Best Bets: Mandela Meets Matt Damon

Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandel in "Invictus" to be released this week

It seems an odd combination: Nelson Mandela's uplifting life story, and ... rugby? But the new film "Invictus" weaves together the life of the South African president with his nation's upset in the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Morgan Freeman plays Mandela, with Matt Damon as the rugby team captain. (Opens Dec. 11)

Alice Sebold's "The Lovely Bones" was a blockbuster novel back in 2002. But because of its subject matter — a young girl is raped and murdered and then watches life on earth after her death — many didn't think it could make the leap to film. Judge for yourself, the film hits theaters this week. Peter Jackson, of "Lord of the Rings" fame, directs. (Opens Dec. 11)

She's not your typical singing star, and that's why so many around the world took Scottish performer Susan Boyle to heart. Her second-place finish on "Britain's Got Talent" took her from a quiet life with her cat in a small rural village to international fame and a top-selling CD. Tune in to "I Dreamed a Dream: The Susan Boyle Story" to go inside her amazing journey. (Dec. 13, 8 p.m., TV Guide Network.)

Have you been missing Ray Romano since "Everybody Loves Raymond" closed up shop? Romano and Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula star in "Men of a Certain Age," a new series that follows the friendship between three college pals. (Dec. 7, 10 p.m., TNT.)

The "Julia" part of "Julie & Julia" captivated far more people than the "Julie" part, but it's worth it just for that. After blogger Julie Powell wrote about her project working her way through Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," the blog became a book, and later a movie, with the marvelous Meryl Streep as Child. It's now on DVD, to which we say "bon appétit!" (Out on DVD Dec. 8)

The Harry Potter movies keep getting darker and more adult as the young wizard grows up and moves towards his fate. "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" scored high marks from critics, with the Portland Oregonian calling it "the strongest (or at least the most mature, subtle and emotional) entry in the series thus far." (Out on DVD Dec. 8)

Entertainment Weekly said you're no one on TV these days without your own soundtrack and the cast of Fox's musical comedy series of the moment is happy to oblige, for the second time, with "Glee: The Music, Volume 2." (Out Dec. 8)

Hot on the heels of ex-girlfriend Rihanna's "Rated R" comes Chris Brown's third studio album, "Graffiti." The hottest rising star in R&B has had his musical talents eclipsed by the fallout from pleading guilty to assaulting Rihanna in February. The writing on the wall seems to indicate that "Graffiti" won't do much to make that notoriety disappear. (Out Dec. 8)

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