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.
  • That Time Michael Cera Went to Chile and Made Two Bizarre Sundance Movies
    By: Matt Patches Jan 25, 2013
    Most people had Michael Cera "figured out" around the time Scott Pilgrim vs. the World came and went from theaters in 2010. Arrested Development introduced us to his signature brand of mumbly, improvised comedy. Superbad solidified it. By Scott Pilgrim, people wanted something more from the actor — even though the movie was something more. In what might be seen as a quest of reinvention (but is likely simply Cera's efforts to challenge himself with unique material), the 24-year-old actor rode the critical praise and soft box office numbers of Scott Pilgrim all the way to Chile, where he connected with director Sebastián Silva (The Maid), a relative unknown here in the States. The plan was to costar in one of Silva's movies — the psychological thriller Magic Magic — but along the way their collaboration spawned a second project, Crystal Fairy & the Magic Cactus and 2012. In an unexpected move, Sundance premiered both of the films in the span of one week. But it was far from Cera overkill; the only things the two films have nothing in common are the presence of the actor and the effect they have on the perception of him. You haven't seen these sides of Michael Cera. Silva's Crystal Fairy is closer to the Cera's American films, a dramedy fueled by drugs and entranced by the world of Chile. Cera plays an American stoner, Jamie, desperate to hunt down and stew the San Pedro, a cactus packing a legendary high. He has friends in the South American country, but to the driven druggie, they're more tour guides than faithful companions. When Jamie isn't pressing his buddies to help him find the cactus, he's snorting up coke or smoking weed, a perpetual state of lackadaisicalness. The kind of high that could keep a guy staring at a Hieronymus Bosch painting for an hour (and does). Jamie floats through the lush landscapes, eventually embarking on a trip to the coast where his ritualistic "taking of the San Pedro" will commence. But the plan is thrown a curveball when his posse crosses path with a hippie named Crystal Fairy (a long awaited return from Gabby Hoffman). Having accidentally invited Crystal to tag along to the beach, Jamie engages the crystal-loving, organic-food-eating, zen mistress in a battle of wits, while his pals annoyingly embrace her lifestyle. A simple conflict with plenty of opportunities for Cera to cut loose and find an less desirable side to his personality. Jamie needs a wakeup call in life and he finds it through the antics of Crystal Fairy. Silva matches the lethargic nature of Crystal Fairy's performances with loose camera work and natural light — it's clear the film organically grew from the pair's work on Magic Magic, with direction that feels like they picked up the camera and hit the road. It's the antithesis of his style choices in the latter film, a character-driven ensemble piece that's dramatically lit and perfectly framed. Perfectly framed to drive the audience insane. Cera takes a costar role in Magic Magic, paving the way for a breathtaking performance by Juno Temple as a co-ed stricken with intense anxiety. When Alicia (Temple) arrives in Chile to visit her cousin Sarah (Emily Browning), she's seemingly normal. But as soon as the pair head out to Sarah boyfriend Augustin's vacation home, along with his sister Barbara (Catalina Sandino Moreno) and their flamboyant, douchebag friend Brink (Cera), Alicia's mind starts to slip away. She's nearly panphobic, the littlest provocation sending her off the deep end. Conversing with new people, the sound of birds at night, a dog humping her leg, even the slightest jab from Brink — one minute Alicia is calm, the next she's hyperventilating and bawling her eyes out. Like Rosemary's Baby and the greats of psychological horror, Magic Magic is a sensory assault calibrated to bore into the audiences' mind. It's hard to recommend Magic Magic — it's bound to give a few people actual panic attacks — but it's a brave experiment and one worth stumbling upon without much anticipation. While Silva's darker film is Temple's stage, Cera makes an impact — especially when juxtaposed against Crystal Fairy. If you checked out of Cera's "shtick" years ago, Sundance sports two performances that will make you rethink the actor. At least until Arrested Development returns this year. [Photo Credit: Braven Films] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More: Occupy Sundance: Eco-Thriller 'The East' & '99%' Doc Stick It to the Man 'Parks & Rec' Star Nick Offerman Steals Sundance in Wonderful Teen Comedy 'Toy's House' 'Upstream Color': Why The Geek World's Most Anticipated Film Deserves a Viewing (Or Eight) You Might Also Like: J. J. Abrams and ‘Star Wars’: Has the Lightsaber Been Passed to the Right Director? 100 Hottest Women of the Century: PICS
  • Legendary 'Bullet to the Head' Director Walter Hill: Teaming with Stallone Took 30 Years
    By: Matt Patches Jan 24, 2013
    Even with a handful of highly regarded movies under his belt, Walter Hill admits that returning to the director's seat for Bullet to the Head was no easy task. Hill has a gruff, no B.S. attitude when he discusses his career and Bullet, a film that finally unites him with Sylvester Stallone after years of failed attempts. There's also excitement in his voice — after all, it's been ten years since the director of The Warriors and 48 Hrs has been behind the camera for a feature film. Anyone with their own creative endeavors can imagine that that's a painfully long time. Hollywood.com spoke to Hill on the set of Bullet to the Head about everything past, present, and future. As a legend of the industry, Hill is a wealth of knowledge — and thankfully, he's not afraid to speak his mind: You shot Hard Times here, you shot Southern Comfort out on the bayou. What's it like being back?  Walter Hill: And Johnny Handsome with Mickey Rourke! It's nice to be able to come back.  How has it changed?  Walter Hill: They've gone through terrible things and rebuilding. It's always been this interesting place, very different than any other American city. My social commentary on the changes within the city are best left to others. I'm happy to feel that the city is doing so well and it has made, and continues to make, a terrific comeback from the tragedy that happened.  How much does the character of the city bleed into the movie?  Hill: You try to use it. These things are narrative, they're character, they're thematic, but they're also atmosphere. You can use that to your advantage when you get a chance. One of the things I like about New Orleans is it feels like you're in a Western with the architecture. All the balconies, the old buildings, it feels like you're in the 1880s. Some of it spills into the movie. You incorporate a lot of music into your movies. Will you be doing that with this one?  Walter Hill: We're trying. I've got some Cajun music, some old time street bands, that kind of business.  Talk about directing Sly, who's directed himself so much. This is one of the first times in a while where he's had a director that has not been himself, so can you talk about working with him?  Hill: I'd kinda surrendered. I've been trying to get him to do a movie for about 30 years and never could make it work out. He and I bumped into each other over the years, we had several meetings trying to work things out. And he and I both have the same lawyer so would see each other at various social events. He's directed about 10 movies, but anybody who's been a great star as long as he has is gonna be very knowledgEable about the picture business. But I only know one way to direct. He's ... a writer, producer, director, but setting all that aside he's two things: he's a very good actor and he's a star. Both those are very considerable. I think everybody understands about him being a star, but I don't think people totally appreciate how good an actor he is. Actors often get judged by material as well as their abilities, and I think he's giving a very good performance in this film. This one's a little more character-driven than some of his other dramas, but that's for you to judge, really.  What about the material excites you and made you step up and tackle it?  Hill: I think the biggest thing that drew me in was probably unemployment. I had just had a movie fall apart about six weeks before that I'd been trying to do for a year. It was sent to me. It wasn't the only thing that was sent to me, but it was the kind of story I thought I knew something about and thought maybe I could make a contribution to. Don't do things you can't do something with. I see wonderful movies where I'd be the first to say I couldn't have done it. I see other movies where I think, "They should have sent that one to me!"  Your actors have mentioned that you have a directing expression: "too much prosciutto." Was does that mean exactly?  Hill: Sometimes when people have anxiety in their desire to please you and do good, they have a tendency to overdo it. That's one of our jobs: to pull it back into the range that you think is appropriate to the film. [Sarah Shahi] likes to act her heart out. She's a strong actress, she pairs very well, she brings a lot to it. Sometimes the very best acting is just people talking to each other. It's the old joke about don't get caught acting; if you get caught acting you're not acting very well. Bullet to the Head is obviously rated R based on the violence and the language. How are you taking advantage of the R rating in this film?  Some of Sly’s recent films have been really gory, some of them have been less so. Hill: I don’t know, I think the answer to that really lies with the people that make the ratings.  It’s a very subjective process.  I got threatened with an X on a movie that I didn’t think was as tough as some of the other films I’ve done, this was years ago. I just think the process is very subjective. I don’t think there’s any question this is an R movie, and I don’t think there’s anything in it to a degree that’s going to threaten it beyond an R. You mentioned that this movie clicked for you because it felt like a movie that you could make. Action movies have evolved over time. How is your approach different or in line with today's blockbusters? Hill: This is not a big spectacle movie. I think action movies on the whole have moved more and more into large spectacle, even leaving out superhero movies that seem to me to be more a fantastic science fiction than they are action movies. Action movies to me are dramas with recognizable human beings that are in extraordinary situations. Now there’s a lot of elasticism within that definition. They are certainly not very realistic, and they never were — the Steve McQueen movies, or Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, whatever you want from the old days. This movie is not a big spectacle movie, and although these kinds of films don’t usually get reviewed this way, or usually approached this way, it’s largely a movie that is presented through the characters. The drama is character driven.  This is what I meant by maybe it’s my kind of thing. There’s a tricky tone, where you try to get some humor into a movie that’s also a tough tale of murder and revenge. You have to ice skate rather carefully between the humor and the action tension part of the drama.  You can’t have “too much prosciutto.” Hill: No, that’s a different issue, that’s OTT.  Prosciutto is over the top. That’s a different issue. It’s trying to find the tone. In that sense, I don’t know if it qualifies as a retro movie, but I think it harkens back. I think it’s very much a modern film. Does it have a similar feeling to 48 Hrs, that kind of thing? Hill: Well, it’s more like that than it is Brewster’s Millions.  Do you consider yourself to be a throwback director? Hill: I consider myself to still be here. I’m still doing my best. I don’t know, I read in the paper that I’m an action director. They always say that, “Action director Walter Hill”, if they bother writing about me at all. I think that’s fine. I’m happy to do the work. The race is already run by now, and I’m lucky enough that I’m here, I’m working, and I’m having a pretty good time doing it. What are the one or two films off your resume that people always want to talk to you about and that you enjoy talking about? Hill: Conversations about films are always funny. I would say a majority of people want to talk about what were the more obvious successes, the big box office films. Other people, wanting to be more sensitive to you, want to talk about the ones that maybe didn’t make a lot of money, but they think you might have a special feeling about. And then other people sometimes want to help you by suggesting that you should have done this or that in the movie. That that would have helped you a great deal in whatever capacity. So I just kind of roll with the punches, I guess. I’m always happy to talk to somebody; it’s flattering that people remember your movies. Especially some movie that you did, for Christ’s sake, almost 35 years ago, or what’s especially pleasant is if you’re talking about some movie that you did 35 years ago and they’re 20 years old. That means that they had to find the movie somehow. There are always remakes being done in Hollywood. There has been talk about remaking Brewster’s Millions, and you have some classic films on your resume. Warriors is always on the verge of a remake. Hill: They announce it every six months. Exactly. What are your thoughts on the remake thing? Hill: My thoughts are very simple: good luck. I had mine and if they want to remake something that usually means you did something right when you did it. I don’t get too excited. I probably seem slightly affected in my answer, but I really don’t. When people say like, “They’re taking this from you,” or something. First of all, I don’t think it’s ever ours, it’s out there. What’s the old Oscar Wilde… "The sincerest form of flattery is imitation." I mean, the big thing is, don’t look back.  You’re a director and you’re doing this one, and hopefully you’re going to do another one. What happened a long time ago, or what somebody is trying to make out of it, that’s fine. But that shouldn’t be the consuming thing in your own life. [Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures (2)] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More: Between Takes, 'Bullet to the Head' Cast Gushes Over Stallone Watch the Trailer for Bullet to the Head You Might Also Like: Manti Te’O Comes Clean About Girlfriend Hoax 100 Hottest Women of the Century: PICS
  • 'Bullet to the Head' Cast Gushes Over Stallone Between Takes
    By: Matt Patches Jan 24, 2013
    Behind a tightly packed assemblage of monitors, a group of journalists, film crew members, and I gather together to watch Game of Thrones and Conan the Barbarian star Jason Momoa unleash hell on a squad of gangsters. Momoa, his long hair tied tight to match his perfectly cut suit, is playing and replaying a scene from his new movie Bullet to the Head. In each take, the actor steps out into a room and quickly disposes of his foes with precision shots from his silenced pistol. His character Keegan does it with a wicked snarl, obviously amused by his lethal performance. Or maybe that's just Momoa having a ball. Talking to Momoa on the set of Bullet, the actor is visibly excited to be working for legendary director Walter Hill, costarring alongside action titan Sylvester Stallone, and playing Keegan like a maniacal badass. Being evil, as it turns out, is a lot of fun. "He's sadistic. I'm playing him that way," Momoa says. "I thought it would be fun. He loves it. It's like, 'Open the safe.' Maybe I didn't get it right. 'Please, open the safe.' Just wasted everyone in there. 'Thank you.' Then shoot his face off." To make Keegan even more sinister, Momoa altered his well-known look. It works — the already-intimidating experience of sitting across from the actor becomes even more terrifying when he shoots a glance with his piercing eyes. "I've got these contacts. His eyes are black, mine are green. I wanted him to have shark eyes. Cold. Doesn't have romantic comedy eyes." What stands out on the set of Bullet to the Head that is rarely found in today's blockbuster is a light tone. On screen and off. Hill has a ball throwing Momoa direction from behind the camera. Momoa can't help but chew up the scenery. Even though Momoa is a crazed assassin, having just committed the ultimate no-no by kidnapping the daughter of Sylvester Stallone's cop character, the sequence is played more for laughs than shocks. Sung Kang (Fast Five) plays Stallone's partner, Taylor Kwon, in the film — a character whose background doesn't help his stature with the rough, tough James Bonomo (Stallone). It's a relationship prime for comedy. Making reference to Hill's past work, Kang says that Bullet redefines "that whole 48 Hrs dynamic between Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy" and the culture clash becomes the meat of the story. "In the past, any time there was an Asian in a film, let’s say, opposite an African-American, the jokes were always on the Asian guy," says Kang. "Like, 'You don’t speak English!' 'What do you do, kung fu?' It’s more making fun of his ethnicity, but he couldn’t return it. But this is more acceptable, because it’s this old-school guy in his 60s, and it’s a guy’s guy kind of thing." The comedy found in Bonomo and Kwon's pairing is pure science in Kang's mind. "You put these two people together, and it’s water and oil. You shake it up, and it becomes humorous. It’s really funny." Nearby Hill and Momoa's set, Stallone prepares for one of the film's major stunts. After rubbing the bad guys the wrong way, Bonomo watches as his Louisiana bayou home is blown to pieces. To escape, he dives into the water — one of those classic flames-above-water shots. To pull off the trick, Stallone and an elaborate stunt film crew are taking residence in a local swimming pool. Not the fanciest movie set ever, but with Stallone up to his chest in water, ripped and ready to go, it's nothing less than golden movie magic. Hollywood follows Stallone, not the other way around. The aura surrounding Stallone has rubbed off on his costars. Independently of one another, Kang and Momoa both geek out over working with the actor. Kang remembers calling his dad when he started filming and saying, "Remember when I just to pretend I was Rocky? [Laughs] Remember when I was a kid? ... Rocky actually punched me! It’s off my bucket list!" Momoa refers to Stallone's iconic boxing movie as well, going wide-eyed as he describes one of the fight scenes in Bullet. "At the very end there's a big axe fight and I pull out my gun... it's f**king great," says Momoa. "In a dilapidated building after I kill everyone. [Stallone] is looking around ... I throw the bags of guns away, and there's this plaque — 'the people who tried to save this building' — and there are two fire axes. So I basically smash that thing open and grab the axes. He shot me a couple of times by surprise. I had a Kevlar vest. I throw him the axe, 'What are we, Vikings?' and we star going like a Cuisinart." Both actors are refreshed by Bullet — rarely do they get to work on movies that merges character and action the way Hill and his team have done with the Stallone vehicle. In fact, Kang already wants more. Having had such an amazing time working with Stallone, the actor is already imagining sequels. "It’s Bullet to the Head, but we’ll have Bullet to the Ass and Bullet to the Groin, you know?!" Bullet to the Head arrives in theaters Feb. 1, 2013. [Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More: Watch the Trailer for Bullet to the Head You Might Also Like: Manti Te’O Comes Clean About Girlfriend Hoax 100 Hottest Women of the Century: PICS
  • One Half of 'Key & Peele' Steals the Show in Sundance's Horror Comedy 'Hell Baby'
    By: Matt Patches Jan 24, 2013
    "Some people believe the Devil is fake, like Santa Claus. I assure you, the Devil is real. And he is a dick." Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon do it all: they're performers, having appeared in the sketch comedy group The State and Comedy Central's Reno 911; they're writers, for projects big (Night at the Museum, The Pacifier) and small (Let's Go to Prison); and now, they can add directors to the list, as they debuted their first feature film, Hell Baby, at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Hell Baby treads familiar territory while taking the windiest road to hit its beats. If Scary Movie was the horror comedy for the mainstream, Hell Baby is the version for the alternative crowd, aligned more with Garant and Lennon's time on The State than their Hollywood scripts. Rob Corddry and Leslie Bibb star as a couple expecting their first child and moving into a new home — the ominously named "House of Blood," located in a dilapidated district of Louisiana. As they settle into the residential nightmare, the two are startled with their first jump scare of the movie: an unexpected greeting by a neighbor (or housemate?), played by Keegan Michael Key. He informs them that their new home might be haunted — a fact that becomes apparent when Bibb, pregnant and possessed, starts serving Corddry glasses of paint thinner and washing her hands to the point of bloodshed. Garant and Lennon pack every horror trope into their script — an old, scraggly woman who lurks in the house's shadows, a terrifying dog who may or may not be a demon, and gore galore — but Hell Baby rises above spoof thanks to its off-kilter ensemble, similar to another State-born project, Wet Hot American Summer. Alongside Corddry and Bibb, the directorial duo appear in the film as a pair of chain-smoking Vatican priests who arrive to the scene in hopes of wiping out the Devil, while Human Giant stars Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer pop in as two aggressive cops with a deep love for Po' boys. The real standout is Key, who elevates the material and carries Hell Baby across the finish line. Often, Garant and Lennon's bits feel padded — there's a stretch of the film where Corddry, a very funny physical performer, attempts to cover up his murder of a "ghost" who was attempting to perform oral sex on him, and it fails to elicit laughs. But when Key, of the Comedy Central sketch show Key and Peele, appears out of nowhere to give Corddry a scare, he jump starts the movie. Words roll off his tongue like comedic beat poetry — hear Key utter the phrase "pizza salad" and you will find new meaning in life. Whether he's casually diving into the bloody backstory of Corddry and Bibb's home or discussing the finer points of dog poop, Key hits a rhythm that the rest of the film only sporadically slips into. Even in its down moments, Hell Baby is a hundred times funnier than most of Hollywood's run-of-the-mill comedies. There's a risk to crafting comedy — what makes one person laugh won't necessarily play for others. Garant and Lennon have written broad comedies in the past, but with their directorial debut, they let their weird side come out. In one scene, a stoned cable repair man trudges back to his van before sloooooowly driving away. The scene is provoking — when will it end?! — but Garant and Lennon take their time and stick to their guns. That independence is the backbone of Hell Baby, and it works like magic for Keegan Michael Key, who should be leading his own movies in no time. [Photo Credit: Darko Entertainment] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More: Amanda Seyfried Gives Stunning Performance in Sundance Porn Biopic 'Lovelace' Can't We Get Sundance Star Jennifer Coolidge Her Own Movie Already? Web Comedy is the New ‘Monty Python’: ‘Key & Peele’ Weigh In You Might Also Like: Manti Te’O Comes Clean About Girlfriend Hoax 100 Hottest Women of the Century: PICS
  • Occupy Sundance: Eco-Thriller 'The East' & '99%' Doc Stick It to the Man
    By: Matt Patches Jan 23, 2013
    Even with the 2012 Presidential election behind us, the political and social debates in America are hotter than ever. The country has trust issues: who is really fighting for the freedoms the nations affords its citizens, and who is bending the rules to fit their agenda? As society quests for answers and a response from the people in power, filmmakers have utilized their tools to put a microscope over the predicament. And where better for those challenging explorations to debut than at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Dropping us right into the middle of the battlefield is 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film, a mix of archive footage shot by protesters around the world and interviews with influential members of the OWS movement. In late 2011, in the heat of Occupy's emergence as a voice to be reckoned, skeptics asked what tangible goals the thousands of OWS protestors were chasing. 99% makes the group's mission abundantly clear. Through dissecting the actions of the group — and more importantly, the government, corporation, media, and police reactions to OWS — the documentary cites a laundry list of actions committed by "the 1%" that are dividing and crumbling the country. From preying on the impoverished through mortgage dealing, to escalating student loans, to indulgent paychecks, to corporation intrusion into the government system, the ambiguity of the 99%'s fight is founded with facts, fingers pointed with reason by political analysts and OWS frontmen. There are people who support OWS, but who take issue with the movement's strategy: one interviewee suggests that Occupy does itself a disservice by not having a leader structure. As they stand now, the group functions as a true democracy, giving a voice to anyone who wants to speak. The free-flowing approach isn't common and certainly unlike how government functions. It's also the reason, as many say, why the media is able to easily undermine the movement. An interview with a person simply there to support instead of an OWS spokesperson with all the facts on hand leads to an "uneducated" sound byte — perfect headline fodder. 99%'s best footage is of the violent police reactions to the civil protests. Pepper spray, tear gas, and thousands of arrests are all on display in the high resolution, in-the-moment scenes, evidence that the iPhone may be the most important filmmaking tool of the 21st Century. In one sequence, the NYPD storms through crowds of protestors on horseback — a stunning image that feels eerily reminiscent of Planet of the Apes. Interviewers in the film — including a former Philadelphia police chief — cry out that America is evolving into a police state, the men and women in uniform working more for the corporations and government than the people. That angle alone makes 99% a rousing call-to-arms, regardless of feelings on the economical and political issues. And that's the major issue at the center of The East, a new thriller from director Zal Batmanglij and writer/actress Brit Marling. The duo impressed Sundance in 2011 with their microbudget sci-fi drama Sound of My Voice. And now, with a bigger budget and lofty ambition, they have returned with a heart-pounding investigation of corporations, greed, and domestic terrorism. Like a terrifying evolution of the OWS mission, The East steps into the morally murky waters of protest, following an agent in the private sector, Sarah (Marling), as she infiltrates an eco-terrorism group that's gaining momentum. The East aims to pull the carpet from under big business' feet — early in the film, they cover a gas company CEO's mansion with oil, in response to a spill that killed hundreds of animals. When Sarah eventually joins the group through crafty espionage, she teams up with the abrasive activists for their next "jam." She goes in uninformed, but witnesses the The East's lead three, Benji (Alexander Skarsgård), Izzy (Ellen Page), and the group's doctor "Doc" (Toby Kebbell), poison a party full of pharmaceutical head honchos with a drug their company has recently put on the market. The twist: that drug, given a pass by the FDA, has brain damaging side effects. Produced by Ridley and Tony Scott, The East takes its cues from the kind of smart thrillers we haven't seen since the late '90s/early '00s. Like the films of Bourne writer Tony Gilroy or even Ridley Scott's own Body of Lies, Batmajglij's fast-paced drama uses all-too-real issues as a catalyst for tension and excitement. His pacing and camera work send rapid-fire chills down the spine. His script (co-written with Marling) works hard to make the world grounded, adding to the scary truth of the scenario. Sarah and her boss (played viciously by Patricia Clarkson) are found investigating The East's members using Facebook profiles. Details like that could be kitschy, but in The East, they make perfect sense. Marling, known for her reserved presence and super serious attitude, works perfectly as an agent who begins to understand The East's cause. Maybe their radical way of doing business really is the only way to provoke response. When The East's plans become personal for all involved, every member realizes they're in over their heads. That's the price of doing deadly business in the name of what you believe in. Marling sizzles on screen,which is especially satisfying as we rarely see a female character in situations like this. The East is a clear work of fiction, but placed side-by-side with 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film, it feels like a glimpse into the future. Thus far, Occupy's work has been rightfully peaceful, civil disobedience that riles up the opposition and forces people to confront the issues at hand. Ignorance on the part of people in power has pushed the group into a quiet dormancy (although don't mistaken OWS as being wiped — they're very much active, aiding tremendously in the aftermath of Sandy), and when they return in full force, one expects the same non-violent approach. But there will always be radicals who try something new and potentially harmful. The East demands we question if that step is the wrong one. [Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More:'Before Midnight' Completes a Trilogy at Sundance, Questions True LoveThe First Movie Based on a David Sedaris Story Shows Words Should Stay on the PageSundance Buying Frenzy: Radcliffe's 'Kill Your Darlings,' 'Austenland' and More You Might Also Like: 100 Hottest Women of the Century: PICS Prince Harry: The Movie?
  • Sundance Buying Frenzy: Radcliffe's 'Kill Your Darlings,' 'Austenland' and More
    By: Matt Patches Jan 23, 2013
    The Sundance Film Festival is the premiere place for cinema buffs to soak in films rooted in every corner of the globe. Movies that dabble in every genre and utilize every stylistic trick in the book. The fest also provides a glimpse into the future: although most of the films that play at Sundance arrive without big name distributors attached to them, rarely do they walk away without a company primed and ready to release them to the general public. Meaning, if you're not at Sundance now, you'll be watching the movies one way or another before the year's end. Sundance 2013 follows the buying trend, with a handful of movies being picked up by movie studios in the last 24 hours. Here is the first wave of festival purchases — indicating these movies are right around the corner for you to see. Daniel Radcliffe washed away any memories of Harry Potter, thrilling us in the Beat poetry-infused Kill Your Darlings. Sony Pictures Classics obviously felt the same way, as they've purchased the film, which also stars Dane DeHaan, Ben Foster, Jack Huston, and Elizabeth Olsen, for an unknown release date (but put your money on the fall or winter — this one could have award season legs). The Way, Way Back, feature directorial debut of Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the Academy Award-winning writers of The Descendents, was buzzing up a storm after its premiere at Sundance, many comparing it to the uber-successful Little Miss Sunshine. Further strengthening the analogy, the film has been bought by LMS studio Fox Searchlight for the pretty penny of $10 million. The movie stars Steve Carell, Toni Colette, and Sam Rockwell. We praised the hilarious Jennifer Coolidge for her work in Austenland earlier this week, and now the film has found a home at Sony Pictures Classics. SPC bought the film $4 million and will release the Keri Russell-led comedy this summer. Expect the name of Austenland's producer, Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, to be on all of the posters. The Weinstein Company is always on the hunt for potential Academy Award contenders, and it may have found one in Fruitvale. The true story focuses on police brutality and sports a performance by young star Michael B. Jordan that is wowing audiences. In a press release, studio mastermind Harvey Weinstein said of Fruitvale, "I was completely amazed by this incredible film. This earth-shattering story is one that needs to be told, and we are honored to be able to share Oscar’s story with audiences everywhere." Oscar's story indeed. Will audiences turn out to see Naomi Watts and Robin Wright sleep with each other's kids? Exclusive Releasing hopes so, as they've picked up the drama Two Mothers, which will roll out in limited release this summer. CBS Films has picked up the throwback comedy Toy's House, which conjured up memories of movies like The Goonies and Stand By Me when it premiered earlier this week. The movie stars Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Alison Brie, and a number of kids ready to break out. Lovelace, a biopic of Deep Throat headliner Linda Lovelace starring Amanda Seyfried, only premiered in the late hours of Tuesday night. But that didn't stop it from being quickly snatched up, with Weinstein Company's multi-platform offshoot company Radius picking it up. Like last year's Bachelorette, expect Lovelace to pop up on VOD before making its way to theaters. In the genre market, eOne has bought the distribution rights for the frightening horror remake We Are What We Are. No word on when the midnight movie may make its way to theaters. What's the best month for cannibal movies? Finally, we reported earlier this week that Relativity picked up Joseph Gordon-Levitt's porn-infused feature debut Don Jon's Addiction, with a promise to pour major bucks into its release. Another Sundance movie targeted for a strategic summer release. [Photo Credit: R. O'Neil/INFphoto] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More: James Franco Had a Lot of Sex at Sundance Last Night Alicia Keys Goes Spielberg at Sundance: 'Inevitable Defeat' Is a Tale from the Concrete Jungle 'Upstream Color': Why the Geek World's Most Anticipated Film Deserves a Viewing (Or 8) You Might Also Like: 100 Hottest Women of the Century: PICS Prince Harry: The Movie?
  • 'Upstream Color': Why the Geek World's Most Anticipated Film Deserves a Viewing (Or 8)
    By: Matt Patches Jan 22, 2013
    If you're a science fiction buff, indie-spirited moviegoer, or savvy Internet user who can't look away from the next buzzy Reddit thread, you probably know the name Shane Carruth. In 2004, Carrtuh directed the mind-melting time travel film Primer, which gained notoriety for costing only $7,000, winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and being thoroughly constructed in the eyes the science-minded. After that... Carruth more or less disappeared. Throughout the next decade, details leaked on potential new projects for the director, but it wasn't until the announcement of the 2013 Sundance slate that Carruth's cult fanbase received official word of his return. Upstream Color marked the DIY filmmaker's second time behind and in front of the camera, and early snippets of the film hinted at something equally heady and even more grandiose than Primer. The film arrived this week to hype raging on message boards, tweets, Facebook posts, along with an eager Sundance audienced. Exhale, Cult of Carruth: Upstream Color delivered on its promise. Whereas Primer was praised for his intricate details, Upstream Color excels for bathing the audience in imagery that glows and blooms. Even when it's introducing us into its alternative universe, Carruth never straight-up explains his intentions. He plays fast and loose in his introduction: we see a mysterious man collecting blue powder from plants and feeding it to worms; we meet Krissy (Amy Seimetz), a young visual effects supervisor trying to meet a deadline; we see her confronted by the botanist, who stuffs a worm down her throat before kidnapping her; we see her reduced to an empty shell, hypnotized by the man and forced to hand over her entire life's worth to him; we see her dumped back into society without a clue what's happened. And that's just the first 20 minutes (with plenty of details missing). Upstream Color has an enormous scope and its own set of rules — when pigs enter Krissy's story with a Matrix-like throughline, it's clear that Carruth spent his 10 years out of the action cracking the world-building. It's presented all like a dream, the camera floating around space and picking up what it can, when it can. It's not your typical science fiction film; a statement that becomes more true after Krissy meets another victim of the worm-hypnotistsm organization. Upstream Color is founded in sci-fi, but the brunt of the story is about Krissy bouncing back into life. She connects with Jeff (played by Carruth), also displaced in the world after disappearing for a month. As the two investigate their disappearances, they become romantically intertwined — and may already have been previous to meeting. Carruth wallows in the lives of his two characters, relying on sensory reactions to the couple's journey rather than exploring them through dialogue or recognizable scene structure. This is a mood movie — and it's got a whole lot of mood. Adding to the powerful imagery is Seimetz's heartbreaking performance. Lingering shots of objects can only get a movie so far. In Upstream Color, the quiet moments are filled with the gears turning in Krissy's mind. With movies like Upstream Color, the conversation always steers towards the answers. When we see a masked man remove a piece of Krissy's body and place it inside a piglet, what does that mean? Why does Jeff suddenly barricade himself and Krissy inside his house, relying on Walden quotes as his form of communication? The answers are likely there — a few hours after watching the film, I attempted to explain the plot of Upstream Color to someone who had never heard of it and found myself even more invested in the film. But the quest for resolution can also be distracting. Upstream Color surmises human interaction through the clash of nature and man-made constructions. It depicts redemption as a windy road, confusing and peppered with moments lacking context. It is an epic story to tell in an intimate scenario. Upstream Color is one of the few movies that demands rewatching and long nights at the bar, throwing down in a hated discussion. It is layered, grand, and imperfect. Is that the movie the Internet craves? When Carruth self-distributes his second film on April 5, we'll find out. Or perhaps, by the eighth viewing. [Photo Credit: ERBP Pictures] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More: Nicole Kidman Wows in Absolutely Insane, Totally Amazing Sundance Movie 'Stoker' The Amazing Sundance Movie That Disney Will Never Let You See Sundance's 'Ass Backwards' Is Giving Us 'Romy and Michele' Flashbacks, and That's OK You Might Also Like: 100 Hottest Women of the Century: Do You Agree? 9 Most Insane Celebrity Baby Bumps
  • Sundance's 'Ass Backwards' Is Giving Us 'Romy and Michele' Flashbacks, and That's OK
    By: Matt Patches Jan 22, 2013
    People in the media continue to argue over whether "woman are funny" (OK, mostly Adam Carolla). But sift through the past decade of comedy and it's painfully obvious that when it comes to making us laugh, ladies can bring it. Hollywood is slowly latching onto this, pipelining more and more female-led projects with cross-gender appeal. The only problem is that most of them sideline what makes the actresses spark. A woman is either handed a generic romantic comedy in hopes they will elevate the material, or a high-concept vehicle with a meaty ensemble (Bridesmaids and 2013's Identity Thief fit in here). Can't a lady just be silly, stupid, and funny like their male counterparts? Yes. Yes, they can. And yes, they should. Sundance's midnight premiere slate is annually curated with the weirdest and wildest in independent film, and 2013 proved itself worthy with the Monday night premiere of Ass Backwards. Written by and starring Happy Endings star Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael (NTSF:SD:SUV), Ass Backwards tracks two happily delusional, life long friends in New York City — Chloe (Wilson) is a "rising star" dancing in a glass box at a club, while Kate (Raphael) is the CEO of her own egg donor company — as they hit the road to participate in a 50th anniversary beauty pageant. In their early days, Chloe and Kate were pageant losers, tying for last place after one particularly disastrous competition. Now they aim to redeem themselves — as long as they can actually drive themselves back home. Ass Backwards is straightforward like a female-driven comedy is rarely allowed to be in big studio movies. The two friends are morons, and Wilson and Raphael never back down from acting like idiots in the name of landing a laugh. Like Dumb and Dumber, or even more appropriate, the last female-pairing to be this fearless in his desire for stupidity, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Ass Backwards pushes buttons and presents ridiculousness that's also familiar. These are the type of girls who sing along to a skipping CD recording of "Take on Me," swoon over the voice of their British GPS system, pay back the hospitality of a lesbian commune by handing out sexual favors, and get star struck when they meet a meth junkie from their favorite rehab reality show. Unbalanced, but relatable. What makes Romy and Michele forever watchable, and why Ass Backwards could be a breakout hit when it eventually arrives in theaters, is that both sets of space case characters love their lives and love each other. Chloe and Kate face off in a sultry dancing competition at a local strip club and are routinely found squatting on the side of the road, but they're journey bubbles over with friendship. Everyone hates them — minus Chloe's Dad (Vincent D'Onofrio), who hands over every dime from his "backwards hat" store to his daughter — except for themselves. Making it impossible for us not to love them. Wilson and Raphael have unique comedic voices, as crass as any male counterpart with strong female identity. They go big and physical with Ass Backwards, dressing their alter egos in over the top costumes (or "high fashion," as it's known in New York) and letting loose in a way that recalls the early days of Jim Carrey. It helps that Wilson and Raphael both come from sketch comedy (SNL and a handful of Adult Swim shows, respectively). They're well-versed in hyper-specific characters — and ones we want to spend more time with, just to see what trouble they weasel their ways into. Romy and Michele only returned for a subpar direct-to-DVD sequel. Let's hope Ass Backwards finds a big enough audience that we get a few more rounds with the lovable disasters Chloe and Kate. [Photo Credit: Prominent Pictures] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More: The Amazing Sundance Movie That Disney Will Never Let You See 'Before Midnight' Completes a Trilogy at Sundance, Questions True Love Gordon-Levitt's Porn-Filled 'Don Jon's' Sells for $4 Million at Sundance: Why It's Worth It You Might Also Like: 100 Hottest Women of the Century: Do You Agree? 9 Most Insane Celebrity Baby Bumps
  • Gordon-Levitt's Porn-Filled 'Don Jon' Sells for $4 Million at Sundance: Why It's Worth It
    By: Matt Patches Jan 21, 2013
      With the first weekend of the Sundance Film Festival behind us, the mecca of independent film segues into phase two: the buying frenzy. While new films will continue to roll out and amass buzz, ones that hit earlier in the week are already being chased by movie studios looking for the next breakout hit. In the first wave of hits, Sundance's big winner is none other than veteran Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Deadline reports that Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut, Don Jon's Addiction, has been picked up for release by Relativity Media (American Reunion, this weekend's Movie 43) for an unprecedented $4 million, an additional $25 million commitment to marketing the movie, and a promise of 2,000 screen release planned for this summer. That's a lot of dough for a little indie comedy, but Gordon-Levitt's film isn't exactly Little Miss Sunshine. Instead, the Dark Knight Rises actor delivered a raunchy romantic comedy that goes the extra mile to shock. Gordon-Levitt plays the titular character, a caricature of your Italian by way of Jersey Shore. Every night he hits the clubs looking for "a dime," the stunning lady he can bring home for one night then toss aside in time for the next night's hunt. But even that can't feed Jon's hunger: After bringing a lady home, he routinely sneaks away to engage with his true passion: Internet porn. Gordon-Levitt's script waxes poetic on the joys of the Web's finest pornographic material, Jon spending most of his free time "releasing tension" to an array of creative moves. As a director, he doesn't shy away from the graphic nature of the porn content, mining humor from the anything and everything to be found on the net. It's safe to bet Don Jon's Addiction will be arriving with a very hard "R." Adding a bit of sweetness to Don Jon's sexually charged comedy (and a hook for wary mothers) is Gordon-Levitt's impressive cast. Scarlett Johansson costars as the object of Jon's affection, the ultimate woman who whips the womanizer into boyfriend material. Johansson has never been funnier, laying on the Jersey actor thicker than Mom's pasta sauce and lighting up the screen with her natural beauty. In one scene, her chaste character Barbara seduces Jon into going back to school, right in the middle of her apartment building hallway. Until you've heard Johansson whisper "night classes" in her sexiest voice, you don't know what real comedy is. Don Jon's Addiction could have become the next Shame, an Oscar-worthy role for Gordon-Levitt that tackles the all-too-real world of porn addiction. Instead, it's riotous comedy with a flashy style worthy of the greasy-haired, nightclub lifestyle it aims to spoof. When Tony Danza shows up to play Jon's Dad, you know Gordon-Levitt is pulling out all the stops — a fact clearly recognized by Relativity's big payout. Watch for the movie this summer... and be careful who you bring with you. [Photo Credit: Voltage Pictures] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches More:James Franco Had a Lot of Sex at Sundance Last Night'Before Midnight' Completes a Trilogy at Sundance, Questions True LoveGael Garcia Bernal Is the Hottest Import at Sundance From Our Partners:What Happened to 33 Child Stars (Celebuzz)40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)
  • 'Before Midnight' Completes a Trilogy at Sundance, Questions True Love
    By: Matt Patches Jan 21, 2013
    In 1995, an American student, Jesse, spent the day with a complete stranger, Celine. The random encounter ended with a heartfelt admission of love and a promise to meet again in six months. In 2004, during a press tour for his new book, Jesse once again connects with Celine. The two spend another day lost in discussion — but now Jesse is now married, Celine is working as a singer/songwriter in Paris, and the two struggle to understand why they didn't pursue each other a decade before. In 2013, everything has changed. Building upon the events of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, director Richard Linklater and his two stars, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, continue the exploration of their romantics in the Sundance 2013 debt Before Midnight. The film premiered late Sunday night for a Sundance crowd well-acquainted with Celine and Jesse's history. It brought the house down — albeit in new and exciting ways. If you want to go into Before Midnight 100% fresh, now might be the time to avert your eyes. Know this: it's fantastic. Having seen Jesse and Celine meet then rediscover one another in the first two films, Linklater spares the audience from suspending their disbelief by picking up with the wistful duo at a logical point. No third, happenstance meetings here — the did he/didn't he mystery of the second movie is quickly put to rest when we see Jesse put his teenage son on an airplane before climbing in a car with his wife, Celine. The couple, with two adorable French daughters of their own, is nearing the end of a summer retreat in Greece. The extended vacation has given Jesse time to work on a new book and and get away from it all, opening the door once again for the couple to reexamine their lives. Celine and Jesse may have tied the kno, but their human beings. They question true love. Many films have tried to pull back the curtain on the 40-something lifestyle, most recently in Judd Apatow's This Is 40, but Before Midnight bests them all with unprecedented authenticity. Chalk it up to Hawke and Delpy having spent a significant amount of time in the roles (shaded variations of themselves), allowing the characters to evolve in both appearance and wisdom. The movie feels lived in from the start, Celine and Jesse relying on small talk to eventually crack their larger issues. Jesse is worried about living in Europe and missing out on his son's life. Celine can't help but wonder what other chances for her out in the world. Both see themselves aging at a rapid pace — are they still as invested in one another as they were during their picture perfect meeting two decades ago? Like the previous movies, naturalism and a keen awareness of modern times are Before Midnight's best friends. Hawke and Delpy feel like a married couple. One scene between the two of them can jump from playfulness to bitter sarcasm to emotional breakdown within seconds — and then back again. Fueling their discussions are the other couples at their retreat. At a dinner scene, Celine and Jesse sit at a table with an elderly couple, a couple their own age, and two budding new romantics, hearing musings from each on how romance functions. The young pair's words shake Celine — in order to date long distance, they just hop on Skype every night and chat. A significant change from the days of 1994. Watching Before Midnight is like witnessing lightning being captured in a bottle for a third consecutive time. The movie has so much to say, Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy flooding it with their unique perspectives that helped Sunrise and Sunset feel rich and alive. It's a movie of conversations that have a cadence that's unrecognizable when stacked up against modern movie dialogue. This isn't a no-script, goofy improvisation free-for-all. The talking has structure, but it's organic, free-flowing, and colorful. As Celine and Jesse stroll through the streets of rural Greece, they find a way to bring up everything — their kids habits, dating histories, pet deaths, and feelings of ultimate despair — and once again, it feels honest. Striving for that truth with every word and gesture, Before Midnight preserves the integrity of the past while boldly breaking new ground as Celine and Jesse. Linklater's series continues to hold the title of "the ultimate love story," without much hullabaloo. The Before movies are both epic and perfectly casual. Universal and intimate. Deciding to revive the series with a third film was a major risk in the wake of two fantastic dramas. It's a risk I'd be willing to take again after Before Midnight. [Photo Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment] Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches You Might Also Like: Hot Young Politicians Who Wore This Crazy Hat? Stars Who Changed Their Look