Director Ang Lee has a surprising affinity for the Indian hero of Life of Pi — that's his name, Pi, and he's seen at several ages but principally as a 17-year-old boy adrift on a lifeboat in the South Pacific. He's the lone survivor of a shipwreck that killed the crew, his family and a variety of zoo animals his father was transporting to North America for sale.
Actually, Pi is the lone human survivor. He shares his boat and its dwindling food supplies with a man-eating Bengal tiger.
Jacques Audiard's Rust and Bone is an unapologetic melodrama rendered in what you might call semi-stylized neo-expressionistic realism, and it works like gangbusters. The picture takes some turns you don't expect, and some you do. But the ultimate effect is that of a filmmaker striving not to make a work of art, or a subtle drama that will win big festival prizes, or an afternoon's worth of cinema for sophisticated people. He just wants to send you home with a story and with the memory of his characters' faces. In other words, he wants to give you the world.
A change of pace for PBS long-form documentarian Ken Burns, The Central Park Five revisits New York City's recent past to tell the story of a pack of ruthless predators.
Two packs, actually: Gotham's prosecutors and police officers, and its reporters and columnists. Both groups went feral in 1989 against five innocent Harlem teenagers accused and then convicted in a rape and assault.
William Joyce's illustrated books for children are marvels of wit and wonder, rendered in softly shaded colors with an art-deco flair. In books like A Day with Wilbur Robinson and Santa Calls, winsome dinosaurs wear miniature fezzes on their tiny heads; a roly-poly Santa, complete with monocle (the better to read the names of good little boys and girls), looks as if he's just stepped off a '30s Christmas card; and modes of transport include Buck Rogers-style spaceships and locomotives of the sort Superman could stop with his bare hands.