Movie Reviews 13

Signs
Poor old Mel Gibson has been in the news again and for all the wrong reasons. Lost in all this morass of bad publicity and character assassination is the otherwise fine work he has provided over the years. One of my favorites is the movie Signs. This is another one of director M. Night Shyamalan’s oeuvres that I learn to appreciate more and more after each viewing. Signs is not your typical alien invasion movie. It not only delivers a fresh perspective of the invasion from the point of view of a remote farming family, but provides a unique family perspective even without the alien factor. It’s got creepy moments, bits of comedy, suspense and drama. I do have a bit of the problem with the eventual invasion inhibiting factor, something that I think was a bit of a stretch even from a alien biological point of reference. But that one point aside, I think it’s a great movie.

Zombieland
Just another Zombie movie? Not really. This comedy has a lot in common with others like it which starts out with the ‘whole world has been infested’ scenario and we get to follow a few people that, for one reason or another, have managed to stave off being bit. An inept teenage boy first meets a hardened and skilled zombie killer who reluctantly takes him as a passenger. They meet up with two sisters, but the sisters have a greater survival strategy that does not include the men and the movie alternates between everyone being friends and everyone being on their own. It’s all good zombie killing fun with a special appearance by everyones favorite SNL lounge singer. The big question is not so much as to whether the gang escapes the zombie hordes as much as it is all about finding the last remaining edible Hostess Twinkies on the planet. Next best zombie comedy to “Shaun of the Dead”.

Trick’r Treat
A quartet of loosely related stories all taking place on one Halloween night. I must say that I had higher hopes for this one based on some reviews. Not a bad movie, but nothing spectacular either. I guess it would be good for a fun Halloween night movie after the real Trick’r Treating has been done.

Zodiac
Ah, the Zodiac serial killer. A real life drama used to scare kids at night once they’ve grown past the Boogeyman credibility. He made international headlines throught most of the 70’s and, for all intents and purposes, remained one of those few never solved cases. Or was it unsolved? This movie is based on the book written by the former San Francisco (Chronicle) artist who was intrigued enough to research the case even beyond the digging done by the crime reporters and investigators at the time. And the movie is told from his perspective as he slowly collects the information over the years until it became an obsession. Starring Jake Gyllenhal, as the obsessed artist, Mark Ruffalo as one of the investigators that worked the case and Robert Downey Jr. as the newspapers crime reporter, the movie documents all the leads and suspects. In the end we are led to believe that one of those suspects probably really was the Zodiac. I’m not sure how ‘true’ the representation and facts depicted are in the movie, but if they are accurate and documented, it sure makes a compelling case. More importantly, the many facts and even false leads are presented in a highly entertaining way. I give it a thumbs up.

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