Be Kind Rewind
Directed by Michel Gondry (PG-13)
When a video store’s tapes are wiped clean, two friends create their own film classics.
Only Michel Gondry could dream up the “so-naïve-it’s-ingenious” Be Kind Rewind, said Chris Lee in the Los Angeles Times. The French writer-director’s latest venture in surrealistic storytelling turns Jack Black and Mos Def into “accidental auteurs.” After an unfortunate accident at a power plant, Black becomes “magnetized” and erases all the VHS tapes in his friend’s video store. So the two men begin shooting abbreviated home-movie versions of the most popular films and soon find that customers love theirs more than the originals. The “film-within-a-film idea” has been done before, but Gondry spiritedly reimagines nearly 20 classics, said Jennifer Hillner in Wired. With an archaic camcorder and a collection of hilariously cheap props, his cast remakes everything from King Kong to 2001: A Space Odyssey with “improvisation, ingenuity, and a good deal of chaos.” Cheese pizza stands in for a pool of blood in Boyz N the Hood and Christmas tinsel replaces Ghostbusters’ ectoplasmic beams. Inspired by his hero Charlie Chaplin, Gondry here tries to marry “low-tech slapstick and high-concept social commentary.” Who needs big budgets? he seems to ask. But if Gondry believes he can reverse Hollywood’s reputation for excess, he’s fooling himself, said Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. His shapeless film “feels as silly and undisciplined as the mini-movies cooked up by its hapless heroes.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why all drugs should be legal. (Yes, even heroin.)
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- 10 things you need to know today: July 29, 2014
- Are there too many good shows on television?
- 7 ideas from ancient thinkers that will improve your modern life
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How to trim $500 from your monthly spending
- Comic-Con 2014: Everything we learned about Avengers 2, Batman v. Superman, and more
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
Subscribe to the Week