We Bought a Zoo (2011) Film Review

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Adventure writer Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) is coping with the loss of his wife and raising two children when he decides to buy a zoo. It’s a run down place that needs a series of renovations to bring up to code to open in the summer, and has a skeleton staff who are dedicated to keeping the animals as best they can despite a lack of money. Working with them, in particular Kelly Foster (Scarlett Johansson), Benjamin finds a way to run the zoo and connect with his kids.

I think this was marketed as a film for kids, but I think it is too sad for many kids. And then there are a couple of bit with animals which I found a bit scary, but stick a bear in a film and I just expect the worst. But I don’t think it is for adults, it is just too child focussed. I believe it did well at the box office. It’s okay. Though I was distracted whenever the little girl was onscreen – she is just far too ridiculously adorable.

 

Almost Famous (2000) Film Review

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It’s the seventies. William Miller (Patrick Fugit) is a fifteen-year-old boy with an unusual mother who has driven his older sister away, but as she left, she gave him her records, and rock and roll started to save his soul. Driven by his passion and some advice from legendary rock journalist Lester Bangs (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), he manages to make friends with Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) and starts to hang out with Stillwaters, an up-and-coming band. Before he knows it, he is on tour with them; a teenager playing it older, out of his depth and learning a lot.

It felt real. It seems ridiculous that a young boy could end up in this situation, but I can imagine that, in the seventies, it could happen. I really liked the fact that everyone was effected by things; not just Patrick, not just Penny Lane, not even just Russel Hammond (Billy Crudup), the guitarist in the band and love interest for Penny. But also the other band members and the other groupies and especially Patrick’s mother, played by the almost wonderful Frances McDormand. This would be an excellent film for teaching film; not only does it hit all the marks, but it is interesting and fun and moving and ace.

Almost Famous won an Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Cameron Crowe) and was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kate Hudson), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Frances McDormand) and Best Film Editing.