Thursday, August 9, 2018

A Spike Lee Joint  Review of Blackkklansman
Tinsel & Tine's look at

A Spike Lee Joint 


By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

Fans of the Dave Chappelle show, can't help but think about his hilarious skit involving Clayton Bigsby, the blind KKK leader who didn't know he was black, when hearing about the premise of Spike Lee's BlackkKlansman, which tells the true story of a black cop infiltrating the KKK in the 70's in Colorado, and lives to tell the tale.

Dave Chappelle Brother Clayton Bigsby

John David Washington (yes, he’s Denzel’s son) plays Ron Stallworth, a black rookie cop who seeks advancement in an all-white department serving at a time when cops were routinely referred to as ‘pigs’, particularly by black revolutionaries - he finds his first undercover assignment is to infiltrate a rally where Kwame Ture, formerly The Black Panther leader Stokley Carmichael, is speaking to a group of student radicals. The rousing speech is a sobering call for black liberation and Stallworth is divided in his loyalties. Particularly after meeting the young lady who organized the rally, Patrice (Laura Harrier) an attractive leader of the Black Student Union.

Nevertheless, Stallworth does a good enough job undercover that his Chief moves him out of the detested file room and into Intelligence full-time. In the movie, Stallworth is flipping through a newspaper on his desk and sees an ad to join the KKK and decides to call the number; in truth, Ron sent a letter full of white supremacist rhetoric to a P.O. Box. Either way, it was his entry into launching an investigation of the long standing hate group.

The Birth of a Nation original rebirth of the Klu Klux Klan

Ultimately, it seems that Spike Lee's intentions with BlackkKlansman is to deliver a fiery polemic on America’s long history of bigotry and racism, establishing a through-line of intolerance that leads to the current president. There is a chilling scene of the Colorado Klansmen hooting hollering and eating popcorn while watching D.W. Griffith’s "The Birth of a Nation", the film which incited the rebirth of the Klu Klux Klan. This scene is juxtaposed by a group of black students and activists gathered in another part of town to hear the testimony of an old man (Harry Belafonte) who witnessed the lynching of his best friend in Texas around the time “The Birth of a Nation” was playing in theaters.

And there are other moments where BlacKkKlansman delivers, but on the whole, it didn't really work for me. I really want Spike to be back on top - and with the film winning top honors at Cannes, I was expecting to be impressed. Unfortunately, the shadings and storytelling felt messy. Typically, I like a movie with many moods, tones and genre's but not this time. It's not satirical or a drama or a black comedy or a good biopic on the life of the real Ron Stallworth, after all, we never see how the investigation affects him emotionally, for Ron it's about the job. But we do see how it affects Adam Driver's character, Flip Zimmerman, who plays the white version of Ron Stallworth. Flip is Jewish but has never embraced this part of himself religiously or culturally; passing for Caucasian his whole life. However, having to out and out deny his heritage during a Klan interview, gives him a deep moment of reflection. It's also Driver's character who takes all the risks and drives the story, but it's supposed to be Stallworth's tale. Topher Grace does surprisingly resemble a young David Duke, but he plays him like an SNL skit. In fact, all the Klansman are boobs and caricatures, I think it would be more effective to portray men and women you might trust and like, only to find out underneath they hold intense hate and bigotry inside, which they only express in the insularity of a Klan meeting. The film also wraps up too neatly, like an episode of Charlie's Angels when a case ends and they all gather back at the office to make a corny joke at Bosley's expense.

T&T the Large Association of Movie Blogs (aka the LAMb)​ rating 3 outta 5 ​
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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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