Red Hook Summer

Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

Due to the holiday, the past week has been lacking in movie news and light on posting in general compared to normal. So, if you were worried that all your family time and present opening cut into the hours you could have been reading FSR, don’t be. But that doesn’t mean we’ve been slacking on the features, either. You do have a lot to catch up with if you’ve been away from the site the past seven days, but it’s an organized pile of reading material for you, because most of the necessary content from the week is part of our Year in Review. And hopefully you got an iPad for whichever holiday you celebrate, so you can very easily read all the goods in our special tablet format (and check out the best downloads and apps for movie lovers). Before you get to the lists, take a look at our reviews of the movies that opened this week, including Django Unchained, Promised Land and West of Memphis (we also posted a late take on The Guilt Trip) and our interview with Promised Land director Gus Van Sant. Now, check out our biggest and best stories and original content from the past week after the break.

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Spike Lee made his bones in the indie film world by making movies about life in Brooklyn. Films like She’s Gotta Have It and Do the Right Thing set the tone for what eventually became known as his Chronicles of Brooklyn anthology. The director hasn’t explored this particular corner of his film universe since 1998’s He Got Game, however, so it was starting to look like subject matter he had fully explored and put away. That is, until the promotion for Red Hook Summer started. Not only has this film been heralded as being a new inclusion into the Chronicles of Brooklyn, some have been calling it a direct sequel to Do the Right Thing, largely because Lee is appearing in the film as his old character, Mookie. But now that we’ve seen the first trailer, that seems to be overstating things. While Do the Right Thing was a snapshot of youth culture in Brooklyn at a certain moment in time, Red Hook Summer seems to be a much more personal, coming-of-age movie about the journey one character takes. That character is Flik Royale (Jules Brown), a young man from a nice neighborhood in Atlanta who is sent to live with his Bishop grandfather (Clarke Peters) in one of the shadier parts of Brooklyn for the summer.

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New York in the summer is intense enough with the heat and humidity that bears down on the city from June to August, but if you are a kid from an upper middle class Atlanta neighborhood suddenly dropped into the Brooklyn projects, summer gets a lot more than intense, and quick. Flick (Jules Brown) is sent to live with his incredibly religious grandfather, Bishop Enoch Rouse (Clarke Peters), who lives in Red Hook, a neighborhood plagued by poverty, gangs and colorful characters (including a well-known pizza delivery boy from another Spike Lee film). Flick is combative towards his grandfather from the start, clearly unhappy about being forced to spend his summer away from home. Bishop Enoch tries to get Flick involved with his church, convinced that if Flick lets Jesus into his life, he will be much happier. Flick resents being made to work during his vacation, but when he meets fellow church member Chazz (Toni Lysaith) his attitude towards helping out and attending Sunday sermons softens a bit.

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Last week, the 2012 Sundance Film Festival announced their first wave of programming, featuring twenty-six titles that will be screening in competition. They followed that with the announcement of their Spotlight, Next, Park City at Midnight, and New Frontiers films. It was two days of absolute madness and glee, and the festival sagely waited a few days, giving us the buffer of a weekend to catch our collective breath, before breaking out the big guns. The Premiere and Documentary Premieres. That’s a bit clunky – so the Premieres! The Premieres are here! Per usual, here’s a list of films that immediately jump out at me: Julie Delpy’s follow-up to 2 Days in Paris, the Delpy and Chris Rock-starring 2 Days in New York, Nicholas Jarecki’s Abritrage (which stars one of last year’s break-out stars, Brit Marling, in her fist big-time feature role), Lee Toland Krieger’s Celeste and Jesse Forever (which stars co-writer Rashida Jones), Stephen Frears’ Lay the Favorite, Josh Radnor’s second film Liberal Arts (also starring one of last year’s big stars, Elizabeth Olsen), Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer, Stacy Peralta’s Bones Brigade: An Autobiography, and Amy Berg’s West of Memphis. Check out the full list of Sundance Film Festival Premiere picks after the break.

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