“THAT’S THE TICKET” Film review

RETURN TO VOLUME 1 | ISSUE #4 | COVER: LIGHTS

By Todd

I’d personally like to bet that if Cameron Crowe was the man behind Pauly Shore’s films, Pauly never would’ve left the screen. In a long line of instant classics, Crowe’s latest We Bought A Zoo is nothing less than a masterpiece. Bringing poetic dialogue and brilliant, carefully-picked song choices to the menu is nothing new for the teen Rolling Stone editor, who’s breakthrough film 1996’s Jerry Maguire had audiences everywhere cheering in theaters and laughing while simultaneously crying.
 
Don’t overlook extended close-up gazing and a plethora of themes and special meanings – upfront and hidden – and a winning formula that’s so tightly and cleverly woven together that you wouldn’t realize how brilliant it is till you’ve watched it over and over. Even upon the first viewing, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment at the Zoo.
 
Matt Damon stars as a recently widowed father who packs up his belongings and his two children and moves into a farmhouse that comes with a catch. “We bought a zoo!” exclaims his darling little daughter, as her older brother escapes in unresolved bitterness and teenage turbulence. How these issues will all be resolved becomes the adventure that leads Damon and his new team, through the jungle and back in order to save the animals, and put their will to the test so that the zoo’s summer opening is successful.
 
This touching film is the story of a man losing his first true love and struggling with the ultimate conflict of letting go. Crowe brilliantly captures the essence of the enormous pain involved in loss and letting go.

This isn’t a complete drama though. Interlaced throughout the film is an incredible ensemble team of actors who flawlessly bring colourful romantic and comedic ingredients to the pot. Elle Fanning – Dakota’s little sister – plays a farm-girl with an eye on Damon’s son. Kelly (Scarlett Johansson) instantly has her eye set on Benjamin Mee (Damon), meanwhile Benjamin’s brother Duncan (Thomas Haden Church) and the inspector (John Michael Higgins) will all have you in stitches – and I’ve only scratched the surface.
 
So if you’re looking for a feel-good family film, look to the Zoo… if you’re looking for a drama/romantic comedy, look to the Zoo, if you’re looking for an overall GREAT cinematic experience, once again, look to the Zoo… go inside, sit and relax, and turn off your cellphones for a while. By the way, this film is based on a book by the real-life Benjamin Mee.

Released: Dec. 23rd, 2011 in Canada
Director: Cameron Crowe
Cast: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and Thomas Haden Church 
Runtime: 124 minutes

(If you’re still in the world of playing films on a disc-player of some-sort, films are still being sold and packaged that way. Lemme show ya!)

THE HANGOVER, PART TWO – Available on Blu-ray/DVD/Download as of January 12th
 
Finally Todd Phillips’ response to the success of the original blockbuster 2009’s The Hangover, finds it’s way into your house in a way that almost makes up for it’s poor response (you’re hard to please aren’t ya? It’s okay). It comes complete with original featurettes including an examination of Phillips’ comedic film technique, as well as an intimate exploration of Bangkok led by Mr. Chow himself!

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