We’ve already seen a couple trailers for ParaNorman, the new film from Coraline-animating studio Laika, but I’m not going to complain about the release of one more. The film is about a boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who has to use his ability to communicate with the dead to save his town, and this new UK trailer has a few new bits of footage.

Most notably, there is a lot more footage of the big old bum voiced by John Goodman. There are other new bits showing off the characters voiced by actors like Jeff Garlin, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Leslie Mann, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Elaine Stritch, and Tucker Albrizzi, too. Overall, this continues to look like a cute, clever family film that should play well for kids and those who love horror and animation. After all, who can resist Laika’s great stop-motion work? Read More »

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It’s a good week for fans of all-ages stop-motion animated films with a deathly twist. Just yesterday, we showed you the trailer for Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, and we now have a new trailer for ParaNorman, the upcoming feature by Coraline studio Laika.

Kodi Smit-McPhee lends his voice to Norman, a misfit kid with the ability to see and speak with the dead. When an ancient curse is unleashed, however, his unique abilities make him his community’s best hope for salvation from the attacking supernatural forces. The film boasts an excellent cast that also includes Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Leslie Mann, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Elaine Stritch, and Tucker Albrizzi. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Whether the world really needs another Romeo and Juliet adaptation is up for debate, but Carlos Carlei‘s upcoming film boasts some intriguing talent, at least. The script comes from Gosford Park and Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes, while young up-and-comers like Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Ed Westwick, and Kodi Smit-McPhee are lined up to star.

The latest addition to the project is the always welcome Paul Giamatti, who’s set to play Friar Laurence. A confidant to both Romeo and Juliet, the character plays a key role in the star-crossed lovers’ fates. Shooting on the film, which is rather discouragingly being described as “Romeo and Juliet for the Twilight generation,” is slated to begin this month in Italy. [Variety]

After the jump, Dr. John Watson and the Earl of Grantham book big-screen gigs.

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We’ve been tracking Ari Folman‘s film The Congress for three years. That’s because Folman’s last film was Waltz With Bashir, a great animated look at a soldier’s unreliable perspective on war. The Congress is something quite different, however. Based on a story by noted speculative fiction author Stanislaw Lem, this one features Robin Wright, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Paul Giamatti and Danny Huston in a story — greatly reworked from Lem’s text — about an actress who makes a deal that changes her future in ways she could never predict.

It is a sci-fi story, of sorts, and the film is being constructed in an usual manner. There is a big live-action component, but a good amount of the movie will be animated. A new interview with Folman makes the film sound like it is on track, but taking time to complete. Read More »

From the very first announcement of ParaNorman, the new family horror feature from Coraline animation studio LAIKA, the film has seemed like a promising new prospect. The story, animation with stop-motion, is about a young boy who can see the dead and must protect his town from a zombie invasion. The first teaser trailer for the movie didn’t dim expectations at all. Rather, it raised them by demonstrating that the film might have an enviable balance between quirk, comedy and thrills.

Now there is a new UK trailer that isn’t quite as successful, but still paints ParaNorman as a unique, fun kids’ movie that has charm and laughs to spare. Check it out below. Read More »

I’m eager to see anything that comes out of the animation house Laika. The company’s last major production, Coraline, was a beautiful little film. Laika is following that with ParaNorman, a film written by Coraline storyboard supervisor Chris Butler.

The film has a great voice cast – Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In, The Road) in the lead, with Casey Affleck, Tempestt Bledsoe, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, Bernard Hill (Titanic), Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Elaine Stritch (30 Rock) — and tells the story of a young boy who has to protect his town against a zombie uprising. The first teaser has just been released and it looks like exactly the sort of movie that would have made me deliriously happy between the ages of ten and, well, now. Check it out below. Read More »

Briefly: I get the idea that yet another version of Romeo and Juliet isn’t something that people are wildly keen to see, but that isn’t putting the brakes on the film that Carlo Carlei (Flight of the Innocent) will direct based on a script by Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park).

The main reason to be interested in the movie, for me at least, is that it is looking like it will be the sophomore feature from True Grit breakout star Hailee Steinfeld. She’s playing Juliet, and Holly Hunter, Ed Westwick and Kodi Smit-McPhee are also set for roles. Now Douglas Booth (Pillars of the Earth, the upcoming Great Expectations) will be her Romeo. Variety says he took the job over hundreds of other young applicants, but again, I’m not convinced that this one really has much heat. Still, the cast is shaping up well and there are few pieces of more proven material. If Carlo Carlei can make it feel like a fresh telling, no matter what style he adopts, it might surpass expectations.

Zoe Saldana is in talks to join Mark Ruffalo in Infinitely Polar Bear, the directorial debut of screenwriter Maya Forbes. The drama follows a bipolar man (Ruffalo) and his long-suffering wife (Saldana). When the husband goes off his meds, he finds his life deteriorating along with his psychological condition. As he loses his job and his mind, his wife returns to work and then eventually moves out, leaving him to take care of their children.

The film is being produced by J.J. Abrams, who previously worked with Saldana on Star Trek, and financed by Megan Ellison, who executive produced True Grit. Shooting for Infinitely Polar Bear will take place in September, just before Saldana is scheduled to reprise her role as Uhura in the Star Trek sequel. [Vulture]

After the jump, Xavier Samuel and Myles Pollard board Drift, and ParaNorman adds to its voice cast.

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