Saturday, November 28, 2009



Gabourey Sidibe: 16-year-old Claireece “Precious” Jones
Mo’Nique: her mother Mary
Paula Patton: Ms. Rain, teacher at Each One Teach One alternative school
Xosha Roquemore: Joann, one of Precious’ Jamaican classmates
Angelic Zambrana: another classmate Consuelo, one with musical aspirations
Mariah Carey: welfare case worker Mrs. Weiss

This story of an ghetto teenager with wild ambitions trying to overcome enormous odds is riveting stuff. The acting is uniformly good but the Oscar-worthy performance by Mo’Nique, although not always easy to watch, is nothing short of amazing.

Mostly shot with a hand-held camera and often dimly lit, this technique captures the grim, desperate mood with expert realism. And speaking of realism: the use of the vernacular is well considered but might result in some of the dialogue not being well understood. However you will likely get the gist of it and so that should not be too much of a problem.

for sexual activity and pervasive language.

According to the opening intertitle these events took place in 1987. While touring a museum Precious sees posted on the wall the famous photo of the standoff in Tiananmen Square. That student protest did not come about until two years later in 1989.

I’ve taken the editorial prerogative to truncate the full title (“Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire”) as I think it serves no useful purpose to be told that the film is a work of fiction. To me, doing so undermines the fact so much of what we see in the film is all too real. People should be aware of that, not led to think for a moment that it’s all some make believe fairy tale. It is not.


Drama, romance

The Burren (Irish for “great rock”) is a region in northwest County Clare characterised by its distinctive karst topography, the result of the geological process over thousands of years of water dissolving the carbonate limestone bedrock.

Allan Hawco: Canadian geologist Michael McCarthy
Sarah Greene: barmaid Cathleen O'Connell
Macdara O'Fatharta: one of the locals who befriends Michael
Martha Burns: the Mother Superior
Sean Panting: Michael’s pal Wilfred

Right from the onset you know you’re in for a treat: along with the stunning views of the Irish west coast there is the ambient sound that so often gets lost amidst all the other elements of a movie.

And speaking of sound, the musical score is well done too and nicely complements this story of love set in the late ‘60’s, when traditional Irish values had yet to be supplanted by more modern ones.

I loved the pace at which things evolve, very much like real life instead of the all- pervasive hurry-up, frantic, “let’s get to it quick” style.

So if you expect to take in just one movie of this sort this year, make it this one. This film is definitely for the discerning viewer and their patience will be well rewarded with great performances in the telling of an absorbing story.

for some sexuality and violence.

Cathleen sets her teacup down on a small piece of paper. With each change in camera angle the teacup hops on or off the paper.

Friday, November 27, 2009



The inter-title informs us that Chinese immigrant workers make the long trek back home once a year to see their family. The film zeros in on Sugin Chen and her husband Yang Zhang who work in a sewing factory under appalling conditions. We then follow along as they return to their village during the Chinese New Year to see their 17-year-old daughter Qin and her younger brother. Some of the images during the long trip are just gorgeous.

One thing has to be said though: the film has the look of a “rough cut”, that stage in the post-production phase which is part of the editing process. The rough cut is not meant to be the perfectly assembled end product of the film, the final cut, which is distributed to theatres.

As such it is a good example of the pitfalls when any one person has more than two key production jobs. According to the end credits Lixin Fan is the Director, Cinematographer and one of the Editors. Consequently he has a lot to say about what gets to stay in the final cut or not. And in this case many times there are snippets that should have been edited out.

For example, Qin gets her hair done and comes out sporting long curls. In the very next shot her hair is once more straight. One or the other should go.
Another example: Yang is laying in bed suffering from a fever. Sugin goes off to work leaving him behind and when she gets there, who’s sitting in front of her? Why it’s Yang who somehow made a miraculous recovery from one shot to the next. One or the other should go.

However despite this shortcoming the story is compelling enough on its own to warrant taking the time to see it.



In French and Kurdish with English subtitles

Firat Ayverdi: Bilal, a 17-year-old Iraqi Kurd
Vincent Lindon: Simon Calmat, swimming instructor at the Calais municipal baths
Audrey Dana: his soon-to-be ex-wife Marion
Derya Ayverdi: Bilal’s girlfriend Mina
Mouafaq Rushdie: Mina’s father

Set amidst the gritty dockyards of Calais, the plight of illegal immigrants is clearly portrayed in this well-acted film.

for language and brief sexual activity.

• The distance from Bagdad to the French coast is about 2,500 miles, not 4,000 as mentioned by Bilal.
• According to Simon the water temperature off the beach at Calais is around 10°C. In fact it never gets that cold, varying instead between 14°C and 18°C.


Family comedy

John Travolta: Charlie Reed, one of the principals in a sports management firm
Robin Williams: his middle-aged business partner Dan Rayburn
Seth Green: their business associate Ralph White
Kelly Preston: Dan’s ex-wife Vicki
Ella Bleu Travolta: seven-year-old fraternal twin Emily
Conner Rayburn: and Zach
Matt Dillon: camp counsellor Barry
Bernie Mac: entertainer Jimmy Lunchbox

I’ve given it a lot of thought and tried to come up with something nice to say about this film, something that might justify putting out $10 or so and having to give up more than a hour of your time to watching it. I am stymied because this one is completely without any merit at all.

The producers have simply taken a lot of clichés used in comic violence including hits to the crotch (three times and counting), smacks to the body, falling, tripping, breaking things and the like. Add to that a lot of mugging for the camera, rude bodily sounds and silly inane dialogue. In a word, just about anything they hope will provoke a laugh from those who enjoy that sort of humour. I do not so I left before things got any worse.

for mild rude humor.

• While at the restaurant one of the kids knocks over Charlie’s soft drink. Seen from the kid’s perspective the empty glass remains on the table. But viewed over Dan’s shoulder the glass is sitting upright.
• Charlie tells someone their trip from NYC to Tokyo will take 18 hours. It does not: it is a little over 14 hours.
• Dan and Vicki got divorced before the kids were born so it is impossible that he was at an amusement park with them as seen on his laptop video.

Makes you wonder if the Casting Director is a real good friend of the family: according to her bio, Kelly Preston (who plays Vicki) married John Travolta (who plays Charlie) in 1991. Their daughter Ella Bleu plays Emily.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Animated drama

George Clooney: Mr. Fox
Meryl Streep: his wife Felicity, an artist
Jason Schwartzman: their son Ash
Eric Anderson: his cousin Kristofferson
Owen Wilson: Coach Skip
Bill Murray: Mr. Fox’s badger lawyer
Wally Wolodarsky: Mr. Fox’s faithful sidekick, Kylie the opossum
Robin Hurlstone: chicken farmer Walter Boggis (and Jacques Parizeau look- alike)
Hugh Guinness: Nathan Bunce who raises ducks and geese
Michael Gambon: Franklin Bean, manufacturer of alcoholic hard cider
Willem Dafoe: Rat, the security boss

The title says it all: it is a fantastic movie with all the right elements. The smart, funny, grown-up script seems to have been written more with adults and older kids in mind than for children. The voice work is superlative with just the right nuance and phrasing.

The inter-titles (aka title cards) which are a throwback to the era of silent movies are a clever touch, reminiscent as I recall of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? In any event like that film this one is full of witty dialogue that often provokes smiles and sometimes outright laughter. And like Sundance there are exciting action sequences to keep things moving along at a good clip.

The soundtrack is a delight as are the close-up expressions. This is a fun outing.

for action, smoking and slang humor.

The writers have gone to great length making sure there are no naughty words and keeping it family-friendly by employing the more socially acceptable “what the cuss” instead of the usual “what the @*!#”. How refreshing.

Like other members of the Canidae biological family (that also includes wolves, jackals, coyotes and the domestic dog) the offspring of foxes are called pups.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


War drama
Original title: L’Armée du crime

In June 1940 German forces outflanked the Maginot Line and with their Italian allies overcame the French forces offering little resistance. On June 25 an armistice was signed between France and Germany. The terms of the agreement divided France into occupied and unoccupied zones, with a rigid line of demarcation between them. The Germans would directly control three-fifths of the country, an area that included northern and western France and the entire Atlantic coast. The remaining section of the country would be administered by the French government at Vichy under Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain.

Other provisions of the armistice included the surrender to the Germans of all Jews living in France. The French Army was to be disbanded except for a force of 100,000 men to maintain domestic order. The 1.5 million French soldiers captured by the Germans were to remain prisoners of war. The French government also agreed to stop members of its armed forces from leaving the country and instructed its citizens not to fight against the Germans.

Virginie Ledoyen: Mélinée
Simon Abkarian: Missak Manouchian her husband and leader of the group
Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet: the team’s explosives expert Thomas Elek
Ariane Ascaride: Tomas’ mother Madame Elek
Robinson Stévenin: another member of the group Marcel Rayman
Léoplod Szabatura: his younger 14-year-old brother Simon
Lola Naymark: Monique Stern, the sole female in the group
Yann Trégouet: Nazi collaborator Commissaire David
Jean-Pierre Darroussin: another collaborator Inspecteur Pujol

This film about the Parisian-based branch of the French Resistance (the so-called Army of Resistance but not by the Nazis and their collaborators) never really gets going.

Each new recruit gets to tell “their story” seeming compelled for some obscure reason having to justify their becoming a member of the gang. This lack of focus, devoting so much time exploring the motives of the twenty-one in the group serves no useful purpose except to make the story convoluted, confusing and overlong at 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Instead of action, we get flashbacks and a lot of words with surprising little tension despite what they are up to.

for brief nudity and one particularly gruesome torture scene.

Prior to the repercussions following the July 20 attempt at Hitler’s life, a Nazi army officer saluted with the right hand palm facing forwards and the fingers almost touching the eye. When his subordinate approaches the commandant he mistakenly gives him the naval salute, with palm of the hand facing downward.

Yid is a derogatory slang word for a Jew.

Although generally regarded as war heroes fighting a losing battle, most of the population just wanted to survive the war and disliked the résistants, who provoked dangerous and deadly German retaliation.



As Director of the Tokyo Holocaust Education and Resource Centre, Fumiko Ishioka wanted to have some artefacts on display. So she contacted the Auschwitz Museum and they lent her a number of items including the suitcase of one of the millions of Jewish children who died in concentration camps during World War II.

This prompted Ishioka to find out more about the owner. This film documents her research with recreations, interviews and family photos without dwelling on the Holocaust itself. Perhaps most poignant of all are the comments from the schoolchildren who tell us what they've learned about Hana and the contents of her suitcase.

for some disturbing images.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Based on a true story

Ray McKinnon: Coach Cotton
Quentin Aaron: 17-year-old Michael “Big Mike” Oher
Kim Dickens: science teacher Mrs. Boswell
Jae Head: Big Mike’s friend S.J. Tuohy
Sandra Bullock: S.J.’s mother Leigh Anne
Tim McGraw: her husband Sean, Taco Bell franchise owner
Lily Collins: their daughter Collins
Kathy Bates: private tutor Miss Sue
Adriane Lenox: Michael’s mother

An African-American from the projects being taken in by a well-to-do white family is unusual in itself. What is not unusual is Hollywood’s treatment of the story which poses some credibility issues. But leaving that aside, the film has a lot going for it: quite a few humorous incidents (of the laugh-out-loud type too), some fine acting, a great soundtrack and emotional moments that are not too maudlin which would spoil the effect.

Non-sport fans will be pleased that there is not too much time devoted to the game of football. However there is a tad too much time in the last reel devoted to Michael and Leigh Ann talking seriously about things. A bit of editing would fix that up nicely and keep the running time to less than 2 hours.

for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references.

• While reviewing Big Mike’s school grades the teacher on the left hand side of the table has her hands on her lap and a closed pink folder in front of her. When the camera angle shifts the folder has opened itself and we can see the papers inside.
• A percentile by definition is “the value of a variable below which a certain percent of observations fall.” For example the 20th percentile is the value (or score) below which 20% of the observations are found. While discussing Big Mike’s intelligence quotient one of the teachers says his I.Q. “falls in the 6% percentile”. There is no such thing as a percent of a percentile.
• Big Mike chooses a desk in the middle row of the classroom and sits down. At the end of the test he has magically relocated to the adjacent row of desks (which makes for a much better camera angle when he leaves).
• While dining in an upscale restaurant one of Leigh Ann’s lunch friends points with her knife to emphasize what she is saying. Cultured ladies would never make such a faux-pas. With their upbringing they would know that proper table etiquette states that “the knife is never pointed at anyone.”
• The rear view mirror is missing in the truck Big Mike and S.J. are riding in which is a clear violation of the state’s motor-vehicle laws.
• When Sean and Leigh Ann greet the university coach in the foyer, she demurely pulls her long sweater together leaving only a small gap in front. The camera angle shifts to see her in profile and the sweater is back where it started before she pulled it over herself.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA or sometimes referred to as the NC double A) is a voluntary association of about 1,300 organizations that oversees the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. Member schools pledge to follow the rules promulgated by the NCAA which prohibits underhanded methods to get an athlete to join their varsity team.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Animated story

One of the many forms of stop-motion animation is clay animation. Each object is sculpted in clay or a similarly pliable material such as Plasticine, usually around a wire skeleton called an armature. For feature-length productions the use of clay has generally been supplanted by rubber silicone and resin-cast components. Regardless of the medium used, the object is arranged on the set, a film frame is exposed, the object is moved slightly by hand then another frame is taken. This cycle is repeated until the animator has achieved the desired amount of film. It is an extremely laborious process.
Normal film runs at 24 frames per second. With the standard practice of double-framing (exposing 2 frames for each shot), there are 12 changes made for one second of film movement. For a full-length 90-minute movie, there would be approximately 64,800 stops to change the figures for the frames. Great care must be taken to ensure that the object is not altered by accident, by even slight smudges, dirt, hair, or even dust. This technique is not for everyone.

Bethany Whitmore: Mary Daisy Dinkle, 8-year-old Australian girl
Renée Geyer: her mother Vera
Philip Seymour Hoffman: 44-year-old New Yorker Max Jerry Horowitz
Eric Bana: Mary's Greek neighbour Damion
Toni Collette: Mary as an adult
Narration by Barry Humphries

A simple well told tale of two lonely people reaching out to find understanding from someone. With time given to each, the characters are fleshed out well enough that you can really get to know them. The story spans twenty years and is a mix of the serious with many laugh-out-loud moments. The voice work is terrific, the expressions and images well done and I just loved the soundtrack.

One more thing: although an animated film it’s target audience is not children because it deals with subjects they would have no interest in nor would they get a lot of the humour. And there would be the problem of having to explain certain things like the manner of dog procreation which appears on screen several times. This and the frequent potty-type humour may not appeal to everyone: for that reason it loses a star.


Mary flips through the telephone book and spots the name M J A Horowitz. So when she addresses the envelope she would have no way of knowing his first name is Max.

There's something special about stop-motion animation with its slightly jerky, less-than-perfect motion that cannot be matched by the more sophisticated, technically superior CGI method.

I read somewhere that often they managed to shoot just four seconds in a day which is the main reason it took them over a year to film it.



Ewan McGregor: newspaper reporter Bob Wilton
Stephen Root: psychic Gus Lacey
George Clooney: ex-Special Ops officer Lyn Cassady
Jeff Bridges: Vietnam veteran Bill Django
Kevin Spacey: new recruit Larry Hooper
Stephen Lang: Gen. Dean Hopgood

When a film is promoted as a comedy it should be funny no? Well this one isn’t. The odd smirk maybe, perhaps a couple of amusing moments but nothing of the laugh-out-loud variety of humour. Given that the cast are mostly A-List actors and the title gives every indication that this is a bit of an oddball movie, well expectations are high.
Making use of flashbacks we learn of a program designed to develop the psychic powers of select recruits who will form a military unit of “mind warriors”. This potentially could lead to some wild and crazy stuff but it never does. Everyone is trying real hard to be funny, but it all falls flat. The story ambles along from one episode to another but these are of little interest and go nowhere. Maybe at some point you begin to wonder “why am I spending so much time sitting through this?”. I did.

for language, some drug content and brief nudity.

• The stripes, bars or stars worn on the shoulders of a military uniform denote the person's rank and are called "insignia." The insignia for a Brigadier General is one star but Hopgood, who we’re told is a Brigadier General, has incorrectly been given two stars.
• In 2003 desktop computers did not come with flat-panel LCD monitors as shown in the war room.
• Finding an oasis both Bob and Lyn drink lustily from their cupped hands. When they look up to see what the noise is, both their faces are completely dry.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


aka The Boat That Rocked

Pirate radio is illegal or unregulated radio transmission. Fitting the most common perception of a pirate, often these radio stations are set up on sea vessels anchored in international waters. In some cases the stations are deemed legal where the signal is transmitted, but illegal where the signals are received—especially when the signals cross a national boundary.

In other cases, a broadcast may be considered "pirate" due to the nature of its content, or failing to transmit the station identification according to regulations, or the transmit power exceeds standards set down by some regulatory body.

Tom Sturridge: “Young” Carl
Bill Nighy: his godfather Captain Quentin, the station manager
Philip Seymour Hoffman: the station’s lead DJ, an American known as “The Count”
Rhys Ifans: star DJ, bad-boy Gavin
Nick Frost: another on-air personality "Doctor Dave"
Chris O'Dowd: Simon, the moring guy
Rhys Darby: scruffy recluse Angus
Tom Wisdom: DJ "Midnight" Mark
Ralph Brown: Bob "the Dawn Treader"
Tom Brooke: Carl’s roommate "Thick" Kevin
Katherine Parkinson: the ship’s cook Felicity
Talulah Riley: Quentin’s daughter Marianne
Kenneth Branagh: British Government Minister Sir Alistair Dormandy
Jack Davenport: his assistant Twatt
Emma Thompson: Carl's mom Charlotte

It’s not hard to imagine life aboard ship would be very much as depicted: sex, drugs and rock-and-roll. Lots of rock-and-roll. In just about every scene a classic rock song is played or at least a snippet of one.

The comedy for the most part does not “cross the line” although it comes mighty close a couple of times. Certainly a nice diversion although a tad too long at 2 hours.

for language and some sexual content, including brief nudity.

• When The Count threatens to say the f-word live on air despite Quentin’s objection, in some shots his left hand is holding the microphone while in others his hand is by his side.
• These events take place in 1966 but when Angus is first introduced he is wearing modern over-the-ear headphones that had not yet been invented.
• A call for help goes out giving the position in the North Sea as 53 degrees 17 minutes North, 2 degrees 15 minutes East. This is about 70 km from the nearest landfall, the seaside town of Cromer on the Lincolnshire coast. Gavin then pleads for anyone with a boat in Suffolk to come out to rescue them. Suffolk is twice as far away as Cromer.

For reasons I can’t figure out there are no Beatles songs despite the fact Beatlemania was at its peak at the time.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Disaster epic

Jimi Mistry: Indian geophysicist Dr. Satnam Tsurutani
Chiwetel Ejiofor: Dr. Adrian Helmsley, U.S. Chief Science Advisor
Oliver Platt: his boss Chief of Staff Carl Anheuser
Thandie Newton: Laura Wilson
John Cusack: Jackson Curtis, limo driver and published author of Farewell Atlantis
Amanda Peet: his ex-wife Kate
Liam James: their 13-year-old son Noah
Morgan Lily: their 8-year-old daughter Lilly
Tom McCarthy: Kate's plastic surgeon boyfriend Gordon
Woody Harrelson: doomsday radio host Charlie Frost
Danny Glover: Thomas Wilson, President of the United States of America
Zlatko Buric: Jackson's boss, Russian billionaire Yuri Karpov
Beatrice Rosen: Yuri’s girlfriend Tamara

This is one big-budget no-holds-barred disaster movie. In keeping with this genre of movie many of the world’s best known icons get destroyed and people come perilously close to dying. It’s all good fun: I quite enjoyed it secure in the comfy chair of the movie theatre.

The CGI special effects are nothing short of amazing although they do run on a bit too long. At 2 hours and 20 minutes it needs some editing: hardly anyone has that much free time to spend watching anything, even such an important event at the end of the world as we know it.

for intense disaster sequences, some strong language and apocalyptic violence.

• Charlie has a beer in his hand: it rotates showing different parts of the label from one shot to the next.
• After a lengthy speech the time remaining on the count down clock is shown as 3:15. Several minutes later one of the crew says something to the effect “there is not much time left, we must hurry” and behind him the clock has rewound itself to 3:58.
• The aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) is seen being tossed in a tidal wave. After nearly 40 years of service in the United States Navy, Kennedy was officially decommissioned on 1 August 2007 and is no longer seaworthy.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Original title: Coco Avant Chanel
In French with English subtitles

Audrey Tautou: Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
Marie Gillain: her younger sister Adrienne
Benoît Poelvoorde: rich playboy Étienne Balsan
and others no doubt

To sum up in one word or less it is one boring film. This dragged out biography of the woman who changed the world of fashion will test your patience since things evolve at a snail’s pace. There are too many words and not enough action.

Although it looks good with lovely costumes and grand sweeping exterior shots that is not enough to hold your interest for very long. I left after 45 minutes.

for sexual content and images of smoking.


Sometimes in Arabic with English subtitles

The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is a United States congressionally-mandated lottery for obtaining a United States Permanent Resident Card. It is also known as the Green Card Lottery. The lottery is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State to provide for a new class of immigrants known as "diversity immigrants". The Act makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

Nisreen Faour: Muna, a single mother
Melkar Muallem: her 16-year-old son Fadi
Hiam Abbass: Muna’s older sister Raghda
Yussef Abu-Warda: her physician husband
Joseph Ziegler: Mr. Novatski, School Principal
Alia Shawkat: Fadi’s cousin Salma
Selena Haddad: Fadi’s younger cousin Lamis
Jenna Kawar: her older sister Rana

Life for Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is difficult so given the opportunity to improve their lot, relocating to America seems like a good option. However there are problems of a different sort for any new immigrant as this small-budget film brings to mind. Some of which are humorous, but others much more serious.

With some fine acting and crisp editing this is an enjoyable outing.

for brief drug use and some language.

Amreeka is the Arabic word for America.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Musical performance

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009), known as the “King of Pop”, was an American musician and one of the most commercially successful and influential entertainers of all time. His unique contributions to music and dance, along with a highly publicized personal life, made him a prominent figure in popular culture for over four decades.
Alongside his brothers, he made his debut in 1964 as lead singer and youngest member of The Jackson 5 and began a successful solo career in 1971. His 1982 album Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time. He is widely credited with having transformed the music video from a promotional tool into an art form with his songs such as “Billie Jean” and “Beat It”.
In his stage performances and music videos Jackson popularized a number of physically complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk.

Accused of child molestation, rumoured to have paid $20 million to the family of a 13-year-old boy, his career was in ruins. Michael Jackson stopped performing, made no more albums, was no longer a part of the contemporary music scene.

Following a sensational trail that acquitted him of all charges, he decided on making a come back and told the world about his forthcoming concert tour. “This Is it”, he said, “This is the final curtain call." How prophetic.

The show’s producers had in mind to release a DVD of the actual concert along with behind-the-scenes footage of backstage planning sessions and some rehearsals. Unfortunately for the massive following of his loyal fans that is all there is.

Although not intended to be, the film is a wonderful tribute to a man who changed the popular music scene as we know it today, who inspired numerous other artists while also breaking down cultural, racial and generational barriers, who astounded everyone with his innovative choreography and dancing ability even more so than his singing. Is there anyone who has not tried to moon-walk at least once?

The seamless mixing of different rehearsals of the same song is nothing short of amazing. At times dressed in casual street clothes, sometimes in full dress rehearsal these shots are melded together as one continuous performance without missing a beat. Someone spent a lot of time making this happen.

for some suggestive choreography and scary horror film images.


Amimated story

Jim Carrey: Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts
Gary Oldman: Bob Cratchit, Jacob Marley and Tiny Tim
Colin Firth: Scrooge’s nephew Fred

Sometimes they should leave well enough alone. Anyone who has read the book or seen the 1951 movie Scrooge played by Alastair Sim will probably be disappointed with the latest incarnation of this classic tale by Charles Dickens.

Not because Disney strays from the basic premise of the story (which they don’t) but because it is difficult to relate to animated characters that for the most part look as though they are made of plastic. Although Ebenezer Scrooge shows a range of emotions and comes close to the real thing, the others do not.

The use of the latest computer generated animation (including 3D in some theatres) has resulted in some really amazing scenes and Carrey’s versatility is nothing short of amazing. But that is not enough to evoke any real emotional involvement which is the whole point of the exercise. And the transformation Scrooge goes through lacks that eureka moment, overshadowed by all the whiz-bang technology.

for scary sequences and images.

I was concerned that the little ones might be frightened by some of the scenes (particularly the ghost of Christmas Past) but as we exited the theatre I overheard one 4-year-old say “it wasn’t real scary…I didn’t even close my eyes once”.