Here's how to read between the lines of Ivan Reitman's 'Ghostbusters' comment
Credit: Sony Pictures

Here's how to read between the lines of Ivan Reitman's 'Ghostbusters' comment

This isn't quite as benign a press release as it seems to be at first

Ivan Reitman just issued an official statement via Eric Reich, who handles publicity for The Montecito Picture Company, Reitman's company. It's very pointed, and I think there's a rock solid reason for him to make the statement right now. Here it is, exactly as it was sent over.

"There has been a lot of excitement recently about what is happening with the Ghostbusters franchise. As the producer of the new Ghostbusters film, I feel the need to clarify. There is only one new Ghostbusters movie and that is the Paul Feig directed version coming next July, presently filming and going fantastically.  The rest is just noise."

First, what I see here above anything else is a producer standing behind his director. He is right. Paul Feig is the only person making a "Ghostbusters" movie right now. The more I see from Feig's film, the more I'm excited to see how it all comes together. I am already absolutely fascinated by Kate McKinnon's character's appearance, and I like that they've retained the handmade aesthetic of the original.

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Film Nerd 2.0 stays gold with an emotional screening of 'The Outsiders'
Credit: American Zoetrope

Film Nerd 2.0 stays gold with an emotional screening of 'The Outsiders'

Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 film maintains its power to slay young audiences

Film Nerd 2.0 is an ongoing series in which we explore the ways we share media with our kids, particularly those of us who grew up deeply in love with movies. The media landscape has changed completely, and parents need to be more engaged than ever in what their kids watch and what they take from that entertainment.

"Daddy, why did the Karate Kid Johnny die?"

When "The Outsiders" was released in 1983, I was 13, and I already dearly loved the S.E. Hinton novel. It's melodramatic as hell, but that's how it feels to be a teenager, no matter what era you're talking about. I may not have had to deal with Socs or Greasers, but navigating the turbulent emotional landscape of adolescence was something that informed every line of Hinton's book. Francis Ford Coppola's film is burnished and beautiful, and it featured a young cast made up of actors on the cusp of becoming hugely famous. C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez… and some kid named Tom Cruise.

Since I'm almost positive federal law has declared this "Tom Cruise Week," I wanted to share something with the boys. It seems a little early to bust out "Risky Business," unless I'm looking to kickstart puberty in the both of them. And while I get the eternally silly camp appeal of "Top Gun," it's also not a film I think they'd get anything out of at this point. I considered "Rain Man," and we may well do that sooner rather than later, but as soon as I thought of "The Outsiders," it felt right.

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'Endless Love' to 'Eyes Wide Shut' - All of Tom Cruise's films ranked
Credit: Touchstone, Paramount, Warner Bros

'Endless Love' to 'Eyes Wide Shut' - All of Tom Cruise's films ranked

I'm sure there will be some hubbub about the neighbors and what they're doing down there.

Two film franchises, both just now reaching their fifth film, but nothing alike in overall execution. What makes "Mission: Impossible" so rich and robust as a series, and why is "Vacation" such a drag?

The answer to the first part of that question has to do with Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner, and anyone looking to understand how to build a 21st century franchise would be wise to closely study the model that they've established. Not only has it proven incredibly limber, it seems like they're still just picking up steam.

All they have to do now is figure out how to keep Tom Cruise alive and looking exactly like he does right now for the next 100 years.

Since it's the IMF we're talking about, I assume they will succeed.

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Review: 'Vacation' runs out of gas long before it reaches its destination
Credit: Warner Bros

Review: 'Vacation' runs out of gas long before it reaches its destination

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Hey, at least it's not as bad as 'European' or 'Vegas'

1983's "National Lampoon's Vacation" is a film I have an enormous fondness for, and I have no doubt part of why I feel that way is because of when I saw the film. After all, I was 13 when it came out, and the script by John Hughes felt like it was shockingly transgressive at the time.

A few weeks back, I saw the film again for the first time in a while, and while I smiled at most of the familiar scenes and lines, I also saw the film with fresh eyes, and I was struck by the fact that, overall, it's a little shabby. I think Harold Ramis gets great performances out of his entire cast, but as actual filmmaking? It's a step forward from the "held together with bitter tears and cocaine" aesthetic of "Caddyshack," but not a giant step.

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Horror subscription service Shudder looks like the future of film curation
Credit: Shudder

Horror subscription service Shudder looks like the future of film curation

What makes this difference than other streaming services?

What is Shudder?

Well, the short answer is, it's a subscription-based service that horror fans should find irresistible. Here's the way they describe it:

Shudder is a diabolical new premium streaming video service, serving horror fans with curated worldwide programming ranging from hard-to-find independent fare to cult grindhouse classics to Hollywood blockbusters. Shudder has something for everyone, from the casual fan to the hardcore horror devotee. Backed by AMC Networks, Shudder’s growing library of curated horror is available ad-free and for unlimited viewing on Shudder’s website, mobile apps for iOS and Android, and the Roku platform with a free 14-day trial or $4.99 monthly/ $49.99 yearly membership. To sign up or learn more about Shudder, visit www.shudder.com  

Simple enough, right? Most of the time, services like this as based on what's available in a particular catalog. When you go to Crackle, for example, as much as Crackle wants to be this all-purpose service, their selection is really strange and random. Want to see twenty totally random episodes of "Newsradio"? Well, then, you're in luck!

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You can watch a full production of 'Sticks and Stones' online now
Credit: Scott Swan

You can watch a full production of 'Sticks and Stones' online now

Watch Jonathan Silverman and Lou Mustillo butt heads over race language in a 1994 production of the play

It is not often that I get to offer you something special of my own here at HitFix.

That's not to say I am not personally invested in my writing here. Of course I am. I think over the last five or six years, I've turned a corner in terms of my own understanding of what film criticism can be, and for me, it works on a very personal level. But when it comes to my creative work, there's not a lot of it that I've been able to share in a finished form. I could publish my scripts, I suppose, as long as my co-writer Scott Swan agreed, but a script is a suggestion of what a movie will eventually be, not the movie itself.

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Scarlet Witch delivers a beating in our exclusive 'Age Of Ultron' clip
Credit: Marvel Studios

Scarlet Witch delivers a beating in our exclusive 'Age Of Ultron' clip

The DVD and Blu-ray release is coming, and Marvel sent over a reminder

Remember "Avengers: Age Of Ultron"?

We're at that part of the summer now where May seems like a lifetime ago. So many things have happened, so much has screened, and it's been a summer dense with great work. I got lost somewhere down the "Fury Road" for a while, felt it intensely when I got turned "Inside Out" by Bing Bong, and am currently head over heels for my trip to a "Rogue Nation."

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Chris Columbus on revisiting past glories in his career and onscreen in 'Pixels'
Credit: HitFix/Michiel Thomas

Chris Columbus on revisiting past glories in his career and onscreen in 'Pixels'

We cover a fair amount of ground with the filmmaker, from Sundance sensation 'The Witch' to 'Goonies' and 'Gremilins' revisits

Here's why I hated writing that "Pixels" review: I really like Chris Columbus.

I remember reading about "Gremlins" before it came out, and part of what was so appealing about it was the story of the 19-year-old writer from NYU who sold his script to Steven Spielberg. I mean, come on… that was the dream narrative for an '80s kid who was crazy about movies.

I can't actually tell you where or when I met him for the first time, but every single conversation I've had with him, I have enjoyed enormously. That includes the conversation I had with him last week about "Pixels." This is longer than the typical video interview we run here, and it was conducted one afternoon on the Sony lot in the middle of a big day of press for Columbus. Despite that, from the moment he rolled in, he seemed like he was relaxed and ready to talk about anything.

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Review: Tom Cruise proves there's plenty of life left in 'Mission: Impossible'
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: Tom Cruise proves there's plenty of life left in 'Mission: Impossible'

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20 years into the series, and it's still picking up steam

One of things that has been most interesting about the "Mission: Impossible" series has been the way they've played with the iconography of the original '60s show. When I worked as a closed-captioner, we got a contract to do "Mission: Impossible," and I must have done twenty episodes of it myself. I remember being struck by just how minimalist it was in terms of production value, and how clearly they relied on certain things over and over.

When the first film was released 20 years, it was interesting to watch fans of the old show freak out at the notion of Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) being revealed as the bad guy. It is exactly what I loved about it, though. Brian DePalma has always loved to tweak genre convention and the language of the thriller, and watching him make this big slick uber-commercial movie that basically cast James Bond as Blofeld, you could almost hear him cackling behind the camera. Tom Cruise was just a little over a decade into his career as an actor, and one of the things people said about him at the time was that he seemed like a movie star in search of his very own franchise. He was evidently hungry for it, and when he and his producing partner Paula Wagner settled on "Mission: Impossible," I wonder if they knew just how limber it would end up being for them.

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Just how far can the 'Jurassic World' sequel really go?
Credit: Universal Pictures

Just how far can the 'Jurassic World' sequel really go?

Yes, it sounds convoluted, but they've already borrowed elements from this one

One of the biggest dangling threads in "Jurassic World" is the fate of Dr. Henry Wu.

I thought it was fun casting to bring B.D. Wong back for "Jurassic World," but when I saw the film, I was surprised by just how much screen time they gave him and how clearly he's turned the corner from "bright guy hired by Hammond to do something fantastic and ethically questionable" to "mad scientist screwing his theme park bosses while coming up with some sinister applications for his work."

What surprised me more was that they let him live. After all, "Jurassic World" is unafraid to kill even the most peripheral character in violent and preposterous manners, so why wouldn't they kill the man responsible for creating the just-plain-evil dinosaur that's running around eating everyone?

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