Daily News header

Red Hook Summer Film Review

By     get stories by email

Spike Lee Directs Disappointing Fish-Out-of-Water Drama

Flik Royale (Jules Brown) is 13 by the time his mother's (De'Adre Aziza) finally ready to introduce him to his grandfather (Clarke Peters). Trouble is the bourgie mamma's boy was brought up in suburban Atlanta where he's been raised vegetarian and been attending private school.

So, when his single-mom decides the two should get acquainted over the summer, it means the boy will have to live in the projects in Red Hook, an area of New York City teeming with dangers and temptations he hasn't been exposed to before. Still, she figures he'll be okay, since her dad, Enoch (Clarke Peters), happens to be the pastor of the Lil' Peace of Heaven Baptist Church.

red
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Flik grudgingly agrees to stay with the Bible-thumping bishop, and their strained relationship supplies the raison d'etre of Red Hook Summer. Directed by Spike Lee, the movie might superficially resemble some of his classic films like Do the Right Thing and She's Gotta Have It, being a character-driven drama set in a sweltering Brooklyn.

Unfortunately, that's where any similarities start and end. This is a movie that might earn high marks were it the work of a first time director. However, coming from a two-time Oscar-nominee (for 4 Little Girls and Do the Right Thing), it can only be described as a bitter disappointment.

The primary problem is that the acting is mediocre. Secondly, the screen is littered with the sort of buffoonish stereotypes Spike has been criticizing Tyler Perry for, one-dimensional caricatures running the gamut from ghetto gangstas to church ladies. Third the film fails to generate any palpable tension.

The director makes a cameo appearance as pizza deliveryman Mookie, reprising the role he played as the protagonist of Do the Right Thing. Sadly, that distraction merely serves as a sad reminder of how much Spike's skills have eroded since his glory days.

Picture a two-hour episode of Amos 'n' Andy on crack. Holy mackerel, Sapphire!

Fair (1 star)

Unrated

Running time: 120 minutes

Distributor: Variance Films

To see a trailer for Red Hook Summer:

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze. Read more reviews by Kam Williams.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Chef, author, world traveler Anthony Bourdain is an outspoken trailblazer with unique insights talks about his life, career and Peabody and Emmy-winning TV-series, Parts Unknown.
Kam Williams interviews Gina the Dreamer about Beyond the Lights, a romance drama co-starring Gugu Mbata-Raw and Nate Parker.
Marion Cotillard, who is no stranger to tackling complex characters and complicated women in movies, most notably as Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose, plays Sandra in Two Days, One Night. An emotionally vulnerable blue collar worker in a plant determine
Stevie Nicks, older and ever bolder turned heads with Stevie's back-to-the-future, pre-technoid selfies at an opening exhibition in the Morrison Hotel Gallery, Manhattan.
Michael Pena, who first appeared in 'To Sir, with Love' and 'End of Watch' director David Ayer talk to Kam Williams about reuniting to collaborate on Fury.
Rosamund Pike stopped by the NY Film Festival where Gone Girl premiered, to weigh in on assorted relevant topics, with Prairie Miller.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site