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11 December

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Films That Should Satisfy

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Invictus

Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Matt Damon Morgan Freeman, Scott Eastwood, Zak Feaunati, Grant L. Roberts
Review [11.Dec.2009]
11 December
Invictus Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, captain of the 1995 South African Rugby team that won the World Cup. Mr. Career Renaissance himself, Clint Eastwood, handling the directing duties. How can this NOT be a major player for end of the year glory? It’s practically prepackaged for critic’s list compliments and inevitable award statuary. Using a sporting event as a means of bringing a divided country together was a genius move on Mandela’s part, especially with his election as President providing ample fodder for white minority uprising and revolt. Luckily, it’s all based on a book by South African journalist John Carlin, so one imagines the facts will take precedent over any proposed dramatic license. While Freeman in a straightforward Mandela biopic might have been a better idea (or a sizeable cinematic bungle), leave it to Eastwood to turn this into something very special indeed. 
 

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The Lovely Bones

Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Saoirse Ronan, Stanley Tucci, Amanda Michalka, Rose McIver
Review [11.Dec.2009]
11 December
The Lovely Bones When The Frighteners failed to win over a mainstream movie going audience in the Summer of 1996, New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson faced a major dilemma: where to go from here. He had Hollywood’s full support for the ghost busting Michael J. Fox comedy, and yet box office returns were lax. Fast forward nine years, and Jackson was the undoubted king of the cinematic world (sorry, James Cameron). Having just fostered the massive Lord of the Rings trilogy to sizable critical and commercial acclaim, he parlayed said success into a chance to realize a childhood dream, remaking the 1939 giant ape classic King Kong. Yet once again, time passed and Jackson was stumped for a next step. The answer? A smaller film, an adaptation of Alice Sebold’s acclaimed novel. If the recently released trailer is any indication, Jackson has once again found a way to turn uncertainty into undeniable success.
 

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The Princess and the Frog

Director: John Musker & Ron Clements
Cast: Anika Noni Rose, Keith David, John Goodman, Jennifer Cody, Jim Cummings, Oprah Winfrey,
11 December
The Princess and the Frog



After Disney bought Pixar (or put another way—when the CG giants let the House of Mouse finance their masterful work), they hired founding father John Lasseter to revamp their tired animation department. Out went the numerous direct to DVD sequels of classic cartoon titles like Bambi and The Lion King. In was a renewed love of all things hand drawn and 2D. Bringing in directors John Musker and Ron Clements, responsible for such timeless titles as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Hercules, the company decided to return to the days of Broadway style storylines while shaking things up in two significant ways: first, the protagonist would be a female this time, not a male, and second, the cultural backdrop would find inspiration in the African American community. So far, Disney and Lasseter have said all the right things and wowed audiences with subtle sneak previews.




Films That May Leave Your Starving

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All Good Things

Director: Andrew Jarecki
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Kristen Wiig, Frank Langella, Lily Rabe
11 December
All Good Things


It’s tough for a documentarian to make the transition over into fictional films. The storytelling may be the same, but the way of getting there is completely different. For Capturing the Freedman‘s Andrew Jarecki, the true story of Robert Durst, heir to a New York City real estate dynasty, and the disappearance of his first wife Kathleen McCormack in 1982 provided the mandatory inspiration. With Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst in place as the unlucky couple and a supporting cast including Watchmen‘s Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Frost/Nixon‘s Frank Langella, the project has a lot of potential. Once you read the truth about Durst, however, you start to wonder just what material Jarecki will cover. Oddly enough, the mystery surrounding his wife’s disappearance is the least intriguing element in his criminally complex saga.




The Ala Carte Menu

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Did You Hear About the Morgans?

Director: Marc Lawrence
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Hugh Grant, Elisabeth Moss, Mary Steenburgen, Sam Elliott, Michael Kelly, Kim Shaw
Review [29.Mar.2010]
Review [18.Dec.2009]
11 December
Did You Hear About the Morgans?


Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker are a New York couple that witness a murder, and as part of the Witness Protection Program, are relocated to the desolate confines of Wyoming. Culture shock hijinx ensue…we imagine. Since it was written and directed by Marc Lawrence who guided Grant through two of his more recent hits (Two Weeks Notice and Words and Lyrics), expect a sweet, genial comedy with small, simple emotional beats. Granted, the recent trailer overemphasizes the country mouse/city mouse gags in the narrative, and Mary Steenburgen and Sam Sheppard (as local cornpone law enforcement) are a far more appealing couple to follow than Grant and Parker. Still, it seems harmless enough and ol’ Hugh can really deliver those dry bon mots, can’t he?


Since deciding to employ his underdeveloped muse muscles over five years ago, Bill has been a significant staff member and writer for three of the Web's most influential websites: DVD Talk, DVD Verdict and, of course, PopMatters. He also has expanded his own web presence with Bill Gibron.com a place where he further explores creative options. It is here where you can learn of his love of Swindon's own XTC, skim a few chapters of his terrifying tome in the making, The Big Book of Evil, and hear samples from the cassette albums he created in his college music studio, The Scream Room.


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