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on November 22, 2012
Right now I am meditating upon Spike Lee's film "Red Hook Summer." This film--preaches red, walks red, uncovers an evil church red "rat" that needs to be corrected by the community. The implicit recognition that something is very wrong in the African American church experience is this film's thesis and its "rat." Mookie (Spike Lee), i.e., knows that; therefore, he will deliver pizza, but he will not attend "Old Timers Day." And it seems Spike Lee intends to right the wrong by telling and giving voice to an African American story that is often silenced by church members. Loving preachers can be flawed and one of their flaws may be molesting boys. The film calls for a right of the wrong that has been placed in a community. Oh it seems that the wrong is a poor community; it seems that the wrong is a vegan man-child who may not believe in God. In the inner sanctuary of the wrong, the wounded (as well as those who inflict the wounds) function. "Red Hook Summer" begs for a response. This is it: There is a need for a healing altar in the African American church experience, especially as it relates to down-low preachers who molest children. This healing call is beautifully woven into the film by African American church music that moves, that flows through the film like spiritually imbued jazz. "Red Hook Summer" forces me to engage in an interior conversation with myself. How does a religious community heal when it is wounded by its church leaders? The healing is in discovery. A community discovers the real identity of its man of the cloth, its preacher man. A boy-child discovers his Grandfather has features of the devil he preaches about. That is the gift that Spike Lee, the critical film-maker, has given to the genre of film--the repeated message that in the African American community there is beauty and evil at the same time. "Red Hook Summer" moves slow; it peals back the beauty and the ugly of the African American church experience one scene at a time. "Red Hook Summer" is not only an African American story; it is a human story about evil. It deserves a viewing!
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on October 6, 2013
An underrated Spike Lee gem, which had a very limited release late in Summer 2012. This is one worth checking out. The acting of Clarke Peters really stands out in the lead role. Even Spike himself recreates one of his most memorable movies role, that of Mookie from Do The Right Thing, who continues to deliver pizza for Sal's Famous Pizzeria in Brooklyn. Also back from an earlier Spike Lee joint: Tracy Camilla Johns, who reprises her earlier role as Nola Darling, the female protagonist from She's Gotta Have it, albeit in a quite different way here.
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on May 16, 2013
Spike Lee and Woody Allen are the only film makers that come to my mind who are in love with the cities that they live in. Their movies are not just about the characters but also about the city - mostly New York and its vibrancy. While Allen has recently flirted with Europe, Lee remains a faithful New Yorker and returns to his Brooklyn roots with Red Hook Summer.
Red Hook Summer abounds with characters, their observations through dialogues, often include monologues which help Spike Lee create a very watchable film but with limitations.

Flik (Jules Brown) is a 13 year old teenager whose mother, Colleen (De'Adre Aziza), brings him from Atlanta to New York to spend a summer with Bishop Enoch (Clarke Peters), the grandfather with whom both Flik and his mother are estranged from.
Enoch is a hardcore Baptist preacher who runs a little church facing financial trouble known as Lil' Piece of heaven and is hellbent on teaching Flik the importance of God- Jesus. Flik reluctantly tags his grandfather everywhere that he goes, with his Ipad and finds fascinations in the rants of alcoholic stock market proponent Deacon Zee ( Thomas Jefferson Byrd) - funny character. and make friends with a loud mouth yet lively Chazz ( Toni Lysaith)
Flik is in the projects and he wonders about their differences and these many characters are what make Red Hook watchable. Most of the scenes are shot in the church where Pastor Enoch waxes and rants eloquently about gentrification, education and the worsening state of popular culture. Towards the end, there is a startling revelation but somehow is not impactful
Spike Lee makes a brief appearance as Mookie, the pizza delivery man as he played in Do the Right Thing.
This is not Lee's greatest movie but as always his observations about society and life are fascinating and entertaining. four stars. 05/11/2013
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on May 17, 2015
I have just finished watching this movie Red Hook Summer.

The story of a young teenager sent to spend the summer with an unknown grandfather whom we learn is a pastor at a small church in Red Hook Brooklyn, shows the viewers there is more to this area's characters than we (along with the characters!) see from day to day basis. This should clue you into what is hidden, you never know what someone is hiding or running from and why! The various characters (along with several cameos: Mookie, Nola Darling, the Deacon who is Chazz's uncle, a couple of church attendees, the cop) provide a sense of what and how this community lives. Some are seen as "saviors" and others are seen as lost or the "devil" has a hold on them. At the end, you really get to find out never judge a book by its cover!

I like the atmosphere of Red Hook Summer because it brings me back to my childhood of watching movie Crooklyn. There is even a gesture that Chazz does which is copied from a character from that movie, this brought a smile to my face. The acting is reminiscent of Crooklyn, some actors and actresses (especially the children and a few adults) could work on their skills BUT why? That is what brings in the authentic feel of bringing the movie to life. And the other actresses and actors with their great acting showcase their talents which bringing together both I feel allows a sense of real community for these characters in this fictitious story.

My overall view of the movie is no one is ever who they claim to be, their past involves secrets along with forgiveness of sorts. I definitely love how the ending occurred because I can see the two children growing up and possibly a future movie will feature them. My rating is out of ten stars, I give seven.
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on January 10, 2013
I remember a day when a Spike Lee movie would come out and critics would fall all over themselves to talk about what a genius he was. I would see these same movies and think they were well made and interesting but nothing near as special as they seemed to think they were. Then things began to change. Lee's new movies weren't getting near the attention his earlier works did and he became known more for his outrageous comments than his films. If he continues to make movies like this I can see that continuing.

REDHOOK SUMMER takes place in the now familiar Lee territory of Redhook, Brooklyn. Young Flick is forced by his mother to arrive in Redhook to spend the summer with his religious grandfather Enoch, a pastor of a church there. Coming from a middle class home where he has his own food and non-stop use of his Ipad 2, Flick grumbles about wanting to go home and hates the situation he's in.

Enoch doesn't cow tow to the boy and makes the food he normally does. He also has Flick work for him in the church, taking care of the building and handing out pamphlets. It is at the church that Flick makes his only new friend, a young girl named Chazz who takes no guff from Flick and who speaks her mind frequently.

Flick seems like the most naive character on the face of the Earth. Walking around the tough neighborhood of Brooklyn he flaunts his Ipad constantly never fearing that it will be stolen from him. When he meets the gang on the street, The Bloods, he doesn't flinch or act like he might be in any jeopardy while his grandfather gives them their space. He might try to convince them to change their ways and accept God but he knows better than to push their buttons.

The story here is incredibly thin, that of a young boy discovering a different world than he's used to. While he's surrounded by faith and all that comes with it, the movie isn't about faith or discovering it. Instead it's about Flick and how he changes based on what goes on around him. Plenty of screen time involves the church and sermons there, but Flick seems unfazed by all that. He's more affected by his friendship with Chazz and the experience of being around his grandfather that the time in church. All that changes towards the end of the film with a startling revelation.

Two things harm this movie more than anything. The first is the acting involved. Both the actors portraying Flick and Chazz are the most amateurish I've seen in some time. There is no life in Flick, no spark that this is a real person. Instead I felt like I was watching someone read a book instead of acting. The actress playing Chazz felt more like someone portraying a caricature than a real person. Maybe having never been to Brooklyn I'm missing something here but I don't think that's the case.

The second worst thing this film does is be boring. The pacing is incredibly slow. Slow patches suddenly have speeches from characters inserted before going back to slow patches. There are few if any characters to sympathize with. With the exception of the big reveal towards the end of the film you feel like nothing is happening here.

Movies have been made about the coming of age for characters since the black and white films of the past. Those movies involved the viewer, made them want to know what happened to the character after the final credits. With this film I couldn't find myself caring what happened to the character while it was going on. This is one movie I couldn't recommend to anyone with the exception of Spike Lee followers who will find any movie he does a work of art.
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on January 16, 2013
I found this movie profoundly boring and just overall uninvolving with terrible acting from the two kid leads. Big fan of Spike so this was a hard letdown. I can't even fathom ever watching this again. It's not worth it.
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on November 23, 2013
If you are a spike lee fan, I highly recommend you view this movie. Red Hook summer is an underrated movie, just as many other independent films are today. This is a thought provoking movie based on belief systems, youth, poverty and growing up.
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on August 2, 2013
Realism at its best. I liked the characters. The young boy in the film was very good. A very real situation depicted in the movie. Go Mookie!!
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on March 2, 2013
I bought this movie without seeing it first. I received a gift card to a certain store for Christmas, and with tax it was slightly over $10.00.
The movie centers around a young man who calls himself Flik Royale, who is from upper middle class Atlanta and goes to the Red Hook housing project in Brooklyn to spend the summer with his granfather, Bishop Enoch Rouse whom he has never met before.
The movie is filled with many colorful characters. Spike Lee revises his character Mookie, visibly older and still delivering Sal's Pizza, from the movie "Do The Right Thing". We see Mookie twice. There is Chazz Morningstarr a young lady who befriends Flik, and teaches him a thing or two about life. Deacon Zee, a deacon in the church,who is a wino, talks about the economy uses profanity constantly. He is the most comical character, other than T.K., the church organist.
I love the way Spike uses vibrant colors in the movie mostly, reds, purple's, yellow, greens, and blues. The soundtrack is also a standout. Judith Hill , who was one of Michael Jackson's backup singers, has several wonderful tracks. Bruce Hornsby has a few tracks also.
The movie has a complete plot twist. I won't reveal it, but as in the past, many of Spike's film deal with things that are going on in the black community, and sometimes other communities as well.
I thought this was a great film, I have been a Spike Lee fan since 1988. I think many people slept on this film, but Spike is as brilliant as he was 25 years ago. All of his films have a message! We can all come away with something from his films.
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on April 5, 2013
This one took me off guard, I think Spike is a genius. I felt my timing in watching this movie was off, if I were to have watched it when all of the accusations were made against Bishop Eddie Long then I think it would have moved me even more. At first I thought it was bizarre and out of nowhere, however, when a issue like this reveals itself then it is just like that; out of no where. No one can believe it and it becomes a total shocker/upset. The "new" truth is revealed. This movie shocked me but also made me replay what happened and understand the issues clearer and realize what just took place really happens.
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