In 2006 the film All the Boys Love Mandy Lane generated some buzz in the midnight program at Toronto. The director, Jonathan Levine, went on to make films such as The Wackness, 50/50, and Warm Bodies, and star Amber Heard made her way into other genre fare including Zombieland and Drive Angry, as well as films such as The Rum Diary.

Harvey Weinstein lined up to buy All the Boys Love Mandy Lane at TIFF, and his Dimension label walked away with the distribution rights. But the failure of Grindhouse cooled Weinstein’s interest in the movie, and it was sold to Senator, which proceeded to do nothing with the film. For seven years it has collected dust on a shelf.

Now, ironically, Radius-TWC, the digital arm of The Weinstein Company. has picked up the Mandy Lane rights, and the film will finally be released this year. Read More »

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It’s no coincidence that the official website for author Isaac Marion includes glowing blurbs from both Stephenie Meyer and Simon Pegg. Marion’s novel Warm Bodies, and Jonathan Levine‘s film adaptation of same, owes as much to Twilight as it does Shaun of the Dead. It attempts to infuse some self-aware humor into a tale of star-crossed inter-species romance. Ultimately, however, the combination turns out to be less than the sum of its parts.

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Both paranormal romances and zombie thrillers have abounded on the big screen in recent years, but next year’s Warm Bodies promises to do something a little different by combining the two subgenres.

Directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50) based on the book by Isaac Marion, the zom-rom-com follows an unlikely relationship between the handsome-but-undead R (Nicholas Hoult) and the very-much-alive Julie (Teresa Palmer). The promos we’ve seen so far suggest a movie that’s equal parts sweet and funny. Now the first four minutes have come online, giving us a better look at R and the grim, gray world he inhabits.

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There’s a short new trailer for Warm Bodies, the zombie romantic comedy from director Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Wackness), starring Nicholas Hoult as a zombie who falls for a human girl (Teresa Palmer). It’s the classic wrong side of the tracks romantic setup, complete with the girl’s father (John Malkovich) being a guy who is opposed — really, violently opposed — to the idea of their relationship.

Malkovich gets a bit more play in this trailer, which, despite being only one minute long, is probably more effective than the first longer spot for the film was. Read More »

As a genre, the zombie film is pretty thoroughly mined at this point. There has even been a zombie romantic comedy (or zom-rom-com) that made a few fans. You’ve probably seen Shaun of the Dead four or five times by now.

But Warm Bodies, from director Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Wackness, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane) might not be as redundant as the idea of another zom-rom-com might seem. It plays with the tropes of rom-coms and zombie films even more, creating an exaggerated “wrong side of the tracks” romance where, in this case, the “track” in question is actually the line between life and death.

See, Nicholas Hoult is a zombie, but when he meets Teresa Palmer, his heart starts to beat again. Her father, John Malkovich, isn’t too keen on this. Eventually, it seems other zombies are edging back towards life, too, but in the meantime there’s some weird comedy and romance to play with. Two trailers for the film have hit today, and through them you can start to get an idea of how the mix all works. Read More »

Spy films, especially ones that might turn into series, are like crack for studios. Few efforts actually pay off in regular franchises — if duplicating Bond’s success was easy, every studio would have its own Bond — but that doesn’t stop many from trying.

In 2008, Warner Bros. bought the rights to Jon Stock‘s novel Dead Spy Running, which follows suspended MI6 agent Daniel Marchant and opens with a setpiece in which a bomb is attached to a marathon runner. At the time the novel was unpublished, though it was planned as the first of a trilogy of novels. (The second book, Games Traitors Play, was published in 2011.) McG was attached to direct, and Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana) was set to write, which is a big step above McG.

There was a point last year when McG stepped away from directing and was hoping to get Gaghan to take the job. But the screenwriter has other directorial prospects, and now the team is in talks with Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Wackness) to direct. Read More »

If you have any spare sympathy cards lying around, might want to address one to Nicholas Hoult. The actor had a good turn last year in X-Men: First Class, and had two films set to release in 2012: Jack the Giant Killer and Warm Bodies. But last month Jack was pushed to March 2013, and now Warm Bodies has been pushed from August 10 of this year to February 1 of 2013. Read More »

Here’s the first look at Warm Bodies, which stars Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer and is directed by Jonathan Levine, whose film 50/50 was released not long ago. (He also made All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and The Wackness.) Warm Bodies has been described in short as a zom-rom-com — that’s a zombie romantic comedy — and this first picture makes it appear to be positioned squarely in the Twilight space. That’s a bit odd, since nothing Levine has done before would have suggested that he might aim for the Twilight audience. But this is a Summit film, so perhaps the company sees this as a successor to the soon-ending vampire series.

See a bigger image and refresh yourself on the basics of the film, after the break. Read More »

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