MARCH 2007

BLACK SNAKE MOAN: Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake, S. Epatha Merkerson, John Cothran Jr., David Banner, Michael Raymond-Jones, Amy Lavere, Kim Richards (Written and directed by Craig Brewer; Paramount Vantage) Little Christina Ricci's been trying to grow up for the longest time, and it looks as if she's made it at last in this blast of steam heat from Craig Brewer, the no-holds-barred director of “Hustle & Flow.” The former kid star plays Rae, perhaps the trashiest tart ever to call Tennessee home. After seeing her sex-sated lover (Justin Timberlake) off to the war in Iraq, she embarks on a sizzling fling with her favorite drug dealer, followed by a drunken night of debauchery with a gang of horny yokels who leave her bloodied but not exactly bowed on a country road. Eventually she is rescued, chained and held captive by a religious nut (Samuel L. Jackson) whom she does her darndest to seduce. Todd McCarthy, writing in Variety, seemed a mite seduced by sex kitten Ricci himself. “She is a feral animal, a force of nature,” he wrote. “A wild thing with a ferocious physicality and a sexuality like Vesuvius in its prime. Her Rae is Eros unplugged, unquenchable, inexhaustible.” To read McCarthy’s complete review, click here. Now Playing

ZODIAC: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards (Directed by David Fincher; Written by Jamie Vanderbilt; Warner Bros. and Paramount) David Fincher, who proved he knows all there is to know about coaxing audiences to pay the price of admission for nerve-shattering punishment in “Seven,” “Fight Club” and “Panic Room,” is at it again. This time he’s zeroing in on a true crime--make that crimes--story, the still unsolved mystery of the Zodiac, the fiendishly playful serial killer who deliberately left “clues” behind after murdering at least 37 San Franciscans during the 1960s and ‘70s. Based on Robert Graysmith's "Zodiac" and "Zodiac Unmasked: The Identity of America's Most Elusive Serial Killer Revealed," the thriller stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Graysmith, the young San Francisco Chronicle journalist who cut his reportorial teeth covering the grisly stages of the case. Gary Oldman plays Marvin Belli, the ace attorney who, in 1969, received a lengthy, revealing--but not revealing enough--Christmas greeting from the Zodiac. To read Diane Baroni's 2001 interview with Jake Gyllenhaal, click here; for details on many more new biopics, click here. Now Playing