A first-look at the trailer for Spike Lee’s ‘Chi-Raq’ – Chicago Tribune

A first-look at the trailer for Spike Lee’s ‘Chi-Raq’ – Chicago Tribune

Overview

Nina Metz

Nina MetzContact ReporterChicago Closeup

A trailer for Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq” was released Tuesday, offering a first look at the movie about gun violence that filmed in Chicago this past summer.

“Homicides in Chicago, Ill., have surpassed the death toll of American Special Forces in Iraq,” a news anchor intones in voice-over, kicked off by the sound of a gunshot. All along I’ve wondered if movie audiences outside of Chicago would find the title baffling, and it seems I wasn’t alone. (The film will open in theaters Dec. 4; no word yet when it will stream on Amazon.)

Asked for his thoughts during a public event Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has made his displeasure with the movie’s title known, said he had not seen the trailer, “so I don’t know what to comment on.”

Starring an orange-suited Samuel L. Jackson in the role of narrator (in the trailer, at least), he greets the viewer with a swagger over the pulsating score: “Welcome to Chi-Raq, land of pain, misery and strife!”

With a story inspired by the ribald Aristophanes Greek comedy “Lysistrata” (in which the title character rallies the women of Greece to refuse their partners sex, in an effort to get them to end a war), Teyonah Parris (“Survivor’s Remorse” and “Mad Men”) plays a 21st century version of Lysistrata in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, a charismatic looker intent on putting an end to gun violence.

“Everybody here got a man bangin’ and slangin’,” she says to a group of women, “fighting for the flag and risking that long zip of the cadaver bag.” (My colleague, Tribune film critic Michael Phillips, picked up on this detail: “Aristophanes wrote in verse; ‘Chi-Raq’ dialogue, at least in part, is in rhyming verse.”)

For more background on the movie, you can read about my exclusive set visit in July here.

The trailer — which feels provocative in all the right ways — includes glimpses of the cast including Wesley Snipes, Nick Cannon, Angela Bassett, John Cusack and Jennifer Hudson. Tonally, it’s less sure-footed. “That’s right, you gets none,” Jackson announces, while the men of a barber shop respond with, “Say what?” to an image only seconds later of Hudson with tears streaming down her face.

The jokes, in other words, sit uncomfortably close to the drama. But that’s what trailers do: Condense an entire film and its emotional journey into just a couple of minutes.

“The situation’s out of control because I’m in front of an empty stripper pole!” Dave Chappelle says, and I think he might be the only performer who could say that line and not come off like a creep.

Tribune reporter John Byrne contributed to this story.

nmetz@tribpub.com

@NinaMetzNews

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A trailer for Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq” was released Tuesday, offering a first look at the movie about gun violence that filmed in Chicago this past summer.

Source: A first-look at the trailer for Spike Lee’s ‘Chi-Raq’ – Chicago Tribune

Tags: Arts, ATW