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items tagged with Spike Lee

PETA Principle: "The Jungle Book," "Barbershop: The Next Cut," and "Criminal"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2016-04-18 20:40:00

The Jungle BookTHE JUNGLE BOOK

Nearly all action movies, even those in which the action is determinedly family-friendly, live or die by their villains, and director Jon Favreau’s remake of Disney’s The Jungle Book has a phenomenal one: the Bengal tiger Shere Khan, voiced by Idris Elba. Scarred from a murderous tussle with a human and left with only one functional eye, this creature – created, as all the film’s animals and landscapes are, via the magic of CGI – prowls his kingdom with lithe, dangerous authority, and manages to one-up even Jeremy Irons’ Lion King meanie in terms of fierceness and frightening malevolence. Yet Shere Khan’s visage and movements aren’t half as scary as Elba’s maliciously insinuating vocals that fall somewhere between a purr and a growl, and while listening to these deliciously evil readings, I had a perhaps heretical thought regarding this movie and its reported $175-million budget: Wouldn’t all this have worked much better as a radio play?
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War of the Sexless: "Chi-raq" and "In the Heart of the Sea"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-12-13 00:49:02

Teyona Parris in Chi-raqCHI-RAQ

Last month, Spike Lee received an honorary Oscar at the 2015 Governors Awards ceremony. It was an earned and long-overdue recognition, especially given that, for many of us, the writer/director’s Do the Right Thing should’ve made him an Academy Award winner more than a quarter-century ago. (Then and now, Driving Miss Daisy notwithstanding, Do the Right Thing remains the true Best Picture of 1989.) But while Lee’s statuette may have been late in coming, I can’t help but think that the timing of its arrival could hardly be better. His new film Chi-raq, after all, is nowhere to be found in this year’s Oscar conversation. Yet its creator deserves trophies and more for this gut-wrenching, hilarious, deeply profound satire that’s stronger than at least 95 percent of the year’s more-likely awards candidates – and maybe riskier than 100 percent of them.
Read More About War Of The Sexless: "Chi-Raq" And "In The Heart Of The Sea"...


Life’s a Beach, Then You Get Meds: "Love & Mercy" and "Dope"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2015-06-21 01:07:38

Paul Dano in Love & MercyLOVE & MERCY

Receiving a wide national release on the same weekend as Inside Out’s debut, director Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy is also an exploration of the brain – specifically, the brain of Beach Boys wunderkind Brian Wilson, alternately portrayed by Paul Dano (during the film’s Pet Sounds-era 1960s sequences) and John Cusack (during Wilson’s heavily-, and incorrectly-, medicated period in the late 1980s). And rather astonishingly for a work of its type, it boasts numerous scenes in which it really, truly feels like we’re allowed to roam around in a legendary musician’s head, feeling what he feels and, even more importantly, hearing what he hears.


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Meet the Prez: “W.”, “The Express,” and “Max Payne”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-10-22 08:17:04

Josh Brolin in W.W.

I'm not exactly sure what kind of movie Oliver Stone's W. is trying to be, but that just makes it easier to appreciate it for what it is: A terrifically entertaining political comedy (with tragic undertones) that plays a bit like a sequel to Hal Ashby's 1979 Being There, in which a series of borderline-ludicrous circumstances find a friendly, well-meaning simpleton elected commander-in-chief. Now what?


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War Bonds: "Miracle at St. Anna"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-10-01 08:14:57

Matteo Sciabordi, Omar Benson Miller, and Michael Ealy in Miracle at St. AnnaMIRACLE AT ST. ANNA

With credits including Do the Right Thing, Clockers, Get on the Bus, 4 Little Girls, 25th Hour, and the landmark documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Spike Lee has made more great films over the past 20 years, perhaps, than any other American director. (And that list doesn't include the Spike Lee joints that are merely very good, among them Jungle Fever, The Original Kings of Comedy, and Inside Man.) But when Lee's movies go wrong, they tend to go shockingly, stunningly wrong, and for at least its opening half hour, the director's new Miracle at St. Anna seems poised to topple Girl 6, Bamboozled, and the execrable Summer of Sam as the most misguided and embarrassing work of the director's career.


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