Summer’s first bonafide blockbuster reimagines Van Helsing as Hugh Jackman in full, quick-witted Wolverine mode rather than the creaking slayer of evil as brought to life by the sublime Peter Cushing. A Victorian James Bond, the Vatican’s very own Batman kicking ass for God - Van Helsing gets to take on a selection of famous monsters from filmland: Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman and, of course, Dracula (and his brides). In terms of plot that really is it, with pretty much the entire running time taken up with one big fight spun out for over two hours. This is CGI all the way; nearly every frame is enhanced electronically, and at times you can’t help but feel there are effects for special effects’ sake. But these SFX are undeniably spectacular, in particular a jaw- dropping werewolf. More action

Jackman, and David Wenham a competent comedy sidekick Carl, all chewing the scenery with faux- spectacular than creeping terror that eastern European accents which

Van the man meets his toothy vamp frequently threatens to ruin any suspense or tension.

You cannot deny this is a thrilling flick, as franchises go (and you can

taps into your innermost fears, this is sound strangely prescient in this non- tell from the word go they want this to

a movie that revels in its beasts rather stop adrenaline ride. However it’s Richard Roxburgh as a high camp Count Dracula that will either grate or there’s the rest of Universal’s cellars ingratiate. He takes it one step too far to plunder for foes.

than hides them in the shadows and only Frankenstein’s creation really suffers from the over-exposure.

Kate Beckinsale makes a stunningly into farce, which fits the level of this riotous fight-fest but he also

gorgeous heroine and foil for



(15) 103min O...

“Wildchild' and 'shockmaster' are just two of the names that have been applied to daring South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-Duk followmg his output of controversial and shocking moVies such as Bad Guy and The Isle lscheduled for UK release in Septemberl. Having caused a stir throughout Asia with his violent cinematic vision. he's now rapidly earning a cult following throughout the rest of the world. But his latest film. Spring. Summer. Autumn, Winter .

. and Spring. while it does have its dark moments. surprisingly doesn't have the same shock value.

A monk living with his elderly Buddhist master in a floating temple on a beautiful lake. experiences the various stages of life. from childhood to adulthood, learning important lessons along the way and eventually acquiring a young disciple of his own.

Set theatrically against the metaphorical. painterly changing seasons. and featuring splendid performances from Oh Young-Su as the old monk, Kim Jong-Ho as the child and Kim Ki-Duk himself as the adult monk. this colourful fable film poetically presents simple instructive examples of life's inevitable joys. sorrows. and transgressions. Some of the cultural references may be pu7/ling to Western audiences. but oddball charm combined With Dong-hyeon Baek's stunning images proVide an unrelenting feast of Visual pleasure. lBeth Williams:

I GET. Glasgow from Fr 14 May, Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 28 May

The changing of the seasons, the need to be free

run and run) this is a great start, a solid cast and concept and then

(Henry Northmore) I Out now on general release.

Lies, damned lies and some exclusives


A time it was. a time of confidence and Stephen Glass could do no wrong. Back in 1998. at the very point when lies and half truths were beginning to prove the unravelling of the Clinton administration. the same was happening to Glass. the star journalist of the influential magazine The New Republic (the in flight magazine of Air Force One'). For he was about to be rumbled for fabricating most of his stories.

This fasCInating. slow burning indie film from first time director Billy Ray (co-writer on Hart's War) aligns itself both with the dialogue-heavy jOurnalistic conspiracy movies like All The President's Men and more lurid press exposeés such as Almost Famous. It's a giddying, precious ride. clearly of more interest to those directly involved in media worlds than those who are not.

But what Ray as writer cleverly does is structure his piece as neither fantasy nor reality so the timelines are all off. and the viewer never knows (until the very end) whether what they are seeing is objective or subjective. As an audience we are truly in the hands of a fabulist. Ray's also immeasurably helped by one superb performance from Peter Sarsgaard (Beys Don't Cry) as the uptight editor, Chuck Lane. who slowly dissects the levels of Glass' deceits and an effective turn from Hayden Star Wars Christiensen as the pleading. precocious Glass. (Paul Dale) I Selected release from Fri 74 May.



(U) 95min coco

Murnau's much loved silent classic works both as a wonderfully melodramatic look at the regenerative possibilities of love. and also as a very good example of a certain type of realism. In this tale of a yOung married farming couple who are torn apart by a gorgeous big city vamp who proposes uxoricide lo the husband. Murnau finally seems less interested in the melodramatic through line than in the impressive combination of stylised imagery that would have many linking it. of course. to German Expressionism. and

Stormy relationships

detailed scenes of urban living shown in surprisingly long takes that would have that great proponent of realism, Andre Bazin. working himself into an ontological lather. Murnau‘s singularity here obViously lies much less in his use of Victorian melodrama than in his imagery. That he seemed to be movmg away from the heightened Expressionism of Nosferatu and Faust towards a more detailed. observational realism was illustrated in his follow-up City Girl and certainly 1931's Tabu. on which he worked with famous dOCumentarist Robert Flaherty in the South Seas. using a flimsy love stery to contain much ethnographic detail. This was Murnau's halfway house project. There is no better place to take shelter. (Tony McKibbin) I Film/louse. Edinburgh from Fri 2i May.

:3; May and: THE LIST 25