Posted in: by Robert Horton, Contributors, Film Reviews

Review: Chi-raq

Angela Bassett

His lifetime-achievement Oscar — awarded last month — was a reminder that Spike Lee makes movies that aren’t remotely like anybody else’s. Chi-Raq, for instance, is one enormously bizarro film.

Any filmmaker might make a study of inner-city violence, circa 2015. But only Lee would play it as an update of an ancient Greek comedy, with rhyming dialogue, song-and-dance sequences, and direct address to the audience. It’s also got Samuel L. Jackson as a natty onscreen narrator and Wesley Snipes as a one-eyed gang leader named Cyclops. But that should come as no surprise. In other words, Lee is really letting it rip here. And although in a variety of ways Chi-Raq is overbearing and stilted, the thing is so unusual you can’t help keeping your eyes glued to the screen.

Continue reading at The Herald (may have pay wall)

Posted in: by Robert Horton, Contributors, Film Reviews

‘Oldboy’: Josh Brolin Stars in Spike Lee’s Remake

Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen

Joe Doucett walks into an Asian restaurant and gets distracted by a large fish tank full of soon-to-be menu items. He stops and peers at a small octopus clinging to its side, then moves along on his terrible journey. This moment in the Oldboy remake might suggest Joe’s empathy for an imprisoned creature, but really it’s there as an Easter egg for fans of the original 2003 South Korean revenge drama, a movie with one of the all-time show-stopping moments in the cinema history of seafood.

This nod to the first Oldboy recalls what was startling and shocking about Park Chan-wook’s film: It might do anything and go anywhere—nothing was safe.

Continue reading at Seattle Weekly