Guillermo Del Toro calls Steve DeKnight a 'great choice' for 'Pacific Rim 2'
Credit: Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros

Guillermo Del Toro calls Steve DeKnight a 'great choice' for 'Pacific Rim 2'

This next film is meant to take us beyond the first film's scope

"We had a fantastic meeting of the minds with [Steven] DeKnight."

That's what Guillermo Del Toro had to say when I reached out to him tonight. Del Toro's creative process is one of the most immersive I've ever seen. Last year, I visited the current incarnation of Bleak House, which is an entire house-sized combination museum/collection/art studio, filled with books and original wax-sculptures and hidden rooms and original framed artwork and a place where he can put illustrators and designers together to help spitball ideas.

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Wait, Steve Martin performed a stand-up set? How is this not front page news?!
Credit: Steve Martin

Wait, Steve Martin performed a stand-up set? How is this not front page news?!

For fans of the art form, this is one of those impossible moments, but it happened

Oh, wow. I'm winding down my work day, clicking around a few headlines, some new, some a few days older, and then I open a story, start reading, and now I'm filled with a distinct combination of both intense, almost crippling envy for Jesse David Fox, and also a sudden, unexpected, emotional exhilaration.

Steve Martin performed stand-up at the Beacon Theater in New York almost a week ago.

How was this not front page news everywhere the next day? Steve Martin onstage doing live comedy? Not a show like his bluegrass tours but an actual short stand-up set? I assume I was too busy dealing with a gnarly root canal to pay attention to anything else actually happening in the world, and of all the things I miss, I miss the news that Steve Martin did actual stand-up comedy.

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Twenty years ago, 'Trainspotting' was a blast of pure punk energy
Credit: Miramax

Twenty years ago, 'Trainspotting' was a blast of pure punk energy

Sometimes, everything just plain works

When I got out of bed today, I moved a soundtrack from my computer to my iPod, and when I got in the car to drive to work, I cranked up Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life" for the first time in a while.

As soon as I did, I was hit with a flash of Ewan McGregor, tearing ass down the street, that smile on his face, and I got a full Proustian out-of-body flashback to being in the theater with my friends Pete and Scott and positively levitating out of my chair at the energy of the thing. We were all Danny Boyle fans already from Shallow Grave, but nothing prepared us for Trainspotting. It was one of those seismic movie moments, and it seems impossible to me that it's already been 20 years since it came out.

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Watch visual effects evolve from 'Wings' to 'Interstellar' in ten minutes
Credit: MGM/UA Home Video

Watch visual effects evolve from 'Wings' to 'Interstellar' in ten minutes

Hey, look! That's what 'Star Wars' actually looked like!

People today take visual effects for granted, and in some ways, that's a huge compliment to the remarkable artists who continue to push one of the most magical parts of filmmaking forward, year after year.

What I love most about visual effects is, oddly, not the way it has opened up the types of stories that can be told on film. It's the way the techniques have evolved, and the way even now people mix the physical, the digital, the optical in order to find the best way to sell a particular illusion.

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One Thing I Love Today: Spike Lee's 'Chi-raq' should have made my top 10 list
Credit: Amazon Studios

One Thing I Love Today: Spike Lee's 'Chi-raq' should have made my top 10 list

Fierce, beautifully-made, and mature, this is a master filmmaker at the top of his game

One Thing I Love Today is a daily column dedicated to putting a spotlight on some pop culture item worth your attention. After all, there's enough snark out there. Why not start every day with one quick shotgun blast of positivity?

When people say "What movie is missing from the conversation if you think the Oscars were too white?" this year, the answer to that question, first and foremost, is Spike Lee's Chi-raq.

And I am just as guilty of missing the boat as every member of the Academy.

One of the saddest images in any film in recent memory is Jennifer Hudson scrubbing the blood of her dead 7-year-old out of the pavement of a Chicago sidewalk, and it is not, by any means, the best or most powerful moment in Spike Lee's latest remarkable film. Chi-raq is stylistically bold, and it uses a heightened theatrical reality to get to some brutally raw ideas. It is Spike Lee at his most Spike Lee, and I owe him an apology for making my top ten list last year without seeing his film first.

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It's ride or die time as 'Justice League' sets a production start date
Credit: Warner Bros.

It's ride or die time as 'Justice League' sets a production start date

Calm down, nerds. Those tea leaves don't mean what you think they mean.

A hearty congratulations to Zack Snyder and the folks at Warner Bros. on announcing the start of production on Justice League Part 1 on April 11, 2016.

It's ride or die time.

We already discussed the monumental fan-trum thrown over our recent video conversation (which you can see embedded below), and aside from pointing out that March 25 comes before April 11 on a calendar, I'll say this: it certainly seems that Warner Bros. is committing fully to Zack Snyder's vision for this series, and in doing so, they how have four films (if you include Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman), representing a total investment of at least $850 million worth of production costs (before marketing and advertising) between them and their partners, all riding on people liking these new films more than they liked Man Of Steel.

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A regular column returns with a look at an unproduced Aziz Ansari script
Credit: Netflix

A regular column returns with a look at an unproduced Aziz Ansari script

Is this the funniest script we've read since the original 'Anchorman'?

One Thing I Love Today is a daily column dedicated to putting a spotlight on some pop culture item worth your attention. After all, there's enough snark out there. Why not start every day with one quick shotgun blast of positivity?

When I wrote my 25 Years In LA series last year, one of the things I talked about was my experience with the screenplay for Anchorman. When I read it, the film was stalled out in development, and I thought it was ridiculously funny. I couldn't imagine what kept the executives in charge from pulling the trigger and making the movie.

By far, the hardest I've laughed reading a script since then was when I read Olympic-Sized Assholes by Harris Wittels and Aziz Ansari last week.

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John Oliver drops the mic on Hollywood whitewashing so hard he breaks the stage
Credit: HBO

John Oliver drops the mic on Hollywood whitewashing so hard he breaks the stage

Holy cow, this is savage, and 100% on point

One of the things I hope people know about me, at least the people close to me, is that I am more than willing to cop to being wrong about something, or insensitive. I regret a conversation I had with Water Chaw, a critic who I like a lot who does good work as a programmer, during the release of Cloud Atlas, a film I love.

You remember the fan-trums that I wrote about last week? Well, I threw one. And I threw it because I didn't like Walter Chaw's dismissal of the film based on the whitewashed casting. "There's a point! They let everyone play everyone else! Halle Berry plays white! She plays a guy! Doona Bae plays a white Southern girl in the Civil War era! It's all mixed up!" I was adamant, and I refused to give an inch on my position, and I am fairly sure that by the end of the conversation, Walter Chaw thought I was a belligerent jerk uninterested in someone else's perspective. And he'd have been right.

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The teaser trailer for 'Pete's Dragon' is, indeed, a tease
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

The teaser trailer for 'Pete's Dragon' is, indeed, a tease

This could be something special

Whatever you think of the original Pete's Dragon by Disney, forget that. David Lowery's new film is not that movie at all, as the first teaser trailer for the film should make abundantly clear.

While I know the original has its fans, it's always felt like five or six different films mashed into one to me. It's got some strong production design, and by the time they made the movie, Disney had gotten very good at mixing live-action and animation, and there are some impressive sequences as a result. It's one of those films that a lot of people remember fondly precisely because they haven't seen it since childhood, and in many ways, the script by Lowery and Toby Halbrooks feels like what you would write if you specifically hadn't watched it again but were describing it to someone based on how it made you feel as a child.

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What does this 'Batman v Superman' controversy teach us about fan-trums?
Credit: Warner Bros.

What does this 'Batman v Superman' controversy teach us about fan-trums?

Why does hype make fans act so crazy?

When you write about entertainment all day every day, you tend to get caught up in minutiae, and it leads to editorial decisions I would call questionable. When you're writing breathless headlines about Pez dispensers, you may be working too hard to find relevance in the irrelevant. Getting hung up on the micro often prevents us from focusing on the macro, but I'd like to take the opportunity to take a step back from time to time to examine 'The Bigger Picture.'

I'd like to start by telling you three stories.

They're just three totally unrelated stories about going to see movies with people reacting afterwards in ways that are, by any definition, irrational. I can't imagine what might have happened in the last week that would have me reflecting on these incidents, but maybe by the time I've told them, we can figure out some sort of unifying thread.

First, let's talk about Marty.

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