Pinhole Movie Reviews


Dead Man by Thomas
September 21, 2014, 10:14 am
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Jim Jarmusch filmed this rambling, upside-down Western.  Johnny Depp plays a fancily dressed dude from back East, civilized if a bit dim, who goes on an ill-fated journey West. He’s a character type from the classic Western, a person whose manners prove useless on the wild frontier.  Except this time we follow his strange, almost psychedelic transformation into a gun-toting outlaw. I like the black & white photography, random twangy tones of music by Neil Young — and really it wouldn’t have worked without many amazing performances.  Look for Crispin Glover who is especially scary! Worth watching.

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Dead Man



Guardians of the Galaxy by Thomas
September 9, 2014, 5:16 pm
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Chris Pratt is a space scavenger with an attitude and a taste for R&B.  Like John Wayne in Stagecoach, he falls in with a band of misfits who form bonds of friendship through adversity.  What this fantasy spectacle lacks in plot it makes up for in gorgeous production design and digital effects, with the plenty of jokes to keep things light. Director James Gunn is best known for the horror/comedy Slither and actually began his career with the Troma team (purveyors of outrageous B-movie schlock) so he seems quite skilled at this goofball approach. It works! For my summer blockbuster money, I say: Worth checking out.

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Guardians of the Galaxy



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.

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The American



Johnny Guitar by Thomas
June 6, 2014, 5:50 pm
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In this surrealist Western, the title character carries a guitar instead of a gun. But the real hero is Joan Crawford in cowboy drag, a saloon keeper falsely accused of a crime.  Her accuser, the villain, is also a lady, which makes the situation pretty much unthinkable in 1950’s Hollywood.  This is a fun and colorful romp of a movie that both glorifies and pokes fun at the Western genre, especially its gender stereotypes. A strong Worth watching.

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Johnny Guitar



Bad Day at Black Rock by Thomas
June 6, 2014, 1:16 am
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Aging veteran Spencer Tracy comes to a podunk town to find a missing buddy from his WWII days. The twist: his buddy is Japanese. (Another twist would be that Tracy is a one-armed karate master!) This is a visually striking film, one of the first shot in wide screen “CinemaScope” format. It’s also a wonderful thriller, on par with Hitchcock even.  As with John Sturges’s more famous movies, like The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape, this is mostly long shots and menacing dialogue for the first two thirds, which only adds to the thrill of the final confrontation.  A strong Worth Watching.

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Bad Day at Black Rock



The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford by William
January 14, 2013, 3:23 pm
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Plot Summary: See title. Brad Pitt plays Jesse James as quietly menacing and unhinged, think Tyler Durden as a mafia boss. Casey Affleck does a decent job of generating sympathy for his cowardly character. There are parts of this movie that are quite good, and the narrator attempts to bring it all together for the viewer, but overall the film is too long and too disorganized. As a microcosm of the problems with this movie, consider the epilogue. It is one of the more interesting segments, but runs for something like 15 minutes, distracting the viewer in the style of Return of the King by not clearly signalling that what you are seeing is important, and so the movie is going to continue for a while. Apparently the editing of this movie was a source of disagreement among the producers, and it shows in a lack of coherence and focus. I imagine the novel this movie is based on would have been better adapted as a miniseries or a shorter movie. Watchable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Assassination_of_Jesse_James_by_the_Coward_Robert_Ford



Blazing Saddles by tincolor
August 8, 2012, 3:47 am
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Mel Brook’s Blazing Saddles is a legendary entry in the parody film genre, the only problem is, it’s not terribly funny. There are some great scenes in this movie. Some really funny lines, and the musical cabaret number in the middle is top-notch. The other stuff is, well, not that funny. Case and point: the movie ends with the two heroes riding off into the sunset on horseback, only to get off their horses and finish the ride in a car. This stuff was probably hilarious 40 years ago, but most viewers today will probably take this kind of anachronistic humor for granted. Watchable.




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