Pinhole Movie Reviews

Her by Thomas

It’s the near future. Joaquin Phoenix is a lonely city dweller who stumbles on companionship in the form of Scarlett Johansson’s disembodied computer voice.  This unusual trope means that we spend almost the entire film looking at Phoenix’s face, which should be ridiculous but isn’t.  The movie is innovative, poignant, and beautiful. It’s Blade Runner during daytime hours — a sci-fi romance instead of a film noir.  I hope it wins Best Picture even though the Oscars are dumb! Required Viewing



12 Years a Slave by Thomas
January 30, 2014, 6:59 pm
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In another Best Picture nominee, Chiwetel Ejiofor is a free black man circa 1840 who gets lured down to Washington, DC and sold into slavery.  He endures bigotry and back breaking labor, his body riven with scars; the director of photography uses long lenses to focus in on every pore of Ejiofor’s tortured face. Michael Fassbinder also appears, as a drunk and sadistic slave owner.  The movie is visceral and unbearably intense, but, unlike most Hollywood films, all of this violence is actually meaningful.  Worth watching.

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12 Years a Slave 

Dallas Buyers Club by Thomas
January 30, 2014, 6:15 pm
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It looks like Matthew McConaughey has transcended his checkered past of trashy rom-coms to become a real dramatic actor. I thought Matthew Modine was the better of the two Matthews! Well, perhaps that’s no longer true. McConaughey is great as a red neck oil rig engineer diagnosed with AIDS in the early days when it was still thought of as a “gay disease.” He befriends a trans lady (Jared Leto) and goes into business importing HIV meds that haven’t been approved by the soulless bureaucrats at the FDA.  They Hollywood-ized the real story a bit too much, inventing the Leto character as well as Jennifer Garner’s earnest-but-attractive doctor character.  But the movie is intriguing and well made.  I would suggest watching the documentary How to Survive a Plague instead, but this is a strong Worth checking out.


Dallas Buyers Club

Captain Phillips by Thomas
January 30, 2014, 5:37 pm
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In this fast-paced thriller, Tom Hanks captains a shipping vessel through the dangerous waters around the Gulf of Aden and, as everyone knows, gets attacked by Somali pirates.  This too is part of Oscar Fever 2014 because I guess it came out at the right time of year and has a plot lifted from the headlines, which provides a sense of gritty realism that people crave.  Or maybe folks just like watching Tom Hanks suffer miserably? It’s Watchable Plus.


Captain Phillips

Nebraska by Thomas
January 30, 2014, 5:22 pm
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I’ve got a fever and the only remedy is more Academy Award Best Picture nominated movie reviews!  Bruce Dern is a senile grandpa determined to get from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska to pick up his Publishers Clearinghouse winnings, which are obviously bogus. Shot in grainy black and white, it’s Alexander Payne’s signature dark comedy against a bleak Midwestern backdrop. Dern’s hapless son Will Forte is good, but it’s his amazingly shrill wife June Squibb who deserves an Oscar.  Worth Watching.   



The Wolf of Wall Street by Thomas

Oscar Fever 2014 continues! Leonardo DiCaprio is an unscrupulous self-made trillionaire who builds a brokerage firm selling worthless stocks.  In three hours of screen time, he and his random friends (who completely steal the show) also do a LOT of drugs and sleep with a LOT of women.  The FBI catches on, but we don’t see much of their investigation — instead we just get more outrageous hijinks! This causes domestic conflict between Leo and his forgettable wife, along the lines of the Robert DeNiro/Sharon Stone scenes in Scorsese’s Casino but much less compelling.  That said, Jonah Hill is a hilarious sidekick.  There’s a scene involving Quaaludes that makes it all worthwhile.  I say: Worth checking out.


The Wolf of Wall Street

American Hustle by Thomas

It’s Oscar Fever 2014! Christian Bale plays a small time hustler forced to run a scam with a wacky FBI agent, Bradley Cooper.  (Is there such a thing as a wacky FBI agent? Seems very unlikely, even in the 70’s.)  It’s a fun and frantic gangster parody, with David O. Russel’s characteristic emphasis on people driving each other batshit crazy.  Think Flirting with Disaster meets GoodFellas. An enthusiastic Worth Checking out.


American Hustle

Don Jon by jaemskeray
January 19, 2014, 6:30 am
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Don Jon is rare and bold look at modern day porn culture and internet porn addiction.  Written, directed by, and starring Joseph Gordon Levitt, this post-modern movie gladly and willingly fails the Bechdel test to prove a point.  “How can a reprehensible character like Don Jon exist?”, reviewers who missed the point or don’t know what an allegory is ask.  Well, he does exist, we see him on MTV’s Jersey Shore and other reality tv shows.  He’s everywhere, I even see parts of him in myself.  It makes sense that he is everywhere, every day we are literally surrounded by porn images in ads, tv, the internet, music (what do yo think Miley Cyrus is referencing?).  This movie begs the question what’s the world going look like in 20 years when my generation, a generation raised on internet porn, a generation whose biggest icon made millions by creating the creepy stalker website Facebook, whats gonna happen when my generation is put in charge?  How are we gonna make the right decisions when we can barely grow up right?  But, perhaps I’m overreacting, perhaps this is just a movie about a shallow douche bag from Jersey.  Required Viewing.

Its Kind of a Funny Story by jaemskeray
January 14, 2014, 4:19 am
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Keir Gilchrist, having a charmed life, thinks he has mental problems cause he didn’t get the girl he wanted and doesn’t have the perfect GPA to get into Columbia.  He asks a doctor for some pills, but the doctor, perhaps to teach him a lesson, checks him into a psychiatric hospital!  Gilchrist is surprised when he encounters people with real problems.  I wanted to hate this movie, but I can’t fault it really.  I guess the Hollywood ending where he gets the girl and all the characters who are supposed to have a serious psychiatric disorders thank him for how much he touched their lives is a bit much.  But what were they gonna do, have him die?  I guess they could have not made the movie.  Eh.  Watchable

Girl Most Likely by jaemskeray
January 14, 2014, 3:30 am
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Kristen Wiig is a failed playwright NYC who is failing at much more than writing plays!  Forced to move back home, she must embrace her past to move move her future forward.  And, with a little help from her family, she finds love and her voice along the way.  The movie is of course predictable, but such a trite criticism is predictable this day and age of feel good comedies, so who really cares?  What the movie did really well was character development and heart.  Its an actual story you can follow and sort of believe, and the band-of-misfits-family has heart.  Its not laugh out loud funny like Bridesmaids, but feel good funny, like Big.  Worth Checking Out

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