Red Hook Summer (August 10)
Silver: As a filmmaker, Spike Lee is at his best when he’s not directing a film he wrote. Clockers, 25th Hour, and Inside Man are Spike’s best work because in these films he’s a hired gun, and has no other options but to act as a pure storyteller. His tendency to veer into self-righteousness is kept in check by his producers (Martin Scorsese on Clockers, Edward Norton on 25th Hour, and Brian Grazer on Inside Man). Sure, there are exceptions — films that he’s written and directed like He’s Got Game or even Bamboozled work because it’s evident that Spike has something personal to say and visualized how he’s going to say it, and is not just preaching. Based on the trailer, I believe Red Hook Summer to be one of the exceptions. It feels very “Spike”, with its melodramatic music, flash cuts to handheld 16mm, and shots of forlorn folks looking directly into the camera, but what intrigues me is that Red Hook Summer appears to be a coming-of-age story. It’ll be interesting to see how Spike sees “today” through the eyes of children. I have no doubt that this film will be divisive and in some way filled with controversy (Spike wouldn’t want it any other way), but this one looks like it’ll be worth the time.