Pinhole Movie Reviews

Milk by William
March 28, 2013, 12:50 am
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Sean Penn is a gay dude who gets elected to public office in San Francisco. The movie tells an important story about the difficulties gay people have had receiving respect in the United States. It is also a pretty boring movie. Watchable.

Searching for Sugar Man by Thomas
March 26, 2013, 8:29 pm
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A folk musician who released one or two unknown albums in the US becomes a huge, generation spanning star in South Africa — unbeknownst to anyone back in America, including himself.  This is the kind of so-strange-it’s-true story that propels the best episodes of This American Life, a crazy mix of humor, bizarre coincidence, and sheer wonder. (And insane nerdy obsession, on the part of the folks who solved this mystery.)  This was the well-deserved winner for Best Documentary at the recent Academy Awards. Worth watching.


Searching for Sugar Man

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Extended Version) by Thomas
March 13, 2013, 8:35 pm
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If you’ve already devoted eight hours of your life to this shindig, why not put in another four? They altered the plot in annoying ways here, such as making Frodo betray Sam on the long road to Mordor. But generally they were pretty faithful.  It turns out that the “army of the dead” bit is actually from the book! (However, it’s more of a minor incident that happens off stage, if you can believe that.)  Anyway, this might be my favorite of the movies because it has some moments of raw power, as in the final struggle to summit Mount Doom.  Watching these has been a fun, extremely nerdy project.  Not as fun or nerdy as re-reading the books, though. Worth checking out.


The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Extended Version)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Extended Version) by Thomas
March 13, 2013, 8:23 pm
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The legend continues, like TV sensation Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.  Second acts are always more interesting because the real conflict comes into play.  Also, I was pleased with the level of detail (and precious comic relief) that Jackson preserves in this installment.  But I think the movies in general are just less subtle and interesting than the book. For example, in the first one Boromir is supposed to be corrupt almost from the beginning — and in this one his brother Faramir seems petty and weak the whole time, as if all the men besides Aragorn are pretty much worthless.  Still, the Gollum effects and pretty much everything else works well. Worth checking out.


The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Extended Version)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Version) by Thomas
March 13, 2013, 8:12 pm
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Peter Jackson may  be the perfect director for this kind of project because his style is larger than life. If you’ve seen his zombie bloodbath movie Dead Alive, or the pitch black Muppets parody Meet the Feebles, then perhaps you know what I mean.  But while hitting the right epic tone, he had to cut out a ton of interesting material from the first LOTR book. No barrow wights, no Tom Bombadil…ah well.  Worth checking out.


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Version)

Reds by Thomas
March 4, 2013, 4:04 am
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I’ve been watching a lot of lengthy movies lately, all of them featuring Diane Keaton!  In this one, she stars as a would be journalist, circa WWI, who falls in love with Warren Beatty.  Or maybe the movie is really about Beatty, a socialist writer who pens a famous book about the Russian Revolution then confronts the grim realities of Soviet Russia.  Well,  the movie is long enough to include both stories — and supposedly they’re both true.  There’s a great supporting cast (including Jack Nicholson as Eugene O’Neil.)  It’s the only movie to be nominated for all four Academy Awards for acting — other than Silver Linings Playbook. Anyway, Worth watching.


The Godfather Part II by Thomas
March 4, 2013, 2:18 am
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The Corleone saga continues: Al Pacino, who ascended to the top of the family crime syndicate in the first movie, now broods and expands his power obsessively.  At the same time we get some turn of the century flashbacks with Robert DeNiro as a young version of Pacino’s father, if that makes sense. Meh. Instead of just re-playing the first one, this sequel tries to renovate it, filling the “gaps” with further material, much of which is unnecessary.  Luckily, it does echo the first one often enough that you still feel like you’re watching a good movie.  If you see the first one (which you’re *required* to) and you enjoy it, then hell, you might as well commit another three hours to this one. Worth checking out.


The Godfather Part II

The Godfather by Thomas
March 4, 2013, 1:55 am
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The quintessential mafia movie, an epic story about power and corruption.  It’s a slow, realistic drama, punctuated with a few moments of sudden and brutal violence.  This makes the audience uneasy, which kind of replicates how it would feel to be around people who could eliminate you at the drop of a fedora. Man, what a movie! Required viewing.


The Godfather



Training Day by Thomas
March 1, 2013, 6:00 am
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Ethan Hawke is an idealistic narcotics agent (?) who is kind of auditioning to be on an elite squad with Denzel Washington, who turns out to be a dirty cop.  They go around LA harassing people, then steal some drug money.  It’s competently made, but this is the kind of cowboy cop drama that is no longer relevant in the post-Wire era.  Watchable.


Training Day

Tootsie by Thomas
March 1, 2013, 3:46 am
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Dustin Hoffman is an unemployed actor (with Bill Murray as his roommate! In Manhattan in the 80s!) Sounds like a blast…but bills must be paid, so he turns to cross dressing on a daytime soap and becomes a feminist icon, ironically.  Like RW in Mrs. Doubtfire, he plays an older lady so it can be more believable. I guess men have worse skin than women? At any rate, this is classic comedy.  It’s pretty schmaltzy, but Hoffman is so good that it works well.  Worth checking out.



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