Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Movie: Be Kind Rewind

Movie Release Date: February 22, 2008
Genre: Comedy
Running Time: 101 minutes
Director: Michael Gondry
Cast: Mos Def, Jack Black, Danny Glover, Melonie Diaz, Mia Farrow

When I had first heard that Michael Gondry was directing a new film, I was ecstatic. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind remains to be one of my top favorite films, and although The Science of Sleep was a bit too fantastical and surreal for my liking, I couldn't help but to give Gondry credit for pushing the limits of mise en scène. A lot of people find Gondry's works to be overrated and too much of a push on fantasy, but that's probably because they cannot either appreciate such an approach to film making, or they had a very dull, childhood imagination.

Be Kind Rewind tells the story of a run-down video rental store, that for some reason, still rents out their supply of movies in the form of old school VHS. Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover) is the old store owner, with Mike (Mos Def) as his apprentice/sort of son-figure. Throughout the film, we learn that Fats Waller, the legendary jazz musician, is some sort of a mythical figure of inspiration for Mike; the fact that Fats Waller was said to be born in the very same building as Be Kind Rewind keeps Mike in good spirits, despite the obvious dilapidation of the business. Under the guise of going away for a trip to celebrate Fats Waller's life, Mr. Fletcher leaves Mike in charge of the store, secretly going away to research his competition (West Coast Videos).

Comic situations ensue, resulting in Jerry (Jack Black) becoming magnetized, therefore erasing all of the VHS tapes. As a frantic attempt to salvage what has become of his brief stint as the man in charge, Mike and Jerry reenact popular movie titles, but within 20 minutes of recording. The locals fall in love with the idea of "sweding" their favorite movies, eventually snowballing it into a community project to make their own adaptations (there's a hilarious scene where Danny Glover "swedes" Driving Miss Daisy, a 1989 adaptation that he once starred in).

The basic premise of the film is a comedy, but if you are looking for an outright laugh-out-loud comedy, you might be disappointed. Sure, there are a few chuckles here and there, but you have to remember that Gondry's films carry a certain element of whimsical fantasy. Personally, I'm not much of a fan of Jack Black, but his comedic performance fits with the mood of the film. Mos Def plays a head-in-the-clouds, yet logical character of Mike near to perfection, playing it off in between Jim Carrey's Joel (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Gael Garcia Bernal's Stéphane (The Science of Sleep).

All in all, if you have plans to see Be Kind Rewind, go in expecting a Michael Gondry film. It's funny, heart-warming, and overall an ideal movie where a community can be brought together with dreams and an imagination of wanting to be something big and meaningful.

Grade: B


Jessie said...

this movie was a lot better then i thought it was going to be! GO WATCH IT!

Anna said...

Looks like a cute movie