Pinhole Movie Reviews

Only God Forgives by Thomas
July 25, 2013, 7:38 pm
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The setting is Bangkok, rendered as a kind of neon wasteland, a haven for criminals and psychopaths.  Ryan Gosling’s brother rapes and murders a young girl, subsequently the policeman who arrives at the scene allows the girl’s father to reap his revenge. (That’s how that works, right?) So begins an insane symphony of horrible violence that makes Nicholas Winding Refn’s previous film Drive look like Pippi Longstocking. Kristen Scott Thomas steals the show as Gosling’s deranged mother.  This movie is heartless and obscene.  But can it redeemed by martial arts spectacle, Blade Runner-ish design, and Cliff Martinez music? Well, maybe a little. Watchable.


Only God Forgives

Ran (乱) by Thomas
July 25, 2013, 5:49 pm
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A shogun decides to give up his throne to his three sons. As in King Lear, this leads to a series of unintended and disastrous consequences.  The result is raw and disturbing, as well as visually stunning.  The glorious color makes you wonder why you even liked Kurosawa’s black and white movies. (Oh right, you liked them because they are awesome.) The battle scenes are crazy,  especially when you consider that they only had twelve million dollars! Even twelve million 1985 dollars is a paltry sum for an epic like this.  I’m gonna go for Required Viewing on this one.

Ran (乱)


Identity Thief by William
July 23, 2013, 12:02 pm
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Jason Bateman’s identity gets stolen by Melissa McCarthy, and he has to track her down in order to save his job. This movie isn’t really funny at all. Watchable.

Identity Thief Poster.jpg

Pitch Perfect by William
July 20, 2013, 12:48 pm
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College a capella groups compete to win a national singing competition. As one might expect, the movie is basically a series of musical numbers with a by-the-numbers romantic comedy/competition plot tying things together. The difficulty is that, being so formulaic, it is easy to think of things that surpass this movie in various aspects. NBC’s program The Sing-Off has better a capella singing. Sister Act 2 also uses a young cast, but comes up with a more interesting story. Overall, the singing scenes in Pitch Perfect is good enough, but the rest is pretty mediocre. Watchable.

Promotional poster for film "Pitch Perfect".jpg

Adventureland by William
July 19, 2013, 8:07 pm
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Instead of backpacking across Europe the summer after he graduates from college, Jesse Eisenberg takes a job at an amusement park over the summer to finance his further education at Columbia. Oh no! Fortunately, the amusement park is staffed by a gang of lovable misfits, including Bill from Freaks & Geeks. This movie was not quite what I expected, I was imagining something more wacky, with a plot consisting of mainly hijinks and shenanigans. The movie is more contemplative than that, something along the lines of The Graduate in its attempt to depict a young man just out of college who is trying to figure out his life. The movie wasn’t overly insightful, but not completely vapid either. On the negative side, the pacing is not well done and the movie feels long; just one thing happens after another. Also, crucial to the plot is causing the viewer to believe that Kristen Stewart is fantastic, and that’s hard to do. Worth Checking Out.


Robot & Frank by Thomas
July 19, 2013, 6:44 pm
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Frank Langella is a grizzled ex-con whose robotic companion is cramping his style. Luckily  he finds out that he can train the robot to help him pull off a heist, for old times sake. Langella carries the movie with his gruff and curmudgeonly humor. The screenplay has a few surprises, too. Worth checking out.


Robot & Frank

Trouble with the Curve by William
July 17, 2013, 10:58 am
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Aging actor Clint Eastwood plays yet another aging character, this time an aging baseball talent scout who has to struggle to keep his job and repair his relationship with daughter Amy Adams. This movie is more or less what you expect from late-career Clint Eastwood nowadays. He wanders around being old and ornery, and every once in a while betrays some deep emotions or regrets from within. Watchable.
Trouble with the Curve Poster.jpg

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by William
July 17, 2013, 10:51 am
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A weird teenager deals with the awkwardness and loneliness of being in high school in the early 90’s. The movie is based on a book, and it shows, in that the plot is somewhat meandering. Watchable.

A lime green wall with the words 'we are infinite', a boy stands beside a girl, she leans her head on the shoulder of another boy.

Standing in the Shadows of Motown by Thomas
July 13, 2013, 4:23 pm
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The phenomenal success of Motown Records, Detroit’s so-called “hit factory” from the 1960s, was based on the idea that soul music could be marketed to white people.  This documentary follows the Funk Brothers, an amorphous  group of studio musicians who performed on the label’s mega hits from “My Girl” to “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.” They never received much recognition (or payment) for their efforts, despite helping to sell millions of records.  It’s fascinating to watch these anonymous dudes who made history; you even get to see several full songs performed by a Funk Brothers reunion band.  Worth checking out.


Standing in the Shadows of Motown

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone by tincolor

Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi are childhood friends who became a successful stage magic duo, but at some point fell out with each other for… some reason, but then realized the value of friendship and are doing alright now, presumably, I don’t know since I didn’t get that far. In the 30 minutes I managed to watch of this unforgivably bad film the most consistent problems were: scenes that went on too long, poorly improvised dialogue and poor editing (The intro montage can’t decide if it’s a montage or just a series of different scenes). I guess if you’re going to watch this movie, you know basically what you’re in for, so part of me feels like an unwatchable rating is excessive, but I tried watching this movie on a plane and couldn’t even finish it there. Basically unwatchable. 


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