Red Hook Summer - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Red Hook Summer Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 5, 2014
As much as I enjoyed Clarke Peters's performance, this was a movie that felt like a pale imitation of Lee's groundbreaking early work. It could easily have been half an hour shorter, and it would have been more powerful for it--too much needless exposition in the early going. The child acting was barely competent and the pacing was off; the plot twist didn't feel earned. Still showed decent flashes of the old Lee's thematic territory--disillusionment with the American dream, particularly in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis--and had some stellar stylistic flourishes near the end, but these pluses just weren't enough to save the film.
cosmo313
Super Reviewer
½ June 17, 2012
Another entry in Spike Lee's Chronicles of Brooklyn series, this is the tale of Flik Royale, a sullen boy from middle-class Atlanta who is sent to spend the summer in the Red Hook housing projects of Brooklyn with his fervently religious grandfather whom he has never met before.

It's another coming-of-age fish out of water type story, and, while it's nothing all that new, it has some nice ideas and potential behind it.

The main problems are the execution (I wasn't all that enamored by the hand-held digital camera work), and a late plot development that comes basically out of nowhere and pretty much derails tings. Also, the acting (especially by the young actors) is pretty bad. I get that Lee was going for a more naturalistic style with their performances, but unlike Gus Van Sant, he can't pull it off. The performance by Clarke Peters as the grandfather is actually pretty good though, and easily the strongest part of the movie.

I did like the humor, and, as I said, some of the ideas, but ultimately this one falls pretty flat. I did enjoy the world they tried to build here though, and it was also pretty cool seeing Spike briefly bring back his Do The Right Thing character Mookie.

All in all, a largely 'meh' kind of movie. It's got Lee's trademark flair all over it, just not the energy or memorability.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
March 7, 2014
In "Red Hook Summer," Colleen(De'Adre Aziza) drops her thirteen year old son Flik(Jules Brown) off in Brooklyn to spend the summer with her father, Enoch(Clarke Peters), a Baptist preacher and boiler repairman. None of which is to Flik's liking, starting with the accommodations. And then there is the lack of air conditioning, the non-vegan food and most importantly the lack of television. All of which he records faithfully with his Ipad 2. At least, there are the sunday school snacks which he consumes with his new friend Chazz(Toni Lysaith).

Even with a shocking third act plot twist that is more Old Testament than New Testament, "Red Hook Summer" is more often than not an evocative look at a boy's expanding his boundaries, both physically and mentally. And a very good performance from Clarke Peters certainly helps matters. But like with other of his recent movies, Spike Lee has a lot easier time with what he wants to say, than in how he says it which is usually just as important, even with the occasional directorial flourish.(It should come as no surprise how little difference there is between a rant and a sermon.) An example of this is on the subject of gentrification as the neighborhood of Red Hook does not come alive on screen like it should have.
½ March 27, 2013
spike shines a light on another part of black culture the born agains and jesus freaks but this pic is a hodge podge of other better lee flicks like 'do the right thing' and 'crooklyn" even spike reprises his role as mookie the pizza delivery guy from 'do the right thing'
½ December 13, 2014
God wants us to love.

A young boy from Atlanta is dropped off in New York with his minister grandfather. His grandfather is also from Atlanta but some years ago he came to a church in Brooklyn that has quickly run down and is desperate for money. The grandfather hopes to one day land a benefactor that will help him with his bills. Meanwhile, the young boy becomes best friend with the daughter of a member of the church. The member of the church has feelings for the grandfather, causing fascinating interactions between the four characters.

"You're right, I don't like you...I love you."

Spike Lee, director of X, School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Inside Man, She Hate Me, Girl 6, Clockers, Jungle Fever, and She's Gotta Have It, delivers Red Hook Summer. The storyline for this picture is fascinating and starts with a wonderful coming of age story with interesting character development. The movie takes an interesting twist at the end and then ends abruptly. The acting is very good and the cast includes Jules Brown, Turron Kofi Alleyne, De'Adre Aziza, Jonathan Batiste, Sumayya Ali, and Limary Agosto.

"You molested me!"

I've actually always wanted to see this film but never got around to watching it. I found it on Netflix and finally viewed this picture and it was better and deeper than I anticipated. Lee continues to deliver an amazing New York feel throughout the movie while delivering a clever plot twist. I would have given this a ten if it had a better ending. This is definitely worth a viewing.

"Hell to the naw."

Grade: A
½ April 14, 2014
The allegations of pedophilia levied against Enoch derailed the focus of the entire film. From that point onward it meanders towards a resolution that feels perfunctory.
½ August 4, 2013
Red Hook Summer is a meandering film that's heavy handed climax comes out of nowhere, uncomfortably changing the tone of the film. The dialogue for the children seemed very outdated and unnatural; making me wonder if Spike Lee has became too disconnected to the youth of urban culture.
½ July 1, 2013
I actually spent the majority of this one fighting the urge to give up on it. The acting and writing were both at times atrocious. But the surprise twist that the critics here seem to hate pulled me back into it. Especially strange considering Spike is notorious for his bad endings.
March 25, 2013
I'm usually open to long, drawn-out, non-exciting films (for instance, i actually liked 'Lincoln') but this is beyond a a snore-fest ???? ... not very entertaining, intriguing or eye-opening. Sorry ..... that I wasted 2 hours + 1 min out of my life on this film.
½ March 24, 2013
Although it tries to redeem itself in the last 30 minutes with some trace of an interesting story, the first 90 minutes are so boring (and at parts so poorly acted) that any efforts after are a little too late..
January 5, 2013
I keep going back to Spike Lee in hopes that he will live up to his early potential as a filmmaker, and he almost always let's me down. This was a mess and the acting was terrible. I guess I will just hold out hope for his Oldboy remake.
½ November 27, 2012
While quite off putting, this is a gorgeous film with a lot to say. Spike Lee tunes into the mayhem perfectly. A very worthy achievement.
½ December 17, 2012
Horrible boring movie. The story is a mess. You can tell they did lots of reshoots to try to make sense of it, but it falls flat every time. Adding a sexy gospelly, extremely obtrusive soundtrack, can't divert your attention from the fact that the scenes are dead in the water. The best thing about it is the groovy font in the closing credits, if you can stay awake that long.
September 23, 2012
It's great to see Mookie still delivering pizzas in Brooklyn. Not much else to celebrate in this film from one of my favorite filmmakers.
September 12, 2012
Easily Spike's worst movie!! I don't know what the hell he was thinking with this time waster. From the horrible kid actors to the severe plot twist towards the end. It's garbage!! Avoid!!
August 31, 2012
A misguided film from Spike Lee, the first film of his that I didn't like, it does have one good thing, and thats the lead performance of clarke peters as the bishop, hes the only good actor here and he gives an almost oscar worthy performance, the rest cannot be said about the rest of the cast, you can tell they were unknowns cuz they CANNOT act, the lead kid was sooooooooooooo annoying i couldnt fucking stand him, the girl and deacon werent that much better either, another thing, spike lee shows up as Mookie,, BUT HE DOESNT DO ANYTHING, he literally just walks by twice and says like 4 words, what was the point, if youre gonna feature an iconic character like that, then at least give him something to do, or just dont include him at all then, theres no point and it just distracts from the film, and another thing, idk if anyone has read any of the reviews of this, but theres a major plot development that completely changes the film like 3/4 of the way through, while this could have been handled well in a different film, its so poorly used here, it completely changes the tone of the film and also completely undermines everything the film had been trying to say, ive no idea why spike included it, its got some church music i guess, but overall a very frustrating film that couldve been way better
½ August 25, 2012
I liked it! While it had its flaws a strong performance by CLARKE PETERS & a powerful Third Act saves it
½ August 12, 2012
Honestly the HORRIBLE acting really killed this for me. Fuck that "natural" shit, these kids are reading lines, their "natural" readings are shit compared to kids who have an understanding of good acting. That said, it was an interesting movie and pretty impressive considering it was shot in about 18 days. Great colors and a couple of great shots, interesting plot twist... maybe a little too friendly however.
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