Efficiency, sarcasm, and natty fur!

This monkey and this robot once had a system: three blogs for three subjects. But it was complicated and vague and usually ended in feces throwing. So we have combined all three into a melange of media reviews and links and excessive blather, so as to reduce the burden on your short attention span.

In the right column, Monkey + Robot have compiled for you a compendium of sassy, savvy and in the know media reviews and tidbits, for your time-wasting pleasure. And lest you poke at us with sticks or cut off our power supply, the reviews are now selectable through those perky drop-down menus. Monkey + Robot Film and TV reviews, Wrongrobot's Comic Stash, and more.

Grab a chunk of melon and some Demoral, because in the left column, we have accumulated for you every snappy link we found amusing, entertaining, provocatively witty, or frankly, just colorful, with easy to understand small words so monkeybites can follow along. Such is Robotic Root!

Entertainment Media Ratings System:

Wrongrobot's Robot Rating: 1-10 Clicks, more indicating a happier robot!

Monkeybites' Monkey Rating: 1-10 Ooks! More indicating a mouthful of rotting simian teeth and lips curled in monkey pleasure!

IronLung's Robot Rating: 1-10 Clanks! More indicating a red-eyed, slack-jawed, blissed-out, ride-pimped dizzy droid! [this is good]

Vicbot's Robot Rating: 1-10 Whirrs! More indicating data that computes well with others.

Google
WWW http://monkey-plus-robot-reviews.blogspot.com
Wrongrobot's Fantasy Film Casting:
Casting Batman: Year One
Casting The Losers
Casting Richard Zach's Pirate Hunter

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Film Reviews [M+R Review Rating, out of 10 Possible Clicks, or Clanks, or Ooks]

Adventures of Baron Munchausen: 8 Clicks
Aliens Vs. Predator: 1 Clank
Bad Santa: 9 Clicks
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever: 2 Clicks
Bend it Like Beckham: 8 Clicks
Bourne Supremacy: 10 Clicks
Bowling for Columbine: 8 Clicks
Bubba Ho-Tep: 8 Clanks
Cirque du Soleil- Allegria [stage]: 10 Clicks
Cold Mountain: 7 Clicks
Cutthroat Island: 2 Clicks
Elf: 8 Clicks
Equilibrium: 6 Clicks
Escape From Alcatraz: 7 Clicks
Finding Nemo: 10 Clicks
Girl With a Pearl Earring: 7 Clicks
The Graduate [stage]: 7 Clicks
Hero: 7 Clanks
House of 1000 Corpses: 5 Clanks
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: 5 Clicks
Hudson Hawk: 6 Clanks
The Hulk: 7 Clicks
Identity: 3 Clicks
Igby Goes Down: 5 Clicks
Intolerable Cruelty: 6 Clicks
I, Robot [trailer commentary][IronLung]
I, Robot [trailer commentary][Wrongrobot]
Kill Bill Vol.1: 10 Clicks
Kill Bill Vol.2 [IronLung]: 9 Clanks
Kill Bill Vol.2 [Wrongrobot]: 10 Clicks
The Last Samurai: 8 Clicks
LotR: Return of the King: 7 Clicks
My Architect: 9 Clicks
Original Kings of Comedy: 7 Clicks
The Phantom: 1 Click
Pirates of the Caribbean: 9 Clicks
The Punisher: 5 Clanks
Secretary: 9 Clicks
Shanghai Knights: 4 Clicks
Spellbound: 7 Clicks
Spider-Man 2: 8 Clanks/ 8 Clicks
Starsky & Hutch: 8 Clicks
Star Trek- Nemesis: 6.5 Clicks
Terminator 3: 5 Clicks, 2 Ooks
The Thin Red Line: 7 Clicks
To Live and Die in LA: 10 Clicks
Troy: n/a
Van Helsing: 4 Clicks, 0 Clanks!
Whale Rider: 8 Clicks

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Comic Film Adaptations News [Film and TV]:

Appleseed OAV 2004 6/18/04
Aeon Flux: 2/27/04
9/1/04
9/10/04
Akira Live-Action Film 9/29/04
Animated Batman 2004 9/2/04
Batman Begins: 2/12/04 2/19/04 2/24/04 3/02/04 3/03/04 3/04/04 3/08/04 3/9/04 3/17/04 3/19/04 3/31/04 TRDL Concept Illustration 4/3/04 4/5/04 4/12/04 TRDL Concept Illustration Part 2 4/12/04 4/21/04 4/22/04 4/23/04 4/23/04 4/29/04 5/4/04 Costume Critique 5/4/04 Script Excerpts 5/7/04 6/01/04 6/04/04 6/09/04 6/10/04 6/15/04 6/16/04 7/6/04 7/13/04 7/20/04 7/26/04 7/28/04 Trailer 7/29/04 7/31/04 8/2/04 8/3/04 8/4/04 8/5/04 8/8/04 8/10/04 8/12/04 8/17/04 8/20/04 8/24/04 8/30/04 10/19/04
Battle Angel Alita: 9/10/04
Black Widow 4/29/04
Blade 3: Trinity: 5/4/04 6/11/04
Catwoman: 2/18/04 5/21/04 Game Concept Art 5/21/04 6/11/04 Suckage! 7/29/04
Comic Adaptations 10/13/03
Constantine: 3/08/04 5/14/04
Dazzler?!? 7/7/04
Elektra: 2/19/04 3/29/04 4/23/04 5/14/04 4/29/04 5/4/04 6/10/04 6/18/04 7/1/04 7/2/04 7/6/04 7/29/04 9/20/04 10/13/04
Fantastic Four: 6/16/04 7/8/04 7/14/04 7/15/04 8/3/04 9/20/04
Ghost in the Shell 2: 9/18/04
Global Frequency: 6/15/04 7/16/04 8/17/04
Good Time For Comic Films! 5/14/04
Green Lantern?!?: 7/24/04 Koboshed 8/8/04
Hawaiian Dick: 4/21/04 Interview 4/22/04
He-Man: 10/11/04
Hellboy: 2/12/04 Interview: Del Toro 2/20/04
3/03/04 3/9/04 3/17/04 Personality Test 3/17/04 Figures Released 3/29/04 Toys Addendum 3/30/04 Choose the Next Figures! 4/21/04 Hellboy: An Introduction 3/30/04 Interview: Selma Blair 3/30/04
Interview: Spectral Motion 4/5/04 Caught On Film in '62! 4/21/04 Interview: Selma Blair, CafeFX 4/28/04 Hellboy Collaborator Medical Fund Auction! 5/4/04 DVDs 7/7/04 7/28/04 8/3/04 8/5/04 8/25/04 8/31/04 Hellboy 2: 3/29/04 4/8/04 6/03/04 8/27/04 9/1/04
9/14/04
Hulk 2? 5/4/04 9/7/04

Hulk Op-Ed 7/14/04
Iron Man: 3/03/04 4/23/04 6/10/04 6/28/04 9/14/04
8/2/04 8/10/04
Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD 9/8/04
Preacher FX 4/29/04
Sin City: 3/19/04 4/04/21 4/04/29 4/05/19 5/21/04 6/01/04 6/11/04 7/1/04 7/26/04 7/28/04 7/20/04 8/11/04 9/15/04
Spider-Man 2: 2/18/04 3/29/04
Spider-Man 3: 5/4/04 5/14/04 6/10/04 7/13/04 Spider-Man 2 Game Screenshots 6/8/04 Spider-Man 2 [trailer commentary]
Superman: 5/21/04 6/03/04 6/09/04 6/10/04 6/28/04 7/1/04 7/13/04 7/14/04 7/20/04 8/5/04 8/10/04 8/27/04 8/31/04 9/10/04 9/15/04 10/19/04 [2] 10/19/04
Transformers: 9/10/04
Wanted 3/03/04
Watchmen: 4/4/23 4/7/24 7/24/24 8/12/04 9/10/04
Wolverine: 10/13/04
X-Men 3: 7/20/04 5/4/04 6/18/04 7/7/04 7/8/04 7/14/04 7/15/04 7/20/04 8/27/04 Aborted Sentinel? 9/2/04 9/7/04 9/15/04

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Film News, General:

A Scanner Darkly Film Adaptation
Akira: Kaneda's Bike in Production? 8/28/04
Aliens Vs. Predator: 6/2/04 Chess Set 5/26/04 6/8/04 Trailor 6/11/04 6/28/04 7/8/04 [trailer commentary] 8/5/04 8/8/04 7/15/04 8/12/04
Anchorman 7/13/04
Big Lebowski Day! 5/5/04
Bloodrayne 8/10/04
Bond? Who Bond? 8/3/04
Bourne Supremacy: 1/6/04 Trailer: 5/4/04 7/8/04
Cage Deserves Happiness 7/31/04
Clooney/ Tarantino in the News 10/15/03
Dodgeball 6/01/04
Domino 8/3/04
HEAT vs. R:HD: Dialog Analysis 10/22/03
Heat/ GTA III: Lawsuits Imitate Life 10/23/03
Incredibles 8/23/04
Jim White Documentary 3/23/04
Kill Bill 2 Poster 2/18/04
Kill Bill Interview: Uma Thurman 4/8/04
Kill Bill Vol. 3?! 4/12/04
The Life Aquatic 1/15/04
Matrix Explained? 8/31/04
National Treasure 8/4/04
Nowhere Man 7/26/04
Pierce is Bond No More 7/27/04
Sky Captain 7/15/04
Sky High 8/17/04
Soderberg Joins Che 4/5/04
Speed Racer: Vince Vaughn 6/25/04
Stealth 7/8/04
Summer 04 Films to Watch 4/22/04
Team America Puppet Porn 8/25/04
Transporter 2 6/16/04
Van Helsing: Van Helsing WHO? 3/16/04 Interview: ILM 5/5/04 Penny Arcade 5/18/04
Underworld 2 9/7/04
WB Kills ESC F/X 8/18/04
Will Smith Lexicon 5/18/04
Zatoichi: Blind Swordsman 6/25/04
No Mas James Bond
Miami Vice on the Big Screen

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TV Reviews, and the M+R Review Rating, out of 10 Possible Clicks, or Clanks, or Ooks

24 Season 3: 10/29/03: 8 Whirrs 11/5/03: 6 Whirrs 2/08/04: 7 Whirrs 2/12/04: 8 Whirrs 2/18/04: 8 Whirrs 2/24/04: 9 Whirrs 4/06/04: 7 Whirrs 4/26/04: 6 Whirrs 5/03/04: 3 Whirrs 5/11/04: 9 Whirrs 5/18/04: 8 Whirrs Finale 7/8/04: 3 Whirrs
Apprentice: Robin and Carolyn 4/16/04
ATHF and Space Ghost Links 2/25/04
ATHF: Revenge of the Trees 10/13/03: 8 Clicks The Shaving 10/27/03: 7 Clicks Super Trivia 9/22/03: 8 Clicks Battlestar Galactica 1/13/04: 3 Clicks
Carnivale: 9/22/03: 10 Clicks 9/30/03: 9 Clicks
Christopher Columbus: Secrets From the Grave: 3 Clicks
CSI: 8/11/03: 1 Ook 9/26/03: 5 Clicks CSI: Miami: 7/30/03: 1 Ook 7/31/03: 6 Clicks 9/26/03: 7 Clicks
Deadwood 3/24/04: 8 Clicks
Dinner for Five: 9/26/03: 7 Clicks 9/30/03: 7 Clicks
Ed: 9/26/03: 3 Clicks Series Finale 2/12/04: 7 Clicks
Emmy Nominations 04 7/15/04: 7 Clicks
Enterprise 10/13/03: 6 Clicks
Everybody Loves Raymond 9/26/03: 6 Clicks
Friends 9/26/03: 7 Clicks
Grammys: Outkast's Andre 3000 2/9/04: 10 Clicks
Law and Order Family: 9/30/03: 8 Clicks
Law and Order: 10/13/03
Law and Order: CI: 1/12/04: 8 Clicks
Marvel Comics Guide to NYC: 10 Clicks
Method and Red: 9 Clicks
MI-5 10/28/03: 10 Clicks
Mix It Up 1/12/04: 8 Clicks
Mr. Show: What to Think 9/10/03: 10 Clicks
Penn & Teller's Bullshit: 9 Clanks
Reno 911!: 9 Clicks 9/7/03
Space Ghost C2C: Baffler Meal: 11 Clicks! Flipmode 2/25/04:20 Clicks Survivor 7 9/19/03: 8 Clicks
Survivor All-Stars: 2/12/04: 8 Clicks 2/13/04: 7 Clicks Tour de France 2003 8/4/03: 8 Clicks
Will & Grace 9/26/03: 7 Clicks

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TV News

24/Law and Order/CSI "That Guy" Character Actor Tracker
24: Comic Adaption 3/25/04 Season 4 Casting 8/9/04
Amazing Screw-On Head Cartoon 4/8/04
Cigarette Smoking Man Action Figure 5/26/04
CSI: CSI in Comedy Culture 6/24/04 CSI's Peterson 2/18/04 Sick outs Everywhere 7/27/04
CSI: Miami Drinking Game 2/27/04 No Mas Rory Cochrane 8/9/04
CSI:NY: 3/8/04 3/16/04 Drawn Together 8/20/04
HDTV ScreenCap Archive 8/25/04
Jessica Simpson 10/21/03
Mastershake Speaks 9/7/04
Nike's Lance Commercial: Magnet 8/18/04
Law and Order: Trial by Jury Casting 6/04/04
NBC Hijacks TiVo 1/15/04
Simpsons' Shearer Balks 8/12/04
Survivor All-Stars Cast 1/12/04
Survivor 9 8/18/04
Robbery: Homicide Division Music 9/30/03

French Connection Made for TV


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Wrongrobot's Comics Stash- Comics and Sequential Art Reviews

Comic Reviews, and the M+R Review Rating, out of 10 Possible Clicks, or Clanks, or Ooks

Comics Reviews Intro
100 Bullets: 48: 7 Clicks
52, 53: 8 Clicks
9-11, Artists Respond Collections
Alias: 24-25: 10 Clicks 26-27: 10 Clicks 28: 9 Clicks
Astonishing X-Men: 2: 8 Clicks 3,4: 9,10 Clicks
Avengers: 500: 8 Clicks 502: 7 Clicks
Batgirl Year One TPB: 10 Clicks
Batman: 620: 5 Clicks 621: 7 Clicks
Batman: Long Halloween: 7 Clanks
Bloodstream 1: 1 Click
BPRD One Shots: 9/7 Clicks
Cla$$War: 4: 8 Clicks 5: 10 Clicks
Daredevil: 50-52: 9/3/5 Clicks 54: 4 Clicks 56: 9 Clicks 57: 7 Clicks
65: 6 Clicks
Domino:Perfect Weapon: 8 Clicks
Exiles: 30-33: 6/4/4 Clicks 36-37: 3/6 Clicks
Ex Machina: 2, 3: 7 Clicks
Global Frequency 11: 10 Clicks
Gotham Central: 10-11: 9 Clicks 13: 9 Clicks 16-18: 9 Clicks
Hellhounds 1-3: 7 Clicks
Human Target: 4: 9 Clicks 5-6: 8 Clicks 7: 8 Clicks
12, 13: 9 Clicks
Iron Man: 73-75: 8 Clicks 76: 2 Clicks 77: 5 Clicks 86: 9 Clicks
JSA: 51-52: 7/8 Clicks 53: 8 Clicks 54: 4 Clicks 56-57: 7 Clicks 58: 3 Clicks
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 2: 3 Clanks, 8 Clicks
The Losers: Ante Up TPB: 9 Clanks 6: 10 Clicks 10-11: 8/10 Clicks
16: 10 Clicks
New Invaders 0: 3 Clicks
New X-Men: 144-146: 5 Clicks 149: 3 Clicks 151-152: 2 Clicks 153: 3 Clicks
[Renamed X-Men] 159-162: 4 Clicks
Paradise X: A: 9 Clicks
Planetary: TPBs (1-12): 8 Clicks 16: 5 Clicks : 8 Clicks 18: 9 Clicks
Powers: 33: 8 Clicks 36: 9 Clicks 37: 10 Clicks V2, 1: 10 Clicks
2-4: 10 Clicks
Pulse: 5: 7 Clicks
Queen and Country: 20: 10 Clicks 21: 10 Clicks 25: 8 Clicks
The Ride 1: 9 Clicks
Secret War 1: 8 Clicks
Sleeper: 8: 10 Clicks 11: 10 Clicks 12: 10 Clicks Sleeper Season Two: 1: 10 Clicks
Supreme Power: 1-2: 10 Clicks 4: 10 Clicks 7: 10 Clicks 8: 9 Clicks 11: 8 Clicks
Tokyo Storm Warning TPB: 5 Clicks
Ultimates: 12: 10 Clicks 13: 10 Clicks
Ultimate Fantastic Four 1-2: 7 Clicks 3: 8 Clicks
Ultimate Nightmare: 1: 10 Clicks
2: 8 Clicks
Ultimate Six: 1: 10 Clicks 4: 10 Clicks 6: 9 Clicks Ultimate X-Men: 36-37: 2 Clicks
Ultra: 2: 9 Clicks
Uncanny X-Men: 429-431: 4 Clicks 433: 2 Clicks 437-441: 1 Click 444-445: 5 Clicks 446: 6 Clicks
Wanted 2: 10 Clicks
We3: 1: 10 Clicks
Wildcats 3.0: 13: 7 Clicks 16: 7 Clicks 18: 7 Clicks
X-Statix : 2: 4 Clicks 13-15: 6 Clicks 18: 4 Clicks 19: 3 Clicks

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Friends of Robot: Artists:

FoR: 36Oh.net FofR: Enrico Casarosa
FoR: Terra Major's Horns of Hattin
FoR: Losstarot
FoR: Prometheus
FoR: Studio Kosen

Comic News:

Check the Film News section for updates on comic-related film adaptations! 100 Bullets FPS Game 4/2/04
Ale Garza on Batgirl 8/5/04
Amazing Screw-On Head Cartoon 4/8/04
Apparat Line: Warren Ellis 8/25/04
The Atomic Revolution Comic 3/23/04
Authority: Nguyen Interview 5/14/04
Authority OGN 7/20/04
Avengers 500 Preview 7/1/04
Brent Anderson on Pulse, Astro City 3/25/04
Batman Begins Costume Illustration [Wrongrobot]4/3/04
Batman: War on Crime 8/31/04
Bullseye Origin Series 6/28/04
Comics For Intellectuals 9/1/04
Decompression and Pacing 9/23/03
Dillon on Bullseye 9/7/04
Doc Frankenstein by Burlyman 9/2/04
Doc Ock Year One 6/16/04
Earth's Mightiest Mini 9/3/04
Ellis and Granov on Iron Man 5/25/04
Ellis Stream-a-Blog: Iron Man 7/31/04
Ellis Stream-a-Blog: Explodo 8/2/04
Ellis Stream-a-Blog: Bad Kids 8/27/04
Fox Sued over LoEG Script 9/26/03
Hawaiian Dick Bk 2 8/23/04
Hack/Slash book 2 6/18/04
Hal Jordon and Copyrights 8/20/04
Hellboy: An Introduction 3/30/04
IDW's 24 Comic 3/25/04
Iron Man Facelift 9/12/03
Iron Man 87 Outtakes 8/27/04
Joss Whedon Interview: Astonishing X-Men 8/10/04
JSA vs. JSA 8/12/04
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 3 6/1/04
Marvel Vs. DC 8/31/04
Masamune Shirow 10/15/03
Micro-Heros Animated GIFs 4/6/04
Morrison on JLA: Hyperclan and Superman 6/1/04
Morrison's WE3 9/1/04
New Avengers 8/18/04
Nguyen Confirmed on Authority Vol.3 5/14/04
Nouvelle Manga Manifesto 6/11/03
Ocean 8/9/04
Orson Welles as Batman? 9/26/03
Phoenix Mini-Series 8/20/04
Poorly Drawn Animals 8/2/04
Remains: Niles/Dwyer Interview 3/12/04
Scurvy Dog: Yount Interview 1/15/04
SD Comicon Visual Oddities 7/31/04
Space Ghost 7/31/04
Spandex vs Leather 4/6/04
Steven Grant on 'Literature of Ethics'
The Losers: Diggle/Jock Interview 3/11/04
The Picture of Everything 1/15/04
The Question: Rick Veitch 9/1/04
The Question: Tommy Lee Edwards 9/2/04
Teddy Roosevelt From Mars 8/20/04
Tom Coker: Batman in Monolith 8/30/04
Tony Harris Pages from new Iron Man Arc
Ultimates: Bryan Hitch Interview 9/12/03
Ultra 8/18/04
Watchmen Remembered 8/12/04
WizardWorld LA Promo Art 3/22/04
WonderCon 2004 Buzz 8/13/04
WonderCon 2004 Buzz 2 8/17/04
WonderCon 2004 Dance-Off 8/18/04
Worlds Finest Film 7/26/04
World's Finest Interview 8/4/04
Young Avengers 8/20/04
Identity Crisis Covers
Honey Moon, The Ride, Rex Steele, Shirow, Megacity909
Comic Preview: Intimates, Iron Man
TSR Illustrator Terminally ill
Twinkie Comics, Avengers Dissembled Toy-style
Interview: Mark Millar of Ultimates
Interview: Cliff Chiang of Human Target
Star Trek Manga Anthology from Tokyopop
Pop Mahn to TokyoPop
Granov Iron Man Preview Pages
Image Comics Moves to Berkeley

Film Review: Van Helsing
5/20/2004

Van Helsing was a porno!

I certainly don't mean that in a literal sense, unless you do dig on the rotting flesh thing, but necrophilia aside, this was the popcorn movie equivalent to the latest, newest Vivid Video selection. The kind with very pretty models with chillingly perfect surgical accoutrements, who inexplicably call to you by name and tailor the show to your specifications, filmed with seventeen cameras at a variety of high-rent, interesting locations, with 5.1 Surround Sound audio, hi-definition DVD with camera-angle controls and whatever else they are shoving into those products. In Van Helsing's case, we have perfectly perfect actors in an ultra-realistic yet eerily perfect glossy period setting, surrounded, and frequently engulfed, by state of the art special effects that allow for the most fantatstic imagery to appear almost mundane through repetition. Both start with something of a WOW factor, then become vaguely unsettling as they progress, and then ultimately leave you with an uncomfortable self-awareness, that you just spent some cash and valuable personal time on a sugar-coated wish-fulfillment fantasy that had the staying power of cotton candy. I haven't seen a Vivid Video, but after Van Helsing, I don't need to.



The film starts off with an extended credits sequence, shot in monochrome, with the proto-mob chasing Frankenstein's monster up a hill to a dilapidated windmill, which they set ablaze, having been riled up by a less-important-than-he-appears minor villain, the town's, wait for it, coffin-cobbler. So we have seen, in ten minutes, a snapshot of the entire film: the recreation of one thousand similar scenes we've learned from childhood, done with incredible special effects and some revisionist design flair, and injected with a dose of convoluted plotting in an effort to weave a tenuous thread of logic behind the various monster connections in the rest of the film. And like the remaining (seemingly) seven hours of the movie, the scene got old long before it was done.

Casting plays a big role in CGI films, because the actors are competing uphill against an onslaught of 10,000,000 Watt Surface of the Sun hyper-kinetic fantasy imagery at every turn, which threatens to dominate the viewers' attention, not to mention bore them. There's no question that Hugh Jackman has the general demeanor and aesthetic to carry an action film. His pectorals alone, at least 25% more stacked than in X-Men 2, are worth the price of admission for a good chunk of the audience.



But playing a thinly-written character with limited range and oddly-timed moments of candor, introspection and snarkiness was one too many balls to juggle for our man Hugh. I love saying Hugh. Anyway, I think he has a future, much like the pre-Passion of Making Money Off of Porno Torture of Christ Mel Gibson, in darker, intense fare, than more of these popcorn films. He is reportedly under a continuous barrage of offers to be the next James Bond, and while I concede he's a charming man in interviews, I think his smolder is much more effective. Just cue up any of those "Rogue's in trouble!" moments in the X-Men films and take a gander.

Kate Beckinsale, however, is "as pretty as a picture", to quote DJ Food.



Her latex-sheened leatherette bodice and flowy Pirate-esque blouses (yay! Pirates!) paired with what appeared to be Danskin leotards and Renaissance Faire moccasins, were more or less the worst amalgam of contemporary revisionist faux-period costuming since the chrome tile chainmail in LadyHawke (Rutger Hauer can't hook up! So sad!) But I have to say, with her flowing locks and radiant eyes and pouty little lips, she was quite the flushed ingenue-meets-action heroine. I was regularly distracted by her liberal triple-dipped Brown Sugar spray-on-tan, but whatever, it's Transylvania, she's out in the sun. Except there's no sun in Transylvania.



Beckinsale delivered her lines with as much earnestness as she could muster, and she's just almost maybe possibly believable as a very foolish, stubborn, self-important, dramatic martyr figure…but really, the artifice of the script is much too distracting for that either. She's a bold adventurer ie. Feminist heroine, yet pluckish and game for some Jackman pectoral-grippage when the time is right. She's the post-millenium summer popcorn flick female lead achtype: everything to everyone over the largest possible demographic, hot but not slutty, smart but not superior, clever but not threatening, and modern but lovelorn. If it wasn't a throw-away picture, it would irritate me more. At least, unlike her biggest image competitor, Catherine Zeta Jones, I find Beckinsale compelling enough to watch. But compared to her look, andperformancee, in future husband's Underworld, she's not that compelling here.



Dave Wenham plays comic relief. Unlike his role as Faromir in Lord of the Rings, he's not a hunka hunk in Van Helsing. He's Q. Well, Victorian-era Q, a randy friar with a top-secret, well-funded Vatican laboratory of Jules Verne andRubee Goldberg contraptions designed to amuse, intrigue and delight the audience with their clever, obvious applications. His best line was "But…I'm not a field man!" which is a tidy reference to Q…again. He does get some amusing moments in the film, with the dragging of tools and supplies and sundries and weapons from one place to another on Van Helsing's behalf, and the broken bridge tiptoing and the timely weapon-saving. Basically, Sommers and a few buds had a pizza and watched about fifteen minutes of the first Lord of the Rings DVD, and decided that Sam would have been more enjoyable if he wasn't such a whiny pus-sack.

The villains!



Richard Roxburgh was given quite a task in this film: here, you're the post-post-post-post-modern Dracula in the thirty-seventh film about Dracula, and even though your schtick is undermined by every conceivable Old Timey explosion, collapse, shrieking horde, violent camera-angle and crowding of monsters as possible, we still want you to be…unique! Work on the accent, loosen ponytailtail, and get FEY! He had his moments, which I kind of got into, like when he'd lose it on short notice and get wiggy at his Brides over something very upsetting to his dead, vain, bombastic sentimentality. Then he'd pull it back together and be cocky and extravagantly expressive in motion. His performance recallanotherther, better Dracula: Gary Oldman, but not playing Dracula, but rather Stan, in The Professional. Unhinged, but kind of dramatic about it. It's all fine by me, though, because Roxburgh had me at "Hkhalloh!" in the first scene, as I realized, to my delight, that he was the third best thing about Mission: Impossible II (after Thandie Newton in a black slinkie wrestling around in a bathtub, and motorcycle jousting, in that order):



That's Dougray Scott's right hand of doom, HUGH Stamp, the veritable origin (or subject) of my much loved exclamation: "Don't fail me…HUGH!" (pronounced Heuuuuuuuu!) As for Frankenstein's monster, he was EHHH, sort of lumpy and awkward and had a strange puffy face and melodramatic stage voice. I couldn't stop imagining it was Peter Boyle (Everybody Loves Raymond) under all that padding and Old Timey limb splints. He was supposed to appear like some tragic noble figure in his on-the-way-to-the-lightning-getting-machine scene, when he began bellowing the 23rd Psalm, but I thought it was pretty funny. The Werewolf, version 1.0, was wicked. Really neat effects, more effective than in Underworld, and the peeling the skin off thing was interesting each time it was done, which is no small feat. And a later incarnation, which I won't spoil for you, on the assumption you'll see this on HBO someday, is pretty bad ass. IronLung would, and may, say he was DOPE.

The hordes of FX ladled onto this goulascinematicmtaic cliches, for the most part, rendered the entire thing static. It's like maybe the fifth time you open the Jack-in-the-Box…it's just noise and sudden movements at that point. The gloss wore off by the third try. IronLung mentioned to me, as he was exhausting carcinogenic by-products, that Hollywood's obsession with More Real Than Real FX work will run it's course, and we'll see a return to storytelling in a few years. It disappoints me. There was a sweet spot with FX, around 2000 or so, when the visuals reached a level of realism, combined with the designers' ability to more accurately capture natural motion that obeyed the Natural Laws, so that FX work could be seamlessly integrated into film with great success. And initially, it was used very cleverly, as a setting enhancement over a WOW factor. Gladiator's fabulous Rome fly-over was the earliest proof of this success, and Lord of the Rings wrote the book on it. But now, we see FX for FX's sake, and all the interesting, creative resources have become completely saturated. Van Helsing LOOKED great. Frankenstlaboratoryrotory, Victorian Paris (complete with incomplete Eiffel Tower) and high-speed wooded chase scenes all were memerizing. However, when characters are swinging from impossibly scaled heights on impossibly scaled ropes, one-handed, and it neither looks impressive or even shocking at all in a "That's not right!" kind of way, something's seriously wrong. It was 70's Spider-Man cartoon quality, with the ropes swinging from Heaven. And all of the rolling shots, the jump cuts, the incredible anglesforeshorteningtening, the forced perspective, the liberally-applied bullet-time and every virtually three-dimensional dynamic explosion of images and sound and energy…fused together quickly into a brown miasma of boring flickering lights, like the kinotype theater in, again, Brom Stoker's Dracula. Sommers' favorite guys, Allen Daviau (cinematography) and Allen Cameron (production design) weave a few scenes that are almost literal retreads of Sommers' earlier mosnter action films: swarming, bloated, exploding baby-troglodytes enveloping massive, vaulted interior spaces were frame by frame the same thing as the scarab beetle attacks from The Mummy (or the Orcish attacks in lord of the Rings, or even the Droid attacks in Star Wars Ep1.) Unfortunately, intricately replicated threats by the thousands at high speed at forced perspective, which was once mind-bogglingly intense,Jurassicurrasic Park during the stampeding bugaboo herd, has now become dull and commonplace.



Similarly, when we are treated to a retread of Indiana Jones and the intimate tank tread scene in The Last Crusade, in this case being Van Helsing getting his shorties burned off by a wagon wheel, all I can see is earlier, better attempts at the same thing. I don't see homage. I see underwhelming cliche.

There were a few magic moments in the film, I should include, just to be fair.



Though it was an underused concept, the machine-crossbow was fun and visceral when shown being fired from Van Helsing's PoV, and the bare minimum acknowledgement that it required reloading, was a pleasant concession. Old Timey takes on modern technology are fun when they are well-developed, and the crossbow was good stuff.



I also liked how the wings and weird flares on the Brides morphed back into wispy gossamer Harem outfits for the women in human form, frequently in mid-leap. That was an interesting touch.



Later, the film offers a dynamic Carnivale party scene, with otherwise droll Cirque du Soleil performances being drowned out by just barely one million people in colorful, creative costume doing a fabulously filmed waltz. And the scene that literally was better than anything to follow, by leaps and bounds: Van Helsing's introductory battle with Mister Hyde, revised to be lurking, Hunchback-style, in Notre Dame. His cocky, boisterous and sarcastic personality, combined with his thick Scottish brogue and expressive, drooling, dynamic facial expressions, helped to legitimize Hyde as the first all-CGI humanoid that I found completely believable. His super-physics worked, his skin and clothing were immaculately rendered, and his bristling musculature moving beneath layers of fat and skin, all contributed to the most enjoyable three and a half minutes of the entire day. Robbie Coltrane hit it out of the park as a voice-actor in this role, and it made the Spectacularama to follow pale in comparison.

In short: I call it Van HelSTINK.

4/10 Clicks

Not to put too fine a point on it, but another entertaining show compiling these characters in a nutty and not too scary way: Scooby-Doo and the Weekend at Dracula's Castle!
Check out the floating, glowing Van helsing, baby!

UPDATE:
IronLung reviews Van Helsing:

Spend the 10 dollars on a hammer and smash all your toes into ground meat. You'll have a better time.

Not even deserving of 1 clank.

So says IronLung!

1 comments

self is: wrongrobot #

Comments:
Many people have played video games at some point. With each generation born, more are exposed to video gaming. The computer game industry is more than likely going to keep growing over the next few years and you should stay up-to-date with new trends.

If you have trouble taking breaks while gaming, start a 30-minute timer. If you continuously sit there and play all day long, it can make your body really tires and harm your body, which ends up causing you problems to your health in the future. A timer is a reminder to put the game on pause and take some time off.

Start out as a rookie when playing sports games. These games can be very tricky and intricate, so you will want to learn as much as you can before increasing the toughness. After playing for a few weeks, you can begin to make it more challenging by increasing the level of difficulty.

You may want to make an area in the basement or set aside a room for your kids to play their video games. Video gaming can be extremely loud, and you probably want some peace from time to time. A game room can have a lot of benefits for your family.

Be cautious of online gaming. Sometimes you must pay a monthly fee for access. If your kids want to join a site that many of their friends are using, make sure that you take a look at it first. Evaluate the advantages of the games you find against the monthly fees that are charged.

Keep the computer you're on clear and make sure everything is up-to-date. If you game often on a particular system, avoid installing too many applications. Defragging the hard drive and using ScanDisk are very helpful. This allows you to keep everything on your computer running smoothly so you don't experience any slow down.

Never clean your system, no matter the age, with strong cleaners. Lightly blowing can help to remove dust, and this is often all it takes to get things up and running. You can destroy your playstation if you use harsh chemicals on it.

Use the highest grade video connection available. Most gaming systems come with a few different cables to maximize connectivity to many displays. What cables are you to use for the best gaming experience? If you can, use DVI or HDMI in order to obtain the best possible signal and picture. The second highest quality cable is S-Video. Coaxial connections, which are low quality, are the most commonly found connector. If coaxial is the only available choice, then use it as your last resort.

The PS2 is 12 years old and kind of outdated, but the one thing it has going for it is that it is very cheap. The games for this system are about half the prices of Xbox and PS3 games. There are also many more games available.

All games have ratings thanks to the ESRB. Games are appropriate for ages 3 and older if they receive an EC or Early Childhood rating. If your children are six and older, a rating of E is appropriate. A rating of E+10 is for people older than 10 years old. If your game is rated T, it is suggested that you be 13 or older to play it. "M" (mature) rated games are for people who are at least 17 years old. AO indicates the game is just for adults and RP signifies "Rating Pending."

Figure out how to operate the safety and parental controls of any gaming system that comes into your home. You can likely make adjustments that keep kids from viewing mature content. Some allow each gaming profile to be customized separately, allowing adults to enjoy games not meant for younger audiences.

Enjoy your gaming more after having read this article. Online Games help us escape our boring everyday lives, which we all need from time to time. Game on!
 
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