Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Don't sleep on Sam

The NY Times' Caryn James looks at Spike Lee's films. Great, but how does she fail to mention the excellent Summer of Sam?
A look back at his career, freed from received opinions and skewed memories, shows that major works like "Do the Right Thing" hold up. And some underappreciated gems emerge, like the nuanced "Jungle Fever" (1991), about an interracial romance, and the audacious "Bamboozled" (2000), his satirical take on a contemporary minstrel show.

Nola Darling, the sexually voracious heroine of "She's Gotta Have It," who unapologetically juggles three men at once, is no longer quite so daring. And the acting is as awkward and rough as it always seemed. But the film's energy still leaps off the screen; the black-and-white photography that turned an inexpensive necessity into sultry atmosphere still works; the characteristic Lee blend of drama and humor is already there. Nola remembers a parade of men offering ludicrous come-on lines, like "You so fine, baby, I'd drink a tub of your bathwater."