Pinhole Movie Reviews

How to Grow a Band by jaemskeray
August 6, 2014, 11:47 am
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How to Grow a Band is a documentary about the formation of the Punch Brothers, a bluegrass band meets classical string quintet headed by Nickle Creek frontman Chris Thile.  I am not a big bluegrass fan, not for any particular reason, I just grew up on rock and pop instead.  So my only point of reference for music documentaries is rockumentaries, and this is like a flavorless version of a rockumentary.  No sex, no drugs, and very little inner band squabbling.  For these 5 nice guys who are just living their dreams and can’t believe it, its all about the music, which is again, not my thang.  But their musicianship is incredible and you can’t deny that this is a good and unique band.  Worth Checking Out

Standing in the Shadows of Motown by Thomas
July 13, 2013, 4:23 pm
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The phenomenal success of Motown Records, Detroit’s so-called “hit factory” from the 1960s, was based on the idea that soul music could be marketed to white people.  This documentary follows the Funk Brothers, an amorphous  group of studio musicians who performed on the label’s mega hits from “My Girl” to “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.” They never received much recognition (or payment) for their efforts, despite helping to sell millions of records.  It’s fascinating to watch these anonymous dudes who made history; you even get to see several full songs performed by a Funk Brothers reunion band.  Worth checking out.


Standing in the Shadows of Motown

Searching for Sugar Man by Thomas
March 26, 2013, 8:29 pm
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A folk musician who released one or two unknown albums in the US becomes a huge, generation spanning star in South Africa — unbeknownst to anyone back in America, including himself.  This is the kind of so-strange-it’s-true story that propels the best episodes of This American Life, a crazy mix of humor, bizarre coincidence, and sheer wonder. (And insane nerdy obsession, on the part of the folks who solved this mystery.)  This was the well-deserved winner for Best Documentary at the recent Academy Awards. Worth watching.


Searching for Sugar Man

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco by jaemskeray
August 15, 2012, 5:07 pm
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I Am Trying to Break Your Heart is the story of the alt country band Wilco during their record Yankee Foxtrot Hotel; perhaps the most creative and tumultuous point in their career.   I actually watched this as a double feature as the Anvil movie, and found that Tweedy was saying a lot of the same things that the guys from Anvil were saying.  The only difference was success, which Tweedy and Wilco have had.  Not that Tweedy is undeserving of his success, he is undeniably talented.  It just throws some things into perspective, success and talent don’t always come hand in hand.  I enjoyed watching this movie, although I don’t know if I would have if I wasn’t a musician or a Wilco fan.  Worth Checking Out

Anvil! the Story of Anvil by jaemskeray
August 15, 2012, 6:10 am
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This is the documentation of two 50 year old dim witted dreamers that had 15 minutes of fame in the 80s in their heavy metal band Anvil.  They got a taste of the good stuff and they now live in eternal struggle trying to attain the unattainable.  These guys believe the world owes them a life time of fame and wealth purely because they chose what they chose.  They are not doing something courageous, or selfless, or even slightly difficult or uncomfortable: whats worse is that they have no sense of this fact.  As a rocker and a human being, I find the story to be the opposite of “inspirational”.  These guys have ruined music for themselves by attaching more to it than what there actually is.  Music does not come with a promise of fame or fortune.  What these guys are doing is not “touching” and should not be heralded as a “hymn to the human spirit”.  Rather, the true horror is that this film points out the stupidity of the human spirit; that we believe in these falsehoods so deeply because perhaps all humans are prone, destined and maybe even enjoy struggle.  Well Anvil, as McLusky said, “My Pain and Sadness is More Sad and Painful Than Yours”.  Worth Watching

Until the Light Takes Us by jaemskeray
March 1, 2012, 7:28 am
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This movie is intense.  It’s a documentary about norwegian black metal in the 90s.  Its a story of church burnings, murder and suicide.  Not really about the music per say, although its all set within the black metal community.  The most interesting character is this guy Varg who is sort of the catalyst for the whole story.  The film is a little hard to get into if you are not into black metal or dont know these bands, which I dont, but I heard about it from friends and it sounded hecka interesting.  Once the whos who is all set up, the story really takes off.  Worth Checking Out.

This is Spinal Tap by tincolor
February 17, 2012, 12:13 am
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Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Rob Reiner and Harry Shearer are in a rock band, but it’s all a joke, except that that joke went on to become a reality, anyway, at the time of filming, this movie was a parody of rockumentaries. I’m sure many people can quote this movie despite not having seen it, it’s just that well known. “Put it up to 11, one louder.” As far as parodies go, this movie is definitely funny, but not because the actors are making fun of the characters they play, but because they are playing them with such sincerity. By the end, you want to believe these guys are real, despite their campiness. And I guess enough people thought that at the time, because all the original cast members went on to actually form the fictional band in the movie. Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, definitely worth checking out.

Scott Walker: 30th Century Man by jaemskeray
February 16, 2012, 10:27 pm
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In this documentary, Scott Walker’s genius is revealed!  Taking place during the recording of his amazing 2006 studio album the Drift, this documentary goes over Walker’s entire career from the early days with the Walker Brothers, to his current avant garde work.  Many famous musicians and bands are interviewed about his influence on their music.  There is one scene during recording where Walker is directing a percussionist on how he wants him to specifically punch a piece of meat.  Strange, but when you listen to the album you’re like, “that’s some good meat punching.”   Worth Checking Out

DiG! by jaemskeray

For 7 years in the late 90s and early 2000s, documentary film maker Ondi Timoner followed bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols through their trials and tribulations.  What started off as friendship  turned into and ugly rivalry between the two frontmen.  BJM basically implodes, I am amazed that they are still together. But I guess Anton Newcombe just keeps replacing members / adding more guitar players.  The Warhols were that band that everyone thought they should like, that were just kind of lame.  Documentary’s better than the music.  Worth Checking Out if you are looking for a good rockumentary.

Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?) by jaemskeray
February 14, 2012, 6:57 am
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Because he’s freakin’ awesome, thats why.  Nilsson was one of the best lyricists of his time, and wrote some great songs.  But more than that, this documentary does a really good job at telling his story.  Extremely engaging and entertaining.  Required Viewing for all musicians, Worth Watching for the rest of you!

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