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Matt Damon News Column
Zoo reviews, Elysium
  • The pre-taped interview with Matt and Gary White by Christiane Amanpour on This Week to discuss water.org is available here.

  • Various photos from the set of Elysium are available at Movieland.

  • We Bought A Zoo was previewed on 800 screens over the weekend and reactions were very positive - from a box-office summary:

    Fox got some strong buzz going for its Cameron Crowe drama We Bought a Zoo starring Matt Damon thanks to roughly 800 sneak previews on Saturday. The studio reported sell outs in all types of markets throughout the heartland and the coasts with an average capacity of 70-75%. The PG-rated film skewed towards adult women with females making up 57% of the crowd and 65% being 25 and older. An incredibly high 95% of those polled rated the film as "excellent" or "very good" so positive feedback is already building.

  • Positive reviews of the film, and Matt's performance in particular, are at Hollywood Reporter, HitFix and First Showing. Matt's award prospects are mentioned at the Hollywood Reporter - below.

    Early reactions to the film, which had its first sneak screenings this weekend, have far exceeded most people's expectations, and the best feedback has gone to its star, who is one of Hollywood's most likable personalities on screen (as captured in this film) and off.

    Hollywood Reporter review
    The force that binds the disparate characters together and anchors the story in emotional truth is Damon’s Benjamin. His struggle gives the movie a soulful pull, even at its most predictable. Whether he’s pleading with an ailing Bengal tiger not to give up the will to live, lost in melancholy solitude or yelling in frustration at his son about a shared pain that neither of them can express, Damon brings integrity and intrinsic decency to a character just searching for the courage to emerge from grief.

    But I've seen what naked manipulation looks like, and that's not "We Bought A Zoo." It's just a film that wears its emotions right out front, and somehow, Crowe is able to brush aside any thoughts of what people will or won't think and just focus on building those moments that he does so well, those heartbreaking little moments of magic that have been the main currency of his career. "We Bought A Zoo" is lovely, delicate, and absolutely worth seeing with your family this holiday season.

    First Showing
    Maybe it was just the mood I was in that night, maybe it was the fact that had just flown in earlier in the day from a wonderful visit with my family for Thanksgiving, maybe it was just that outstanding of a film made with a genuine passion by everyone involved. Whatever it was, it got to me, and I found myself wiping away tears multiple times, laughing often, and walking out with one of the warmest, happiest feelings one could wish for leaving a movie theater.
  • 11 comments or Leave a comment
    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 28th, 2011 04:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

    general thoughts

    I was just thinking that this is Matt's year to lighten his image. Between The Adjustment Bureau and We Bought A Zoo he has two winning performances where he really gets to let his charm out. It's a tribute to his depth as a person that after 12 years as a major movie star he's still able to show colors the audience hasn't seen before. I also think it's very clever after the gravity of Bourne and some of the dramas he's done to showcase that side.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 28th, 2011 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Not everbody is running down Matt's Oscar chances. Here's a terrific early mini-review from the New York Post:

    WE MET A ZOO: Cameron Crowe makes a delightful comeback after "Elizabethtown'' with this endearing, family-friendly tale with lots of other animals that will get a two-day jump on "The War Horse.'' Matt Damon has a shot at a Best Actor nomination for his career-best performance as a recently widowed father of two who buys a dilapidated zoo. This is the first time I've ever liked Scarlett Johanssen, who's wonderful as a tough zookeeper who becomes Matt's love interest. Her first nomination, in support, is not out of the question.

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/movies/oscar_watch_war_horse_the_iron_lady_wDzyB0xHGphMmIR14oECVJ#ixzz1f1urnhvG
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 28th, 2011 08:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Lou Lumenick again. He liked it.
    From: jennaz123 Date: November 29th, 2011 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)

    Excellent film

    I saw "We Bought A Zoo" last Saturday with my husband. Honestly, I could tell he wasn't that excited to see it, but he already knows that we always see Matt Damon movies as soon as they open, so he was resigned to it. When the movie was over, he turned to me and said, "That was a REALLY good movie. I'm glad we saw it!" Around us, the response was also very positive. Quite a few people applauded the film when it was over.

    I'll admit, I was a bit worried that this film would come across like a Hallmark movie. However, there's just enough emotional grit to keep the sweetness from turning saccharine, and much of that has to do with Matt's performance. His nuanced restraint grounds the film, making it feel more real.

    While I'm not really expecting any award nominations, I do think that if the film really connects with the public (as "The Blind Side" did), there may be an outside possibility something could happen. "The Blind Side" only scored a 66% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the public loved it, and before you knew it, it was nominated for an Oscar. What's interesting to me is that many of these early Zoo reviews, most written by men, are surprisingly emotional. If there can be as many as 10 Best Picture nominees, and this film really hits home for enough Academy voters, I wouldn't be surprised if it actually stood a chance.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 29th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Excellent film

    Thanks for your comments and detailed response. In my mind I've been comparing Zoo to Blind Side as it's a movie that will very likely receive a strong audience response and generate good will to those involved.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 29th, 2011 09:40 am (UTC) (Link)


    Entertainment Tonight had a behind the scenes look at Zoo on Monday's show. Elle Fanning and Colin Ford go to the same school, in different grades.

    Scarlett's first public quote about Matt: "He's a lot of laughs when it's that time and when it's down to the work he's focused. He's just a gem."
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 30th, 2011 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)

    New Zoo clip

    New clip from Zoo:

    In the Zoo trailer shown in Australia, they've removed the word 'American' from the line: "I'm trying to give them an authentic American experience."

    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 30th, 2011 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: New Zoo clip

    They should have removed it from the movie itself - it really makes no sense. But I'm sure no-one in Australia has ever encountered any wildlife (HAHAHAHA). The new clip is fun though :)

    Also, that lawsuit against Tobey Maguire for the poker stuff that Matt and Ben were somewhat associated with has apparently been settled for just $80,000.

    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 30th, 2011 08:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

    New Elysium photo

    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: November 30th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)


    From: (Anonymous) Date: November 30th, 2011 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Bourne

    Is it just me I don't know but I'm not at all interested in this Bourne movie. I understand hes not replacing Matt but I don't see the purpose of it. (well if only for the studio to make money off of the Bourne name). And Matt seems to be wearing the same thing throughout this Elysium shoot. Only once have I seen him in something else. (the prison jumpsuit). Wonder if he'll make it to the luncheon tomorrow.
    11 comments or Leave a comment