Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Poster Revealed For 'Ceremony' Starring Uma Thurman & Michael Angarano

by Kevin Jagernauth
January 27, 2011 5:21 AM
6 Comments
  • |


We love the grainy, half-blurry shot of Uma Thurman and Michael Angarano in this new poster for "Ceremony," the debut feature-length directorial debut of Max Winkler (son of Henry Winkler), as it perfectly captures the ragged heart romance that's central to the film.

"Ceremony" tells the story of Sam (Michael Angarano), a young brazen adult who stalks his penpal and ex-girlfriend all the way to her wedding in the Hamptons. There's a real, what-could-have-been element to the picture as Jesse Eisenberg originally was supposed to star, but left the film to take the lead in "The Social Network," which he just scored an Oscar nomination for. How that might have changed the picture we'll never know, but frankly, we can't imagine anyone other than Angarano in the lead, carrying the part with an assured, insouciant swagger like a cockier Max Fischer. Angarano really came into his own in this picture and it might be his best performance so far.

Yes, the picture has its Wes Anderson-isms (and Hal Ashby and those similar sensibilities), but the picture also boasts a scene-stealing supporting cast including an excellent Lee Pace, a terrific Jake Johnson and a solid Reece Thompson, as Sam's best and put-upon friend Marshall (we added Pace and Johnson to our 2010 On The Rise: Ten Actors We Expect Great Things From feature right after seeing the film).

Featuring a great classic rock soundtrack and a Paul Simon song recorded by Vampire Weekend singer Ezra Koenig (Eric Johnson from The Fruit Bats wrote the score), Winkler's debut might be influenced and indebted to others, but it does display some incredibly adept and assured filmmaking (this does not seem like a first feature).

As occasionally cloying as the picture is, we're surprised it wasn't picked up by someone larger, perhaps the folks at Fox Searchlight, who already have Winkler's "The Ornate Anatomy of Living Things" set up there under development (Jason Reitman is a producer and Winkler and his collaborator Matt Spicer wrote "Whispers in Bedlam," a project Reitman is attached to direct (they both also wrote "The Adventurer's Handbook," which sold for king's ransom in 2008). Searchlight might have been able to turn the picture into a mid-sized coming-of-age hit like "Rushmore," "The Wackness" or "Juno." Alas, it didn't happen, but clearly the director has been spotted as an up-and-coming talent already and this is only the beginning.

"Ceremony" hits VOD on March 4, and then a theatrical release arrives on April 8. [Poster via Cinematical]

  • |

More: Films, Max Winkler, Ceremony

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

6 Comments

  • TC Kirkham | January 28, 2011 10:33 AMReply

    We pegged Michael as a rising star way back in 2006 - he topped our site's first ever Rising Stars list, and it's nice to see him finally coming into his own. Haven't seen Ceremony yet, but i'll reserve my judgement as i've heard both good and bad about the film. Can't say I agree with Scott - We still think Michael (and Kyle Gallner as well, who placed #3 on the 2010 list) will be an A-lister in the not too distant future, and this year's projects should help propel him there...if he can keep any more "Gentleman Broncos" type projects as far away as possible...heh heh heh...

  • Edward Davis | January 28, 2011 7:20 AMReply

    "am i making any sense here?"

    No.

  • Quicksilver | January 28, 2011 7:18 AMReply

    honestly, i found kevin's review a little inconsistant. the whole time he is talking about how good the casting is and the music and acting, but that was constantly undercut by "all of the wes anderson-isms"? who cares what a movie is influenced by! Wes is awesome and probably only now are we seeing the young filmmakers who are being influenced by him, strictly because they grew up when he was on the rise. if the acting and casting is good and the emotion, palpable, isn't that what matters in a first film?

    seems like a wes anderson witch hunt to me! but also so inconsistent. a movie like SUBMARINE gets "with the quirk of wes anderson..it wonderfully...blahhh" but what??? how does Ayoade get a full pass? am i making any sense here?

    anyway, I love clark and michael and i looooove lee pace.

  • Seth | January 28, 2011 2:56 AMReply

    Saw this movie at Palm Springs recently and it's so sweet and so good. Hopefully this will be the breakthrough that Michael Angarano has always proved he was capable of.

    It's a very human story that gives its characters much more depth than some other movies that it may seem like at first glance. The movie is very much its own thing, and, as Kevin rightfully pointed out, the acting is top notch.

    And as far as what "A" said, if they'd actually seen the movie, they'd know that the characters' surface-level incompatibility is integral to the heart of the story, and puts a fresh spin on the otherwise tired tropes of the May-December romance.

  • Scott Mendelson | January 27, 2011 11:32 AMReply

    Michael Angarano is definitely an an asset to any project he is in. He's low-key good and quite naturalistic. He may never be a 'star', but, like Kyle Gallner, his involvement immediately improves any film. Yes, I know they are both in Red State, and they (as well as Goodman and Leo) are primary reason I'm looking forward to it.

  • A | January 27, 2011 5:50 AMReply

    Awkward. She looks like his mother. He looks...forgettable. I saw 2 of his movies, always playing the same dorkie guy. Not interested. Thanks. @kevin just because he's an indie actor doesn't mean he's automatically good or respetable. The guy also auditioned for Spiderman...

Email Updates