New York Film Fest: ‘the Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’ Splits Critics, Charms Festivalgoers (analysis)

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Last season, the lack of pass rush was New York’s defensive Achilles’ heel. The Giants couldn’t get any pressure on the passer, and the lack of 3rd-and-short situations New York was able to force was often too blame. Surely, it couldn’t be on the New York pass-rushers; they’d always been the franchise’s pride and joy, whether it was Michael Strahan, Lawrence Taylor or Andy Robustelli leading the charge. With a revamped interior line, featuring the new faces of Cullen Jenkins, Shaun Rogers, Mike Patterson and second-round draft pick Johnathan Hankins, we were promised that a lack of sacks wouldn’t be a result of poor run defense on early downs. So, then, what’s wrong? It’s time to point the finger at the rushers themselves. Justin Tuck promised a bounce-back season yet again in 2013, but so far he only has a half-sack to show for it. Everyone expected Jason Pierre-Paul to have a strong showing after his letdown of a season last year, but he and Mathias Kiwanukawho hasn’t done much in his return to the linehave nabbed just one sack each. Damontre Moore, a third-round pick who garnered the most preseason hype of any Giants rookie, has only contributed on a limited basis. On the other side of the ball, New York’s offensive line has been just as pitiful. The Giants have started four different offensive line configurations in five showings, as nearly all hope for consistency along New York’s offensive front has vanished.

our editor recommends NYFF REVIEW: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty On Saturday morning, the film’s first press screening generated sharply divided reactions, but the prevailing reaction at its official world premiere Saturday night, as the fest’s centerpiece screening, was much more positive: It received a lengthy standing ovation. Stiller introduced the film at its premiere by saying, tongue-in-cheek, “I want to thank the Film Society of Lincoln Center for having the courage to include a Ben Stiller film in the festival.” Noting that he grew up just 20 blocks from Alice Tully Hall, where the screening took place, he added thatWalter Mitty was a “valentine” to New York, having been shot all across the city. The dramedywas loosely adapted bySteve Conradfrom a 1939 James ThurberNew Yorker short story, which itself was made into a musical-comedy motion picture starring Danny Kaye in 1947. The new film takes place in the present day. It stars Stiller as the title character, a good-hearted but sad-sack loner who has known sadness, sacrificed for others and worked all but invisibly for 16 years in the photo processing department at waning Life magazine. A perpetual daydreamer prone to awkwardness, he develops a crush on a co-worker (Kristen Wiig), but before he can muster the courage to do anything about it he loses a photo from a famous photographer (Sean Penn), prompting his new boss (a heavily bearded Adam Scott) to tell him that he will lose his job if he doesn’t find it. In order to track it down, Walter Mitty must finally go out and experience the world. PHOTOS: New York Film Festival 2013: 13 Movies to Know This sort of a story is not new. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) is about a man who gave up so much for others that he never had time for himself. The Wizard of Oz (1939) is about a girl who ventures far from home and eventually concludes that there’s no place like it. And Stranger Than Fiction (2006), a film that possesses a tone perhaps most similar to Mitty’s, is about a man whose bland life becomes dangerous and exciting because of the presence of unusual activity in his mind. Films of this sort are generally categorized as “fantasy,” which is not the Academy’s favorite genre, and this year’s awards season is tremendously competitive, so I cannot say with any degree of confidence that this film will be nominated for any major Oscars.

W2W4: New York Jets at Atlanta Falcons

[+] Enlarge Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Coach Rex Ryan usually thrives off of his New York Jets being the underdog, of which they are for Monday night’s game at Atlanta. Ah, but life isn’t peachy in the peach state. The Falcons are trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2007, before Ryan and coach Mike Smith arrived. They’ve already lost as many games as they did last season, and they realize a loss to the Jets could cripple their Super Bowl dreams. In other words, the Falcons are desperate, and desperate teams with talent are dangerous. They’re going into their bye week, and no team wants to sit on a three-game losing streak for two weeks. What to watch for: 1. House money: There’s no pressure on the Jets; it’s all on the Falcons, who know there’s only a five percent chance of a 1-4 team making the playoffs. No one is giving Rex Ryan’s team much of a chance, but he’s at his best as the heavy underdog. He spent the week talking up the Falcons’ offense and Ryan, saying he’s a notch below Peyton Manning and Tom Brady , but it’s hard to believe he actually believes that. 2. QBs on the hot seat: Geno Smith needs to steady himself — and the team — after an awful performance in Tennessee. Unfortunately for him, he’s not at MetLife Stadium. In two road losses, he has only one touchdown pass and seven turnovers, unraveling in both cases after his first turnover.