Film / Reviews

Rewind This!

Rewind This! (VHS Tape wo Maki Modose!)
Rating
Director Josh Johnson
Language English, Japanese, Spanish (subtitled in Japanese)
Opens july 26

Presumably, Josh Johnson’s amusing documentary “Rewind This!” is a trawl through the cultural history of the video tape and the people who are still attached to this format. But, more than that, it’s a portrait of a certain type of otaku fanboy: those obsessed with B-grade movie schlock. The documentary races through the VHS versus Betamax format war, the development of the video rental economy and how that leveled the playing field for a wide range of low-budget filmmakers, and how the ability to easily watch films over and over changed how people saw them.

There’s a wide range of opinions on offer here — ranging from those of Canadian arthouse director Atom Egoyan to “Ghost in the Shell” creator Mamoru Oshii — but the overwhelming majority are bearded geeks (one even looks disturbingly like Giovanni Ribisi’s psycho in “Ted”) who profess too much knowledge and love for trash like “The Toxic Avenger” (1984), “Nekromantik” (1987), and 1980s aerobic videos.

When the crowning glory of an art form — the straight-to-video-film — is something like the silly splatter film “Basket Case,” it all seems a bit pathetic, really.

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