Pinhole Movie Reviews


Arrival by jaemskeray
February 26, 2017, 5:14 am
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Lets see, how do I do this again?  … In Arrival, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner are tasked with communicating with a visiting advanced race of extra terrestrial beings.  The movie stays simple and on point, not tasking itself with any more than exploring this idea.  Cuts of the main character’s daughter meeting animals and insects permeates the film, drawing to mind a reference I once heard made about how what we would call an alien abduction is similar to a fish getting caught and then thrown back, albeit from the fish’s perspective.  The special effects are artsy; its not a big explosiony, blockbustery, dumb down the script for mass appeal, sci-fi movie.  Theres a major M. Night Shamalamadingdong twist at the end thats pretty cool, and, not to brag or nothing but I figured it out way before the others I was watching with, ergo I smarter.  I’d say its worth checking out.

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The Panic at Needle Park by Thomas
January 12, 2015, 11:18 pm
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In the 70’s, before Manhattan got Disney-fied, the streets belonged to pimps, pushers, and addicts.  Amidst the chaos, a woman falls for a low level heroin dealer  (Al Pacino) and enters a life of desperation and crime, doing anything for her next fix.  But will she cooperate with the hated NYPD?  This is harsh hyper-realism, breaking taboos to the point that it’s painful to watch.  Still, like Taxi Driver and Times Square, it was actually shot on location and so it manages to capture the seedy underbelly of New York, rather than an idealized Hollywood view of the city.  Worth checking out.

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The Panic at Needle Park



The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology by Thomas
September 21, 2014, 10:41 am
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Celebrity philosopher Slavoj Žižek is your host (and sole guest) in this talking-head type documentary.  Žižek gets inserted into scenes from his favorite movies, whence he explains how each movie carries out various ideological projects related to the sub-conscious currents of cultural life.  If you like cultural studies and can tolerate thickly-accented, barely intelligible jargon, then you might enjoy his critical ramblings — I certainly did.  But I also think this is just a fun use of the medium to tell a story about itself.  Worth checking out.

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The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

 

 



The One I Love by jaemskeray
September 15, 2014, 1:54 am
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What the what?  The One I Love is a … I’m gonna go with Romantic Comedy about a young couple that has fallen out of love with each other trying to reinvigorate their relationship.  A therapist tells them to go to this house in the mountains for a retreat that he sends all his couple patients to, and then craziness ensues.  I really don’t want to give any of this away because I highly enjoyed it.  This movie twists and turns, and just when you think its one thing it then turns into something else.  Very well crafted.  The only problem with this movie is that once you start to analyze it afterwards, the whole thing falls apart like a house of cards.  But, that doesn’t take away from the joy of watching it.  Worth Checking Out



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

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Jerry Maguire



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 Brood by tincolor
September 9, 2014, 9:26 am
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Oliver Reed is a suspiciously evil-looking psychoanalyst whose treatment includes verbally abusing his patients until they explode with anger. When the family members of one of his patients start getting murdered one by one, it’s clear that something bad is happening as a result of the doctor’s treatments. This early David Cronenberg film is genuinely creepy and very, very gross, but you’ve got to expect that with Cronenberg. What I didn’t expect was to see someone bludgeoned to death in front of no less than 10 toddlers. Is this OK? I really don’t think so, I mean, if I were a toddler and my mom put me on a movie set where someone was realistically beaten not two feet away from me with lots of blood squirting all over the place, I would be A) pissed at my mom, and B) seriously traumatized for life. But if you can get past all that, this is top-shelf B-horror. Expertly directed, a great performance from Oliver Reed and a great buildup to an ending that is just the right combination of ludicrous and dark. Worth checking out, but only if you are in for a really violent and disturbing film.

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The Canterbury Tales / I racconti di Canterbury (1972) by tincolor

Pier Paolo Pasolini is the kind of director who’s films are immediately identifiable by their grimy, earthy and profane take on classic works of literature. On one piss-drenched hand, “The Canterbury Tales” is a masterpiece of visual and emotional realism. On the other shit-caked hand, the acting can be a little jokey and the overall grossness and dirtiness of the film can be a little too much to bear. The film doesn’t exactly aim to capture what England might have been like in Chaucer’s time, Pasolini takes more than his fair share of artistic liberties, but at the same time it does feels like a film that perhaps Chaucer might have made himself, if he had 1970s filmmaking tools at his disposal, of course. A very good, but very raw and often times gross film. Worth checking out, unless you’re sensitive to people peeing on camera an that kind of stuff in which case, barely watchable.

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Peter’s Friends by Thomas
September 1, 2014, 7:53 pm
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Stephen Fry is an amiable fop who invites his old university drama club friends for a little New Years Eve get together at the ole country estate.  Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the movie gathers a generation of stars — Branagh, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, etc. — for a kind of 90’s British Big Chill.  (Actually more than a generation, since the older lady who plays the maid is actually Emma Thompson’s mother! Fun fact.)

In The Big Chill, we get a somber tone at the start, followed by a gradual uptick of humor and period music and bittersweet sentimentality as you get to know the ensemble.  Peter’s Friends, on the other hand, tries to force the mirth with 80’s music, dudes in drag, a comically annoying American, and sex romp type scenarios — before you actually care about the characters.  When they finally reveal their devastating burdens in Act II or III, you hardly get time to process any of it.  Despite this and other screenwriting issues, the movie does have its highlights including several Hugh Laurie musical numbers. If you love ensemble comedies about the perils of adulthood, this is worth checking out.  Otherwise, just watchable.  

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Peter’s Friends

 



The Kids are All Right (2010) by tincolor

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are a married lesbian couple with two children. When their daughter turns 18th, she decides to find their biological father, who is only aware that he donated sperm once. At first he seems like a cool guy and everyone is happy until the screenwriters decide that this movie needs some conflict! at which point the adults start making unbelievably stupid decisions and the kids just kind of shut down. This isn’t the social-issue film I thought it was going to be, and despite some preachiness in the second half, I have to say, I enjoyed it. Strong performances all around. Worth checking out.

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