Van Helsing! and other stuff

Saw the movie “Van Helsing” yesterday. I know that the reviews in the media have been mixed about it, but I thought it was all right. Don’t go see it expecting an Oscar award type of movie – it’s most certainly not. But, it’s a good popcorn movie (and I was certainly munching a bunch of that – spare the butter flavoring, save some calories) and even better to see it at matinee pricing (avoid paying the full price – it’s not that good a movie).

Hugh Jackman as Gabriel van Helsing, hunter of demons on the side of Good (well, apparently having allied himself with the Catholic Church which allied itself with Buddhists, Muslims, and others to stop monsters). Demonstrating some gravitas and moral virtues and sadness in his character, Jackman saved the movie from becoming a silly computer graphic animation (the movie, made by the guys who gave us “The Mummy” franchise – do they realize that they can only so much rely on the graphics?). Plus, it’s funny saying the name, “Van Helsing” with a fake Eastern European accent (say it three fast, and you’ll see what I mean). Richard Roxburgh, playing Dracula, had his over-acting moments (if you had seen his playing Sherlock Holmes in the latest version of “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” on Masterpiece Theatre as I have, you’ll know what I mean), but it’s all about Jackman. Plus I think there was the most accurate portrayal of the Frankenstein monster (as in, true to the original book version by Mary Shelley). David Wenham, the guy who played Faramir in two parts of the “Lord of the Rings,” was almost unrecognizable in this movie – a very skilled actor, I’ll say, to do a totally different character well. Oh, and Kate Beckinsale co-stars. Curious ending – almost daring. I won’t give it away, really – you’ll all have to see it for yourselves. But, it’s all about Jackman. Do I really have to say it again?

Last year, the horse Funny Cide tried real hard to get the Triple Crown of horse racing, but was stopped by the Belmont stakes. That odd horse of 2004 – Smarty Jones – (again) came from behind yesterday to beat out the not-so-great pool for the Preakness – and, like Funny Cide last year, will try for the Triple Crown at Belmont. Hmm. Funny how this time of year makes me think that I like the horsies.

“The Practice” series finale tonight – salute to the firm of Donnell, Young, Frut, and Berluti for having tried real hard for the past several years to give us decent tv/non-reality stuff to watch.

Enjoy the nice weather in NYC today. I could have sworn we were in the middle of spring.

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