The other day, we got a look at the list of competitors in the upcoming Sundance Film Festival. But we've also got ourselves a fair share of promising premieres, with a slew of stars and directors alike that we're sure to get excited over.
Some of the big names we'll be seeing at this year's Sundance include Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde and Jeremy Irons in The Words, Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Lay the Favorite, Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan and Adam Scott in Bachelorette, Julie Delpy and Chris Rock in the Delpy-directed 2 Days in New York, Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg and Elijah Wood in Celeste and Jesse Forever (co-written by Jones) and Josh Radnor, starring against Elizabeth Olsen, in Liberal Arts, which he wrote and directed.
2 Days in New York / France (Director: Julie Delpy, Screenwriters: Julie Delpy, Alexia Landeau) — Marion has broken up with Jack and now lives in New York with their child. A visit from her family, the different cultural background of her new boyfriend, her sister’s ex-boyfriend, and her upcoming photo exhibition make for an explosive mix. Cast: Julie Delpy, Chris Rock, Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Alex Nahon.
Arbitrage / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Nicholas Jarecki) — A hedge-fund magnate is in over his head, desperately trying to complete the sale of his trading empire before the depths of his fraud are revealed. An unexpected, bloody error forces him to turn to the most unlikely corner for help. Cast: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Brit Marling, Laetitia Casta.
Bachelorette / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Leslye Headland) — Unresolved issues between four high school friends come roaring back to life when the least popular of them gets engaged to one of the most eligible bachelors in New York City and asks the others to be bridesmaids in her wedding. Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, James Marsden, Adam Scott, Kyle Bornheimer.
Celeste and Jesse Forever / U.S.A. (Director: Lee Toland Krieger, Screenwriters: Rashida Jones, Will McCormack) — Celeste and Jesse met in high school, married young, and at 30, decide to get divorced but remain best friends while pursuing other relationships. Cast: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Ari Graynor, Chris Messina, Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts.
For A Good Time, Call... / U.S.A. (Director: Jamie Travis, Screenwriters: Katie Anne Naylon & Lauren Anne Miller) — Lauren and Katie move in together after a loss of a relationship and a loss of a rent controlled home, respectively. When Lauren learns what Katie does for a living the two enter into a wildly unconventional business venture. Cast: Ari Graynor, Lauren Anne Miller, Justin Long, Mark Webber, James Wolk.
GOATS / U.S.A. (Director: Christopher Neil, Screenwriter: Mark Jude Poirier) — Ellis leaves his unconventional desert home to attend the disciplined and structured Gates Academy. There, he re-connects with his estranged father and for the first time questions the family dynamics. Cast: David Duchovny, Vera Farmiga, Graham Phillips, Justin Kirk, Ty Burrell.
Lay The Favorite / U.S.A. (Director: Stephen Frears, Screenwriter: D.V. Devincintis) — An adventurous young woman gets involved with a group of geeky older men who have found a way to work the sportsbook system in Las Vegas to their advantage. Cast: Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rebecca Hall.
Liberal Arts / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Josh Radnor) — When 30-something Jesse is invited back to his alma mater, he falls for a 19-year-old college student and is faced with the powerful attraction that springs up between them. Cast: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, John Magaro, Elizabeth Reaser.
Price Check / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Walker) — Pete is having trouble resolving a happy marriage and family life with rising debt and a job he hates. When his new boss pulls him into the maelstrom that is her life, money and opportunities come his way, but at what price? Cast: Parker Posey, Eric Mabius, Annie Parisse, Josh Pais, Cheyenne Jackson.
Red Hook Summer / U.S.A. (Director: Spike Lee, Screenwriters: James McBride, Spike Lee) — A young Atlanta boy spends his summer in Brooklyn with his grandfather, who he's never seen before. Cast: Clark Peters, Jules Brown, Toni Lysaith, James Ransone, Thomas Jefferson Byrd.
Robot and Frank / U.S.A. (Director: Jake Schreier, Screenwriter: Christopher Ford) — A curmudgeonly older dad’s grown kids install a robot as his caretaker. Cast: Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler. SALT LAKE CITY GALA FILM
Shadow Dancer / United Kingdom (Director: James Marsh, Screenwriter: Tom Brady) — Widowed mother-turned-terrorist Colette McVeigh has high-ranking brothers in the IRA. When she’s arrested in an aborted bomb plot she must make hard choices, testing family loyalties. Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Aiden Gillen, Domhnall Gleeson, with Gillian Anderson and Clive Owen.
The Words / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal) — Aspiring writer Rory Jansen finds another man's haunting memories in a collection of lost stories and claims them as his own, propelling him to literary stardom. Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde with Zoe Saldana. CLOSING NIGHT FILM
13 Notes: Paul Simon's Graceland Journey / U.S.A. (Director: Joe Berlinger) — Paul Simon returns to South Africa to explore the incredible journey of his historic Graceland album, including the political backlash he sparked for allegedly breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa, designed to end Apartheid.
About Face / U.S.A. (Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders) — An exploration of beauty and aging through the stories of the original supermodels. Participants including Isabella Rossellini, Christie Brinkley, Beverly Johnson, Carmen Dell'Orefice, Paulina Porizkova, Jerry Hall and Christy Turlington weigh in on the fashion industry and how they reassess and redefine their own sense of beauty as their careers progress.
A Fierce Green Fire / U.S.A. (Director: Mark Kitchell) — A definitive history of one of the most important movements of the 20th century, A Fierce Green Fire chronicles the environmental movement’s fascinating evolution from the 1960s to the present.
Bones Brigade / U.S.A. (Director: Stacy Peralta) — When six teenage boys came together as a skateboarding team in the 1980s, they reinvented not only their chosen sport but themselves too – as they evolved from insecure outsiders to the most influential athletes in the field.
The D Word: Understanding Dyslexia / U.S.A. (Director: James Redford) — While following a Dyslexic high school senior struggling to achieve his dream of getting into a competitive college, The D Word exposes myths about Dyslexia and reveals cutting edge research to elucidate this widely misunderstood condition.
Ethel / U.S.A. (Director: Rory Kennedy) — This intimate, surprising portrait of Ethel Kennedy provides an insider's view of a political dynasty, including Ethel’s life with Robert F. Kennedy and the years following his death when she raised their eleven children on her own.
Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap / United Kingdom (Director: Ice-T, Co-Director: Andy Baybutt) — Through conversations with Rap’s most influential artists – among them Chuck D, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, MC Lyte, Mos Def, and Kanye West – Ice-T explores the roots and history of Rap and reveals the creative process behind this now dominant art form.
West of Memphis / U.S.A. (Director: Amy Berg) — Three teenage boys are incarcerated for the murders of three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. 19 years later, new evidence calls into question the convictions and raises issues of judicial, prosecutorial and jury misconduct – showing that the first casualty of a corrupt justice system is the truth.
The Bedazzled star appears in a tongue-in-cheek campaign for discount firm Groupon, in which she compares the loss of rainforests to a Brazilian bikini wax.
In the ad, which aired in the U.S. during the Super Bowl on Sunday (06Feb11), Hurley calls Brazil's rainforest "one of nature's most lush ecosystems", before adding: "Not all deforestation is bad!" and revealing she got a half-price wax treatment with a Groupon discount.
Actors Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Timothy Hutton can also be seen in Groupon's 'Save the Money' campaign, which also has spoof appeals for helping endangered whales and Tibet.
Angry viewers claim Hurley's clip makes light of serious environmental matters, with one TV critic telling Britain's The Sun, "I look forward to a Groupon campaign for roadside assistance using Egypt. That'd be droll! These ads are reprehensible."
But a spokesperson for the firm has defended the promos, insisting: "(The ads are a) parody of a celebrity-narrated public service announcement-style commercial that you think is about some noble cause."
Hurley has backed up the representative, adding in a post on her Twitter.com page: "Thanks to all who like the Groupon ads and, please, lighten up detractors! I think they're v funny & v silly. Just as a joke should be....."
Linda Ronstadt ejected by Vegas casino
Singer Linda Ronstadt was thrown out of the Aladdin casino in Las Vegas Saturday night after she dedicated a performance of "Desperado" to filmmaker Michael Moore and his latest documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. Aladdin spokeswoman Sara Gorgon told Reuters the dedication angered some Aladdin guests, who booed, spilled drinks, tore down posters and demanded refunds, while about a quarter of the 4,500 people in the audience left before the performance had finished. A statement issued by the Aladdin said Ronstadt had been escorted out of the hotel just after her performance and said the performer would "not be welcomed back." The statement added Ronstadt was hired to entertain the guests of the Aladdin, not to promote political views. Ronstadt was unavailable for comment, but in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal before the show Ronstadt was quoted as saying she hoped the casino gig would be her last. "I keep hoping that if I'm annoying enough to them, they won't hire me back," she said. Her next performance will be at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles.
Britney swigs ginseng, not whiskey
Britney Spears is threatening to sue the New York Post after the paper printed an image of the pop star drinking from a tiny bottle on its cover Thursday, with the front-page headline "Britney Hits the Bottle" and an inside headline that read "Boozer Britney: Daylight Bottle Blonde." The story claimed Spears was drinking was Glenlivet whiskey. Spears said she is actually drinking a vial of the herbal supplement ginseng, which she bought from a Venice, Calif., liquor store on July 12. According to MTV News, the singer is prepared to sue the Post unless the paper prints an immediate retraction. The paper argues it twice gave Spears the chance to dispel the whiskey story but said her rep she declined to comment each time.
Advocacy groups challenge Fox News' "Fair and Balanced" slogan
The political advocacy groups MoveOn.org and Common Cause filed a petition Monday with the Federal Trade Commission, claiming Fox News' use of the slogan "Fair and Balanced" constitutes deceptive advertising. The groups claim that Fox News' reports are "deliberately and consistently distorted and twisted to promote the Republican Party of the U.S. and an extreme right-wing viewpoint." FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris said in a statement late yesterday that the petition has little chance. "There is no way to evaluate this petition without evaluating the content of the news at issue. That is a task the First Amendment leaves to the American people, not a government agency." A Fox News spokeswoman told The Associated Press: "While this is clearly a transparent publicity stunt, we recognize all forms of free speech and wish them well."
Waco finally gets Fahrenheit 9/11 print
Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 is set to open Friday at a theater in Waco, Texas, about 20 miles west of President Bush's Crawford ranch. Fahrenheit 9/11, which has grossed $93.8 million to date, opened nationwide June 25 but theaters in Waco--the largest city closest to Bush's home--have yet to show the film about Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The AP reports Moore contacted the newspaper after a column last month pointed out his documentary wasn't showing in Waco, and urged the filmmaker to send a copy. Since the film opened last month, the closest place Waco residents could see it was in the town of Temple, about 35 miles south.
Andre 3000, Silverstone named sexiest vegetarians
On a lighter note, Andre 3000 of the Grammy-winning hip-hop duo OutKast has been voted the "World's Sexiest Vegetarian" in PETA's annual online poll. The 30-year-old rapper shares the honor with 27-year old Alicia Silverstone. According to the AP, more than 12,000 votes were cast in the annual poll run by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Silverstone and Andre 3000 beat out other contenders not normally known for their eating habits, including John Cleese, Prince and "Weird Al" Yankovic. Previous winners include Tobey Maguire, Lauren Bush and Shania Twain.
Nelly becomes part owner of Charlotte Bobcats
Rapper Nelly is now part owner of the NBA's North Carolina expansion team the Charlotte Bobcats. Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Haynes Jr., said he looks forward to learning the business of professional sports and becoming active in the Charlotte community. "Of the many dreams that I have fulfilled in life, being an NBA owner is certainly one of the biggest achievements," Nelly said in a release issued by the Bobcats. "To be able to make this move with Bob Johnson and to be a part of the first-ever minority owned professional sports franchise in history is a great opportunity." Nelly joins an ownership group that includes former NBA player and executive M.L. Carr; Felix Sabates, owner of NASCAR racing teams, and Hugh McColl Jr., former CEO of Bank of America.
Napster signs agreement with universities
Napster 2.0 online music service announced Monday it has signed agreements with Cornell University, The George Washington University, Middlebury College, the University of Miami, The University of Southern California and Wright State University to offer students its digital song subscription program beginning in the fall. Similar to deals Napster struck earlier this year with Penn State University and the University of Rochester in New York, the universities will receive access to unlimited streaming and song downloads at a discount but will be free to set the price students must pay for the discounted access, the AP reports. Penn State and the University of Rochester provide Napster service to their students at no extra charge. If students wish to burn songs to a CD, they will still have to pay Napster's regular 99-cent charge for a permanent download or $9.99 per album.