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Be Kind Rewind(2008)
Jerry is a junkyard worker who attempts to sabotage a power plant that he believes is melting his brain. But, when his plan goes awry, the magnetic field that he creates accidentally erases all of the videotapes in a local video store where his best friend Mike works. Fearing that the mishap will cost Mike his job, the two friends team up to keep the store's only loyal customer—a little old lady with a tenuous grasp on reality—from realizing what has happened by recreating and re-filming every movie that she decides to rent. From "Back to the Future," to "Robocop," to "Rush Hour," to "The Lion King," Jerry and Mike become the biggest stars in their neighborhood by starring in the biggest movies ever made.
For more about Be Kind Rewind and the Be Kind Rewind Blu-ray release, see Be Kind Rewind Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 1, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover, Mia Farrow, Melonie Diaz, P.J. Byrne
Director: Michel Gondry
» See full cast & crew
Be Kind Rewind Blu-ray Review
Be kind and watch this goodnatured film.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 1, 2012
We come up with some special effects, we do it ourselves!
Most astute audiences know that it's not the special effects and the production values and the spit and polish that make a movie, but rather the heart that goes into it, the soul that grows within it, and the joy that comes out of it. Certainly there's something to be said for big budgets, cutting-edge technical knowhow, great acting, a refined script, and so on and so forth, but there's also the base necessary ingredients, including a love for the medium of film, an understanding of and appreciation for it, and a willingness to get down and dirty and do whatever it takes to make a finished product people will love, not just pay to see, look at, or even admire. All of the great films are made not just for the bottom line but rather for the movie lover in everyone, to tell a story and tell it with sincerity and appreciation for the power the medium holds. In Be Kind Rewind, what begins as an emergency moviemaking session, a last-resort sort of gamble, becomes something deeper, greater, more important. Beyond the mere novelty of the premise and the sharing of the fun of film, Be Kind Rewind promotes the potential of the medium and the goodness that can come from it, the sense of togetherness, of community, of a shared passion for something that's not about look and professionalism and perfection but rather honesty, integrity, and sincerity, ideas that transcend cinema and seem appropriate for the greater thing called life.
Mike (Mos Def) works in the Be Kind Rewind video store that, even in 2008, rents only VHS tapes, one per day, for one dollar. Legend -- and shop owner Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover) -- has it that a famous Jazz musician was born in that very store, located in the little big city of Passaic, New Jersey. Sadly, the store is on its last legs, and so too is the building. Mr. Fletcher is being forced to renovate at his own expense or get out of the way for a new condominium complex, the former of which he cannot afford and the latter of which he cannot accept. He heads out of town in an effort to figure out just how to revitalize his store, leaving it in the hands of his trusted employee. But Mr. Fletcher warns Mike to stay away from Jerry (Jack Black), a conspiracy theorist who hangs around the store and eggs Mike on to help him in his various anti-establishment ventures. When one of Jerry's stunts leaves him electrocuted and temporarily magnetized, he inadvertently erases every tape in the store. Angry customers -- those few who remain -- return with ruined tapes and promises to never frequent the establishment again. When one of Mr. Fletcher's personal friends and longtime customer Miss Falewicz (Mia Farrow) comes in wanting a copy of Ghostbusters -- a film she's never seen -- Mike and Jerry promise to have it ready for the next day. In a pinch, they decide to reshoot the movie, starring themselves in every role and making use of any location or makeshift prop they can find. Surprisingly, their "Sweded" remakes become a huge sensation around town, but will the influx of new customers be enough to save the shop from certain doom?
Be Kind Rewind's clever and novel premise is reason enough to watch. It's not the first film to celebrate the medium of film and it won't be the last, but that the movie promotes human values while also having a bit of fun with some classic films makes for a combination that's both original and appealing even to the most jaded audiences who believe they've already seen everything there is to see, experienced all that cinema has to offer, thought that there's no room for anything new. Yet by reshaping the old into something new, and doing it with purpose and not simply as a cheap but effective gag, the film offers something beyond the premise. In fact, Be Kind Rewind doesn't even spend all that much time showing the movie recreations, because they're not the point. Certainly the quick and dirty remake of Ghostbusters and a montage of rapid-fire scene-by-scene reshoots of classics might be the comedic highlight, but the picture uses its humor to build heart, to find purpose, to demonstrate that the movies aren't simply about box office gross, rentals, celebrity gossip, and everything else that superficially defines today's movie landscape but instead the people who experience them, discuss them, share them with others, and see in them something hopeful, something better, something that just might extend beyond the screen and leave them better off as individuals, as families, as communities, as a world.
But chances are most audiences will watch for the premise and the promise of the classics remade, and that's all right. Certainly, the film doesn't disappoint in its recreations of films, and they're done so well one wonders how it took a century or so of moviemaking to move beyond the parody and poor remakes and simply recreate the classics making use of only passion and basic know-how, lovingly replicating them and not butchering them for a profit. The recreated Ghostbusters, RoboCop, Driving Miss Daisy, et. al. are quite authentic and immediately recognizable, the latter probably the most important factor. They look as cheap as they should coming from an old camera, a couple of guys and a gal, and a few makeshift throwaway props. These films make use of clever solutions to big-bidget problems, and even if little or nothing is "accurate" beyond the general feel and the heart behind the movie, that they are so sincere and passionately put together makes them more enjoyable than many "real" movies. The film recreates pictures of different styles and rhythms, as Be Kind Rewind itself maneuvers through a hodgepodge of styles, playing as campy, funny, dramatic, and touching throughout. The film plays slowly to start and takes a good act or so to find its rhythm, but the open is but the placement of all the necessary pieces to provide the film the fun and heart that sees it through to a magical ending. This is good, honest filmmaking that every film fan will love, not just for the recreated movies but for the genuine sense of warmth it exudes throughout and by its end.
Be Kind Rewind Blu-ray, Video Quality
Be Kind Rewind features an acceptable but somewhat unremarkable 1080p transfer. Generally, the image appears sharp and well-defined, with strong colors and balance. Indeed, viewers will enjoy quality high-definition details evident on the worn paint and textures outside the video shop, on the rusted gate upon its door, and on other general street-level details. Facial and clothing and movie recreation costume details are sufficient, and the 1080p transfer's resolution and clarity allows viewers to make out with ease the titles and box art of the VHS boxes that line the store's shelves. Colors are generally vibrant, balanced, and pleasing. The image sports bright colors in clothes and costumes, but handles some of the darker, more worn-down shades around the store with equal ease. The image sometimes looks a bit flat, soft, and slightly smeary. Blacks are deep, but crush is evident in the darkest nighttime corners. Still, this is a solid, well-rounded image that serves the movie well.
Be Kind Rewind Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Be Kind Rewind features an immersive and highly satisfying DTS-HD MA 7.1 lossless soundtrack. Surrounds are used extensively throughout, particularly in support of music. From the opening titles forward, music plays from all corners with great clarity and energy. The surround use is constant, but naturally effective. The fronts dominate, but the surrounds do as they should, encircling the audience within the film. The Ghostbusters theme plays with the energy, clarity, and volume necessary to really enjoy that classic tune. A few scattered directional effects are effective, and light city ambience helps set the stage for the exteriors. Those scene featuring a magnetized Jack Black enjoy solid clarity and heft. Bass isn't overpowering in this film, but there's an evident low end signature that gives the movie a positive, strong body. Generally, however, this one is all about dialogue. The spoken word plays clearly through the center with no discernible hiccups or clutter from surrounding music or sound effects. This track won't dazzle, but it's a good, positive presentation that does the movie proud.
Be Kind Rewind Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Be Kind Rewind contains a handful of interesting -- and some interestingly-titled -- extras.
Be Kind Rewind Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Be Kind Rewind goes to show that movies aren't about how good they look, how big they feel, how much money they make. They're about making people happy, about changing lives, about spirit and heart rather than money and the bottom line. Be Kind Rewind isn't simply about remaking movies on the cheap, but instead how the medium can bring people together, how a genuine sense of care and community and pride in something can elevate even the "cheapest" picture into a masterpiece of heart. The short remakes are excellent, too, but one can only wonder what the movies might have been like if Robert Rodriguez had been in on the gig. New Line's Blu-ray release of Be Kind Rewind features good video, solid audio, and a fair assortment of extras. Recommended.
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Be Kind Rewind Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Warner to Release Be Kind Rewind on Blu-ray (Updated) - April 29, 2008
Warner Home Video have revealed that they will bring the Jack Black and Mos Def comedy 'Be Kind Rewind' to Blu-ray on June 17th, a full week before the DVD release. This will be the first time any major studio makes the Blu-ray release available prior to the DVD ...
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