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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Shelton Jackson Lee (Part 2)

The 90's for Spike Lee were pretty much his salad days; people paid attention to what he had to say, wanted to see his movies, and Black Hollywood clamored to be in them, as it seemed to give their careers a sense of legitimacy and importance. In this decade he made 10 feature films, nine of which I have seen....the 10th being "Four Little Girls", and even though I haven't seen that one, I believe it is the time when he really and truly started to think of the world at large.
Anyway, mini-reviews from 1990 to 1999 in order:

Mo' Better Blues (1990): A jazz horn player comes to grips with life and maturity. While I thought the storyline in this film was trite, contrived, unrealistic and weak, I loved the visuals. The costumes of the characters were beautiful, evoking the old jazz eras but modern at the same time, and the set designs of the homes and the club were stunning. Even the characters were beautiful with amazing skin. I often wondered why Denzel Washington would do a movie like this... I guess he had his reasons.

Jungle Fever (1991): The story of adultery and interracial relationships (the "swirl" as they say). Again, not in love with this one either. Heavy handed like a sledgehammer with it's "message", but I did love the allegory of Wesley Snipes' character leaving his beautiful, bright, well furnished, and lush home with his wife to live with his white mistress in an apartment furnished with just a lone bed for months. It was a parallel to his relationships with both women.

Malcolm X (1992): Self-explanatory, the story of Malcolm X. Even though people had made hoopla over Denzel for years, it was really the first time that I found him crazy sexy (except when I was a teenager and saw "A Soldier's Story"). My problem with this movie is that I couldn't tell if it had taken too many liberties. Much of his depicted early years just seemed too fictionalized. I think Spike put a little too much of himself in this movie, as if he really believed that this was an association with the great man himself. Malcolm is a major icon in my life, and this film was just a bit too splashy for a true portrayal in my opinion.

It's getting late, I'm getting sleepy.....the rest of the nineties tomorrow.

1 comment: said...

The allegory in Jungle Fever. Great point!

I haven't seen X since it's release. I've been putting off watching the three hour movie. But I will watch it again.

I agree - Mo Betta -- visually, it was well done.