Pinhole Movie Reviews

Brief Encounter by Thomas
August 3, 2014, 11:04 am
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A housewife falls for an obsequious stranger. Noël Coward’s screenplay must have been interesting to read: it’s a classic love story, but the lovers mostly just exchange glances and pleasantries with each other in a dingy train station cafe.  David Lean filmed it with a precise, restrained style and decided to play Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto over top, so that each gesture takes on huge emotional significance. Worth watching.

Brief Encounter

The Grapes of Wrath by Thomas
April 6, 2014, 5:39 am
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This is the definitive “social issue” movie — when we watched it in high school, after reading the novel, the teacher emphasized how much the story had been simplified and Hollywood-ized. But this time I kept thinking how bold the movie is, for its time.  Worth watching.


The Grapes of Wrath

There was a Father by Thomas
April 3, 2013, 3:26 pm
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In this tearjerker morality play, a dutiful father makes a lifetime of sacrifices for the sake of his son — but works so hard that he hardly gets to have a relationship with him.  Ozu creates intense drama out of everyday life choices.  This is minimalist film making at its best. Worth watching. (There’s no poster, so here’s a shot from the movie instead…)


There was a Father

Beauty and the Beast / La Belle et La Bete (1946) by tincolor
August 9, 2012, 12:21 am
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It’s the Beauty and the Beast. This version of the Beauty and the Beast begins with a request from director Jean Cocteau: that the audience enjoy the movie like a child, taking the magical elements and the simplicity of the story at face value. And that is definitely needed, because none of these characters are particularly virtuous, and pretty much everyone is self serving. On the other hand, the special effects, costumes, sets and music are amazing and more than enough to enjoy the film. Worth checking out.

Arsenic and Old Lace by Thomas
April 29, 2012, 3:51 pm
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Cary Grant finds out that his sweet old aunties have acquired the habit of poisoning old men and burying their corpses in the cellar.  (It’s a comedy!) Grant solves the problem by running around frantically, making funny faces, and yelling into the telephone.  I have some reservations about using the word “madcap” because it sounds like a cliché — but if you can’t use it to describe zany 1940’s comedy, then when can you use it? At any rate, this one’s madcap. Watchable.

Arsenic and Old Lace

Road to Rio by Thomas
March 6, 2012, 5:34 am
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Bing Crosby and Bob Hope reprise their roles as ne’er-do-well musicians on the “road” to somewhere or other — in this one they get caught up in an unlikely heist involving hypnotism and arranged marriage and end up in Brazil. The plot is silly, but also amusingly self-aware. And that’s beside the point: it’s really about showmanship. These guys have irresistible energy and comic timing that keeps you watching.  Worth checking out.

Road to Rio

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