Pinhole Movie Reviews

Strangers By The Lake (2013) by tincolor
December 16, 2019, 8:37 am
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After no posts for several years, I’m back… and THIS is the film I return with?!?! That’s right. This is the one. This film stars an idyllic lake with many friends who visit it everyday during summer in France. Mostly these friends just sunbathe on the lake’s shores, but sometimes these friends go swimming in the lake, sometimes these friends have sex with each other near the lake, sometimes these friends fall in love near the lake, and sometimes these friends even murder each other near the lake. Part AIDS allegory, part examination of the nature of attraction, part thriller, all French. Oh, yeah, and there’s a lot of unstimulated and very graphic gay sex. Watchable.


Killing Zoe by Thomas
September 22, 2014, 8:17 pm
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Eric Stoltz is an American bank robber in Paris who, together with a crew of maniacal French junkies, parties all night and then robs a bank the next day.  He also sleeps with Julie Delpy — bank teller by day, call girl by night! Right. It’s absurd, salacious, extremely violent — an exploitation film, like Tarantino without the irony or the production values. Turns out it was written and directed by Roger Avary, who contributed some of the more outlandish scenes to the Pulp Fiction script, which makes sense.  Anyhow, if you like the heist genre or cult movies in general then it’s worth checking out. Otherwise, just watchable.


Killing Zoe 

Holy Motors by tincolor

A mysterious Denis Lavant travels around Paris in an equally mysterious white limousine, stopping occasionally to do a seemingly endless number of seemingly unrelated jobs. As time goes on it becomes clear that with each job, Denis is actually stepping into a role, or perhaps, even an entirely different life. Only Denis and his driver seem know be aware of the true nature of his work while everyone else seems to think he’s exactly who he purports to be. But this is only a superficial explanation of what’s really going on, because there is something fantastic about Denis and his limousine that doesn’t make you worry too much about the logistics of his ruse. After a while, you might begin to wonder if perhaps Denis is just a spirit jumping in and out of other people’s bodies at critical moments in their lives. Perhaps he only appears to be the same person to us because we are the audience and we are somehow supposed to be in on the joke. Sound interesting? Well, I’d agree except that Leos Carax has managed to twist this set up in such a way that negates any emotional connection the audience might have with any of the characters. Is this just one massive skewering of the film industry and its trivialization and dramatization of the human experience? That would be a ballsy movie on Carax’s part, but even if that were true, my question is, so what? If your film exists to show that all film is fundamentally based in fabrication and forgery then why make a film in the first place? The only people you stand to satisfy are contemptuous assholes. As a person who loves movies and thinks that through art we can say and experience things that daily existence can only reveal over the course of a lifetime, I find Carax’s suggestion offensive. But I can’t get too worked up about it, because after all, I’m not really sure what the hell this movie was actually about and honestly it was entertaining so I’ll give it a worth checking out.


The Intouchables by tincolor
August 18, 2014, 8:28 am
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Despite its ridiculous name and frankly tired and condescending plot, this was an enjoyable movie. In short, a rich white guy with a bad attitude meets a young black immigrant with spark but some serious social issues. 113 minutes later and voila! the two have taught each other a little bit about what it means to live and love. Of course there is a scene where the white guy has to stand up for the black guy, because, well, he’s black and black people of course need white people to stand up for them. And of course there is a scene where the black guy teaches the white guy how to be cool, because, well, he’s white and “stuck up” white people of course need “soulful” black people to help them loosen up. Anyway, despite all of…that, this was pretty enjoyable fluff. Watchable.


The Kid with a Bike / Le gamin au vélo by tincolor

Thomas Doret is a 12-year-old boy in foster care and Cécile de France is the foster mother who takes him in and puts up with his shit. In brief, this is the story of how an often violent and troubled boy becomes a boy who is significantly less violent and has fewer troubles. I appreciate that the directors avoided trying to “explain” the violent behavior of their main character, I thought it was interesting how they also don’t really offer an explanation as to why he changes, and I liked the overall message that we cannot change those around us, all we can do is love them until the day when they decided to change for themselves. The message is great, it’s just that the package in which it’s delivered is too saccharine and too simplistic to leave any lasting impression. Watchable.


Cléo from 5 to 7 / Cléo de 5 à 7 by tincolor

Corinne Marchand is a pop singer in early 1960s Paris and today is the day she’s going to find out if she will die from cancer. As the title suggest the film basically runs in real time from 5 to 7 PM, during which Cléo just kind of floats through the day. Cleo’s story is presented as neither a fairytale nor a tragedy and despite the film’s clear existential and feminist themes, all said and done, Cleo and the hour and a half we spend with her are both pretty mundane. In that respect, the tone of the film does an excellent job of mirroring the numbness that Cléo must feel as she waits for her diagnosis. And the ending? Oh, you can rest assured that a giant “fin” will grace the screen at exactly the moment you’ve come to expect it. Great music by Michel Legrand, cameo appearances by Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina and beautiful black and white cinematography. Worth checking out.



The Young Girls of Rochefort / Les Demoiselles de Rochefort by tincolor

Catherine Deneuve and Francoise Dorléac are sisters (in real life, too), desperate to get out of picturesque Rochefort, a port town in France were everyone is lovesick, but no one ends up alone as long as you sing and dance for 90 minutes. If you’re familiar with Jacques Demy then you know that in his films everyone and everything is beautiful and no problem is so great that it detracts from enjoying life to the fullest. A fantastic soundtrack by Michel Legrand, fairy tale-esque cinematography by Ghislain Cloquet and foppish consumes that only work because this is a Demy film! Worth watching for fans of musicals and anyone interested in 1960s European pop culture.


The Beautiful Person / La Belle Personne by tincolor
June 11, 2014, 4:31 am
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Lea Seydoux is the beautiful person in this film about (high-school?) students, their messy love triangles, and the teachers that want to sleep with them. The film’s muted and melancholy look, its well timed use of Nick Drake songs and its incessantly brooding characters might have you convinced that this is a deep and insightful drama about the pain of young love. But don’t be fooled, each of its seemingly complex characters soon reveal themselves to be nothing more than attractively mousy automata, capable of movement only in predetermined patterns. It’s like some mad scientist threw them all together in an Lord-of-the-Flies-type experiment to see who would come out least depressed. Watchable, but nothing special.


Love Me if You Dare (Jeux d’Enfants) by Thomas
June 6, 2014, 3:51 pm
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Julien and Sophie grow up playing games together, as the French title implies.  But when the two enter adulthood, their games blossom into an unconventional romance.  The various obstacles they face (ailing parents, doomed marriages, class conflict) fail to add depth to this saccharine sweet love story.  The movie is shot in a playful, impressionistic mode but ultimately it’s boring to watch two attractive people toy with each other while “Ma Vie en Rose” repeats in the background, even if one of them is Marion Cotillard.  Barely watchable.


Love Me if You Dare (Jeux d’Enfants)

L’Emploi du temps (Time Out) by Thomas
July 12, 2013, 12:05 am
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A man goes to elaborate lengths to hide his recent lay off from his family.  While kicking around hotel lobbies and pretending to be productive, he attracts the notice of a petty criminal who recruits him for a smuggling operation.  This is a very slow, brooding, meditative movie. Worth checking out.


L’Emploi du temps (Time Out)

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