Search - Crown Heights on DVD

Crown Heights
Crown Heights
Actors: Liza Balkan, Jeremy Blackman, Jason Blicker, Hart Boykin, David Brown
Director: Jeremy Kagan
Genres: Drama, Television, African American Cinema
R     2004     1hr 33min

The tragic true story of three days of racial strife riots & murder in brooklyn between african-americans & hasidic jews during the summer of 1991. Sparked by the accidental death of a young child in a car accident the cit...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Liza Balkan, Jeremy Blackman, Jason Blicker, Hart Boykin, David Brown
Director: Jeremy Kagan
Creators: Rudolf Blahacek, Jeremy Kagan, Michael Economou, Brian E. Frankish, Robert Halmi Jr., Michael D'Antonio, Toni Ann Johnson
Genres: Drama, Television, African American Cinema
Sub-Genres: Drama, Television, African American Cinema
Studio: Showtime Ent.
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/24/2004
Original Release Date: 01/01/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 06/28/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"In August of 1991, Gavin Cato, a black seven year old boy, was hit and killed by a car driven by a Hassidic man in the racially polarized neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Consequently, racial tensions bubbled over and riots broke out in that community over the incident, with looting and violence rampant. An Australian Hassidic man, having nothing to do with the car accident, was then stabbed to death in retaliation by Lemrick Nelson, a black man from the community. Animosity has always run high between Blacks and Hassidim in that Crown Heights community, the two groups that live side by side in Crown Heights, and it just took a tragic accident to have that cauldron of hatred bubble over into murder and mayhem.

This film is not about the incident that caused all hell to break loose. Based upon actual people and events, it is about the way that peacemakers in each of the two groups tried a joint grass roots approach to giving peace a chance. They reached out to male youths on both sides of the great divide. Their goal was to create cultural awareness and understanding through dialogue, music, and basketball games in hopes of bridging the chasm that existed between these two groups. Although the Hassidim and Blacks had lived side by side with each other for some time in Crown Heights, there was little mutual understanding and virtually no social interaction.

David Lazerson (Howie Mandel), author of "Switchblades and Skullcaps" and a member of the Hassidic community, is contacted by an emissary of the renowned Rebbe Schneerson of the Lubavitcher sect and asked to reach out to the Black community in the spirit of reconciliation. He agrees and reaches out to local Black activist and youth counselor, Richard Green (Mario Van Peebles). They join forces to try and maintain the peace and bridge some understanding between the two groups. They establishe Project Cure, a group comprised of both Black and Hassidic male youths. The film focuses on two of those youths, TJ (De Quan Henderson) and Yudi (Jeremy Blackman), and after a rocky start, an unexpected friendship forms between them. While some progress was made by Project Cure, the reality of Crown Heights today is that never the twain shall meet.

This is not one of Showtime's best films. It is a self-conscious effort at best. Howie Mandel's performance is embarrassing, and the viewer can spot his fake beard a mile away. Mario Van Peebles, however, gives a good performance, as does De Quan Henderson. It is Jeremy Blackman, however, who gives the standout performance in this film. Unfortunately, Jeremy Kagan's heavy-handed direction results in a film so obviously preachy that it falls a bit flat, short of its intended mark."