Matthew Lillard

Tribeca Film Festival

It is not every day that you get to watch veteran actor Patrick Stewart rave about cunnilingus. Then again, not every day is the Tribeca Film Festival and not every veteran actor agrees to discuss such things in public. The film in question is Match, based on the 2004 play of the same name. Playwright Stephen Belber directed this adaptation of his own work, a first for him. And despite the verbal power of his original text, that’s pretty obvious. The final product could never be mistaken as anything other than a screen version of a theatrical production. Is that a bad thing? Not inherently, and Match is not a bad movie. This is a very different case than Venus in Fur, Roman Polanski’s unambitious adaptation of an open-ended, mythological play with bonkers cinematic potential. Belber’s narrative is a realist, simple living room drama that doesn’t necessarily cry out for fireworks. It begins with Tobias (Stewart), an aging dance teacher who works at Juilliard and lives in Inwood at the tip top of Manhattan. He’s charming, awkward and very nervous as he waits in his favorite diner for his guests. Lisa (Carla Gugino) is a PhD candidate researching the history of dance in New York, and her husband Mike (Matthew Lillard) has come along to record the interview. That’s how it begins, anyway.

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slc punk 2 poster

Earlier this year we learned there’s going to be a sequel to the 1999 cult film SLC Punk! And not only did the fans immediately begin pogoing with delight, but a lot of them took to Change.org to petition Jason Segel‘s return as the character Mike. Unfortunately, that effort was not successful — Segel is not interested in even a cameo and the part is being recast — but hopefully more lovers of Stevo, Heroin Bob, Trish and John the Mod will be interested in helping to fund this new movie, titled Punk’s Dead. Yep, just like a middle-class suburban teen with expensive bondage pants pretending to be a squatter and panhandling for change in NYC’s Tompkins Square Park, these rich Hollywood players are hitting the curb and begging for money. Just kidding (sort of). This isn’t another time to debate the idea of crowdfunding and what tax bracket is allowed to start a campaign. As a former scenester, I love SLC Punk! and I’m even more interested in a movie that addresses the subculture kid all grown up idea. Writer-director James Merendino seems like he’s also interested in more than a mere reunion piece, though the surface appeal is in the fact that Matthew Lillard, Annabeth Gish, Devon Sawa, James Duval and even Michael Goorjian are returning (yep, Heroin Bob is back from the dead, kind of). Probably also Christopher McDonald and Til Schweiger. And according to the synopsis on the film’s Indiegogo page, there’s a new generation in […]

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monsters unleashed 01

Two news items from the past week have me recalling a movie from nearly a decade ago: Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. There was the announcement by Warner Bros. of a new animated feature based on the classic cartoon franchise, which is the obvious source of my considering Raja Gosnell’s live-action adaptations. Then there was the continued coverage of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, particularly the voice casting for its CG characters. That comic book movie is being helmed by James Gunn, who scripted both 2002′s Scooby-Doo and the 2004 sequel. I remember enjoying the latter a lot when it hit theaters, surprised that it was so much better than the misguided original and even more surprised that it was actually received worse by critics. But could I defend Monsters Unleashed today? I revisited the movie this week in the hopes of doing so, but I don’t think I can. And this isn’t some case of where my love for something as a kid turns out to be terrible after all. That’s reserved for Howard the Duck (which I still love anyway). I saw Scooby-Doo 2 in my mid-20s. No, I wasn’t high. Perhaps I was simply relieved the movie was so tied back to the initial series, Scooby Doo: Where Are You?, with its call-back of ghosts and villains, and that it was an improvement over the first movie, which had had the balls to turn Scrappy Doo into a bad guy (and featured Sugar Ray — blech). Somehow that […]

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SLC Punk

Updated: I’ve just gotten word that both Chris McDonald and Til Schweiger are still in talks, so it’s unclear at this point if they’ll be in for the project. Let’s hope so. Original post follows: There’s a scene in Matthew Lillard‘s feature directorial debut where he plays a principal who’s effectively a grown-up version of Stevo from SLC Punk. Now, he’s in talks to reprise the iconic cult role for real. Late yesterday, director James Merendino announced he’d be making Punk’s Dead to explore what happens when the rebellious get older. “I made SLC Punk when I was a kid, and accordingly, the story is naive, and, as just a coming of age story, not finished,” Merendino said. “The characters are facing  big questions, 18 years later, as outsiders, Punk rockers… What relevance do  they have in a world where all statements have already been made?” The announcement vaguely noted that “most of the original cast” would return, but a source close to the production has confirmed that Lillard is on that list. Contract deals are not finalized, but Lillard, Annabeth Gish, Devon Sawa and Michael A. Goorjian are all preparing to return for the project.

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Pacino and De Palma

What is Casting Couch? Today’s it’s just a little casting news column trying to get by at the hands of a Sundance-bound Kate Erbland. Nathan, we need you! We’ve been due for a truly gritty, really in-depth on fallen from grace Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno for months now, but it turns out, we’re now set to get an even better project than we could possibly have dreamed of, because director Brian De Palma and star Al Pacino have now teamed up to bring the true life story to the screen. Deadline Hollywood reports that the two are set for Happy Valley (apparently a working title, thank goodness), which will come from Joe Posnanski‘s book “Paterno,” with Dave McKenna (American History X, Blow) currently in negotiations to script. Pacino was first attached to the project last year. The project reunites Pacino and De Palma, as the two previously collaborated on Scarface and Carlito’s Way, which worked out pretty nicely for both of them.

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Matthew Lillard Fat Kid Rules The World

Matthew Lillard was one of the iconic faces of high school life in the 1990s. His roles in Scream, SLC Punk, Hackers and She’s All That cemented that image throughout a broad base of genres. Now, he’s returned to high school for his first stint as a director. In Fat Kid Rules the World, an obese kid is brought back from the suicidal brink by punk rock music and a new friend. Lillard took the time to speak with me about the annoying passivity of film acting, what he has in common with Tyler Perry and the ten-year journey of bringing this adaptation to an audience. Check out the interview below: Download This Interview Enjoy More Reject Radio

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For a film that opens in less than two months, we’ve seen very little from Robert Lorenz‘s Clint Eastwood-starring feature debut, the father-daughter baseball dramedy Trouble With the Curve, so it’s about damn night Warner Bros. rolled out a trailer for the project. And yet, this first trailer doesn’t show us much beyond what audiences are likely expecting from the film – Eastwood is crotchety! Amy Adams is lovely and sweet! Justin Timberlake is snarky and vaguely sleazy! And also Matthew Lillard is there, being kind of a jerk. One thing’s for sure, however, Eastwood’s character, an aging baseball scout who is also losing his vision, was definitely not a fan of Moneyball (damn computers!). But perhaps we will be fans of this film, which looks to be an inoffensive and possibly even charming entry into more adult-skewed “family” films. Settle into the cheap seats and check out the first trailer after the break.

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Editor’s Note: This review was published on October 18 as part of our New York Film Festival 2011 coverage. With The Descendants hitting (limited) theaters this week, we’ve gone ahead and republished it for those of you who need further reason to check out a George Clooney film that takes place in Hawaii. After seven years of waiting, Alexander Payne finally has another feature film coming to the big screen. While the wait has been tumultuous and tedious, seven years for films like The Descendants makes the anticipation worth it. Heartfelt, sweet, funny, touching, and every other adjective that describes Payne’s movies applies to his fifth feature. Like his past work, this is another exploration of a search for manhood and meaning. Payne has a real knack for writing men who have been reduced by women. Matt King (George Clooney in another career-best performance) has a line about how all the women in his life bring him down; that applies to the thought process behind all of Payne’s leads, from Sideways to About Schmidt to Election. Both uncomfortably and honestly, the writer-director understands emasculated men who, for lack of a better phrase, are simply trying to get their shit together.

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