Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

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Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

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Article excerpt

DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL Cert PG, 96 mins "IT'S as if Charles Dickens wrote this story to be a movie," says Robert Zemeckis, the writer-director of this splendidly mounted and visually imaginative animated 3D version of the classic novel. That's true enough -- but what we get from him is a thrill ride rather than the sentimental kick of the best versions.

This time Scrooge is voiced, a little peculiarly, by Jim Carrey who also does the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. Gary Oldman plays Bob Cratchit, Young Marley, Marley's Ghost and -- who would have thought it? -- Tiny Tim.

It is admirable in many ways but you get the feeling that someone didn't quite trust the story. Watch the opening few minutes, where Zemeckis and his team set the scene, and you can only wonder. Watch the last sequence, which ends the abruptly, and you may curse.

Still, in between, there are many wonders and a series of weathered and withered faces of which Dickens himself would have been proud.

WELCOME Cert 15, 110 mins PHILIPPE Loiret's film was shot in Calais, where illegal immigrants mass in a desperate effort to get to England. One of the them is Bilal (Firat Ayverdi), a young Kurd who is trying to reach London, where his girl is about to be married off by her father. After he gets caught on a lorry, he vows to swim the Channel, taking lessons from an instructor at the local baths. The instructor, himself going through a painful divorce, begins to sympathise with the young man and endangers himself to aid him.

Loiret's painting of the Calais scene looks devastatingly real. Ayverdi and Lindon play with a quiet skill that emphasises each man's predicament. The result is a sad tale which tries hard to tell the truth about a situation of which none of us should be proud.

JENNIFER'S BODY Cert 15, 102 mins "HELL is a teenage girl," says Needy (Amanda Seyfried), the shy and appropriately named best friend of Jennifer (Megan Fox), a beautiful high school tease who turns into a vampiric she-demon. The pair live in Devil's Claw, Minnesota, where Jennifer rules the roost until she sucks up to a visiting rock group who calmly sacrifice her to the Devil. …

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