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Some historical events function better as documentary subjects than they do movies. Admirable though the effort may be, Invictus is one of them. The film attempts to balance its weighty subject matter with the trifling appeal of an inspirational sports story, but in doing so, fails to satisfy in either regard. There’s nothing rousing about the way rugby is presented here—nothing exciting in the way that it’s played. Consequently, all of expected plot beats left me feeling like I was waiting out the clock until the inevitable, obligatory climactic final game. It’s apparent that director Clint Eastwood was more interested in expressing the passion of the fans, highlighting the way a common interest can bring opposing parties together. That’s fine and all, but if we don’t experience that passion ourselves, we’re no more than emotionless observers of other people’s enjoyment. Equally problematic is the innate awkwardness of trying to depict a nation that’s slowly being united, as it forces the movie to introduce numerous non-characters exclusively so it can rush them through their bland two-point arcs. It’s the sort of problem you can forgive because there aren’t a whole of other options available, but that justification doesn’t make those scenes any more cinematically rewarding. The movie does have a saving grace though, and that’s Morgan Freeman. With his portrayal of Nelson Mandela, Freeman lends a gravitas that helps maintain the illusion of substance, even as the film struggles to adequately explore the complexities of a post-apartheid world. He carries the movie.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – A Matt Damon Plays Rugby featurette. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as additional featurettes (“Vision, Courage and Honor: Clint Eastwood and the Power of a True Story”, “Mandela Meets Morgan”, “The Eastwood Factor”), and a digital copy of the film.
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The Fine Brothers love to spoil everything, In past years, we’ve featured their popular videos 100 Movie Spoilers in 4 minutes and Spoiling Every Best Picture Winner in Oscar History. After seeing all of the big movies of 2009, the brothers are back once again. Their latest video spoils 50 movies released last year (including all ten best picture nominees) in one take, in under 4 minutes. Watch the video now, after the jump.
And if it isn’t completely obvious already, please be warned that the following video contains spoilers.
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Posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 by David Chen
This week, Dave Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley discuss the creative bankruptcy of the Death at a Funeral Remake, gush about Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant, and review The Mel Brooks Collection on Blu-Ray. Special guest Anne Thompson from Indiewire joins us.
You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next Tuesday at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST at Slashfilm’s live page as we review Avatar.
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The first reviews of Clint Eastwood‘s new film Invictus have begun to appear online. The story tells the “inspiring true story” of how the newly elected President Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s underdog rugby team, Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match, to help unite their country. But will Invictus be in the running come awards season? Lets take a look at some quotes from the first reviews.
The Hollywood Reporter: “A temperate, evenhanded perhaps overly timid film about an intemperate time in South Africa.” … “for those who do buy tickets, it will be a pleasure for them to encounter a movie that’s actually about something.” … “It’s a film about a nation’s psyche, not its individuals. Where you would love a vigorous portrayal of two larger-than-life personalities, the film tiptoes through polite scenes where everyone speaks and acts with political correctness.” … “The game scenes are skillfully done — the sound of the body hits lets you know why rugby is an orthopedist’s delight. CGI shots and other effects seamlessly fill the stands with thousands and convert contemporary South African locations back 14 years.”
More after the jump.
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Warner Bros has released the first trailer for Clint Eastwood‘s new film Invictus, which tells the “inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team, Francois Pienaar, to help unite their country.” Matt Damon plays Pienaar, and Morgan Freeman plays Mandela.
Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa’s underdog rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match.
Invictus looks like it will definitely be in the running come awards season, which shouldn’t be a surprise, especially considering the track record of the modern-era Eastwood’s films. Watch the trailer embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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