Friday, April 29, 2005
Thursday, April 28, 2005
"Adams shows off an alternative Hitchhiking gesture"
Whilst being a signed up born again believer myself – I do find that some of the most thought provoking and interesting ponderings about faith, God and religion are actually written by Atheists… And indeed while some of my best friends have no faith or are convinced that there is no God, they are often open to talk about spiritual issues, whilst others who claim to Christians run screaming from the very thought of engaging and listening to conflicting points of view. I think it is immeasurably healthier to look at issues from many angles (and anyway - if your faith is so insecure that conversing or reading thoughts from someone who sees things differently to you makes you that nervous – perhaps you haven’t got such a “real” faith anyway???)
So whilst researching for my Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy review for the Baptist Times I looked into Douglas Adams’ background and found some fascinating quotes in an interview with David Silverman which ran in the American Atheist Journal. Adams studied postgraduate theology at Ridley Hall and later became a teacher of theology but it seems that did little help him 'find God'...
See what you think:
“If you describe yourself as “Atheist,” some people will say, “Don’t you mean ‘Agnostic’?” I have to reply that I really do mean Atheist. I really do not believe that there is a god - in fact I am convinced that there is not a god (a subtle difference). I see not a shred of evidence to suggest that there is one.”
It’s funny how many people are genuinely surprised to hear a view expressed so strongly. In England we seem to have drifted from vague wishy-washy Anglicanism to vague wishy-washy Agnosticism - both of which I think betoken a desire not to have to think about things too much. People will then often say “But surely it’s better to remain an Agnostic just in case?” This, to me, suggests such a level of silliness and muddle that I usually edge out of the conversation rather than get sucked into it. (If it turns out that I’ve been wrong all along, and there is in fact a god, and if it further turned out that this kind of legalistic, cross-your-fingers-behind-your-back, Clintonian hair-splitting impressed him, then I think I would chose not to worship him anyway.) "
"I am fascinated by religion. (That’s a completely different thing from believing in it!) It has had such an incalculably huge effect on human affairs. What is it? What does it represent? Why have we invented it? How does it keep going? What will become of it? I love to keep poking and prodding at it. I’ve thought about it so much over the years that that fascination is bound to spill over into my writing.”
Read the whole interview here:
Douglas Adams Meets David Silverman
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
"Kate Beckinsale as the foxiest vampire ever... Selene from Underworld"
Am in a mild state of shock and disappointment - Kate Beckinsale only made # 85 in the FHM's 100 sexiest women in the world 2005. That's only one place higher than Dido!! (No I don't think Dido is attractive - sorry...).
Perhaps I should have voted...
Just saw the Serenity trailer and it's excellent (yes I know that trailers can sometimes be better than the film itself e.g. National Security which has a great trailer - a really funny and cool couple of minutes to a wicked soundtrack, whereas the film was mildly entertaining at best, but I digress). This has lit up all my Firefly love buttons (even though I'm currently addicted to / working my way through Farscape Season 1 on my train journeys via my PSP).
Anyway - here's a cool bit of dialogue from the Serenity script:
"You've done remarkable things.
But you're fighting a war you've already lost."
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: "Well, I'm known for that."
Click this to see the new Serenity Trailer!!
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
"2005 - a space oddity"
Matt Adcock Meets Bill Nighy, Martin Freedman,
Over two decades in the making, the big screen adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy hits the UK this week and it carries a huge weight of expectation from fans of Douglas Adams’ book trilogy (in five parts), a TV series and the original BBC Radio show.
This quirky British sci fi is probably the closest we’ll ever get to "Monty Python in space" and it stars Martin Freeman as the archetypal Everyman, Arthur Dent. Dent has to face the prospect of having his house bulldozed, discovers that his best friend is an alien and then finds out that the whole of planet Earth is about to be demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass.
Freeman: "Well, I went back to the books and decided I needed to put my stamp on the role. We had a great screenplay, so basically after I got the part I just had to get the hell out of the way and let the story come through! I heard that Bruce Willis was up for this part but that’s fair enough because I’m going to do Die Hard now…"
Trillian (Zooey Deschanel) is Arthur Dent’s love interest in the film – is Hitchhiker’s actually a kind of sci fi romance?
Deschanel: "Yeah it is the ultimate romance, a really nice romance that ties a lot of the elements together. It was so much fun to make too. I am honoured to be a part of it - back at school it was the book that the cool kids read."
Talking of cool, British actors don’t come much cooler than Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Shaun of the Dead and next year Pirates of the Caribbean 2) who plays Slartibartfast a planet builder. If he could redesign earth, what would he change?
Nighy: "I’d lose the English Channel – it’s not good for our manners or our language skills to be stuck out here. Also I’d maybe lower the temperature a touch, make it a little bit cooler in the Middle East, it might not work but it’s worth a try."
Hitchhiker’s has a wonderful mix of special effects, some cutting edge CGI work but also older style effects work – I asked the director Garth Jennings if this was a budget issue or a style choice?
Jennings: "I didn’t want to compete with the big CGI heavy movies coming out this year. We tried to be inventive in our use of special effects - this is like old Star Wars as opposed to new Star Wars. And even if we’d had double the budget I like to think we’d have approached it in the same way."
One of the key effects is giving Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell) two heads and three arms. How did he find acting that part?
Rockwell: "It was pretty wild. Well apart from having 10lbs of Matthew McConaughey (2nd head) on my head, which was an interesting dilemma for an actor. I mixed some Bill Clinton and George W Bush into the character. I’ve always loved the British sense of humour too, I mean I was raised on Monty Python."
There is obviously much talent and energy that has gone into making The Hitchhiker’s Guide and it certainly sounds like they enjoyed its creation – all that remains now is to see if it does enough business to get the next book green lit for production then we can take our seats at The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe…
Read Matt's Film Review of The Hitchhiker's Guide
Bill Nighy and Zooey Deschanel photos from Hitchhiker's premier
Saturday, April 23, 2005
"nuts as far as the eye can see"
Dir. Chris Wedge
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Finally got to catch this one with my boys (who absolutely loved it) and it’s a fun waste of time which works on a pleasing level for adults as well as the requisite slapstick fun for the younger viewer. Fart gags, battle scene, throw-away comedy lines by the likes of Robin Williams – all present and correct.
Great moments include line like Rodney’s dad – looking at his new baby robot:
“He's got your moms eyes and my dads nose. I knew we were smart to save those parts.”
Or when Bigweld - whilst being repaired by Rodney, a la Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey sings: “Daaaisy... Daaaaissy... Giive mee yoour aaaanswer truuuue.”
And in this current climate of Star Wars Episode III anticipation – my kids lapped up the bit where one of the robots puts in a Darth Vader voice box and states that: “The force is strong in this one…”
"you know the fun part is 'making' the baby!"
You don’t need to know what it’s about – just go and see it – this is one film that delivers nicely across the board.
Darkmatt Rating: ööö (riveting stuff)
"lights are on but nobody's home..."
Dir. Andrew Douglas
"Based on the true story" but only just...
My mind reeling from images of grisly murder, committed right here in the house I now live in – I look again at the demonically distorted faces of my family and know what I have to do… *
The Amityville Horror – is your average ‘all you can eat’ buffet of freak out / fast cut ‘jumps’ and plodding plot that over explains everything except why it takes so long for those living in the infamous house to see that step dad George (played by Nightstalker Ryan Reynolds) has gone on a one way trip to psychoville and isn’t coming back without his Shining axe…
High production values and tasty women including Melissa George (the mum) and Rachel Nichols (the babysitter) stop this from being a complete car wreck of a movie but there is very little here to commend.
In fact, despite a couple of really good ‘everyone in the audience jumps and yelps’ moments, I found the original film had a much more intense and disturbing atmosphere. And as for the priest who tries and fails to battle the house of evil – his part is so fleeting that he might as well have not bothered (he could have phoned in his only memorable line about the teddy bear - you know being from the grave etc, oh don't worry about it...).
Still, apparently there are lots of people out there who are interested enough in homicide inducing houses – this opened at number one in the box office in the US last week and number 2 in the UK. People, come on, there are much better films on offer out there…
* What I have to do of course is find a copy of “Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus” which was also made by Andrew Douglas and not only has a much better title – it actually sounds like a fascinating exploration of the US American South which offers up music, truck stops and Pentecostal fanaticism… Now that’s potentially really scary stuff!!
Darkmatt Rating: öö (catch them and kill them, or don’t bother)
Of course the whole Amityville haunting is all bollocks according to this site
Horro fans might like this - Matt Adcock Meets Chucky
Reviews of better films and other stuff you might want to read indexed here
Friday, April 22, 2005
"you can't win Darth... if you strike me down
Less than a month now to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and anticipation is mounting in our household. Books and new action figures have been bought, DVD's are playing back classic scenes and young boys are running around waving lightsabres shouting "use the force"...
"stormtroopers - designed in 1977 and still look cool"
Thursday, April 21, 2005
I spoke to these lovely actors shortly before they got their glad rags on (not that they were naked or anything) along with Martin Freeman and Sam Rockwell... I've just got to write up my notes now so check back over the weekend if you want to read what they had to say...
Sneak preview quote from Bill (about the one high profile negative reviewer so far):
"Apparently he has a substance abuse problem and of course he doesn't get out much, he's a lonely guy, what can I say?"
And from Zooey: "Hitchhiker's is the ultimate romance"
Read my review here: Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
"eat 'untold' fiery death you mutant rats..."
Now that the PSP is out in the US - there is a nice regular stream of games coming over and because I have no self control I have to try quite a few of them out.
So here are my top 5 to date:
5. Ridge Racer (gorgeous graphics, fun 'drift' style driving - very classy)
4. Lumines (puzzle game that is seriously addictive)
3. Untold Legends (simple but lovely RPG - brings out your inner geek and gives him a big +12powerhug)
2. WipeOut Pure (virtual perfection in the palm of your hands - insanely playable)
1. TIE -
Metal Gear Acid and
Tiger Woods PGA (death dealing strategy and golfing wonderfulness - can't choose between them)
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
"so long and thanks for all the fish"
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (PG)
Dir. Garth Jennings
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
“Attention, people of Earth. I regret to inform you that in order to make way for the new hyperspace express route, your planet has been scheduled for demolition. Have a nice day.”
Don’t Panic! – you still have about 12 minutes left… more than enough time to down a couple pints, say goodbye to friends (at least one of whom might turn out to be an alien) and then stick out your intergalactic ‘thumb’ and hitch a ride on a passing spaceship just before the earth is disintegrated!!
Of course from then you’ll need luck, bravery and preferably a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy if you’re going to survive. The ‘Guide’ in this first big screen outing for the late great Douglas Adams’ classic comedy sci fi, is a sort of super PDA – imagine the lovechild of a Sony PSP and IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer – voiced by Steven Fry. It details just about everything you might want to know about in the universe and is slightly cheaper than the Encyclopaedia Galactica.
Arthur Dent (the perfectly cast ‘everyman’ Martin Freeman or ‘Tim from The Office’ as he’s best known) is the unlikely hero who gets to travel the galaxy in his pyjamas, face down hideous aliens (and their unspeakably bad poetry) and try to win the heart of Trillion (Zooey Deschanel an unemployed Earth astrophysicist / certified sci fi geek’s pin up after this). The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy or H2G2 as it’s sometimes called blazes a trail for British sci fi – showing that Dr Who is not alone in this pretty empty area of the entertainment universe. It might not have the budget, the special effects or the action of certain other sci fi films coming out this year, cough *Star Wars* cough, but by-Jove, H2G2 is going to whip the others when it comes to being the funniest!!
Other highlights include a nicely sinister John Malkovich as new character Humma Kavula and the wonderful Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast – planetary construction engineer par excellence…
No I didn't 'meet' Chucky but I did get this fun Q&A from the cool Momentum Pictures PR guys -
who sent me this, which may be funnier than the film!
Matt Adcock meets Chucky...
Q: So, Chucky, after a hard day's slashing, how do you unwind?
C: I like video games – ‘Grand Theft Auto’ -- anything with a body count. It's very relaxing. But I'm a responsible parent: I don't let my kid play. He might break 'em.
Q: In 'Seed of Chucky' you and Tiffany are reunited on the set of a film chronicling your bloody past. If there was a real movie about your life, who would you want to be Chucky? And who would you have play Tiffany?
C: Let's see...Tom Cruise is too short...Keanu Reeves is too wooden to play a doll...I'd have to go with Prince Charles. He has the right combination of harmless exterior hiding an evil core. And Camilla Parker Bowles, of course, was born to be my bride.
Q: Redman, a leading figure in hip-hop and the UK's Hannah Spearitt from the pop super group S Club 7, co-starred with you in 'Seed of Chucky'. After being around so much musical talent, can we expect an album from you in the near future?
C: You call them "talented?" Those hacks? I had to waste 'em just to shut 'em up!
Q: You're a fairly small guy who's gone a long way in Hollywood. I imagine Verne Troyer (aka Mini-Me), the Olsen twins and Frankie Muniz owe a lot to you. How does it feel to be an icon for the, ahem, little person?
C: It's like I always say -- It ain't the size that counts, it's what you do with it.
Q: In 'Seed of Chucky' you're responsible for the death of Britney Spears. If you had the chance, what other celebrity would you 'take care of?'
C: Well, Simon Cowell's at the top of my hit list right now. I'd like to wipe that smirk off his smug face. And Sean Penn. What a whiner he's turned into! (Sigh.) So many a**holes, so little time.
Q: Scottish actor Billy Boyd worked with you on 'Seed of Chucky.' After the incredible success of Lord of the Rings how did he behave on set?
C: Let me tell you, that little hobbit's a total prima donna. I wanted to cut him down to size, but there'd be nothing left. And that accent! Is he, Scottish? I couldn't understand a goddamn word he said!
Q: What's your favourite horror movie?
C: "Bridget Jones." That fat chick scares the s**t out of me.
Q: Now that you are a family man, have you considered making a romantic comedy?
C: No way. I ain't going soft. In fact, I'm up to replace Brosnan in the "James Bond" franchise. And I'm working with a voice coach to get the accent right. I think my chances are pretty good...but if anything should happen to Clive Owen or Daniel Craig in the next few months, don't blame me.
SEED OF CHUCKY is rated 15
and is released across the UK on Friday 13 May 2005
Sunday, April 17, 2005
"the truth needs no translation..."
The Interpreter (12a)
Dir. Sydney Pollack
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
There’s only one way to find out…
Darkmatt Rating: ööö (efficient issue based tension)
Other film reviews by Matt Adcock
"Gone, but totally Nathan trashbat foolishly Mexico..."
Am missing my weekly fix of the foolish one...
Friday, April 15, 2005
"careful love - those blades look nasty"
Haute Tension / Switchblade Romance
Dir. Alexandre Aja
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
“High Tension” by name (unless of course you live in the UK where it’s Switchblade Romance) and hardcore off the scale tension by nature…
This film is a relentless, demented, blood soaked roller coaster ride that will shred your nerves and decimate your finger nails – and it’s French.
I’d heard that this film didn’t hold back on the gore and was brutal in the extreme but I was still amazed by the images presented – there are some things that you just can’t “un-see”. Coming on like a French update of Funny Games – this begins as a home invasion massacre and then drops into a cat and mouse chase thriller (with plenty of inventive violence courtesy of axes, crowbars and a portable circular saw that would give any chainsaw a run for its money).
It is incredibly grim – but then it’s meant to be – this is a blood lust overdose, stylishly handled and a “cut” above any horror film I’ve seen for years... The killer (Philippe Nahon) is an iconic piece of redneck callousness – the very last person you’ll ever want to meet… Cécile De France is superb as the girl who has to take the fight to the monster and try to save her friend (Maïwenn Le Besco). Plus there’s the twist(ed) ending… This is a film to make you doubt your friends and not answer the door after dark!!
Aja is certainly a director to watch.
Darkmatt Rating: öööö (gruesome excitement for sickos everywhere)
CLICK THIS LINK - to read the piece from Game Girl
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
"Mmmmmm miss Knightley looking very good!"
Have you ever stumbled upon a trailer for a film which you're quite excited about and after watching it have been blown away by the sheer potential coolness of the film in question? Click this paragraph and prepare to be!!
I‘ve just seen the Domino trailer and can confirm that it looks very very tasty… Tony Scott being one of my favourite directors – Keira Knightley being one of my favourite (looking) actresses.
Written by the genius bloke who made Donnie Darko and based (sort of) on the true life story of Domino Harvey – model turned bounty hunter…
This is pretty near the top of my ‘must see films 05’ Click Now!!
For my previous thoughts about Domino (and another great photo of Knightley) CLICK HERE
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
"cute women - another reason to be cheerful"
"All men seek happiness," says Blaise Pascal. "This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man..."
I believe Pascal is right. And, I came across a blog which was merrily proclaiming the lifestyle of "Christian Hedonism" - the believe that God purposefully designed us to pursue happiness...
But surely seeking your own happiness isn't sound biblical doctrine? Aren't Christians supposed to seek God, not their own pleasure? Apparently this isn't so far removed as might be thought... Pleasure-seeking (hedonism): basically means that we value most what we delight in most. Pleasure is not then God's competitor if we accredit Him with having created whatever it is that we're enjoying...
I mean - if a friend tells you, "I really enjoy being with you," you wouldn't accuse him of being self-centered. Why? Because your friend's delight in you is the evidence that you have great value in his / her heart.
Might not the same be true of God? So whilst marvelling at the physically pleasant attributes of Jennifer Garner may not be everybody's idea of a religious expression of worship - but taking pleasure in God's creation is actually exactly what He'd like us to be doing!
Sign me up as a devout Christian Hedonist...
Worship with me by click these links to other Darkmatters posts about Jennifer Garner:
She is Great Looking
Elektra Is "Awful" Admits Garner
Film Review: Elektra
Monday, April 11, 2005
"an express elevator to hell"
Dir. David Twohy
Reviewed by Matt Acock
“Try not to fraternize with the men. They can be a little... strange.”
“Strange, as in superstitious?”
“As in ‘strange’."
Welcome to a cool, nerve jangling submarine thriller in which there is more than just the threat of mines, depth charges and torpedoes at stake – this sub has got a malign presence which is making things go ‘bump in the night’ – but where can you hide when you’re six hundred feet beneath the waves?
I was drawn to this film for many reasons – not least of which is that it was in part written by Darren Aronofsky – he of the magnificent ‘Pi’ and ‘Requiem for a Dream’… Directed by David Twohy after his cult smash ‘Pitch Black’ and before his dumb but fun ‘Chronicles of Riddick’ follow up…
There is a lot to enjoy here – just about every WW2 cliché gets a good going over with some additional dangers thrown in for good measure. The tense atmosphere on board the sub is really well handled and the frights are of the ‘music announces them a mile away’ type but still effective. Some excellent shots of the sub itself and a good eye for framing the scenes for maximum impact puts lifts this B movie up with the best sub films - Crimson Tide, Hunt for Red October etc...
Dexter Fletcher pops up as a Brit survivor along with London born Olivia Williams. The yank crew are standard off the shelf characters but they do get some cool dialogue – at one point they ponder whether they’re all actually dead which is fun.
Dive dive dive for some spooky submarine thrills!
Darkmatt Rating: öööö (direct hit)
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Yes, much to the bemusement of my lovely wife, I've become addicted to Tiger Woods PGA Tour on the PSP. The graphics and game play are pretty much up to the delicious PS2 standards, the fact that you can take your round of golf with you wherever you go – that’s a thing of beauty!!
Tiger Woods on the PSP is a just great game…
"ooh - check our matching trousers"
Dir. Breck Eisner
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Adventure has a new name… Unfortunately it’s just not quite as good as the old one it had and for my money - Indiana Jones would kick Dirk Pitt’s butt any day of the week!! Sahara you see suffers from a bad case of “trying to keep up with the Jones’” but if it’s a mind numbing blast of daring do and swashbuckling adventure you’re looking for – then you could probably do worse than take in some of this sandy action. Based ever so loosely on one of Clive Cussler’s popular novels (of which there are many more just waiting their turn to be sequels should this one make enough cash), Sahara tries really hard to entertain and occasionally succeeds.
Matthew McConaughey is the Dirk in question and he struts his manly stuff as one of the most preposterous action hero wannabe’s for some time. Fortunately he’s not alone as he has trusty sidekick Steve ‘National Security’ Zahn on hand to deliver the necessary funnies and take the pratt falls. Penélope Cruz tries and fails to do anything other than look cute and completely unbelievable as the World Health Organisation representative on the trail of a deadly plague. The plot throws the principle characters together in Africa where Dirk is searching for lost treasure aboard a fabled lost ‘ship of death’ which may or may not have something to do with the growing number of people going down with the plague. The baddies of the piece are Lambert ‘Merovingian from the Matrix’ Wilson and Lennie ‘Snatch’ James as an unscrupulous businessman and a paranoid African warlord. Neither is nasty enough to warrant too much attention and there is very little doubt at any point that good will win the day…
McConaughey of course doesn’t waste any opportunity to take his shirt off and pull some ‘ooh look at my muscles’ poses – which I guess will please those who like muscular chaps with unnervingly white teeth.
For me though Sahara was a near miss, not as much fun as Pirates of the Caribbean and not packing enough of a punch to come near to the Indy films. This is an action adventure for those who don’t want to be troubled by too much action or adventure.
So, watch it at your peril, you’ll be picking the sand out of your under garments for weeks to come…
Darkmatt Rating: ö ö (undemanding)
Friday, April 08, 2005
The plot goes like this - the crew of Serenity once again find themselves broke and on the wrong side of a number of very large firearms, making the first issue a case study in how to mix intense, Whedon-style character interaction with cinematic action and violence. Artist Will Conrad and colourist Laura Martin paint a rough and wild world of adventure across a strange and dangerous universe…
Each issue is going to have three cover choices, one for each member of the Serenity crew, drawn by the biggest names in comics. Issue #1 features Mal by John Cassaday, Inara by J. G. Jones, and Jayne by Bryan Hitch.
Read what I thought of the TV series: Firefly
Thursday, April 07, 2005
"tasteful shot of female heroine... anime style"
GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX (VOL 1)
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Step this way for a cool dose of cyberpunk, anime crime fighting, existentialism and a heroine who thanks to having a 'cyber' body is pretty uninhibited when it comes to dressing sensibly...
The plot of this TV series assumes that the events of Ghost In The Shell (1995) never happened, and is thus an alternate timeline. It has some lovely quirky bits like the text that appears around a "Laughing Man" icon shown quite often in the show; "I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes." which is a line from J.D. Salinger's "A Catcher in the Rye." etc - so it's not perhaps the low brow blatantly sexist cartoon that you might have been expecting...
"bigger the better seems to be the weaponry order of the day"
Darkmatt Rating: ö ö ö ö (cool)
Read my review of Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence
Congratulations. You are the kiss my ass happy bunny.
which happy bunny are you?
Man, picked this up off Rachel W's blog - don't normally go in for this kind of thing but upon seeing my results I thought I'd share them with you. How do you know when your ass is happy though?
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
"be sure your sins will find you out..."
Dead Man’s Shoes
Dir. Shane Meadows
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
“God will forgive them. He'll forgive them, & allow them into Heaven. I can't live with that.”
Dead Man’s Shoes is a highly accomplished film, a bold, stark, utterly gripping, unsettling & powerful drama, which mixes humour and horror with strong characters and an emotive ‘revenge’ theme. And if that were not cause for celebration enough – it’s a British film!!
Caution though, watch this and you will not easily forget it, so if you’re of nervous or sensitive disposition you might want to think twice...
The story is of two close brothers who return to the northern English hometown they left years before. Richard (an unbelievable performance by Paddy Considine) is strong and purposeful, a man on a mission, an angel of death with a heart of darkness… But all of his cold, hard anger and homicidal hatred comes from the fact that he loves his younger brother Anthony (powerfully portrayed with real feeling by Toby Kebbell). Younger and slightly retarded, hesitant but with a ‘true heart’, he worships everything Richard does…
Vengeance is the order of the day, revenge on a bunch of loser scum drug dealers at whose hands Anthony has suffered whilst Richard has been away in the army. Led by the wannabe hard man Sonny (Gary Stretch who also starred in Alexandra with Kebbell) this lot have it coming and we get to watch as they are terrorised, freaked out, humiliated and murdered one by one…
It’s strong stuff but Dead Man’s Shoes works on many levels and it is shot in such a matter of fact way that it will get under your skin.
As the cool Ducks over at Duck Mafia point out – the film has several strong religious aspects:
“Dead Man’s Shoes is no less about Christ than Mel Gibson’s The Passion. It opens with Richard’s sombre statement of intent, “God will forgive them…” etc and ends with a God-like point of view shot from the clouds accompanied by the sounds of a Church choir. Richard takes on the role of a vengeful God while his mentally challenged brother Anthony assumes the role of Christ.And whilst that’s quite a stretch, it is interesting stuff… and the tagline that ‘he’s in all of us’ only reinforces the ‘what would you do?’ question that you can’t help but ask when watching it…
The most striking connection between Anthony and Christ is made in a late scene in which Sonny’s gang mercilessly tortures Anthony near an abandoned farmhouse. Bringing to mind the suffering of Christ, the scene emphasises the belief that Christ chose, and was not forced, to die for the sins of humanity. There is even a Pontius Pilate figure, who has the power to stop the ordeal but does not.
Another similarity becomes apparent with a key revelation in the film. Although Anthony exhibits an appealing type of simplicity and grace from the beginning, Meadows grants him actual transcendence by the story’s conclusion. The many shots of Richard and Anthony walking through field and forest achieve a level of spirituality.”
It also made me appreciate just how strong a bond between brothers can be (as an only child I enjoy watching my sons interact and wonder what it would have been like to have brother) – so all in all this is a thinking person’s thriller and I recommend it heartily!!
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(powerful and compelling)
Monday, April 04, 2005
"boredom comes full circle"
Dir. Hideo Nakata
Somewhere out there is a haunted individual… He or she is having terrible nightmares, visions of ghastly things and they can’t shake the feeling that a lot of people wish them ill…
That person is the one who said “Hey, let’s follow up the successful nail biting, freaky and truly disturbing original US The Ring remake with The Ring 2 – it’ll be great!!” Unfortunately they deserve all the negativity because they have unleashed a truly mind numbing dud on the world…
I enjoyed The Ring, it was nicely freaky and built up no small amount of tension. The Ring 2 isn’t and doesn’t. How did they get it so wrong this time? The original Japanese Ring 2 was much more gripping and effective, the US version is just limp and whilst it is mildly unsettling – I found it hard work to muster any enthusiasm for it. Even the delicious Naomi ‘soon to be in King Kong’ Watts can’t save this – but that hasn’t stopped it topping the charts in both the US and here in the UK…
Of course, they don't dream, you know. The dead don't dream, and the dead never sleep. They wait, they watch for a way to get back – and the dead are unlikely to happy if they get to see how duff The Ring Two is…
The scariest thing about this is how terrifyingly dull it is…
Sunday, April 03, 2005
"are we cool?"
Be Cool (12a)
Dir. F. Gary Gray
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Now… this should be the coolest film on the planet - John Travolta is back his super cool gangster ‘Chili Palmer’ in this sequel to the “cool” comedy smash Get Shorty. And it’s absolutely choc full of cool stars – Harvey Keitel, Uma Thurman, James Woods, The Rock, Vince Vaughan and it even has a Steven ‘lead singer of Aerosmith’ Tyler cameo as himself… Based on a cool novel by Elmore Leonard and directed by the bloke who remade the Italian Job – how could it fail to be the coolest film of the year?
Be Cool is fun, brash and in patches very cool, but it’s also absolutely disposable entertainment and doesn’t really deliver on its significant promise …
But don’t worry about that too much. Look, Mmmmm, so many stars, so many “humorous” situations… Come on let’s just gorge ourselves on this quality Hollywood junk food – it might make you feel a bit sick afterwards but man it’s hot spicy and satisfying while it lasts…
Travolta’s Chili Palmer really is a cool character – and here he gets mixed up with all sorts of bother when he moves from the film industry of Get Shorty to try his hand in the music business. Understandably he hooks up with Edie Athens (Uma Thurman) who owns two things of note: 1. a record company with serious debts and 2. one of the tiniest bikinis ever to grace the screen. There are of course plenty of sharks in the music industry and the power struggle that ensues over ‘hot’ new property Linda Moon (Christina Milian) involves the Russian mafia, some gangster rappers and unscrupulous music boss Nick Carr (Harvey Keitel). Also caught up in the many-layered plot are a sleazy music manager named Raji (Vince Vaughn) who thinks he’s black, and his gay bodyguard Elliot (The Rock showing that he really can do comedy) who thinks he’s an actor.
It all cracks along in an fairly enjoyable fashion, with many a nod and a wink to the audience including the very dangerous line “I hate sequels” when discussing lame follow ups to good movies. Travolta and Thurman get to do another dance floor number, the Rock steals the show with his camp antics and Steven Tyler tries to straight face the line “I'm not one of those singers who appears in movies!”
I guess everyone is looking for their next big hit, I just don’t think Be Cool is necessarily it…
Darkmatt Rating: öö (coolish)
Saturday, April 02, 2005
"ah, ah, ah, ah, - staying alive, staying alive etc"
In response to meeting the great JT himself (see interview Matt Adcock Meets John Travolta) I had to post the above pic - for some strange reason I was one of the few people who actually quite enjoyed 'Staying Alive' - especially the end dance spectacular 'Satan's Alley' or whatever it was called...
My Top 5 are:
1. Pulp Fiction
2. Get Shorty
5. Staying Alive
"altogether now... he's behind you"
Everybody Be Cool this is an interview…
Matt Adcock Meets John Travolta
Cool, calm and collected – looking very good for his 51 years, in walks John Travolta and I feel slightly awed. Here he is in the flesh, the iconic dancer from Saturday Night Fever, the Grease ‘lightning’ superstar, the Pulp Fiction hitman and um, the dodgy looking alien from Battlefield Earth… Okay, apart from that last one, this guy is the last word in cool but for me his ‘coolest’ role is as Chili Palmer in Get Shorty and now back in Be Cool…
How do you see Chili Palmer?
“Chili’s a gangster, but he has an image of himself as much cooler gangster, more along the lines of James Bond. And one of my favourite screen idols was Sean Connery, in particular as Bond, so I just took that as inspiration for my own take on Chili Palmer. When Get Shorty first came out I actually got a call from Sean who said: ‘I just saw the film and I loved it.’
So, Chili is fearless and never loses his cool, he's dapper, elegant, fun, and romantic. Chili embodies all the things the Bond character does. But America has no character like Bond so I figured, why not make him the American answer to that – a kind of ‘street James Bond’?”
Chili Palmer is definitely cool but are you cool in real life?
“At home it’s hard to be ‘cool’ when my 4 year-old daughter is quick to tell me: "Oh Dad, stop it!" I wish I could be more like Chili in real life.”
I can relate, with a 4 year old at home too but what would you say is ‘cool’ for you?
“Want to know what’s cool? My planes are cool. They're in the backyard. A few days ago I kissed the kids goodbye in the pool, walked 20 steps, got in the plane and flew to London. That's cool.”
Can’t argue with that, so what was your favourite line in Be Cool?
“One of my favourite lines in the film is Cedric’s (Cedric the Entertainer who plays a rap-artist producer), he’s about to shoot somebody and he says, ‘and don’t tell me to be cool. I am cool.’ Isn’t that everything this movie is?”
How was getting down on the dance floor again with Uma Thurman?
“With this movie being set in the music industry, we couldn’t resist it. The Black Eyed Peas had done a brilliant rap version of a Joabim song called ‘Sexy’ and it was exactly what I wanted to dance to. The dance scene was always going to happen in this film, getting to dance with Uma again was a bonus!”
What about working with The Rock (who plays Elliot – a camp bodyguard / wannabe actor)?
“After listening to Elliot do his audition monologue – I can relate to how Chili reacts. I think I'm very kind to people who aren't particularly good. I feel I would have probably responded exactly like he does, being very calm and non-reactive and giving some gentle words of advice. I like the idea that Chili would sooner kick his ass than insult his talent.”
Finally – is there any chance of you doing a Grease sequel (I have to ask as my wife is a huge Grease fan)?
“Let's not go there… Grease must be left alone.”
Friday, April 01, 2005
CLERIC...This is cool, as my novel Darkmatters creeps ever nearer completion (still aiming for this Summer!!) I have commissioned a very talented fantasy artist 'Keith Thompson' to come up with some initial visuals of the characters.
Below I'd like to introduce you to the "Hero" of Darkmatters - Cleric.
It's an absolute head rush to see something that as existed only in my head and in words on page suddenly take form... click the picture to see it in more detail...
"a friend of mine..."
Cleric’s memories of his past loves were vivid – imperfect yet comforting unless picked at for any length of time, a lot like scar tissue – almost as good as before but never quite the original. At least he could still differentiate between his memories and reality – which was more than his 'friend' Sxboy (SB) could. SB was wired, living in a half trance never more than a nanosecond away from his hardwired lustjoints. To say ‘addicted’ was not to fully acknowledge just how fully he had been taken over by his obsession. His mind boiled with a million images of scantly clad females – always almost but never quite naked – and his libido burned white hot, every second of every hour. Yet ironically it had been a long long time since he had actually been intimate with a woman. Having been one of the first to be fitted with a Scon8 chip, he was forever lost in his own make believe fantasy world – all in the comfort of his own mind – and due to this rendering most of his social skills obsolete, it really disadvantaged him when trying to impress the fairer sex.The institute for populace deviance owned and monitored the data stream from his Scon8 chip and had found a way to fund their work by broadcasting the highlights on one of the multitude of ‘arousal’ channels…
OK - so Cleric has a dodgy taste in friends but he still just might get the girl, kill the baddies and save the entire planet - you'll have chance to find out if the ultimate confrontation between good and evil ends in tears when Darkmatters hits the shelves...
read sneak peeks here: