Posts Tagged ‘Jack Black’

This week’s releases include: a bird watching adventure; a Canadian hockey movie; a quality prison drama; a spy thriller; an exceptional haunted house story; a look at crime in L.A., a fantastic sci-fi narrative; a grown-up bully; a cold war documentary; an extraordinary biopic; a mischievous monkey finds a new way to make trouble; a baseball movie; and a band of misfits. (more…)

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This week’s releases include: a government agent continues to harbour an alien whose become a member of his family; a world of tiny people that teaches an oversized man a lesson; and a look at the struggle and triumph of a man who would lead a nation. (more…)

Music-video-artist-turned-feature-filmmaker Michel Gondry’s follow-up to his critically-acclaimed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is similarly unique, odd, amusing and smart.

Mike (Mos Def) and Jerry (Jack Black) are childhood friends from Passaic, New Jersey. Mike works at and lives above the neighbourhood video store with Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover). Unfortunately, business is slow and their building is being taken over and torn down. When Mr. Fletcher leaves Mike in charge, his only instruction is “Keep Jerry Out.” Mike fails to follow the rules and every videotape in the store is erased. To keep Mr. Fletcher from discovering the disaster, the boys offer hilarious remakes, or “Sweded” versions, of all the films they carry, creating their own niche market.

Be Kind Rewind does not really come to life until Mike and Jerry begin producing their own versions of rental favourites, like Ghostbusters (with Jerry’s version of the theme music), Rush Hour 2, The Lion King, Robocop, Driving Miss Daisy, and Boyz n the Hood. Thanks to Gondry, their shooting methods are innovative and earnest; and eventually involve the whole community.

The behind-the-scenes featurette is also different from the typical extra, in that it focuses less on the minutiae of the production and more on the location of Passaic; its personalities, structures and history are discussed by residents of the area. Furthermore, as Mike and Jerry employ neighbours for certain shots, so too did Gondry utilize locals for a variety of scenes.

FOIL POWER ACTIVATED: Jack Black (left) and Mos Def in a scene from Be Kind Rewind (Photo courtesy of Alliance Films)When the reel started to roll, I thought I had walked into the wrong movie.

Be Kind Rewind begins with a short history of jazz in Harlem, leading up to the story of local legend Fats Waller. Finally, when you see Jack Black, Mos Def and Danny Glover are relating the story, you know you are in the right place.

Music-video-artist-turned-feature-filmmaker Michel Gondry has finally given audiences a follow-up to the very original and widely successful Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Be Kind Rewind is similarly unique and as imaginatively humorous.

Mike (Def) and Jerry (Black) are childhood friends, having grown up in the low-rent neighbourhood of Passaic, New Jersey. Mike works at and lives above the neighbourhood video store with Mr. Fletcher (Glover). Unfortunately, business is slow and a development corporation is going to takeover the building complex and tear it down.

When Mr. Fletcher leaves Mike in charge while he attends a memorial for Waller, his only instruction to Mike is “Keep Jerry Out.” Mike fails to follow the rules and every videotape in the store is mysteriously erased. To keep Mr. Fletcher from discovering the disaster, the boys offer hilarious remakes of all the films they carry. To justify the additional cost and longer wait periods, Jerry suggests the films are imported from Sweden and, therefore, “Sweded.” The term, coined by Gondry, is actually defined as “the practice of re-creating something from scratch using commonly available, everyday materials and technology.”

The first act of the film is somewhat bland and some scenes may leave you wondering if Mike is a little slow. But Academy Award winning writer/director Gondry’s innovative genius really shines through once Mike and Jerry begin filming. The techniques utilized to recreate certain scenes are amusingly inventive, such as a toy cars’ road mat below the characters to imply great distance from ground level. Films that are Sweded include Ghostbusters (with Jerry’s version of the theme music), Rush Hour 2, The Lion King, Robocop, Driving Miss Daisy, and Boyz n the Hood; with the help of the neighbourhood, they also create a period piece chronicling the life of Fats Waller.

Underneath it all, Be Kind Rewind is an exploration of the movie watching experience. The Sweded films are not meant to be exact recreations; we tend not to remember scenes exactly as they were. So instead, they capture the movie moments and feelings as they remember it – hence, a 90-minute film can be summed up in 20 minutes or less.

This film is not likely to become as popular or acclaimed as Eternal Sunshine but it is still a very clever and enjoyable comedy.