Pinhole Movie Reviews

Philadelphia by Thomas
August 2, 2014, 4:25 pm
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Tom Hanks gets fired after the partners at his conservative law firm discover that he has AIDS.  The subject matter is groundbreaking, Hanks is brilliant, and director Jonathan Demme adds some style (like the atmospheric party scenes or the characters staring right into the camera). And Jason Robards makes a great bad guy! But the movie, ostensibly a courtroom drama, doesn’t seem to focus on its fake-seeming legal procedure — it’s more about the redemption of Denzel, a gay bashing ambulance chaser who thinks he can get AIDS just from shaking TH’s hand. What? Maybe people in the 90’s behaved that way but it just feels so strange and dated now. Watchable.



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.

You’ve Got Mail by William
March 8, 2014, 5:39 am
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Meg Ryan is the adorable owner of an independent children’s bookstore who also finds herself corresponding with an electronic penpal in an exciting new service called “America Online.” Tom Hanks is a business tycoon planning to open a new mega-bookstore just down the block, who also has an online penpal. What they don’t realize is that their business rival and anonymous online crush are actually the same person!

Less hilarity than you might expect, ensues. The writing is just not as sharp or funny as in other romantic comedies, and the quirky friends are just too deliberately quirky and not enough genuinely funny. There are more opportunities Ryan-Hanks banter than in Sleepless in Seattle, which is not bad, and seeing all that old technology is kinda fun, but overall it’s just Watchable.

Superior alternatives: While You Were Sleeping, Sleepless in Seattle, French Kiss.’ve_Got_Mail

You've Got Mail.jpg

Captain Phillips by Thomas
January 30, 2014, 5:37 pm
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In this fast-paced thriller, Tom Hanks captains a shipping vessel through the dangerous waters around the Gulf of Aden and, as everyone knows, gets attacked by Somali pirates.  This too is part of Oscar Fever 2014 because I guess it came out at the right time of year and has a plot lifted from the headlines, which provides a sense of gritty realism that people crave.  Or maybe folks just like watching Tom Hanks suffer miserably? It’s Watchable Plus.


Captain Phillips

Cloud Atlas by William
September 1, 2013, 3:37 pm
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Six stories dispersed in time and space intercut with each other. Do they have some connection? Probably, but it’s not obvious. Perhaps there’s a serious and profound idea contained herein, but I decided not to hurt my head too much over that possibility. It was a good decision, and overall I enjoyed the experience of watching the movie, in contrast to some of my fellow critics. I can see how many people would hate this movie. The writers imply a kind of coherence that isn’t really there, giving the whole thing an air of annoying self-importance. And yes, constantly seeing the same famous actors in weird make-up is distracting. Even so, I enjoyed the experience enough to call it Worth Checking Out.

Incidentally, I had read the book some time ago and found it only okay.

Cloud Atlas Poster.jpg

Cloud Atlas by Thomas
February 7, 2013, 6:14 pm
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A series of silly and meaningless vignettes set in wildly different time frames, edited together for some reason. The Wachowski siblings are pretty good at production design, sure — but the script is DOA, the music is schmaltzy, the make-up is distracting and awful, all while the actors appear brain dead (except for Tom Hanks, the man who makes losing a volleyball into a tragic experience.) Much like the Matrix sequels, this movie is unspeakably boring and often funny despite itself; though, to be clear, I had more fun preparing my tax return. Barely Watchable.


Cloud Atlas

The Money Pit by Thomas
November 18, 2012, 9:12 pm
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Tom Hanks and his girlfriend Shelly Long are New Yorkers with no place to live, who end up buying a decaying mansion on Long Island.  There are various subplots but the main message is this:  Beware shady real estate deals, for they lead to home improvement-themed physical comedy!  Hanks puts on a comically exasperated attitude that is funny enough to earn a Watchable Plus.

The Money Pit

The Green Mile by William
September 20, 2012, 2:05 am
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Tom Hanks is a death row prison guard with a heart of gold, and Michael Clarke Duncan is the mysterious prisoner he has to kill. This movie does not have a sophisticated style or a complicated plot. It is not a major breakthrough in moviemaking that only a person well-versed in the history of cinema can appreciate. It’s simply a thoroughly enjoyable, emotional movie that is extremely well-made and never bores you for its three hours. Basically, if you don’t like this movie, you’re probably a snob and a jerk, too. Worth Watching.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by William
March 5, 2012, 12:00 am
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Watching this movie is an exhausting experience. Tom Hanks plays a great dad who dies in the World Trade Center on September 11th, and his young son has to deal with that. As an American, as jaded and cynical as we have turned in the last ten years, it is still difficult to know what to think about a movie featuring the events of September 11th. For me, it was difficult to accept a work of fiction about that day. I can recommend it more as an experience than as a movie. Worth checking out.

Larry Crowne by jaemskeray
February 17, 2012, 6:12 am
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AVOID THIS MOVIE.  This is the kind of movie that makes you hate all movies.  Tom Hanks gets laid off from his job and has to go back to community college.  Julia Roberts is his synical teacher who teaches a class on public speaking that seems like anyone could teach it.  Tom Hanks and this annoying free spirited moped riding girl have this wierd friendship that doesn’t make any sense.  This movie has no spine.  Every character is one dimensional.   I hate this movie.  Unwatchable

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