Pinhole Movie Reviews

What Women Want (2011 aka 我知女人心) by Thomas
April 25, 2013, 4:46 pm
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I liked this Chinese remake much more than the original, mostly because they filmed recognizable locations in Beijing. And it’s extra fun to decipher a movie in your favorite foreign language. (Plus, let’s face it: this one doesn’t feature the repugnant Mel Gibson.)  I also thought it was neat that they inserted a characteristically Chinese plot twist concerning filial piety: the grandpa character, entirely missing from the American original, ends up being key to the whole thing.  This is Watchable plus.


What Women Want (2011, aka 我知女人心)


Sound City by jaemskeray
April 24, 2013, 9:36 pm
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This rockumentary is about the Los Angeles recording studio Sound City.  Basically what happened is that this historic studio, where countless awesome records were made; Nirvana’s Nevermind, Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush, Fleetwood Mac’s Fleetwood Mac, most Tom Petty records, Rick Springfield, the list goes on, it goes out of business.  The movie blames it on digital audio technology, Pro Tools to be exact.  Dave Grohl ends up buying the mixing board there that all these great records were made on, and then he invites all of his rock star friends, Stevie Nicks, Paul McCarteny, Trent Resnor, the Foo Fighters, etc, to make a record on it to remember Sound City.  The music they make for the most part is … terribly boring.  It seems that the songs were all written in and recorded in 1 session, very little thought went into them.  I mean he bought the console, they could have spent some time on it, no?  Sort of interesting, but made me realize I should probably stop idolizing these people.  Worth Watching

Fatal Contact (黑拳 or 生死拳) by Thomas
April 20, 2013, 10:23 pm
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A fresh faced acrobat from mainland China gets involved in Hong Kong’s illegal boxing scene — but only after his annoying girlfriend whines about him not having any money.  This is one of my favorite kung fu movies. It’s fun, it’s set in the present day (which is a welcome change) and the fighting looks painfully real. There’s also some great comic relief, a rarity in this genre.  Worth checking out.


Fatal Contact

The Mission 鎗火 by tincolor

A group of thugs in suits are hired to protect a triad boss after his last group of thugs in suits screwed up and  got themselves killed. This is my first Johnnie To movie, but apparently he’s the greatest thing to happen to Hong Kong crime cinema in recent years. In between some really great tense action scenes there is a lot of down time used to develop the friendship between the main actors. The ending confused me and seemed like it suffered from sloppy script writing, but I’m told that it’s actually totally brilliant, so I guess that one’s up to personal preference. Anyway, overall a great Hong Kong action film that’s definitely worth checking out.


Road House by Thomas
April 16, 2013, 1:52 am
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Patrick Swayze is a martial arts-y bouncer hired to tame the clientele at a notoriously rowdy nightclub in the middle of nowhere. Road House is widely known to be an amusingly bad movie and it richly deserves that reputation. Watch it if you like laughing at stupid movies…but, in addition to being stupid, this one was just boring.  Barely watchable. 


Road House

Hard Boiled by Thomas
April 16, 2013, 1:35 am
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A trigger happy cop vows revenge when his partner is gunned down by arms smugglers. This is classic Hong Kong action, my favorite John Woo movie. Unbelievable gun fights interspersed with gorgeous lyrical passages, and a jazzy soundtrack to boot. Somehow Woo’s over-the-top style didn’t translate to Hollywood very well (Mission Imposisble II, Face/Off, etc.) but it works so well here.  Worth watching.


Hard Boiled

The Girl by tincolor
April 13, 2013, 3:01 am
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Toby Jones is Alfred Hitchcock, Sienna Miller is Tippi Hedren, together they will make The Birds and Marnie. I found myself most entertained during the unusually detailed depictions of Hitchcock’s film making process, not by the supposedly complex relationship between Hitchcock and Hedren. The film sells itself as an indictment of Hitchcock, but never quite sells the characters. While the film does provide not so vague hints of Hitchcock’s sexual frustration as well as point to Hedren’s unfortunate combination of stubbornness and timidness, there isn’t much in the story that makes us believe the characters would ever act like they, supposedly, really did. It’s a strange combination of being too obvious and to oblique at the same time. Watchable.


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