Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

06 July 2008

Be Kind Rewind, dir. Michel Gondry (2008)

NIKKI says:
I liked it, but I should have loved it. Michel Gondry is an amazing mind, and a brilliant artist, and I thought his crazy stamp on a film that involves Jack Black and Mos Def remaking Ghostbusters would just be awesome. But it's a bunch of ideas hobbled together to create a film about the bonds of community. I don't know if that needed to be the ultimate message in a film that posits human ingenuity and artistry as the rightful successors to big-business and technology. But maybe I missed the point -- there seemed to be a lot of them.

The video/pawn shop versus the big DVD retailer -- that's the movie I thought I was seeing. Then again, that's the movie I thought I was seeing after the movie about communities embracing their history, which was before the movie about the magnestised weirdo erasing all the films and the silly pair who think remaking the movies and putting them back on the shelves will be sufficient to keep their boss happy. Now that last bit, that's funny. But all the other stuff pops in and pops out depending on convenience, and it becomes somewhat of a goopy mess. Can the movie be about ALL those things? It can, but here, it's kind of not -- the silly pair from the beginning are different guys at the end, but I don't really know why. I could have my mind changed should a DVD commentary inform me of just what Gondry thought he was doing specifically.

Still, I laughed a lot. I loved the film recreation scenes, particularly The Lion King, and I laughed as ever at Jack Black doing his shtick, which I know should be old-hat to me now, but just seems to get funnier.

I expected majestic masterpiece, and got sporadically great film with no real thread. I think I was disappointed, but I'm so thrilled Gondry is in this world that I struggle to be impartial here. I should be annoyed that it was messy. Instead, I'm rather blind to its issues because that montage of film remaking was just so fucking great.

(Edited to add: I've just learned that the Fats Waller connection here is to do with Waller's part in old-school rent parties in which musicians would jam for neighbourhood friends in order to raise money for rent. Gondry appears to have Jack and Mos doing the same thing, only with movies. That's interesting, only it might be yet another piece of the puzzle that doesn't really fit.)


STEVE says:
This became a case of Too Much Hype for Too Little Substance.

The premise hinges on the audience believing there's still a video shop out there that hasn't embraced DVD - in an age where even that technology is being asked to step aside for the shiny new Blu-Ray - and it just didn't sit well with me. It was hard to really get into it from the very beginning. 

Eternal Sunshine is always going to stand out among my Top 10, and there were flashes of that sort of brilliance here. The in-camera montage is beyond description, but that's about it. The rest of the movie is only so-so.