The Devil Wears Prada and Marley & Me director David Frankel has a new comedy coming out later this year that centers around an energetic subculture: bird watchers. OK, perhaps not so energetic. The Big Year stars Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black, all of whom are competing in an annual bird-watching event. As a drama it might not be riveting stuff, but as a comedy there’s potential. See the first full image of the three leads below. Read More »

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Anyone with reservations about whether or not they’ll enjoy a cancer comedy can check those feelings right now. Summit has just released the first trailer for the fantastic new film 50/50, the true story of a young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is diagnosed with cancer at 27 and given a 50/50 chance of survival. The studio is obviously aware that “cancer” and “comedy” generally don’t mix so they’ve been screening the film early and I’m happy to say that 50/50 (formerly titled I’m With Cancer) is hilarious and poignant. Director Jonathan Levine (The Wackness) is able to balance the serious with the funny in an incredibly accessible and entertaining way. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen so far this year.

Written by Will Reiser, the person the movie is about, 50/50 also stars Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Anjelica Huston and Bryce Dallas Howard. It’s scheduled for release September 30. Check out the trailer after the jump. Read More »

I was a huge fan/supporter of Jonathan Levine‘s 2008 film The Wackness, which premiered years ago at Sundance and got dumped at the box office by Sony Pictures Classics. Levine has had some tough luck in terms of distributors — his debut feature, the critically acclaimed horror film All The Boys Love Mandy Lane premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, yet has still never gotten a US release (both theatrically and even on dvd/blu-ray). But as they say, the third times the charm, right?

50/50 (originally titled I’m With Cancer) is an autobiographical story based on the experiences of Will Reiser, a producer on HBO’s Da Ali G Show and VH1′s Best Week Ever. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Adam, a 27-year-old who is diagnosed with cancer, and his sometimes funny “struggle to beat the disease.” The film, funded with Summit Entertainment’s giant pile of Twilight money, co-stars Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston. 50/50 won’t hit theaters until September 30th 2011, probably after a film festival run. We should see a trailer next week.

I’ve heard some amazing buzz about the film, and now I have something in print. /Film Reader Ben has seen a completed cut of the film, and has filed a reader review (much in line with what I’ve heard). Read his thoughts after the jump.

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Seth Rogen

For the last two years or so, we’ve been reporting on Summit Entertainment’s Untitled Cancer Comedy, which was formerly titled I’m With Cancer. The movie finally has an official title: Live With It, clever eh?

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thomas-dekker-footloose

Because I know that casting news on the delayed remake of Footloose is what you’re all more hungry for than anything else, here’s the only casting note that matters this week: Thomas Dekker (Heroes, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles, Kaboom, A Nightmare on Elm Street) is apparently the latest top candidate to play ‘Two Degrees of Kevin Bacon,’ as, if cast, he’d step into the shoes of Bacon’s classic character from the original film.

Zac Efron and Chace Crawford have both been linked to the film, but in the last few months they’ve passed, and the directorial baton has been handed from Kenny Ortega to Craig Brewer. This isn’t hard and fast casting, though, so there’s still a chance  (There’s also an open casting call for guys 18 and up to play high schoolers.) [LAT]

After the break, better news, because it doesn’t involve the Footloose remake. Read More »

speedy-gonzales-lopez

Consider this a courtesy report on the fact that New Line is making a film based on the Warner Bros. cartoon character Speedy Gonzales, with George Lopez providing the voice of the character. Because, like the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies, the Garfield films, et al, this one is a movie purely for the kids. As an adult who always thought the character was the worst of WB’s stable, this sounds awful.

Speaking of Garfield, the writers behind that first movie (Alex Sokolow and Joel Cohen) are writing Speedy, which will be a live-action/CGI hybrid. Anne Lopez, wife of George, says “We wanted to make sure that it was not the Speedy of the 1950s — the racist Speedy. [He's] going to be a misunderstood boy who comes from a family that works in a very meticulous setting, and he’s a little too fast for what they do. He makes a mess of that. So he has to go out in the world to find what he’s good at.” My guess: he doesn’t become Mexico’s cultural ambassador to the UN. [THR]

After the break, Anjelica Huston and Philip Baker Hall help make the cast for Rogen and McAvoy’s upcoming ‘cancer comedy’ look more like one for a Paul Thomas Anderson movie. Could there be any more ridiculous story pairing? OK, sure there could, but it probably won’t happen today. Read More »

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City Secrets guides have been called “the best literary gift to travelers since the Baedeker and Henry James” by the Financial Times, providing charming travelers’ companions to the world’s most fascinating cities. What made them different than the usual travel guides is that City Secrets offers reflections and discoveries from the authors, artists, and historians who know each city best.

Earlier this year City Secrets released a book titled City Secrets Movies: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Cinema’s Hidden Gems, which promises to take an “intimate, insider’s approach to the arts, featuring brief essays and recommendations by esteemed figures in the film industry—including actors, directors, producers, and critics—and other writers and figures in the arts.” Contributors of the book include Wes Anderson, Ken Auletta, Alec Baldwin, Adam Duritz, Milos Forman, John Guare, Arthur Hiller, Anjelica Huston, Barbara Kopple, Sidney Lumet, Simon Schama, Martin Scorsese, and Kenneth Turan, among many other film experts.

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Choke Movie Poster

Choke

Fox Searchlight has released the teaser poster for the Clark Gregg‘s big screen adaption of Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk‘s Choke. The poster features a silhouette of Sam Rockwell choking on either Kelly Macdonal or Anjelica Huston. Either way I’m not sure I get the symbology, but it’s certainly a cool looking image.

You can read my fanboy review from Sundance or Mel Valentin’s review from SXSW. Fox Searchlight told us that Mel might actually be quoted in some of the pre-release advertising (“vulgar, crude, profane, blasphemous, obscene, and, best of all, hilarious” – Mel Valentin, SLASHFILM.COM).

Choke Movie Poster

Official Plot Synopsis: Victor Mancini (Rockwell), a sex-addicted med-school dropout, who keeps his increasingly deranged mother, Ida (Huston), in an expensive private medical hospital by working days as a historical reenactor at a Colonial Williamsburg theme park. At night Victor runs a scam by deliberately choking in upscale restaurants to form parasitic relationships with the wealthy patrons who “save” him. When, in a rare lucid movement, Ida reveals that she has withheld the shocking truth of his father’s identity, Victor enlists the aid of his best friend, Denny (Henke) and his mother’s beautiful attending physician, Dr. Paige Marshall (Macdonald), to solve the mystery before the truth of his possibly divine parentage is lost forever. The film is adapted from the best-selling, critically acclaimed novel by Chuck Palahniuk.

Choke will open in theaters on September 26th 2008.

source: Fox Searchlight via IMPAwards

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