BlackkKlansman – Official Trailer #1

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.

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Triple 9 Official Trailers 1 & 2

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.

Warcraft: The Beginning – Teaser Trailer

i honestly don’t think that they should have went the teaser trailer route with Duncan Jones’ upcoming Warcraft: The Beginning.

If you’re Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Captain America: Civil War, or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, you can have a teaser trailer.

When you’re talking about a property that most people aren’t even aware of, then not so much.

And seriously, if you replaced scenes in the teaser with images from any of the Lord of the Rings movies, would anyone honestly notice any difference?

Sadly, i’d have to say No.

Supposedly Universal–Legendary’s production partner–wasn’t too enthused about the movie, and while I have no idea why that is, after such a relatively bland teaser, I’d be a mite concerned too.

The trailer for Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq also dropped today, and also happens to be much more interesting.

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus – Review

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus movie poster

“Entertaining, in that singularly unique Spike Lee way.”

Spike Lee is a fascinating director, for better or for worse.  By which I mean, the trip isn’t always the most leisurely, though if you’re prescient enough to see where he’s trying to take you, you find yourself the better for it.

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, the movie that he financed via Kickstarter, is no different.  One of the first things you notice, besides the initially stilted-sounding dialog, is how oddly paced the movie is.  It’s not that it’s rushed, but Lee doesn’t spend much time on details that at first seem relatively small, though typically end up defining characters in ways that add to their three-dimen-sionality.  A prime example of this tendency is Dr. Hess Green’s (Stephen Tyrone Williams) journey into vampirism (via being stabbed by an Ashanti sacrificial knife, which is nothing if not novel).

What’s interesting is that Green was arguably a vampire long before he began to actually ingest blood.  He lives in a tony home on Martha’s Vineyard, purchased from money his grandparents earned as the founders of the first black brokerage firm, while as a vampire he makes regular trips into the poorer sections of New York, to sate his hunger for blood, be it blood banks or single mothers.

It’s a fascinating dichotomy that I wish that the movie had spent more time on.

In fact, considering that Lee barely touches on the life of his main character, imagine how those not-quite-so main characters fare?  Not too good, though to have the audacity to name a character ‘Ganga Hightower,’ (Zaraah Abrahams) almost, but not quite, makes up for it.

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‘Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus’ Trailer

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.

‘Wish I Were Here,’ Trailer 1

You ever watch a trailer and get the feeling that the director is probably trying to be too artsy?  Well, that’s there feeling that I get from watching “Wish I Were Here,” the latest film from Zach Braff, while also fighting the urge to type, “Wish You Were Here,” which is an awesome song by Pink Floyd, from the album of the same name.

It wasn’t too long ago that Zach Braff made news by partially financing his project through Kickstarter.  At the time some objected to him doing so because Braff is not exactly short of funds, he blazed a trail on Kickstarter that others, such as Spike Lee and Rob Thomas (“Veronica Mars”), would follow to finance their projects.

Donald Faison is also part of the cast, whom I respond fondly from “Scrubs.”

Was ‘Babylon A.D.’ Really That Bad?

While researching an article for WhatCulture, I noticed that the 2008 Vin Diesel vehicle, “Babylon A.D. was ranked at No. 92 on ‘The Worse Of The Worse,’ Rottentomatoes’ countdown of the worse movies from 2000-2009.

I haven’t seen it in quite awhile, but I remember liking it a lot more than most of the critics that reviewed it.

It was directed by Mathieu (if I were to have a child, and wanted to name him ‘Matthew,’ I would definitely use the French spelling.  Very, very awesome) Kassovitz, who’s prior film, “La Haine” (Hate) I thought was interesting less for the subject matter – it revolved around a few friends and the violence that came about as a result of their actions – than the fact that Kassovitz seemed like a Parisian Spike Lee to me.

Various critics savaged the film, which I would normally be bothered by if it were for the fact that Kassovitz himself didn’t like the film (he claimed that studio interference ruined it.  It wouldn’t be the first time, and I am reasonably certain not the last).

I am going to have to catch it again, though I don’t recall it being nearly as incomprehensible as many (if not all) of its reviewers say it was.