Tag Archives: Be Kind Rewind

New on DVD: The Savages and Be Kind Rewind

The Savages
Estranged siblings Jon and Wendy Savage (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney) are forced to care for their aging and increasingly senile father when the woman he lives with dies, leaving him without a home. This is not a particularly exciting proposition to anyone involved – both siblings are playwrights (Jon much more successfully than Wendy, who has yet to get one of her plays produced), and both have based plays around their traumatic (or at least neglected) childhood. Neither has seen their father for years. But they make an effort, settling Dad into a nursing home. Writer/directer Tamara Jenkins treats Dad with a great deal of nuance despite his decidedly supporting role – he’s too far gone into dementia to be able to respond to Wendy’s attempts to pretend everything’s fine, but not so far gone that the hurt doesn’t creep into his face when Jon treats him as though he’s not even there. In addition to the parent-child issues, Wendy’s also dealing with her inability to get produced, to get out of a relationship with a married man, and to overcome her sense of inferiority in comparison with Jon – who is, meanwhile, figuring out what to do about his girlfriend returning Eastern Europe due to visa issues. So many strands of story and so many levels of (broken) relationships could easily lead to a sloppy and depressing film, especially since Jon and Wendy spend so much time angry at each other. But Jenkins holds everything together very well, with a smart screenplay and steady directorial hand bringing out the best that Linney and Hoffman have to offer. Which is quite a lot.
Well Above Average
USA 2007; dir: Tamara Jenkins; starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney, Philip Bosco
Screened 27 June 2008 on DVD
IMDb | The Frame

Be Kind, Rewind
In a struggling New York-area city stands a dying building. It has been condemned, ready to be taken over by fancy apartment developers unless its owner Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover) can turn a profit on his VHS rental store to make the necessary repairs. When he takes a research trip to find out how to improve business (leading to some nice jabs at Blockbuster-style megastores), he leaves his adopted son Mike (Mos Def) in charge, warning him to keep his hapless friend Jerry (Jack Black) out of the store. Of course, Jerry doesn’t stay out of the store, and having been temporarily magnetized in an accident (don’t ask), he erases all the tapes. Rather than admit defeat, the pair grab a camera and film short versions of the movies – Ghostbusters, RoboCop, even Driving Miss Daisy – which, incredibly, become more popular than the actual films among patrons soon willing to line up and pay $20 to have their favorite movies “sweded.” Anyone who’s ever made films in their backyard or known people who did will likely be charmed by the town coming together over the process of making and exhibiting homemade films. I was, though I do feel that Gondry’s ideas aren’t quite as good in execution as they are in his head. Thankfully, he does realize his concept much more fully and satisfactorily here than he did in The Science of Sleep. However, once home moviemaking rallies the town, the film just stops abruptly, a move likely to annoy any viewers who aren’t convinced by Gondry’s belief in the power of cinema – any cinema.
Above Average
USA 2008; dir: Michel Gondry; starring: Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover, Melonie Diaz, Mia Farrow
Screened 10 July 2008 on DVD
IMDb | The Frame

Trailer Watch – Highly Anticipated

Haven’t done a trailer watch for a while. Most of the things I’m most interested in, especially this time of the year, are limited release films, and it feels weird to plug them when they come out when I know that I and most everyone I know won’t be able to see them for at least a few weeks, if then. So it’s sort of weird. But there are some things coming out that I’m super-excited about. Most of these are coming out in the next couple of months.

Juno

opens December 5th, limited

CURRENT MOST ANTICIPATED. I want to see it two months ago. Except if I had I couldn’t be enjoying the anticipation so much right now. Ellen Page is one of the best young actresses in Hollywood right now hands down, Michael Cera is adorable, plus Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner. And it’s a total festival darling of exactly the type that I always love. I’m also pleased that screenwriter Diablo Cody is getting as much attention as she is; screenwriters don’t get noticed as much as they should, and she was getting noticed even before the strike. Ooh, and I forgot until I just watched the trailer again–Thank You For Smoking was one of my favorite films last year, so I’m a fan of the director, too.

Atonement

opens December 7th

After I see Juno, Atonement will become my CURRENT MOST ANTICIPATED. Of course, that won’t last long, since it comes out two days later. Ah well. The book is one of the best I’ve read all year, the cast is great, it’s the same guy that directed Pride and Prejudice a couple of years ago (which quickly became one of my favorite Austen adaptations), and pretty much every review I’ve seen from the festival circuit has been nothing short of glowing. Read the book, folks, then go see the movie. Simple as that.

More after the jump.

Continue reading