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Posts Tagged ‘freedom writers’

Upcoming DVD Releases: April 17, 2007

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

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Freedom Writers (Drama) – Cast: Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, Imelda Staunton, Pat Carroll, Scott Glenn, Mario; Directed by: Richard LaGravenese

The Last King of Scotland (Drama) – Cast: Forest Whitaker, Simon McBurney, Gillian Anderson, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington; Directed by: Kevin Macdonald

Smokin’ Aces (Comedy) – Cast: Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman, Peter Berg, Brian Bloom, Sharon Bruneau, Common, Andy Garcia, Ray Liotta; Directed by: Joe Carnahan

Notes on a Scandal (Drama) – Cast: Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Tom Georgeson, Michael Maloney, Joanna Scanlan, Shaun Parkes, Emma Kennedy, Syreeta Kumar; Directed by: Richard Eyre

Just click on the links to purchase the posters for the above-mentioned movies.

Freedom Writers

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007


Freedom Writers proves that one person can make a difference. Read on:

You have to assume that it’s a sign of humanity’s general goodwill that there are so many stories like Freedom Writers to tell. Needless to say it helps that this film, like many other recent entries in the canonized genre, is based on a true story. But whether it’s The Blackboard Jungle, Stand And Deliver, Dead Poets Society or Dangerous Minds, there’s more than a little to be gained by offering a reminder that one person — specifically, a determined teacher — can make a difference.

However, one can’t help but wonder if all that goodwill necessarily translates into audience interest at the box office. Dead Poets Society is the top earner of all documented “good teacher” flicks, with $95 million in receipts. But most similar movies petered out at around $40 million, which hardly seems like enough to sustain the subgenre through more installments. All of which begs the question: Is Freedom Writers actually any good? The answer, thankfully, is yes. But will you care one way or the other? We’re not so sure.

The film features an estimable pedigree of acting talent, anchored by multiple Oscar-winner Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby) as Erin Gruwell, an heirloom-pearl-clad young teacher who is thrown into a world of gangs and drugs when she starts work at a Long Beach high school. Despite admonitions from coworker Margaret Campbell (Imelda Staunton) that they cannot be instructed, Gruwell teaches her kids about Holocaust survivors like Anne Frank and then encourages them to create journals to tell their own stories. Meanwhile, her husband Scott (Patrick Dempsey) and father Steve (Scott Glenn) fear not only for her physical safety, but her increasingly dogged commitment. As she encounters more and more opposition for her ambitious plans (including from her superiors) Gruwell is forced to decide how far she will go in order to inspire her disaffected, gang-member students to actually care about getting an education.

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Freedom Writers Movie Posters

Freedom Writers movie trailer

Freedom Writers

Thursday, January 4th, 2007


Fresh-faced, idealistic twenty-three-year-old Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank) is ready to take on the world as she steps inside Wilson High School for her first day of teaching. Her class, a diverse group of racially charged teenagers from different walks of life — African Americans, Latinos, Asians, juvenile delinquents, gang members, and underprivileged students from poor neighborhoods — hope for nothing more than to make it through the day. On the surface, the only thing they share is their hatred for each other and the understanding that they are simply being warehoused in the educational system until they are old enough to disappear. Despite her students’ obstinate refusal to participate during class, Erin tries various means to engage them on a daily basis.

But then ghetto reality steps in to focus the picture. A racially motivated gang shooting witnessed by a Latina gang member in Erin’s class, and an an ugly racial cartoon that Erin intercepts during class, become the most unwittingly dynamic teaching aids. They spark a transformation in the classroom, compel them to listen and force her to take off her idealistic blinders and take in the kids’ survival stories of their undeclared war on the streets. Erin begins to connect with them. She brings in music from the ‘Hood, and literature from another kind of ghetto, The Diary of Anne Frank, and with these simple tools she opens her students’ eyes to the experiences of those suffering intolerance throughout the world and the struggles of those outside their own communities.

Knowing that every one of her students has a story to tell, Erin encourages them to keep a daily journal of their thoughts and experiences. After sharing their stories with one another, the students see their shared experience for the first time and open up to the idea that there are possibilities in life outside of making it to the age of eighteen. Based on a true story, Freedom Writers is an inspirational tale and testimony to courage, hope and the human spirit’s triumph over intolerance. As the students’ diaries transform from schoolwork into life preservers, Gruwell’s commitment to them grows and affects her in ways she did not imagine.

Cast: Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, Imelda Staunton, Pat Carroll, Scott Glenn, Mario; Directed by: Richard LaGravenese

Freedom Writers Movie Posters

View the trailer

In theaters, January 5, 2007

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