Gyllenhaal physically cannot look old. So while the entire cast ages in the movie over the two decade span, Gyllenhaal's character still looks 12.

With the story being old and played out as it is, "Zodiac" did a great job of keeping it entertaining. With a couple witty lines and a comic relief in Downey Jr., there was just enough content to keep your head locked in for the two hour and forty minute running time. Overall I'd give it four stars and a see-if-you-can.

Black Snake Moan: ***(*)
This movie serves it's customers an interesting, insensible plot with a steaming side of hot naked southern chick. With Samuel L. Jackson playing the lead, one can only wait to count how many "MUTHA FUCKA!!"'s are going to be shouted throughout the film. Christina Ricci plays a uhh....standout....role in this one as well, sort of weirdly complimenting Jackson's bold character.

The blonde Ricci has definitely slimmed down since her early childhood years, and in no way resembles her chubbier roles a la "Casper". She has no problem showing off her modern-day body in this movie and, thanks to her character being a nymphomaniac, spends most of the first half of the movie in near nakedness. Breast showing is abundant and many men were heard popping wood in the theater for most of the showing, as the blonde with the southern accent was seen in very provocative sexual scenes.

I actually laughed out loud when the unadvertised Justin Timberlake shows up for a supporting role. You can rest assured knowing that his acting is just as bad as it sounds like it would be. It was fortunate that he isn't seen much in the film, though I think they could've found someone for his part that doesn't make you smirk every time he tries to do a serious job.

The story takes us along with a slutty, trashy, southern blonde, Rae(Ricci) who goes on a sexual rampage when her boyfriend leaves town to join the Army. She ends up partying too hard one night and ends up getting left in the road at the end of the driveway belonging to the newly brokenhearted Lazarus(Jackson). Lazarus ends up finding out about the young girl's troubles and takes it upon himself to fix her up. He confines her to his farm set home and of course the two eventually take a strong liking to each other, in a completely platonic way of course.

The storyline was out of the ordinary, and Timberlake had a chance to ruin the movie, but the badass-ness of Samuel L. Jackson and the nudity of the sexy Christina Ricci brought this movie to about a three-and-a-half star rating. Since Ricci was so generous with her body in this movie, I bumped that extra half star up to a full four-star shoutout. If it were up to me, you should go this movie MUTHA FUCKA!!

Total Weekend: *****
Including the movies, the food, the friends, and the DoD'ing, I give this weekend a definite five-star pull. I always feel like I need a break at the end of the week, but returning for a weekend of fun at my "hometown" of Ventura always takes me beyond the boundaries of break and sends me right into feeling like vacation mode. I'll be hangin out with HM next Friday when we hit up the iMax for the premier of "300", I can't wait for that. If all goes well we'll have to tear up LA while we're down there.

Until next time.

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