Pinhole Movie Reviews

The Young Girls of Rochefort / Les Demoiselles de Rochefort by tincolor

Catherine Deneuve and Francoise Dorléac are sisters (in real life, too), desperate to get out of picturesque Rochefort, a port town in France were everyone is lovesick, but no one ends up alone as long as you sing and dance for 90 minutes. If you’re familiar with Jacques Demy then you know that in his films everyone and everything is beautiful and no problem is so great that it detracts from enjoying life to the fullest. A fantastic soundtrack by Michel Legrand, fairy tale-esque cinematography by Ghislain Cloquet and foppish consumes that only work because this is a Demy film! Worth watching for fans of musicals and anyone interested in 1960s European pop culture.


Pitch Perfect by William
July 20, 2013, 12:48 pm
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College a capella groups compete to win a national singing competition. As one might expect, the movie is basically a series of musical numbers with a by-the-numbers romantic comedy/competition plot tying things together. The difficulty is that, being so formulaic, it is easy to think of things that surpass this movie in various aspects. NBC’s program The Sing-Off has better a capella singing. Sister Act 2 also uses a young cast, but comes up with a more interesting story. Overall, the singing scenes in Pitch Perfect is good enough, but the rest is pretty mediocre. Watchable.

Promotional poster for film "Pitch Perfect".jpg

Les Misérables (2012) by William
January 23, 2013, 1:33 pm
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An ex-convict tries to turn his life around and do various good deeds but can’t seem to escape the tireless, pitiless Inspector Javert. In the background, the fires of revolution are smoldering in France among both the marginalized poor and the country’s idealistic youth. And of course, everybody is singing. Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, the two leads, are both surprisingly weak singers, which is a big problem because the music is the raison d’etre of this movie. On the other hand, Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried are surprisingly good.

As someone who has the Les Miserables CDs (London Cast) memorized, it’s hard to know what to say about this film. I enjoyed the songs, as I always do, but connected less with the movie emotionally than I expected to. In part, I was distracted by all these famous movie stars singing songs. Maybe this is how it feels to be someone who doesn’t like musicals. Even so, I’ll likely give this one another shot when it comes out on DVD. Worth checking out.

Les Misérables

The poster shows a young girl in the background of a dark night. Text above reveals the cast listing and text below reveals the film's title.

Rocky Horror Picture Show by tincolor
November 18, 2012, 6:08 am
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Tim Curry plays a sexually deviant host to Susan Sarandon and her fiancé. Like Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise, this is a wacky musical homage to classic horror films, particularly Frankenstein in this case. There isn’t so much a plot as there are just a bunch of mostly catchy songs strung together by a handful of spoken word sections. All in all, I enjoyed the film and can see why people dress up and sing along to it at midnight showings. Worth checking out.


Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Thomas
September 21, 2012, 2:34 pm
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Tim Burton reworks this bloodbath of a musical in his trademark grotesque style, casting his muse Johnny Depp as the infamous barber who murders his patrons.  As always, Burton’s nightmare world is vivid and beautiful — though it’s easy to get distracted by it…and the ridiculous amount of CG used to create it.  Also, while there’s nothing wrong with Sondheim’s abstract, operatic music, there’s no question of singing along either.  Following what seems to be the convention for musicals, the plot takes its sweet time setting up, then careens into a thrilling third act.  Worth checking out.

Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Annie (1982) by Thomas
September 7, 2012, 4:22 pm
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A mischievous orphan and her dog (both with a heart of gold, obviously) get adopted by billionaire Albert Finney, for some reason.  Finney hams it up with huge vaudeville expressiveness; when one of the other orphans informs him that Annie has been kidnapped, he yells “LEAPING LIZARDS!” in a way that had me laughing for a solid minute.  Carol Burnett also goes hilariously overboard as the boozy matron running the orphanage. If you have a high tolerance for silliness,  it’s definitely Watchable.

Annie (1982)

West Side Story by Thomas
September 2, 2012, 3:03 pm
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Dancing gangs and star crossed love in fair Manhattan, where we make our scene.  The first half of this movie is more than a little cumbersome — try watching the famous Sharks vs. Jets song at the beginning because you’ll be sitting there all afternoon.  It’s like: we all know what’s going to happen, so let’s get on with it! But, as if the filmmakers heard my lament, the second half becomes much more compelling.  The choreographed fight scenes are surprisingly intense, the attempted rape of Anita is actually shocking, and Natalie Wood dons a kind of smoldering passion that makes it hard to look away.  Leonard Bernstien’s songs are also undeniably catchy. I can see why this is a classic! Worth checking out.

West Side Story

Phantom of the Paradise by tincolor

It’s Faust, The Phantom of the Opera and The Picture of Dorian Gray all rolled into a rock opera. I haven’t seen Rocky Horror Picture Show, but imagine that these two movies share more than a few similarities. It’s also pretty clear how much of an influence the visual style of this film was on Daft Punk. The music is OK and the story is mildly interesting, but basically just Phantom of the Opera. If you’re a Brian De Palma fan or if you like funky costumes and rooms full of moog synthesizers  this is definitely worth checking out, if you’re just a normal person, then maybe a barely watchable at most.

Yellow Submarine by Thomas
June 5, 2012, 7:44 pm
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In this famous psychedelic musical revue, the Beatles must save the bucolic realm of Pepperland from the evil Blue Meanies.  The “plot” drags a bit, and the animation is a little choppy, but, honestly, who can resist vintage Beatles videos?  I saw this in the theater and the glee in the audience was palpable.  Worth checking out.

Yellow Submarine

Man of La Mancha by Thomas
February 23, 2012, 4:01 pm
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Peter O’Toole plays a beleaguered Cervantes, performing as madman Don Quixote, before he gets carted off to the Inquisition.  Sophia Loren makes a perfect busty kitchen wench, ironically elevated into the angelic “Dulcinea.”  This production is really just a filmed stage play, so it’s a good thing  the performances are all so great!  Still, for a solid two hours of no budget musical, I’d like more than two good songs. Perhaps this would be worth checking out if you love musicals — for me it was an enthusiastic watchable.

Man of La Mancha

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