Posts Tagged ‘crime movie’

David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’ explores the complicated saga of a twisted California killer

February 23, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
Feb. 23, 2018

David Fincher’s sprawling 2007 thriller, Zodiac, tells the true story of the hunt for a notorious California serial killer through the eyes of a cop tasked with finding him and a cartoonist who became obsessed with the case.

The movie begins on the evening of July 4, 1969, when a gunman fatally shot a 22-year-old waitress and seriously wounded her friend in Vallejo, and ends with a short coda in the early 1980s. (This was actually the Zodiac’s second confirmed attack.) Although one of the last scenes shows Mike Mageau, the survivor of that Vallejo incident, identifying a suspect as his assailant, no one was ever formally charged with the Zodiac’s murders.

That lack of closure is one of several frustrating things about Zodiac, which begins as a rather conventional movie about a serial killer and then evolves into something more complicated.

Early on, the narrative focuses on a crime reporter and political cartoonist at San Francisco Chronicle, to which the killer repeatedly sent missives, and depicts a number of vicious attacks. After one of these — the October 11, 1969, killing of cab driver Paul Stine — two San Francisco homicide detectives steal much of the spotlight.

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Two fine lead actors plus lots of action makes ‘2 Guns’ slick and stylish but empty fun

August 10, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
Aug. 10, 2013

The Denzel Washington-Mark Wahlberg vehicle 2 Guns is a slick and stylish but vapid entertainment.

The movie, set alongside the U.S.-Mexico border, features its starring pair as Bobby Bean and Michael Stigman, handsome and dynamic crooks who have an in with the drug cartel run by Big Papi Greco. Bean (Washington) turns out to have more than a few secrets, the least of which is that his real name is Robert Trench. But Stigman has a secret or two of his own — as do all of the organizations with which he, Trench and Greco are connected.

2 Guns’ plot kicks into high gear when Trench and Stigman rob a small-town bank patronized by Greco. Expecting to come away with $3 million in drug cash, the men instead haul away an extra $40 million. That caper makes the two men into targets; they’re hunted not only by the enraged Greco but by an unexpected collection of players both known and unknown.

Naturally, the film features plenty of well-staged car chases, fisticuffs and gun fights, although the climactic battle isn’t quite as fresh (or as clearly executed) as preceding action set pieces. There’s also a plot that’s just twisty enough to contain a few entertaining surprises but not twisty enough to be unnecessarily confusing. Read the rest of this entry »

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