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Welcome back, my friends. 

This is a light release week, but we have received quality over quantity.  Christmas is fast approaching, and the release schedule gets a little tight for the next week or so as Hollywood prepares its Christmas Day releases.  But, this week is a wonderful lead in and gives us two solid choices to add to the mix.

So, without further ado, away we go…

“Invictus”

Trailer

Synopsis: The film tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team to help unite their country. 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.

MovieDruid’s Comments: To tell a story of this type, and do it any sort of justice, is going to take filmmakers and performers of great talent and vision.  This was a time and place of great import in the history of human society and civilization, and many great men and women were involved.  The fact that this is directed by Clint Eastwood alone tells me it will be treated with the respect and attention to detail it deserves.  Eastwood was a legendary actor, but his body of work as a director (“Gran Torino,” “Mystic River,” “Unforgiven,” and many others) has, in my opinion, eclipsed even his acting career.  The casting here is both brilliant and interesting.  Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela is practically a given.  Few, if any, other actors would be able to truly handle the role.  The selection of Matt Damon is intriguing to me. Damon is often linked to Ben Affleck in many people’s minds, but he has moved far beyond his friend as far as I’m concerned.  His performances in “Good Will Hunting” and the Jason Bourne films show a much more mature actor who should easily be able to handle this role.  All the ingredients are here for a fantastic film about a truly unique story.

“The Princess and the Frog” – MovieDruid Pick of the Week

Trailer

Synopsis: Walt Disney Animation Studios presents the musical “The Princess and the Frog,” an animated comedy set in the great city of New Orleans. From the creators of “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin” comes a modern twist on a classic tale, featuring a beautiful girl named Tiana, a frog prince who desperately wants to be human again, and a fateful kiss that leads them both on a hilarious adventure through the mystical bayous of Louisiana.

MovieDruid’s Comments: This film, this one right here, is the first step in the reason that John Lasseter in charge of Disney Animation Studios is one of the best things to ever happen to the company.  Lasseter comes from the old traditional animation school, but rose to prominence as one of the heads of Pixar.  With Pixar now part of Disney, Lasseter can work on bringing back traditional animation after a five-year hiatus (the last traditionally animated film Disney made was “Home on the Range in 2004).  On top of that, just look at the synopsis above to see the films the directing team has under their belt.  To me, this is a historic moment, with Disney returning to what they did for almost 70 years before letting the dazzle of technology mislead them.  Welcome back to the wonderful world of Disney animation.

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