May 14 - 20, 2004 • Vol. 24 - No. 20

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Van Helsing: More Fun than Horror
by The Maven and The Blonde
Film Columnists


Van Helsing is a fantasy movie that takes place in a 19th century setting. Van Helsing, played by Hugh Jackman (Kate and Leopold and X Men), was ordered by a secret sect of the Vatican to travel to Transylvania. Here he was to find and vanquish the villainous Count Dracula. He meets up with Anna Valerious, played by the beautiful Kate Beckinsale (Pearl Harbor and Underworld). Valerious is the bitter heir of a long-reigning royal family, tormented by a curse involving Dracula (Richard Roxenburgh). She is committed to hunting down and destroying the Count so that her family can be set free from purgatory, and, at long last, enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The Blonde: Van Helsing was like Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, the Wolfman and Count Dracula. I found this movie fun to watch. It has continuous action, creative special effects and wit. Not to mention that Hugh and Kate both had hot bodies. I have a hot body too, but it comes now in flashes, and not of the Janet Jackson variety. However, I am too young to personally now about that yet!
The Maven: Well, I’m not! Now, about the movie. Van Helsing recreates the horror movie genre without offending sensitive moviegoers. The brief moments of humor soften any actual horror the monsters would elicit. Mr. Hyde, especially, displayed wit at the oddest moments.
The Blonde: I enjoyed all the characters including the monsters. I personally related to all the horror, shock, evil, wickedness, irrational temperament, and spitefulness they brought to the screen. I share a house with two teenage girls suffering from P.M.S. Need I say more? By the way, Maven, is Transylvania a development in Boca?
The Maven: No, I think, you’re thinking of South Beach!
The Blonde: Oh! On a critical note, I didn’t feel that Van Helsing’s character was defined as well as it should have been. The writer left me with too many unanswered questions. Who is he? Where did he come from? How did he get his super strength?
The Maven: Did it really matter once he took his shirt off?
The Blonde: When you put it that way, no, it didn’t; you’re right! I did feel, however, the very best part of this film was the brilliant music score, written by the incomparable Alan Silvestri. It was enthralling, exciting and truly pulled me into the movie. I feel the need to discuss one more issue: the clothes. I would have been totally frustrated making a two-hour and twenty-five minute movie sporting the same outfit throughout the entire filming. I know for a fact that Cher and Madonna would feel the same way…
The Maven: Hey, wait a minute! Doesn’t a man turning into a werewolf count as a costume change?
The Blonde: Not to Bob Mackee!  Before I forget, didn’ the guy who played the friar sound exactly like C.P.R. from Star Wars?
The Maven: That was, C3PO. I am starting to really worry about you! To wrap it up, I felt the screenwriter and director, Stephen Sommers, did justice to the ‘ole time classic horror movies. This was significant to him, as he dedicatedthis movie to his father, who so loved these films. I rate Van Helsing a solid B.
The Blonde:  If you’re looking for an enjoyable night at the movies, go see this one. It won’t tax your brain,—unlike the I.R.S.—so you can just sit back, relax and have a few laughs. I recommend some popcorn and peanut M&Ms for this one. Not a brilliant piece of art, but entertaining. I rate this film a sold C.


New York Minute
—The Time One Should Spend Watching this Movie


New York Minute was a wannabe action- comedy. It’s a tale about a complex day in the lives of opposite twins, Jane and Roxanne Ryan, played by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (Full House, It Takes Two, and just about everything else from Walmart to their own magazine). Their journey all begins when they leave their Long Island home to head for the Big Apple. Roxanne’s (Mary-Kate) goal was to get backstage at the band Simple Plan’s music video shoot. She wanted the opportunity to give them her music demo. Jane’s (Ashley) purpose in the city was to deliver her speech to qualify her for a scholarship to the prestigious College of Oxford, in England. Immediately after arriving in New York, the twins find themselves innocently dragged into a video black market ring. In addition to that weak plot line, the girls are pursued by truancy officer Lomax, played by Eugene Levy (American Pie and Best in Show). He is obsessed with catching Roxy in the act of ditching school. Unlike her over-achiever sister, this is the norm for Roxy, who dreams of becoming a famous rocker. Because of the numerous dilemmas they experience in New York, the adversarial twins finally learn to enjoy and appreciate their differences. How’s that for an original ending?

The Blonde: New York Minute was like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off meets the old Patty Duke Show meets What’s Up Doc? I went to this movie prepared to think that it was going to be stupid and bad. I was pleasantly surprised to find out just how accurate I was! To say New York Minute was predictable would even be an insult to the blondest of all blondes. This movie should have been titled, New York Second.
The Maven: Wait a minute, no pun intended. I doubt this film was made with our demographics in mind.
The Blonde: What does Florida have to do with a dumb movie?
The Maven: I was referring to age, not location.
The Blonde: What, you think I look older than 15, 16, ok, 17? The twins are truly adorable and beautiful. I won’t take that away from them. There is, however, something that does remain to be seen. With all their acting experience, I still haven’t had the opportunity to know if the girls can even act at all. Even they deserve a shot at a good script!
The Maven: I did laugh, a little. There were some cute moments. It was cheerfully disconnected from reality...and, and...?
The Blonde: Yeah, so was my dental appointment to get my root canal! Even that was funnier… Well, maybe this picture was the twins'’ karma for being raised by rich Grandfather Hilton.
The Maven: You are kidding me, right? You do know that you are referring to the Hilton sisters, Paris and Nikki.
The Blonde: There were two sets of Hilton twins?
The Maven: No, one set of Hilton sisters and one set of Olsen twins. Oy vey, and you think the movie was stupid?
The Blonde: Whatever! Anyway, I found it interesting that Levy played the exact type of character that he portrayed in Splash. Neither character was very likeable, until the end. Just an observation.
The Maven: Now Splash, there’s a worthwhile movie classic to see.
The Blonde: Totally! The only thing I can say nice about New York Minute was that the musical guest appearance by Simple Plan was great and that the film was directed and shot well. I felt that I deserved an entire chocolate, chocolate fudge cake when I got home for sitting through this poor comedy. I did, and that was the best part of my evening. I give it a rating of D - -. One minus for each twin. Stay home, miss this flick and eat cake!
The Maven: You overlooked the adorable dog that stole the movie. I look forward to seeing the little pooch’s future Hollywood endeavors. I rate New York Minute a resounding D. Can I have a piece of your cake now?
The Blonde: No, I finished it!

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