Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling made huge names for themselves at Sundance a couple years back with the release of his low budget sci-fi thriller Sound of My Voice. I loved the film, and while it got a small release by Fox Searchlight, not many people saw it in theaters (the horrible title probably didn’t help). It definitely wasn’t a movie for everyone — the story followed a couple who infiltrates a cult run by a leader who claims to be a time traveler from the future, and the execution played on the many mysteries in the same way the television show Lost did, sometimes not offering answers. But underneath it all was a very clever concept and some really good storytelling. Searchlight and Ridley Scott apparently recognized this enough to give them a budget dozens of times larger than their debut.

The East shares some ideas with Sound of My Voice, following someone who goes undercover to infiltrate a cult-like organization. The ever likeable Brit Marling plays Sarah, a new-hire agent for a Washington DC private security film who is tasked to infiltrate an anarchist group calling themselves “The East” (think Project Mayhem from David Fincher’s Fight Club). The film opens on the mansion of the head of a huge oil company which recently spilled gas in the Atlantic, killing a ton of wildlife and polluting the Earth’s waters. The East breaks in and creates their own oil spill all over his home, releasing a video online and making headline news around the world.

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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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Katie Holmes portrayed Jackie O in last year’s The Kennedys, Minka Kelly is playing her in next year’s The Butler, and now it could be Natalie Portman‘s turn to tackle the role. The Oscar-winning star is reportedly being courted for the simply titled Jackie, a Noah Oppenheim-scripted drama about the aftermath of JFK’s assassination as seen through the eyes of his widow.

When the project first got going, Portman’s Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky was attached to direct with Rachel Weisz in the lead. However, both dropped out when their marriage ended in 2010. Portman is said to be waiting on a choice of director before she makes her decision. [Deadline]

After the jump, Wes Bentley and Brit Marling jump on the Abe Lincoln trend, and Hannah Montana goes on a crime spree.

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It’s weird to see a trailer for a film that feels like it has to throw out a recap definition of the Weather Underground, that group of radical leftists who in the early ’70s embraced violent tactics (riots, bomb attacks on banks and government buildings) in order to protest government actions and argue for revolution. But time marches on, and audiences don’t remember everything.

That said, the trailer for The Company You Keep actually argues that time does not march on, as it follows the efforts of a dogged young newspaper reporter (Shia LaBeouf) as he tracks an at-large WU member (Robert Redford) after the arrest of another formerly free suspect (Susan Sarandon). Redford directed based on a script by Lem Dobbs (The Limey, Haywire) and the trailer makes it look like a pastiche of classic Redford political thriller hits All the President’s Men, and Three Days of the Condor.

There’s an appeal to that classic thriller style, however, and the large cast (Julie Christie, Sam Elliott, Brendan Gleeson, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Brit Marling, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte, and Chris Cooper also appear) lends a real prestige feel to the proceedings. Check out the first trailer below. Read More »

Sundance was several months ago, but for those of us who didn’t attend, these next few months are going to be a good time to catch up on this year’s crop of Sundance hits. Safety Not Guaranteed has already landed theaters in some cities, Beasts of the Southern Wild is hitting tomorrow, The Queen of Versailles is due out next month, and Robot and Frank is slotted for August. Add to that list Nicholas Jarecki‘s white-collar thriller Arbitrage, which is now getting the word out for its September release.

Richard Gere stars as a billionaire CEO whose success turns out to be built on little more than lies and deceit. When a horrible error threatens to expose him for a fraud, he finds himself sinking to ever-more-despicable depths to try and cover up his mistake. Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, and Brit Marling also star. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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VIDEO: The Making of ‘Sound Of My Voice’

One of the most buzzed about films at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival is finally making its way to theaters next week. Sound Of My Voice, directed by Zal Batmanglij and starring Brit Marling, focuses on two people who attempt to infiltrate a cult lead by a woman who has an incredibly intriguing claim. Made for well-under half-a-million dollars, the film shows that smart genre filmmaking doesn’t need to have big effects, just big ideas with equally big answers.

Fox Searchlight will begin to release the film April 27 and, after the jump, you can watch a making of featurette and read some of my thoughts on the film. Read More »

In Page 2 today, Pete mentioned that a new poster had been released for the indie cult/sci-fi film Sound of My Voice, but now we’ve got something better: a new trailer.

The film was one of the most anticipated of 2011 thanks to a breakout appearance at Sundance that year, but Fox Searchlight decided to hold the movie for this year. So it is one of the most anticipated movies of 2012 now. We saw a 12-minute clip from the movie about a month back, but this is the trailer debut. Read More »

One of the most-praised films at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival was Sound of My Voice, starring and co-written by Brit Marling (Another Earth). The film, directed by Zal Batmanglij, follows a couple as they attempt to infiltrate and learn about a cult, led by a charismatic woman with a rather outrageous claim about her own history. Fox Searchlight picked up the film later in 2011, but has taken time to plan a release schedule.

Now, just more than two months out from release, those of us who weren’t at Sundance in ’11 are getting a taste of the film. A two-minute clip hit yesterday, and now we’ve got the first ‘chapter’ of the movie; that is, the opening twelve-minute segment. Have a look below. The footage will make sense out of the handshake iconography in the poster (seen above). Read More »

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