Red Hook Summer

Red-span-thumbstandard Flik's summer vacation is upended when he's sent from suburban Atlanta to stay with his preacher grandfather in the projects of Brooklyn. As the old man tries to get religion into his grandson, Flik befriends a mischievous girl from the congregation.
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Netflix Rating: 3.3
NYT Review
The Two Halves of a Neighborhood's Soul, Bared for All to See
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Rotten Tomatoes: Rotten 58%
Critics' score: 58   Audience score: 47   Rotten Tomatoes page
Top Rotten Tomatoes Critics

For the most part it's all rather pleasant, if somewhat aimless. full review

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

Lee's typically paradoxical statements on race and religion muddle the narrative, and his old stylistic tricks -- saturated color schemes, characters addressing the camera -- aren't exactly inspired. full review

Drew Hunt, Chicago Reader

The story is static for about 90 minutes, then rises to action, but in a way that seems impromptu, either made up on the spot or ill-considered. full review

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

When Spike Lee fails he fails big, and he goes down in flames with "Red Hook Summer." full review

Adam Graham, Detroit News

Lee's latest film feels like several intriguing ideas in search of an over-arching story. full review

Claudia Puig, USA Today

This coming-of-age portrait provides one more instance of Lee as one of this country's finest cinematic regionalists. full review

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

In truth, the film fizzles as much as it fumes. There is a kind of lassitude that sets in, even as it builds toward some kind of reckoning. full review

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

It's a scramble, marked by the unruly variety of visual strategies Lee prefers. full review

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

Here is Lee at his most spontaneous and sincere, but he could have used another screenplay draft, and perhaps a few more transitional scenes. full review

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

This is an illustrated lecture - a jumbled, rushed cinematic rant. The ideas are there. The story is not. full review

Robert Levin, The Atlantic

A movie that's alive and spontaneous and surprising is a rare enough thing to encounter-especially one that manages to address subjects as divisive and painful as inner-city black poverty without getting maudlin or preachy. full review

Dana Stevens, Slate

Welcome back, Spike. It's good to see you again. full review

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

Spike Lee now seems to be trying to be the world's oldest student filmmaker. Take out the rookie mistakes from "Red Hook Summer," and there'd be nothing left. full review

Kyle Smith, New York Post

Peters brings a magical energy to the movie's most laggard moments, infusing a so-what drama with a must-see performance. full review

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine

From a storytelling perspective, Red Hook Summer is an absolute mess. full review

Lee grapples with a number of urgent themes, but his approaches are often either too direct (we are repeatedly pummeled by the bishop's fiery preaching) or too circuitous (the verbal and visual meanderings are sometimes valuable, and sometimes not). full review

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

A clear failure, yet Lee is getting at things that mystify him. full review

David Denby, New Yorker

Spike Lee's messy, meandering, bluntly polemical "Red Hook Summer" has one crucial ingredient: a raw vitality. full review

Stephen Holden, New York Times

[The movie] isn't a smooth slow jam... but one doesn't go to Spike Lee pictures in order to solicit a complacent experience anyway. full review

Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies

Potently expresses, both aesthetically and narratively, a sense of inclusiveness and diversity. full review

Nick Schager, Village Voice
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