Last updated: April 16. 2014 2:28PM - 741 Views
Tom Doty Times Columnist

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A few gems hit the rental shelves this week, but beware of the stinkers that will be sitting right next to them with colorful packaging.

“Philomena” — This little seen comedy/drama deserves some attention. The story finds a jaded political reporter getting downsized and stooping to writing a human interest story. His subject is a woman with a touching story about giving up her child for adoption 50 years earlier. He helps her seek her grown offspring and winds up getting drawn into her tale. A true story that is well told and very well acted by Steve Coogan and Dame Judi Dench.

“Camp Dread” — Stalk-and-kill horror flicks get somewhat sent up in this effort that stars Eric Roberts and Danielle Harris. Roberts is a director with an 1980s horror franchise under his belt who is determined to jump start his career. He opts to take his formula series and turn it into a reality TV show, but a real killer doesn’t get the memo that it’s all in good fun.

“Secret Life of Walter Mitty” — James Thurber’s classic story gets a big-budget reboot here and sinks. Ben Stiller stars and directs the story about a quiet man with a very active fantasy life. When the woman he pines for appears in danger of losing her job, he sets out on a huge quest to help her. Sadly, this pretty much ignores the spirit of the original idea and turns into a big action opus. Mediocre, but nothing like Thurber’s story.

“The Nut Job” — Heist dramas get animated in this story about a squirrel who plans an elaborate pet store robbery. Turns out his pranks have cost his friends their winter nest egg, so Surly the Squirrel sets out on the titular adventure. Funny and goofy stuff that kids will love.

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