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

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

HitFix
B
Readers
n/a
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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First teaser footage sets up Matt Damon's Mars nightmare 'The Martian'
Credit: 20th Century Fox

First teaser footage sets up Matt Damon's Mars nightmare 'The Martian'

Ridley Scott's "The Martian" is going to suffer some inevitable comparisons to things like "Gravity" and "Interstellar" and even "Prometheus" pre-release, and the real trick here is seeing whether or not the film can shake those comparisons.

One of the things that helps in the footage that was released today is how warm and human it is. Andy Weir's book is a smart piece of hard science-fiction, but it's also a very human story, and it could be one of the most accessible things Scott's ever directed.

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'Ask Drew' examines what studios can learn from 'Mad Max: Fury Road'
Credit: Warner Bros

'Ask Drew' examines what studios can learn from 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

Plus we play an especially brutal round of Movie God

Been a while, hasn't it?

There is only one problem with our video team, and that is that they are a finite number of human beings, and we throw more work at them than anyone could possibly accomplish. Yet they do, week after week. Part of the reason "Ask Drew" was on vacation was because there just wasn't time to get it done on top of everything else we were doing.

Thing is, it's going to stay busy here, so we're going to do our best to get this back in the rotation every few weeks. When I put out the word about this week's episode, you guys sent in plenty of questions as always, including a pretty ferocious Movie God challenge.

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Tom Cruise heads underwater and into the air in new "Mission Impossible' trailer
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Tom Cruise heads underwater and into the air in new "Mission Impossible' trailer

And who is that intriguing female lead?

Twenty years.

That's how long Tom Cruise has been making "Mission: Impossible" films. I kind of love that every sigle film in the franchise is a different director. Over the last three films, though, the series has snapped into a much more rigorous sort of overall continuity, and it's done a much better job of building a team that lasts from film to film.

From JJ Abrams to Brad Bird to Christopher McQuarrie now, we've seen Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) put together a team, and in this one, it looks like we get Jeremy Renner, Smon Pegg, and Ving Rhames together, along with uber-hot newcomer Rebecca Ferguson. I love the various set pieces we get a glimpse of here, and the craziest of the bunch appears to be the one at the start of the trailer, with the weird whirlpool and the strange underwater stuff.

I'm not going to pretend like these movies have all been masterful executions of perfect plots, but I am excited to see the latest one to see how McQuarrie ups the stakes from the last one. In that film, it felt like Brad Bird finally perfected what a "Mission: Impossible" movie is supposed to look like, and McQuarrie did an excellent job with Cruise in "Jack Reacher."

So does this mean that between the excellent place they left the last film and the remarkable talents of Mr. McQuarrie, this is going to be the best "Mission: Impossible" of the bunch?

The Led Zeppelin certainly does not hurt.

We'll find out when "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" opens July 31, 2015.

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