Justin Zackham

Dolphin Boy

And now for something entirely different. Variety reports (via ComingSoon) that Walt Disney Pictures have picked up the film rights to Dani Menkin and Yonatan Nir‘s 2011 documentary Dolphin Boy in order to turn it into a narrative feature. Dolphin Boy, you say, that sounds charming! A boy and his dolphins! Swimming free! Free Willy with dolphins, nature’s smartest aquatic creature! Aww! Wrong. The synopsis for the original film doesn’t shy away from tossing out terms that we might necessarily associate with the House of Mouse – terms like “violent attack,” “before hospitalization in a mental institution,” “devastating havoc that human violence can wreak upon the human soul,” and more! I’m devastated just reading about this film. If you’re into having your soul pulled out through your throat, the doc’s full synopsis reads as such: Morad – a teenager from an Arab village in the north of Israel disconnects himself from humans following a violent attack that he experienced. As a last resort before hospitalization in a Mental Institution, he is taken by his devoted father to be treated with Dolphins in Eilat. Morad starts speaking again after months of silence, but he erases his past and refuses to go home to his awaiting mother. This documentary about the devastating havoc that human violence can wreak upon the human soul, and about the healing powers of nature and of love, was filmed over the course of the past four years. Not wrenching enough for you? Check out the trailer for […]

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The first trailer for Justin Zackham‘s Big Wedding is not funny. What is funny about it, however, is how absolutely crammed it is with just about every bad hallmark of romantic comedies we’ve come to expect from the genre in the last decade or so. There’s the laughable premise – an adopted man forces his divorced parents to pretend to be married so that his deeply religious biological mother doesn’t (what? take him back?) freak out during his own wedding. There’s a soundtrack cobbled together with overused (and, frankly, nonsensical in context) tunes like “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “What I Like About You.” There’s a couple of pugs (awww). There are hijinks. There is an entire sequence of the family’s patriarch getting punched in the face. And there is an all-star cast crammed into the sort of boxes we’ve come to expect from all of them – Susan Sarandon is oversexed! Robert De Niro is silly! Diane Keaton is uncomfortable! Katherine Heigl is brittle! Robin Williams has forgotten he used to be a comedic genius! Topher Grace is…also there! Check out the film’s bizarrely SNL-like trailer after the break, if only to see De Niro get tapped.

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Justin Zackham, the director writer of The Bucket List, has a new indie comedy in the works that already boasts a pretty impressive cast. Gently Down the Stream will star Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton as a divorced couple who pretend that they are still married during their adopted sons wedding, in order to avoid offending his birth mother. Apparently she hates divorced people or something, even though giving a kid up for adoption is A-OK. I don’t know; I’m sure the movie will explain it better than I do. In addition to De Niro and Keaton, the film will also star two young, blonde actresses in Katherine Heigl and Amanda Seyfried. I find the inclusion of these two particular interesting because they are both good actresses who have done a string of really bad movies, and yet Heigl gets a really bad rap for her choices, but Seyfried’s haven’t seemed to have caught up with her yet. Perhaps the difference is that people really loved Seyfried in things like Mean Girls and Mama Mia! and nobody has really liked Heigl in anything since, uh, My Father the Hero? No, wait, she was the niece in Under Siege 2. That movie totally owned. Regardless, I have a weird thing where I will see pretty much everything that Seyfried is in, no matter how bad it looks, but whenever I hear Heigl’s name I always groan. It will be interesting to hear how people respond to the news of this […]

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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