BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

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bainbridgezu
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BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#1 Post by bainbridgezu » Mon May 14, 2018 3:12 pm


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mfunk9786
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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#2 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon May 14, 2018 3:21 pm

That looks like quite the sticky tone to get right, but the trailer is pretty great and promising for sure

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bainbridgezu
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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#3 Post by bainbridgezu » Mon May 14, 2018 3:34 pm

Looking forward to hearing Lee talk about this more after the premiere. He's briefly discussed the distinction between humor and comedy regarding the film's structure and tone, which I except is key to navigating that stickiness.

Largely unrelated, but casting Topher Grace as David Duke is a stroke of unexpected genius. Knowing Soderbergh is a fan of Lee, maybe this will inspire him to give Grace a call. Would love to see them work together beyond those (great) Ocean's cameos.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#4 Post by swo17 » Mon May 14, 2018 3:38 pm

He had a prominent role in Traffic.

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Big Ben
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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#5 Post by Big Ben » Mon May 14, 2018 3:43 pm

The funniest thing about all this is that it's a true story. I cannot wait to see this.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#6 Post by bainbridgezu » Mon May 14, 2018 3:45 pm

swo17 wrote:He had a prominent role in Traffic.
Completely forgot about that. Soderbergh's got too many great ensembles in his oeuvre.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#7 Post by swo17 » Mon May 14, 2018 4:19 pm

Big Ben wrote:The funniest thing about all this is that it's a true story. I cannot wait to see this.
Obviously this is how it really happened and why it's being made into a movie, but I can't help but think it would've been a lot safer/easier to have the white guy be both the voice and face of the operation.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#8 Post by Finch » Mon May 14, 2018 5:20 pm


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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#9 Post by Luke M » Mon May 14, 2018 5:56 pm

The “America First” toast at the very end of the trailer is a nice, little gut-punch.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#10 Post by Big Ben » Mon May 14, 2018 5:59 pm

swo17 wrote:
Big Ben wrote:The funniest thing about all this is that it's a true story. I cannot wait to see this.
Obviously this is how it really happened and why it's being made into a movie, but I can't help but think it would've been a lot safer/easier to have the white guy be both the voice and face of the operation.
The story is pretty ridiculous actually. The officer essentially trolled white supremacists and even used his real name and well, they bought it hook line and sinker. It wasn't intentional at first. It just ended up being way bigger and way crazier than Stallman ever intended it to be!

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#11 Post by domino harvey » Mon May 14, 2018 6:40 pm

This looks great. I'm all for Spike Lee swinging back into the game with a timely film like this-- this thing is going to make money hand over fist

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#12 Post by Daneurism » Mon May 14, 2018 10:24 pm

Tricky tone to strike and judging by the trailer, I don't think it hits. Seems to be too self aware. My beef with most coen influenced films(Though, the coen brothers usually strike the right tone)

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#13 Post by Brian C » Mon May 14, 2018 11:57 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:That looks like quite the sticky tone to get right, but the trailer is pretty great and promising for sure
I’m not quite sure what “getting it right” means in this context, but I see little point in Lee making this film if he’s not willing to make people uncomfortable with it. Hopefully it’s more BAMBOOZLED and less MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#14 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue May 15, 2018 12:59 am

Making a good movie is getting it right. If the humor falls flat or the racial politics ring hollow, that is not getting it right.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#15 Post by black&huge » Tue May 15, 2018 2:52 am

Brian C wrote: I’m not quite sure what “getting it right” means in this context, but I see little point in Lee making this film if he’s not willing to make people uncomfortable with it. Hopefully it’s more BAMBOOZLED and less MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA
There's a difference between making people uncomfortable by making them face the actual facts with whatever injustice is intended to be shown. Then there's the signature Spike Lee uncomfortable which entails shouting at the audience from such an introverted and angry place people brush you off and stop listening very quickly because at the very core all you want to do is yell at people.

The trailer makes this look like a studio film which doesn't play it safe but at least looks like it's attempting to be accessible to everyone with its subject matter (mainly with its humor which is not Lee's strong suit). And if it turns out that's what it is then it's a big step towards a maturity that is long overdue for him.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#16 Post by Brian C » Tue May 15, 2018 3:05 am

black&huge wrote:There's a difference between making people uncomfortable by making them face the actual facts with whatever injustice is intended to be shown. Then there's the signature Spike Lee uncomfortable which entails shouting at the audience from such an introverted and angry place people brush you off and stop listening very quickly because at the very core all you want to do is yell at people.
I have not seen a single Spike Lee joint that fits that description.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#17 Post by black&huge » Tue May 15, 2018 3:15 am

Brian C wrote:I have not seen a single Spike Lee joint that fits that description.
Well I wish you luck when you finally get around to watching your first Spike Lee joint.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#18 Post by ianthemovie » Tue May 15, 2018 9:38 am

black&huge wrote:Then there's the signature Spike Lee uncomfortable which entails shouting at the audience from such an introverted and angry place people brush you off and stop listening very quickly because at the very core all you want to do is yell at people.
Specific examples? Many of Lee's films have what I would call a rhetorical tone, and many of them are indeed angry (why should they not be?), but there is also much humanity, comedy, beauty, etc. in all of them. They are not rants.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#19 Post by domino harvey » Tue May 15, 2018 9:59 am

He's just going by what MAGA-ers leave in Variety article comments

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#20 Post by Lemmy Caution » Tue May 15, 2018 10:36 am

Brian C wrote: I have not seen a single Spike Lee joint that fits that description.
Totally lost me too.
Can't think of any film, not even a scene, which reflects that description.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#21 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:18 am

The reason many of us try to see everything Spike Lee does is that on the (increasingly rare of late) occasions when he manages to hit on the right story, set of actors, and concept that gets his blood pumping, he'll deliver a feature with an inimitable blend of visual verve, vitality, humor, anger, and entertainment value. I'm happy to say that BlackKkKlansman is precisely one of those joints, and among the handful of best features he's ever directed.

Does Lee's dramatization of the true story of the infiltration of the Klan in 1970s Colorado Springs by black and Jewish undercover officers strain credulity with its artistic liberties? Absolutely. Does it always balance its tonal transitions as well as it could? Nope. Does it tie up its narrative too neatly and conveniently tack on a hollywoodized resolution? Sure. But does it at the same time manage to be entertaining as hell, to be funny and soulful and earnest, to highlight an incendiary exchange of rhetoric between revolutionary liberationists and reactionary fascists (and various points in between), and for good measure to examine sixty years of representations of race in cinema before ultimately sending you out of the theater ready to punch a Nazi in the face? You're goddamn right it does.

Honestly, it wouldn't be a worthwhile Spike Lee movie without those signature imperfections and overreaches and diversions, like the few minutes he devotes to a song and dance sequence in a nightclub early on (to be honest, I could have used another of those built around one of the other great songs on the soundtrack), or the odd cameo that opens the film. When all those rough edges suddenly smooth out and you get a sequence like the
SpoilerShow
intercutting between an eyewitness account of a lynching and a Klan rally replete with language Laura Ingraham probably said today,
Lee can provide some of the more daring and exhilarating moments you can see in a multiplex. Speaking of which, I highly recommend seeing this with a big, boisterous crowd, especially one that's not entirely clear on what they're getting themselves into at first but by the end is ready to take to the streets; this is one of the first non-Marvel-geek audiences I've seen burst into sustained applause and cheers at the end of a film.

Finally, the core cast really kills it, with John David Washington (Denzel's son), Laura Harrier, and Topher Grace all doing excellent work; that said, Adam Driver continues to cement his place as one of the elite actors we have right now, and he's as appealing as I've ever seen him as the white face of the undercover operation. I was grateful to have him in this film, and that the script leverages his character to deepen and complicate the racial dynamics of the film as a whole.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#22 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:59 pm

This film is a messy canvass of tones and at times unusual humor and terrible character acting and moments of astonishing beauty and grace. And somehow it all, in the form of a 3rd act that heightens all of what I mentioned above and tops it all off with a heavy boot stomp of reality... is there any better piece of work to come along right now? It's become such a cliche that something is a film 'for today,' etc. Even Get Out's importance was overstated in that department, delivering a difficult dissection of 'well meaning' neoliberal whites and cultural appropriation that was very appropriate even a year and a half ago, but especially as a sort of post-mortem of the Obama era (and Clinton electoral cycle). But in a lot of ways, BlacKkKlansman gets back to basics because this country's culture has (hideously) also gotten back to basics. There's not as much time to get into nitpicking our allegedly 'improving' race relations when the stakes are as high as they are now, and Spike Lee understands this as well as any filmmaker possibly could.

So as much as BlacKkKlansman is an entertaining mashup of blaxploitation genre conventions, odd tonal shifts and dialogue decisions (Lee having 'fun' with this time period takes on sort of a vibe of Quentin Tarantino on heavy sedatives), and Godard-ian asides that let speechifying racial politics that are timeless but perhaps as controversial as ever just sit there and breathe - it is all of these things - it's mostly just a big blockbuster film. The sort of film that opens on 1500 screens despite the fact that it is seriously going to make its viewers take a look around them. No, this is not a film that is designed to make white viewers look in the mirror. There is much of that art being made today and it is obviously very valuable. But Lee wisely wants his viewers to take a step back and just wants them to consider the people around them, their neighbors, their acquaintances. Their brothers and sisters. And to see, with open eyes, what is happening around us, and how normal it all already seems, all over again.

Is it sometimes clunky considering how far the race relations conversation has moved among the intellectual class, leaving behind pretty much everyone else? This young white Vox critic sure thinks so. But it's not a movie for people already having those sorts of discussions, and picking apart and grading the racial and socioeconomic politics of every work of popular culture being cranked out. This is a movie for everybody in this country: a blockbuster entertainment, a showcase for big loud ideas that we are somehow seeing threatened vocally from the highest levels of power right after we thought they were headed out the door. It's a necessary 101 lesson, with all the things that can make some feel impatient about that level of education.

It's also hilarious, surreal, and made me extremely emotional in as many ways as one can be so. It's one of the best films of 2018, and it's like writing history with lighting. My only regret is that it is all so terribly true.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#23 Post by Murdoch » Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:49 am

I enjoyed this a lot. There was one purposefully crowd-pleasing moment that felt unrealistic and forced:
SpoilerShow
the racist cop going down in a quickly thrown-in sting operation, with the police chief and white cops celebrating with Stallworth as the cop's taken away, as if he were the one bad egg in a 70s Colorado police department.
But that moment aside, this was a very entertaining return to the spotlight for Lee, who feels better suited than anyone to tackle this story. It doesn't have the angry power of Do the Right Thing or Malcolm X but there are moments that approach Lee's masterworks, particularly the cutting between the Klan watching Birth of a Nation and the tale of Jesse Washington, along with the final moments showing how little has changed between then and now.

But above all else, I'm happy to see a wide release film make David Duke look like a complete ass throughout.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#24 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:00 am

Murdoch wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:49 am
I enjoyed this a lot. There was one purposefully crowd-pleasing moment that felt unrealistic and forced:
SpoilerShow
the racist cop going down in a quickly thrown-in sting operation, with the police chief and white cops celebrating with Stallworth as the cop's taken away, as if he were the one bad egg in a 70s Colorado police department.
SpoilerShow
At that point I think Lee was deliberately building the audience up by trying to end the film as happily as possible, with as much good humor as he could muster. The very end wouldn't have felt like as much of a gut punch without such strange, shoehorned tying up of loose ends with as shaggy and gentle a tone as possible leading into it. Perhaps I am giving Lee too much credit for this juxtaposition, but I really think that his reasoning was somewhere along these lines, and it worked for me for that reason.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

#25 Post by All the Best People » Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:36 am

This is an essential film, and I can't imagine another film winning Best Picture when this is in the world.

Is it perfect? No. Does it tell enough truths that the imperfections are irrelevant? Yes.

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