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Uninspired Borefest.

Posted : 3 years, 10 months ago on 31 January 2015 04:28

So, there's this concept that i'd like to call "being overally Hollywood", which is basically, a person people like to put on a pedestal, so, no matter what he write/direct/produce/create, people would go all the way to support him even if the final product is dissatisfying. the person in hand is Clint Eastwood. now, there is no doubt that Clint Eastwood is a talented, respectable director, but no-one is talented enough for people to trust him blindly, for instance, when "J.Edgar" came out in 2011, it was boring as hell, yet, people would still call it a good movie, hell, the same goes for "Lincoln" by the incredible 'Steven Spielberg' but people are afraid to call it as they see it, because they see a famous Hollywood Trademark slapped to the side and call it good no matter how bored they were, so, guess what i'm doing? i'm calling it as i saw it, a dissatisfying, uninspired, soleless borefest, that is 'Invictus'.

First of all, the idea of making a movie about Nelson Mandela is huge, the guy is one of the best revolutionaries of all time, so, you know as well as i do, that since this movie didn't receive much attention, it because it's sucked. it many not mean literally sucked, because of the overally Hollywood cast, but it didn't achieve anything through out the 2 hours borefest. i mean, we all remember 'Gandhi' from 1982, the movie went on to win 8 academy awards, including best actor and best picture, and you can argue that this movie was more about the rugby team than it is about Mandela, and 'Gandhi' was about 'Gandhi' more than 'Invictus' about Mandela, but the movie had the potential to be a masterpiece, i mean, 'Morgan Freeman' as Mandela?, and Matt damon as captain of the rugby team 'Francois Pienaar'?, that's fuckintastic, and should be as good as it gets, but sadly, it wasn't.

The movie tells the story of Mandela after he became the newly elected president of south africa in 1994, in which he decide to fully support the rugby team, the 'Springboks' to win the world cup of 1995 which held in south africa in order to bring people together through sport. 'Springboks' at that time represented prejudice and apartheid and featured all white players, and black crowds were going to the games just for the sake of cheering the opposite team, so, Mandela met the captain and inspired him to win the world cup after all hopes were lost for the team, because of the many consecutive loses, and the fact that the union tried to disband the team.

The movie was really slow, and featured some horrible performances, very unexciting scenes, little to no dialog, horrible accents and the most uninspired sport movie ever. i was actually shocked when found out that Matt Damon got an Oscar nod for a supporting character, i mean, don't get me wrong, he's a fantastic actor, but he had absolutely no screenplay, he was just there to be there, not to say anything. being the captain of the team, you'd think he'll have an inspirational talk with his teammates, once or twice, but none, absolutely none. the movie is about a sport, and it wasn't a sport movie. i've always had this image in mind about captains, screaming at the top of their lungs, yelling at teammates, inspiring them, saying something dramatic, yet, there was nothing to see here from he captain, he didn't even say anything to the team when they decided to throw away the national anthem lyrics, so, i thought, "if he didn't say anything now, i'll doubt that he'll say anything, ever" and i was right. it's a movie about a sport that doesn't get you excited at all, almost every scene were cold and slow, and overall lifeless, it was like a chore for the director to get these scenes and that's just sad.

More sad than that was Morgan Freeman performance and accent, it wasn't something big, which it should've been, it was just decent enough to look okay, and i expected lots more than that from one of the best supporting actors of all time, one with all the experiences, but come to think of it, i know now why he was never a leading man. his accent comes and goes and came out as painful, his performance wasn't encouraging or inspirational as the words he was saying. you'd expect some pain flow through these lines when he talks about prison, but nope, you'd expect some depth while saying these beautiful words and encouraging people to love and forgive, but nope, he should have prepared way more than that, because one does not simply get the chance to play Nelson Mandela for the whole world to see and then screw it up. it was like "so, i just stand in-front of the camera and say my line? okay, ready when you are", and that's a major flop in the movie, being the leading man delivering something uninspired nor exciting.

Now, sure, there were some few good qualities about this movie, like the writing, which i loved, the way the movie looked, casting of supporting characters were mostly okay, not all of them though, since, there's this cliched racist father, and there's also the cliched mean news anchor and the major elements of the movie were torture, so, it's hard to overlook these things.

Overall, the movie was slow, soleless and uninspired, and a sad turn out since it had all the potentials to be a great one. it was also very boring for a movie about a sport and would have been lots worse if it weren't for the 'Clint Eastwood' trademark slapped to it. i mean, if we can exchange the big names in this movie for exactly equal performances, like, instead of 'Morgan Freeman' bring a guy with much lower profile, and instead of 'Clint Eastwood' another lower profile, yet equal in skills, this movie would be an abomination.

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Invictus (2009) review

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 25 March 2012 07:46

Based on the book, "Playing with Enemy", "Invictus" is a truly inspirational movie directed by Clint Eastwood. This is the story of Neslon Mandela leading and joining hand with South Africa's Rugby team to lift not only the team but also the 43 millions Africans.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods maybe,
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced not cried aloud,

Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed

Beyond this place of wrath & tears,
Looms but the horror of the shades

And yet the menace of the years,
Finds, and shall find me unafraid

It matters not how straight the gate
How charged with punishements the scroll

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

This movie was on my wanna watch list for a long time and after a long wait. I finally saw it and it is a source of inspiration for me.

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A good movie

Posted : 7 years, 6 months ago on 7 June 2011 06:04

Even though this movie was not heralded like Clint Eastwood's previous work, I was still eager to check it out. Eventually, I really liked the damned thing. Of course, during and after watching this flick, the one thing that kept popping in mine mind was 'is it really the most fascinating story about Nelson Mandela?' To be honest, probably not. The main issue is that, among all the great things achieved by Nelson Mandela, it is hard to believe that the rugby world cup was his greatest accomplishment and personally, I would rather watch something else about this great man. However, it is easy to understand that this subject was a crowd pleaser, easy to swallow and digest. Still, I thought it was an inspiring movie about one of the most inspiring historical figures that walked on Earth. Furthermore, if you compare it to the really underwhelming 'Goodbye Bafana', it is a really impressive historical drama. Once again, Clint Eastwood shows us that he is one of the best directors around nowadays and you can see that Morgan Freeman had waited all his life to perform this character. Matt Damon was, as usual, pretty good but his character was not really interesting in my opinion. To conclude, it is a great tribute to Eastwood's talent that, even though the subject seemed rather trivial, he managed to give it some gravitas. Therefore, the end-result was pretty fascinating and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you are interested in Eastwood's work.

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Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 11 September 2010 02:41

Part of me feels like I could easily copy/paste some of the things from the review of CHANGELING that I wrote last year, because, unfortunately, once again, Clint Eastwood gives us a drama that may be reasonably involving but all too often hits the viewer over the head with the message it's trying to get across.

There are some great early scenes in which Morgan Freeman delivers some very well-written lines with much posture and confidence, but this can't make up for the last half hour of INVICTUS. I don't think I've ever witnessed such an overload of the slow-motion sequences in which people cheer in victory. It's way overdone here. It would also help if one didn't need to have a basic understanding of the rules of rugby to understand what is happening. Those of us unfamiliar with the sport will have a particularly hard time finding a reason to care about what transpires on screen. Sure, I understand that the inspirational story of how an entire nation came together here is supposed to be timeless and to be appreciated by people all over the world, but it doesn't help when the message is delivered with so little subtlety.

Perhaps the biggest question one can have after watching INVICTUS is why Clint Eastwood didn't take the opportunity to give us an actual biopic of protagonist Nelson Mandela, starting with his years in prison. There was certainly a lot of potential here to make for an entirely effective piece of dramatic filmmaking, and the fact that THIS is the route that was taken by such a great director (and with an actor who clearly fit the role so well) is simply confusing. Oh, and I have no idea why Matt Damon is getting recognition for his role here (if anything, he should be getting recognized for his work in THE INFORMANT! earlier this year).

I hate giving a negative rating to a film that is so clearly well-intentioned. It's a shame because there's no doubt that ALL the tools and players were available to make a memorable movie here, but the truth is that even if INVICTUS scores big at the Oscars, it's definitely not a film that will be remembered by many.

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Hijinks Movie Reviews: Invictus

Posted : 8 years, 5 months ago on 8 July 2010 03:51

As posted on Hijinks Inc. Please visit our site and tell us what you think!

Invictus first grabbed my attention because of Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, 2 of my favorite actors. Then again, it’s easy to like guys who are great in everything they appear in. I honestly sat down to watch this flick based on that alone, I hardly knew anything about what the movie was actually about… other than the fact that Nelson Mandela and rugby were somewhere in the storyline. Obviously, what I ended up getting was so much more than that.

Maybe I’m not cultured enough, but I didn’t know that Invictus is actually the name of a poem, the poem that helped Nelson Mandela through his time in prison, inspiring him to “stand when all he wanted to do was lie down”. The movie, however, is based on a book called Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation. Invictus was released in theaters December 11, 2009, and on Blu-ray and DVD May 18, 2010. I’m a Netflix guy though, so it was only available to me this last week.The movie centers around Freeman’s Nelson Mandela and the South African rugby captain François Pienaar, played by Matt Damon. Mandela is tasked with having to deal with crime and unemployment, two of South Africa’s biggest problems, when he takes some time to attend a Springboks game, the country’s rugby union team. He notices than many of the non-white fans would actually cheer for the other team because, in their mind, the Springboks represent prejudice and apartheid, he even admits to doing the same during his time in prison. Knowing that South Africa is set to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup in one year’s time, he decides to motivate the captain of this team to help him change the opinions so many people had of each other, using this team as the instigator.

Pienaar and his teammates begin to train for the World Cup, and he tells them of the plans to become more active in the community and interact with the locals. They all voice varying levels of disinterest, but begrudgingly oblige. The locals slowly begin to change, and support for the Springboks begins to grow amongst the non-white population. As is typical in these sports-centered dramas, the population strengthens their support for the team and the team begins to play better. Mandela and Pienaar continue to publicly support each other as the tournament moves farther along. The Springboks begin to win games, even though they were expected to quickly fall out of the tournament, and eventually they make their way into the finale against the ‘unbeatable’ New Zealand team. Against all odds, they hang with this superior team and are able to win late in the match to set off wild crowd celebration.

These stories are always more enjoyable when they are based in reality, rather than being made up by some Hollywood muckety-muck. If you’ve read my bio, or know me at all, you know that I am the coach of a football team, so I have a soft spot for sports themed movies… and enjoy them more than most people, the scenes where a coach or captain motivate the rest of the team in particular. They did a good job throughout this movie showing the prevailing segregation between the whites and blacks, and then emphasizing as it slowly begins to change, and I think that was my favorite part of this movie. The movie ends fittingly with the people celebrating the victory, everyone embracing each other regardless of color, as Morgan Freeman recites a small portion of the poem that helped him for so long:

I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Dave’s Quick Hits: Honestly, if you’ve seen 1 sports movie, you’ve seen them all, this is the same thing only with prejudice mixed in. Good story, I’ll give it a 6.5 out of 10.
The Wife’s Thoughts: I don’t know the game of rugby and I don’t really know the whole story of South Africa and Mandela, so I really didn’t understand it and got bored, but hey, Matt Damon… eye candy like that can help ANY movie! 2 out of 10, worse if not for Matt Damon.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75% Fresh

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Another inspiring and moving Eastwood film...

Posted : 8 years, 9 months ago on 26 February 2010 07:45

To start off my Invictus review the first thing I must say is: Why… the… FUCK wasn't this film nominated for Best Picture?!?! Invictus is a film that I have been excited about from the very moment I read that it was going to be Clint Eastwood's next film. It was originally called The Human Factor. The word "Invictus" is Latin for "invincible". A lot of people would call this an underdog sport film like Rocky. When I saw it, it turned out to be a very moving and inspiring story about courage and peace between two races in a country where that seemed impossible. It was like black and white South Africans all joined together to create a breakthrough so to speak for their country. I loved this message Invictus sent because it wasn't only very powerful and thought-provoking but it was very straightforward as well. It was a favourite for Best Picture in early 2009 but it has been robbed a place in that category.

Invictus tells the story of Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa during the 1995 Rugby World Cup. That was 5 years after his release from prison and into his second year as President. I was ever so pleased when Morgan Freeman was confirmed for the role of Mandela but there were a few things that I was worried about. Key points like because Freeman has been in films over the past 15 years which is very well-known for such as The Shawshank Redemption, Bruce Almighty, Seven and The Dark Knight, he was playing a man who is still alive, who changed the world and is still one of the greatest and most respected men that have ever lived. In very little moments of this film, watching Freeman as Mandela was just like Morgan Freeman with an accent. However, in everything else, he played the character perfectly! Morgan Freeman was probably the best choice because I think he is almost the only actor who looks like Mandela and also Freeman being a long time friend of the real Nelson Mandela, Mandela wanted Freeman to play him. Freeman did deserve his Oscar nomination but his chances of getting past Jeff Bridges and George Clooney to win the Best Actor Oscar this year are, in my mind, very thin. Now, Matt Damon absolutely blew me away Francois Pienaar! In every scene, I couldn't believe it was the same actor who plays Jason Bourne! I was unsure what I was going to make of Matt Damon in this film before I saw it so now I realise that I underestimated him. It was weird enough seeing him have blonde hair but it was even weirder seeing him as a rugby player with a South African accent! No, he wasn't like Francois Pienaar like Freeman was like Mandela due to the fact that Matt Damon stands at 5 feet 10 inches and the real Francois Pienaar stands at 6 feet 3 inches. Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman worked really well together to create one of my favourite on-screen partnerships of all time.

I was thrilled when Clint Eastwood was set to direct Invictus. Filming began in March 2009 in Cape Town and the filming ended in May 2009. During the filming, Clint Eastwood started to become a fan of rugby. In fact, while in South Africa, he would watch hours of rugby every night and would talk about the games with the actors in the film every day. Invictus could have turned out like Valkyrie did with American actors and American director set in a foreign country playing foreign people but it didn't fail at all because Freeman and Damon pulled off great South African and delivered outstanding performances and also Clint Eastwood pulled it off amazingly!! When you watch it, you would not believe how a 79 year old man could direct such a film especially in the rugby matches, mainly the World Cup final against New Zealand. Matt Damon's average height was a problem for Eastwood but because of his structuring set-ups and camera angles, he made Damon really look about Pienaar's height.

Overall, Invictus is a very exhilarating, moving and powerful bio-pic with a powerful message and rightfully deserves to be one of the best films of 2009. It is also definitely one of Clint Eastwood's best films but it isn't quite as sophisticated as Mystic River. Loved it!! Highly recommended!!

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Compelling, emotional viewing

Posted : 8 years, 9 months ago on 21 February 2010 08:07

"Brothers and sisters, this is the time to build our nation!"

At one point during the production of Invictus, Clint Eastwood reached the age of 79. Not that this bothers him, though, as he still shows no signs of stopping. Throughout his autumnal years, the legendary filmmaker has dealt with various themes and genres; ostensibly keen to try anything, and as a result usually achieving both critical and commercial success. 2009's Invictus marks the next addition to the director's filmography, and it's an impressive tour de force which merges the facts of Nelson Mandela's first years as President of South Africa with the tale of the 1995 Rugby World Cup. While the film's outcome has been predetermined by history, Eastwood has nevertheless created a riveting, nail-biting picture that succeeds as both a sports drama and an examination of the birth pains of the racially integrated South Africa. Once again, Eastwood has solidified his reputation as a bold, reliable purveyor of sincere and beautifully-made pictures.

Invictus (Latin for "unconquered") begins with Nelson Mandela (Freeman) assuming the presidency of South Africa after being locked away in prison for decades. While searching for a way to unite his nation still reeling from the effects of apartheid, Mandela's curiosity is piqued by the performance of the national rugby squad: the Springboks. With the team's captain, Francois Pienaar (Damon), attempting to push the Springbok players to victory at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, Mandela motivates and inspires the players; believing the universal language of sport will help heal his beloved South Africa and act as a potential unifying force.

Working from former journalist John Carlin's book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation, Invictus employs the conventions of a traditional underdog sports story in order to shed light on one of the most important international developments of the latter half of the 20th Century. Screenwriter Anthony Peckham (himself a South African) structures the story in a familiar manner; establishing the Springboks as the underdogs as well as portraying them as a flexible metaphor for both shifting race relations and the potential of forgiveness. During the years preceding the 1995 World Cup, the coloured South Africans loathed the Springboks and perceived them as a symbol of oppression, to the extent that they actively rooted against their national team in favour of other squads. Thus, Mandela's decision to use rugby as a platform to unite the country was a key moment of forging a new national identity that had potential to bring together the two races.

Invictus may carry the appearance of a mere rugby movie, but the material strives for something more substantive. Presenting a portrait of Mandela's early years as President of a volatile country which once imprisoned him, Eastwood's movie observes the first big steps of this iconic man as he slips into his official routine and faces a population unsure as to what the integrated future will bring. A movie less sure of itself would've likely been filled with scenes illustrating racial tensions in the most obvious manner conceivable, but not Invictus - Eastwood and Peckham smartly convey this material through conflicts involving two groups of racially different security agents thrown together at Mandela's behest. These scenes depict (in a surprisingly subtle manner) how initial fears and mistrusts on both sides eventually gave way to a certain understanding, while also propelling the story forward instead of killing the pacing. To be sure, not everything works. Though the opening sequence can be appreciated for its brevity, its severe compression of events does affect a viewer's sense of time - it feels as if Mandela was elected within a few weeks rather than years. There are a few underdeveloped subplots too, as well as some clumsy inaccuracies, but these are minor complaints considering the film's myriad strengths.

It's genuinely astonishing that a 79-year-old Clint Eastwood can still create movies of tremendous dynamicity and great scope. Eastwood directed Invictus with a sure hand, and his style is controlled and professional rather than fussy and showy - he realised a remarkable story such as this required little gimmicky flourish. The film particularly springs to life throughout the rugby matches that occupy most of the final 40 minutes or so. Cinematographer Tom Stern's compositions are stunningly elegant, while editors Gary Roach and Joel Cox provide the film with a sublime fluidity. Even though the rules of rugby are not outlined at any point, rugby-ignorant audiences should find these action set-pieces involving, exhilarating and inspirational. They benefit greatly from a powerhouse soundscape and the rollicking, touching score, but are at times marred by the use of slow-motion cameras to capture the aching close moments of possibility.

Another positive of Invictus is Eastwood's skill as an actor's director. No matter how obvious the casting choice of Morgan Freeman as Mandela may be, there's no arguing the subtlety, humour and charm of his performance. He does more than imitate the prolific man - he inhabits and embodies him, and emits a good-natured warmth even in moments as minor as receiving tea from his house servant. The actor was nominated for an Academy Award for his outstanding work. Matt Damon, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, absolutely nails the South African accent and provides masterful support for Freeman. Damon may be shorter than the 6'4" Pienaar, but his performance is graceful and engaging.

Granted, Invictus never offers a real sense of what Mandela did for South Africa during his presidency, with his policy initiatives only glimpsed at throughout meetings during which he leaves to check on the Springboks. Then again, this type of material is probably best saved for a larger Mandela biopic. Eastwood seized the World Cup championship as a way to convey one aspect of Mandela's greatness, and there is no doubt that Invictus succeeds terrifically on its own terms. The underlying message is positive, there are enough details about the difficulties Mandela faced to portray how divisive this period was in South Africa, and the film culminates in the type of rousing climax a sports movie requires. Whether you perceive it as a biopic, a stirring testament to the human spirit or the 2009 project of one of the best American directors of all time, this is compelling, emotional viewing that's absolutely worth seeing.


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Different in a theme that is always the same

Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 4 February 2010 04:01

I went to the movies just because it was a Clint Eastwood movie. I had just a basic idea of what the movie was about so most of the things I just realized when I was watching. Sports it is not a theme I enjoy when I watch movies.. but is not a sports movie. Is a movie about a nation and how people together can change something, how one man can change something. Considering most of those movies are long, boring and end up in a way you already know because is based on a true story it was very interesting to watch Clint direct a gender that don't have many fans putting a little bit of humor, different takes and interpretations. It did make a change, not only the movie but Clint itself, like he always does. Not his best but still worth watching.

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Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 24 January 2010 01:00

Invictus is set during the time when Nelson Mandela became President and has an interesting idea to reunite whites and black in a post-apartheid South Africa - encourage the rugby team to win the 1994 World Cup.

The problem I have with Invictus is that it can't quite decide whether it is a film about rugby or Nelson Mandela. The acting is decent and the directing is fine but the movie moves along at such a casual pace there isn't much dramatic tension.

So what if Nelson Mandela collapses because of over work? So what if the Springboks are complaining about all the extra duties they have to perform after practice? I couldn't care - the movie didn't make me care and therein lies the failure of Invictus.

Matt Damon as the Springboks captain Francois Pienaar has nothing to do but play rugby. There were moments when I felt his character was close to being more than just scenery but those were few and far between.
As for Morgan Freeman playing Nelson Mandela...all I really saw was Morgan Freeman with a different accent.
The one thing that I liked was how the movie showed how much respect people had for Nelson Mandel.

Ultimately Invictus is a fine movie to watch but it isn't as uplifting as it ought to have been.

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