There's only a single brand-new wide release this week, and it's "Invictus." Set in post-apartheid South Africa, the story follows Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) as he joins with the country's national rugby team captain Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) in the hopes of uniting his scattered nation. In addition to featuring a dynamite cast, "Invictus" also happens to be the latest directorial effort from Clint Eastwood.
Also getting a big opening this week is Disney's triumphant return to 2-D animation with "The Princess and the Frog," which was previously only available in limited release. It opens on more than 3,000 screens this weekend, an even higher number than the 2,000+ for "Invictus." It's a (somewhat) contemporary fairy tale about young New Orleans girl who sets out to find a local voodoo priestess after she is magically transformed into a frog.
A trio of fine options await in the limited release world, offering very different viewing experiences depending on which one you opt to check out. "The Slammin' Salmon" is the latest irreverent tale from Broken Lizard, the comedy troupe behind such films as "Super Troopers" and "Club Dread."
The other two options both go wide on December 25. First is "The Lovely Bones," director Peter Jackson's adaptation of the 2002 novel by Alice Sebold. This is Jackson's follow-up to the somewhat uninspiring remake of "King Kong"; a lot of eyes are watching to see if he can recapture the same magic that made his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy such a hit. There's also director Tom Ford's period drama "A Single Man." Regard both as potential Oscar bait. 'Tis the season and all that.