As I leave tomorrow for Sundance, a smattering of new media has come out for some major films premiering. I highlighted festival favorites hitting Park City, but lets get into some of the big premieres. First up is the first clip from Stephen Frears‘ Lay the Favorite and features Bruce Willis and Rebecca Hall belting out a duet down the Las Vega strip. Check it out at the link via EW (no embed now) for the film also starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joshua Jackson and Laura Prepon.
Beth Raymer is a beautiful girl with a big heart who leaves her dancing job at a Florida strip club to become a Las Vegas cocktail waitress. Not exactly an ideal career choice, but her borderline-ditzy personality doesn’t give her many options. In walks Dink, a professional sports bettor who sees through her bubbly exterior and offers her a job placing wagers all over town to gain an advantage over the casinos. Her surprisingly impeccable mind for numbers soon cements her status as Dink’s good-luck charm, until his gorgeous-but-frigid wife, Tulip, starts to get jealous. Faced with no other choice but to fire Beth, Dink’s luck runs out when she heads to New York to work for a smarmy bookie, a turn of events that lands her squarely on the wrong side of the law.
Next up is our first footage and poster from Matt Ross‘ sex drama 28 Hotel Rooms, which stars one of my favorite actors, Chris Messina, along with Marin Ireland. Check it out below via Vuluture, with the poster above.
While traveling for work in a city far from their homes, a novelist and a corporate accountant find themselves in bed together. Although she’s married, and he’s seeing someone, their intense attraction turns a one-night stand into an unexpected relationship and a respite from the obligations of daily life. Through a series of moments—some profound, some silly, some intensely intimate—we see a portrait of an evolving relationship that could become the most significant one of their lives.
We also have the first footage from Nicholas Jarecki’s directorial debut Arbitrage, which features Richard Gere and last year’s Sundance starlet Brit Marling in a heated conversation. The film also stars Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Nate Parker and Laetitia Casta. You can see the clip at the EW and again, no embed available.
Nicholas Jarecki makes an auspicious directorial debut with this taut and alluring suspense thriller about love, loyalty, and high finance. Arbitrage—buying low and selling high—depends on a person’s ability to determine the true value of any given market. It’s a talent that has made billionaire hedge fund magnate Robert Miller the very portrait of success in American business. But on the eve of his sixtieth birthday, Miller finds himself desperately trying to sell his trading empire to a major bank before the extent of his fraud is discovered. When an unexpected bloody error challenges his perception of what things are worth, Miller finds that his business is not the only thing hanging in the balance.
We’ve also got the first poster and footage from the Common-starring drama LUV. Also starring Michael Rainey Jr., Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover, Charles S. Dutton and Michael Kenneth Williams, this first clip features Common as an uncle teaching his nephew how to drive a car, with an odd use of Sigur Ros. It comes from EW, so surprise, but no embed. Check it out at the link.
Woody, an adorable 11-year-old boy awaiting the return of his missing mother, lives with his grandmother and Uncle Vincent, who is fresh off an eight-year prison stint. For Woody, the confident, charismatic Vincent is a titan among men. When Vincent notices that Woody could learn a thing or two about becoming a man, he brings him along as he ventures forth to open his own business. But when legit life fails to support Vincent’s vision, and his old Baltimore crime boss, Mr. Fish, haunts him, the pace of little Woody’s manhood lesson accelerates.
There is also a preview that runs over nine minutes for the documentary Slavery by Another Name directed by Spike Lee’s editor Sam Pollard. Check it out below via THR and look for it airing on PBS in September.
Sam Pollard performs a remarkable act of historical reclamation in this documentary, recounting the many ways in which American slavery persisted as a practice many decades after its supposed abolition. It is a story impressive in its sweep and alarming in the way that its larger theme—an American moral failure—has been obscured in history.
In our last piece of video content in this round-up we have another clip from Quentin Dupieux‘s Rubber follow-up Wrong, which stars Eastbound & Down‘s Steve Little, William Fichtner, as well as Jack Plotnick, Eric Judor and Alexis Dziena. We’ve previously posted a trailer and clip for the film and you can see the new one below via THR.
Dolph Springer wakes up one morning to realize he has lost the love of his life, his dog, Paul. During his quest to get Paul (and his life) back, Dolph radically changes the lives of others: a pizza-delivering nymphomaniac, a jogging-addict neighbor in search of completeness, an opportunistic French Mexican gardener, and an off-kilter pet detective. In his journey to find Paul, Dolph may lose something even more vital—his mind.
And lastly we have the first poster for the in-competition drama For Ellen. Coming from Ion Cinema, the film from director So Yong Kim stars Paul Dano, Jon Heder, Jena Malone, Margarita Levieva, Shaylena Mandigo and Julian Gamble. Check out the poster below.
When Joby (Dano), an aspiring young rock star, finally agrees to sign divorce papers with his estranged wife (Malone), he discovers that he is about to forfeit all custody of his six-year-old daughter, Ellen (Shaylena Mandigo). Never having been in Ellen’s life before, Joby suddenly realizes that he’s not ready to lose that part of himself. Hoping to make up for lost time, he tries to win her heart.
Sundance 2012 kicks off on January 19th. Follow our complete coverage from the fest here.