Thursday, June 22, 2006

Review – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)

John Barrymore stars as the doctor/fiend in this early adaptation of the Stephenson classic. Though thoroughly infected with the technical difficulties of the silent era – particularly histrionic acting – this production holds up surprisingly well even decades later. The one notable difference between this and subsequent versions is that Barrymore’s Hyde is actually less physically imposing than his Jekyll, the former a hunched-over creature with spindly limbs while the latter is your typical “man’s man.” Otherwise this is a straightforward version of a familiar story. Mildly amusing

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Review – The Devil Doll

The scariest thing about this movie is Lionel Barrymore parading around in drag more than half the time. Of course as an escaped convict seeking revenge on the trio who had him wrongfully imprisoned years ago, he can perhaps be excused for disguising himself as an old lady. What is harder to excuse is his decision to employ the shrinking technology developed by one of his convict buddies and try to reduce his enemies to doll size. For the most part this is a special effects vehicle from 1936, and though the composite shots aren’t all that impressive by 21st century standards, they were probably pretty hot stuff in their day. Overall I’ve seen better horror movies from this period in film history, but I’ve seen worse as well. Mildly amusing

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Review – Aeon Flux

Sadly, I have little trouble believing that an additional four hundred years of perfume ads, video games and cell phones might actually do this to the human race. Like the animated shorts that spawned it, this production isn’t real long on plot. Indeed, careful editing could probably break it up into isolated, nonsensical episodes just like the original series. It’s a pretty picture, and some of the effects are entertaining. It just doesn’t hold together as a feature-length movie. Mildly amusing