Pinhole Movie Reviews


Heaven Knows What (2014) by tincolor
August 31, 2016, 4:19 am
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Arielle Holmes is addicted. If the heroin doesn’t kill her then her frighteningly unstable boyfriend Caleb Landry Jones definitely will. This movie is INTENSE! Holmes brings both the realism and dramatic skill necessary to sell a performance like this on screen. The cinematography alternates between tightly framed closeups and deceptively restrictive long shots, visually alluding to the constricted world these characters live in. Despite impressive performances, interesting visuals and a hard-hitting soundtrack, the lead characters just aren’t that interesting. Their relationship feels like a Shakespearian tragedy sabotaged by the tediousness of addiction, both chemical and emotional. Watchable.

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All is Lost by William
February 20, 2016, 5:08 am
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Robert Redford is out on the ocean alone when his boat gets hit by a wayward shipping container. The rest of the movie he spends quietly trying not to die. Perhaps because of the almost complete lack of dialogue, the movie feels unique and compelling. Worth watching.

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Like Father, Like Son (そして父になる Soshite Chichi ni Naru) (2013) by William
October 11, 2015, 11:17 pm
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Two sets of parents discover that their six-year-old children were switched at birth, and don’t quite know what to do about it. Could be the setup for a hilarious comedy, instead it’s the setup for a contemplative and deeply moving film about parental love and what parents ought to expect of their children and of themselves.

Well, this movie is really, really good. On some days I might call this “required viewing,” but today I am going to say Worth Watching Plus, where the plus basically means that the next movie you watch should probably be this movie.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Like_Father,_Like_Son_(2013_film)



Poetry (시) by Thomas
April 18, 2015, 5:49 pm
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An alienated grandmother takes a poetry class, and learns a terrible secret.  Melancholy and bitterly funny, the movie moves slowly and gracefully from start to finish.  The emotional life of outcasts has always been a strong subject for a movie, and it works well here.  Worth watching. (and it’s on Netflix, so there’s no excuse)

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Poetry



Nebraska by William
February 20, 2015, 11:13 pm
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Will Forte agrees to drive his aging father from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska after the older man is informed that he May Have Won $1,000,000! by a catalog sweepstakes company. It’s a pretty bleak movie about looking for meaning in a rather banal life, and trying to understand and connect with people who, were they not your family, you would have no reason to want to understand or connect with. Three well-done and interesting performances by Will Forte and his parents make this movie Worth Watching, but prospective viewers should be aware that it is also rather depressing and slow-paced.

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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.

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The Panic at Needle Park



The Ice Storm by Thomas
September 21, 2014, 11:50 am
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A disturbing family drama about sex and the limits of the suburban idyll; the darker cousin to American Beauty.  And yet it has no use for the stylized design, “titillating” teen nudity, or pretentious lyricism of that movie.  Maybe that’s because middle class values and sexual mores were already being called into question in the 1970’s setting…but also Ang Lee creates a good rhythm here, moving naturally between each set of characters (miserable adults vs. horny teenagers) so that we get a large amount of detail in each scene and yet the plot moves along just so.  Who needs pretty framing devices in this case?

The actors seem amazingly candid — the married couples have such scorn for each other, the teens are so pained with their burden of adolescence — plus the cinematography is impressive.  (Neatly composed silences, almost Ozu-esque, contrast with some truly wacky visuals — such as an extreme close-up of the very slim patch of rear end peaking over a girl’s waistline, followed by a cut back to the face of the boy behind her, transfixed. Yikes!) This is worth watching — though if you object to obscenity I imagine you’ll find it unwatchable.

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The Ice Storm



The Kids are All Right (2010) by tincolor

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are a married lesbian couple with two children. When their daughter turns 18th, she decides to find their biological father, who is only aware that he donated sperm once. At first he seems like a cool guy and everyone is happy until the screenwriters decide that this movie needs some conflict! at which point the adults start making unbelievably stupid decisions and the kids just kind of shut down. This isn’t the social-issue film I thought it was going to be, and despite some preachiness in the second half, I have to say, I enjoyed it. Strong performances all around. Worth checking out.

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Diner by tincolor

Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Timothy Daly, and Paul Reiser are the guys that frequent the titular diner in a film about a group of friends coming to terms with what it means to grow up, settle down and get married.  Set in 1959, this is a film as much about the era as it is about its characters. I imagine part of this film’s appeal is its excellent art direction, but no matter how pretty and nostalgic everything looks on screen, when most of your characters are jerks, it’s hard to get too into the film. In many ways, the East Cost version of American Graffiti. Watchable, maybe worth checking out.

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Laurence Anyways by tincolor

Melvil Poupaud is a 35 year old literature teacher who one day decides to make public his belief that he is actually a woman born in the body of a man. This of course causes distress to his girlfriend, Suzanne Clément, who must choose whether or not to stick around. Another stylized and generally well directed film from Xavier Dolan that is over inflated with pretty, but ultimately meaningless cinematic flourishes and a script that fails to make its viewer believe in its characters. This is the second Xavier Dolan film I’ve seen and I’m convinced that while he may have a lot of talent behind the camera, his script writing needs significant work. The final scene sums up what doesn’t work about this movie for me. It shows the circumstances in which the two leads first met. After nearly three hours of seeing these two bicker and fight and try to work things out, this flashback should play as a melancholy scene that reminds the viewer why these two characters fell in love in the first place, but instead it’s just flat, we don’t care, and frankly, we’re already pretty sick of the whole situation. Barely watchable.

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