"Be Kind Rewind"
Directed by Michel Gondry.
Written by Michel Gondry.
Starring Jack Black, Mos Def, Melonie Diaz and Danny Glover.
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 3/3/08
I can't think of the last time I was in this
much of a downer over new films; with movies like "Jumper" and
"Semi-Pro" dominating the box office right now, it's no wonder that
I have only seen like eight movies this year.
Luckily, the guy that gave us
Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and
Science of Sleep" is back with his new film, "Be Kind Rewind."
Like those two previous efforts, "Be Kind Rewind" is a bit of a
stretch, but it's a fun stretch thanks to great performances from
its leads and a simple setup--what if your video store had every
tape accidentally erased?
Mos Def stars as Mike, a guy who can only be
described as "that guy", living in Passaic, New Jersey, working in a
dead-end job with no real hope for a future. He runs Be Kind
Rewind, the local video store that is so far behind the times that
they only offer popular films on VHS tape; business is slow, since
the store's owner, Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover), hasn't made the
conversion to those "new age" DVDs. A mechanic who lives
nearby, Jerry (Jack Black), is a regular at the store, but one night
after nearly being electrocuted, he walks into the store and through
what can only be called movie science (or fantasy, take your pick),
Jerry walks around the store and essentially erases every VHS tape
in the shop. When customers start returning their rented
movies complaining that the tapes are blank, Mike and Jerry come up
with a solution: they'll just remake all of the movies into
20-minute, low-budget replicas of what they used to be. Oh,
and the movies will only feature Mike and Jerry.
This might not sound that funny, but when
you see "Be Kind Rewind", the movie's brilliance comes from its
retelling of such classics as "Ghostbusters", "2001: A Space
Odyssey", "Carrie" and then random newer films like
"Rush Hour 2."
You absolutely WILL lose your shit when Mike and Jerry remake some
of the scenes from "Ghostbusters", or when "Driving Miss Daisy" is
redone not once, but twice, during the movie. "Be Kind Rewind"
is a film lover's dream, but I think it also does a good job of
capturing the fun of making movies, be it young folks or older
people; there's just something great about grabbing a camera and
yelling go, go, go! For me, I had flashes of my
straight-to-video action/comedy classic "Gratuitous", right down to
the rushed production, funny camera angles and horrific "car chase"
sequences that embody rookie filmmaking.
It's that energy, that level of fun that
makes "Be Kind Rewind" good...at times. As with all Jack Black
films, you love him or you don't, and if you don't, you just have to
suffer through many Jack Black Moments, which can only be described
as those moments where he goes temporarily crazy, runs around like
his head's on fire, and tries to spout off lines that may be funny
or not. This works in
this doesn't work in "Envy",
but here in this film, it is so-so. The Black performance,
plus some spots that are just kind of blah (really, any time the
movie deal with the movie remake process), make the movie sometimes
miss the mark...but, overall, this is good stuff.
Especially compared against what else is out
there amongst 2008 releases, "Be Kind Rewind" should get your cash
money soon. Check it out!
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard