I respect Lee's passionate polemic, but as a movie, it just didn't work for me... It's far too stylised for my taste. It's hard to be affected by genuine emotion, when almost everything is presented in the manner of a community outreach pageant."Do the Right Thing" still crackles with a freshness and vibrancy - but Chi-Raq sadly plays from the conscience of an old man, falling back upon fables to make a difference... Sorry Spike!
Chicago is referred to as Chi-Raq. American losses in Afghanistan from 2001 to today amounts to 2349, in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 amounts to 4424, and Chicago from 2001 to 2015 with 7356 murders. Dolmedes (Samuel L. Jackson) refers to ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes' play Lysistrata. Chi-Raq (Nick Cannon) is a rapper. Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris) is his girlfriend. Cyclops (Wesley Snipes) is a local thug. Irene (Jennifer Hudson) suffers the lost of her child from a stray bullet. Lysistrata leads a campaign by the women to withhold sex until the men stop the violence.Spike Lee takes on a tough subject. The 'solution' is poetic and way too simplistic. I get the allure of pairing the classic Greek play with the present day reality. If nothing else, he's agitating for a solution to this intractable problem. He's not giving up. As for the movie itself, I have a few problems with the cast. John Cusack does not fit as a priest. I accept his Chicago connection and his need to help with this issue. He has never played this type of role and it's very odd to see him here. The General King Kong character is even worst. He is ridiculous. I don't know what Spike Lee is trying to say about the military and what connection they have with the murder rate. On the other hand, Jennifer Hudson's presence is powerful. Overall, this is a mix bag but at least, Spike Lee is willing to tackle the issue like he did so many years ago.
Chi-Raq (2015) *** 2hr.07min.Spike lee is one of the most talented and provocative directors in the past 30 years who has continuously makes films that are not only important but also the most joyous of filmmakers with a distinct vision and has made film are challenging, visually and intellectually stimulating filmmaker. Spike Lee has been given a bad rap by the media that is too outspoken for his own good, for Lee has had a difficult time recently getting his films made. He was able to get" Chi-Raq" made but Lee had to deal with a lot of controversy surrounding the film. The mayor of Chicago Emmanuel has said the naming of the film "Chi-Raq" makes Chicago look bad and makes light of the tragedy of street violence in Chicago. I will go on record, to say that the film does not make light of the black on black violence. It is a satire, but Lee is such a good filmmaker that he can be topical, irrelevant without being offensive. The film stars Teyonah Paris as Lysistrata who at the beginning of the movie is making love to her boyfriend Chi-Raq Dupree (Nick Cannon) that is until they hear gun shots. Fearing for her life she moves in with Chiraq mother Helen (Angela Bassett) they talk about her son and how can they make the city of Chicago be a worth wile city again. Helen also hates her son's choice of profession and wonders if he will ever make better choices in his life. Later, a 7 year old girl is shot down and no one wants to come forward and to tell what happened to her. The girls' Mother (Jennifer Hudson) demands justice for her child and pleads to anyone if they can find it in their hearts to come forward and have sympathy for her and for her dead child. Lysistrata has a solution, she and along with a bunch of her girlfriends decide to abstain sex for their men and encourages many black women to do the same publicly. These black women truly feel that they can stop the violence of black on black crime. To stop the persistent shooting within their city. Soon the word get out and is spreads like wildfire not only in the city of Chicago but to other foreign countries such as India, Brazil, Japan and France—yes even France of all places. The men in their lives have a meeting to denounce their significant others to resist their lustful charms and believe that the women will come to their scenes and come back to them no questions asks.Several powerful scenes come to mind. One being Father Mike Corridan (John Cusack) who chastises those people who will not come forward in finding justice for that 7 year old girl and her mother and how can we sit by and not stand up for what's happen to their great city. How the city has become a city of cowards. The community is only looking out for themselves. Another scene that is quite topical is when Lysistrata entices and older white guy, who is a lover of the south and the confederate flag to have sex with him and to tie him up and blind fold him. Only to discover that all of his friends are tried up and that they are the ones that are enslaved and not the women they enslaved hundreds of years ago. Bassett has an effective scene with an insurance agent who wants her to buy insurance for her son. Bassett is disgusted by the request. They are many good performances in the movie, especially Hudson and Bassett as the e women who are pained to see what has happened to their great city of Chicago. Samuel L. Jackson is the narrator of the story and he gives a charismatic and dramatic energy to his scenes. The main problem of the movie is that it spends a little too much time with topical humor and not enough with the character of Chiraq. We don't really get to know him on personal level. There's not real story given to him as why he chose a life of crime. However, I do recommend the movie because this film deals with issues that are important to society and asks the audience to find a solution to a problem that still goes on in not only Chicago but in America as an whole as well.
The newest joint from director Spike Lee, is a bizarre experiment for all to see.Told in a brash tone, preaching with a megaphone, promising to make heads roll, And influenced by the writings of old Aristophanes.Lysistrata (Parris) is the main squeeze of Chi-Raq (Cannon), A man with hopes to rap and plans attacks with and between two rival clans.There's similarities between another two households alike in dignity, Down to the the colors worn during their mutiny.So hopeless is their feud, no faction can collude to end, The violence penned and pent up in the hearts of these men.So too does Lysistrata makes her nihilism known, Until an innocent is slain by a bullet in stray.Plotting with Miss Helen (Bassett) and her sisters to atone, The ladies decide to keep their menfolk at bay.Thus swayed with a solemn oath to end the specter of death, From the streets of the City with Big Shoulders, The women of Chicago swear with resounding shibboleth, To go on sex strike until the violence is over.Much like this review, the film is in rhyme, which can grind, The gears of many not willing to meet it halfway, The characters imbue parody and are unable to find, Balance between the real and distorted morality play.Overwrought with the thoughts and ersatz of bathetic farce, There's still something radical with which few can parse; Like when the gals take the armory, like Greeks to the treasury, The choruses of men and women can't help but find, A sincere quest for peace too abstruse for the blind.Thus this film is a siren's call for peace that should be heard, Even if it is incredibly uneven in places.The sui generis of such a movie bends to the absurd, Yet the message is true thus putting me in it's good graces.There was much hullabaloo about it's offensive fantasy, Minimizing the tragedy of a besieged Windy City.I for one stopped myself from attending a screening, As Chicago is second home thus this treatment is demeaning.Yet firstly, this film is supposed to be skit and travesty, While the reasons for violence is complex, the act is absurdity! Why not have an expression that typifies the high camp of low brutality.Why not revel in the message of love, that which comes from above, Below and inside the mourning, healing hearts and souls thereof.There are many reasons to hate: revenge, opportunity, resource, religion, Politics, poverty, power, cash, race and competition.Yet there is only one reason for love.Secondly the source material is Greek in more ways than one, Comprehending the pathos of such a think piece maligned, Appropriates the fields of Thalia, Euterpe and Clio entwined.It's not the who, what, where or when but why, when all is said and done.And how strongly you feel by the tears and blood shed, When all players arrived, sheathed in white, bathed in the glory, Indemnified by a campaign ignited by Leymah Gbowee.They end in the way a comedy should, in jubilation and ascension.A better understanding made possible by an old form.In modernity and convention we're given new dimension, With which to understand what's sadly a new norm.Manipulative? Simplistic? Sexist? Maybe; Greek comedies are not exactly known for their subtlety.Neither is Lee who hungrily experiments with novelty, Blusters with the voracity of his new expression, Not bothered or concerned with the asylum of discretion.He's a maverick through and through, taking risks made bear, By a new form first fashioned by the surname Lumiere.It tries, it fails, it gets back up again and fights the good fight, Using to make right the names of Jackson, Bassett and Snipes.Is this movie acropolis or apocryphal? Watch and decide.www.theyservepopcorninhell.blogspot.com