The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

What separates the people we are from the people we wish we were? Is it courage? Money? Charisma? Imagination? The Secret Life of Walter Mitty poses that eternal question, and then glosses over it entirely so it can go live out its wildest fantasies.

[Ed: Of course, not everyone feels that way -- Peter's very different response can be found in spoiler-free video form at the end of this post.]

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All Is Lost / Walter Mitty

Along with dropping temperatures and changing leaves, one hallmark of the summer-to-fall transition is the gradual replacement of action-movie tentpoles with awards season hopefuls at the multiplex. With Labor Day weekend just around the corner, the first posters have dropped for two Oscar contenders coming to theaters in the cooler months.

The first poster, for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, features director/star Ben Stiller literally walking on air, while the one for J.C. Chandor‘s survival drama All Is Lost drags Robert Redford down into the water. Check them out after the jump.

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‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ Trailer

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller‘s efforts as a director have been fairly well received for the most part. The zeitgeisty Reality Bites is still fondly remembered today, and The Cable Guy, Zoolander, and Tropic Thunder were each among the comedic highlights of their respective years. But his latest, the dramedy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, may be the first time we’ve heard the O-word tossed around about him.

Our own Peter Sciretta was one of those buzzing about the film’s awards potential after catching 15-20 minutes of it at CinemaCon. While he admitted that it was really too early to talk Oscar, his description — “a mixture of the loneliness of Eternal Sunshine, the hopeful comedy of (500) Days of Summer, and the epic bigger-than-life moments of Forrest Gump” — sounds very promising indeed. Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"

Last year at CinemaCon, 20th Century Fox previewed very early footage for Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. Attendees at the presentation were floored, and the buzz on all the blogs was that Pi was an Oscar contender. Some argued that April was too early to be calling for possible Oscar contenders, and they were probably right. We all know how that turned out.

This year Fox arrived in Vegas bearing another special preview: between fifteen and twenty minutes of the Ben Stiller-directed The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. (Stiller also stars.) Again, it’s April, it’s too early to make such claims, but the Oscar buzz has begun.

After the jump you can read my thoughts on the footage screened from Mitty, or watch a video blog I recorded with Alex from Firstshowing talking about presentations of footage from The Wolverine, Epic, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Walking With Dinosaurs: The Movie.
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secret-life-of-walter-mitty

It’s been 66 years since the original The Secret Life of Walter Mitty came out, and a remake of it has been in development for about a quarter of that time. But after bouncing between various studios, directors, and leads, the project finally got a big push a couple of years back when Ben Stiller signed on to both star and direct for 20th Century Fox.

Stiller plays a Life Magazine photo editor who frequently slips into daydream, to the ridicule of his peers. The first set photos revealed last year showed Stiller aged into an old man via the magic of special effects, but in the first official still he’s much closer to his own age — if not, perhaps, in his own world. Check it out after the jump.

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The past year has been a notable one for films that age characters with makeup and a little bit of digital work. There was a last-minute change to the aging done to the key characters in the final Harry Potter film, when all involved realized that the first version wasn’t up to snuff. Then there was a lot of conversation about the work done to age Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer in J. Edgar.

Finally, in the past couple weeks, one of the big shots taken at Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is the makeup used to age one character. You probably know who by now, but I won’t name names just in case there’s still someone who remains unspoiled on all things Prometheus.

And now, here comes someone to show everybody how its really done. And that someone is… Ben Stiller? The multi-hyphenate is in the midst of shooting his remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, in which he plays a LIFE Magazine photo editor who dreams his way out of his own small life. Read More »

A bevy of major release date announcments and shifts were just revealed. Here goes.

  • The Rise of the Planet of the Apes sequel is now called Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and has been dated May 23, 2014.
  • A 3D re-release of Independence Day will hit July 3, 2013.
  • The untitled sequel to X-Men First Class will hit on July 18, 2014 with Matthew Vaughn directing.
  • Steven Spielberg‘s Robopocalypse has been pushed from 2013 to April 25, 2014
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, directed by and starring Ben Stiller, has been dated for Christmas 2013 along with Walking With Dinosaurs.
  • Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters hits August 16, 2013
  • Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy‘s untitled Paul Feig-directed comedy lands April 5, 2013.

Lots to digest here. We’ve got it after the jump. Read More »

It’s not that Sean Penn never takes roles in lightweight films, but his serious performances can be so commanding — to the point of overbearing, even — that his lighter work is easy to overlook. We once thought he would be among the new Three Stooges, and that didn’t happen. And, the lead in Milk aside (not a light film, but a radiant performance) it’s easy to overlook Penn’s roles in films like What Just Happened and This Must Be the Place.

Now Penn has a new comic role, and one that will probably generate more talk, as he’s in talks to play a supporting role in Ben Stiller‘s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Read More »

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