Byline: by Chris Tookey
Invictus(12A) Verdict: Inspiring true story ****
Youth In Revolt (15) Verdict: Immature enough to revolt grown-ups ****
Astro Boy (PG) Verdict: Shambolic sci-fi **
MORGAN FREEMAN has already impersonated God in Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty. From there, it's a natural step upwards to play Nelson Mandela. Clint Eastwood's new movie is so reverential, it could have been called Nelson Almighty.
It's the story of how Mandela, whether out of idealism or astute political judgment, used the 1995 Rugby World Cup and white Springbok captain Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) to help build a rainbow nation out of racially divided South Africa.
Anyone cynical enough to doubt Mandela's achievement need only look at President Mugabe's alarming alternative strategy for uniting his country to appreciate a praiseworthy difference.
Whatever Mandela's failings may have been as a political leader -- and you won't find any reference to them in this movie -- he deserves praise for his compassion, restraint and generosity towards a white minority that imprisoned him for three decades.
As a sports movie, Invictus isn't great. There's no disguising the fact that the final between South Africa and New Zealand was a dour affair with no tries, in which the Springboks' main strategy was a negative one: stop Jonah Lomu.
Invictus is far too old-fashioned to please the trendies and too weighed down with exposition to please action fans. The screenplay is serviceable, but rather too much of Mandela's dialogue seems to have been assembled from his old speeches.
Though Freeman and Damon cope admirably with South African accents, as in Gran Torino some of the lowlier members of the cast betray their inexperience.
Less typically, Eastwood is guilty of horrible lapses in musical taste, using songs co-written The actor the winning by his son Kyle to elicit emotion, where none was needed. One didactic ditty entitled Colorblind ranks among the most banal of the year.
Eastwood, Clint's children Eastwood's biopic is unconventional only in that it wisely does not attempt to tell Mandela's whole life story. Instead, it seizes on his rarest qualities, thus creating a moving tribute to a genuinely great humanitarian.
I thoroughly enjoyed it, and wondered ruefully how a filmmaker might approach the considerably lesser mortals involved in England's bid for soccer World Cup glory in 2010.
As things stand, it might work best as a bedroom farce called Playing Away, with Danny Dyer as lovable jack-the-lad John Terry, Mackenzie Crook as hapless Wayne Bridge and Ricky Gervais as that other iconic father-figure for our time, Max Clifford.
THE less than iconic Michael Cera is 21, but he still gets cast as a nerdy teenager.
If you were lucky, you saw him in Juno, where he played the anxious father of the teenage heroine's bump.
But if you were unlucky, then you encountered him in the Stone Age comedy Year One, where he played second banana to Jack Black at his most odious.
In Youth In Revolt, Cera plays Nick Twisp, yet another troubled, hormonal teenager.
Perversely, Nick has tastes befitting a man of 70, since he likes the music of Frank Sinatra and films of Federico Fellini.
Understandably disaffected from his equally sex-obsessed parents (Steve Buscemi and Jean Smart), he falls for a girl (Portia Doubleday) who claims to adore the films of Jean-Luc Godard and would like our hero to resemble the crook played by Jean-Paul Belmondo in Breathless. …