Tag Archives: Spike Lee

OLD BOY (2013) has some new tricks

1 Jan


Spike Lee’s desire to re-interpret the critically acclaimed 2003 South Korean film, Old Boy for domestic audiences was a bold move because of the amount of criticism he would receive from audiences familiar with the original. I was eager to see how he would negotiate certain scenes and particular parts of the story that have made Old Boy a memorable, but uncomfortable film to watch. Technically, everything is in the movie, but done in a way that is more like a jazz musician riffing on a familiar melody than a replay of an old song. Some things worked really well, while others things did not. This version had more of back story, which made it easier for American audiences to understand, but it was too much because those moments of discomfort did not have the same impact. However, I enjoyed this movie and the choice to cast Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen as the principal characters was a strong choice.


Chuck’s Grade: B

Adam’s Grade: N/A

These Amazing Shadows: The Movies that Make America

19 Oct


These Amazing Shadows is a straight forward documentary that demonstrates the importance of the National Film Registry and its impact on film preservation. There were several enlightening interviews from some of America’s greatest filmmakers, as well as clips from America’s most memorable films, as well as a list of some not so popular choices that shows off the diversity of the selection committee. Directors Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton guide audience into the vault and reveal some important contributors to film history, especially the often ignored women directors from Old Hollywood. The documentary shares the old and the new, but more importantly the film inspires audiences to revisit  and watch our countries favorite films again.


Chuck’s Grade: B+

Adam’s Grade: B

Inside Man knows the right combination

29 Apr


What happens when director Spike Lee and producer Brian Grazer collaborate on a film? Actually, an entertaining bank heist film with a talented cast of veteran actors with pockets of Spike Lee’s signature style and commentary. Dalton Russel (Clive Owen) plans the perfect bank heist, but detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) is much smarter than he expected. Lee successfully negotiates all of the moving parts of the film in a way that makes audiences want to figure out who the inside man is in the robbery.  Everyone is a suspect and that is the beauty of the film, but there are times that the film takes unnecessary detours for a moment and the exit interviews with hostages do not do enough to satisfy an audience’s curiosity. Spike Lee’s Inside Man knows the right combination to making something more than a simple action film.


Chuck’s Grade: B+

Adam’s Grade: B

He Got Game

17 Feb


Spike Lee’s affinity for basketball is well documented, but his film about Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen), a young man having to make one of  “the most important decision of his life” is not his best effort.   Everyone close to Jesus sees a pay check on the horizon. His father, Jake (Denzel Washington) is serving 15 years for the murder of his wife and the prison warden asks Jake to convince his son to choose the governor’s alma mater for a reduced sentence. Lee explores the darker side of people’s human nature as his “Jesus” character must resist the temptations thrown in front of him. Unfortunately, Jesus has to share too much playing time with his father. I never thought I would say that about a Denzel Washington character. Lee’s story has all the pieces for a championship caliber film, but his players tire and cannot score the winning shot at the end because he puts the ball into too many hands.


Chuck’s Grade: B-

Adam’s Grade: C