Dr. Hess Green becomes cursed by a mysterious ancient African artifact and is overwhelmed with a newfound thirst for blood. He however is not a vampire. Soon after his transformation he ... See full summary »
Stephen Tyrone Williams,
After the shooting death of a child hit by a stray bullet, a group of women led by Lysistrata organize against the on-going violence in Chicago's Southside creating a movement that challenges the nature of race, sex and violence in America and around the world.
At the end when the peace signing ceremony is being conducted all the parties involved are on one side of the signing table which is in front of them between the seats of the amphitheater with all the visible seats empty. See more »
Father Mike Corridan:
I'm going to talk about a life today. An important life in our community. A life that ends life. The life of a gun.
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Chi-Raq is a great Spike Lee film. Not necessarily a great film.
I give it a C+ or ** (2 stars) PROS: Strong acting performances of the leads and supporting cast. All worked well in flow with cameos of celebs sprinkled throughout the film. Compelling visual cinematography that captures the tone of the Windy City. Well-thought out production design of scene selections that provided a depth of realism to the narrative. The colors of the scenes and costume design worked well in the symbolism of the divisiveness of gang violence and the battle-of-the-sexes theme that propped up the film's storyline. The use of rap lyrics in communicating Chicago's plight and connecting the film's characters. This film was vintage Spike Lee from his slow dolly shots, multiple-person narrative, symbolic cinematography in vintage snap shots of the community, pretentiously didactic and preachy in dialogue, usage of colors in visual storytelling (Spike Lee is masterful with colors), the assemblage of music overtones, and film storytelling covering various angles on a variety of social issues. As an unapologetic artist Spike Lee proves to out-stand himself an auteur in his own right--staying on top of the plight of Black America and delivering a film revelation one after the other prompting conversation and new appeal for solutions. Everything short of an activist-charge, Spike Lee has been rather consistent in his pursuit of pressing current affairs in his filmography. Like him or not he remains relevant and cannot be ignored. Chi-Raq is a great Spike Lee film. Not necessarily a great film.
CONS: Weak film story delivery in dialogue, character-build, and theme. This film misfired at all elements to a given genre. It worked poorly as a comedy, worked poorly as a satire, and worked poorly as a drama. Thus, the film worked poorly as multi-varied genre of the three. This polemic of a film was carried by an uneven, sporadic plot that was crowded with characters and subplots making for a perplexing flow throughout the movie. The use of rhyming dialogue that sporadically popped up in the script seemed a bad blend with the attempt to parallel the Lysistrata play, the classic Greek comedy by Aristophanes. Unless, of course, Lee was attempting for a parody of the timeless, ancient Athenian play. The insertion of Samuel L. Jackson's character as a well-dressed funnyman to set the stage of the next scene and add perspective of a universal moralism was a consistent miss. At times I felt like I was watching a Capital One® commercial. With slapstick humor that came off mostly bland with a few highlighted moments, comedy continues to prove to be Spike Lee's weakest working genre in filmmaking--not to confuse the brilliancy of timed humor in his earlier works. The battle-of-sex prologue that set the tone of the film which later extended in a jumble of social issues only to get back to it was executed rather shoddy and distractedly.
ADD'L NOTES: The attempt at provoking his audience as an element in entertainment is vintage Spike Lee. Lee's style is to take his audience on an emotional roller coaster in an entertaining fashion. His tendency to probe at the core of human feelings works well for him in embellishment and performance in visual-spatial form. My real issue with Chi-Raq were essential two things--one, the lack of feel for the city--Chicago was one Lee never fully grasped, and two, a misdirection and misappropriation of his audience--who exactly was this film made for and why?
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