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Chi-Raq

6/10
Music . Drama . Crime . Comedy
 

A modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago.

 
Actors: Teyonah Parris , Nick Cannon , Angela Bassett , Jennifer Hudson , Samuel L. Jackson , Wesley Snipes , John Cusack , Anya Engel-Adams , Michelle Mitchenor , Ebony Joy
Directors: Spike Lee
Country: USA
Release: 2015-12-04
More Info:
  • David Edelstein

    Bitches, it’s always a good month in America for an antigun movie. The newest, Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq, might be the best ever. It’s sexy, brash, and potent — a powerful weapon in its own right.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Joe McGovern

    Erupting like a scalding geyser from the ground right beneath our feet, Spike Lee’s daring, dizzying, sympathetic, symphonic, vital, vehement Chi-Raq is the most urgently 2015 movie of 2015.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    The movie is angry and horrified and mournful but also warm, sensual, life affirming, and so blisteringly funny that critics and political commentators are sure to blast it as distasteful.

    RogerEbert.com Full Review
  • Amy Nicholson

    Chi-Raq is a marvel. It's Lee resurrecting his voice — angry, impassioned, and funny as hell — right when we need to hear it.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Jordan Hoffman

    While formally quite different from his more universally-respected early work, Chi-Raq has the exuberance and wit you’ll find in Do The Right Thing and Crooklyn. It’s the best film he’s made in a very long time.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    The laughs in Spike Lee’s corrosive Chi-Raq burn like acid. Urgent, surreal, furious, funny and wildly messy, the movie sounds like an invitation to defeat, but it’s an improbable triumph that finds Mr. Lee doing his best work in years.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    The through-line of Chi-Raq is a sense of crisis that Lee refuses to reduce to binary causes, but interprets in terms of history, economics and psychology, as well as the personal, political and spiritual.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Brian Truitt

    Spike Lee has been trying to get people to do the right thing for years, but with Chi-Raq, he solidifies a peaceful movie message in lyrical as well as powerful fashion.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Sam C. Mac

    A Spike Lee joint in the urgent sociopolitical register of Radio Raheem's boombox—a call to arms that's also a call to disarm.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    It’s a shattering, thunderous wake-up alarm, a call to lay down arms, a gutsy social satire and a highly stylized work of fiction that sometimes feels as accurate and sobering as the crime reporting you see on the front page of this newspaper.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Kevin B. Lee

    If the film’s pinning much of the world’s problems to sex at times seems excessive, silly or reductive, Lee justifies it with moments of unexpected grace.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Aisha Harris

    Lee has managed to again make a movie worth debating, wrestling with, and maybe even hating, depending upon how you feel about him as a director.

    Slate Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    Nick Cannon’s complicated and masterful performance as Chi-Raq, a young man who embodies the contradictions of his community, who is both a perpetrator and a victim of the heartless violence that has surrounded him all his life, accomplishes that.

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    Lee’s vision of a scarred, gutted city may not please the tourism board, but his movie is better for it: Its seething dramatic texture captures a deeper, more elusive beauty that — like reconciliation, reform or any other human ideal — can only be achieved when the illusion of safety is left behind.

    Variety Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    Chi-Raq constantly shifts tones from comedy to drama and back again, while most of its dialogue is delivered in rhyming couplets. The transitions can sometimes be bumpy, but never when Samuel L. Jackson pops up as nattily dressed and off-color one-man Greek chorus.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Chi-Raq is Spike Lee’s most audacious film in decades. DECADES.

    Movie Nation Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    His carnival-esque filmmaking style, which can leave some Spike Lee joints in tatters, helps this one expand in sorrowful heart and indomitable wit. Chi-Raq is a vibrant community mural of a movie, and it stretches to the horizon.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    We know Lee can channel anger into art. Now, in the maiden feature for Amazon Studios, he adds poetry, beginning with the spoken-word verse that fills the movie.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Jeff Baker

    It doesn't all work. The energy and the performances by Cannon, Parris and Hudson can't carry a movie that careens from camp to tragedy to farce without taking a breath. Several scenes could have been cut, particularly a long, dumb take on sex and the Civil War that ends with a horny old goat in Stars-and-Bars skivvies.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Calvin Wilson

    Chi-Raq is a mess — tonally inconsistent, overbearing in its earnestness and badly in need of editing. But it’s also director Spike Lee’s most passionate film since “25th Hour” (2002).

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    It is intense and uneven, moving and maddening, all in just about equal measure. But an angry Lee is an interesting Lee, and he’s really angry here.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Even if the now-veteran director lays everything on a bit thick, repeatedly makes many of the same points and lets things go on too long, he's still found a lively and legitimate way to tackle urgent subject matter that other filmmakers have found excuses to avoid.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    In-your-face polemic, with nowhere to go once the point has been made. Repeatedly.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Here's Spike Lee at his ballsiest. Who else would take Aristophanes' Lysistrata, set in ancient Greece, and prop it up in present-day Englewood, Chicago, where violence is so prevalent the locals call it Chi-Raq, a mash-up of "Chicago" and "Iraq."

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    If Chi-Raq disarms even a small percentage of those who see it, and provokes any reflection about a gun culture, the uses of satire and the plight of a sadly emblematic city, it was worth the effort. However mixed-up the results.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Stephen Whitty

    Jackson is terrific, of course, although he's the spice here, not the main meal. As Lysistrata, Teyonah Parris is a fierce, finger-snapping leader while, as her man Chi-Raq, a cast-against-type Nick Cannon, is surprisingly tough and moody.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • John Hazelton

    Though it sometimes recalls the irresistibly energetic, genre-bending feel of Lee’s best films – Do The Right Thing in particular – it lacks the assurance and unifying thrust that made those features work so well.

    Screen International Full Review
  • Rodrigo Perez

    While its ambition does show a director still aspiring for great heights, its patchy execution only partly restores the faith.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    The topic is so grave, and the corralling of ancient Greek comedy so audacious, that you long for Chi-Raq to succeed. Sad to report, it’s an awkward affair, stringing out its tearful scenes of mourning, and going wildly astray with its lurches into farce.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • David Lewis

    In the end, Chi-Raq is a positive movie that wants to jolt us into doing something about the very real emergency in Chicago. Along the way, the execution of the narrative gets muddled, but there’s no denying that this risk-taking film has a pulse. A strong pulse.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    Chi-Raq, Lee’s modernized take on "Lysistrata," is mostly bad art; it’s about an hour too long, sometimes leadenly unfunny, and set in Chicago, a place the Brooklynite director has no feel for.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Chi-Raq is indeed interesting, challenging, provocative and consistently entertaining in its outrageous depiction of life in modern Chicago. And nobody in mainstream filmmaking today except Spike Lee could or would have done it.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
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  • chicago

  • violence

  • murder

  • chastity belt

  • crying woman

  • controversy

  • box office flop

  • black slang

  • racism

  • gangster

  • melancholy

  • sadness

  • death

  • hate

  • boyfriend girlfriend relationship

  • paraplegic

  • street gang

  • liberty

  • arrest

  • urban decay

  • urban setting

  • black comedy

  • gunfight

  • dead child

  • wheelchair

  • rap music

  • drive by shooting

  • profanity

  • activist

  • confession

  • protest

  • police

  • human rights

  • civil rights

  • tragedy

  • title appears in song

  • caught having sex

  • female nudity

  • male nudity

  • funeral

  • preacher

  • bereavement

  • redemption

  • freedom

  • arson

  • uzi

  • confederate flag

  • american flag

  • pistol

  • cane

  • zoot suit

  • breaking the fourth wall

  • talking to the camera

  • stripper pole

  • strip club

  • south side

  • chicago illinois

  • refusing sex

  • title spoken by character

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