DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Great Ecstasy Of Robert Carmichael


"the youth of today??"

Sometimes a Monkey phones me up or emails, he asks if I want to review things for him, I normally say 'yes'...

This week I reviewed The Great Ecstasy Of Robert Carmichael - wow it's powerful stuff, here's a taster:

Welcome to hell (twinned with Newhaven) for this cinematic equivalent of having your head kicked in by good looking teenagers… Nothing can really prepare you for watching this shocking epistle of disaffected youth in modern day Britain. It’s almost as if the droogs from ‘A Clockwork Orange’ have time travelled back to a couple of year’s ago and morphed into a bunch of school kids who seek their thrills through antisocial behaviour of the worst Daily Mail baiting kind… drugs, theft, random violence and explicit rape...

Read my review here:
http://www.frankthemonkey.com


"Danny Dyer... up to no good..."

Darkmatters: H O M E

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Number 23 - review



The Number 23 (15)
Dir. Joel Schumacher

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

I stepped out of the cinema at 23:23pm, there was a crazy look on the face of my friends who’d just witnessed a dark trip into insanity with me. Were the numbers trying to tell me something? Who’d have thought that it would lead to the sorts of unhinged freakiness and dubious behaviour that followed?
But enough about my 36th Birthday celebrations, this is a tale of psychotic madness brought on by an obsession with the number 23. Jim Carey stars as Walter Sparrow and brings his unique brand of manic energy to this trashy but fun thriller from Joel ‘Lost Boys’ Schumacher.
The Number 23 isn’t deep – if it were a sudoku it would be rated ‘mild’, so if you’re looking for a disturbing mathematical mind bender, perhaps you should stick with something like Darren Aronofsky’s excellent ‘Pi’. If however you’re in the mood for decently filmed and nicely acted schlock of the ‘will he / won’t be driven to murder’ type then look no further.
Having seen some ‘ho hum’ reaction to this film I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it half as much as I did. Virginia Madsen was just amazing, giving hope to 46 year old women everywhere by sizzling in the duel roles of Carrey’s wife Agatha Sparrow and the fantasist sex toy Fabrizia. The plot might be a checklist of cinematic liberties but there is an undeniably enjoyable kookiness in the central conceit – Agatha buys a novel called ‘The Number 23’ for her husband, little suspecting that it will utterly consume him. The book then threatens to wreck their lives as Sparrow comes to believe that he is somehow linked to the plot and that the number 23 itself is ‘out to get him’.
What adds to the enjoyment are some excellent pulpy flashbacks taken from the book, played out in a hard-boiled detective noir style that reminded me of Sin City. These fantasy sequences where Carrey is the lead character from the book, a murderous potential alter ego named ‘Fingerling’, are welcome because they really add to the overall creeping sense of danger.
One thing is for sure – the filmmakers pack in just about every conceivable contrivance to get the number 23 into the plot even quoting the Good Book (Numbers 32 verse 23 no less)…
It might all end with a bit of a farcically overblown plot twist but overall this a fun ride that doesn’t disappoint.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 23):
Action 2+1+2 - loved the classy noir bits
Laughs 46/2 – very nice humour before the horror
Horror 23 – no very much but at least one quality 'jump'
Babes 23x2 – Virginia Madsen, still would!!
Overall 23 (Nicely manufactured pulp thrills)


Darkmatters: H O M E
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Heroes - hits the UK


"You start talking about capes and tights and I'm out of here..."

Heroes hit the UK last night on the Sci Fi channel, I managed to catch it - and I love it!!

This is immediately right up there with Carnivale, Surface and the beloved Twin Peaks (more on that soon as I've just seen Lynch's INLAND EMPIRE and am still slightly dazed and unnerved by it!?)...

Anyway - Heroes is a show I'll be making an effort to watch -it's kind of Unbreakable meets the Xmen!?
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Monday, February 19, 2007

PS3 sales figures - impressive!?


"The PS3 might be expensive - but it's selling!"

There's been so much doom and gloom mongering about the PS3 launch(es) that I thought I'd have a quick look at how the numbers sold so far stack up against previous console launches... I was expecting to see it lagging behind but with the exception of the lovely Wii (can't wait for ours - it is ETA April for my son's 10th Birthday) which is selling like some seriously tasty hot cakes - I'll be sitting on a non vibrating SixAxis controller if the PS3 numbers so far aren't actually looking pretty good...


Is going to be a great year for game fans whichever system(s) you own...

e.g. (all data taken from
http://www.vgcharts.org/)

- PS3's sold in Japan to end of Jan 668,250
(almost) double the number of 360's sold in Japan to date 345,500

- PS3 American sales after two months 780,500
the PS2 sales after two months 683,000

- Digging a little further, it also looks like the 360 is still behind where the original Xbox was at the same timepoint in total number of sales...

Interesting stuff - here's the current global picture:



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Links:

Looking forward to the Euro PS3 launch

Darkmatters: H O M E

Saturday, February 17, 2007

PS3 - yes please!!


"is this the prototype PS4..."

It is cracking me up reading all the anti Sony web buzz at the moment - so many people moaning about the price, complaining and bitching all day long on the forums and message boards...

I for one am still absolutely stoked at the prospect of getting my PS3 next month - so inspired in fact that I've set myself the target of finishing my novel before it arrives.

What will I be playing on day one?


Motor Storm: there's nothing like this out there on any other console

Resistance: Fall Of Man... 40 player deathmatches in destructable English towns? yes please!

Tiger Woods 2007: Am very curious about the Six-Axis controller 'tilt to spin the ball control'

Full Auto 2: Battlelines - this is picking up decent review scores having been improved on the 360 version

Will probably download FLOW and Grand Turismo HD too...


"this chap is the War Devil... next gen for sure"


Then there's LAIR, Mercenaries 2, WarDevil and Metal Gear 4: Guns of the Patriots to look forward to (which are PS3 only at the moment).

Mmmmmm - I'll get back to the novel now, but if you want to check out some more very cool artwork by an old schoolfriend of mine - Lee Davies (the guy who did the robot above) click here:

Cool Gallery

Earlier post about Lee's cool artwork:
Lee Davies does George Bush

Darkmatters:
H O M E


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Die Hard 4 (Live Free or Die Hard)

Still in love with DIE HARD...


"remember this cheeky young chap from DIE HARD 1988?"


"here he was in the top sequel DIE HARD 2: DIE HARDER in 1990"


"and again in 1995 for the competent if slightly less amazing DIE HARD: WITH A VENGEANCE"


"now he's back in DIE HARD 4 - LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD"


"check out this superb bit of action from the new trailer... oh yes!!!"

Now watch the trailer here:
Live Free or Die Hard Trailer

Roll on 06 July in the UK which should be renamed:

DIE 'HARDEST' DAY

Previous love for Mr Willis: Bruce Willis in a Hostage Situation

Matt meets: BRUCE WILLIS

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Friday, February 16, 2007

Hot Fuzz - review



Hot Fuzz (15)
Dir. Edgar Wright

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Every minute of every day – a crime is being committed somewhere. I can feel it; I can sense the scum on our streets. For too long people have cried ‘where are the police when we need them?' But in this feral world, one man can make a difference – that man is Nicholas Angel.

Angel is a super cop, he eats, sleeps and drinks crime busting, he’s a force of nature with a badge and notepad and now you can catch him in action because Hot Fuzz is kicking down the doors of your local cinema even as we speak.
Arriving in the impressive shockwave of top Brit horror comedy Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz ups the ante, boosts the budget and delivers quality laughs, action and violence way beyond the call of duty.

Simon ‘Spaced’ Pegg confirms his place as the saviour of British genre comedy films – co-writing and starring in this slick, cop overload that manages to be loyal homage to Hollywood action films like Bad Boys, whilst skillfully playing the material for genuine laughs! Aided and abetted by the excellent Edgar ‘Shaun of the Dead’ Wright who also writes and takes directors duties shows that he can out think and out gun the lorry load of Shane Blacks packing Lethal Weapons.
Hot Fuzz is a bona fide masterpiece; it explodes with comic talent who for once actually deliver all that you might want. Timothy Dalton hams it up deliciously as a slimy Somerfield supermarket owner, who may or may not be linked to psychotically murderous secret society and there’s also good work by Bill Nighy, Steve Coogan, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Jim Broadbent to name but a few. It’s like a ‘who’s who’ of current top UK talent.
My mate Alan is even in the film – actually it might be Nick ‘Shaun of the Dead’ Frost now I look closely, he’s the rural bobby assigned to partner Pegg and together they form the best cop buddy relationship ever to grace the screen. When not in the pub or watching Point Break on DVD, these two British ‘Bad Boys’ tear up the overly perfect Midsomer Murder esq village and bring a level of destruction and mayhem to the screen which left my face aching from having grinned so much.
Hot Fuzz is an agile beast in that it cross genres with ease, all the while building to an unforgettable climax. You’ll smile as it breaks you in gently with some fun background / set up, you’ll laugh as the film references come thick and fast and the plot develops but by the end you’ll be whooping and cheering as the slow motion gunplay and over the top action blow you away. One note of caution – if you’re squeamish about gore and / or adverse to bad language then you might have to recalibrate your thresholds as there are serious amounts of both but here they just add to the overall level of comic spectacle. On leaving the cinema my wife had to literally restrain me from dashing around the car park pulling heroic mock gunfight dives through the air and then burning off in hot pursuit of some make believe crims (she enjoyed it too though in case you were wondering – so it even works as a date flick).
Working Title films should be very proud of what has been achieved with Hot Fuzz – it’s a must see, repeat watch orgy of fun.
If you have a pulse I urge you to check out Hot Fuzz ASAP.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öööö – builds up to a total eyeball melting finale
Laughs ö ö ö ö ö – awesome, killer one liners keep coming
Horror öööö – plenty grimness – lots of gore
Babes öö – not really anything much

Overall ö ö ö ö ö (Bring the noise!!!)



Darkmatters:
H O M E
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Silverfall - preview


"My wife Gail looks a lot like this elf... except for the ears maybe?"

Some of my friends are monkeys - and there's this Irish one who has his own website called Frank The Monkey...

From time to time he gets me to write stuff for him and I'm happy to oblige - click this link to read my preview experience of new RPG game SILVERFALL:

Matt plays SILVERFALL before anybody else


In my 'how sexy are games - random link to famous babes scoring system' - Silverfall is about as sexy as Christina Ricci (in hotpants)


Other Game Review Links:

Matt seeks the Archlord for a monkey named Frank

Matt rubs balls on Mischa Barton

Babe helps out game nerds with biology

Darkmatters: H O M E

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hannibal Rising - review



Hannibal Rising (18)
Dir. Peter Webber

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Something smells bad here… there’s an unmistakeable stench in the air. Is it the cold dread odour of terror?

No, that’s not it.

Is it the heavy sweaty rankness inspired by a blood curdling thriller?

Nope, nothing like that, this is far less pleasant pong.

Wait, I’ve got it…

Yes, it’s the malodorous reekage of ‘cash in’ and it can be found in its distilled form anywhere near the new Hannibal film (or novel for that matter).
Yep, Hannibal Rising is a steaming whopper of a movie that whiffs so bad you’ll only have yourself to blame if you waste your time and money on it. Hannibal creator Thomas Harris apparently squeezed out the screenplay for this prequel which tells the unfortunate tale of how his famous liver munching cannibal got so twisted, at the same time he wrote the novel. How he must be laughing as he spends his ill gotten gains from this barrel scrapping, paint a dull plot by numbers exercise in unpleasant obviousness.
It turns out that Hannibal takes it quite badly when his cute little sister is eaten by scumbag Nazi partisans in the Second World War. So badly that he spends his teenage years hunting them down in a series of pretty dull revenge murders which lack any real style or emotional kick. If you really must seek out some Hannibal related nastiness this week then I feel I must warn you that the film plods along so slowly and tediously that you might fall asleep and miss the few gruesome bits.
I actually felt sorry for young Gaspard ‘A Very Long Engagement’ Ulliel who looks out of his depth trying and failing to capture the weirdly charismatic essence of Lecter. The rest of the cast do an average job with the big print picture edition script and one bright spot is Chinese star Gong Li shimmering as the murderous young rascal’s unlikely aunt. You might smile when Hannibal tries on his aunt’s samurai battle mask which he’s wearing on the poster because it does look rather like the restraint visor that he’ll be modelling in later life.
I can only guess that talented director Peter ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ Webber must have taken the blood stained money and headed for the hills because Hannibal Rising does nothing but sully the once respectable series which Manhunter and The Silence Of The Lambs delivered such quality shocks from.
Avoid.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):
Action öö – slow, much too slow
Laughs ö – unintentional at best
Horror ööö – hackneyed nastiness in some scenes
Babes ö – not really my cup of tea

Overall ö1/2 (this sucks...bite me)

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Man Who Fell To Earth - review



The Man Who Fell To Earth (18)
Dir. Nicolas Roeg

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

I come in *cult classic* peace and bring you David ‘Is there life on mars’ Bowie mixing his extraterrestrial DNA with a pleasing Rip *cult classic* Torn, sorry I mean Candy *cult classic* Clark. Oh the pain as my *cult classic* barren planet dries up and my *cult classic* FAMILY perish – psyche the *cult classic* visuals and hit the wow *cult classic* wow ‘70s music man…

Yes what we have here ladies and gentlemen is a bona fide *cult classic*…
The Man Who Fell To Earth is a space oddity from Nicolas ‘Don’t Look Now’ Roeg and if you’re at all in the mood for a *cult classic*… You’ll probably do no better than picking up the new special edition of this weird and almost wonderful tale.

Plotwise you get a *cult classic* spacecraft landing in a lake in New Mexico. From it you get Thomas *cult classic* Newton (David Bowie at the height of his *cult classic* drug use but that actually helps his ‘otherworldliness’ here)… This orange haired alien is tall and pale, he has things on his mind and hires himself a lawyer Oliver Farnsworth (Buck *cult classic* Henry), because he has the plans for some patents which are super technologically advanced… His corporation makes masses of funds from the machinery these patents allow and the money, the *cult classic* money is being raised to fund a space programme that has the mission of saving Bowie’s homeworld which is drying out…

The new 2 disc DVD version in the UK has masses of bonus material, a cracking transfer both visually and audio wise. The material still startles even 30 odd years on (if you’re wondering why it’s an 18 – basically it’s got lots of nudity and sex in it, the sort of old fashioned real nudity that most modern filmmakers simply will not dare to include.)

It won’t be to everyone’s taste but as a fresh pair of eyes – eyes that often enjoy a *cult classic* now and again – I found it to be a great slice of oddness and would recommend it as such.


Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):
Action öö – slow burning *cult classic* action
Laughs öö – limited *cult classic* mirth
Horror ööö – *cult classic* nastiness is there in some scenes
Babes öööö – *cult classic* wasn’t expecting these but there are plenty

Overall ööö1/2 (*cult classic*)

Darkmatters:
H O M E
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Wassup Rockers - review



Wassup Rockers (15)
Dir. Larry Clark

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Wow, nobody does teens like Larry Clark, he does ‘em in Kids, Bully, Another Day In Paradise, Ken Park… Now he’s back and doing another bunch in…*what’s that?* sorry, have just been asked by my lawyers to clarify that when I say ‘does teens’ I’m not implying any actual inappropriate activities – other than shooting lingering close ups of their often naked bodies…
But Wassup Rockers sees the normally ‘perv level 10’ Clark in a more restrained mood. The teens featured here are a bunch of Salvadorean / Guatemalan punkers living in broken homes somewhere in deepest, darkest South Central LA… They have no cash, they have no prospects but they do have skateboards and so they skate, party, drink, fight, hit on chicks and hang out discussing the world as they see it. It’s actually a compelling insight into their world, filmed in an almost documentary way that really works.

Wassup Rockers is the film for anyone whose ever wanted to really get under the skin of a bunch of Hispanic boys, outsiders in their own hood where being misunderstood is part of their lives. There’s charismatic Jonathan, lead singer of their noisy but talentless band, bully magnet Milton, who they call ‘spermball’ even though he hates the nickname and young Kico, who is on a constant mission to get laid. The meatiest part of the film is when the kids invade the rich white neighbourhoods of Beverly Hills and run into all kinds of scrapes. Cue a Warriors lite battle home which features attitude problems and fisticuffs from a bunch of Beverly Hills bullies, a gay guy with a ‘take it by force if necessary’ attitude to their young male backsides and even one getting shot by an aging actor who looks like Clint Eastwood and has the moral code of Charlton Heston… Sure things take a while to get going but by the end of the movie there has been a sufficient number of shootings, beatings, racial abuse, into racial sexual shenanigans, skating and an obligatory few thrash punk efforts.

The fact that it works at all is amazing, I guess it works because it keeps it (almost) real and makes points by allowing the audience to build up a level of affinity with these disaffected youths – before tossing them into a meat grinder of modern life in the USA.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööö – slow to begin but it picks up
Laughs öö – some fun to be had here but not much
Horror öö – doesn’t really shock or awe
Babes öö – couple of cuties e.g. Laura Cellner but too young!!

Overall ööö (boys will be boys)


"concerned parents look away now... these two have only just met"


Darkmatters: H O M E

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Something in the Darkmatters is stirring...



The clock is ticking...

The prize is waiting...

The effort will be supreme...

43 days...
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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Notes On A Scandal - review



Notes On A Scandal (15)
Dir. Richard Eyre

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

I’ve seen some scary stuff on film in my time and I imagine after reading the book that ‘Hannibal Rising’ stands a decent chance of raising a chill or two (review next week), but nothing could have prepared me for seeing Judi Dench plumb what one review calls ‘the lower recesses of unpleasantness’… It’s truly the stuff of nightmares and here’s the thing – it’s probably living somewhere near you, lurking somewhere you’d never imagine… That’s right, Notes On A Scandal is blessed with one of cinema’s all time most chilling characters in aging battleaxe teacher Barbara Covett – brought to life with a vivid sense of believability by Judi Dench.
So it is that inner city art teacher Sheba (a crackingly fey turn from the talented Cate Blanchett) makes the mistake of getting involved with one of her 15-year-old students (the strapping young Andrew Simpson). What complicates her illicit affair is that she is spotted in a most inappropriate act with the pupil by Covett who rather than blow the whistle on her colleague, instead uses the knowledge to her own ends. This is because the dumpy formidable spinster has taken rather a shine to the younger teacher and wants her for herself…
What then unfolds is an unhinged ethical and moral drama, played out with powerful performances from the two lead women, ably supported by Bill Nighy as Blanchett’s older husband. Dench takes the gloves offs and gives her pearl set villainess a brilliant ‘only just holding it together’ air of menace whilst Blanchett emanates palpable anxiety. Notes On A Scandal (based on Zoë Heller's best-selling novel) is a superbly crafted psychological game of cat and mouse. The power struggle between the two women is an oestrogen overdose that keeps you hooked with the director’s malignant glee. It’s a wild ride through tricky territory and a devastating insight into how loneliness can twist the mind. What’s best is that you never quite know where it’s all going either – the ending having been changed from the book.
If you’re looking for a film that will give you masses to discuss, raise the hairs on the back of you neck and demonstrate even to action junkies that sometimes you don’t need guns and car chases to be excited (Hot Fuzz in 2 weeks will have all that) – I’d strongly recommend that you take some Notes On A Scandal.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööö – pacy considering the muted subject matter
Laughs ööö – Dench's descriptions of everyone below her is amusing
Horror öööö – psychologically tense and then some
Babes ööö – Blanchett is very fanciable

Overall öööö (see me after class!!)

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ils - Them - review



Ils - Them (15)
Dir. David Moreau & Xavier Palud

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Repeat after me:

“Ces événements sont basés sur une histoire vraie”
These events are based on a true story…

“Ils désirer jouer avec votre tête”
They want to play with your head…

“Ils désobéissance à une règle”
They don’t obey the rules…

“D'ici là horreur, c'est enfantin”
From here on, the horror is child’s play…

There you go – a free (very dodgy) French lesson thrown in for good measure. What we have here is a tasty French horror film that will grip you from the start, smash your head into the reality of what is happening on screen for almost 80 minutes, then wander off whistling nonchalantly whilst the end credits rub in the grimness of what just happened...
If that sounds like a good night out for you – then you should either consider seeking help or you might want to slap Switchblade Romance into your DVD and carry on the quality French horror vibe…
Nice things in Ils include a superb “don’t look through the peep-hole” moment, an amazingly tense loft scene with best ever use of plastic sheeting to menacing effect and a decently restrained ‘reveal’ of the monsters at work – kept only till the end when it actually makes you reassess what you’ve just seen.
The only thing I didn’t like about Ils was the subtitles – man – whoever did them deserves to be taken to grimy disused tunnel network and beaten with a fire poker whilst being shouted at that ‘the audience doesn’t need to know the on screen sound effects you dickhead – just the dialogue!!”

(the tapping of Matt’s foot is a steady ‘thump thump thump’ under the desk),

and while I’m on the subject

(the clicking of the Matt’s keyboard keys is rat-a-tatting a fast staccato)

it really hurts the tension

(Matt is about to make a sarcastic comment but you don’t need to read it now because this stupid subtitle has flashed up and you couldn’t help reading it!?)… See what I mean?

But don’t let that put you off, Ils is pretty much a ‘must see’ for horror fans. It’s stylish and even though it sticks mostly to the cliché book – it does it well.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööö – hide and seek with deadly stakes
Laughs ö – laughter in the dark?
Horror öööö – more psychological than gore but that’s cool
Babes ööö – Olivia Bonamy wears a mean pair of knickers

Overall ööö1/2 (le trick or treat!?)

Darkmatters: H O M E
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