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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Taylor Kitsch‘s John Carter may not quite have been the blockbuster hit that he and Disney were hoping for, but the star will take a second stab at leading a major action franchise when Peter Berg‘s Battleship hits this summer. Inspired by the Hasbro game, the film stars Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna, and Liam Neeson as naval officers dealing with an otherwordly force that threatens to destroy our planet. The new trailer downplays the plotlines and character moments we glimpsed in earlier trailers, choosing instead to dive right in to expensive, explosive Transformers-style action. Watch it after the jump.

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‘John Carter’ – What Did You Think?

It’s the big weekend for Disney, and Pixar director Andrew Stanton, as Stanton’s live-action adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel A Princess of Mars finally hits theaters. John Carter is a film that has been many, many years in development, and finally sees life thanks to Stanton’s interest in the story. Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Mark Strong and more make up the cast of the film, which follows a Civil War vet (Kitsch) who is transported to Mars, where he meets a smokin’ hot princess (Collins) and is drawn into an alien civil strife.

In our review of the film, Angie praised the loving care devoted to realizing the film’s world, even as she was less than impressed with the overall narrative structure and central character. But enough about our thoughts, and enough about Disney’s marketing of the movie, plans for sequels, or past versions that never came to be. Let’s talk about the John Carter that we have here and now — hit the jump to voice your thoughts on the film, and go into the discussion knowing that spoilers lie ahead. Read More »

On a surface level, there’s much that Andrew Stanton‘s John Carter gets right — much more than you’d expect, given Disney’s exasperatingly incompetent marketing campaign. The visual effects are imaginative and seamless, the action is appropriately flashy, and the source material by Edgar Rice Burroughs seems rich enough in mythology to make even the most jaded sci-fi and fantasy geek drool. All of that, however, can’t make up for the fact that beyond its intricate trappings, John Carter feels oddly hollow. Somehow, the director who once brought us Finding Nemo and Wall-E fails to evoke emotion in his first live-action outing.

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The latest actor to join Christian Bale in Scott Cooper‘s Out of the Furnace is likely to be Zoe Saldana. She’s in early talks for the film that Cooper is rewriting (based on Brad Ingelsby‘s The Low Dweller script) and will direct as his follow-up to Crazy Heart.

Bale will be an ex-con who is determined to avenge the death of his younger brother after being released from prison. Various actors have been mentioned as possible choices for the brother (Casey Affleck, Garrett Hedlund, Taylor Kitsch and Channing Tatum) and Robert Duvall is nearly set to play the main character’s helpful uncle, while Viggo Mortensen could end up being the villain.

Out of the Furnace could shoot this spring if the cast comes together and Relativity gives it the final green light. As we’ve heard before, that green light will primarily be based on the finalization of a deal with Bale, which hasn’t yet happened. [Variety]

After the break, a film called The Occult signs Rufus Sewell and Anne Heche, and Julianna Margulies joines Al Pacino in the comedic action film Stand Up Guys. Read More »

Taylor Kitsch made fun of me. That look you see above is the star of John Carter playing to you, the audience, as I ask him questions at the recent press junket for his Disney sci-fi epic. I had no idea it was happening but, I have to admit, it’s pretty great.

The actor, who got his start playing the excellent Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights, is about to have a coming out party on March 9 when John Carter is unleashed upon the world. The super-expensive, super-massive sci-fi fantasy based on the influental work of Edgar Rice Burroughs comes with almost insurmountable expectations and anticipation placed squarely on the actor’s shoulders. Directed by Andrew Stanton, a two-time Oscar winner for Finding Nemo and WALL-E, Kitsch is the lynch-pin in a possible franchise that plays to moviegoers of all ages.

Below, you can watch the interview I conducted with Kitsch in which we discussed the role, his rise to fame, insane Super Bowl Sunday, relationship with his director and expectations for a sequel. Check it out. Read More »

In the wake of this weekend’s successful opening of the ‘real Navy SEALs’ movie Act of Valor, expect to see other similar movies go into action. While we wait to hear that Kathryn Bigelow is actually rolling on her movie about the SEAL Team 6 hunt for Osama Bin Laden, we’ve got word of another Naval special-ops adventure.

Over the past couple years Universal has developed Lone Survivor, based on the memoir of the same name by Marcus Luttrell. The author was one member of a SEAL team ambushed in Afghanistan, and the book tells of the team’s struggle to survive.

Peter Berg has been part of the project since the beginning, and now it looks like Berg will direct the film this fall as his follow-up to Battleship. He’s got Mark Wahlberg in talks to play Marcus Luttrell, and Ben Foster in talks to join Taylor Kitsch as other men on Luttrell’s team. Read More »

With exactly ten days left until the opening of John Carter, Disney has released what I’m assuming is the final trailer for the film. And while I haven’t loved all of the previous marketing, it appears the team has learned from its mistakes because this is probably the best one they’ve released so far. The new trailer is heavier on menacing Mark Strong, eye-popping action, and plot, and lighter on Taylor Kitsch‘s stilted readings of generic dialogue. Watch the video after the jump.

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