BlacKkKlansman

Release Date:  8/10/18; In Theaters
Genre:  Drama/Biography
Rating:  NR
Director:   Spike Lee
Studio(s):   Blumhouse Productions, Monkeypaw Productions, Perfect World Pictures, QC Entertainment, Focus Features
Running time:  128 mins.

Cast:  John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace, Laura Harrier, Ryan Eggold, Paul Walter Hauser, Corey Hawkins, Harry Belafonte, Robert John Burke.

Story:   BlacKkKlansman tells the true story of Stallworth (Washington), who began as Colorado Springs’s first African-American police officer, then later rose to the rank of detective. In one of the most unlikely cases of undercover infiltration imaginable, Stallworth and his partner Flip Zimmerman (Driver) penetrated the ranks of the KKK at the highest levels in order to thwart the organization’s attempt to take over the city.  The movie will release on August 10th, which coincides with the one-year anniversary of the  Charlottesville incident, when a white supremacist protest against the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue erupted in violence, claiming the life of counter-protester Heather Heyer on August 11, 2017.  Lee and co-producer Jordan Peele adapted the film from Ron Stallworth’s 2014 memoir “Black Klansman.”  Sources:  Screenrant, Color Lines.

Trailer:

Chi-Raq

Chi-RaqRelease Date:  12/4/15
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  Unknown
Running Time:  Unknown
Studio(s):  40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, Amazon Studios
Director:  Spike Lee
Cast:  Nick Cannon (Chi-Raq), Teyonah Parris (Lysistrata), Anya Engel-Adams (Rasheeda), Wesley Snipes (Cyclops), Angela Bassett (Miss Helen), Michelle Mitchenor (Indigo), Ebony Joy (Marcy), Felicia Pearson (Dania), Samuel L. Jackson (Dolmedes), La La Anthony (Hecuba), Val Warner (Electra Johnson), Jennifer Hudson (Irene), John Cusack (Fr. Mike Corridan), D.B. Sweeney (Mayor McCloud), Steve Harris (Ole Duke).

Story:  According to Shadow and Act ,Teyonah Parris is playing the central character, in a story set against the backdrop of Chicago’s gun violence, and said to be a modern spin on the Greek comedy “Lysistrata” – the women of Greece refused to have sex with their husbands, all in an effort to bring an end to the Peloponnesian War, via the signing of a peace treaty. In Spike’s film, the story will center on a woman’s quest to end gang warfare in Chicago, likely via similar methods as used by Lysistra.  Possibly in consideration of an Awards season run (pre-screenings for the film have apparently impressed audiences so far) as an Oscar-qualifying run, Amazon Studios has set the release date for Spike Lee’s curious Chi-Raq, for December 4, in a theatrical release deal that involves both Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate.

Trailer:

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Details:  Deadline reported on 10/29/15, that the film is inspired by the Greek comedy Lysistrata but it has a hot-button subject, and that is one of the reasons it will be released five weeks out. The film is set in Chicago’s South Side, and covers the subjects of gang violence and clashes with police, a subject that most certainly has been in the news.

In April Shadow and Act wrote that the film has caused something of a firestorm in Chicago, with many people publicity speaking out in the media against the film – especially against the title, which they say further perpetrates the image of Chicago as Dodge City in 1885; Shootouts and drive-bys with people being killed left and right every day, everywhere. Source(s): Deadline, Shadow and Act, IMDB.

School Daze 2

Status:  Announced
Release Date:  TBA
Genre:  Unknown
Rating:  Not Available
Studio:  TBA
Director:  TBA
Cast:  TBA

School Daze

Details:  The Source (2.14.14) reports, it’s official, School Daze 2 is coming to the big screen. The 1988 cult-classic will finally be getting a sequel.  Twenty-five years ago, the film delved into color and social issues that adults who attended HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) dealt with on a daily basis. It seems like that will remain the plot, as Spike Lee wants this movie to be a contemporary version of the prequel.

According to Lee, the script is in fact finished and he hopes that Lawrence Fishburne can agree to a role in the picture.  Lee also unfolded that the film will shed light on social issues that today’s HBCU students face like homophobia and the pledging process.

Story:  No official synopsis yet, but the original was set at a historically black university where fraternity and sorority members clash with other students in a politically charged musical.    Source(s):  The Source; Allmovie.

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus

Da Sweet Blood of Jesusa/k/a The Sweet Blood of Jesus

Release Date:  2/13/15 Theatrical Release, VOD; 6/22/14 (American Black Film Festival ABFF)
Genre:  Romance/Comedy/Horror
Rating:  Not Available
Running Time:  123 mins.
Studio:  40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, Gravitas Ventures
Director:  Spike Lee

Cast:   Stephen Tyrone Williams (Dr. Hess Greene), Zaraah Abrahams (Ganja Hightower), Rami Malek (Seneschal Higginbottom), Elvis Nolasco (Lafayette Hightower), Thomas Jefferson Byrd (Bishop Zee), Joie Lee (Nurse Colquitt), Felicia Snoop Pearson (Lucky Mays), Jeni Perillo (Sahara Paysinger).

Update:  Shadow & Act reported on 11/19/14, the synopsis reads: “A Spike Lee Joint, DA SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS is a new kind of love story, one that centers on an addiction to blood that once doomed a long forgotten ancient African tribe. When Dr. Hess Green (Stephen Tyrone Williams) is introduced to a mysteriously cursed artifact by an art curator, Lafayette Hightower (Elvis Nolasco), he is uncontrollably drawn into a newfound thirst for blood that overwhelms his soul.  He however is not a vampire.  Lafayette quickly succumbs to the ravenous nature of the infliction but leaves Hess a transformed man.  Soon Lafayette’s wife, Ganja Hightower (Zaraah Abrahams), comes looking for her husband and becomes involved in a dangerous romance with Hess that questions the very nature of love, addiction, sex, and status in our seemingly sophisticated society.  A reinterpretation of Bill Gunn’s horror cult film “Ganja & Hess”, which played as a Critics Choice at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, Spike Lee’s stylized thriller features an Original Score by Bruce Hornsby.”

The movie got ripped really hard by critics when it debuted this summer at the annual American Black Film Festival. That said, after ABFF there was some question whether the film would find distribution at all.  Gravitas will release the film theatrically and on video on demand, starting on February 13, 2015.  Source(s):  Shadow and Act.  Poster:  IMDB.

Trailer: 

Porgy and Bess

Porgy and Bess

Status: Development Unknown
Release Date: TBA
Genre:  Musical
Rating:  Not Available
Studio:  Phoenix Pictures
Director:  Spike Lee
Cast:  TBA

Story:  1930s opera gets a modern makeover for the big screen. Producers Mike Medavoy and Bobby Geisler are developing a contemporary film version of famed 1930’s opera Porgy and Bess. Porgy and Bess follows the story of Porgy, a disabled beggar and his attempts to rescue Bess from her violent and jealous lover, Crown and drug dealer, Sportin’ Life who tries to lead her astray.

Details: In August 2012, Broadway.com reported, two-time Oscar-nominated director Spike Lee is in negotiations to turn the Gershwin musical Porgy and Bess into a film. The musical has been a passion project for Lee for over a decade and after seeing the current Broadway revival, Lee has begun negations with the Gershwin estate to bring the opera back to the big screen. Porgy and Bess was adapted into a major motion picture in 1957, starring Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge and Sammy Davis, Jr. No timeline or casting for Lee’s remake has been confirmed. Source(s): Moviepilot; Movie Insider, Broadway.com.