Movie Diary 12/3/2013

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller, 2013). Resurrecting James Thurber’s famous character, in the person of a guy in the photo department of Life magazine. A curious movie in many ways, but not necessarily in the ways you’d think. Mitty’s daydreams actually seem under-represented, although a send-up of Benjamin Button is most welcome. (full review 12/25)

Out of the Furnace (Scott Cooper, 2013). Atmospheric views of small-town Pennsylvania notwithstanding, this one is mostly an actors’ workout – which is beginning to look like the way Scott Cooper sees movies (he did Crazy Heart with Jeff Bridges). Some well-equipped actors here, to be sure. (full review 12/6)

The Haunting (Robert Wise, 1963). It tones down what’s best about the novel, although it’s hard to imagine a better lead than Julie Harris. Stray thought: Is this movie Wise’s exorcism of bad ghosts from The Magnificent Ambersons? Certain interior scenes and specific compositions are strangely like that Wise-edited film.

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