October 28, 2016
        Ten Contenders will compete for Best Documentary Short Subject                "The Circle" and "The Lost City of Z": Which potential 2016 contenders got bumped to 2017?                Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Stacy Keach at Hollywood Film Awards                Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster        

Cameron Crowe reunites with “Famous” friend for “Zoo”

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Cameron Crowe’s last great movie, “Almost Famous,” came out nearly 11 years ago. Since then, he delivered a surreal psychological thriller (“Vanilla Sky”) and a personal romantic project (“Elizabethtown”), but both left most people cold.

Yet Crowe remains one of those filmmakers fans want to see succeed, because he has demonstrated such storytelling potential, and we track his moves hoping he’ll return to the inspirational realms of “Jerry Maguire” or “Say Anything.” So it’s encouraging to hear that Crowe plans to reunite with his “Famous” lead as he continues to cast his next project.

That would be Patrick Fugit, who reportedly has joined the already impressive ensemble for Crowe’s adaptation of Benjamin Mee’s memoir, “We Bought a Zoo.” The film stars Matt Damon as a man who cashes in his life savings to purchase a rundown British zoo. Colin Ford has been cast as Damon’s son. Thomas Hayden Church will play Damon’s brother. Scarlett Johansson is negotiating to join the drama, and THR says Fugit is on board. His role, however, is being kept secret.

The premise sounds intriguing, especially once you learn that Mee had to care for his wife, who was suffering from brain cancer, as he readied his new zoo for opening. But I am a little disappointed that Crowe is working from someone else’s material and not penning his own screenplay. Usually there is so much of Crowe’s heart and soul in his characters’ dialogue. Perhaps the rejection of “Elizabethtown” burned Crowe more than we thought?

Or maybe he just saw something in Mee’s memoir that demanded he get involved. We’ll know more next year when “We Bought a Zoo” opens in theaters.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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