“ Genre: Comedy / Theatrical Release: 2007 / Suitable for 12 years and over / Director: Michel Gondry / Actors: Jack Black, Mia Farrow, Melonie Diaz, Danny Glover, Mos Def ... / Blu-ray released 2008-06-30 at Pathe Distribution / Features of the Blu-ray: PAL „
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The mood was set, bottle of red wine, bag of minstrels, phone off the hook and we eagerly hit play on the remote control. Thirty minutes later and my girlfriend was now in the kitchen cooking dinner and I was necking the wine in the morbid hope that something more interesting might happen if I watch it drunk. We had ordered Be Kind Rewind from lovefilm.com and were really looking forward to it. Jack Black and Danny Glover are of course legends in film and it had come highly recommended from a friend of ours. In hindsight I now realise that the friend who recommended it is a cameraman and short film producer who clearly fell into the trap of thinking this was quality story telling. Without giving away the plot, Black and his pals go about 'sweding' films, in other words they remake originals in their own unique and wacky way and rent them out. I would be loathed to write anymore than this as I may have to get more wine! The film does have the occasional chuckle moment but after about 2 hours I was fast forwarding to see if anything remotely interesting happens at the end. I may be missing something and others will no doubt enjoy the film making aspect of it but I found it to be a complete let down. As Simon Cowell would say..'it's just an opinion'
Written and directed by Michel Gondry, 'Be Kind Rewind' is a far fetched comedy. During a late night visit to sabotage the local power-plant, 'Jerry' (played by Jack Black) becomes 'magnetised' and unwittingly wipes all the tapes in his local video store. With the help of his friend Mike (played by Mos def) who works in the shop, the pair decide to recreate the deleted films in a somewhat unconventional manner, before shop owner Elroy Fletcher (Danny Glover) returns from a trip. It's a predictable performance from Black, playing the role in his standard 'goof-ball' style. I much prefer him in 'School of Rock', and 'Pick of Destiny' - as they were movies which weren't trying to be anything else than full out comedy - Be Kind Rewind tries to convey a message about community spirit. Whilst there isn't anything wrong with that, its not done in a particularly good way. I would have said it was perhaps the worst character to date for Black - but i've since seen him in Ben Stiller's 'Tropic Thunder', where he wasn't given a great script to work with there either. Mos Def's is on the whole pretty good and gets to play a couple of emotional as well as comedic scenes, whilst Danny Glover plays it straight with a believable and understated performance. The movie also features a cameo for Sigourney Weaver, who must have been paid a tidy sum for her three minutes in the spotlight. On reflection, the concept for this film is brilliant, and the trailer looked fantastic - but you soon realise that all the best bits are shown in the trailer. The funniest parts of the movie were the scenes where Mike and Jerry were re-making, or 'swede-ing' the films. The rest of the movie by comparison is a bit dull. These rare creative moments should have been played upon more, as it was the main draw of the film. Running in tangent with the 'magnetism' story line, is a side plot revolving around Fats Waller (these are the 'community spirit' bits I mentioned earlier). These scenes, although providing a 'moral', fall a bit flat and don't work as well as expected. On the whole, Be Kind Rewind is entertaining, but it could have been so much more. It was funny in places, but not as good as I had initially hoped. The blu-ray disk costs £17.98 from Amazon.
Step into my time machine and let me take you back. The year is 1998, does not seem that long ago does it, but its now a decade! You are in my room in my student accommodation (lucky you) and behold you are in film heaven. The walls are adorned with posters of films both old and new, in the corner is a knackered old TV, but more importantly it's huge. There is also a settee and next to it what can only be described as a lazy chair for the uber slob. But what about the piece de resistance? Where there should be a skirting board there is none. Instead the entire room has a trail of videos in alphabetical order from '12 Monkeys' to 'Zulu'. What a collection I had a triumvirate of colour and experience; science fiction, thrillers, horror and 80s comedies - all gone, all gone. 1998 was also the year of my first DVD player, now I have given away all my videos and replaced them. Curse you DVD, curse you BluRay. How can I remember these heady days? Aging jazz fan Mr Fletcher is one of the few remaining people living in a condemned building in a rougher part of town. He refuses to move because his video store (not DVD) is in the home that Fats Waller was born. Unfortunately, he is given only weeks to fix the roof or he is to be evicted. Looking to modernise the store Mr Fletcher leaves his bumbling assistant Mike in charge with strict instructions not to allow local oddball Jerry in. This was sage advice as when Jerry does get in he wipes all the videos with his magnetic brain! Now Mike and Jerry have a store of useless videos and a need for money. They come up with a crazy plan to re-film popular films like 'Ghostbusters' on a camcorder. Will these 'Sweded' films sell? 'Be Kind Rewind' is an odd film, but you would expect this from director Michael Gondry whose last two films were 'The Science of Sleep' and 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'. However, despite his odd track records this is probably the most conventional film to date, it just happens to be a normal story inhabited by eccentric characters. When these characters are allowed to revel in their eccentricities the film is at its strongest being genuinely funny and odd. The stand out role is Jack Black as the slightly simple Jerry. As an actor you either love him or hate him, but if there is a role that may be acceptable to you it is this one. For once Black is not the only overblown thing in the film and his larger than life nature fits perfectly in with the feel of the film and the rest of the cast. Co-stars Mos Def and Danny Glover have less to work with as they play the straight men. They do their jobs admirably but in my opinion both of them need to take elocution lessons as they mumble far too much. Director Gondry shows his visionary style mostly through the mini films that appear. By only using special effects that can be made for real Gondry gives the 'Sweded' films a very sweet look, but also effective. You could see why some people would enjoy seeing these films as they have some ingenious elements. When Jerry and Mike are making these films the movie hits a peak, there is genuine warmth and humour to the film - and then it all goes wrong. About half way the film tips far too much into an over sentimental bracket. Once we know that the video shop might close Gondry brings in the idea of community spirit and the film become cloying. I much prefer my films with at least a little cynical edge, but Gondry abandons all that for an all out American sugar candy feel. For me it stopped the final third of the film being anywhere near as good as the rest of the picture. 'Be Kind Rewind' is two thirds 4 stars and one third 2 stars. The shift from comedy to sugary drama is too obvious and certainly negative. The good work that Black did and the rest of the eccentric cast is all but undone by the final half hour. The film is still worth watching if just for the various takes on classic films, but just do not expect to enjoy the film throughout. Director: Michael Gondry Year: 2008 Cert: 12 Starring: Jack Black, Mos Def and Danny Glover Price: Amazon uk £17.98 (BluRay) Play.com £17.99 (BluRay) Extras The BluRay transfer is not the best on offer, but this might be due to the filming style. This is a film that could easily be seen on DVD. However, on the BluRay there are some interesting extras including clips from other small films that did not appear in the movie. I also likes the behind the scenes elements as the cast and crew obviously enjoyed themselves and are a funny bunch to watch ad-libbing.