Sunday 10 August 2014

IMDb Bottom 100 Review – Number 76 Zodiac Killer

German cinema has been a major player since the earliest days of movie making, with master pieces churned out as early as the 20s. Perhaps the war (yes, I'm mentioning it) put a halt on that, because only a few bright stars have shone on the German movie night sky since. The flick we're dealing with tonight never shone anywhere. It imploded upon itself as soon as it was conceived. German cinema may never recover from the damage caused by...

I don't think you could look more German than this.

This is the first of a few movies on this list, defecated out by one Ulli Lommel, the only person in Germany that Uwe Boll has any reason to fear. Ulli Lommet may exploit the same German tax-loop hole that Boll is, I don't know. And to be perfectly honest with you, I can't even summon a single fuck to give. Fact of the matter is, he's making movies and we, and the German people, are paying the price. It kind of amazes me that people like Lommel and Boll settle on movie making as a profession, when it's blatantly clear that they are absolutely horrible at it. This movie we're looking at here, Zodiac Killer, I don't even... it's just.. no. Just no. And furthermore, it's actually taking itself seriously. Which just adds to the insult I already felt watching it. The craft of movie making is manhandled in such a degree, I don't even understand how anybody could edit it together and not immediately want to hang themselves. Last week we looked at Barney's whatever Adventure, and the keener readers among you will remember, that I wasn't overly fond of it. But at least I could respect it for catering to its audience. That was a kid's movie, and thus it was just good old fashioned stupid and annoying. I get that. This movie, however, is supposedly a grown up thriller suspense type movie. And it's just not up to the task. It's laughable, throughout. And not laughable in the 'haha I totally see what you did there' way. It's laughable in the 'Does anybody in this production see what anybody did here?' way. So there's that.

Buddy cops awkwardly searches the intrawebz for infomation

The Zodiac Killer, or Ulli Lommel's Zodiac Killer (there already is a movie from the 70s called 'Zodiac Killer' so because Lommel's not imaginative enough to come up with an alternative title, they just stuck his shitty moniker in front, and went with it) isn't really about the Zodiac Killer. Big surprise (actually it was surprising. But not in a good way)! It's about a dude who works in a retirement home. Ok, so there's more to him than that, but also not? He is dissatisfied with the way some of the relatives treat their octogenarian parents and grandparents, and starts killing some of them (the relatives). As a sort of punishment I guess. He alludes to the actual Zodiac killer in some way, which puts an ex-cop, who used to work on the Zodiac case, but has since retired and lives off of writing books about the killings, on to the case. He teams up with the policeman working on the current case, and we have ourselves a pretty neat little retired cop comes back to help less experienced, but determined, cop solve a case based on old clues and references trope. It could potentially work. It doesn't, however, actually work. Because nothing is believable, and everything is shitty.

Murder was the case. If nothing else, it looks realistic.

I'll leave the specific details about how they go about unraveling the mystery out. Partly because I know you'll be rushing to your nearest video vendor slash on-line streaming site looking for this, and I don't want to ruin that moment for you. Partly because I honestly am not sure how they unraveled it, because nothing in this movie really makes any sense. Least of all the unraveling part. But nonetheless, they do detective work and check clues and follow up on leads, and solve the damn thing. What do you know. Only not really. Confusing? Yeah, that's about right. You see, the overall plot isn't really that confusing. Guy starts killing, cop looks at clues, establishes motive, seeks out connections and finds the dude. However, it's completely convoluted in a mess of weird disconnected scenes and happenings, leaps in the story, throwbacks, and all kinds of other annoying things that shitty directors seem to have a knack for putting in their movies. So you're constantly sitting there thinking 'what... why... how?'. Yeah OK, so I should be kind of used to that by now, but for some interesting reason it still takes me by surprise. The movie ends and I'm left wondering what I just spent 90 minutes watching. That's a weekly recurring event, so I usually just file it under 'oh well that happened' and move on. The 'Oh well that happened' cabinet is slowly filling, though, and I don't know what will happen when it floweth over. We will worry about that later, right? Right.

Even a hardened mass murderer needs a little R&R from time to time.

Ulli Lommel, the director, must be a moron. There, I said it. He's part of a not so exclusive club of morons apparently, that crank out movies just because it's a possibility. I've no idea how I would fare as a director. Perhaps it's really hard to maintain a grip on things such as story and plot, or character development. Perhaps the real problem is, that these low end productions are underfunded, so hiring script supervisors or whatever else position exists to make sure a movie is consistent, just isn't a possibility. This in no way excuses the fact, that the movies are actually made. Because they shouldn't be. But I guess it explains why we, and in a higher degree me, get subjected to a weekly 70-90 minutes of sinus infected donkeytwaddle. We'll get back to Lommel later on in this list, sadly, because the guy just doesn't chill the fuck out, does he? I was visited by a German friend, who also happens to be a Film and Media Science major, and was scrolling past another of Lommel's films in my media center. She recognized it, and apparently his name is well known to most people in Germany. I don't know how to feel about that, except an all encompassing sadness that they are subjected to his mindless bullshit on a possibly regular basis. But it was interesting to me, how a piece of pretty national pop culture like that, has made it to the international Bottom 100 list. I took a look at this with our very own Stjerner uden Hjerner a few weeks ago, and I'll look at it again later on, what with a host of Indian and Turkish flicks yet to come (groan).

I had forgotten this subplot. A group of masked individuals sit around a table throughout the movie, and discuss this case as if they know precisely what's going on, and are debating whether to stop it or let it happen. It leads to nothing. It means nothing. It's a waste of time. 

I guess what most pisses me off about this flick is what also pissed me off the most about a movie like Troll 2. That somebody sat down, and wanted to make a very serious film, and it just turned out to be infinitely stupid and wasteful. Take a movie like Plump Fiction or It's Pat. Those movies are wedged deep within the realm of the outrageously stupid. But at least I'll give them credit for being made tongue in cheek. They still didn't work, but at least it felt like they made it knowing it was kind of shit. Some of the older movies like Santa Clause kicks Martian ass, or the one about the monster from some lagoon, I kind of excuse those with it being the 60s and shit was different then. But watching Zodiac Killer or Troll 2 (or a lot of the other ones, but these two are particularly pertinent right now) I get the distinct feeling, that some cornball out there has made it feeling like it was actually going to be a good film. And somehow that offends me. And I'm not easily offended. I'm aloof, most of the time. I don't give two shits about most things. Still, this really pisses me off. I feel like I'm not being taken seriously as a viewer. Perhaps that's the reason these flicks are in this list to begin with. I assume it is. You, being both perceptive and abrasive, could very well be thinking “dude, just like stop watching these movies, if it's such a drag for you”. And you'd be right if not for one thing: Shut up.

I forget what the deal is here. But I felt the picture needed to be here. 

Fact is Zodiac Killer makes no sense really. It's kind of halfway shot as a documentary. We see the Zodiac Killer commit his atrocities, we see where he lives, we see how he interacts with the cops. There is nothing suspenseful about it. Nothing exciting. Furthermore, and this is another B100 stable, there is way too much slow motion shit where there needn't be. Like most of the scenes involving the killer is slowed down, and kept kind of like a dream sequence in a 90s sitcom. The whole movie has a weird fuzzy quality to it, like it wasn't shot with proper lightning. Which may not be far from the truth, but even so it's still annoying. But the slow motion stuff is just classic. Like it will somehow make the scene more interesting. It's the film equivalent of making your essay take up more space with a slightly large font and line spacing. It may pass by the untrained eye, but if you have any clue what's going on, you spot it immediately. The acting in this is subsubpar. That's right. It's below subpar acting. Plenty of the actors are Germans speaking English, it seems, which isn't really a big issue in itself, but it doesn't really lend credibility to a character who is supposedly a rugged American veteran cop, and he has a noticable German accent. It worked for Arnold, because he was, well, Arnold. It doesn't work for Ulli Lommel. Not in the least. So acting stinks this whole film up too. Are there any redeeming factors to this? No. No there is not. And I'm not even sorry to say that there isn't, because I do not want anybody to watch this flick if I can help it. I'm serious. Do not watch it. If you have kids, watch Barney. If you don't have kids, but want to punish yourself by watching a shitty flick, watch 3 Ninjas High Noon at Mega Mountain. It's not good, but it's watchable. This isn't.  



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