I got an early Christmas present in my e-mail inbox this morning, my press credentials for Sundance 2011.  I'm looking forward to my time in the snow, as I do every year, and we're starting to talk to publicists about our schedule, lining up time to meet filmmakers, and even looking at the screening schedule.

There are titles that I'm already sure I'll be seeing at the festival, and we're starting to see synopses and photos and, in a few cases, trailers for the movies that we're going to try to stack into our week in Park City.  The two trailers that landed online today are totally different in tone, and both are titles that I'm guessing get a lot coverage at the festival.

"Cedar Rapids" is a Fox Searchlight release that's launching at Sundance, a new comedy from the director of "Youth In Revolt," "The Good Girl," and "Chuck and Buck."  It's got a pretty recognizable cast, too, with Sigourney Weaver, John C. Reilly, Alia Shawkat, Anne Heche, Rob Corddry, Stephen Root, Kurtwood Smith, Thomas Lennon, Mike Birbiglia, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and of course, Ed Helms, who is front and center for this one.

Just based on the trailer, it's the art-house "Hangover," with Helms playing a guy who is sent to a convention for insurance agents, where he proceeds to go totally mental for a few days, earning himself two bags of honey-roasted peanuts.  I'll say this… seeing Clay Davis make a "Wire" joke is just plain weird:

 


Next up, we've got a trailer for what is sure to be one of the most-discussed titles of the festival, precisely because the director keeps telling the press to stop talking about him.  I'm all sorts of curious about Kevin Smith's new film "Red State."  I think a fair amount of the press really does seem to have it in for Smith at this point, and to be fair, he's gotten increasingly bad at the back-and-forth in anything other than a controlled forum.  Even so, watching any filmmaker step outside their comfort zone and try something new is exciting, and the idea of a horror film set in the world of radical fundamentalism in the U.S. right now is pretty great.  Take a look and see what you think of our first real glimpse at "Red State":



The Sundance Film Festival takes place in Park City, UT from Jan. 20 - 30, 2011.  Be here at HitFix for coverage of all the biggest films and music as the entire team heads up there together again.

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