Weekend Preview March 2

We movie lovers can finally breathe a sigh of relief because the movie year has finally gotten started in earnest: Zodiac [my review] is spectacular, one of the best crime movies ever made. If you're heading out to the multiplex this weekend, this should be your first choice. Do not be daunted by the film's running time of two hours and forty minutes -- that kind marathon length can be butt-numbing, but not here. David Fincher (the guy who made Seven and Fight Club) clips through a brisk account of the notorious Zodiac, who terrorized the Bay Area in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This is an absolutely riveting look at one of the greatest unsolved cases in the history of serial murder. And the cast -- Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo -- is electrifying. Seriously, do not miss this film.

Seriously, do miss Wild Hogs [my review], an abysmal sitcom that is little more than middle-aged-male wish fulfillment, and still cannot manage to be a good example of that. Even Tim Allen, who's done a lot of crap, should be ashamed of this ... and I still haven't figured out what the usually delightful and intelligent William H. Macy was thinking when he signed on for this. I hope they paid him obscenely well, though it's hard to see how any amount of money could ease a crushed soul. And I only merely saw the movie -- imagine what it must have been like to actually participate in the production of it.

Black Snake Moan is a tough call -- I rated it "Fresh" when I linked my review at Rotten Tomatoes, but it's right on that good/bad cusp. Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson are awesome, and they have a wonderful kind of chemistry that has nothing to do with the usual kind of male/female dynamic we typically see onscreen, so there's a mark in its favor. On the other hand, the film is nowhere near as provocative as the whole black-man-keeping-a-white-girl-in-chains premise would lead you to believe. Big picture: this is a disappointment, in more ways than one, cuz I loved Hustle and Flow, the last movie from Craig Brewer, loved that film's audacity. This one is just playing at audaciousness.

MaryAnn Johanson
author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride
minder of FlickFilosopher.com