Simultaneous New York and Los Angeles press screenings for Ben Stiller‘s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (20th Century Fox, 12.25) are happening this morning. Reviews will be fair game when the film shows at the New York Film Festival a short time hence. My Fox lot screening will begin exactly 59 minutes from now and I haven’t yet showered. The obviously intelligent, smoothly intriguing trailer suggests that Stiller’s film has resonance and finesse way beyond the level of the 1947 Danny Kaye version. Costars include Kristen Wiig, Paton Oswalt, Adam Scott, Sean Penn and Shirley MacLaine.
A healthy percentage of HE regulars surely caught Alfonso Cuaron‘s Gravity last night, so what’s the verdict? My basic Telluride response was that Gravity is technically dazzling and audacious as hell and absolutely unmissable for that, but (a) it lacks the meditative depth and resonance of J.C. Chandor‘s All Is Lost, which is roughly the same film (a solo traveller struggles to survive when catastrophe strikes) on a smaller scale and (b) that Robert Redford‘s stoic performance is much more satisfying than Sandra Bullock‘s, which struck me as too on-the-nose emotional. Here again is my Telluride review:
Gravity “is the most visually sophisticated, super-immersive weightless thrill-ride flick I’ve ever seen. If Stanley Kubrick were around he would freely admit that 2001: A Space Odyssey is no longer the ultimate, adult-angled, real-tech depiction of what it looks and feels like to orbit the earth. Nifty and super-cool from a pure-eyeball perspective, Gravity is certainly the most essential theatrical experience since Avatar. You can’t watch a top-dollar 3D super-flick of this type on anything other than a monster-sized IMAX screen.
How could any serious film lover not prefer to see Alfonso Cuaron‘s Gravity in IMAX 3D? The bloom is off 3D these days, of course, but if any film has been tailor-made for this format it’s this one. And yet less than 10% of viewers even have this option, give or take. Of the 3,575 screens that Gravity opened on yesterday, a mere 323 are IMAX. (425 screens are showing it in 2D.) I myself haven’t seen an IMAX-3D presentation — my Telluride viewing early last month was in straight 3D. So I intend to catch an IMAX 3-D showing at Universal Citywalk around 8 pm this evening. I wonder how many of the 323 are genuine vs. ersatz IMAX? Probably a small percentage. (The AMC Century City plex is definitely offering “fake” IMAX.)
Gravity “is a brilliant, visionary and groundbreaking film, and a great gift to exhibitors because it makes the theatrical experience an absolutely necessary component,” I wrote on 9.11.13. Deadline‘s Nikki Finke is projecting $48 million for the The Warner Bros. release by Sunday night.