Film Highlights Saturday
Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009)
RTE One, 6.30pm
In 'A Christmas Carol' Robert Zemeckis continued his rather strange obsession with the so-called 'performance capture' technique, which began in 2004 with the kid's film 'Polar Express' and continued in 2007 with 'Beowulf'.
Performance capture records the movements and expressions of actors and translates them into a digital model. And although the resulting 3D images are referred to as 'live action', they look just like animation, only slightly uglier.
But in Dickens' timeless fable Zemeckis has found a subject guaranteed to show off the process's advantages, and this is a pretty entertaining retelling of the classic Christmas story.
Jim Carrey plays Ebenezer Scrooge (above). A gradgrind of the first order, Scrooge has made a fortune in business yet persists in hoarding every penny. He begrudges his freezing assistant Bob Cratchit more than a measly half bucket of coal a day, and even resents giving him Christmas Day off. And when a pair of jolly gentlemen call looking for alms for the unfortunate, Scrooge helpfully suggests that the weak should die in order "to decrease the surplus population". But old Scrooge will change his tune after being visited by a series of preachy ghosts. Wake Wood (2011)
David Keating's Anglo-Irish horror film was produced by Hammer Films and would sit comfortably alongside some of the better movies made by that much maligned studio.
Aidan Gillen and Eva Birthistle play Patrick and Louise, a young couple who move to the remote village of Wake Wood to try and recover from a recent trauma in which their only daughter, Alice (Ella Connolly) was attacked and killed by a rogue dog right in front of them.
Louise doesn't think she'll be able to go through the trials of parenthood again, but Patrick has other ideas, and initially he thinks Wake Wood might be just the place for them to settle down and start again.
He gets a job as a vet, but pretty soon he and Louise begin to notice that odd things are happening. Patrick's colleague Arthur (Timothy Spall, below) seems to be the ringleader of a cult that meets in secret at night and believes it can bring the dead back for a limited period. Alice seizes on the chance to see her daughter one more time, but soon begins to regret it.