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VAN HELSING Never mind comparisons to the classic horror flicks: Watching this movie, you begin to wonder if anybody involved has ever actually held a book in their hands, let alone read one. The text of Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley is treated as nothing more than toilet paper in the outhouse of writer-director Stephen Sommers' imagination, soiled and shredded beyond all recognition. Van Helsing, a movie whose contempt for its predecessors is matched by its condescension toward its audience, exclusively draws from modern touchstones of pop culture: It's Indiana Jones and James Bond and Star Wars and Alien and so on, all presented as an endless video game with no human dimension but plenty of cheesy CGI effects. As monster killer Van Helsing, Hugh Jackman has been stripped of all charisma, while Richard Roxburgh may very well deliver the worst performance as Dracula in film history.
WILBUR WANTS TO KILL HIMSELF This curious piece of whimsy casts Jamie Sives as Wilbur, a Glasgow resident who's generally giving those around him the cold shoulder when he's not busy devising new ways to commit suicide. His eternally patient brother Harbour (Adrian Rawlins) devotes himself to Wilbur but also finds time to romance single mom Alice (Shirley Henderson), yet once they're wed, Harbour is forced to confront his own medical misfortune while Wilbur and Alice explore their mutual attraction behind his back. The gallows humor is the film's strongest suit, followed by its gallery of sympathetic characters simply seeking companionship in a cold world. Less successful is its eventual segue way into melodrama, with an inherently tearjerking development bucking awkwardly against Lone Scherfig's chilly direction.