The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

WellGo USA

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Confession of Murder A serial killer ends his reign of terror and disappears into the night, but years later when the statute of limitations runs out on the crimes a man comes forward to claim responsibility and sell some books. He becomes an overnight sensation with the media, but the detective that worked the original case is none too pleased with the man’s newfound celebrity. The victims’ families are equally unhappy and set about making their own justice, and soon all manner of shenanigans are in play. Jung Byung-gil‘s action/thriller is an ecstatically energetic and deliriously entertaining flick that moves effortlessly between beautifully choreographed chase/fight scenes, heart-rending drama and purely comedic interactions. The story gets a bit silly at times, but it’s never less than invigorating and exciting. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, you should at least listen to the cover blurb calling it “One hell of a ride.” [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Behind the scenes, interviews, trailer]

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2013review_trailers

What were the best trailers of the year trying to sell? Movies and moods and ideas and awards and stars and sexiness and just a lot of great music. And maybe, just maybe, something more (read: more movie tickets). Not every great trailer advertises a great film, but sometimes even the most lackluster productions can gift movie fans with two minutes of cinematic glory (all the better if said trailer can include Kanye West screaming or Nicole Kidman redefining “cold” or even the glories of street dancing) worth lauding all on their own. This year saw a vast batch of standout trailers, and while our listing of best trailers of the year is nothing if not varied, all of the videos contained within share one key element – they effectively conveyed tone and feeling without revealing too much about plot and characters. As mini mood pieces, these thirteen trailers nailed it, as bits of marketing, they made us want to buy and buy big time.  What were the best trailers of the year trying to sell? Oh, it doesn’t matter – we were ready to buy.

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Ben Stiller in a still from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

*Editor’s note: Our review of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty originally ran during this year’s NYFF, but we’re re-posting it now as the film opens wide on Christmas Day.* The joke of Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is an old one – far older than both the James Thurber short story that inspired it and the 1947 Danny Kaye-starring film of the same name – centering on a man so prone to daydreaming that he has ceased to live his life inside the “real world.” It’s hard to blame Walter (Stiller), however, because the real world hasn’t been especially kind to him for a long time. It hasn’t been particularly cruel, either, but Walter has long suppressed his dreams of something more (and of being someone more), and his more creative and individual instincts come out to play in the vivid (and overly effects-laden) daydreams that Walter periodically lapses into (so frequently, in fact, that those closest to him just refer to it as Walter “zoning out” and that’s all there is to it). The regular life issues that Walter faces are hard enough – a dead dad, an aging mother (Shirley MacLaine), a wacky sister (Kathryn Hahn), a job in a changing industry, a hopeless crush on a clueless co-worker (Kristen Wiig, who isn’t given nearly enough to work with to make the romantic element of the film stick) – so it’s understandable that he would slip into fantasy when things get rough. But Walter’s […]

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2013review_music

This year brought moviegoers an array of music that ranged from uplifting (About Time “How Long Will I Love You”) to depressing (The Great Gatsby‘s “Young and Beautiful”) to catchy (Inside Llewyn Davis‘ “Please Mr. Kennedy”) to nostalgic (Saving Mr. Banks‘ “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”) to just plain out there (Spring Breakers‘ “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”). Whether it was a film about throwing (or attending) the best party of your life or one about intense family drama, the music pushed stories to new heights, whether it was an Alien rapping on the beach or two mothers pushing their children to the breaking point. Film music is no longer just orchestration and catchy pop songs – it is dubstep and bands you would normally hear on the radio taking to the conductor’s stand. Simply put – it is an exciting time for music in film because there are no rules. Now it’s time to relive some of the best music moments from this past year with scores from composers new to the scene and those continuing to churn out groundbreaking music, as well as soundtracks that featured songs from bands and artists who discovered new talents while collaborating.

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The Wolf of Wall Street

After years of anticipation, the wait is nearly over. Worry no longer: 47 Ronin is finally coming to theaters. The Keanu Reeves vs. CG monsters movie somehow wound up with a Christmas release, and it’s one of the most bizarre Christmas releases in recent history. Universal either has immense confidence in the film or is blatantly dumping the mega-expensive picture into a snow-covered grave. Thankfully, 47 Ronin isn’t the only movie you can see this wonderful Holiday season. If it turns out to be a dud, you can watch 47 Ronin director Carl Rinsch‘s collection of fantastic commercials and short films online for free instead, and if that still doesn’t do it for you, then there are nine other films for your must-see list this month.

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

With the first trailer for Ben Stiller‘s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, we were treated to something fairly magical, as Walter’s (Stiller) daydreams and mundane realities meshed together while he embarked on beautiful but unexplained journey around the world. And now, with the second trailer Walter’s actions are finally given some explanation and substance (pretty as the score in the first trailer might have been): it’s about a girl and ambition and getting a life. And from the trailer, it looks like it tackles several genres at once: romantic comedy, fantasy, adventure, drama, and maybe even a little bit of action. It’s hard to tell what parts are real, and what exists in Walter’s head as soon as he leaves the office. Flock of birds forming the shape of Kristen Wiig‘s head: not real. Getting attacked by a shark: maybe real? Check out the trailer here:

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Tom Hanks

Film festival season is off and running, what with TIFF wowing the international crowds with all its surefire award season contenders and Fantastic Fest blowing a hole a mile wide in the great Texas sky of genre flicks, and before we can even catch our breath (or rest our tired, tired eyes), the New York Film Festival is ready to blast us with still more wonderful films. We’re tired, but we’re also excited. Film festival feelings are complicated. NYFF kicks off later this week with the highly anticipated premiere of Captain Phillips. For the next two weeks, Gotham will be inundated with a murderer’s row of big time films – from buzzy titles from Cannes and TIFF to premieres of fresh new features, all the way up to some of the biggest (and yet to be seen!) films of the awards season. With plenty of films we’ve been wanting to see for months (and, in some cases, years) now, NYFF is looking pretty swanky this year, and we can’t wait to dive right in. Until then, here are ten films we’re most looking forward to seeing (and we think you’ll agree).

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Gravity

Gravity, All is Lost and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty are all getting fall releases and all jockeying for some of that sweet, sweet Oscar goodness, so it’s only natural that we let the posters for all three films do the same. Of the three Gravity is the frontrunner here by far. George Clooney‘s nose is a thing of beauty, sure. But the other two are fairly cut-and-paste: start with the lead actor, then insert him into the film’s setting (whether that setting is the open sea or Ben Stiller‘s limitless imagination).

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Ben Stiller in a still from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Remember the days when movie trailers simply teased what might happen in a film? Trailers have been getting longer and longer lately and this increase in length has caused many trailers to give away too much, too soon. With so many movies to choose from these days, they also seem eager to tell you almost everything upfront, an idea that seems predicated on the false hope that more information is more persuasive than mystery. But the opposite affect is happening as more and more people have begun loudly complaining that trailers are turning into mini-movies that leave viewers with little reason to go see the entire film. That’s why it was surprising last week when the trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty debuted and did something too many recent trailers have not: it shut up. Coming across like a mini music video, the trailer let Of Monsters and Men’s “Dirty Paws” play over images from the film and allowed the subjective lyrics and catchy rhythm to speak to viewer’s own imaginations as they tried to piece together what may happen n the film.

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller‘s no stranger to the dramatic role. His career has been dotted with films like The Royal Tenenbaums and Greenberg, projects that demonstrate his abilities in a role not played for yuks (although it’s probably fair to say that the former makes a much stronger case than the latter). Now Stiller’s at it again with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which will see the actor/director as, not surprisingly, both actor and director. Walter Mitty may show off Stiller’s dramatic side, but that doesn’t make it a tearjerker – the trailer has its fair share of that same slightly dry, slightly funny indie-film quirk present in both Tenenbaums and Greenberg. It’s especially apparent towards the end, as Stiller sports a wry look while a branch thwacks him in the face and he makes his choice of red or blue car. I’m not sure whether a soft chuckle or a sigh is more appropriate. The quirkiness on display here does seem a little played out. But everything that comes beforehand is much more refreshing. With no dialogue (up until the end), little hints at some stellar supporting players (Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, and Adam Scott), and an inviting look at Stiller’s daydreams, the trailer has far more positive than it does negative. ake a look at that trailer down below.

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Consider this a bit of serious Hollywood housekeeping after a long, boring holiday weekend. In quick succession, a bevy of release dates (some new, some moved) have been fired out of the Hollywood cannon and straight into Reject HQ eyeballs. Ouch, Hollywood, seriously, those are our eyes. After the break, check out a full round-up of today’s many (too many, really) release date shuffles and announcements, including dates for sequels to both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men: First Class, along with a new date for Thor 2 and a big move for The Lone Ranger, all rounded out by some fun assorted dates, like so much Fun Size candy of the calendar.

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After a good number of years chugging along as a “that guy” actor and doing small parts in films and a handful of episodes of a TV show here and there, things finally seem to be working out for Adam Scott. Over the past five years or so he’s really been able to develop a persona, an on-screen character that casting people know how to use, and it’s led to him being knee deep in work. Not only is he a regular on the outstanding NBC series Parks and Recreation, but he’s also starring opposite names like Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, and Maya Rudolph in Friends With Kids, he’s got a movie with Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Kaplan, and Isla Fisher called Bachelorette that just debuted at Sundance, and in the next year he’s going to be in Dan Fogelman’s movie My Mother’s Curse, he’s co-starring in a romance called See Girl Run, and he’s going to be in a movie called A.D.O.C. with titans of the screen Jane Lynch and Richard Jenkins. The guy looks to be on top of the world. But, the new role that he’s negotiating for may be the biggest thing he’s been involved with yet.

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Once Ben Stiller got his claws into the Secret Life of Walter Mitty remake it pretty quickly went from being a long-floundering project that was maybe going to happen and maybe not going to happen, to becoming a hot comedy prospect on the fast track to getting made. I guess it didn’t hurt that Stiller is pulling double duty by both starring in the film and serving as the director; that’s one less person they had to hire. Still, barring some pretty amazing prosthesis, Stiller won’t be able to play every role that this story requires, so it looks like it’s time to begin the casting process. And Stiller and company seem to be starting by going big. According to THR none other than Ms. Bridesmaids herself, Kristen Wiig, is currently in negotiations to play the role of Mitty’s co-worker, a lady who often becomes the damsel subject of his ridiculous pulp-inspired daydreams. If the deal gets done, this would be the first mainstream role that Wiig takes following her breakout turn in last summer’s wildly successful women-can-be-gross-too comedy, so that should put a lot of heat on this one as far as media attention goes. Sounds like a win-win for Stiller: he gets both a hilarious comedic actress to play opposite and some free publicity for his film. I’d say that now’s the time to back up the money truck and dump out whatever Wiig wants.

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If the fictional character of Walter Mitty were to regale us with his exploits in Hollywood, he might tell us about the time he both starred in and directed a big feature film. Seeing as Walter Mitty is a liar, it would have been a bunch of bullpucky, but for multi-talented Renaissance man Ben Stiller, it’s a reality baby. Stiller is no stranger to the director’s chair. We’ve seen him step behind the camera before for films like the highly underrated The Cable Guy, and the much lauded Tropic Thunder, And now it looks like his next directorial gig will be for a film that we’ve already heard he was looking to star in, Fox’s long in development “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” adaptation.

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There is a new script for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty floating around Hollywood, and Ben Stiller wants to make it his next film. Or maybe that’s just a heroic daydream. A lot of people have been trying to get an adaptation of the James Thurber short story made in recent years, but mostly it’s just been tossed back and forth through development hell. Most of the biggest stars in Hollywood have had looks at this role, including Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, and Will Ferrell. Huge names in the directing world have also almost made this movie before. Steven Spielberg, Gore Verbinski, and Ron Howard have all given it a look. But this time is different. This time Walter Mitty has two big reasons why it’s more likely to actually get made than it did during all those other go-arounds. Firstly, the reason why nobody has been confident enough to really push this thing through before is reportedly that there were problems with the script. This time the script they’re looking at is completely different from all those other drafts. Steve Conrad, writer of The Weather Man and The Pursuit of Happyness, has reportedly started from scratch and written a treatment of the story that works a whole lot better than anything that’s been out there before. Secondly, while all of those other actors that have been involved with the project are big names, Ben Stiller is maybe the hardest working comedic actor in Hollywood. He produces things, he […]

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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