Pinhole Movie Reviews

The Panic at Needle Park by Thomas
January 12, 2015, 11:18 pm
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In the 70’s, before Manhattan got Disney-fied, the streets belonged to pimps, pushers, and addicts.  Amidst the chaos, a woman falls for a low level heroin dealer  (Al Pacino) and enters a life of desperation and crime, doing anything for her next fix.  But will she cooperate with the hated NYPD?  This is harsh hyper-realism, breaking taboos to the point that it’s painful to watch.  Still, like Taxi Driver and Times Square, it was actually shot on location and so it manages to capture the seedy underbelly of New York, rather than an idealized Hollywood view of the city.  Worth checking out.


The Panic at Needle Park

The Brood by tincolor
September 9, 2014, 9:26 am
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Oliver Reed is a suspiciously evil-looking psychoanalyst whose treatment includes verbally abusing his patients until they explode with anger. When the family members of one of his patients start getting murdered one by one, it’s clear that something bad is happening as a result of the doctor’s treatments. This early David Cronenberg film is genuinely creepy and very, very gross, but you’ve got to expect that with Cronenberg. What I didn’t expect was to see someone bludgeoned to death in front of no less than 10 toddlers. Is this OK? I really don’t think so, I mean, if I were a toddler and my mom put me on a movie set where someone was realistically beaten not two feet away from me with lots of blood squirting all over the place, I would be A) pissed at my mom, and B) seriously traumatized for life. But if you can get past all that, this is top-shelf B-horror. Expertly directed, a great performance from Oliver Reed and a great buildup to an ending that is just the right combination of ludicrous and dark. Worth checking out, but only if you are in for a really violent and disturbing film.



The Warriors by tincolor
September 7, 2014, 7:46 am
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Warriors! It’s famous, it’s iconic, it’s violent and it’s actually kind of boring. A small Coney Island gang is framed for the murder of the most powerful gang leader in New York and they’ve got to high-tail it back to their home turf on the other side of the city, ASAP! For people that love this film, I can totally sympathize with you. It’s a successful combination of gritty realism with the skewed movie logic that makes Escape from New York so entertaining. Maybe I just waited too long to watch it–I feel like high-school is probably the best age–but I found the over all experience just kind of dull. I wanted more action, more of the film’s crazy alternate reality version of New York, more suspense, characters that I care about, the list goes on. Anyway, kind of a cool movie, but I wouldn’t go into it with super high expectations. Watchable.


Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? by tincolor
September 6, 2014, 7:37 am
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Robert Morley is a morbidly obese food critic who is also a total a-hole. Now all of his favorite cooks are getting bumped off one by one. This film is a classic case of, “great title, shitty film.” I got maybe 40 minutes into it before I turned it off, read the plot summary on Wikipedia to see who this killer is and promptly went to bed. There are so many sins that this movie commits, but I’ll just list the top three: 1) All the characters are unlikeable, 2) It takes too long to get to the first murder, and 3) It’s just not interesting or funny or anything that would make me want to keep watching it. Unwatchable.



Annie Hall by tincolor

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton (AKA Annie Hall) have broken up, but just went wrong? That’s the basic plot of Woody Allen’s first “serious” film. If you’ve never seen this movie, watch it before you do anything else. It’s not only one of the best Woody Allen films, it’s also just an amazing film. It’s a blend of comedy, romance and drama that still feels unique today. It’s been a while since I last saw this film, and I completely forgot about how wacky some of it gets. There’s the animated sequence in the middle, and then all of these times that Woody Allen pleads with the camera for sympathy and a totally zany cameo by Christopher Walken that I had completely forgotten about. Anyway, great film. Required Viewing.


The Canterbury Tales / I racconti di Canterbury (1972) by tincolor

Pier Paolo Pasolini is the kind of director who’s films are immediately identifiable by their grimy, earthy and profane take on classic works of literature. On one piss-drenched hand, “The Canterbury Tales” is a masterpiece of visual and emotional realism. On the other shit-caked hand, the acting can be a little jokey and the overall grossness and dirtiness of the film can be a little too much to bear. The film doesn’t exactly aim to capture what England might have been like in Chaucer’s time, Pasolini takes more than his fair share of artistic liberties, but at the same time it does feels like a film that perhaps Chaucer might have made himself, if he had 1970s filmmaking tools at his disposal, of course. A very good, but very raw and often times gross film. Worth checking out, unless you’re sensitive to people peeing on camera an that kind of stuff in which case, barely watchable.


Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro / ルパン三世カリオストロの城 by tincolor

Lupin the Third is one of the best known Manga and Anime characters in Japan. He’s a world-trotting charismatic thief and in this film we find him in Monaco just as he is being duped into stealing a large sum of counterfeit bills from a casino. Not the type to have the wool pulled over his eyes, Lupin decides to find the source of the bills, which ultimately leads him to Cagliostro Castle and on the trail of a sinister plot. This is the directorial debut of Hayao Miyazaki and as far as I know, his only film that features characters he didn’t create. There is a lot to like about this film, from Lupin and his hard-boiled group of allies to the art direction and fluid animation that Miyazaki would become famous for. The only disappointment is when you realize that there has never been a Lupin film as good as this one. Worth watching.


The Turning Point (1977) by tincolor

Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft star as friends who studied ballet together in their youth. MacLaine left the school to start a family and Bancroft stayed on to become a star. When Bancroft invites MacLaine’s daughter to join her ballet company, old tensions flare between the two friends as each is forced to reassess their life choices. Also staring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Tom Skerritt. Despite the painfully dated look and sound of this film, just about everything else is really strong; the dialogue, the acting and in particular Baryshnikov’s dancing are all amazing! And amazingly, it didn’t win one of its 11 Oscar nominations. Worth watching.


Foxy Brown by Thomas
August 22, 2014, 11:14 pm
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This is another crazy “blaxploitation” film with Pam Grier. It’s pretty much the sequel to Coffy despite having none of the same characters; the plot is similar — though this time Grier keeps a gun in her afro, rather than mere razor blades. Despite a bigger budget (enough for a small plane crash) it’s just not as thrilling as the original.  Grier is still a bad ass, but this time she crosses into a kind of sadism or a dark parody of feminism.  If you make it to the end, you’ll know what I mean! Watchable. 

Foxy Brown

Coffy by Thomas
August 22, 2014, 9:52 pm
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Pam Grier is a nurse who, at nightfall, heads out into the street to gun down heroin dealers and confound their suppliers.  Jackie Brown was an homage to this slick “blaxploitation” film — with its funky soundtrack, street thug dialogue, and long, languid plot development — but that movie wasn’t nearly as wacky or raunchy as its source material. Coffy is enjoyable as a kind of “so bad it’s good” 70’s farce, with plenty of ridiculous nude scenes (preening upper class prostitutes, ladies who fight by tearing at each other’s clothes, etc.) but once you get through that stuff you also get some great action at the climax, with Grier as the quintessential black female action hero.  Worth checking out.



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