I along with some friends of mine had the pleasure of viewing an advanced screening of the new Spike Lee Joint, “Red Hook Summer.” I guess I’ve been living under a proverbial rock, because I had NO idea he was coming out with a new film.
I blame Twitter for not telling me. Before I get into the review, allow me to give you a bit of background. First, the film takes place in…you guessed it, Brooklyn! Somewhere someone from Brooklyn is letting other people know that they are from Brooklyn! If you said any other location, please deduct 5 points. Red Hook Summer tells the story of Flik Royale, a young ATLien (ATL resident) who is visiting his SUPER religious grandfather, Bishop Enoch, for the summer, in the Red Hook housing projects.
Flik, (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)
Bishop, (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)
The film opens with Flik being dropped off at his grandfather’s place, by his mother. Oh, I didn’t tell you. This was the first time that they were meeting each other. Of course there were conflicts between the 2 of them. Conflicts ranging from Flik trying to become acclimated to the inner-city life, to Flik’s diet, to the Bishop desperately trying to
coerce encourage Flik to come to “White Jesus.”
Chazz, Flik, Bishop (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)
His summer moved along with the help of Chazz Morningstar, a girl his age. I know what you’re thinking, they hooked up, huh? Um, no.
Flik and Chazz, (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)
Since this was a screening, there were no opening previews and such. It took me all of 2 minutes before I realized “oh, this is the movie.” The film is littered with traditional Spike Lee-ness. I love when Spike uses multiple cameras to make the subject move away from the background! #EditingPorn Further, I love when he shows the same scene multiple times from different angles. AND I LOVE when he brings back characters from his previous films.
Spike Lee, (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)
Spike has perfected using the environment to help tell his story as well as set the tone. Besides the actual actors, the heat, White Jesus, religion and the music were characters in this film.
Without spoiling the movie, I will say that it touched on several themes to include: religion and its culture, taboos in the Black church, love, and abandonment. The film took a few twists that made me sit up in my seat and look through my fingers. I laughed…at times when I wasn’t sure if I was suppose to laugh. I gasped…a lot. I also encouraged the grandfather to slap the taste out of his grandchild’s mouth.
Flik and Bishop, (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)
Most of the acting was convincing. Some was AWESOME! While some was not. I especially loved Deacon Yancy and the roundness of his character!
Bishop and Deacon, (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)
After the film was over, I must say that I was left with a few questions. I must have blinked because it took until the end of the film for me to realize why Flik was even visiting his grandfather. Some parts of the film struck a nerve. Honestly, I can see how some may be left feeling some kind of way…which is GREAT! I think this film will encourage dialog…even if it’s to say how much some people HATE Spike Lee. Smh.
Chazz, Bishop and Flik (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)
Overall the film was fair. I give it a high C. The look and feel of this film has indie written all over it…which is a good thing. If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts? Do you plan on seeing the film? #SayYes
Here is the trailer: httpv://youtu.be/9CX9xKczh4w
DIRECTOR: Spike Lee
SCREENPLAY BY: Spike Lee and James McBride
RELEASE DATE: August 10, 2012 (NYC), August 24, 2012 (Expansion)
STARRING: Clarke Peters, Jules Brown, Toni Lysaith, Nate Parker, James Ransome, Thomas Jefferson Byrd
RUNNING TIME/FORMAT: 121 minutes-DCP Digital-1.85 Flat-English-Color-2012
MPAA RATING: R
That’s it. Thanks for listening. :D