Monday, March 10, 2008

Be kind, rewind

No movie again this weekend - had my eye on a few, but time got away from me. But last weekend I saw "Be Kind, Rewind," which was written and directed by Michael Gondry of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "The Silence of Sleep." Like those films, there is an immediate need to suspend disbelief in order to be taken on the ride the film promises; in this one, it's fairly simple yet twofold, for once you can accept that Jack Black's character can become magnetized (but otherwise unscathed) through electrocution at a local power plant he's protesting, you have to accept that an entire neighborhood will become fascinated by the fake movies he and Mos Def's character film to replace the videos that Black's magnetism erases. I of course had a harder time with the latter: they make one 20 minute film, rent it to one person, and there is a line outside their door the next day for more. But with any of the Gondry/Charlie Kaufman films, the ride is so joyful that I get on with little hesitation, and once I'm strapped in - wheee!

This is no exception - it's fun, and silly, and does, as the promos promise, remind you of why you love films. The two main characters, and a young woman they pick up at a neighborhood drycleaner's (when Black protests romantic scenes shot with only male actors), start creating new videos in order to save the video store which is about to be shut down (ostensibly for building code violations, although really to make way for new condo development.) So there is plenty of film-within-film parody, and some truly inventive filming methods - dangling strings over the camera lens to mimic older scratchy film stock, aligning the hands of black and white "actors" to mimic piano keys. Fun, fanciful stuff, exactly what you expect from Gondry (although still tamer than "Science of Sleep.")

Mos Def, new to me, (although with an impressive "in production" list on imdb) is decent, Black is his usual quirky self, but appearances by Mia Farrow and Danny Glover are startling. Farrow is a convincing batty old woman, but my god, when did she turn into an old woman? It's heartbreaking. And Danny Glover plays the same quiet, sweet, old-fashioned neighborhood grandpa you see in film after film (he has long refuse to switch from VHS to DVD or to raise his prices above a dollar a day, since the neighbors count on him.) But most confusing was the focus the movie had on "Driving Miss Daisy" and the inability I had (really, was it just me?) to remember whether Glover was in that movie or not. (Okay, so it's Morgan Freeman.)

Now, either the theater I was in had a bad copy, or the entire movie is shot in a somewhat dull and faded way, but this only underscores the theme of homemade entertainment being far more entertaining than its glossy counterparts. The locals, who start out as customers but become actors, set designers, techies and costume designers in order to bring their favorite films to life again, learn the love of movies from the inside out. Which, in the end, is what it's all about.


Blogger Jerry said...

Normally I give every Jack Black movie a chance (I thought he was quite good in "Margot At The Wedding", but I really couldn't be bothered to see "Be Kind, Rewind". Maybe it was because Michael Gondry's last movie left me totally cold.

6:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

ring logo
Writing Desk Webring

Join | List | Random
Previous | Next
Powered by RingSurf
Locations of visitors to this page