Archive 375 - July 2017
Previous Posts that appeared on the front page of cinemagraphe.com
Van Helsing - 2004
Van Helsing - Released May 7, 2004. Directed by Stephen Sommers
Amid the first rate action sequences, stunt-work, opulent scenery, costuming and massive use of (circa 2004) CGI, director and writer Stephen Sommers seems to be trying to capitalize and evolve his style from the 1999 The Mummy, which was part monster movie with a big dose of humor and Indiana Jones-style action.
Van Helsing is certainly a lot of fun for monster movie aficionados, but it is so stuffed with side-trips through the pantheon of old horror films that the story in Van Helsing is more of a map through a theme park instead of a cogent tale of how our lead character Van Helsing must protect and save Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale) from the mad-plans of diabolical Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh).
Jackman and Beckinsale are not a problem, and are quite enjoyable in these roles, as is the rest of the cast. When they are given some dialogue and moments in between the onslaught of CGI to chat with each other and establish motivations, for a more-forgiving audience, the movie has a lot of charm. But Van Helsing is plagued at times with a pacing right out of a video game, and as wildly inventive as the visuals often are, it's just not a substitute for quality in the simple but overly-stretched story.
There's no denying the eye candy is fantastic and apparently meant to be the main draw for the movie, and there are many nice moments that pop up over and over, such as Shuler Hensley's Frankenstein Monster with a throbbing, glowing psychedelic heart/motor. The sequence of the Wolfman fighting Dracula (who turns into a monstrous flying bat) is something right out of the old Universal monster round-ups of the 1940s, but staged in a way in Van Helsing that was impossible then.
Where Sommers' The Mummy had quirky personalities for the main cast and room for them to do bits of character-establishing business, Beckinsale and Jackman are carved from a grim-avenger template and aren't allowed to to be as human, though they do go into their battle sequences well-equipped with quips. And, of course, they look great as they try to defeat various monsters with hand-to-hand combat and steam-punk style weapons, but it all gets a bit repetitive and Van Helsing would have been better served with maybe ten minutes more of well-done dialogue writing and ten minutes less of CGI.
A wonderful, but bad, movie.
The Devil and Daniel Webster - 1941
The Devil and Daniel Webster - Released October 17, 1941. Directed by William Dieterle
Arlene Martel - 1966
The Case of the Dead Ringer - Perry Mason, NBC broadcast April 17, 1966. Directed by Arthur Marks
The List of the Adrian Messenger - 1963
The List of the Adrian Messenger - 1963 - Released May 29,1963. Directed by John Huston
Heaven Knows, Mr Allison - Released March 13, 1957. Directed by John Huston.
Original Page July 10, 2017
Starring Miss Barbara Stanwyck [Illustrated with 310 Photographs] - amazon.com
- The Stand In - 1937 - Leslie Howard, Bogart and Blondell
- The Black Book - 1949 - Robert Cummings and Arlene Dahl
- Who Done It? - 1942
- The Viking Queen - 1967
- Little Miss Marker - 1934
- Get Out - 2017
- Man's Favorite Sport
- Braveheart 1995
- Bringing Up Baby - 1938
- The Comedy of Terrors - 1963
- Day of Anger - 1967
- Central Park - 1932 - Joan Blondell has trouble on her hands when she gets suckered into helping a gangster to rob a charity event. Though this film stars Joan and Wallace Ford, it also features the American Great Depression which is the background for the hunger and desperation that flavors the film.
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