Pinhole Movie Reviews

The Call (2013) by jaemskeray
December 29, 2018, 6:07 am
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This movie is dumb and bad.  The story follows the abduction of a 15 year old suburban white girl from the parking lot of a strip mall, and I feel like it as written by a 15 year old who was imagining what that experience would have been like.  Halie Berry is the 911 operator taking… the call, wait… thats the name of the movie… deep…  The characters lack any depth or backstory and it feels like that was intentionally done to make it like Speed or something similar.  Which means the entire thing rests on the actor’s performances which were pretty bad.   The abductor’s backstory is sloppily thrown together and stigmatizes the mentally ill.  Halie Berry’s character is particularly drawn to saving this 15 year old girl, and that drive is honestly never really explained, so it just seems fake and overacted.  The violence is gratuitous and unnecessary.  The ending is… horrible; they have an opportunity to bring an abductor to justice but instead they leave him tied up in his torture chamber?  What about all the other people he tortured?  Wouldn’t they like to see him brought to justice?  Shame Halie Berry.  Its a bad bad terrible stupid dumb movie thats bad.  Don’t watch it, in fact figure out the director and never watch any of his or her movies.


Jagged Edge by tincolor

Glenn Close is a lawyer who has agreed to defend Jeff Bridges, a young man who may or may not have killed his rich wife. This is classic, by the numbers film noir in every sense. Even switching the genders of the femme fatal and the hard-as-nails protagonist barely feels like a spin on the genre. Is that a bad thing? If you like film noir, definitely not. Is Jeff Bridges guilty? Well you’ll have to watch to the end to find out, but here’s a hint: like just about every other film noir plot, there are going to be a lot of twists along the way and pretty much no one is going to end up happy in the end. I didn’t watch this very long ago, and at the time I enjoyed it, but honestly I cannot remember most of the details at this point. Watchable, but probably pretty forgettable.

P.S. Robert Loggia was nominated for an Academy Award for his role.


The Boys From Brazil by tincolor

Laurence Olivier stars as an aging Nazi hunter who, after getting a tip from a young man, travels to Paraguay where he hopes to find the infamous Nazi war criminal Gregory Peck, only to discover a plot more sinister than he could have ever imagined! At many points during this movie, I really found myself wishing it was more exciting and atmospheric like The Odessa File. While this film does satisfyingly dangle the details of Peck’s evil plan just out of sight, giving you only glimpses and hints of its true nature for a good chunk of the film, it lacks a sense of adventure like The Odessa File. And like the ending of director Franklin J. Schaffner’s earlier film, Planet of the Apes, the payoff at then end is too silly to accept as anything other than fiction. Gregory Peck’s shadowy scheme is just so implausible that it feels like maybe monkeys from the future were a more realistic threat to world peace than Gregory Peck ever was. Watchable.

P.S. Laurence Olivier did manage to get nominated for an Academy Award for his role in this film.


Take Shelter by jaemskeray
July 29, 2014, 9:55 pm
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Take Shelter is a movie about a guy who starts to develop schizophrenia, believing that the end of days is coming.  He starts building an elaborate underground shelter for him and his family, and ends up loosing almost everything in the process.  Movie explores the themes of how mental disorders are dealt with in modern day society, end of day Christian biblical themes, and of course how to build a large scale shelter.    I really liked this movie, the acting was great, the story was beautifully told, and the visuals were pleasing.  I give it a high Worth checking out.

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976 version) by tincolor

Ben Gazzara is a nightclub owner who can’t stop losing huge amounts of cash to shady gangsters. The gangsters he owns money to now are willing to forgive the debt, but only if he kills a Chinese bookie. There are apparently two very different cuts of this film and it looks like the only one that is available here in Japan is the terrible one, and man was it terrible! But before I completely condemn it, apparently the “good” cut removes at least some of what I disliked. But no amount of editing could change my major gripe with this film: the main character just isn’t compelling and neither is his predicament. I guess cutting out 27 minutes from the mess I saw might add a little energy to the pacing, but I can’t see myself going any higher than a watchable with this one. Gangsters, nightclub owners, Chinese triads, white people mafia, they’re all there, but presented in the most boring fashion possible. For the 135 minute edit: barely watchable.



The Odessa File by tincolor
July 29, 2014, 1:46 am
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John Voight is a reporter living in Hamburg who, when he comes across the diary of a recently deceased Jewish man, makes the decision to search for the man’s former torturer, a sadistic SS officer who escaped capture after the war. Despite its many faults, there is so much I really like about this movie. I like the moody European atmosphere, I like how the plot is kept tight and believable even though its about a secret international Nazi organization plotting to take over the world, and I like how John Voight’s adventure across Germany is laid out in painstaking detail. His every move, his every discovery is there on the screen presented in what sometimes feels like realtime. It all comes together to give an impression of realism that I often find lacking in spy/thriller movies. Worth watching! P.S. When John Voight gets old-man makeup in the second half of the movie, it’s amazing how much he looks like himself today; that’s good makeup!

P.P.S Directed by Ronald Neame, who also directed one of my other favorite spy movies, Hopscotch.


The American by Thomas
July 28, 2014, 6:35 am
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George Clooney plays a lonely assassin who must hide out in the Italian countryside and prepare for one last job.  An homage to Sergio Leone — without the grit or intensity of Leone’s films — the movie feels stylish but hollow. The plot is predictable and the gunfighter character (he even falls for a prostitute with a heart of gold!) is borrowed from better Westerns.  Still, Clooney does a reasonable job of being grim and tortured, and there’s a bumptious old priest who provides much needed comic relief.  Watchable.


The American

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