Author

Matt Patches
After a few years of working behind the scenes on movies and TV shows (and earning an IMDb page for bragging rights), Movies Editor Matt Patches made a hard right into the world of entertainment journalism. In 2009, Patches became the Associate Movies Editor of UGO.com, departing in 2010 to go rogue as a writer-for-hire. Patches covered movies and festivals for a number of outlets, including Movieline, MTV NextMovie, CinemaBlend, and Film School Rejects, before joining Hollywood.com as Movies Editor in 2011. He proudly names "Groundhog Day" as his favorite movie of all time.
  • The Three Musketeers Review
    By: Matt Patches October 21, 2011 2:35pm EST
    Fans of author Alexandre Dumas' 1844 serialized novel The Three Musketeers (or heck fans of the 1993 Chris O'Donnell/Charlie Sheen Disney version!) beware: The latest incarnation bears little resemblance to the version you remember from high school English. Unless you sped-read through the reading in-between levels of your favorite video game—in which case it might be exactly as you remember. Director Paul W.S. Anderson (Mortal Kombat the Resident Evil franchise) orchestrates his Musketeers with the rhyme and reason of a confetti popper loading his cinematic shotgun with familiar story beats paper thin characters and anachronistic technology in order blast his audience all the way back to last weekend's Saturday morning cartoons. The movie opens with the titular swashbucklers Athos (Matthew Macfadyen) Aramis (Luke Evans) and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) on a mission to crack Da Vinci's vault where the legendary inventor's master work is kept hidden. After running jumping slicing dicing and pressing every A+B+X+Y button combo imaginable it's Arthos' lady friend Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) who finally breaks in—only to steal Da Vinci's plans for a massive war machine and backstabbing the Musketeers in the process. One year passes and we pick up with young son-of-an-ex-Musketeer D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman) who rides off to Paris in search of adventure. Before too long D'Artagnan crosses paths with the burnt-out swordsmen who see a little bit of themselves in the young lad who lays waste to 40 guardsmen after getting the stink eye (boy's got a bit of temper). The Musketeers return to form just in time as the movie's handful of villains are all preparing to strike at exactly the same moment. The Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) has built Da Vinci's balloon-powered airship and secretly plans an attack; Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) convinces Milady to double cross Buckingham planting the Queen's diamond necklace in the Duke's posession to incite war (but wasn't he already...? Nevermind); and Richelieu's number two Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen) who just likes to stab Musketeers in the face. There's a whole lot of plot going on in The Three Musketeers but the film's presentation is so scatterbrained so rapid-fire that none of the many throughlines ever click to make sense. But Anderson gets very very lucky—thanks in no small part to a colorful cast that elevates the lazy storytelling with energy humor and charm. Macfadyen is stoic and sharp as Athos while Evans does his best to inject actual character into Aramis glowing with friendliness and warmth around his fellow Musketeers. Stevenson's rugged Pathos adds much needed comedy making up for the lame Planchet (James Corden) the Musketeers' Chris Farley-wannabe sidekick. Unfortunately Lerman's D'Artagnan is a black hole of charisma—not helpful as he's the crux of the story. Anderson can't decide which plotlines to follow so great performers like Waltz and Mikkelsen are cut short in favor of spotlighting the scantily-clad Jovovich (yes even 1600s garb) who carries over all the wooden skills she demonstrated in the Resident Evil movies. Orlando Bloom might be the only cast member who realizes he's in a movie destined to be campy. Donning pastels glitter and eyeshadow Bloom twists his mustache and takes it over the top. That's when Musketeers is at its most fun. Airship battles sword fights and fast-paced Ocean's 11-style infiltration montages are more entertaining than the silly story would suggest but more often than not Anderson downplays Three Musketeers most interesting aspect: The Musketeers themselves. Gone is the camaraderie the "all for one one for all." Instead Three Musketeers is an experience similar to watching a friend play video games. That friend's not going to waste time clicking through dialogue and learning the story when he could be zipping through adrenaline-infused landscapes blasting baddies into smithereens. Not even for your sake.
  • First Trailer for Angelina Jolie's Directorial Debut 'In the Land of Blood and Honey'
    By: Matt Patches October 21, 2011 5:17am EST
    One week, Angelina Jolie had the flu. So she did what any normal person would do: sit down and pen a screenplay about the horrors of the Bosnian War. That spurt of dazed creativity became In the Land of Blood and Honey, which Jolie went on to shoot and now, with its first trailer debuting online, stands to be one of the major Oscar contenders at the end of the year. The film chronicles the romance between a Bosnian couple, Danijel and Lejla, who find themselves separated by war, only to be brought back together when Lejla is taken prisoner and incarcerated at Danijel's POW camp. Heavy stuff, and a look into an aspect of modern history that often goes overshadowed by most. The trailer looks especially stark, not taking reservations in its depiction of violence or emotional outbursts. In the Land of Blood and Honey could fall either way: a gripping war drama with an honest relationship at its center, or a ham-fisted sap fist that demands our emotional reaction. Here's hoping for the former, as the trailer certainly appears to deliver. Jolie's already broken out as one of the few female stars who can successfully dabble in both serious drama and high octane action—can she do the same behind the camera? (via The Playlist)
  • NYCC 2011: Neveldine & Taylor Talk the Insanity Awaiting Us in 'Ghost Rider 2'
    By: Matt Patches October 20, 2011 1:20pm EST
    While this year’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance panel offered some crazy footage and a few revealing tidbits from the energetic directing duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, it was nothing like my rapid fire chat with the duo moments beforehand. The two rock n’ roll directors behind the madcap action flicks Crank, Gamer and Crank 2: High Voltage are a lot like their movies: high energy, sporadic and fun as hell. Our conversation about Ghost Rider 2 (which hits February 17, 2012) went everywhere—from breaking stuntmen’s bones to the ins and outs of Hell demons to Idris Elba’s unmatchable badassery to Nic Cage’s vampirism. In short: hang on. Are you guys New Yorkers or LA-ers? Mark Neveldine: I’m New York, Brian’s LA. Oh, wow! Other ends of the Earth. Then you come together, smash heads and things explode. Everything goes crazy. Brian Taylor: Like Milli Vanilli. Well, less fake than that, I would imagine BT: No. OK, just as fake as Milli Vanilli. BT: Yeah! It’s cool! So, how did you guys end up grabbing the reigns on the Ghost Rider franchise? Why was this the next move and what did you want to do with Ghost Rider? MN: We were pitching this movie. And a Sony exec, Rachel O’Connor, happened to be in the room. She loved our pitch and energy, and she liked our movies, and she thought, “Hey, these guys would be great for Ghost Rider. She brought it up to us. Brian’s a huge comic book guy, and he kind of introduced me to the comic. And we just said, “Hey, this could be fun.” BT: Mark’s a big “Guys on motorcycles, lit on fire” guy. MN: Huge. It was a perfect match. BT: Yeah. Of all the big comic book characters for us to do— MN: This is the one. BT: It’s kind of perfect. It had a lot of elements that we really like. What are those elements? BT: Well, Nic Cage. Nic Cage came with the movie! BT: That’s a big element we really like. No, we talked about it. He was on our ultimate wish list for the first Crank movie. To play Chev Chelios. What do you love about him? I’m sure it’s similar to what we all love. BT: Yeah, it’s exactly what everyone loves. There’s nobody like him. He has a point of view and a way of attacking a scene with his mania, and… Where does that come from? How does he muster this energy? BT: He brings it— MN: He’s not afraid to be free! BT: He’s been alive for a thousand years. Apparently! I saw that he was a vampire. BT: He was a vampire. Were you aware of that on set? BT: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We saw that. MN: We felt it. BT: Going back to Transylvania, that was like a homecoming to him. My God… BT: But he was, uh…Vampire’s Kiss was actually— MN: It was a biopic. BT: Semi-biographical. But no, Nic is fucking crazy. And so are we, so it was a perfect pitch. We loved it. Awesome. And so, looking back to the first movie, what did you want to change? What did you want to introduce to Ghost Rider? BT: Everything. Everything! Does that mean that nothing worked for you in the first movie? MN: No, the first movie is a great Disney film for kids…our movie has nothing to do with the first movie. Other than Nic. We just said, let’s go back to the source material: the comics. Let’s go back to how dark and cool this character really is. And we just kind of went from there, you know? And I might have seen…a couple minutes of the first movie… It’s not even important to your vision. MN: I think it’s super important to the fans, and to the awareness of Ghost Rider the comic book character—which is fucking incredible—but as far as this movie, it’s not. This is its own beast. And you mentioned what attracted you. It’s got bikes! It has fire! How does that play to your own style, your own interests, in filmmaking? What you were able to unleash here with the toys that come with Ghost Rider? BT: You get toys, but at the same, we wanted to do a superhero movie where the action was mostly practically based. Based on stunts and driving, blowing stuff up for real, stuff like that. A character like Ghost Rider lets you do that. Of course, everything’s enhanced with CG. If you blow something up, you could blow it up bigger. The guy who’s riding a bike…his head is on fire, and it’s a skull now. MN: When the stunt guy really broke his leg in a scene, he now broke his neck as well. You can do a lot of things in CG. Wait, did that actually happen? BT: Yes. A guy broke his leg— MN: Yeah. It’s in the movie. …and you’re like, “Wait, why doesn’t he just get more broken?” BT: Let’s just break everything! Yeah, so it was an opportunity to do a superhero movie, but have it be more like…not a safe CG movie, but more a kind of grounded, gritty, gnarly, nasty superhero movie. And the Ghost Rider, he’s a mean, nasty character. He’s not really a traditional hero. He’s not going to save your cat from a tree. He might cook your cat. teams up. He plays the French drunk monk. He plays Moreau. Every movie needs one. MN: You’ve got to have it. And what a great guy. We knew about him from The Wire, we knew about him from the Guy Ritchie films, but when we got the chance to work with him, we really saw the potential that this guy has. And we’re super excited to sort of reintroduce him to the film world. You think he’s bringing something new that we haven’t seen? BT: You will definitely see a side of him that you haven’t seen. He’s known for being real badass and grim. You’ll see this charismatic…he is a full:on action hero. And this is going to be a breakout movie for him. People are going to see this guy in a whole new way. He can carry that mantle. Does his character in the movie have powers of some sort? BT: No. No. He’s just a friend? A drunk monk who punches people in the face? BT: He’s just a badass. MN: We hint that he might have something behind all that. Gotcha. BT: But he’s ruthless. He’s a guy who’s ruthless. He’ll do whatever he has to do. But he’s a hero. He’s just such a cool guy. You know, we think in the Crank movies, we were able to bring a side to Statham out that normally people don’t see. Because he’s very monosyllabic and kind of grim. Sure. He’s hilarious in those. BT: Right? So we had him doing broad, slapsticky comedy, and being charming. We like to bring a lot of that out. And that’s the way Jason is in real life. He’s not a real grim, boring guy. He’s a super, fun guy! And we feel like it’s kind of the same thing with Idris. We encourage these guys to show us the real kind of personality that you have. Let it come out. Love it. And from what I’ve seen, it seems like the studio is putting a lot of investment into you, with this franchise, kind of rebooting the whole thing. Was this the beginning of something bigger for you guys? Was it planned to be multiple films? BT: Not really. I think they want to see how this one goes, and see if they were crazy to hire us or not. MN: We think they were right. What about Crank? Are you going to come back and do a third Crank at some point? I think we’re hoping. I can understand if you’re all Crank-ed out. BT: Well, no. The thing about it is, if we say, ‘Yes, we’re definitely going to do a Crank 3, we just don’t know when it’s going to be,’ then everybody’s going to be all, like, ‘Crank 3 is coming! It’s coming!’ ‘Cause that’s what happens. You make one little comment. That’s true. BT: People who like Crank—you know, all twelve of them…these hardcore fans—they want nothing more than Crank 3. And we want to give them that. But, you know, we want to be able to do it right. And so far, we haven’t really had an opportunity. For whatever reasons, the pieces—the availability of the actor, the studio—whatever it is, the pieces haven’t fallen together. There’s definitely a conclusion to the trilogy out there. First you have to do your slow-paced, talky drama. BT: All right. You just blew our whole idea for Crank 3. MN: DAMNIT! It’s just going to be sitting around, musing existentially… BT: Yeah. It’s My Dinner with Chelios.
  • Exclusive: Zachary Quinto, Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore and More Talk 'Margin Call'
    By: Matt Patches October 20, 2011 10:20am EST
    Take a stroll through downtown New York City today and you'll find thousands of angry protestors camping in the Financial District, rallying together to demand change in the way businesses are allowed to operate in their country. The Occupy Wall Street movement was born out of the economic meltdown America suffered in the late 2000s—a crisis OWS believes could been prevented. There are a lot of grand ideas and detailed statistics wrapped around the current economic feud brewing in the US, and trying to sift through the information is a daunting task. Thankfully, this week sees the release of a movie that strives to clear a few things up. Although Margin Call was written and shot by director J.C. Chandlor before the protests began (the movie premiered at Sundance back in January), the movie speaks volumes to what the OWS movement is all about. The film doesn't necessarily point fingers, but rather paints a portrait of the events that led to the economic catastrophe, humanizes the people involved and attempts to make sense of how the system works. We're lucky—the timing of its release is coincidence. I got a chance to sit down with the star-studded cast of Margin Call—including Zachary Quinto (who also produced the film), Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Penn Badgley, Paul Bettany and Simon Baker—to discuss the extremely relevant film, on how the movie both informs and buttsheads with the Occupy Wall Street movement, and whether they understood what the heck all those numbers and terminology they spurt out in the film actually meant. ="font-style:> Kevin Spacey and Paul Bettany Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley and Stanley Tucci Demi Moore and Simon Baker
  • NYCC 2011: 'Saw,' Writers Discuss Their Novel 'Black Light,' 'Piranha 3DD' and More!
    By: Matt Patches October 20, 2011 9:12am EST
    What do you get when you combine the writing duo behind franchises like Saw and Piranha 3DD (Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan) with established thriller novelist Stephen Romano? The answer is Black Light, a new paranormal thriller from the trio that splices a creepy ghost story with a pulpy detective story. At the center of the novel is Buck Carlsbad, a private eye with a shady backstory and the ability to communicate with the dead. Put him on bullet train and you've got the beginnings of the books intense, often cinematic story. I got a chance to talk to the authors of the book about penning the novel, the freedom of writing prose, looking ahead to a big screen Black Light adaptation and everything else they've got in the works (yes, even Piranha 3DD): So the three of you wrote Black Light together—how did the idea come about and how did you all team up together to make it happen? Patrick Melton: Basically, Marcus and I had this idea and we ended up having dinner with this editor, John Schoenfelder. He liked the idea of taking Hollywood screenwriters and matching them up with novelist and doing a book. So he asked us if we had any ideas that fall within the parameters of Mulholland [Books]. Not horror necessarily, but paranormal thrillers. Stephen Romano: Suspense thrillers. PM: Sort of pulp, crime novel edge. That's how we came up with Black Light. Then Stephen was brought in and the collaboration began. Is the process of writing a novel similar to developing a screenplay? PM: It's similar. We're used to going back-and-forth, but thankfully Stephen has a screenwriting background. He did the first Master of Horror. So he knows what it's like getting dumb notes from dumb people and we worked perfectly within that realm. The thing is, since the editor came to us, it was a bit of reverse engineering. We started batting around ideas, putting down pages—it was a very abbreviated period because they liked the idea of it coming out on Halloween, because we usually have a Saw film coming out. SR: We started working on the book in November. That's when we started talking about it. We didn't do the deal until January, but we had already written half the book on spec. We finished the book in four or five months. Where did the idea come from? The premise seems like a far cry from the Saw movies and some of your other work. PM: This was actually the second idea we had after Feast. So we had Feast done, and at the time ghost stories were big—it was right at the beginning of the J-Horror period—but when we were done with Feast and got around to talking to our representatives, J-Horror was on the way out. That's when some of these gory, torture porn movies came en vogue, so we switched gears and started doing that. But this was the opportunity to get this out. Marcus Dunstan: That's where Stephen comes in [laughs]! PM: In terms of elements, we had the opportunity to work in creature horror, and this was supernatural, but wasn't confined to a screenplay's narrative limitations. 90 pages, 100 pages or what not. This could exist on a bigger palette. And it was nice to pull from the 9+ years of love for the ghost story and react to everything that had come prior. React to the J-Horror remakes, react to things that landed soft or landed well throughout our lives. MD: …but trap it in a 400 mile per hour ride that's shaped like a gold coffin and multiply it times 9. Crank it up. PM: And we're naturally drawn to the antihero, I think. So creating Buck as a very flawed individual, a hard ass, was very appealing to all of us. That goes back to our literature influences: Jim Thompson, Walter Mosley, like that. So naturally we said, 'let's do it first person, let's get into it, let's make him a bad, flawed motherf*cker.' And it worked. When you first signed to do the book, it was announced that Black Light would be the first in a series. Is that still the plan? SR: There are a lot of things in the book that could play into the other books, but we're just waiting to see how this one does. And we have a movie deal. I was curious, because of your background, if a movie adaptation was always planned. SR: You always hope for that. PM: It was in the back of our minds to make it as cinematic as possible. It started as a screenplay, so it was always in its DNA. And as far as future books, this is the first in a series where we're defining the world as we want it. We had to create all the rules, which always as the feeling of an origin story. So it might seem like we set it up for a series, and it very well might be, but that's just us setting up the rules. But we just jump right into—he's been doing this for quite awhile—so we had to explain that. How far along are you with bringing the book to the screen? PM: We purposefully didn't show it to anyone within the industry until the book was done and printed and ready. So the first person we showed it to Mike DeLuca (The Social Network, Priest, The Sitter). And he said, "I love detective stories and I love trains and you put them both in one story!" The ghost didn't come up. PM: [Laughs] Of course not. So he's the man on board. It happened very recently, so we'll see what happens. So what's the actual process of three guys writing a book. Do each of you have a specific role? PM: We started with a treatment and then Stephen added to the treatment. Then we went into pages, everyone would respond—it was building from the beginning. When Marcus and I started writing together, we didn't Feast together, but on set we had to do a page one rewrite of Highlander: The Source. We had to do it really quickly—so I did the first act and the third act and Marcus did the second act. But when you added my pages to his pages and it was a 145-page draft of Highlander 5. So…that doesn't always work. So we planned from the beginning and John kept us on track. A good deal of Black Light takes place on a train—how many trains did you actually ride while writing? SR: I've never been on a train in my life [laughs], and it was my idea to have it go 400 miles per hour too. Is it refreshing to have the Saw films in your past and be tackling something totally different? MD: Well, it's a step away from Saw's mechanism for terrifying and engaging. It's a different spectrum. Black Light could take place in that area between PG-13 and R if it wanted to, whereas Saw is built to be R. This is a man searching for his meaning. Perhaps his gift is a curse, perhaps he'll never know what happened to his parents, but he's willing to give little pieces of himself away for moments of information of his past in this world called the Black Light. Is there something specific in the book you were glad to bring to live through a novel as opposed to on screen? MD: I'll say, character development! Ha! Are you saying your movies don't have character development? PM: Here's the thing. When writing in the horror genre you're lucky if your movies going over 95 minutes. That really gives you one scene, one moment to define your character. Every once in awhile it's nice to write something with a little more meat on its bones. What do you each have in the works for the future? SR: I'm in rewrite right now on a novel for Simon & Schuster called Resurrection Express. It's a non-horror, but it's equally twisted and weird. I refer to it in the TV Guide summary way, as The Bourne Identity meets Mission: Impossible directed by Quentin Tarantino. It's a brutal, on-the-street chase thriller with exploding helicopters. It's going to be badass. Patrick and Marcus, I know you have Piranha 3DD in the can, which looks like it'll hit in 2012… PM: Yeah, you know it was never going to hit the original date anyway. It was very quick and there was a huge amount of effects work to do. Not enough time. Dimension is talking about January, but we've seen the move and it should be April. It's a total Spring Break movie. Just like the first one. It takes place a year later, down river. At a water park. It has the same sort of party vibe. And then we have The Collection, which is the sequel to The Collector. We don't know when that's going to come out. MD: It's in post right now and will be for a quite a awhile. Are you writing anything at the moment? MD: Uh, well…[Laughs] PM: Yes, we came here from our current assignment. MD: In Toronto. Top secret. PM: And we're returning there tomorrow evening. Is it horror? PM: No. Well, kinda [laughs]. Black Light is available in stores and online now.
  • John Krasinski to Star in Matt Damon's Directorial Debut
    By: Matt Patches October 20, 2011 4:44am EST
    Anything Ben Affleck can do, Matt Damon can do...well, at least on par with his former Good Will Hunting co-writer. Affleck has shaped up to have quite the eye behind the camera (Gone, Baby, Gone, The Town and his upcoming Argo), but now Damon will have his turn to prove himself. The actor, who recently starred in the viral thriller Contagion and will next be seen in Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo is stepping in to the director's chair to helm an unnamed script co-written by himself and The Office star John Krasinski. The duo will also co-star in the film together. The movie will see Damon as a salesman who arrives in a small town and finds his life forever changed by the surroundings. Krasinski developed the idea with author Dave Eggers (who penned the scripts for Away We Go and Where the Wild Things Are), so while the description may not offer up a ton of details, expect a light-hearted drama peppered with plenty of comedy. Even with two Best Actor nominations, Damon has always had a great sense of humor (evidence: I'm F*cking Matt Damon), so this project seems right up his alley. Oddly, Damon was in the works on another film, Father Daughter Time, but that one's apparently on the backburner. The movie is in the early planning stages and without a start or release date, but with the talent involved, it shouldn't take too long for the mystery movie to get the go-ahead. The biggest news here is that the overly-likable Krasinski has solidified himself as someone A-Listers want to work with—after a string of so-so dramedies like Leatherheads and Something Borrowed, he needs the bump. Matt Damon sounds like the perfect guy to give him the boost. Source: Variety
  • Dark Knight Rises Prologue Attached to Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol IMAX Screenings?
    By: Matt Patches October 19, 2011 10:20am EST
    Back in 2007, I was lucky enough to see Will Smith's I Am Legend in IMAX, my first real time seeing a Hollywood blockbuster on the big, big screen. That said, my favorite part of the viewing experience wasn't any scene in the movie (sorry, Will), it was nabbing an exclusive look at the opening scene of The Dark Knight. Having actually shot the Joker bank robbery scene with IMAX cameras, the moment was an unmatched spectacle. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Warner Bros. may try their hand at something similar with the sequel, The Dark Knight Rises. Unnamed sources reveal to SlashFilm that an eight-minute prologue to TDKR will be attached to IMAX screenings of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, which hits theaters early on December 16. Details on what the scene will depict are non-existent but if "prologue" aspect of the rumors are true, then the scene might be see something similar to The Dark Knight Rises. An introduction to the villainous Bane, perhaps? Whatever it is, expect it to be a scene shot and designed for IMAX. In other words, visually extraordinary. The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters July 20, 2012. Watch the trailer below! ="font-style:>
  • Oscar-Nominated John Hawkes and Hugh Dancy Talk the Mysterious 'Martha Marcy May Marlene'
    By: Matt Patches October 19, 2011 6:58am EST
    You'll think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. Martha Marcy May Marlene blew my mind at this year's Sundance. The film, written and directed by first-timer Sean Durkin, would have been a riveting drama based on Elizabeth Olsen's disturbed performance alone. But thanks to its rich supporting cast, each bringing a dense, concealed backstory that trickles through every moment of the movie, it's easily one of the year's best. It's all about the casting—and Durkin fills the movie's male co-starring roles with some of the finest actors in the business. John Hawkes, nominated for an Oscar last year for his work in Winter's Bone, plays the leader of a commune who takes a particular fancy for Martha. Hugh Dancy, who just wrapped a season of the acclaimed dramedy Nurse Jackie, plays Martha's brother-than-law, slightly unenthused by her unexpected appearance in his life. They're polar opposite characters with plenty brewing behind there cold exteriors. In person, they couldn't be more different. I had a chance to sit down with both gents and talk about diving deep into their characters, showing restraint and the differences between Hollywood and the indie world. Unlike their characters, they were quite open. ="font-style:>
  • New 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' Trailer Explodes with Wits, Guns and Downey Jr.
    By: Matt Patches October 19, 2011 5:24am EST
    The original Sherlock Holmes was a true test of Robert Downey Jr.'s stardom—could a Victorian era crime solver jazzed up with fighting skills and technological wizardry pull in the same audience as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise? With Downey Jr. and director Guy Ritchie in charge, the answer was obviously "yes." The movie was met with (mostly) critical praise and took in a worldwide box office of $500 million. No surprise the studio quickly moved forward with a sequel, and now this holiday season we have a second round with the world's greatest detective: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. The second trailer for the movie has premiered and it looks like everything that worked in the first movie returns in bigger and badder form. More slow motion explosions, more peering suspects rattling off cryptic threats, more corsets pushing up lovely women's bosoms and lots more Downey Jr./Jude Law back-and-forth. Why change the formula? It's elementary, my dear Reader. The only thing missing for me in this trailer is the mystery. I understand that Sherlock and Watson are facing off against the greatest mastermind in all of Europe, the nefarious Professor Moriarty, but…why? I recently barreled through the BBC Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman and I found it thoroughly enjoyable thanks to a perfect balance between playful banter and their honest to goodness mystery stories. If there's anything I want out of this new Sherlock Holmes movie, it's more intrigue, more sleuthing. The trailer doesn't put that on full display, but then again, that's not exactly the best sell for mass audiences. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows hits theaters December 16. Check out the new trailer below and revisit the first spot for even more of a look at the movie.
  • NYCC 2011: Tom Hiddleston Talks Loki's Epic Battle Against The Avengers
    By: Matt Patches October 18, 2011 10:57am EST
    Here's how I know Tom Hiddleston is one of the most talented up-and-comers in Hollywood: he's the nicest guy in the world, fully capable of playing the most evil dude in the universe. I had a chance to sit down with Hiddleston at New York Comic Con to discuss The Avengers, his second round of playing the villainous Loki, God of Mischief. Judging from the recent trailer (and the preview footage we got a glimpse of at the film's panel), Loki looks more powerful than ever, enhanced by (if the end of Thor is any indication) otherworldly forces. Still, charm is his deadliest weapon—something Hiddleston has plenty of in his arsenal. This is the second time you're playing the God of Mischief under two very different men. What are the differences playing the character under Kenneth Branagh in Thor and Joss Whedon in The Avengers? Tom Hiddleston:The thing about the two of them is that they actually share more than you might first imagine, weirdly. Joss is a huge Shakespeare buff and Ken is a closeted comic book fanboy. True story. But they also have a pan-literacy about storytelling and mythology and literature and comics, and they understand classic tropes of storytelling. Narrative arcs. They're also both immensely passionate people. Really good at leading, really good at inspiring actors. All that stuff. But everyone has a different artistic fingerprint, and whatever that is changes as you grow older anyway. Ken has a very classical warmth. Thor is both warm and classical in tone. Joss is really interested in comedy as well, within a sci-fi context. You have this huge canvas where eight superheroes are teaming up to save the world, and he's brave enough to make it funny. How did that affect your performance as Loki? TH: He changes in that he's definitively more menacing. A lot more. I think Loki in Thor is a lost prince. There's a degree of vulnerability and confusion about his identity. In The Avengers he knows exactly who he is, he's completely self-possessed. He's here with a particular mission. Why does Loki take out his vengeance on Earth? TH: Like all autocrats, he doesn't see it as vengeance. He sees it as a good thing. Essentially, he's come down to Earth to subjugate it, to rule as their king. His primary argument is that this planet is rife and populated with people who are constantly fighting each other. If they're all united in their reverence of one king, there will be no war. [Laughs] I'm not sure he's right about that. But to bring [Chris] Hemsworth into it, I think Loki's still jealous that Thor has a kingdom, Asgard. And Loki has nothing. So he's going to make his own kingdom. Do you get any comedy in this movie or are you all hellfire and brimstone? Oh, a lot of hellfire and brimstone [laughs], but Joss had two notes for myself: more feral and enjoy yourself. And I think there's a kind of relish that Loki takes in just being who he is, that I hope the audience will enjoy as well. You have a lot of physicality at the end of Thor, will we see more of that as well? TH: Definitively. Are you working alone or do you have some cronies? TH: [Laughs] There's a lot of working alone, but there's a little support too. How does one bad guy take on eight superheroes? TH: It's all in a days work, man! There's something about Loki that's been expanded. He's a enormously powerful being. He's the God of Mischief. Between the end of Thor and the beginning of Avengers he's evolved. It's as if he's been on three years of military training and he knows a few extra things. A few tricks up his sleeve. It was really fun and hugely physically demanding for me. Because there's a kind of lethal, yet sinewy strength that he has, that sometimes is about magic and supernatural power that he has, but other times a raw physicality that's just me and my body. Did you and Chris discuss how you were going to make your relationship different in this film than in Thor? TH: Well we sat down with Joss individually, then we kind of talked about it together. Joss had such good ideas, we kind of followed his lead. Because it's not a sequel to the Thor film, it's a sequel to the Iron Man films and the Captain America film…his ideas were just so smart. I took it as a huge compliment that what I did in Thor was OK enough to warrant putting me in the next one. Joss has a soft spot for Loki, he likes him as a character and thought he could take both Thor and Loki further down that path. Make the sibling rivalry a really interesting element of the clash of egos in Avengers. We see you playing with a weapon in the recent trailer. What were you wielding? TH: It's a kind of evolution of the staff he played with in the end of Thor. That was Odin's spear. This his own makeshift staff of mischief. There's a lot of New York blowing up in the trailer. Is the action primarily set there or does the movie have a larger, global scope? TH: Well, no, it's not just one city, but Manhattan becomes a focus point mainly because that's where Tony Stark lives. There's one shot in the trailer where you can see the jet flying towards Stark Tower, which in the fictitious world of the comics, Tony Stark has a huge, interestingly-shaped [laughs] tower, opposite the Chrysler Building. So that becomes a focus point. How familiar and immersed were you with Marvel mythology before playing Loki? TH: Well, in England we have this game called Top Trumps and it's like a really simple game for kids. You have them for racing cars, fighting planes or something. And I had the Marvel Superhero Top Trumps. Each hero is on each card, with each of their vital statistics. You'd have Thor and I'd have Loki and you'd say, 'height, 7'2"' and I'd be like 'uh…' and then you'd win Loki. Galactus, he's the Top Trump! Because you were the movie's villain, did the other cast keep you at arm's length or was there camaraderie on set? TH: [Laughs] No, no they didn't. All the Marvel movie's have a code name to keep them secret. Thor was called 'Frostbite' and The Avengers was called 'Group Hug.' There was a huge camaraderie on set. Partly because none of us could quite believe we were there making this movie. Also, we were shooting in Albuquerque and Cleveland, and of course, no one is from Albuquerque or Cleveland so no one has anywhere to go. So you finish up at work and it's like, 'does anyone want to grab a beer or something?' We had some fun houses. Chris Evans had a good table tennis table. Loki beats the crap out of both Thor and Captain America at table tennis. And one night Chris Evans sent a round robin text message saying 'Avengers Assemble' [laughs] and we ended up at a bar in Albuquerque, the place where everyone goes to hang out on Saturday night. What was quite interesting was that your regular Albuquerque bar-goer looking around going, 'Is that Jeremy Renner doing a lunge on the dance floor?' Or, 'why are Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson at this bar dancing together?' But, yeah, it was really fun. What is Loki's relationship with Stellan Skarsgaard's character in this movie? We know at the end of Thor the two of you were quite close. TH: This is where I can sense the red dot forming on my forehead and the Marvel sniper on the roof over there has his eye on me. Working with Stellan is amazing. I really do think he's an exceptional actor, capable of bringing a layer of complexity and truth to roles, which in another actor's hands might seem dry and invisible. He's been doing it for so long—I love the fact that he's done so many different things. Lars von Trier so many times, Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean, Angels & Demons and he's in Fincher's new movie, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. A kind, sweet man. He plays the same character in The Avengers, Eric Selvig. He's employed by S.H.I.E.L.D. after his encounter with S.H.I.E.L.D. in Thor. And that is all I can say [laughs]. How does Loki contend with the eclectic mix of superpowers presented by The Avengers? How do they balance all the characters? TH: I think Joss is a great genius in the way he put the film together. These guys don't find it easy to share the space. It's not a easily functioning team. You've seen the bit in the trailer where Steve Rogers and Tony Stark bickering. A lot of the strength and the uniqueness of the film comes from square pegs/round hole fitting. With Loki being the big bad in The Avengers, do you have any particularly threatening lines you drop on the team? TH: Oh God…there's so many. There's on in the first scene, if I can remember. It's connected to the one in the trailer, which is, "You were made to be ruled." That smacks of an entitlement and arrogance and a menace that sums Loki up pretty well. There's more where that came from.