Spike Lee can be a very controversial director, though I typically find his movies somewhat difficult to watch.
This is due less to the subject matter–though he can be a bit pedantic at times–than he has certain stylistic tendencies (such as putting the actors on dollies and pulling them through a scene) that typically feels more distracting than illuminating.
In fact, the more ‘conventional’ Lee’s movies appear–such as Inside Man and Clockers, though so recall both have dolly scenes–the more I tend to enjoy them because they’re less about directorial affectation than telling a story as efficiently and as effectively as possible.
I can’t tell which camp BlackkKlansman will fall in, though I find it interesting that a similarly-titled movie was released in 1966.
What I find particularly interesting about Lee’s film is that it’s supposedly based on a true story (which triggers my bs sensor because when that phrase is typically so loosely applied that it becomes almost meaningless).
Though the thing is that the premise of BlackkKlansman (a black man infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan) sounds so ludicrous that I’m willing to bet that a lot of it will be end up being true.
Can I say that John Hillcoat’s Triple 9 looks awesome? Heist/police thriller are a guilty pleasure of mine because when they’re done well, they’re a thing of beauty.
In particular I enjoyed Bruce Malmuth’s Nighthawks (a Sylvester Stallone vehicle about a terrorist on the loose in New York, and the cops in pursuit of said terrorists), Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day (David Ayer’s story is only kept aloft by Fuqua’s direction and Denzel Washington’s acting), Spike Lee’s Inside Man and Frank Oz’s The Score, to name a few.
And I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention the reboot (what?) of John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13, directed by Jean-Francois Richet, which is a really entertaining movie and better in its way than the original.
I might have to turn in my African-American membership card after I admit this, but I have never been a huge fan of Spike Lee’s films. I often admire what I assume are his goals when making them, but in my eyes the final execution always left something to be desired because (it felt to me) that he brought a self-indulgence to most of his projects that distracted from the project itself.
This is why movies like his remake of Oldboy, Inside Man and to a lesser extent, Clockers, are three of my favorite movies of his. In the three aforementioned films, his stylistic flourishes (his signature move would typically have a person on a dolly moving through a scene as if on rails–which in a sense they were–always felt dream-like and fantastical to me) were minimal.
But his confrontational style and the way he did what he did, and damn anyone who didn’t like it? That was awesome.
His most recent film, the Kickstarter-financed, Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus, seems to play with themes and ideas most often seen in vampire movies and looks to be typically Spike Lee (by which I mean self-indulgent and meandering) though I am curious what a Lee-directed vampire movie would look like.