Joe Dante and Anton Yelchin on the way film fandom informs 'Burying The Ex'
Credit: HitFix

Joe Dante and Anton Yelchin on the way film fandom informs 'Burying The Ex'

A directing legend and an up-and-coming young star sit together to discuss their latest

Joe Dante is one of my favorite people.

You'll actually get some Joe Dante stories in the final two parts of my "25 Years In LA" series, but even before that, you'll get a video interview that we've cut up into three pieces for you. Last week, on the same morning we all learn that Christopher Lee had passed away, Joe came to the HitFix studios along with Anton Yelchin, who is the star of his new film "Burying The Ex," which will be in theaters on Friday.

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Review: Amy Poehler's tremendous work anchors the emotional 'Inside Out'
Credit: Pixar
A+

Review: Amy Poehler's tremendous work anchors the emotional 'Inside Out'

Animated or otherwise, this is as intimate as Hollywood storytelling gets

While it's clear that each new release from Pixar seems to spur people to offer a fresh assessment of the company's entire output, I'd rather not immediately try to figure out where "Inside Out" lands by comparison. It seems like a reductive way to approach this surprisingly sophisticated emotional experience. Co-directors Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen have told a very, very small-scale story when you look at what happens in the actual physical world. But in doing so, they've done something very powerful, because they have paid full respect to just how turbulent and important the inner life of a child can be.

Ah, hell, who am I kidding? "Inside Out" works because we are all always wrestling with the particular balance required to keep us functioning. The film imagines five distinct beings that work in harmony (hopefully) inside each person: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger. To be fair, that's just in the control room. There's a fairly complex ecosystem at work inside the mind, which the movie makes clear is not the same thing at the brain. This isn't "Innerspace," where characters are racing around the recognizable landmarks of the body. Instead, this is pure metaphor, a way for Docter and Del Carmen to dig deep into how we react when we are faced with some of life's defining moments.

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25 Years in LA Part 3: Showtime, the Silverado, and the rise of Ain't It Cool
Credit: Dreamworks

25 Years in LA Part 3: Showtime, the Silverado, and the rise of Ain't It Cool

Plus my patron saint and a few success stories

The first and most important thing that happened as a result of the staging of "Sticks and Stones" at the Met Theater as part of the Act One Festival was that Scott Swan and I got our first agent.

Barbara Baruch worked for Ambrosio/Mortimer, a smaller boutique agency at the time, and from the moment we met her, she seemed like what I imagined an agent to be. She was nurturing, she was a cheerleader, she was a ballbuster, and she was always, always, always in our corner. Our time with her was unfortunately too short, and by the time the agency imploded in accusations of embezzlement, we were already repped by Gersh out of New York. Barbara was first, though, and she was the first one to start pushing people to come see our show and to read our work.

The strangest thing about those early days is that Scott and I had spent so much time working on scripts that were, truth be told, deeply derivative genre exercises, and that's really not what people were expecting when we walked into the room. They would see "Sticks and Stones" onstage and expect us to come in pitching certain types of projects, and then these two 25 year old "Star Wars" nerds would roll in talking about giant monsters and other such nonsense.

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Paul Feig just figured out who's answering the phones for 'Ghostbusters'
Credit: Warner Bros

Paul Feig just figured out who's answering the phones for 'Ghostbusters'

Okay… this is why Paul Feig's "Ghostbusters" is one of next year's genuinely important studio releases.

Feig has not been remotely shy about the fact that he sees a gender war in our pop culture right now, and he has chosen his side emphatically. When he and co-writer Katie Dippold set out to recreate "Ghostbusters" with an all-female team, they didn't just take the original script and gender-flip every single part of it.

Instead, they started from the basic idea and they developed characters that fit the actors they want to work with, just like Aykroyd and Ramis did with their script. And now, in one of the most delicious bits of sublimated star power I've seen in a while, Feig has announced who is playing Janine…

Okay, sure, he's not actually playing Janine. That would be weird. But the idea of Hemsworth as the guy manning the phones while the ladies head out to handle all the dangerous ghostbustin'?

Love it. And after this summer's "Vacation," I think Hemsworth is going to start to earn a reputation as a secret weapon in comedy mode.

"Ghostbusters" is currently set to hit theaters July 22, 2016.

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Bryce Dallas Howard is a big old nerd
Credit: HitFix

Bryce Dallas Howard is a big old nerd

Plus she says it's awfully easy to play a scene with Chris Pratt

Bryce Dallas Howard is a big old nerd.

I had no idea until we sat down to talk about her work in "Jurassic World." Right now, there's a conversation happening online about the gender politics of the film, and while I think the larger conversation about how Hollywood approaches representation for anyone is a valuable one, I think "Jurassic World" is a very strange film to pick as a battleground on this subject.

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Review: 'Jurassic World' delivers dinosaur thrills but little depth
Credit: Universal Pictures
B

Review: 'Jurassic World' delivers dinosaur thrills but little depth

This is the best of the series since the first one, but what does that really mean?

When I saw the original "Jurassic Park" for the first time, it was a magical screening, held exclusively for the Universal tour guides. It was several weeks before the release of the movie, and they wanted to give us a chance to see it early and then spread the word on the trams about what it was they were about to release.

I will always remember and revere the experience of seeing it in the Alfred Hitchcock Theater, in the room where the sound was actually mixed. When the T-rex attack began, everyone in the room stopped breathing. That may sound like an exaggeration, but the temperature went up so much during that one scene that people began sweating. In that one moment, Spielberg and his production team reached deep into our collective memory of being small furry things afraid of being eaten and tapped that fear in a very real and immediate way. It remains one of the single most effective sequences of terror ever captured on film, no matter what the rating.

The rest of "Jurassic Park"? Eh.

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25 Years In LA Part 2: 'Shawshank,' 'Sleepwalkers,' and 'Sticks and Stones'
Credit: Sony Pictures

25 Years In LA Part 2: 'Shawshank,' 'Sleepwalkers,' and 'Sticks and Stones'

We continue our journey back through a quarter-century of Hollywood memories

Yesterday, I wrote about my first year in Los Angeles, which was all just a matter of settling in. Remember, when I moved to LA, I knew a grand total of zero people who lived or worked here. I was not laden with contacts and strolling into a situation where everything was guaranteed to work out. Scott Swan and I took a huge chance when we packed up and moved out, and I am so horrified by how little money we had saved that I'm almost embarrassed to say the number. I was insanely naive when I arrived in town.

I am still haunted by a choice we made in those early days, when we answered an ad in one of the trades that was looking for writers willing to work on a "per sketch" basis. I forget how much the rate was… $100 or so, but definitely not more than that… but Scott and I talked it over and figured we'd be able to write a few sketches, earn the money, and then we'd never hear of the film again. After all, the guy who hired us was working out of the back of a real-estate office in East LA, he had no film experience, and he wasn't sure how he was going to fund the film.

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Chris Pratt says he'll never see 'Jurassic World' the way fans will
Credit: HitFix

Chris Pratt says he'll never see 'Jurassic World' the way fans will

The nicest new movie star in Hollywood talks about how he sees his movies

At the end of the press junket for "Jurassic World," there was a photo posted by one of the guys who runs the junkets of two kegs. One was PBR, the other was Dos Equis. Not the most expensive gesture in the world, but one that speaks volumes. Pratt sees how hard these guys work at these things, and it's non-stop for days at a time. He didn't have to do anything for the crew, but the gesture says that Pratt recognizes that he may be the movie star, but he's standing on a lot of backs to reach that spotlight.

The first time I met Pratt, I was in an elevator in San Francisco, checking into my hotel, there for a set visit to "The Five-Year Engagement." At that point, I knew Pratt from "Parks and Rec" only, and we started talking. He was super-gracious and effusive, and the same was true later that evening when I ran into him on the set.

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25 Years In LA Part 1: Gene Hackman, Eazy-E, and Albert Brooks defending a film
Credit: Scott Swan

25 Years In LA Part 1: Gene Hackman, Eazy-E, and Albert Brooks defending a film

We move to town, settle in, and use our first job to meet plenty of famous people

When I left Tampa, it was the crack of dawn. I was in the passenger's seat of the Chevette that Scott Swan owned, and we were on our way to California to be rich and famous.

I was 20 years old. I thought I had all the answers. I had a screenplay called "The President Must Die!" with me that I was sure was going to be produced by the following summer with an all-star cast. We had all of them picked. Harrison Ford, Robert DeNiro, Robin Williams. Scott and I had spent the entire spring writing it, and we were done. Absolutely, completely, positively done. It was perfect. It was going to be a huge hit. This was the logical next step.

This wasn't our first script, either. We had written a script together called "Moondance" during my first year of college, and a script called "A Weekend Away" during my second year of college. They were both comedies featuring the same main character, Jerry Salmon. We had tried to raise the money to make "A Weekend Away" during the spring, while I was finishing school, and we had come up dry. We were looking for just under a million dollars, and we just didn't knock on the right doors.

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Want to see what happens when crowdfunding shows Uwe Boll what he's worth?
Credit: Uwe Boll's Tax Shelter Theater

Want to see what happens when crowdfunding shows Uwe Boll what he's worth?

Someone peed in Uwe Boll's cereal, and the results are delightful.

Whenever I see someone bag Ed Wood as "the worst filmmaker ever," I try to engage them in that conversation and offer up the alternative view that no one, no matter how desperately lacking in talent, can ever be considered the worst filmmaker of all time when their movies are so painfully sincere and personally revealing. I would argue that cynicism is far worse than lack of talent, and when you're talking about people who are genuinely terrible filmmakers, Uwe Boll is as cynical as they come.

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