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Jan Wahl Movie Review: 'Life of Pi,' 'Hitchcock' & 'Chasing Ice'

"Life of Pi"
Pi Patel and a fierce Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker (credit: Rhythm & Hues/20th Century Fox)

(KCBS) – KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl reviews three films this week. The first, Jan explores Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" starring Suraj Sharma and Gerard Depardieu. Next Jan reviews 'Hitchcock' starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette and Jessica Biel. Finally, the documentary "Chasing Ice" about award-winning National Geographic photographer, James Balog.

KCBS Entertainment Reporter Jan Wahl:


A family moves its zoo halfway around the world. On the journey, a teen is stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger. Sounds impossible to film, but turns out to be a remarkable, touching movie.

Director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) took the best-selling novel and made it a painstakingly authentic odyssey, pushing the boundaries of 3-D technology, visual effects and cinematic storytelling.

Life of Pi: Theatrical Trailer by thelifeofpimovie on YouTube

Suraj Sharma is Pi, grounding this remarkable saga with humanity. It's a surprise and one to see on the big screen.

Four hats.



(L-R) Toni Collette, Anthony Hopkins & Helen Mirren (credit: Fox Searchlight)


Partly based on Stephen Rebello's "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho," director Sasha Gervasi wanted to make sure the story gave credit and importance to Hitchcock's wife and collaborator, Alma. Anyone who has studied the cinematic genius of Hitchcock knows Alma Reville Hitchcock had an instinct for the right thing, experience to help him technically and a desire to stay out of the limelight.

HITCHCOCK Featurette: The Story by SearchlightPictures on YouTube

Anthony Hopkins does a credible job as Hitchcock, less cruel but just as obsessed as Toby Jones in the recent HBO movie about the making of The Birds. Helen Mirren plays it strong and smart as Alma, but those of us who have studied that real woman will have trouble buying into her romance. Scarlett Johansson as smoothly credible as Janet Leigh, as is the rest of the cast.

I love back stories about show business, and this is one to see.

Three hats.



Chasing Ice OFFICIAL TRAILER by Exposure Labs on YouTube


This documentary sets out to illuminate the story of our planet's changing glaciers. Scientist James Balog is the Director of the Extreme Ice Survey. In 2005, he takes a team to various locations to capture images of the ice. By capturing these images, he hopes to tell everyone the story of our changing climate.

Three hats.



See Right Now: Argo, The Sessions, Lincoln, A Late Quartet, Silver Linings Playbook, Anna Karenina.

Home Viewing/DVD: Bernie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Candidates, Brave.

You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl's movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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