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Movie Column

Rich girls and a monster all-star show

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While Full House may not be on top of my list of crappiest television shows ever, it’s top three for sure. Chock full of sterile, feel-good garbage Full House is perhaps best know as the place where, at 9 months old, the Olsen Twins became America’s tiniest stars. Seventeen years, almost 50 straight-to-video movies and a couple gazillion dollars later Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are considered among the richest actresses in Hollywood. Usually I hate twins, they’re creepy. But the Olsens, well… they’re really hot. This week, the soon-to-be college girls hit us with New York Minute, their first feature film to be released in theatres.

Considering they’re worth $150 million each, you’d think Mary-Kate and Ashley could have hired better writers for New York Minute , a film they co-produced. The story is pretty standard – Ashley plays the good-girl overachiever with big college dreams and Mary-Kate is the foil, a rock ’n’ roll drummer who endlessly skips school hoping to make it big with her band. There’s a big mix up and Ashley loses her all-important daytimer while getting mixed up in a weird music piracy criminal thing involving secret memory chips and fake Chinese gangsters. The twins spend the rest of the movie running around in towels and robes, looking sexy and proving to us all that they’re not little girls anymore.

The minor characters are mainly bad racial stereotypes except the great Eugene Levy ( American Pie, Best in Show) who gets to take a break from his usually hilarious self and play a pedophilic stalker truancy officer determined to catch rebel Mary-Kate and spank her.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are decent actresses, they literally grew up in front of a camera, and they’re charming and cute and rich so it’s hard not to love them just for that. I think MK and Ash are great.

New York Minute , on the other hand, is as bad as a mouthful of hair. But it should still do well with young girls who talk through movies and old men who go all alone. The twins will make their money back, rest assured.

Speaking of money, the first big budget summer blockbuster action movie has arrived, Stephen Sommers’ Van Helsing . A new take on monster movies, Van Helsing is about a secret agent Bond-ish hitman who works for the Catholic church. Played by Hugh Jackman ( X-men 1&2) Van Helsing kills the souls that can’t be saved. In this movie he gets to finish off Mr. Hyde before going after Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein’s monster. It’s like a monster all-star game, pulled together because Dracula’s wives keep dropping out stillborn fetuses and no matter how many times he tries, Dracula is unable to fulfil his dream and become a father. So he seeks the aid of Frankenstein, the only person who can seemingly create life from dead matter.

Toss in a computer-generated Wolfman and super-hot Kate Beckinsale ( Underworld) as a chesty sidekick vampire slayer and you’ve got me sold. Sure the computer effects are numerous and obvious and the monsters aren’t scary enough. And yeah, I know the pacing is so fast and furious there’s no time for Sommers to insert much of the creepy goth horror that characterized the original monster movies of the ’30s. But who cares? Van Helsing is fast, loud, and action packed with little character arc or thought-invoking moments. Like I said, the first summer blockbuster has arrived. It’s a monster movie; enjoy it solely as that.

Other big summer films to start getting excited about: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow – robots destroy New York in the first 10 minutes AND it stars Angelina Jolie (opens June 25.) Alien vs. Predator – can’t go wrong there (Aug. 13.) Troy – Brad Pitt hasn’t made a bad movie yet, why start now? (May 14.) And, of course, Evil Dead director Sam Raimi is back with Spider-Man 2 , which promises more character-driven scenes as well as spectacular action with everyone’s favourite webslinger. This one drops July 2 and is expected to make over $300 million. Which is what you’d probably have to pay for a pudding wrestle with both Mary-Kate and Ashley, and you’d still have to let them win.

At Village 8 May 7-13: New York Minute, Van Helsing, Kill Bill Vol. 2, Godsend, Mean Girls, Envy, Laws of Attraction, 13 Going On 30, Man on Fire.

At Rainbow Theatre May 7-13: Twisted.

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