Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon director Ang Lee unveils a rainbow of computer effects to bring Yann Martel’s bestseller Life of Pi to the big screen in 3D. Mind you, given the nature of the plot, he could hardly have done it any other way — not without losing a few actors at any rate. A teenage boy, Pi (newcomer Suraj Sharma), is cast adrift in the Pacific after the cargo ship on which he is traveling sinks in a storm. His only companions aboard his tiny lifeboat are a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a Bengal tiger by the name of Richard Parker, with whom he develops a remarkable bond.
A new digital animation from Dreamworks, Rise of the Guardians, finds Jack Frost, Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and the Sandman teaming up to prevent an evil spirit called Pitch from taking over the world. Based on William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood books, it features the voices of Chris, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Jude Law.
Spanish thriller Invasor stars Alberto Ammann (Cell 211) as a military doctor who returns home to recover after surviving an attack while on an international mission in Iraq. Suspicious the authorities are withholding information about the attack, he puts himself and his wife and daughter in danger by refusing to back the official line. Daniel Calparsoro directs a first-rate Spanish cast that also includes Antonio de la Torre, Inma Cuesta and Karra Elejalde.
A capitalism-critiquing tale of boardroom backstabbing, the French-language Capital is the new movie from Greek-born filmmaker Costa-Gavras (Z). Gad Elmaleh stars as a ruthless exec who becomes the CEO of a major bank and runs afoul of the other directors.
Not only does the great Gérard Depardieu make an appearance in Life of Pi, but he also crops up again this week in Asterix & Obelix: On Her Majesty’s Service. Following after Christian Clavier and Clovis Cornillac, Edouard Baer takes over as Asterix, while Depardieu returns for the fourth time as the indomitable Gaul’s big-boned, bulbous-nosed, boar-munching sidekick, Obelix, a role he was surely born to play. Less obvious casting comes in the form of Catherine Deneuve as the Queen of England in a film based on the books Asterix in Britain and Asterix and the Normans.
Finally, Cruz del Sur, a Spain-Uruguay coproduction directed by David Sanz and Tony López, is the story of Juan, whose desperate move from Montevideo to Barcelona in search of work prompts a late adolescence that threatens his marriage.