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11 / 11 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the twentieth race in Brazil are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Just one race to go - Abu Dhabi in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 23rd November.

28 / 10 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the nineteenth race in Mexico are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Only two races to go - next race is Brazil in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 9th November.

22 / 10 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the eighteenth race in Austin are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Mexico NEXT WEEKEND! Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 26th October.

You can still enter a new team for the final three races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

07 / 10 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the seventeenth race in Japan are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Austin in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 19th October.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the previous races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

*** Some of the weightings have been tweaked *** for the final four races - check the league page for details.

02 / 10 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the sixteenth race in Russia are in! (Sorry for the delay - moving house!) Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Japan (Suzuka) THIS WEEKEND. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 5th October.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the previous races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

16 / 09 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the fifteenth race at Singapore are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Russia in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 28th September.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the previous races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

02 / 09 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the fourteenth race at Monza are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Singapore in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 14th September.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the previous races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

26 / 08 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the thirteenth race at Spa are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Monza NEXT WEEKEND. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 31st August.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the previous races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

29 / 07 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the twelfth race in Hungary are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. We're into the summer break now, the next race is Spa in four weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 24th August.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the previous races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

22 / 07 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the eleventh race at Hockenheim are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Hungary NEXT WEEKEND. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 27th July.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the previous races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

08 / 07 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the tenth race at Silverstone are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Hockenheim in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 20th July.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the previous races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

01 / 07 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the ninth race in Austria are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Silverstone NEXT WEEKEND. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 6th July.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the previous races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

24 / 06 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the eighth race at Paul Ricard are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Austria NEXT WEEKEND. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 29th June.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the previous races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

10 / 06 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the seventh race in Canada are in, including the travesty that is Danny Ric not getting fastest lap. Sigh. Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Paul Ricard in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 22nd June.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the previous races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going. Oh and by the way, half of us are being beaten by my girlfriend. So we might need to up our game a little.

29 / 05 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
Sorry for the delay! The results from the sixth race in Monaco are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Canada in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 8th June.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the previous races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

13 / 05 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the fifth race in Barcelona are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Monaco in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 25th May.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the previous races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

29 / 04 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the fourth race in Azerbaijan are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Barcelona in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 11th May.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the previous races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

15 / 04 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the third race in China are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Azerbaijan in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 27th April.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed the first races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

08 / 04 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the second race in Bahrain are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is China NEXT WEEKEND. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 13th April.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed the first races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going. It's worth doing - if you'd missed Australia and then picked the perfect team for Bahrain, you'd be in the overall lead now! Special congratulations to The Big G, who jumped from plum last to 3rd place, largely due to the inspired choice of Pierre Gasly.

Note the Williams weightings have been increased due to them being shite.

25 / 03 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The results from the first race in Australia are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Second race is Bahrain in 2 weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 6th April.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed the first race - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

18 / 03 / 2018
Fantasy F1:
The 2018 season is now open for entries! You can change your team as often as you like so you might as well pick a team now while you're thinking about it. You can always read the rules later! You have until midnight GMT on Friday night (23rd) to qualify for the first race in Australia.

26 / 11 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
It's all over! The results from the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi are in! Check the results or see where your team finished and see who won the championship!

That's the lot for 2017, come back in 2018 just before the real season starts and we'll do it all over again!

12 / 11 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the nineteenth and penultimate race in Brazil are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Abu Dhabi in two weeks, which is the final race of the season. Nobody's going to catch Bunch of Wasters in the lead, but it's all to play for underneath. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 24th November.

29 / 10 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the eighteenth race at Mexico are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Brazil in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 10th November.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

22 / 10 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the seventeenth race at Austin are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Mexico NEXT WEEKEND. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 27th October.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

08 / 10 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the sixteenth race at Suzuka are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Austin in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 20th October.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

If you have Carlos Sainz on your team, you'll keep him at Renault. If you have Jolyon Palmer then you'll score for Sainz who replaces him.

01 / 10 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the fifteenth race at Malaysia are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Suzuka NEXT WEEKEND. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 6th October.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

17 / 09 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the fourteenth race at Singapore are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Malaysia in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 29th September.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

03 / 09 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the thirteenth race at Monza are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Singapore in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 15th September.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

30 / 07 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the twelfth race at Spa are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Monza NEXT WEEKEND. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 1st September.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

30 / 07 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the eleventh race in Hungary are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Spa in four weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 25th August.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

16 / 07 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the tenth race at Silverstone are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Hungary in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 28th July.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

11 / 07 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the ninth race in Austria are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Silverstone THIS WEEKEND. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 14th July.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

25 / 06 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the fantastic eighth race in Azerbaijan are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Austria in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 7th July.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

12 / 06 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the seventh race in Canada are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Azerbaijan in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 23rd June.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

30 / 05 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the sixth race in Monaco are (finally) in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Canada in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 9th June.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

18 / 05 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
If you want Jenson Button on your team for Monaco, pick Fernando Alonso as JB is his replacement at McLaren for this race.

14 / 05 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the fifth race in Barcelona are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Monaco in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 26th May.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

01 / 05 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the fourth race in Russia are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Barcelona in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 12th May.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed all the races so far - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

17 / 04 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the third race in Bahrain are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Next race is Russia in two weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 28th April.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed the first three races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

09 / 04 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the second race in China are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Second race is Bahrain next week. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 14th April.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed the first two races - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

26 / 03 / 2017
Fantasy F1:
The results from the first race in Australia are in! Check the results or see where your team finished. Second race is China in 2 weeks. Cutoff for edits is midnight GMT on the night of Friday 7th April.

You can still enter a new team even if you missed the first race - you'll get a late starter bonus to help you get going.

 

 

Van Helsing

cover Cast: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham. Directed by Stephen Sommers.

Story: Van Helsing vs Dracula, seeing off a clutch of legendary monsters along the way.

Running Time: 132 minutes.

 

"The Mummy Returns". There, I've said it. I can't imagine reviewing Van Helsing without comparing it with Stephen Sommers' earlier feature so I thought I'd get it out of the way from the start. And while I'm at it - "The Scorpion King".

I said leave the seat DOWN! Stephen Sommers must be cackling all the way to the bank. I bet after the slightly unexpected success of The Mummy, he must have decided he was onto a winning formula. Maybe then he went to the Film Commission and said, "look, every scene in my film is orange. I'm planning on making a bigger and better one. Can I have 10 million dollars and a free hat?" "Orange, eh? Well, we're down. Try and get a mobul phone in there somewhere."

3 years on, and The Mummy Returns, sillier but more actiony, is another hit and the formula is sealed. The Scorpion King follows (partly written by Sommers but not directed by him) and helps to highlight which parts of the recipe work and which don't.

Call me shnookums So what have you learned Mr Sommers? What makes a Sommers movie?

  • "The hero needs to have charisma (Brendan Fraser - yes, The Rock - nooooo)."
  • "The heroine needs to be feisty, posh game totty (Rachel Weisz - yes, Kelly Hu - no)."
  • "There must be an inept sidekick with lightly humorous lines who saves the day in the end (John Hannah - yes, none in The Scorpion King as far as I can recall)."
  • "Multiple computer-generated baddie monsters."
  • "Continuous action. Every reviewer should use the phrase 'roller-coaster ride' when talking about my movies."
  • "A thin connection between action sequences to make them seem coherent. Let's call that 'a plot' (apparently we need one)."
  • "A distinct visual look - I usually do that by making the movie all one colour."
  • Back at the Commission.
    "Lay it on me then Sommers, what have you got for us this time?"

    Jehovah's Witnesses were a little more insistent in Van Helsing's time.

    "Hugh Jackman (check) plays Gabriel Van Helsing, sent to rescue feisty Kate Beckinsale (check) from a horde of vampires (check), encountering Frankenstein's monster and Mr Hyde along the way (checkity-check). Van H is accompanied by his comedy friar Carl (check) who will probably come up with the solution to, oh I dunno, some nonsense or other (check). I need all the computer animators you've got, as there's a scrap with a fictitious monster in every scene (check).

    "Sounds like a real roller-coaster ride there, Sommers (check) - so is this one going to be shot in orange again?"

    "Er, no. Grey (check). But the fires will be orange."

    "Good enough for us, make it happen. Hurt me Gunther, make me BLEED."

    Frankenstein's monster learns why you don't shag plug sockets, even if you have a 3-pin willy. And so it came to pass that Van Helsing was made. Shooting in almost black-and-white gives the movie a moody feel, though it's not entirely dissimilar to the feel created by The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The premise and plot are not even worth mentioning - they're deliberately as empty as a supermodel's lunchbox so they don't get in the way of the action. The special effects are convincing enough to work effectively and never puncture the belief bubble in the same way as, say, Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace. The tried and tested technique of momentarily superimposing a skeleton over the baddie during a lightning flash is used particularly effectively, as are the various I-am-evil twinkles in the eyes, and the werewolf transformations, daft though they are, are the best I've ever seen. A lot of effort has been put into making everything look right and it has paid off. It's not atmospheric in the same way as, say, Batman, but nevertheless it's aesthetically very impressive.

    Richard Roxburgh checks that the monster is asleep before putting his hand in a bowl of warm water. Hugh Jackman found his ideal role as X-Man Wolverine, but doesn't capture the same presence as Dracula's nemesis Van Helsing, largely due to the strong visuals, which stifle Jackman's usual charm. It seems Jackman Doesn't Do Accents, which is no bad thing in this context, but regrettably we're robbed of Kate Beckinsale's syrupy elocution in favour of a staccato Eastern European delivery. Richard Roxburgh creates an adequate Lugosial Count, which fits in with the flavour of the movie, though his perpetual Evil Glower does little to convince us of Dracula's menace. Personally I would have liked to have seen a more charming characterisation, like Tom Cruise's Lestat (Interview With the Vampire) or indeed Gary Oldman's seminal creation. The best performance of the movie comes from British stalwart Alun Armstrong, who has a small scene-setting role as a cardinal at the very beginning of the film.

    Luton, without the concrete. The one area I would like to have seen improved is the script. While there are one or two funny lines (when Dracula asks Igor the butler why he's torturing a monster so much, Igor looks baffled and replies, "it's what I do"), there are many other missed opportunities. In a movie that never takes itself seriously, the light moments are unusually sparse, satisfying itself with a gentle mickey-take of the Q/James Bond banter while dishing out the gadgets.

    In all then, it does exactly what it says on the tin. It's painfully shallow action-by-numbers, but it's done with such enthusiasm and visual flair that it's good fun anyway. If you like preposterous action movies then this is your lucky day.

     

    I enjoyed this film: 3/5

    I think the average moviegoer will enjoy it: 4/5

    Testosterone Satisfaction Rating: 3/5 It's all special effects and bumping off monsters. Plus some flying vampire babes in body paint, and shiny-arsed Kate Beckinsale.

    To enjoy this film you should be: Along for the ride.

     

    To order the special edition 2-disc DVD set of Van Helsing, click the image below:

    cover