Last-minute catch-up before we run out of 2012 and start a new topic (this one has been running for two years!). If any of you missed Life of Pi, you missed a visual treat that needs a big screen to be at its most effective. I have never before seen computer-generated images so completely believable. Almost all the animals in the movie were computer images. There's one scene in which a terrified zebra jumps down from the sinking ship into the lifeboat and lands in a way that surely would have broken his leg if he'd been real. But he wasn't. And a scene where the tiger attacks the hyena and breaks his neck -- he didn't. CGI did. PeTA actually endorsed this movie. The non-animal parts of the movie aren't always intriguing, but the movie did reinforce an opinion I've held for some years, that the Bengal tiger is the most beautiful animal on the planet.

By the way, did you know that "No animals were harmed..." is a copyrighted phrase? It belongs to the American Humane Society. So if you ever see that phrase in the credits, it means the AHS was there every step of the way while the movie was being made.

Tom Cruise's new thriller, Jack Reacher, is a pretty good one. It has a real plot, not just an excuse for action sequences. And it's different from other thrillers in one notable way: no sex scene. Amazing.

Jack Reacher was a substitute for Hitchcock, which a friend wanted to see in spite of its bad reviews. But we waited too long and missed it. Interestingly, last month HBO showed a cable movie called The Girl that focused on Hitchcock's tormenting of Tippi Hedren during the filming of The Birds (I think Hitchcock is set at the time of Psycho). Anyway, Toby Jones made a believable Hitchcock in the HBO movie in spite of his shortness (as he made a believable Truman Capote in Infamous, where being short helped). But the more difficult role was that of Hedren, because she didn't have imitatable mannerisms as Hitchcock did. I thought Sienna Miller did a good job. Her acting was on the wooden side, as Hedren's was. And she caught her voice perfectly; there were times I could have sworn that was Tippi Hedren speaking. The Girl had a low-budget look to it, but it was interesting.

And again I'm reminded of something. Way back when impersonators were the hot act, Spencer Tracy claimed no one ever did an impersonation of him. He had no quirks or mannerisms or vocal tricks that could be imitated, and so the impersonators passed him by. This gave Tracy enormous satisfaction.

Oops, a very long post; I'll stop now.