BlacKkKlansman

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Re: BlacKkKlansman

Postby Precious Doll » Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:00 am

The Original BJ wrote:
flipp525 wrote:I’m surprised that Harry Belafonte is not being touted more seriously for Oscar consideration.


In a world where Mahershala Ali and Timothée Chalamet are among the most-touted “supporting” contenders, how would a part this size ever have a prayer anymore?


The only way is if the Academy was to designate what category each performances falls into and voters are not able to deviate from that.
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Re: BlacKkKlansman

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:03 am

flipp525 wrote:I’m surprised that Harry Belafonte is not being touted more seriously for Oscar consideration.


In a world where Mahershala Ali and Timothée Chalamet are among the most-touted “supporting” contenders, how would a part this size ever have a prayer anymore?

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Re: BlacKkKlansman

Postby flipp525 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:39 pm

I’m surprised that Harry Belafonte is not being touted more seriously for Oscar consideration. His deeply powerful scene is very clearly the best thing about this movie. It reminded me, in a way, of Lynn Redgrave’s devastating monologue towards the end of Kinsey. Just a searing cameo that’s immediately unforgettable.
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Re: BlacKkKlansman

Postby Sabin » Sun Sep 30, 2018 2:57 pm

Italiano wrote

It's a pleasant (if overlong) anecdote on a subject which shouldn't be pleasant nor anecdotal. And the final, recent real-life scenes, while definitely disturbing, feel even too urgent and important compared to what we have seen before. One can't deny that the movie is well-made, at times very well edited, and directed by an experienced helmer with obviously a strong commitment to the theme. Yet, deep it isn't - intentionally, maybe.

In a nutshell, this was my experience with the film. Very clear from the onset that Spike Lee's mission is to portray these horrible people as hucksters, dopes, unserious people, all leading to an ending that effectively undercuts its own message by saying that these people are dangerous. The most charitable reading is that the idiot man-child played by Paul Walter Hauser (y'know, the guy who plays only idiot man-children) takes David Duke's message to a horrible new level and that that is the legacy of David Duke: that hatred is a thing that is passed down and becomes real. But I'm not sure I buy that as the lesson of the film. I think the better reading of Blackklansman is that Spike Lee wanted to have it both ways. He's good enough of a filmmaker that he doesn't really pull it off (although I do love the casting of Topher Grace the dorky David Duke), and yet the film still mostly works for being wildly un-suspenseful. I don't know what I was expecting but this is a Spike Joint. It is not Inside Man or even 25th Hour. It's a roaming free-range dialogue about race and politics. With one big exception, it's at its best when it winks at the present (such as that great "Re-elect Nixon" poster) and it's worst when it shouts (when a white cop tells Denzel Jr. that one day this country will elect a racist)... and that big exception is the scene with Harry Belafonte that is so powerful it renders the rest of the film effectively moot. When this scene began, I really didn't like what it was doing and it really took me out of the film. By the end of that horrifying story, I was certain nothing in the rest of the film was going to matter as much.

A mess but worth seeing. I prefer Sorry to Bother You, to which it is inexorably linked through white voice.
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Re: BlacKkKlansman

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:01 am

I's a pleasant (if overlong) anedocte on a subject which shouldn't be pleasant nor anedoctal. And the final, recent real-life scenes, while definitely disturbing, feel even too urgent and important compared to what we have seen before. One can't deny that the movie is well-made, at times very well edited, and directed by an experienced helmer with obviously a strong commitment to the theme. Yet, deep it isn't - intentionally, maybe. And all the references to pop culture, and to the influence of the media in general and of films especially, are interesting, but as it often happens in these cases, a bit limited (media and films are, in turn, influenced by society and politics - and this is an aspect the movie doesn't really want to deal too much with). But, I mean, it's a watchable effort, from a director whom I was lucky enough to personally know and who, like it or not, has been groundbreaking - and seemed to have vanished from sight. It's good to see that he's still with us - and still passionate.
The acting is generally good, but not award-worthy. As I had heard that an actor I didn't know called Adam Driver is talked-about as a possible Oscar nominee, I stayed till the end credits to see which character he played (hoping that it was a minor but effective villain). But when I realized that he was the co-star, I honestly wondered what all the fuss is about.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman

Postby Uri » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:51 am

The Original BJ wrote:(You could maybe argue that the wife is a bit over-the-top, but even there I thought this emphasized an important point -- because of the misogyny inherent in her marriage, she almost has to play-act at being a Klan member to impress her husband and the men around her, and I thought the movie did an excellent job of highlighting her victimhood without remotely absolving her of her own racism and capacity for violence.)


I must admit I felt quite uncomfortable about it. There are practically only two female characters in this film which are somewhat more than blending into the background - this silly, short, fat and, well, not conventionally beautiful white wife and the gorgeous black activist. And what I got was that Lee, in the spirit of the blaxploitation films he's celebrating here, is implying that the women are the right payoff men get - the black stud wins (I know, I know, they didn't end in bed), the white skunk loses. I get the joke, but it's not a good enough one to be made in this era. (Sorry for being simplistically pc).

I don't think it's a disaster, but I'm not a huge fan of this film. It needed a kind of smart, mischievous touch Lee doesn't seem to possess. He ticks all the right boxes - it's opinionated, knowledgeable and most certainly relevant, yet I found it way too calculated. I found your take, BJ, on the KKK's BoaN screening/Harry Belafonte reminiscing segment to be brilliant, and I do appreciate it more in light of your analisis, yet I still find it too academic, to didactic - not to say demagogic - to truly work emotionally or even in a profound intellectual way.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:17 pm

I saw this opening day, but have been relatively short on time as of late, so commenting has eluded me. I quite liked the movie as well, and think it's probably Spike Lee's strongest film since 25th Hour.

One thing that really impressed me was his handling of the tone. There's a lot of humor in this movie -- the premise is so outrageous that playing a lot of it for squirm-inducing black comedy feels like the right approach. (The photograph scene provided a total laugh-out-loud punchline, I thought.) But I also found the movie bracingly suspenseful -- Lee gets right to the heart of just how dangerous these people are, even as smallish and seemingly pathetic a group as the Klan chapter in this film. It felt like Driver and Washington were constantly on the verge of being discovered at all times, and the horrifying consequences that could await them felt very palpable.

I also think Lee does a great job of finding the human-ness in the Klan members -- not "humanity" in the vein proffered by those awful NY Times pieces, which seem to present white supremacy as some kind of palatable intellectual exercise rather than a dangerously violent ideology. But pretty much all the Klan characters feel like real people -- human in their ordinariness -- and even when the movie mocks them it doesn't tip into caricature. (You could maybe argue that the wife is a bit over-the-top, but even there I thought this emphasized an important point -- because of the misogyny inherent in her marriage, she almost has to play-act at being a Klan member to impress her husband and the men around her, and I thought the movie did an excellent job of highlighting her victimhood without remotely absolving her of her own racism and capacity for violence.)

It feels like a baked-in criticism of Lee that some moments are going to stick out as a bit over-the-top, and I'd say the conversation that makes a direct comparison to Trump, as well as the close-up shots of Nixon campaign posters, felt a bit on-the-nose to me. And I'm just going to have to admit that the VERY end didn't really work for me -- it made the film's contemporary relevance incredibly explicit in a manner that I felt was unnecessary, given how much it was on my mind throughout the majority of the run time. But that didn't significantly affect my enthusiasm for the bulk of the movie.

One thing that I'd also point out about the Birth of a Nation sequence: given Lee's own knowledge of film history, the fact that he uses that film in a sequence involving cross-cutting cannot possibly be a coincidence. He's essentially linking the two most significant legacies of Griffith's film -- the reinvigoration of the Klan in culture, and the use of cross-cutting in cinema -- and showing how each continues to manifest itself generations later. (He also effectively demyths Griffith's use of cross-cutting -- giving the audience a viscerally emotional reaction to the Klan's destructive nature, rather than using editing to get the audience to root for them as heroes, as in Birth of a Nation.)

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Re: BlacKkKlansman

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:56 pm

I've been meaning to write about this for a week or so. I think, on one level, it's Spike Lee in close to Inside Man mode -- the film is, structurally, a fairly standard investigative procedural -- but with the extra fuel of Spike's never-hidden political activism, that's well-suited to both the story and this era. It's also something of a mellower Spike than we might have got at one point: though he's hardly 100% pro-police, and he rightly expects us to take to heart all the girlfriend's complaints, he's not as one-sidedly anti-cop as he might have been a decade or two back. Also, for a guy who's been accused of some level of anti-Semitism in the past, he goes out of his way to tout the collaboration between Washington and Driver, making clear they're on the same side.

The film's title is, in one sense, a con -- since Washington's character never interacts in person with any Klan folk, it's more a typical FBI investigation that happened to be instigated by a black character's phone call. But that fact puts an overlay of dark humor on the entire story, giving it more zest that many such true-crime efforts manage. There's a general liveliness to the film that makes it a lot of fun to sit through, even while it's driving toward the "Don't forget Charlottesville" finale that underlines the seriousness of the basic issues.

Washington has his father's on-camera ease, and he carries the film well. But I think Driver makes the deeper impression. I've been blunt about not caring for Driver in the past, but either he's worn me down or he's just better this time around -- I found his performance both witty and (in the monologue about feeling/not feeling Jewish) touching.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman

Postby dws1982 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:56 am

I liked this a lot.

It has the normal Spike Lee pacing problem for me: Pacing on individual scenes is fine, but it feels overlong as whole. At one point I checked my watch, expecting it to be an hour into the film, and I was shocked that it was only forty minutes in. Second half is better-paced, in general, although I do think that Lee runs into the issue of letting the film drag on a little too much past its climax. Also, there were a few points where the actors were clearly standing in front of a green screen.

In general though, this was a really good movie, with a lot to recommend. Maybe not Lee's most distinctive in terms of filmmaking--I could see Lee, at a different stage in his career, putting a more blacksploitation spin on the film--but it's very well-made, and the coda was both extremely moving and infuriating. Also totally agree with Precious that the sequence with Harry Belafonte was excellent; so many filmmakers use cross-cutting as a cheap trick, but this was just an expert use of cross-cutting, and easily one of the scenes of the year for me.

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Re: BlacKkKlansman

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:25 am

FilmFan720 wrote:I haven't seen this yet (my weekend plans to see it got derailed), but what about Topher Grace in Supporting Actor? I've heard a lot of discussion about him playing David Duke, but haven't heard yet how people feel about the performance.


I didn't even realise it was Topher Grace until after the film. Its going to be interesting to see if he gets nominated and its certainly within the realms of possibility. In some respects the performance is a broad caricature and given his almost comical function in the film, I didn't get a sense of a real person. The most telling moment is towards the end with documentary footage of the real David Duke and to be honest Topher Grace doesn't capture that but he is not really given in the film to do to match the brief footage of the real David Duke.
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Re: BlacKkKlansman

Postby FilmFan720 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:30 am

I haven't seen this yet (my weekend plans to see it got derailed), but what about Topher Grace in Supporting Actor? I've heard a lot of discussion about him playing David Duke, but haven't heard yet how people feel about the performance.
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BlacKkKlansman

Postby Precious Doll » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:50 am

I'm surprised a thread for this hasn't already been started given it looks likely to be a major Oscar contender.

I'd never heard of the story myself and am aware that liberties have been taken with the story (as it the case with just about anything based on or inspired by a true story). One of the most stark things about the film it that though set during the 1970s the subject matter is still disturbingly relevant today.

The film was so fresh, vibrant and alive and John David Washington & Adam Driver made a terrific twosome. I did think characterisation of the other characters was rather thin and to a degree caricatures but given that its a film with a mission so to speak it works fine within the film. The humour was also well placed and most of it is at the expense of the fools that are members of the KKK. I would also like to mention Harry Belafonte who has a brief role - simply luminous.

I had some problems with the way the film tied some things up but these are minor quibbles when everything else worked so well.

Spike Lee seems to have disappeared from the big screen for sometime now. The last film of his that I saw on the big screen Inside Man (2006), didn't even feel like a Spike Lee film, but some generic studio concoction and most of his other work since then have not even shown up in any form in my part of the world. It's very pleasing to see Lee return to form and to see him win the Grand Prix (second prize) at Cannes as I'm in the crowd that feel he was robbed big time in 1989 of the Palme d'Or for Do the Right Thing. Also, having seen 17 of the 21 films in competition at this years Cannes Film Festival it was a very much deserved award and doesn't qualify in anyway as a makeup award.

It will be interesting to see how this fairs at the Oscars. At this point in time Film, Director, Screenplay Adaptation, Editing seem highly likely. Washington & Driver less so, depending on competition and placement (I would consider them co-leads). And I wouldn't rule out Harry Belafonte. Sure it's a very brief appearance but simply the most stunning moments in the film.
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One


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