Spike Lee does it all. His movies have depicted everything from phone sex (Girl 6) and interracial relationships (Jungle Fever) to World War II (Miracle at St. Anna) and civil rights (Malcolm X). But when he shoots films in his native Brooklyn, the borough tends to be the main character. For better or worse, actors can be mere footnotes in Lee’s love letters to his hometown. The sixth in his “Chronicles of Brooklyn” series, Red Hook Summer follows the growth of a relationship between troubled Bishop Enoch Rouse (Clarke Peters, who played Det. Lester Freamon on The Wire) and his young grandson Flik Royale (Jules Brown), who relocates from a middle-class life in Atlanta to the Red Hook projects to spend a few weeks with his granddad. Enoch is an overzealous storefront pastor, and when he tries to convert Flik into a believer, Flik has none of it. But along the way, they learn about each other, much like we learn about Red Hook—land of Ikea, cute boutiques, and devastating poverty, here depicted as a dark place occasionally brightened by the goodness of its residents.
The film opens Aug. 24 at West End Cinema, 2301 M St. NW. $8-$11. westendcinema.com. (202) 419-3456.