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Comedies > Be Kind Rewind (Michel Gondry, 2008)

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message 1: by Phillip (last edited Jan 18, 2009 03:29PM) (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments Be Kind, Rewind (Michel Gondry, 2008)

SPOILERS reside herein

There was some chatter about this film on one of the threads recently and a few people recommended it, so I figured I'd check it out.

I was pleasantly surprised by it. It has a very low-fi approach, that is completely suitable for the story that's being told. The film has some problems, but I was so willing to forgive its errors due to the story it is telling: one of wrestling control of art and creative expression from the corporate machinery and taking the acts of expression and community building into your own hands.

Jack Black created a character that is familiar to his fans, but somehow reigned in and, dare I say it? - a bit more subtle than what you're used to seeing from him. Mos Def comes off as he often does - a sweet unassuming, funny individual....totally endearing. Danny Glover is in the mix - offering a performance that has some of the overtones of the role he played in The Royal Tennenbaums. Mia Farrow glides through the movie, but doesn't offer a great deal. The film also features Melonie Diaz, an actress whose work I don't know, but balances the male roles with a sober sense of grace.

The movie is framed around a video store that is slated for demolishing due to urban renewal, known commonly to the local gentry as gentrification. The film argues against this kind of "progress", where, as it so often happens in America, buildings with historical and cultural resonance are torn down to make way for new developments that will put coffers in the hands of investors.

Glover's video store offers VHS copies of "out of date" films (Ghostbusters!) and leaves town for a visit with old friends. He puts Mos Def in charge of running the business during his absence, and things go a bit wild while the cat is away. Jack Black is electrically charged in an act of urban-guerilla warfare (his "magnetism" is altered...giggle giggle) and erases all the tapes in the store while organizing them on the shelves.

Faced with a store filled with blank video tapes these friends decide to re-shoot the films the customers request. Pretty soon the versions of films they have made (which they called the "Sweded" process) becomes more popular than the originals, and the store is teeming with customers.

The boys engage the community (and a clever and attractive young woman who takes charge) in making their films and in the process revitalizes the community. All seems to be going well until Sigorney Weaver shows up representing a team of lawyers hell-bent on prosecuting them for copyright infringement. The team makes one final film, a documentary on jazz giant Fats Waller (so nice to see Fats getting some air time here!), and the film (perhaps?) changes the course of the seemingly inevitable in the final moments of movie.

Be Kind Rewind has a nice understated kind of humor, and a stripped down DIY visual style. Even when Gondry is playing his optical tricks the fillm remains humble. This film might not be for everyone - if you're married to big budget slick looking movies, you might want to steer clear of this one - it represents the antithesis of Hollywood glory films. It also asks the viewer to take some enormous leaps of faith regarding the film's ability to veer from reality. But after all is said and one, it's a contemporary fairy tale - and like all good folklore, reality is often suspended in order to reveal something truthful about "real life".

message 2: by Ranata (new)

Ranata Clark (thatchicknata) | 169 comments I thought this film was hilarious. The sweded movies were to die for.

message 3: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5310 comments I guess I should get around to seeing this film, but Mos Def and Danny Glover are among my very least favorite actors, I just can't stand the sight of either one of them.

message 4: by Phillip (last edited Jan 18, 2009 08:36PM) (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments tom,
you might want to avoid it then. you'd lose a lot of plotline if you closed your eyes every time they were on screen.


the sweded movies were funny. i really liked the fats waller one. apparently there's a website where you can watch all of them.

message 5: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments I laughed a lot throught this movie. As I said before I am a fan of Jack Black and I think his role in this movie was great. Danny Glove and Mos Def are not essential to this movie. If you like Jack Black you will like this movie. There is some obvious humor, as Jack Black is known for, and some subtle, incidental humor, which is heightened by Jack Black. It is different, it is quirky, and even if you don't like all the actors I think you will still like this "sleeper".

message 6: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments yeah, i thought jack black reigned it in a bit on this one...there are a few scenes where he "does his thing", but mostly it felt like he was creating a different character.

message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim (jim_) I enjoyed this movie. I think the overall blend of actors worked well together.

message 8: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments yeah, there was some nice ensemble work. and the ensemble just kept getting bigger and bigger...

message 9: by Heidi (new)

Heidi This is one movie that my kids picked (mainly because of Jack Black) that I ended up adoring more than they did... I found myself recommending this movie to friends for months after seeing it... genuine funny movie with a "small independent" feel.

message 10: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments very independent...for the most part - DIY from the ground up.

message 11: by SLIM SHADY (new)

SLIM SHADY Gontier (heroesfreak) | 254 comments great movie I love Jack Black in it... That is such his role!! Hey did you know he has a kid?

message 12: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments I guess I'm the only one who didn't like it:) I graded it a (D). My review is floating around this forum, if interested. You can always check my blog (no advertising, it's just for fun) and read all of my reviews: the archives are on the right side.

message 13: by Phillip (last edited Jan 28, 2009 10:55PM) (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments you see, alex - this film was designed to prove that we are not the same person. ; )

message 14: by Miranda (new)

Miranda (miranda0) | 18 comments this movie is really good, i love jack black!!

message 15: by Mike (new)

Mike | 10 comments
Well said, Phillip.

I like the sweded bits and the parts with Jack and Omar and some of the other characters when theyre making movies and then selling them. This is what I mostly liked about the movie.

message 16: by Anna (new)

Anna (lilfox) | 465 comments I love this movie - watching it was total fun.

message 17: by Lori (new)

Lori (barfield) I Hate to say it, because i'm going against almost all of you on this. All but Alex DeLarge. Hated it!

I absolutely could not find any redeeming qualities about this movie. One of Black's worst. I sure hope he remembers how to make a good movie soon. Not sense Shallow Hal, or School Of Rock has he made anything remotely resembling comedy.

St[♥]r Pr!nc:$$ N[♥]wsheen pictures, pictures, pictures ||| ♥ Zin Uru ♥ |||| | 482 comments I tried to watch this movie, thinking it would be fun, ...I didn't get it at all!! I am not sure what the story was and why and whatever. The only movie I liked with Jack Black in it was maybe Shallow Hal. School of Rock just had a good story, I don't rmember if jack black did anything special in it. Maybe Nacho Libre is nice, maybe I just didn't get it...:)

message 19: by Sara (new)

Sara Lou (SarahLou) I really enjoyed this one, I like the community spirit vibe it eventually ends up with. Plus I find Jack Black a better actor when he reigns himself in a little bit, although there were moments of his over the top humour, there weren't enough to make it farcical and it makes him much preferable to watch. I find this in Shallow Hal and School of Rock as well.

The parts where they 'swede' the movies are fun and you can imagine if you were given the same oppurtunity how you'd do it with just a few friends and some home made props.

I wouldn't say it was an amazing movie, but one I'd settle down to watch if I just wanted something simple, enjoyable and funny to watch.

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