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.
  • For Your Consideration: 'Tangled'
    By: Matt Patches Sep 01, 2011
    This week, Disney's 50th animated feature, the 2010 film Tangled, hit Netflix Watch Instantly. Amongst the sea of available streaming titles, the movie looks better suited for a rainy day when you're stuck babysitting young persons—but that's underselling it. Not only is Tangled a great animated film, it's a great film. Period. And one of the best of 2010, for that matter. Featuring a cast of colorful characters (including a militant horse and an adorable chameleon), Tangled was obviously designed to appeal to the wee ones, but here's why you may consider taking it a look at it yourself: Who Made It: Walt Disney Animation (the folks who aren't Pixar), who have been working steadily since Snow White, but only recently returned to the "fairy tale" brand that made them famous (see the underrated Princess and the Frog). Tangled is directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, who previously sharpened their skills on Mulan before directing their first Disney feature, Bolt. Who's in It: The voice talent of Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi (Chuck), Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy), Donna Murphy, Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) What's It About: Tangled extrapolates the time-honored story of Rapunzel into a Disney-fied adventure flick. After being enchanted by a magic flower, the wee princess Rapunzel is kidnapped by a decrepit old woman, Mother Gothel, and locked away in a impenetrable tower. Every year, Gothel utilizes Rapunzel's imbued locks to revive her youth—until the savvy blonde works out an escape plan with a bumbling thief named Flynn Rider. Why You Should Watch It: At first glance, Tangled might be too cute and cuddly for an adult looking for sophisticated entertainment. Don't let outside appearances fool you. The movie's infused with everything that made older Disney animation—from Walt's early films to the late '80s/early '90s, 2D revival of Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Lion King—genuinely magical. Tangled doesn't reach for the pop culture-infused, gag-a-minute style of Dreamworks movies or the dramatic intensity of Pixar, but completely owns the difficult balance of touching, coming-of-age story (as so many of Disney's princess movies were), fantasy romance and slapstick comedy. There's no shame in being a "nice" movie. The story is simple enough that directors Greno and Howard were able to relish in the flourishes of what makes animation so engrossing—even in a 3D plane. Tangled mimics the Disney look while adding another layer of artistry. The movie looks like an expressionist painting brought to life, the colors soft and blooming. Animated light has never looked better, especially in a scene depicting the lighting of a thousand lanterns (see above). Beautiful stuff. If that makes it sound like Rapunzel and Flynn spend most of their time frolicking around green pastures, basking in the warm glow of the sun, let me slip in a little spoiler: Tangled features one of the better executed action scenes of 2010. In one scene, when the duo find themselves running from Gothel's goons, the simple chase turns into a set piece straight out of The Legend of Zorro, canyon and all. It's an achievement to deliver those kind of thrills in animation. Tangled knocks it out of the ball park with a hefty helping of Broadway-style songs. Composed by go-to Disney collaborator Alan Menken (Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and, most importantly, Newsies), the movie's soundtrack features a good mix of upbeat crowd-pleasers and elegant ballads. There's even a song featuring drunken vikings—literally, something for everyone. And the talent is there: no matter what you think of Mandy Moore the live-action actress, her animated counterpart is smart, sassy and can belt out a tune. Same goes for Levi—easily the biggest surprise of the movie—and theater staple Donna Murphy, who makes for one of the liveliest animated villains in some time. I've met a lot of people who won't touch animated movies. They don't work for them. To that I say: just because your kids might love it, doesn't mean you can't too. Give Tangled a try on Netflix—you won't be disappointed.
  • 'Martha Marcy May Marlene' Trailers and Posters Will Haunt You
    By: Matt Patches Sep 01, 2011
    When I saw Martha Marcy May Marlene for the first time at this year's Sundance Film Festival, it didn't' feel like I had simply watched the movie. Instead, the experience was akin to being thrown into a cage with a sleeping lion—me on one end, scared out of my mind, the lion on the other, snoring and showing its teeth once in awhile. At some point, the lion would make up and tear me to bits. It felt that way even after the movie had ended! Martha Marcy May Marlene is a truly terrifying experience, full of tension, silence and chaos. The movie stars Elizabeth Olsen (younger sister of the infmaous Olsen twins) as…well, all the titular characters. Martha takes on multiple identities as she joins a cult run by the unhinged Patrick (played by 2011 Oscar nominee John Hawkes), then escapes to her sister Lucy's (Sarah Paulson) lake house. The film intercuts Martha's experiences during and post-cult life, building the paranoia that her former brethren could be lurking around every corner. Creepy stuff. The film's haunting imagery is simultaneously beautiful and unsettling—so it's fitting that the recent posters and clips capture that mood. Check out the latest one-sheet, new trailer and a few more of the innovative posters below. Martha Marcy May Marlene is one of the best films of the year and it hits theaters October 21. Source: Empire
  • We Can't Get Mad at George Lucas for Changing Star Wars
    By: Matt Patches Aug 31, 2011
    Like many, the Star Wars films are near and dear to my heart. The original trilogy utilizes archetypes like a set of Legos, clicking each part together so the end result is the epitome of adventure storytelling. The heroes, the alien worlds, the quest to destroy the Death Star—it's mythology 101, and Joseph Campbell would be quite proud. But George Lucas doesn't appear to be. Since the 20th anniversary re-release of the films, Lucas has been tinkering with the cuts of the film, upgrading old special effects, fixing dialogue quirks, swapping out actors into spiffy "Special Edition" cuts. These are the versions Lucas insists we watch—so much so, that you won't find the "original" trilogy anywhere. As we all know, this made fans very, very mad. With the introduction of the prequel trilogy, more changes came. Lucas felt the urge to connect his six-film saga in a more fluid manner, manipulating Episodes IV, V and VI (as they are now referred to) to reference films produced twenty years after the fact. Through modern technology, Hayden Christensen could now appear as a ghost in a movie that came out two years after he was born. Lucas was determined to make Star Wars one unified story, fandom be damned. As we all know, this made fans very, very, very, very mad. So it became a joke. George Lucas would never rest until everything people loved about the originals was obliterated and wiped clean. The upcoming Blu-rays make that clear. Today, my friend Mike Ryan at Moviefone did some detective work and confirmed that, yes, the versions set to debut in glorious high definition have once again been "improved" by the Force powers of Darth Lucas, including additional CG critters in Jabba's Palace, a new Krayyt Dragon noise emitted by Obi-Wan to scare off Tuskan Raiders in A New Hope and a Darth Vader "NOOO!" callback at the tail end of Return of the Jedi. Add on a few lightsaber improvements and you've got a whole new set of films—primed and ready to piss off fans. But here's the thing: it's not our place to get pissed off. Yes, Star Wars might be the reason that people love movies, that budding filmmakers spent countless hours making Super 8 films in their backyards, or that lads and lasses have something to talk about with their parents after so many years. But in the end, the films weren't made for any of those people. They were made for George. George might tell you otherwise, but in the end, they're for George. See, George Lucas the lanky USC student wanted to make experimental films. He loved technology, the art of filmmaking, and building stuff. It's never been more apparent than in his 1971 film THX-1138—a movie that feels more like an impressive exercise than a compelling look at futuristic society. The reason Star Wars dabbles in archetypes so unabashedly is because it was the easiest way to make a big fun space movie, a project for Lucas to flex his special effects muscle. He wanted to dazzle us (and himself) with the latest and greatest, incomprehensible technology. He did, and it won us over. He continues to do so, but now we're angry. In the wake of all the Lucas-inspired rage, vocal Star Wars fans have been equally battered by another presence: the naysayers. They call SW fans "nerds," who care too much about a singular movie that, in the scope of film history, is just a movie. That's not cool either—it's fine to love something with a passion, but what most fans forget is that they'll forever have the Star Wars that they love, because they'll never forget it. While Lucas will continue to play in his sandbox of technical wizardry, forever toying at what he considers an incomplete set of films, fans will always have the memories of what they saw that first time. No ILM staff member can ever change that. I once had an English teacher tell me that no art is created for an audience—that, if it is true art, it can only be for the artist him or herself. That's a semi-truth. George Lucas is an artist who strives to make his long-lasting work into a modern marvel, no matter what time period one is watching it in. The film will never be complete. He will be forever tortured by its imperfections. That's cool—let him. Star Wars is George Lucas' movie and no one else's. The flip side is that what Lucas wanted was to design something to be watched, enjoyed, embraced. For that reason, no matter what, fans will always have the Star Wars they love. In their heads, just not on Blu-ray. Why get mad about that? Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches and @Hollywood_com
  • Comedian Nick Swardson Discovers His True Passion in 'Bucky Larson' Clip
    By: Matt Patches Aug 31, 2011
    Comedian Nick Swardson has been turning his arsenal of funny faces and voices into memorable characters for a good part of the last decade, and now he's finally getting the chance (courtesy of Adam Sandler) to strike out on his own. His first, big starring role, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star hits theaters September 9 and we've got an exclusive clip that reveals Swardson's man-child Bucky discovering his true calling: the movie star life. Adult movie star, to be exact. Watch the sneak peak below then click the poster to check out the trailer for the movie!
  • The Debt Review
    By: Matt Patches Aug 31, 2011
    Late August/early September is known as a dumping ground for Hollywood a block of weekends for movies that don't fit into studios' strategical timeline. This could be for quality reasons ("when else are we going to put out this crappy movie?") or in the case of The Debt the movie might be too straightforward for its own good. Oscar-winning director John Madden's (Shakespeare in Love) espionage thriller walks the fine line between action entertainment and award-season bait—leaving it in the unmarketable limbo known as "solid adult entertainment." The film a remake of a 2007 Israeli drama of the same name starts in 1997 centering on former-Mossad agent Rachel (Helen Mirren) and her two former teammates David (Ciaran Hinds) and Rachel's ex-husband Stephan (Tom Wilkinson). The trio cross paths once again with the publishing of a book written by Rachel and Stephen's daughter recounting the team's daring (and semi-successful) mission to kidnap and incarcerate a Nazi war criminal in 1965. It's with this solidifying of fame that the true events of their mission begin to trickle out. The movie quickly flashes back to 1965 picking up with Rachel David and Stephen (now played by rising starlett Jessica Chastain Avatar's Sam Worthington and Marton Csokas) at the start of their mission. Like any group of gorgeous people forced to live in confined spaces romance begins to blossom with Rachel warming to the introverted David and Stephen waiting for the opportune moment to sweep her off her feet. While the trio prepares for the kidnapping—with your standard array of sleuthing calculated scheduling and intel-gathering—their relationships complicate giving The Debt a bit more depth than your run-of-the-mill Mission: Impossible-style spy movie. When it comes time to bag the Nazi everything seems to have fallen into place. But unlike the stories told by their '90s counterparts the three agents find themselves in a stickier situation than expected. WIth one misstep the tension between the triangle boils and Madden to play games with our expectations. The script by Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class writers Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman twists and turns bouncing back and forth between Mirren and Chastain's Rachel with ease. The spectacle in The Debt isn't delivered by elaborate set pieces but rather by the two actresses' performances. The duo without sharing a single scene click and unfold a complete arc beginning with Rachel's pride-filled aspirations to her chaotic downfall to Mirren's newfound mission to cover up the truth. Even when the movie dawdles (and it does around the hour mark) Mirren and Chastain keep us on board. The other members of the ensemble don't have too much meat to chew on but Worthington impresses nonetheless tackling a character that's a complete 180 from his usual action-oriented muscle roles. His young David gives weight to the mission inhabiting a sense of devotion that explodes when he finally engages their Nazi hostage in a battle of words. Csoaks as young Stephen is just the slick realist prick the movie needs to make the team's downfall frighteningly disastrous and in turn the events of the present that much more dire. The Debt doesn't have the expansive harrowing scope of Steven Spielberg's serious spy movie Munich but for a movie that doesn't really have a place on the Hollywood slate it delivers a square serving of drama and sharp performances. It tells its story and does so with the right amount of flair. At the end of the summer that's a welcome surprise.
  • Video: Taylor Lautner Jump Kicks a Guy Through Glass in 'Abduction'
    By: Matt Patches Aug 31, 2011
    Taylor Lautner must have been tired of standing around, waiting for Kirsten Stewart to decide between him and Robert Pattinson in the Twilight movies. In his new flick, Abduction, the wunderkind seemingly tackles every stunt under the sun, from crazy driving to gunplay to smashing through anything breakable. Ripped abs? OK, impressive. Jump kicking a dude through a window while shouting something about your lost identity? That's heroism. The latest TV spot for the movie injects 50cc's of adrenaline directly into your brain, with Lautner teaming up with Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusers, Avatar) to take down an extremely pissy Alfred Molina (Prince of Persia, Law & Order: LA). This movie isn't giving you the time to even think about Robert Pattinson. Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches and @Hollywood_com
  • New 'Superman' Set Photos Show Henry Cavill Cape-less
    By: Matt Patches Aug 31, 2011
    Even through the smallest of details, director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) is out to convince us his Man of Steel isn't a sequel to 2006's ill-received Superman Returns. That movie was a direct continuation of the previous films presented in Superman's cinematic history, while Snyder's superhero blockbuster aims to wipe the slate clean. That means anything goes—even in the wake of tradition. Our first official look at star Henry Cavill in costume and recent snapshots from set revealed we might be seeing a variation of the traditional Superman costume in the Christopher Nolan-produced reboot, but now a new slew of on-set photos confirm it. The new onesie is closer to a Kryptonian wet suit, complimented with flexible muscle braces and losing the bright red bikini bottom. But the big shocker: no cape! Don't lose your cool: the cape pops up in a later photo, meaning Cavill probably walks the set without his lengthy drape to avoid tripping. The last thing the filmmakers want paparazzi to catch is a bumbling Superman. We have plenty of time to weigh in on the new suit—Man of Steel won't be hitting theaters until the Summer of 2013! Source: SuperheroHype Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches and @Hollywood_com
  • Hugh Jackman Gonna Knock You Out in 'Real Steel' Poster
    By: Matt Patches Aug 30, 2011
    There's a certain kind of actor who can sell me on a movie about boxing robots. He has to be tough, but heartfelt. Slick, but genuine. Seemingly above the whole concept, but able to embrace it without cynicism. That's Hugh Jackman to a T. Real Steel director Shawn Levy found the perfect leading man for his futuristic, Rocky-style sports movie and it's encapsulated in this first poster, featuring Jackman throwing up fists in front of his robot sparring partner Adam. He looks like he's having fun—not the worst feeling when you're deciding whether or not a movie piques your interest. Real Steel hits theaters October 7.
  • The Hunger Games Teaser: Three Positives, Three Negatives
    By: Matt Patches Aug 29, 2011
    At last night's MTV Video Music Awards, audiences had their first glimpse of the highly-anticipated, young adult fiction adaptation The Hunger Games, a movie that's already being touted (mostly by those hoping to turn it into a franchise) as the next Harry Potter or Twilight. Big hopes—especially for a genre that's seen more misses than hits (anyone remember The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising?). Hunger Games stars Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men: First Class) as Katniss, a teenager living in a post-apocalyptic world who finds herself chosen to compete in an annual competition: The Hunger Games. The winner brings home food for his or her starving territory. The other 23 losers...go home in body bags. Eep. The book has a rabid fanbase, but for real blockbuster potential, the studio has to sell non-fans—and their first minute-long attempt had its hits and misses. Check out the trailer below and read on for a few thoughts on what I think The Hunger Games teaser got right and what else I needed to see. The Positives: The Look: Hunger Games is going to get a lot of Twilight comparisons for its romantic subplots and forest setting, but Battle Royale in Forks this is not. While director Gary Ross could have glossed up the action of Katniss running around the Games' forestal setting, this one appears to stay fairly nitty gritty. Giving the movie a reality works to its advantage. Losing Katniss' Narration: One of the biggest flaws of the book is having Katniss dicatate her entire adventure. Author Suzanne Collins relies on the first-person perspective to make sure we know exactly what our main character is thinking and feeling at all times (and if you've ever met a sixteen-year-old, you know that's the last thing in the world you want). Whether the movie will include this aspect is unknown, but the teaser loses the telling-not-showing technique for a little encouraging voiceover from Katniss' friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth). The Mystery: This teaser could have gone big. The world and scope of The Hunger Games is big, colorful and unfamiliar—but instead, our first teaser is of a scenario we can comprehend. Girl dodges falling tree. Girl runs away from balls of fire. Girl shoots arrow. It's not that we've all been there (I hope?), but it's a digestible snippet that raises more questions and keeps interests piqued. The Negatives: The Music: As I said, the visual tone of the teaser strays away from the Twilight mold, but if anything brings it back it's the soundtrack. No, I don't think this is Danny Elfman's score, so it's not indicative of the final product, but the ambient noise and hushed strings make one think a shirtless muscled tween could jump out of the bushes at any second. Is Katniss Team Edward or Team Jacob? We shouldn't be asking. The Lack of Co-Stars: I'm a big fan of Jennifer Lawrence and have complete faith in her nailing Katniss—but Hunger Games isn't a one man show. There are a dozen or so characters, all with their own distinct personalities, and to not get a glimpse at the other contestants is a bit of a let down. When casting each participant was made with such fanfare, it's surprising not to see a single person in this trailer. What's the draw for people who aren't that enthralled by pretty white girls? Show the diversity—it's key. The Mystery: I gave the teaser a solid pat on the back for not giving too much away up front, but then again, I've read the book. If someone was going in blind, would they have any clue what The Hunger Games was about? Why is this girl running? Who is that ominous voice? What the heck is that flaming bird pin at the end? By not sharing some of the more foreign aspects of the film, Hunger Games does itself a bit of a disservice. The movie's a fantasy thriller, so play up the fantasy.
  • Our Idiot Brother Review
    By: Matt Patches Aug 26, 2011
    The man-child: a staple character for modern comedy and notoriously known for being played one-note. They get the laugh they get out. But turning the lovable goofball or zoned-out knucklehead into something more is no easy task—which makes Paul Rudd's work in Our Idiot Brother that much more impressive. Rudd's Earth-friendly farmer Ned (the closest thing to a new Lebowski we've seen since the original) finds himself down on his luck after being entrapped by a police officer looking for pot. After a stint in jail he abandons his rural hippie commune for the big city to take shelter with his three sisters. Unfortunately for Ned his three siblings Liz (Emily Mortimer) Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) and Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) are as equally displaced and confused from the ebb and flow of life—albeit with severely different perspectives of the world. Liz struggles to put her kid in private school and keep her marriage to documentary filmmaker/scumbag Dylan (Steve Coogan) intact. Miranda claws her way to the top of Vanity Fair's editorial staff and shuns her flirtatious neighbor (Adam Scott). Natalie stresses over her commitment issues with girlfriend Cindy (Rashida Jones) leaving little time or patience for Ned's bumbling antics. Sound like a lot of plot? While the manic lives of Ned's sisters click symbolically with his journey to get back on his feet it makes for one sporadic narrative. Like a series of vignettes Our Idiot Brother never gels but when director Jesse Peretz finds a moment of unadulterated Nedisms to throw up on screen the movie hits big. Whether it's Ned teaching his nephew how to fight accidentally romancing his sister's interview subject or infiltrating his ex-girlfriend's house to steal his dog Willie Nelson the movie relies heavily on Ned's antics and its smart to do so. But thin throughlines for its supporting don't hold a candle to Rudd doing his thing. And its a testament to Rudd's versatility—the man has done everything from Shakespeare and raunchy Judd Apatow comedies after all—that makes the movie watchable. Rudd gives dimensionality to his nincompoop character allowing darker emotions to creep in when necessary. There's a point in the film when Ned gives up fighting for his type-A sisters' affection and it's some of the best material Rudd's ever delivered. But like one of Ned's lit joints Our Idiot Brother can quickly fizzle out leading to plodding plot twists and sentimental conclusions. Mortimer Banks and Deschanel are great actresses—here they drift through their scenes and come out in the end changed. Because they have to. Our Idiot Brother tries to take the Apatow model to the indie scene and comes through with so-so results. Only Rudd's able to find something to latch on to to build upon to warm up to. In an unexpected twist it's the man-child who seems the most grown up.