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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No, the guy who directed The Wackness and All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is not remaking the Ridley Scott movie starring Tom Cruise and a unicorn. Too bad about that. He is, however, working with Twilight producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey to adapt Marie Lu‘s novel Legend to film. Read More »

Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and witches, sure — but how do you make a zombie sexy? Well, it probably helps if he looks like Nicholas Hoult, to begin with. Summit Entertainment announced yesterday that the Skins star (that’d be the original U.K. version, not the U.S. one) had been cast as the lead role in Jonathan Levine‘s zombie romcom Warm Bodies, based on the novel by Isaac Marion. While it’s sure to follow some of the same beats as all of those other star-crossed paranormal romances, the idea of a zombie love story is just unusual enough to pique my curiosity. Read more details after the jump.

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Producer/star Seth Rogen‘s cancer comedy has endured at least two title changes, two directors and two lead actors. So it seems fitting that its new, and final, title is 50/50 and Summit will release it on September 30. Directed by Jonathan Levine (The Wackness) the film stars Rogen as well as Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the title role, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Philip Baker Hall and Angelica Huston. 50/50 is based on the true story of Will Reiser (who also wrote the screenplay), “a producer on Da Ali G Show and Best Week Ever, who was diagnosed with cancer in his mid-20s and successfully battled the disease over several years.” Michael Giacchino is rumored to be writing the score as well. There’s more information after the jump. Read More »

Jonathan Levine, the director of The Wackness, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane and the upcoming dramedy Live With It, has submitted his list of the top 10 movies of 2010. Levine’s list is the most unique I’ve seen from a filmmaker this year, including a few selections I haven’t seen on any filmmaker or critic top ten list this year. Read the list after the jump.

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Jonathan Levine to Direct ‘Little Girl Lost’

Jonathan Levine has signed on to direct Richard Aleas‘ hardboiled crime novel Little Girl Lost for Universal Pictures. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World screenwriter Michael Bacall will pen the screenplay adaptation You might remember that Levine is the director of one of our favorite films of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival — The Wackness.

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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 »

Jonah Hill

Jonah Hill has signed to star in The Sitter, a comedy described as Adventures in Babysitting meets Superbad. The story follows a suspended college student named Noah who gets talked into baby-sitting the eccentric kids next door — two boys and a wild 8-year-old girl.

Last year I had a chance to read an early draft I read was pretty great. The Adventures in Babysitting comparison is good, as it is basically an R-rated version of that film. For example, Noah drags the kids along while he stops at a drugdealer’s house to pick up some coke for a girl he is trying to get with. One of the boys ends up stealing something valuable from the drug dealer’s house which sets up a chain of events which just keep snowballing in scale and hilarity.

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