Munich in English - selected by independent Locals for Cosmopolitans, Newcomers and Residents - since 1989

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April 2007

April Movies

Freedom Writers: US rated PG-13, German release: April 5. It’s two years after the Rodney King riots, but for students at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach California, every day is a battle between races. Blacks, Latinos, Caucasian students, and Asians have segregated themselves into antagonistic gangs. Just sitting next to someone in a shirt of a different color can be life-threatening. English teacher Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank) is dropped into this roiling milieu straight out of college, and without a clue. With time, Gruwell proves that she has a soft heart and an iron will beneath her pearls and power suit. She works to inspire the students to do well, and encourages them to envision a brighter future through academics. This familiar storyline is pulled above maudlin dramatics by a typically sterling performance by Swank. Supporting actors perform amiably as types, and Patrick Dempsey adds a needed dose of wit as her slacker husband. Some audience members will choke on this saccharine treat, while others will choke up with earnest tears. (And some might just go to see Dempsey.)

Wild Hogs: US-rated PG-13, German release: April 19. Feeling penned in by their white picket fences, and jolted by the untimely death of a friend, a group of middle-aged buddies departs on a road trip from Cincinnati to the West Coast. Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy drown away thoughts of their domineering wives and legal trouble with burgers, beers, and the roar of their motorcycles. Many expected buddy movie clichés come into play as they travel across state lines: an antagonistic encounter with a hardcore biker gang, for example. Recurring homoerotic jokes are a somewhat uncomfortable post-Brokeback touch, countered by moments of over-the-top machismo pyrotechnics. Though critics have done little but snort at the film, it opened at number one in the US: proof that even if these superstars are just coasting, many are willing to go along for the ride.

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