Just in time for the Thanksgiving Weekend, “Life Of Pi” in 3D hits theaters. Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain”) directs this action adventure and CGI stunner about a 16-year-old Indian boy, Pi Patel (played by newcomer Suraj Sharma), who is trapped at sea on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. It’s a story of faith; a journey of a boy against nature. Surely an Oscar contender, this film is a magnificent cinematic display of advanced technology. It took 15 artists from India and the U.S. just to paint the 10 million hairs on the tiger’s body. Also starring are Irrfan Khan and Gérard Depardieu. The screenplay by David Magee (“Finding Neverland”) is based on the book by Yann Martel. Opens in New York City theaters Wednesday, November 21, 2012. Adventure, Drama. Rated PG. 127 minutes.
Dreamworks presents “Rise of the Guardians,” a 3D animated feature voiced by A-listers Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman and Jude Law. It’s a kid’s fantasy of a school day magically transformed into a snow day by Jack Frost. But, if you think this is just a sickeningly sweet movie, you don’t know Jack. He becomes the fearless guardian against arch enemies: Sandman, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. Opens in New York City theaters Wednesday, November 21, 2012. Animation, Adventure. Rated PG. 97 minutes.
On Friday, November 23, comes the much-anticipated and Oscar-buzzing “Hitchcock” starring Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock, Helen Mirren as Hitchcock’s wife Alma Reville, and va-va-voom Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh. There’s so much we never knew—that we didn’t know—about this master filmmaker. The film covers the tumultuous time when Hitchcock faced obstacles and seemingly unmovable roadblocks while trying to make his scariest and most iconic movie ever, “Psycho.” It is based on the Stephen Rebello book, “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho”. John J. McLaughlin (“Black Swan”) writes the fascinating screenplay about a thriller of a topic. Opens in New York City theaters Friday, November 23, 2012. Biography, Drama, Romance. Rated PG-13. 98 minutes.
Here’s one for the grown-ups: Award-winner “The Central Park Five” is directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon. It is the true story of a brutal beating and rape of a white female jogger in Central Park that took place in 1989. It was this case that spawned the term wilding, meaning a gang of youths attacking random victims during a violent rampage. Ed Koch, who was the New York City mayor at the time, labeled the horrific incident as the “crime of the century.” Five teens from Harlem were arrested and convicted. After they’d spent years in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime. The confession, combined with DNA evidence, proved the five had been wrongly convicted. This is a responsible documentary about a shocking and disturbing miscarriage of judgment based on racism and fueled by media frenzy. Opens in New York City theaters Friday, November 23, 2012 at the IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue at West 3rd Street. Documentary. Not rated. 119 minutes.
On Friday, November 30, action slash sci-fi slash horror-thriller aficionados will get a good fix with “Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.” It stars Jean-Claude Van Damme as the evil nemesis Luc Deveraux. John (Scott Adkins) comes out of a coma to learn that years earlier his wife and daughter were murdered in a vicious home invasion. English actor Adkins (The Bourne Ultimatum) and his ripply muscles are mesmerizing, though the plot not so much. Still it is fun to take in the cool, sweaty, bloody fight scenes. Dolph Lundgren shows up looking weather-beaten yet fierce as a genetically enhanced warrior to provide still more testosterone. Okay, so this isn’t a deep film—but if you enjoy violent tales of revenge, this fast-paced B-movie is for you. Teen boys will love it. Opens in New York City theaters Friday, November 23, 2012. Action, Sci-Fi. Rated R. 114 minutes.
Friday, November 30, “California Solo” opens at the Quad in Greenwich Village. Robert Carlyle, gives an ardent yet natural performance as the main character, Lachlan MacAldonich. The role was written for Carlyle by Marshall Lewy who also directs the film. Alexia Rasmussen plays Beau, Lachlan’s kinda-sorta love interest. Lachlan is living an aimless, solitary life in L.A. as an organic farmer. He’s haunted by his past in a famous U.K. rock and roll band. He’s kind to folks during his minimal daily interactions at the farmer’s market then goes home and drinks, and drinks, and drinks. Things get shaken up, and demons rise to the surface, when he is pulled over for a DUI and faces deportation back to Scotland. This award-winning Sundance Film Festival selection is melancholy and strangely captivating, though it’s more of a character study than a story. Opens in New York City on Friday, November 30, 2012 at the Quad Cinema, 34 West 13th Street. Drama. Not rated. 94 minutes.