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PCR #507 (Vol. 10, No. 50). This edition is for the week of December 7--13, 2009.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"Invictus"  by Mike Smith
Time Warp Toy Box ’09 – Part 2  by ED Tucker
The Star Wars Holiday Special  by Chris Woods
The Thai Warrior  by Jason Fetters
Book Review: Mistletoe and Mayhem:Horrific Tales for the Holidays edited by Richard Dalby  by Lisa Scherer
Remembering Roy .... Happy Stanley (get It....stan Lee) .... Oops .... Passing On .... Now I'm Upset! .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2  by Mike Smith
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Warner Brothers     
Starring: Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 2 hours 14 mins

“In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”

The above passages are from the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. They sum up, in only a few lines, the strength of Nelson Mandela, even though they were written almost five decades before Mandela was born.

On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela (Freeman) was freed after serving 27 years in prison. In 1994 he was elected president of South Africa. His goal to unite his country began immediately when he invited the white members of the previous administration to work for him. “The past is the past,” he informs them. Like America with its Super Bowl, the people of South Africa live for the game of rugby. Having just recently been readmitted to the International Rugby Football Board (the country had been banned because of its stand on apartheid), South Africa was also the host for the World Cup in 1995. Seeing this event as a way to unite his countrymen even more, Mandela contacts Francois Pienaar (Damon), who is captain of the country’s rugby team. The two decide on one goal: win it all.

Directed flawlessly by Clint Eastwood, “Invictus” is an uplifting story that will have you cheering in your seat. Nelson Mandela once remarked that he felt that only Morgan Freeman could portray him on screen and Freeman doesn’t disappoint. When I think it’s been almost forty years since Freeman played Ready Reader on “The Electric Company” on PBS, I realize I’ve spent almost my entire life enjoying the highlights of this talented actors’ incredible career. He portrays Mandela with the respect due the great man and has added another indelible character to his acting resume’. Damon, about 30 pounds of solid muscle heavier then he was in this years earlier film, “The Informant!,” is also at the top of his game as Pienaar.

While Mandela’s political trail is followed in the film, it is the action on the pitch that is the films’ highlight. Eastwood gets his camera so far into the action you feel like you’re part of each scrum and taking each hit. As he approaches his 80th birthday Eastwood has emerged as one of the great story tellers of our time who shows no sign of slowing down or losing his touch. In fact, he’s currently reunited with Damon in England filming his 31st film, “Hereafter.” As in previous films, Eastwood makes “Invictus” a family affair, with son’s Kyle and Scott contributing their talents as well. Kyle, who once starred opposite his dad in the underrated “Honky Tonk Man” has grown into a fine musician and contributes here to the score while Scott appears on screen as a member of the South African team.

On a scale of zero to four I give “Invictus”  

This week's movie review of "Invictus" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2009, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.