|Available at Amazon.com|
Michel Gondry is a director who has become widely known for his unique and stylized films from his mostly ignored first film Human Nature to the highly acclaimed Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. His latest project, Be Kind Rewind, received mixed reviews upon its theatrical release. Some loved it, some hated it, but who was right?
Mike (Mos Def) works at a small video store, VHS not DVD, in the small town of Passaic, New Jersey, which is owned by Elroy (Danny Glover) who is a kind of father figure to Mike. Mike’s best friend, who lives across the street near an electrical power plant, is Jerry (Jack Black). When Elroy goes on vacation he leaves Mike in charge. Things go wrong when a recently magnetized Jerry comes into the shop and unintentionally erases all the videos. When regular customer Miss Falewicz (Mia Farrow) wants to rent Ghostbusters, Mike and Jerry take it upon themselves to make their own version hoping she won’t notice the difference. Mike and Jerry’s DIY film becomes an instant hit and soon there are lines around the block of locals who want to see more of what Mike and Jerry have to offer. So they set out to make as many films as they can.
The plot is, admittedly, silly and far-fetched and if you can’t get passed the idea of Jerry becoming magnetized then odds are you aren’t going to like the film. But if you can accept the plot point for what it is, if you can get past that, then you’ll be sucked into the sheer joy that is Be Kind Rewind.
What makes this film so wonderful is that its about more than just Mos Def and Jack Black making their own versions of popular films. Another prominent element in the film is jazz musician Fats Waller. All the characters love Fats Waller and they ultimately end up making a documentary about the jolly musician involving everyone in the community. And therein lies the other element of this film: Community. This film is about everyone coming together for a common goal and when the film ends you can’t help but smile.
Gondry who is known for his extreme visual style tones down a little for this strange tale only allowing his creative eye to open when it suites the film; mostly in the making of the fake films. There is in fact, an impressive montage sequence that manages to be one shot long.
The other thing that sells this film is the performances from Mos Def and Jack Black. They are both great comedians and play very well off one another. You can believe that these guys have been friends for a long time.
Be Kind Rewind is not an amazing film; it’s not going to win any awards and it’s by no means better than Eternal Sunshine. But it is a wonderful, joyous film that will make you laugh and smile.
The film is presented in widescreen 2.35:1 and fullscreen 1.33:1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 stereo surround. English and Spanish subtitles. This is a great looking film.
Passaic Mosaic: (10 min.) This is a great little documentary about the locals of Passaic that were involved in the making of the film, most who had never acted before. They talk about meeting the director and the stars. It’s very entertaining.
This is a wonderful little film that sadly offers very little in the way of special features. I was very excited for this DVD release because I was expecting tons of extras. Maybe there will be a 2-Disc addition some time in the future, but for now, this will have to do.
New Line Cinema presents Be Kind Rewind. Directed by Michel Gondry. Starring Jack Black, Mos Def and Danny Glover. Written by Michel Gondry. Running time: 102 minutes. Rated PG-13 for some sexual references. Released on DVD: June 17, 2008. Available at Amazon.com