Michael Shannon is second to none when it comes to channeling intensity, but as the lead of Ariel Vromen‘s The Iceman he could be more frightening than ever. Shannon stars as real-life mob hitman Richard Kuklinski, whose touching devotion to his family masks a knack for cold-blooded killing. (Though he maintains a soft spot for women and children in both lives.) The brutally effective Kuklinski is believed to have murdered over a hundred people before his four-decade career ended in 1986.

There was a little back-and-forth on the film last year, when it looked for a while like it might fall apart altogether after James Franco dropped out of a major role. But they’ve managed to make it work, with Chris Evans taking over for Franco and Franco returning a smaller part. Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer, and Stephen Dorff are also among the supporting cast. Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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While the Madagascar franchise has never drawn Pixar levels of respect (what does, really?), for kid-oriented entertainment you could do a lot worse that these films. The series has generally been cute, mildly amusing, and totally inoffensive — which may not sound like glowing praise, but that’s a lot more than I can say for Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked — and the newest entry, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted seems to be along the same lines.

Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada Pinkett Smith are on board once again as a quartet of Central Park Zoo animals just trying to get back to New York. Unfortunately, they wind up in Europe instead, where they’re chased by a ruthless animal control squad led by Capitaine Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand). In an effort to escape their clutches, they take up with a circus traveling across the continent, meeting new friends like Vitaly the tiger (Bryan Cranston), Gia the jaguar (Jessica Chastain), and Stefano the sea lion (Martin Short) along the way. Watch the first full trailer after the jump.

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For a while there it looked like Ariel Vromen‘s The Iceman was on the verge of falling apart, as James Franco dropped out of the project. But the hitman biopic is moving along with David Schwimmer and Chris Evans added to the cast in recent weeks, and now Winona Ryder has boarded the picture as well in a role once slated for Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Ryder will play the wife of mob contract killer Richard Kuklinski, a.k.a. The Iceman (Michael Shannon), who’s unaware of the true nature of her husband’s career. Ray Liotta and Ryan O’Nan will also star.

Based on interview footage and Anthony Bruno‘s book The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer, the picture is scheduled to begin production early next year in Louisiana. [Deadline]

After the jump, a former Everybody Loves Raymond star gets fired by a former The Office star, a Broadway adaptation casts a Broadway star, and a trio of rising Brit talents sign on for an artsy romance.

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A movie starring Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer, Frances McDormand and Sacha Baron Cohen could get even the most casual movie fan excited. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is exactly that, and yet I’d be lying if I said I was anticipating this one. The series follows a group of Central Park Zoo animals who were shipped back to their native continent and get into crazy adventures trying to find their way back to New York. In this installment, they’re traversing Europe as incognito members of the circus. Directors Eric Darnell and Conrad Vernon present the third theatrical film in the animated franchise, in 3D, on June 8. Check out the trailer below. Read More »

Hot off two of the year’s most buzzed-about performances in Albert Nobbs and Martha Marcy May Marlene, Glenn Close and Elizabeth Olsen have signed on to star in Thérèse Raquin. Charlie Stratton is writing and directing the erotic thriller, which is based on a 19th century novel and play by Émile Zola. Olsen will lead the cast as the titular young woman, who’s pushed into an unhappy marriage by her overbearing aunt (Close). Thérèse eventually falls into a passionate affair with her husband’s friend Laurent, with destructive consequences for all involved.

Close has reportedly been attached to the film for years, though Olsen’s involvement appears to be a recent development. Thérèse Raquin is scheduled to begin shooting this spring. [Entertainment Weekly]

After the jump, David Schwimmer gears up to kill people and Saoirse Ronan gets another love interest for The Host.

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When I first saw the Apple listing for a trailer for Trust, I got excited that Hal Hartley’s deadpan 1990 family drama might be getting a rerelease. (It isn’t on DVD, but is streaming on Netflix.)

Instead, this is a trailer for David Schwimmer‘s second directorial effort, in which a 14-year old girl (Liana Liberato) develops an online relationship with a boy who (shocker) turns out to be not quite what he pretended to be online. The film premiered at TIFF last year, and there was an early trailer cut at the opening of the fall. Now check out this more final trailer, after the break. Read More »

There’s a lot of small casting news today. Let’s kick off with word that Spongebob Sqaurepants himself, Tom Kenny, will once again lend his voice to a robot in the third Transformers film, Dark of the Moon. He voiced Skids (one of the generally reviled ‘racist’ bots) and Wheelie in the last film, but we don’t know what character(s) he’ll be voicing this time. [Popeater]

After the break, Frances McDormand voices a rare villain role, and the Sam Raimi-produced Dibbuk Box gets a lead. Read More »

MPAA Rejects Appeal to Lower R-Rating for ‘Trust’

David Schwimmer’s new film, Trust, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September and was initially rated R by the MPAA. The film chronicles a 14-year old girl’s encounter with an online sexual predator and its aftermath for her and her family. The MPAA rated the film “R” for “disturbing material involving the rape of a teen, language, sexual content, and some violence.” Like the folks behind Blue Valentine, Trust distributor Millennium Entertainment appealed the rating, hoping to get the film a less restrictive rating so it could be seen by teenagers, potentially as a cautionary tale.

We’ve now learned the MPAA has upheld the R rating given to Trust. Hit the jump for some more details behind the decision.
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