Max Winkler’s ‘Ceremony’ Trailer

Magnolia Pictures has released the first movie trailer for Max Winkler‘s feature directorial debut Ceremony. I saw the film at the Toronto Film Festival, where I wrote the following: “Ceremony feels like the first movie from a filmmaker we need to watch — a fantastic feature debut. His screenplay is filled with complex, interesting and engrossing characters, and his film has fantastic performances across the board.”

Ceremony stars the very underrated Michael Angarano (Almost Famous, Snow Angels) as an aspiring children’s book author named Sam Davis, who convinces his former best friend Marshall (played by the also underrated Reece Thompson of Rocket Science and Assassination of a High School President) to spend a weekend with him to re-establish their friendship. But Sam has secret ulterior motives — he plans to infiltrate and break-up a wedding ceremony being held at a big Gatsby-esque-sized beach house in Long Island because he is in love with the bride, an older woman named Zoe (played by Uma Thurman).

Watch it now embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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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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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 »

Assassination of a High School President

At the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, Yari Film Group premiered Brett Simon‘s Assassination of a High School President, a film noir mystery set inside the world of a John Hughes-style High School comedy. (half way between Rian Johnson’s Brick and Veronica Mars) It quickly emerged as one of the underdogs on the schedule to become one of the most buzzed about films at the festival (read some of the review quotes here).

Unfortunately, Yari Film Group was forced into involuntary bankruptcy, and the film has been sitting on the shelf ever since. This has presented a very serious problem for theatrical distribution, and because of the legalities of bankruptcy court, the timing of this economic downturn and a whole slew of other worst-case-scenarios, Assassination might be going direct-to-DVD. Hope isn’t lost quite yet, the bankruptcy court meets in late-July, and the fate of the Yari-owned films will be decided at that time. I hope someone comes to their senses and gives this movie a theatrical release of some kind.

A trailer for the film has finally been released online, but you should be warned… this is far from a good representation of the movie. Actually, it’s quite bad. But with all this legal mess going on, I’m surprised there is a trailer at all. It’s presented in full screen aspect ratio, the sound seems a bit off, and is cut with low royalty soundtrack music. Hopefully those of you who have been interested in this film will be able to see between all the unfortunate trailer production issues. The film is really so much better than this. Read the reviews, a lot of people really loved this film. This trailer cut is a butcher job. Watch the trailer embedded after the jump.

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Sundance: Rocket Science Movie Review

Rocket Science

Rocket Science is not about Science, nor is it about Rockets. It’s about that first High School love. In the running tradition of such films as Election, Rushmore, and Squid and the Whale, Rocket Science is about a unpopular high school student named Hal Heffner, who can’t spit out a complete sentence without stuttering.
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