Be Kind Rewind (Blu-Ray)

Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
A fun movie deserves a fun cover and groovy menu, and that’s what you get with Be Kind Rewind. The cover art has the cut and paste look, and obvious choice for a movie about homespun versions of block buster movies. It might be expected, the cutesy arts and crafts look of the packaging, but it’s just right for the whole theme of the movie. The menu is a clip of Jack Black holding a piece of cardboard that has the menu “hand written” and as you navigate more cut and paste action happens with Mos Def and Black’s faces popping up with little doodle outlines. It’s kind of student-ish and is an attempt at looking amateur, which is fine with me. My only criticism is that it makes the movie seem more madcap than it really is. It’s not a total romp of slapstick comedy as the cover and description imply, but hey, they think that crap sells DVD’s…more power to’em.

Features: 8/10

  • Portrait Of Passaic, New Jersey– It seems to be a new trend to make “big” movies in neighborhoods, communities, bringing a certain foundation to a film. Passaic, New Jersey and the people who live there give this movie an un-obnoxious charm that I love. More movies need to get away from the studio and bring more of the real people onto the big screen.
  • Behind The Scenes Featurette – Making the movie, the director, cast, Passaic, etc. It’s a good extra, well done and not over produced.
  • Conversation With Jack Black & Michel Gondry – A two dude interview with a cheeky star and French funny director. You get a lot of classic Jack Black funniness, if you appreciate his funniness that is.
  • Making Of Featurette – Another behind the scenes, well made, more entertaining than most making of Featurettes.
  • Musical Tribute To Fats Waller With Mos Def, Michel Gondry & Jean-Michel Bernard – Three songs sung by Mos Def, with the director of the movie on the drums. It’s a jazzy kind of club with real people talking and being otherwise occupied while Def does his thing on stage.
  • Jack & Mos Improvise Sweded Theme Songs – Oh so funny. It’s like watching two young boys goofing around…hmm The director has a list of the movies they are remaking inside the film and wants Black and Def to rif a bit of funny rapping bits to do the audio of their homemade movies.
  • Complete Fats Waller Biopic – The movie in the movie in the movie. It’s threaded through the film, but we don’t get to see the whole thing. Thank goodness for DVD extras.

Movie: 8/10
It’s hot, gas is expensive, days off should be spent having fun. Be Kind Rewind fits into my Summer just right. It’s a movie about two guys making movies with their own flair. Let me explain. Mr. Fletcher (Glover) owns a small video rental and thrift shop in Passaic, New Jersey. It’s run down and about to be demolished to make way for some flashy new condominiums. Mike (Mos Def) works in the shop and seems to be adopted or raised by Glover, not sure what that situation is exactly. Jerry (Jack Black) is Mike’s friend who is annoying and lives near a power plant that he believes is running everyone’s lives.

Jerry gets Zapped!, not unlike Scot Baio back in 82. This time it’s not telekinesis he gets to enjoy, but instead he’s fully magnetized. This is the more fantastic part of this otherwise reality based story.  I like that it has an element of wackiness. As Jerry walks into the video store, erases all the movies, and that’s where the less whacky, but similarly whimsical part of the tale begins.

These two friends are left with the responsibility of taking care of the shop. With the entire inventory gone, their plan to remake Hollywood’s biggest hits takes on an organic and very creative turn. They recruit a local young lady who takes on the role of producer. They make costumes from bits and bobs from the junk yard, and do it all on old school video tape. Everyday more people come to get the latest masterpieces.

They include the community, which is the heart of the film, and work toward trying to save the video store. Along the way there aren’t many other side stories. Most movies add a love interest, a sub plot, some parallel busy work to keep us hopping from one thing to another. This movie is pretty straight forward. There is a hint of a relationship between Mike and Alma (Melonie Diaz), but it’s subtle and sweet, not overpowering. Mr. Fletcher is finding his way as an aging man trying to keep his business going, and Mrs. Falewicz (Mia Farrow) becomes a big part of the whole drama as the one person who speaks for the neighborhood. She’s the reasonable person in among the craziness. These are all peripheral to the bigger idea of these guys remaking iconic movies with junk and an almost school play inspiration.

Everyone does an excellent job. The cast is really fun to watch. I’m not a fan of Danny Glover, and he does what he always does, play the upper middle aged man who has some authority and wisdom. Black and Def are being pretty much a couple of goofsters, which fits just right. Mia Farrow is sweet but surprisingly stable, and I’m not sure what I mean by that. Diaz is my favorite person in the whole movie. She’s natural, not too hammy even though she’s up against two big performers like Black and Def. I hope to see her again! The heart is in the right place, it’s an innocent story, not original by any means. It’s the little guy fighting back against the big oppressive machine, but done in a way where the fact that a man can be fully magnetized and nuclear pee don’t overpower an other wise grounded series of events.

I love the story, the idea of making something, being creative. They do come across a bit of a copyright snag, but that’s to be expected from the bullies of the big studios who get a sniff of their film making project. I could have done without that part of the story, but that’s one of very few glitches for me. It’s just pure fun, and funny. A great combination for taking a break from sunshine, gasoline prices, and mowing the yard.

Audio & Video: (By Ascully) 8/10
To be fair, Be Kind Rewind does look pretty nice on Blu-Ray disc, but (yes there is a but) the movie doesn’t really utilize the format to the fullest. This could be the fact that the movie is presented on a single layer 25GB disc or that a lot of it is shot on a VHS camera. I am not sure which of the two it is but the movie never really impressed me with its image. The main reason to own the Blu-Ray version for me would be the improved color space and some extras which are HD exclusive.

Audio is pretty great but again not a huge step up from the DVD release, out of all the New Line discs we have taken a look at so far, this one is the least impressive, again this is not New Lines fault its pretty much the type of movie Be Kind Rewind is. Saying that if you have the means the Blu-Ray disc is going to be the one to choose.

Value: 5/10
A great flick, but not something I would pay almost 30 bucks for, no way. I’m a fan of renting either in the flesh or online. For a couple dollars you get the movie and have more for more movies. That’s how I think. If you put all your spending money into one DVD, you have less fun-funds for more entertainment. I say, as long as gas is $4 a gallon, purchasing DVD’s might take a back seat…oh..funny.

Overall Score 8/10