Be Kind, Rewind!

New movies! Old movies! B-movies! Discuss discuss discuss!!!

How would you rate Be Kind, Rewind on a 5 point scale?

5 - I've been Sweeded!
4
33%
4
5
42%
3
1
8%
2
1
8%
1 - VHS sucks!
0
No votes
N/A - Waiting for the DV... VHS Tape
1
8%
 
Total votes : 12

Postby stereosforgeeks on Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:36 am

I saw it this weekend as well Psyz, but I cannot give it the whole hearted recommendation you do.

I have to agree the movie has a ton of heart and is a great amount of fun when it gets going. Jack Black is reigned in with Mos Def capturing his characters naivety and optimism with ease.

The beginning is a little slow. Some clever moments are sprinkled throughout but the movie doesn't really come into it's own until the swede-ing scenes. The amount of creativity on display is just a blast to behold.

What doesn't work is the cliched plot. Take away the swede-ing and you have a fairly run of the mill story about trying to save a failing business and the in essence the town itself.

I, also, liked the send-up of current Hollywood.

Overall I enjoyed my time, but I can only give it a 7/10.
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Postby King Psyz on Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:18 am

SPOILER ALERT! In response to Stereos
Anyways, I thought the same at first about the saving the failing landmark ect.

But then there was a switch, You had Danny Glover scoping out the west coast video store, so you know he had all but given up on his vision.

What we really saw was a man defeated, a man who knew when he had been licked and just threw up his hands and went with it.

I still wasn't sure til right on the end when the building wasn't saved, but instead Danny Glover's character said I gave up, I sold out, but at least me and Mike will have something to get us started in the projects.

So while we ended on a up, it was not by any means a Hollywood perfect happy ending. The man and the kid he's looked after were moving to the projects.
Last edited by King Psyz on Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Peven on Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:43 am

seppukudkurosawa wrote:What came as a huge surprise to me was the fact that Fats Waller, who is hands down my favourite Jazz singer, didn't just loom large over this film, he should've been given third billing alongside Jack Black and Mos Def!

His very presence alone helped this movie make sense to me. Fats' songs had slow beginnings, but always had enough charm and vim to keep you engaged throughout. The exact same could be said of this movie. At first things were played pretty broad, but somewhere around the first couple of Swedes, I realised I was enjoying myself far too much to try and pick apart the slipshod nature of the whole endeavour.

Fats often wrote love songs, but it's his execution which made them stand apart from all his syrupy contemporaries. In a similar way, Be Kind Rewind follows the "underdog against the evil capitalists" template, but it shakes things up enough to make you buy it this time. First off, the evil capitalists aren't so much evil as just misguided. And secondly, nothing is concluded at the end. The movie ends on the grainy, black and white Fats Waller doc the community shot together, while "Your Feets Too Big" plays over the credits. If shooting a Fats Waller doc to unite a community is playing it safe, then there are far more people into him than I realised.

There were quite a few teens and kids in the theatre who were probably lured in by Jack Black: the first four words spoken in the European trailer are, "Jack Black...JACK BLACK!" after all. Though I'm not too sure most of them had any idea what was going on, the infectious feeling of people coming together to create something must have rubbed off on them, as most of them left the theatre smiling.

I can't recommend this to everyone, but I really enjoyed it all the same. Not Gondry's best so far, but definitely Jack Black's (JACK BLACK) best.


nice write-up, Sepp. still, i figured it would be more fitting to rent this to see it. :wink:
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Tue Feb 26, 2008 10:46 am

King Psyz wrote:SPOILER ALERT! In response to Stereos
Anyways, I thought the same at first about the saving the failing landmark ect.

But then there was a switch, You had Danny Glover scoping out the west coast video store, so you know he had all but given up on his vision.

What we really saw was a man defeated, a man who knew when he had been licked and just threw up his hands and went with it.

I still wasn't sure til right on the end when the building wasn't saved, but instead Danny Glover's character said I gave up, I sold out, but at least me and Mike will have something to get us started in the projects.

So while we ended on a up, it was not by any means a Hollywood perfect happy ending. The man and the kid he's looked after were moving to the projects.


Ohh yeah I definitely respected that!

I think the film is well done and enjoyable, but it's definitely not Gondry's best. I actually think you could look at Be Kind Rewind as a quasi kids film it would fare better. It has the heart, it has a message, and it's fun to watch. It respects it's audience as well.

Be Kind Rewind: Good for the whole family?
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Postby LaDracul on Tue Feb 26, 2008 10:51 am

Well, maybe the older kids, considering how he gets the magnetism out of his system... o_o
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Tue Feb 26, 2008 10:52 am

LaDracul wrote:Well, maybe the older kids, considering how he gets the magnetism out of his system... o_o


Ohh come on most kids have seen worse than that ;)
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Postby King Psyz on Tue Feb 26, 2008 10:56 am

Yeah I wish I had known how tame it was, I probablly would have taken my girlfriend's son along since he digs Jack Black and can't really watch the Tenacious D movie after all...
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Postby bamf on Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:55 pm

I wasn't really wowed by the execution of BKR, yet I really enjoyed the premise of the story. I would have liked them to bring the focus off the big effects films and played around in some quieter material like some John Hughes stuff. That being said, the thin line of parody is easily crossed, and that isn't what this film was about was it?

I saw a director making a love note to movie fans. To the guys and gals who quote the films as they remember it, not so much as to how it actually exists. There is something Gondry scratches at; how a audience wants to be involved in the story. Great effects work can only compliment such a endeavour, but cannot be the sole vehicle to drive the story forward.

This seems like a reset for the populace to me. A call to arms saying, "you can create something, just do it. We all have the tools now, and there will always be the crapulence floating around the digital ether. But who will create something great?
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Postby LeFlambeur on Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:34 am

I finally got around to seeing this today. After three terrific movies (Eternal Sunshine, the Science of Sleep, Dave Chappelle's Block Party) Be Kind, Rewind is a semi-successful effort. Gondry is usually at his best when working with the idiosyncratic, and his populist reaching plays unevenly through the movie. Visually this is the most basic of all his films. The handheld freewheeling we've seen in his other work is mostly reserved for the film's made in the film.

On the mainsite in his review Moriarty mentioned Cinema Paradiso, and that's an interesting comparison. Both films revel in common ribaldry, mourn the passing of cultural institutions and suffer a bit from an excess of cuteness, but each film has a wildly different conception of the ideal cinema. Torritore looks back remembering the cinema as a communal dream state. Gondry, a filmmaker of the video age envisions cinema as a participatory affair not an ultra-radical notion in this You-Tubey day and age. A bolder proposition lies in the notion that "its our past, we can change it how we want." When it is revealed that Fats never played or lived in the building it is soon decided by the community that this is irrelevant. The actual "historical" value of the building placed on it by academic institutions isn't so important as what it means to the people whom it has affected. Similarly, their appropriation of these popular video store titles suggests that the "artistic" merit isn't so important as what these works mean to the lives of people. The film's egalitarian pop attitude might have more resonance if Gondry were more interested in how the working class perceives Hollywood product. The lo-fi inventiveness of the "Sweded" videos certainly has its charm, and most of the sequences humor is built around the hectic production, Jack Blacks willful enthusiasm and half-baked quality of the videos.

Its likely that Gondry wouldn't have made something like this had he not worked as director on the concert-doc Dave Chappelle's Block Party. It is that venture which likely inspired his communal concerns, and his effort to combine it here with his own idiosyncrasies is unsurprisingly mixed. In that film, his sentimentality was counterbalanced by having to work with a live subject. Even in that film the director's interests were attracted to an old hippyish, slightly insane couple who lived in a building that Chappelle described as being like a crack house. So its no surprise that the most vivid and interesting and by the logic of the film, believable character in the movie is Jack Black's junkyard dwelling, megalomaniacal man-child Jerry.

Some have suggested that the film would work better if it were shorter, or even as a short. I think it should have been longer, allowing it to spend more time on the process of Sweding these movies, too much of the film's time was spent on the exposition of its fairly flimsy plot. Still, most of the film's shortcomings are almost nullified by its ending. The film ends on such a pitch-perfect grace note with surprising sobriety, and beneficent ambiguity. This moment of communal accomplishment seems like the thing that the whole film was building toward, yet I wonder if in the real world, anyone but Jerry could have seen it as possible.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:06 am

Really nice review Flambeur, just noticed that this film's already on its away out in the box office, having gone by without much notice from audiences... anyone else seen it?

I'd thought Michel Gondry would've attracted more attention, at least from the film-nerd/snob community. In any case, still waiting for its release 'round these parts...
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Postby Retardo_Montalban on Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:34 am

I watched it. It's the feel good movie of the year. Definitely not typical Gondry. It's still a good movie as far as these types of movies go.
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Postby tapehead on Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:48 am

Caught this yesterday and was really taken by it - Gondry has a knack being sentimental without resorting to cliché or becoming overtly cloying or twee.
It's such a playful movie that it might help some viewers to literally see Mike and Jerry as children, or at least innocents. Indeed for a while I thought Jerry was purely a projection of Mike's mind, and Miss Falewicz (Mia Farrow, who seems just a little uncomfortable in her role), his psychotherapist, but this notion collapses in light of how the film progresses. Mike's state of mind preoccupied me throughout the film however, as it's never made particularly clear whether he's literally some kind of man-child or suffering other more troubling delusions. But it doesn't really matter either. The old videotape rental store has clearly been his life-long refuge under the care of his benevolent father-figure, Elroy Fletcher, played by Danny Glover, who seems to be relishing hilarious scenes such as those where he engages in surveillance of the Blockbuster like rental chain, and takes notes on their winning formula and dim-witted staff (Gondry has a beef here, and it provides some of the film's funniest elements). Black as Mike is the fun Jack Black, like the one in High Fidelity, and never gets to dominate proceedings - there's even a few gags about him trying, and failing, to be centre of attention all the time.

The film is another tour de force of Gondry's hand-made visual tricks and treats, in particular look out for a couple of sweding one-shot sequences that barrel through a selective history of pop-cinema with in-jokes and loads of affection. I do wonder if their pre-occupation with Ghostbusters and other '80's and 90's titles might date the film, but at the same time it gives a definite feel that this movie was made for the here and now, rather than posterity. It's also this mood that makes me think the film is more for geeky grown-ups than kids who just won't know these movies.

Right now I think I prefer this to Science of Sleep. The characters are more resilient, and less prone to hopelessness precisely because they are so in love with the beautiful lies and redemptive illusions of movies and storytelling. I'd agree too that it's closest in character to Dave Chapelle's Block Party - there's a feeling of community and care throughout.

8/10, maybe a 7 compared to Gondry's other work.
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Postby RogueScribner on Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:13 am

I don't get out to movies too often, so I always categorize upcoming films thusly: cinema or DVD. More often than not I choose DVD because the subject matter or the way the movie looks appears to be better suited to that medium. That was certainly the case with BKR. Perhaps other people felt the same way; it just wasn't worth the effort to see in a theater.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:25 am

Very nice review tapes!

This just came out over here, so I'll probably be catching it this evening or on the weekend.

I had mixed feelings about Science of Sleep and Block Party, but at this point I guess I'm used to seeing Gondry's work sans Kaufman.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:53 pm

Well I'm too tired to write up a full review right now (count yourselves lucky this time), but this movie was outstanding.

This is the end of the beginning of 2008, and I've seen a lot of the year's turds so far... too bad this gem seems to have been overlooked by most audiences. :(

In short it's brilliant... to echo what some have already said, Gondry's experience on Block Party definitely had an immensely positive impact on his filmmaking. This is the best non-Kaufman-scripted film he made, and to me only Eternal Sunshine stands above it.

Gone are Gondry's over-indulgences and the weakly-scripted characters from The Science of Sleep. And though I appreciated the work for what it was, I had trouble "connecting" to Block Party, namely 'cause it was a concert film and I can't seem to "get into" that type of film (had a similar problem with Buena Vista Social Club).

But with Be Kind Rewind I saw the first truly memorable outing for Gondry as a writer-director.

Also this is Gondry's funniest film to date.

Terrific performances, truly heartfelt and refreshing treatment of the premise. To be frank, I had my reservations before seeing it, the trailer somehow made it seem lifeless and artificial, but watching the film I was completely bowled over.

If you watch this, which y'all should most definitely, look out for Gondry's walk-on cameo. I would've missed it if my friend didn't point it out to me.

And Mia Farrow is absolutely delightful in her supporting role here: the loveable spaced-out woman, I smiled every time she showed up on screen.

Anywho, I'll stop this rambling here.

Great film, a true joy to watch.

I rate it 8/10 (very good - excellent)
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Postby Spandau Belly on Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:59 pm

I haven't seen it yet, I really love Science of Sleep as I guess it was called in English. It was one of my favorite movies the year it came out.

But the trailer for Be Kind, Rewind movie just insulted my intelligence more times most bad movies manage to do in their entire running time.

Like I said, I haven't seen it and it's nice to see you guys saying it's good, but from the trailer it looked like Gondry had this good idea for finding the humour in making a bunch of sloppy re-enactments of popular films but like he just didn't find a good way to lead into it or a good film to build around it or something.

I hope you guys are right and my doubts are unfounded, but I've just got a bad feeling about this one.

I'll stick by Goundry and see whatever he does next regardless of how Be Kind, Rewind turns out.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:02 pm

I too had a bad feeling about it Spandau. Keep your bad feeling, but watch the film. You should be fine after that! :)
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Postby King Psyz on Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:38 pm

I think your misconceptions are more the fault of a misguided marketing department then the movie itself.

I thought the marketing or lack there of here anyway almost killed it for me. But since I'll see anything with Jack Black or Mos Def in it once, hell put em both together and I'm there opening weekend.

I'm very glad I went with my gut and not the ad campaign.
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Postby tapehead on Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:59 pm

Pacino86845 wrote:And Mia Farrow is absolutely delightful in her supporting role here: the loveable spaced-out woman, I smiled every time she showed up on screen.


Yeah you're right; Mia was good - I think perhaps the discomfort and awkwardness I noted was her character. I found it kind of weird to see her in this for some reason - she's a very youthful looking old broad too.

I failed to mention how often the swedes and other shenanigans had me in hysterics too - The whole driving Miss Daisy bit almost had me and my friends rolling in the aisles of our almost-empty matinee session theatre.

Glad you liked it so much too - It hasn't got the attention it probably deserves, but it's nice (and a little ironic) to think it will most likely find a bigger audience on video. I think I'll go rent it at Blockbuster as soon as I'm able to watch it again.

I'd rate it second after Eternal Sunshine in the Gondry canon as well.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:08 am

@ everyone above whose enthusiastic raves were the impetus behind me finally catching this...good show.

Gondry has the unique ability to capture the ineffable intricacies of human emotion at 24 glorious frames per second. Second to none in bringing a childlike whimsy to his stories of wandering (but not quite lost) man-children, his palpable love for cinema equates, often joyously, with a joie de vivre so life affirming, so heartfelt, and so honest, that watching his films reminds me of why I fell in love with the medium in the first place. That style and sentiment, noticeably absent in current film culture, makes him unique, makes him the Cahiers de Cinema definition of an auteur, and makes him a director of films that I will always go check out in the cinema.

and how about a Frenchman who's filmed a Dave Chappelle block party and cast this with an engaging, lively, and thoroughly charming group of minorities? Kudos to you for that, Mr. Gondry, you've done Passaic proud.

my favorite film of the year so far, if this doesn't make my top-10 then it will truly be a remarkable year for cinema.
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Postby tapehead on Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:23 am

You concur then, KC, and I'm glad - it's a seemingly slight piece in many ways but still in all quite silly, clever and wonderful.
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Re: Be Kind, Rewind!

Postby Worst Part's Almost Over on Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:38 pm

Love this movie! Mos Def and Jack Black a good pairing do make. Favourite bit is when they remake The Lion King with Jack's character insisting that Simba cry out 'I will piss on the graves of your ancestors!!' during his battle with Scar :lol: And Black in Boyz N The Hood screaming 'What's happening to our hood?!'
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Re: Be Kind, Rewind!

Postby papalazeru on Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:46 am

I get the feeling they tried too hard to make the characters quirky.

The relationship between Black and Mos was good but felt slightly forced and the film tried to make quirky characters that didn't feel quite quirky enough, like they were trying to set a French film in the US.

Still, the Gondry imagery was fantastic and it was still a great film, I just thought the character didn't gel as well as I'd hoped.
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Re: Be Kind, Rewind!

Postby magicmonkey on Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:11 am

papalazeru wrote:The relationship between Black and Mos was good but felt slightly forced and the film tried to make quirky characters that didn't feel quite quirky enough, like they were trying to set a French film in the US.


Its weird, I really felt this when I put the movie on to watch the first 20mins... Then I went back to it later in the day, rewatching from the start and I found none of that "frenchness" at all, instead, I got a movie that felt like a product of 80's US comedy. I loved the movie, but did feel like it lost itself in the sweding. It was fun, then they seemed to just mash it all up and that really took away from the fun for me as a "Bowfinger" fan. The ending was sweet (and yeah, a tad European maybe) and all, but it kinda just got too edited down for me.
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Re: Be Kind, Rewind!

Postby papalazeru on Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:28 am

magicmonkey wrote:Its weird, I really felt this when I put the movie on to watch the first 20mins... Then I went back to it later in the day, rewatching from the start and I found none of that "frenchness" at all, instead, I got a movie that felt like a product of 80's US comedy. I loved the movie, but did feel like it lost itself in the sweding. It was fun, then they seemed to just mash it all up and that really took away from the fun for me as a "Bowfinger" fan. The ending was sweet (and yeah, a tad European maybe) and all, but it kinda just got too edited down for me.



I didn't mind the ending so much as it create a sense that it was more about the towns people than the JB and MD and other bigger characters.

I'm a big Bowfinger fan too and to be honest I preferred Bowfinger to this,much more biting. As fantasy films go, Be Kind Rewind was good, but not quite there. There certainly should be more films like this but I am left with the distinct impression that they were after an Amelie feel, and didn't quite reach it.
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Re: Be Kind, Rewind!

Postby papalazeru on Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:40 pm

Just watchd the movie again and...Am I missing something?

Mos Def is shit. He really acts like he talking to a brick wall. It's improved only so slightly since 16 blocks (god that movie sucked).

There's nothing new in his performance nor his character.

Everyone esle is cool though.
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Re: Be Kind, Rewind!

Postby RogueScribner on Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:58 am

I'm not really sure what to make of this movie. The sweded videos were kind of funny, but everything else really wasn't. Mos Def was earnest, but Jack Black as a little annoying. I liked Danny Glover, but he was hardly doing much. And in the end it turns into a save-the-rec-center type of story, except it's a VHS video store that barely earns its keep and it's destined to go out of business anyway. They get the whole neighborhood to make a fake documentary and then it ends. I'm not sure what the point was. Living a lie is better than dealing with the truth? Half of history is made up anyway so you might as well grab a piece of that pie? Poor people can make better movies than Hollywood? *shrug* It was okay, I guess, but considering the talent involved I thought it'd be something more substantial.

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Re: Be Kind, Rewind!

Postby Ribbons on Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:06 pm

It wasn't bad, but I'm still not exactly sure why they had to have all their sweded tapes destroyed. Because they had taped over old movies, or something? It seemed like it was just a clumsy way of trying to shoehorn a brief hot-button conversation about "piracy" into the story. But the fun everybody seemed to be having making their own films was infectious, which was probably Gondry's primary concern. It kind of made me want to go out and swede a couple films myself, if I were slightly less lazy.

One thing that most reviews probably didn't mention but that I had a nagging problem with was the idea that "it's our history, so we can make it whatever we want." For one thing, it WASN'T their history; it was Fats Waller's. For another, isn't that just a vaguely euphemistic way of saying "if we all agree to re-write history together, nobody will have the balls to question us"? Obviously this isn't really a political film, but the sociological implications kind of creeped me out.
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