Magnolia Acquires Max Winkler’s ‘Ceremony’

Risky Business has learned that Magnolia Pictures has acquired the US distribution rights to Max Winkler‘s feature directorial debut Ceremony, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. This means that the film will be shown theatrically and will likely have a day-and-date video on demand availability on nationwide cable.

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Update: I’ve spoken with a rep at Overture, who denies that there is any story here.

Not a huge piece of info here, but there’s a report from The Playlist that Steven Soderbergh‘s film Haywire (formerly Knockout) is leaving LionsGate for Overture. Ryan Kavanaugh produced the film and now owns Overture, which he picked up not long ago when the distributor was close to failing. So there’s a connection there; while we don’t know all the reasons the switch would be made, the Kavanaugh link isn’t insignificant. Read More »

TIFF Movie Review: Max Winkler’s Ceremony

Yesterday, I attended the premiere of Max Winkler‘s feature directorial debut Ceremony at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The 27-year old USC film school graduate and son of television actor Henry Winkler (Fonzie on Happy Days) is probably best known as the director of the popular Clark and Michael web series which starred Michael Cera and Clark Duke. In 2005, he co-wrote and co-directed a short film titled The King of Central Park, which screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, Malibu International Film Festival and Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The short is wonderfully awkward, sometimes Wes Anderson-like, especially in the music, use of slow motion and symmetrical framing.

You could definitely see he has a unique voice and sense of comedy, which led to a few writing assignments: He co-wrote The Adventurer’s Handbook with Jonah Hill and Matt Spicer, which SNL Digital Shorts/Hot Rod helmer Akiva Schaffer is attached to direct at Universal. He also co-wrote a football script, a big screen adaptation of the short story Whispers in Bedlam for Jason Reitman.

He has been trying to get a feature film off the ground for the past few years. He sold a Charlie Kaufman-esque script to Fox Searchlight titled The Ornate Anatomy of Living Things, about a “bookstore clerk living in Manhattan discovers a museum run by a strange old man that exists solely for the purpose of studying his life.” But for some reason or another, the project never went into production. He has instead decided to take the low budget approach and independently produced his debut feature.

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30-minutes-or-less-eisenberg-ansari

More first looks up today, kicking off with a low-key photo showing Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari in action for 30 Minutes or Less. If the photos don’t thrill you, remember that the film is directed by Zombieland‘s Ruben Fleischer, and that Danny McBride is also in the mix as a criminal who forces Eisenberg to rob a bank with a bomb strapped to his chest. The script is funny and slightly savage, and I’m looking forward to this one. [Grand Rapids Press via GatW]

After the break, images of Uma Thurman and Michael Angarano in Ceremony, and of Sean Penn in This Must Be the Place. Read More »

Logline Released for Kevin Smith’s ‘Red State’

Kevin Smith

Briefly: We still don’t know very much about Kevin Smith‘s long-gestating middle-America horror film Red State, other than that Michael Parks is tapped for a lead role and that the film is based in part on sham ‘preacher’ Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church. But now there’s a logline for the film, which comes via STYD, that clarifies things just slightly:

A group of kids encounters a crazed preacher (based on Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church) who gives a whole new meaning to the term “extreme fundamentalism.”

Well, OK, very slightly. Smith is doing a good job keeping this one locked up; he’s talked about wanting to just shoot the movie quietly without giving too many details away, and so far he is successful. The film shoots this fall, so we’ll expect to know more in the next couple months. In addition to Michael Parks, Kyle Gallner, Melissa Leo, Dermot Mulroney, Michael Angarano and Steven Root all seem to have roles. So Gallner and Angarano are in the group of kids, and hopefully Melisssa Leo will be on the preacher’s side.

redstate_cast

For the longest time, Kevin Smith’s Red State seemed like a film that would never get made, but bit by bit, the project keeps coming together. The film already has a September shooting date (as tweeted by Smith), and the lead role has been locked in place. And now, the film has a not-yet-confirmed roster of actors to fill out the supporting cast.

The potentials include Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding), Kyle Gallner (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Michael Angarano (The Forbidden Kingdom), Stephen Root (Office Space), and the Oscar nominated Melissa Leo (Frozen River). Learn more after the break. Read More »

Spider-Man Screen Tests Under Review at Sony

amazing-spider-man-1

This is a pretty small update to the story about the casting of Sony’s upcoming Spider-Man, to be directed in 3D by Marc Webb. We’ve had one major leaked actor shortlist, which was later augmented with a couple more names. And despite rumors that Sony liked any given actor over the others, the casting process is ongoing.

A new report says that Sony has shot screen tests with most of the names on the list, and is still working with Webb to choose a lead so that the rest of the film can be cast around him. Read More »

haywire-new-cast

Steven Soderbergh‘s action thriller Knockout, starring MMA fighter Gina Carano and a hell of a supporting cast, has evidently been given a new title. The picture is now called Haywire, and looks to be set for release in January 2011 by LionsGate. Read More »

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