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WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2004
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Reel View
By Nicole Shelton and Laurie Davis

Movies offer fun scare, the Olsen twins

I loved "Van Helsing," starring Hugh Jackman; no apologies made. It plays like a modern, special effects-filled horror movie that somehow has an old-timey feel. It's a little Indiana Jones and James Bond meet Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein.

Hugh Jackman plays Gabriel Van Helsing, a professional monster hunter in the late 18th century, hired by the Vatican to rid the world of evil creatures. He asks his employers only two things: What am I fighting, and what does it take to kill it? It soon becomes apparent that Van Helsing has some obvious experience in this area.

After being briefed on his next assignment, locating Count Dracula, Van Helsing heads to Transylvania. With a sidekick in tow — a local friar who provides comic relief throughout the movie and makes the scary parts more bearable — Van Helsing soon meets Anna (Kate Beckinsale), who is from an old Transylvanian, aristocratic family that has sought to bring down Count Dracula for centuries. The two team up to create a dynamic, monster-chasing duo.

Reel View: This movie never takes itself too seriously. Several critics refer to it as the first "real popcorn movie" of the summer season. "Van Helsing" is as entertaining as it is silly. It's a wild, special-effects ride.

It's rated PG-13 for "non-stop creature, action violence," which is exactly what it is from beginning to end. I agree with the rating because this movie is scary, and there is little respite from things jumping out of nowhere.

I would recommend it to all horror movie fans 10 and over.

— Nicole Shelton

"New York Minute" is Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's first big-screen movie. Mary-Kate plays Roxanne, a school skipping, drum-playing irreverent teen. Ashley plays Jane her serious, scholastic sister. The movie opens with the two commuting into the city. Roxanne plans to share a demo with a band making a music video, and Jane has to deliver a speech to qualify for a prestigious college scholarship.

On the way, someone slips a valuable computer chip into Roxanne's purse for safe keeping, unbeknownst to her. This sets off a series of mishaps as criminals try to recover their chip, A truant officer (Gene Levy) chases Roxanne, and Jane desperately tries to get to her speech.

This is my child's version of an Elvis movie — an unlikely plot, minimal acting talent, cute girls who shake their booty, hot boys popping in and out, hip music and an all-around location.

My children loved it. It's clean, wholesome fun. The entertainment value is greatly reduced for parents, but as a parent, I'm not the Olsens' target, except to get my child into the movie.

"New York Minute" is rated PG for mild sensuality and thematic elements. I don't know why this was not rated G; there is nothing offensive.

Reel View: If you're a Mary Kate and Ashley fan, you won't be disappointed. They're in practically every scene, looking cute and hip.

— Laurie Davis

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