Academy Awards, Zodiac, Black Snake Moan, The Astronaut Farmer, The Host
Film critics Beth Accomando and Scott Marks join These Days host Tom Fudge for a review of the Academy Awards, as well as new films currently in theaters, including Zodiac, Black Snake Moan, The Astro
Tom Fudge: Today, we'll talk about four new movies with Beth Accomando and Scott Marks. Before we start talking about the new movies, which today include Zodiac and Astronaut Farmer , we're going to spend a few minutes reflecting on this year's Academy Awards. They were doled out on Sunday. And this year Director Martin Scorcese's long wait came to and end. The maker of Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Taxi Driver won the "Best Director" Oscar for his movie The Departed . The Departed , by the way, also won the award for "Best Picture."
The first new movie we'll talk about today is Zodiac . This film, from director David Fincher, is based on the true story of the Zodiac Killer, who terrorized Northern California in the late sixties and early 70s. Zodiac killed multiple victims and he taunted the police and the press with his cryptic communications. To this day, the killer has not be caught or convicted. Although, if you see this film you'll find that it has a strong opinion about who the Zodiac killer was. The movie focuses on the lives of the men trying to catch the killer, including a police detective, a reporter and a political cartoonist who gets hooked on the case. The movie stars Jake Gillenhahl, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo. Zodiac opens in area theaters this weekend.
The movie Black Snake Moan takes place in rural Tennessee. The movie follows two basic story lines. One involves a young white woman whose boyfriend is in the Iraq war. While her boyfriend's away, the young lady has sex with just about anyone she can find until she gets drugged out, beat up, and left by the side of a road. The other main character is a black blues singer who gave up music when he found the Lord. The blues singer finds the young woman passed out, takes her home, and nurses her back to consciousness. He then gets the excellent idea of chaining her to a radiator so he can cure her of her nymphomaniacal demons. Black Snake Moan is directed by Craig Brewer, who also directed the critically acclaimed Hustle and Flow . The movie stars Samuel L. Jackson as the blues singer and Christina Ricci as the wayward girl. The movie additionally features lots of blues music, southern landscapes and many shots of Ricci in her underwear. Black Snake Moan opens this weekend in area theaters.
The Astronaut Farmer is the latest film project from the Polish brothers. The film making duo of Mark and Michael Polish are known for low-key, quirky movies like Twin Falls Idaho and Northfork . And The Astronaut Farmer fits the pattern. In this movie, Billy Bob Thornton plays Charles Farmer, a middle-aged Texas rancher and former fighter pilot who once trained to be an astronaut. Though he quit the space program, he never gave up the dream of blasting off. And he's become the talk of his small town because he's building a rocket in his barn. Charles Farmer is dead serious about launching his rocket, and riding it in space -- and half the town thinks he's nuts. Meanwhile he's going broke and he's attracting the attention of the FBI, as they get wind of his attempts to buy rocket fuel. The Astronaut Farmer is currently playing in area theaters.
Our final film for this show is a Korean movie. And it's called "Hey! Don't pour those toxic chemicals in the River! You'll create a mutant, killer slug!!" Actually, the movie is called The Host . But the title I suggest gives you a good idea of what this movie is about. The Host is a monster movie about a mutant killer slug. It's also about a family that confronts the beast to save one of its children. So far audiences are loving this film. In one month last year, The Host became the biggest box office hit in the history of South Korea. The Host opens March 9 and Landmark's Ken Cinema.
- Beth Accomando, KPBS film critic.
- Scott Marks , film critic for the Gay and Lesbian Times .
Break 1 Music: Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan, from the album Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968)
Break 2 Music: Old Black Mattie by R. L. Burnside, from the album Black Snake Moan (Music form the Motion Picture) (2006)
End Music: The Great Gig in the Sky by Pink Floyd, from the album Dark Side of the Moon (1973)