So that darn “Twilight” movie made a bajillion dollars. Can we move on and pretend it never happened? Good.

This might seem early, but with Thanksgiving on Thursday, some new releases hit theaters on Wednesday. Let’s have a look.

“Life of Pi”

Ang Lee has directed six bona fide masterpieces and one huge disappointment. Here’s hoping this adaptation of the surreal Yann Martel novel falls in the former category and not the latter. Title character Pi Patel is the son of a zookeeper. After a shipwreck, Patel find himself adrift on a lifeboat with other survivors, none of which is human and one of which is a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. It’s an amazing book of survival and the relationships between man and animal. Lee, if he’s on top of his game, is the perfect director for the project.


Anthony Hopkins as director Alfred Hitchcock. Sold. What? Helen Mirren plays Hitchcock’s wife Alma Reville? Double good. Oh, yeah, Scarlett Johanssen, Jessica Biel, Toni Collette, and Ralph “Karate Kid” Macchio are in it, too. The movie is about the filming of Hitchcock’s masterpiece “Psycho” and shouldn’t be confused with the HBO movie “The Girl” which was about the making of “The Birds.” Sign up Hopkins and Mirren for Oscar nominations now.

“Rise of the Guardians”

What kind of family holiday doesn’t have an animated movie to go with it? For this one, Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Chris Pine, and Ilsa Fisher provide voices for the guardians of childhood (as represented by holiday characters) in a battle against Jude Law’s Nightmare King. Jackman, soon to reach a massive audience in “Les Miserables,” plays the Easter Bunny. No word yet on if Bunny has unbreakable metal claws.

T.J.’s Pick of the week: “Hitchcock.”

While there is a certain appeal in watching a butt-kicking bunny with the voice of Wolverine, the choice here is a no-brainer. I’ve been a Hitchcock fan since I was a kid and I think Hopkins will pull this off with just the right amount of humor and tension. And, well, Mirren might just be the sexiest almost 70-year-old woman alive. Ever. Throw in that supporting cast and the story and this should be gold.

For showtimes and tickets, head to the Yakima Theatres website.

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• Backstage Pass is a new blog on covering pop culture from Hollywood to your backyard. T.J. Tranchell, a freelance journalist and Herald-Republic customer service clerk, can be reached at You can visit his horror-themed blog at