There was a lot of buzz surrounding Red Hook Summer in development because director Spike Lee reprises his role from the 1989 classic Do the Right Thing. There were other elements that bode well for one of the better Spike Lee joints in recent years, including the Brooklyn setting and star Clarke Peters (The Wire). Red Hook Summer polarized critics at Sundance (Matt gave it an “F”), which could be viewed as another positive sign, given Lee’s resume. Both the good (the music, visual flair) and the bad (poor child actors, drowning in that melodrama) are on display in the first trailer.
Jules Brown, Toni Lysaith, Nate Parker, James Ransone, and Thomas Jefferson Byrd star alongside Peters in Red Hook Summer. Let’s you and I wait until it opens on August 10 to make up our minds. In the meantime, test the waters by watching the trailer after the break.
Spike Lee has never suffered from a lack of ambition and the most remarkable thing about his latest film, Red Hook Summer, is how it finds so many ways to be absolutely terrible. Every seed of a good idea is smothered under the weight of incompetent directing, horrible pacing, rancid dialogue, and atrocious performances from its lead child actors. The film vomits up banal editorials, slight commentary on religion, minor observations on modern filmmaking, and a vague sense of community. Many of the main characters celebrate Jesus, and that carries over to the audience when you thank Christ that the movie is over.
Spike Lee‘s Red Hook Summer is one of my must-see films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The movie features a cast comprised mostly of unknown and all we knew about the plot was the brief logline: “A young Atlanta boy spends his summer in Brooklyn with his grandfather, who he’s never seen before.” A full synopsis has gone online and reveals that the grandfather, Enoch (The Wire‘s Clarke Peters) is a strict firebrand preacher who “is bent on getting [the boy] to accept Jesus Christ as his personal savior.”
Hit the jump to read the full synopsis and check out new images from the film. The 2012 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 19–29th.