Working Class (2011) [San Diego Film Week 2017]

Using A Tale of Two Cities, this documentary tells the story of Mike Giant in San Francisco and Mike Maxwell in San Diego who are both artists and friends who connected through tattoos the first put on the second.  Throughout the film, their lives are paralleled and compared until it eventually brings them together.

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Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)


Thankfully, time has been kind to “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” mainly because the short truncates the Charles Dickens classic, but still maintains many of its themes and heart. In the end, it never sugarcoats the potential fate of Scrooge McDuck, nor does it deny that Tiny Tim will die eventually because he couldn’t afford to eat and purchase the medicine needed for him. That said, “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” is a classic animated special with your usual Disney Easter Eggs, while also telling the classic story of the Christmas spirit.

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Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009)


It’s rather disheartening how a film that is filled with such a visual epic scope can in the end feel so cold and lifeless. Even with the title now being “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” with Charles Dickens (you know, the author of the actual story?) craftily omitted from the publicity campaign. Robert Zemeckis’ insistence on delivering some of the more stone cold animated films, that continue to attempt to convince us that it’s so much more than a simple demo reel continues with “A Christmas Carol.” It’s yet another spin on Charles Dickens tales of Christmas and redemption through the lens of motion capture computer animation. And much like the method of motion capture, it tries to be about as humanistic and moving as possible, but never can capture the subtle quirks and nuances of the human face and their emotions.

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A Christmas Carol (1951): Ultimate Collector’s Edition (DVD)


It’s surprising that after all these years, after fifty five years of technology and CGI, and stylish directors bringing up this old story, that the 1951 version of “A Christmas Carol” is still the best. Why? Well, there are so many reasons. For one thing “A Christmas Carol” is filled with dread and utter morbid reveling, as it is intent on exploring the world of Ebenezer Scrooge and the punishment he’s earned for himself. Secondly, the hauntings by his old business partner are still rather chilling, including his utterly horrible howling at Scrooge’s defiance. Brian Desmond Hurst unravels a creepy and woefully dreadful vision of “A Christmas Carol” as he films most of Scrooge’s house in stark blacks while relying on factory devices of sound and mind games.

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Nicholas Nickleby (2002)

2003_nicholas_nickleby_006Nicholas Nickleby is an excellent unwilling hero of the story, who is given a large task of taking control of his family despite the fact of his young age and must become a man through some extraordinary situations. Charlie Hunnam whom I’ve seen in the underrated “Undeclared” and the muddled “Abandon” is great as Nicholas, the strong-willed, courageous, outspoken and humble hero who becomes a truly admirable savior to many of the characters. Hunnam whose ability I’ve doubted in his recent roles is great as Nickleby giving him a sense of power and courage and injecting a lot of likable traits in him. He’s a great character and a very memorable hero of the Dickens’ stories and for some reason his cruel uncle Ralph takes an instant disliking to him. He sees in him everything he’s not.

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