Friday, March 22, 2013

A Movie You Might Have Missed: 34

I'll just get this out of the way first. This might be the worst poster/dvd cover I've ever seen for a movie.

Be not afraid. Watch it anyway.

34. Be Kind Rewind

This movie's unique blend of talent includes Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover and Mia Farrow. If it is hard to imagine what they all have in common, then you are in the right frame of mind for Be Kind Rewind.

Mr. Fletcher's (Danny Glover) Be Kind Rewind vhs rental store is in decline. Despite his claims that jazz pianist Fats Waller was born there, the building housing his business is going to be demolished unless he can finance renovation. When Mr. Fletcher goes on an annual trip to memorialize Fats Waller, he leaves sole employee, Mike (Mos Def), to tend the store.

Naturally this is when things go very wrong. Through a freak magnetic accident, all the tapes in the store are erased, leaving Mike and his friend Jerry (Jack Black) to come up with a way to satisfy rental customers. They reshoot movies on demand using their own cameras.

Part of this movie's charm is the combination of standard bumbling comedy with wacky brilliance. Fair warning: the first part is a bit more of what one expects from a Jack Black movie. When we watched it with friends during a movie night, my husband and I looked at each other thinking, "What have we done?"

However, the middle and end suddenly take an unexpected turn which winds up combining a love of movies, personal creativity, history, community, and ... of course ... Fats Waller, whose story is wound through the movie. (For the record, our friends loved it.)

By the way, this was directed by Michael Gondry who is known for his distaste of CGI. This has led to some very creative sets and movie making in order to come up with effects in his movies. A wonderful example in this movie is when Mike and Jerry are on the chain link fence. Just watch for it. You'll see what I mean.

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