February 24, 2008

Be Kind Rewind

A sweet, pleasant, and silly comedy. A hundred years ago, movies were born in New Jersey as a series of short and crude slapstick novelties. Fast forward to 2008, somewhere under the Eastern Spur of the New Jersey Turnpike, a video store's entire collection of VHS tapes is magically de-magged. The shop clerk (Mos Def) and his manic, garrulous layabout friend (Jack Black, love him or hate him, playing himself) remake the movies onto the old tapes, in a pleasantly lo-fi and inventive funky-junk DIY showcase, kind of like Mystery Science Theater 3000. The tapes become a cult hit around the neighborhood, and soon, the entire community is taking pleasure in entertaining themselves via moviemaking. Why pay The Big Studios to make entertainment for you?
French director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) has a knack for making fables which lie just outside our reality, but we still buy into it. The ending is a little saccharine, and I am a little tired of Danny Glover and his soft-spoken earnestness routine. Jack Black has been funnier and more focused in other movies- he is a loose and frayed brand of crazy in this movie, it's hard to pin down any character other than the generic JB identity. I still found the whole experience fun and heartwarming. (Regal Fenway Stadium 13 with Em, George, and Mandy)