There are actors one suspects can do a lot more than what they’ve been given at any particular point. People might have thought that about Aaron Paul before Breaking Bad gave him the chance to stretch. And Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been a bright spot in several projects so far, but we’ve suspected that she’d eventually get a chance to really do something great.

Smashed features both actors, as a married couple that hits a wall with their drinking and partying, and based on reactions out of Sundance it is Winstead’s big breakout turn. Check out a newly released trailer below to see a taste of her performance. Read More »

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Although its limited rollout starts in just six weeks, James Ponsoldt‘s Sundance fave Smashed has yet to offer a traditional trailer. Instead, Sony Pictures Classics is rousing some buzz with four new clips that showcase star Mary Elizabeth Winstead‘s acclaimed performance.

Winstead and Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul star as a young married couple united by their love of booze. When their habit spirals out of control, however, the wife decides to seek help. The stellar supporting cast includes Octavia Spencer and Parks & Recreation‘s Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally. No wonder the drama won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance this year. Watch the scenes after the jump.

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Three festival favorites have just gotten U.S. distribution. The most exciting piece is confirmation that Sony Pictures Classics has, indeed, picked up James Ponsoldt‘s Sundance hit Smashed starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul. Also, IFC Midnight acquired the Sundance horror comedy Grabbers (above) and Cinema Guild will release Rotterdam Film Festival winner Neighboring Sounds, by Mendonça Filho. Read more about all films, two of which I’ve seen, after the jump. Read More »

Sundance has been over for a week, but a few films are still being picked up by distributors. One of the more acclaimed Sundance hits this year was a picture called Smashed, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul as an alcoholic married couple. When Winstead’s character sobers up, she has to deal with a few lingering issues from her drunk life.

The film, directed by James Ponsoldt (Off The Black), is being showered with praise for the performance from Winstead, which Pete called “powerful, moving — a must see. It will bring you to verge of tears.” Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film over the weekend in a deal said to be worth about $1m. If that price seems low, consider that several of the big Sundance faves from 2010, such as Like Crazy, Take Shelter, Another Earth and Martha Marcy May Marlene, all scored relatively low box-office grosses. All those films will have a strong post-theatrical life, but none managed to break out as a mainstream crossover hit. We don’t yet have a release date for Smashed, but when SPC decides on a date and releases a trailer we’ll pass them along. [The Wrap]

Filmmaker James Ponsoldt‘s feature debut Off The Black premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006. It was met with a lackluster response, but everyone seemed to praise the performances despite the troubled screenplay. After seeing last year’s heavily buzzed-about film Like Crazy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead contacted producer Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling because she wanted to be in a film like the one they produced. This year, Ponsoldt, Schwartz and Sperling returned to Park City Utah with Smashed, which features a must-see tour de force performance from Winstead.

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We write up casting stories several times a day here at /Film, but it’s not every day we come across an ensemble cast as intriguing as this one. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Nick Offerman, and Octavia Spencer are set to team up for the indie marriage dramedy Smashed, from director James Ponsoldt (Off the Black).

If you, like me and much of the Internet, are a fan of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Breaking Bad, and Parks & Recreation, I probably don’t have to explain to you what’s so exciting about that roster. Though I am torn between hoping that Smashed will allow them to stretch and demonstrate their range as actors, and wishing that I could just watch a movie about Ramona Flowers, Jesse Pinkman, Ron Swanson, and Minny Jackson from The Help hanging out. More details after the jump.

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