Hilary Swank: 4 Film Favorites [4 Discs] [DVD]

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Director Christopher Nolan follows up his breakthrough sophomore film Memento with this remake of a stylish Norwegian thriller. Al Pacino stars as Detective Will Dormer, a Los Angeles Police Department legend who temporarily escapes an internal affairs investigation that may ruin his career by traveling to Nightmute, AK, the remote site of a murder that has the local authorities flummoxed. Along with his partner, Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan), and the small town's wide-eyed rookie investigator, Ellie Burr (Hilary Swank), the exhausted Dormer probes the brutal slaying of a teenage girl who was rumored to have a secret lover. A clever ruse quickly lures the killer into a police trap, but the suspect escapes and a tragic accident at the scene leaves Dormer at the mercy of the murderer, a pulp crime novelist named Walter Finch (Robin Williams). As Finch plays a dangerous game of extortion with Dormer, the detective's mental health deteriorates rapidly from guilt over his complicity in a crime and sleep deprivation compounded by the lack of darkness in the land of the midnight sun. Meanwhile, the bright and dogged Ellie continues putting the pieces of a complex puzzle together despite Dormer's skillful attempts to lead the investigation toward the right suspect, but away from his own malfeasance. Insomnia co-stars Paul Dooley, Nicky Katt, Maura Tierney, and Jonathan Jackson. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

P.S. I Love You
A grieving widow finds her husband's warmth radiating from the afterlife when she discovers that he left her a series of tasks to be revealed in ten monthly messages and designed to help her overcome her sorrow while gradually making the transition into a new life. Holly Kennedy (Hilary Swank) is a New York real estate broker whose good-humored husband, Irishman Gerry (Gerard Butler), always stood by her side. Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, Gerry succumbs to a brain tumor and Holly is left to face an uncertain future. No one in the world knows Holly better than Gerry, not even her mother (Kathy Bates) or her best friends, Sharon (Gina Gershon) and Denise (Lisa Kudrow). But while Holly remains unsure if she can go on without the love of her life to help guide her, Gerry has planned ahead. On Holly's 30th birthday, she receives a cake and a special tape recording from Gerry that implores her to get out and celebrate instead of staying in and mourning. Later, as the months wear on, a series of additional messages arrive from Gerry -- always delivered in the most remarkable and surprising of ways. With each new message comes a new adventure, and each letter signs off in the same familiar way: "P.S. I love you." Despite the fact that Holly's mother and friends think these humorous, posthumous messages are keeping Holly bound to the past, the truth is that they are lovingly guiding her into the future while proving that sometimes death isn't just the end, but a new beginning as well. Director Richard LaGravenese teams with screenwriter Steve Rogers to adapt author Cecelia Ahern's best-selling novel. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

The Core
An unlikely band of scientists and soldiers join forces to save the world from certain destruction in this action-drama. As the world is struck with a variety of inexplicable phenomena -- attacks by enormous swarms of birds in London, the explosion of the Colosseum in Rome, a potentially deadly malfunction which forces the Space Shuttle into a Los Angeles riverbed, and the simultaneous deaths of 32 people with pacemakers in Boston -- a team of top scientific minds from around the globe is assembled to determine what has thrown the world into such a frenzy. Dr. John Keyes (Aaron Eckhart) makes the startling discovery that the Earth's electromagnetic forces have begun to collapse, thanks to a sudden lack of movement of the molten ore at the center of the Earth. If the planet is to be saved, the core of the Earth needs a jump start, and Keyes assembles a team to burrow to the center of the planet and bomb the insides back into action. Joining Keyes on this dangerous, last-chance mission are the brilliant but arrogant Conrad Zimsky (Stanley Tucci), French arms expert Dr. Serge Levesque (Tchéky Karyo, maverick researcher "Brazz" Brazzleton (Delroy Lindo), geeky computer genius Rat (DJ Qualls), and two no-nonsense military types, Commander Richard Iverson (Bruce Greenwood) and Major Rebecca Childs (Hilary Swank). However, as the crew digs deeper into the Earth, the more they discover what they haven't been told about their mission and what's really been causing the worldwide chaos. The Core was originally scheduled for release in the fall of 2002, but the movie didn't reach theaters until the spring of 2003 as special-effects experts perfected the film's more spectacular scenes. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Freedom Writers
Assigned the thankless task of teaching freshman English at a gang-infested Long Beach, CA high school, a 23-year-old teacher resorts to unconventional means of breaking through to her hardened students in director Richard LaGravenese's adaptation of Erin Gruwell's best-seller The Freedom Writer's Diaries: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them. Her students had been written off, and her chances of succeeding scoffed at, but Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank) wasn't about to go down without a fight. Long Beach is a place where a new war is waged with each passing day, and when the hardened students who walk those dangerous hallways sense an outsider attempting to understand their plight, their cynical resentment threatens to keep a deadly cycle in motion. Despite the initially hostile reaction she receives in the classroom, Gruwell uses the writings of Anne Frank and Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo to teach her students not only the basis of the English language, but compassion and tolerance as well. Later, when the time comes to tell their own tales in a project specially designed to explore the daily violence that the majority of students have grown numb to, the barriers that had once stood so strong gradually begin to crumble. When the only chance for survival is to befriend the person who was once your mortal enemy, the world is opened to a whole new realm of possibilities. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Al Pacino
    Al Pacino - Det. Will Dormer
  • Robin Williams
    Robin Williams - Walter Finch
  • Hilary Swank
    Hilary Swank - Ellie Burr
  • Maura Tierney
    Maura Tierney - Rachel Clement
  • Martin Donovan
    Martin Donovan - Hap Eckhart
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