Pinhole Movie Reviews

Jerry Maguire by Thomas
September 13, 2014, 7:52 pm
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Cruise is the ultimate late capitalist, a smooth operator trading entirely on image. He should be on top of the world, yet somehow he’s unhappy. It turns out he’s engaged to a mechanical career woman, he lacks wholesome male bonding, and worst of all his beloved realm of sports has become hollow and corporate. Our hero must find a meaningful relationship while re-committing himself to the lost chivalry of sports marketing! Come on, how strange is that premise?

Cameron Crowe wrote and directed this specimen: a sports movie whose focus is not on on bonding-through-athleticism but on masculinity, virtue in a “cynical world” and family-life-in-the-90’s type stuff.  I like it because it’s stylish and self-conscious and aimed at adults. I admit it’s dated (the fax machine), perilously cute-and-sweet (the toddler, the swells of music), fraught with stereotypes (the emasculated jazz loser, the women’s group, the Tidwell family)…but the acting is charming and you gotta love the snappy dialogue. It’s like old school Hollywood returns; an update on the old tear-jerker romance. I say, worth checking out


Jerry Maguire

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.


In the Mood for Love (花樣年華) by William
June 7, 2014, 10:26 am
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A man and a woman wander lonely around Hong Kong in 1962. The movie is poignant, well-crafted, and beautifully shot. It’s also real boring. You could call it Lost in Translation for artsy types. Worth Checking Out.

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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)

Forrest Gump by William
June 3, 2014, 11:44 am
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We follow Tom Hanks as a low-IQ man with a heart of gold as he goes on a whirlwind tour of late-20th century American history. This movie was a nationwide phenomenon upon release; it won six Oscars (including Best Picture and Best Actor) and was endlessly quoted (“Run, Forrest, Run!”).  I am pleased to report that twenty years later, this movie retains its value, thanks largely to Tom Hanks’ relentless, irresistible charm. Sure, you could criticize this movie for being a bit too sweet and fantastical, but why would you want to be such a stick-in-the-mud? I’ll give it a high Worth Watching.

Film poster with an all-white background, and a park bench (facing away from the viewer) near the bottom. A man wearing a white suit is sitting on the right side of the bench and is looking to his left while resting his hands on both sides of him on the bench. A suitcase is sitting on the ground, and the man is wearing tennis shoes. At the top left of the image is the film's tagline and title, and at the bottom is the release date and production credits.

Enough Said by William
March 7, 2014, 1:09 pm
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Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a masseuse who starts dating James Gandolfini, only to discover that her newest massage client is James Gandofini’s ex-wife. Like Eternal Sunshine without the science fiction, it depicts what happens as a new relationship goes from exciting to mundane. Heartfelt and realistic, I’ve gotta say Worth Watching.

Also, if you’re wondering how I personally feel about it, I will tell you that it is easier for me to see James Gandolfini as not Tony Soprano than Julia Louis-Dreyfus as not Elaine.

The film poster features a photo of Galdofini and Louis-Dreyfus sitting on a stoop and smiling, surrounded by copy about the film

Her by Thomas

It’s the near future. Joaquin Phoenix is a lonely city dweller who stumbles on companionship in the form of Scarlett Johansson’s disembodied computer voice.  This unusual trope means that we spend almost the entire film looking at Phoenix’s face, which should be ridiculous but isn’t.  The movie is innovative, poignant, and beautiful. It’s Blade Runner during daytime hours — a sci-fi romance instead of a film noir.  I hope it wins Best Picture even though the Oscars are dumb! Required Viewing



Before Midnight by William
November 12, 2013, 4:15 pm
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The conclusion of the Before Sunset trilogy. This one starts out real Richard Linklater-ey, that is to say, full of kinda high-brow conversation and clever banter which makes for a fun and interesting movie experience, but not much lasting impact. However, the film then proceeds to get ultra “real,” fast.

You just don’t often see in movies such an honest depiction of relationships and lives. Les Poupees Russes comes to mind, but even with that movie’s honesty and rejection of easy solutions, that story was at least shaped into a typical movie format. Before Midnight is much harder to process, because stuff just sort of seems to happen, without necessarily being linked in a linear way to what came before. Kind of like in real life. Alright, here we go: Required Viewing.

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A Very Long Engagement by William
August 24, 2013, 5:37 pm
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Audrey Tautou’s fiancé forms part of a group of condemned French soldiers sent out of the trenches of WWI to be killed by the Germans. Even so, Miss Tautou remains convinced he is not quite so dead as such a story would imply and sets about investigating the event and the men who made up this unfortunate group. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s movies (e.g. Amelie)  are characterized by their careful craftsmanship and sometimes dark playfulness, and that style is fully on display here. The first sequence of this movie, presenting each of the condemned men, is particularly well-done and a compelling introduction to the story. This film nearly merits being made compulsory, but it’s a touch too idiosyncratic and drawn-out to be right for all audiences. Still a high Worth Watching.

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Before Sunset by William
August 16, 2013, 4:07 am
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Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy spent a single night together 9 years ago (as depicted in Before Sunrise), and this movie begins with them meeting again in Paris. Eighty minutes of basically pure conversation follow, about life in general and their lives in particular. The dialogue is interesting but not blow-your-mind insightful. Mostly it just feels real and honest, like maybe a good episode of This American Life. Very well done, but obviously you have to ready for an extremely talky romantic movie. I haven’t yet seen the third part of the trilogy, but definitely will. Worth Watching.

Before Sunset poster.jpg

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