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Van Helsing (2004)
Merchandising hits the big screen
Van Helsing isn't so much a movie, as it is the beginning of a brand. They have been talking about a TV series, toys, a possible amusement park and various spin offs.The premise for this film was a really promising one. When I first heard about it, I was actually quite excited. I should have known better when they described, in the press, the title character as sort of a medieval "Black Ops" agent. Having said that, Van Helsing didn't feel like a real movie. It felt like a bunch of "neat scenes" put together. They had some talented actors, but the script was simply atrocious.They took three separate monsters that have all been established draws in their own right and just tossed them all in one show. Not sure who they will dig up for the inevitable sequel. The overall movie was an orgy of bombastic excess. Bigger, better, louder! Ugh!
Wretched manipulative film
With 8mm, it feels like Joel Schumacher is trying to emulate Se7en. Both were written by Andrew Kevin Walker. But Joel falls short in this unpleasant, clichéd film. With Se7en, you were swept along with the characters. In 8mm, you can feel the hand of the director pushing you were he wants you to go. 8mm is blatant in it's attempts to manipulate the viewer, but is so clumsy you end up resenting it and the director for doing so. A film like this needs to be more subtle in it's attempts to coax the desired response from the audience.
Love Actually (2003)
Curtis delivers in his directorial debut
Richard Curtis has proven, in the past, that he has an eye and ear for the tender moments that make up the better part of humanity. In his directorial debut, he has delivered a movie shows the very best in people. In it's weakest moments, Love Actually was entertaining. In it's best, it was moving and capable of touching your soul. I really didn't see a weak performance in the bunch. I did feel the use of music was a bit overdone, particularly towards the end. Curtis delivers such fine dialogue, he should have let it carry the finale rather than pop music. All in all, Love Actually is a fantastic movie that shines because of the wonderful performances by an incredible cast that was given a great script.
Up the Creek (1984)
Funny, not great, but funny.
As far as low budget, cheesy movies go, Up The Creek is decent. I will not attempt to suggest that it is a great movie, but it has it's moments.Tim Matheson is entertaining, though he is playing a character not too far removed from Otter of Animal House. A good flick for a lazy, brainless afternoon.