The Sundance Film Festival has treated Brit Marling exceptionally well over the past few years. She was the big breakout story of the 2011 event, with the one-two punch of Mike Cahill’s Another Earth and Zal Batmanglij‘s The Sound of My Voice, and she got to return in 2012 with Nicholas Jarecki‘s Arbitrage. This year, she’s back once again with Batmanglij for The East, a thriller about a shadowy anarchist collective (called The East, hence the title) and a private intelligence operative (Marling) who goes undercover to stop it. The first trailer has just hit the web, and you can watch it after the jump.

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Alexander Skarsgård has been teetering on the verge of movie stardom for a while now, but even as peers like Tom Hardy and Henry Cavill have found their way to comic book tentpoles, Skarsgård’s mostly been alternating between TV roles (Generation Kill, True Blood), indies (Disconnect, What Maisie Knew), and supporting parts in higher-profile pics (Battleship). Not a bad path, but not quite the A-list career his fans have been predicting.

That may be about to change, though. Skarsgård is reportedly the frontrunner to lead David YatesTarzan, WB’s long-gestating adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ classic character. He could be starring alongside Samuel L. Jackson, who’s being considered for another key character. More details, including a plot description, after the jump.

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When you’re coming off four massively lucrative installments of one of the most successful cinematic series of all time, where do you go next? If you’re Harry Potter helmer David Yates, apparently, to the African jungle.

The filmmaker has just committed to Warner Bros.’ live-action Tarzan, one of several films in the works based on Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ character. And he’s wasting no time getting the pieces together, meeting with up-and-coming talents like Henry Cavill, Charlie Hunnam, Alexander Skarsgård, and Tom Hardy for the lead role. More details after the jump.

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You’d think that having Steve Coogan, Julianne Moore, and Alexander Skarsgård as parents would be something to celebrate, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in What Maisie Knew. Relative newcomer Onata Aprile plays the title character, who gets caught between her aging rock star mom (Moore) and her art dealer dad (Coogan) in an ugly divorce. Her parents eventually remarry to Lincoln (Skarsgård) and Margo (Joanna Vanderham) respectively, but Maisie finds herself once again lost in the shuffle when Lincoln and Margo, in turn, fall in love with each other.

So basically, it’s like Closer, only a little kid gets horribly screwed over every time the grown-ups decide to switch partners. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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If Safety Not Guaranteed and Battleship seem like opposites in every way, it’s probably because they are. One is an offbeat indie that’s drawn glowing reviews on the film festival circuit; the other is a big, splashy blockbuster that’s been likened to Michael Bay’s Transformers. But both have just released new clips in preparation for their summer bows, so I’ve decided to arbitrarily lump them together. Watch the scenes after the jump.

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On the one hand, Universal’s Battleship looks, frankly, kinda stupid. It’s an adaptation of a Hasbro toy, along the same lines as Michael Bay’s dumb (but occasionally fun) Transformers franchise, and early spots and footage did nothing to suggest it’d be anything more than an uninspired, cynical cash grab.

On the other, there’s some promising talent both in front of and behind the camera: Friday Night Lights director Peter Berg at the helm and his Friday Night Lights stars Taylor Kitsch and Jesse Plemons in the cast, plus Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard, Hamish Linklater, and Liam Neeson. And while I wouldn’t go so far as to say the film looked smart, I respected that it seemed perfectly aware of what it was — mindless popcorn entertainment, no more and no less.

But all of that ambivalence was based more on the marketing team’s efforts than on the film itself. Now that the first early reviews are rolling out, however, we’re getting a much better sense of what, exactly, Berg is offering us next month. Read all about Battleship‘s early buzz after the jump.

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Alexander Skarsgard‘s commitment to True Blood has kept him from being the movie star he might eventually become, but he has been seen on the big screen in a couple roles recently, thanks to Lars von Trier (Melancholia) and Rod Lurie (Straw Dogs, shot a couple years back). He’ll be in Peter Berg’s Battleship later this year, and even gets one of the best face-flapping moments in the trailer for that movie.

Now Warner Bros. is looking to the younger Skarsgard to take on a closed-room thriller called Hidden. Read More »

Earlier this week at WonderCon, director Peter Berg revealed that he’d taken inspiration for his new movie Battleship from an unlikely source: Stephen Hawking. Berg had been watching a documentary in which the iconic scientist discussed Goldilocks planets, so called because their distance from the sun is “just right” for sustaining life. NASA has been trying to send signals to those planets in an attempt to discover extra-terrestial intelligence, but according to Berg, Hawking believes this to be a terrible idea because aliens knowing of our existence can do just as much damage as good. Berg then spun that idea into the plot of the film.

Which sounds pretty interesting, but unfortunately, most of the trailers we’ve seen so far haven’t gone into much detail about the sci-fi storyline. So far, they’ve shown us who the characters are and what it looks like when Berg tries his best to be Michael Bay, but we’ve had no sense of what exactly the aliens are doing here. Now a new featurette focuses on just that, explaining what exactly a Goldilocks planet is and how the crew of the USS John Paul Jones find themselves to be defending our planet from vicious otherworldly visitors. Watch it after the jump.

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