I’m sick of trying to convince everyone to go to the movies. Go because for $10-$12, you can take a vacation from your life and live days, months, or years in someone else’s existence. Where else, but in your dreams, can you experience such vivid feats of imagination? How did humankind evolve from clubbing mammoths to piecing together gorgeous technologically baffling stories purely for the purpose of entertainment? This week we have some biggies—Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus,” Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones,” and Tom Ford‘s “A Single Man.” Enjoy.
The Movie: “Invictus”
The Trailer: Morgan Freeman stars as Nelson Mandela in 1994, early in his South African presidency. But rather than being a story about heavy political conflict and racism, it’s a sports drama about Mandela’s efforts to unify the country by winning the rugby World Cup. The country’s black majority hates the all-white rugby team, the Springboks, who wear the apartheid-era flag colors. But Mandela backed the team, so others joined, and they were led to victory by team captain Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) in 1995.
The Hitch: Clint Eastwood’s direction and Morgan Freeman’s portrayal of Nelson Mandela make this film a must-see. As soon as the camera scanned Freeman’s perfect impression of Mandela sitting in that car, I was hooked. I was admittedly less excited when the preview turned into a sports thing. But Mandela gave Freeman permission to portray him when they met in the ’90s (just in case the opportunity should ever come up). Freeman got the rights to John Carlin’s book, Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation, and brought it to Clint Eastwood, so obviously the project came from an entirely epic place and will hopefully not disappoint.
The Movie: “The Lovely Bones”
The Trailer: Based on Alice Sebold’s 2002 bestseller, The Lovely Bones tells the story of 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), who is murdered by her creep neighbor (Stanley Tucci) while coming home from school in 1973. In a “What Dreams May Come”-esque beautiful CGI middle world, Susie sees her family trying to solve the mystery of her murder. Her father (Mark Wahlberg) pisses off the police force, her mother (Rachel Weisz) grieves heavily, her lush grandmother (Susan Sarandon) says snappy things, and her sister breaks into the murderer’s house, looking for evidence.
The Hitch: Since it’s directed by Peter Jackson, the film is heavy with CGI. But the family’s mourning and rage and determination to avenge Susie’s death is powerful, even though the film leaves out all the sexual encounters of the book, including the rape. Saoirse holds so much emotion in her big blue eyes and Wahlberg and Weisz promise strong performances. With a comic relief from Sarandon’s character and Jackson at the helm, it’s not as dark as the book yet still looks promising.
The Movie: “A Single Man”
The Trailer: In former fashion designer Tom Ford’s directorial debut, based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel, George Falconer (Colin Firth) is a 52-year-old English professor in 1960s L.A., who has just lost the love of his life and “roommate” for 16 years, Jim (Matthew Goode), in a car crash. He’s irrevocably damaged and since it’s not a time when homosexuality is accepted and he lives a closeted life, his pain is fully encapsulated within him. The movie takes place over the course of one day where George teaches, gets hit on by a student (Nicholas Hoult), hangs out with his best friend (Julianne Moore), and in the evening, George plans on taking his life.
The Hitch: Colin Firth hardly looks like himself, with straight blond hair and Buddy Holly glasses, but it’s been said that this might be the role of his life. Julianne Moore is more beautiful than ever, a drunken comrade. I am thrilled to see Tom Ford’s first film, and bursting with pride since he graduated from my high school, Santa Fe Prep! The trailer itself is sparkling, pieced together by gorgeous flashes of beauty. The clothes, the glamour, the tension, hell, the eyeliner — everything is perfection.