Pinhole Movie Reviews

Cold Fish / 冷たい熱帯魚 by tincolor
August 1, 2014, 1:58 am
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Mitsuru Fukikoshi is married to a horrible woman who has a horrible daughter by a previous marriage and together the three live horribly miserable lives running a tropical fish store in Japan. When the Fukikoshis meet a seemingly happy couple that coincidentally also runs a much larger and more successful tropical fish store, things start to look up, until you realize that everything and everyone is horrible and evil and disgusting inside. This is not a horror movie it’s just a horrible movie made by horrible people that take delight in mutilating the human body and spreading mistrust among their fellow man. Can you tell I hate this movie? Terrible, and I mean TERRIBLE, direction, a plot that is so hateful I wish I could forget it and acting that is worse than even the worst high school play. No rating could possibly describe how hateful and awful this movie is.


Ten Dark(Black) Women/黒い十人の女 by tincolor

Kaze is a decent enough type of guy, he’s got a steady job, a wife who runs her own business, and he’s got no less than 10 mistresses, oh yeah, and they are all in cahoots to kill him. Kon Ichikawa directs this dark comedy about ten dark women that ultimately are totally unlikable. I guess if you were a woman in the 60s in Japan your position in society probably totally sucked, so this movie must have resonated with audiences back then, but watching it today, it’s hard to understand exactly who the movie is being critical of. The final 30 minutes of the film has a lot of talk about modern man being too detached from his natural state to truly feel love, but I’m not sure the plot really compliments that theme. Not a bad movie, but nonetheless, a movie that feels suspiciously misogynistic. I should say that the style of the film is fantastic, and just for that, worth checking out if you like Japanese cinema.

13 Assassins/十三人の刺客 by tincolor

Director Takashi Miike whom you might know from more extreme movies like Ichi The Killer and Audition, makes a fairly straightforward samurai movie about really really bad people and people who want to stop the really really bad people, but probably aren’t best described as good people. Anyway, if you like the 7 Samurai or Yojimbo or Sanjuro or any classic Japanese samurai movie, you’ll probably appreciate this film for both its adherence to classic film conventions and its own modern and often very graphic take on the samurai mythos. Worth checking out.

Thirteen Assassins.jpg

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)


When a Woman Ascends the Stairs by Thomas
May 18, 2013, 5:07 am
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A nightclub hostess navigates the changing social mores of 1960s Japan. This is a subtle, well-paced drama that draws us into a complex world of femininity.  The camera work is stylish and all the performances are great.  (Thanks for the recommendation, Tom.)  Worth watching.


When a Woman Ascends the Stairs

Tokyo Story by Thomas
April 12, 2013, 4:19 am
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This is a moving portrayal of family life, probably Ozu’s most famous work. But calling it a “story” might be overstating the case a bit: Basically two empty nest parents visit their offspring in the suburbs of Tokyo.  Sure, other significant stuff happens….but keeping the plot simple calls our attention to the subtle range of characters’ feelings.  Worth watching.


Tokyo Story

There was a Father by Thomas
April 3, 2013, 3:26 pm
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In this tearjerker morality play, a dutiful father makes a lifetime of sacrifices for the sake of his son — but works so hard that he hardly gets to have a relationship with him.  Ozu creates intense drama out of everyday life choices.  This is minimalist film making at its best. Worth watching. (There’s no poster, so here’s a shot from the movie instead…)


There was a Father

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