Three movie reviews for you this evening.  Janene and I recently saw Van Helsing on a spur of the moment date.  The other two, Big Fish and Paycheck, we saw this weekend because Janene has been sick with a bummer of a cold.

Van Helsing:
The basic plot of Van Helsing:  Van Helsing works for a secret society call the Knights of the Order, based out of the Catholic Church.  He is referred to as “the Left Hand of God” multiple times throughout the movie, and he is a primary “enforcer” in the Church´s fight against evil. 

The movie starts with an encounter between Van Helsing and Mr. Hyde which sets the mood for the remainder of the movie. After returning from his encounter with Mr. Hyde to the Vatican, Van Helsing is sent to Transylvania ostensibly to help protect the last two of a royal bloodline dedicated to destroying Dracula.

The movie is wonderfully dark and entertaining.  In the same vein as the Mummy and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (although it was much much better than League…), it is filled with comedic action, fun monster affects, and side comedy.  There´s essentially no blood shown in the movie; indeed, very little actual death is shown, with the exception of the vampires – which was, for obvious reason, far fetched enough that it wasn´t particularly bothersome.  There is much teeth and claws and snarling beasts as was to be expected.  Probably wouldn´t be enjoyable for the person who doesn´t like to be startled or who has an aversion to vampires, etc.  But if you enjoy those sorts of movies, by all means don´t miss this movie.

Big Fish:
Big Fish is the “life story” of Edward Bloom (played by Ewan McGregor and some other old guy – flashbacks and such), a bigger than life man from a town too small to hold him.  Directed by Tim Burton, this film is full of eye candy and extremely enjoyable exaggerations.  Following the life of Edward Bloom through flashbacks while showing him as a late life grandpa who is dying of cancer, the film explores life and creativity through tall tales – which turn out to be not quite so tall after all. 

I personally enjoyed this film immensely.  I enjoyed not only the scenery but also the emotions of the film.  I´d love to hear what other people took out of this film.

In the same vein as The Bourne Identity, although not as good (in my humble opinion), Ben Affleck plays an engineer who reverse engineers technology for a corporation.  The premise includes the fact that Affleck gets his memory wiped clean after each assignment.  After accepting an unusually long assignment he finds himself back “on the outside” with no memory of his last three years – and without the paycheck he expected to find waiting.  In its place was an envelope filled with several strange and seemingly random items.  Left to use the items in the envelope to unravel the mystery of what´s going on is the basic plot of this film.

It was enjoyable as an essentially “brainless” entertainment item, but won´t win any awards.