DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Friday, March 30, 2007

Matt's PS3 is Saving Mankind (when not playing MotorStorm)


"Stick, no, twist, no erm ... Fold"

Folding@Home on the PS3

Since 2000, Folding@Home (FAH) has led to a major jump in the capabilities of molecular simulation. By joining together hundreds of thousands of PCs throughout the world, calculations which were previously considered impossible have now become routine. FAH has targeted the study of of protein folding and protein folding disease, and
numerous scientific advances have come from the project.
Now there has been another major advance in capabilities. This advance utilizes the new Cell processor in Sony’s
PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3) to achieve performance previously only possible on supercomputers. With this new technology, we will likely be able to attain performance on the 20 gigaflop scale per computer. The goal is to apply this new technology to push Folding@Home into a new level of capabilities, applying the simulations to further study of protein folding and related diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease, Huntington's Disease, and certain forms of cancer. With these computational advances, coupled with new simulation methodologies to harness the new techniques, we will be able to address questions previously considered impossible to tackle computationally, and make even greater impacts on our knowledge of folding and folding related diseases.


"so... that's the erm, thingy..."

"below is a complete babe... who knows, maybe my PS3 wil save her life one day?"
Darkmatters: H O M E

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

PS3 sales take UK by storm - this is living!!


PS3 becomes the UK's “fastest-selling home console ever over its debut weekend”…

Today’s reading is from the epistle of St. Orm (first name Mo Tor)

“And verily some did doubt that SONY could perform a PAL miracle with their delayed and ‘too expensive’ console… Others had already wandered from the true gaming path and turned to the lesser gods of the uber geek Micro- soft in vain hope to experience the blessed nirvana of next generation…
However there were yet a number who kept the faith and this fiery bunch of game lovers didst show the rest of the world that the UK chooseth the PS3 in larger than expected numbers helping it to destroy the opening weekend sales figures for a home console by selling 165,000 units and almost 300,000 games - attach rate is 1.65.” (Data from ChartTrack).

Looks like resistance is futile as Sony sell three quarters of their total 220,000 UK launch stock for day one, setting a new record even at their buttock clenchingly high price point.

Domination:

PS3’s record-breaking debut for a home console comfortably beats the previous top seller Nintendo Wii, which sold 105,000 in its launch weekend in December last year. And is more than double the sales of rival Xbox which sold in the region of 70,000 at launch in December 2005.

This is an awesome achievement for Sony, especially without the ‘Christmas pester power factor’ which as a parent I experience each year.

So the next generation console battle is well and truly joined in the UK – the software charts bear testament to the coming of a new power with Resistance: Fall of Man in at number 1 and MotorStorm following close behind at 2. Other PS3 exclusives Ridge Racer 7, Virtua Fighter 5 and Genji: Days of the Blade all made the top 20 as well in 11th, 14th and 16th respectively…

How the market will look in 12 months time will be fascinating to behold but as they say “do not underestimate the power of PlayStation”


Links:

PS3 initial reaction / review

MotorStorm Review

Darkmatters: H O M E

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The PS3 has landed - and it's lovely!!


"Kikizo... nice site, nice images of PS3"

PS3 IT'S HERE...

So after having spent a weekend with the shiny PS3 – here’s my initial review…

Arrival:
The Royal Mail delivery guy was only slightly freaked when I ran out of my house and hugged him after spying him unloading a PS3 sized box from the back of his van on Friday (launch day in the UK). He was on a special PS3 delivery run and said that he’s made a lot of people happy that morning!! I took that to mean that he'd dropped off their PS3s not 'pleasured' them in any other ways but I guess you never know!?

I unpacked the console which is big, curved, heavy and sparkling in the mid morning sunlight thanks to its super gloss finish… The PS2 was unceremoniously decamped from under the TV and put to one side, the PS3 took its place, leads were connected and log in details logged. It took about 5 – 10 mins to get everything sorted including the obligatory download of the 1.6 operating system (which enables background downloads, additional PS2 compatibility etc).

Online:
I have a broadband wireless signal and the PS3 picked it up no problem – next stop was the Playstation Store where I set up an account and was soon downloading Gran Turismo HD, F1 Championship demo and the ‘Grenade’ cinema advert (all free content). Later I returned and bought two full games - Tekken 5 and Blast Factor which set me back about a tenner for the two.
Everything was smooth sailing registering even if I dropped signal a couple of times and I grinned when a bonus confirmation of a free ‘thank you’ copy of Casino Royale Blu-ray flashed across the screen. In order to address the signal drop issue I found that moving the PS3 slightly on the shelf I found a much sweeter / stronger spot for the wi-fi signal (it jumped from 30% to 67% strength and hasn’t dropped since).

The Pad:
The Sixaxis pad is lighter than the PS2 Dualshock and I was glad that I’d bought a second one (plus charging dock so can charge both controllers at the same time). Yes it misses the rumble – and I’ll certainly replace these with rumble enabled pads when they become available – but the new trigger shaped L2 / R2 bottons are very nice. The motion sensitiveness take a bit of getting used to – I have mastered it on Tiger Woods PGA ’07 to put spin on the ball but can’t really get on with it in MotorStorm where it feels ‘tacked on’ and unnecessary (but is defaulted to ‘off’ anyway).
Using the Sixaxis to play Fifa ’07 (PS2) was fun – the novelty of not being wire connected to the machine is a real delight and changes the way you play. Would be superb if EA could map a ‘dive’ / ‘push’ / ‘header’ function to the motion sensor for Fifa ’08!?

The Games:
There’s a good reason why Resistance and MotorStorm are top of the sales chart this week – they are both excellent games. Read my full MotorStorm review:
MotorStorm - racing has never been so good. In a word though it’s great and showcases the PS3 off to the max. Plus it will have regular additional content to download in the months ahead… If you only pick one game, I’d make it MotorStorm!

Resistance is a rock solid FPS with a nicely sci-fi infused plotline and great damage physics engine. It engaged me enough to want to play through the single player story and the first few levels break you in hard – this is not an easy in rails shooter, you’ll need to think and react to constantly changing situations from the start. Graphically it’s very nice with a mature, restrained hew and a nice balance of reward for progression, plus some great ‘WTF’ moments when the alien enemies surprise you either with impressive set pieces or a deft bit of A.I. tricksiness. The online multiplayer is an absolute blast too, massive scale death matches and team games… Will be playing this for a long while yet!!

Tiger Woods PGA ’07 is a solid update of the game – lots of options and killer graphics. Big jump over the PS2 version if you like your grass to sway and your golfer to grimace as he watches your shot dropping into a water hazard (the water is superb to look at but you really don’t want to be going near it in this game if you can help it!).

The downloaded Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection delivered a top notch fighting experience with very nice graphics and Blast Factor is a fun erm, blaster where you use one analogue stick to move and the other to fire.

Have got other games planned to play but not enough hours in the day… On my shelf are the PS3 versions of The Godfather, Blazing Angels and Need for Speed: Carbon which are the fruits of trading in a load of PS2 / PSP games... More on those games soon…


DVDs:
I took a gaming timeout to watch Man Dancin’ (15) on DVD - haven’t had chance to grab a Blu-ray film yet but will probably invest in Mission Impossible III this week. This 'gangster returning home' tale is distinctly offbeat – but it looked and sounded fantastic. I was impressed with the number of options available e.g. picture cleaning and colour saturation which my current DVD doesn’t offer. In fact although I wasn’t planning to use the PS3 for my normal DVD playback as a rule, it did such a great job with this cool Scottish thriller that it may become the platform of choice.

Other Media:
So far I’ve only had time to load up and few music tracks and photos – but it’s a very simple operation either directly from memory card or via USB from digital camera / PSP. Am looking forward to trying out the remote access with my PSP and streaming content at some point. Surfing the www on the TV is fun and easy even without a keyboard.

Overall :
I’m a very happy customer… It’s been a long slow wait for the PS3 over here but from the initial experience it has been worth it!!
Pros – Next Gen graphics, strong initial game line up, unbelievably fun online (Resistance and MotorStorm in particular), easy to use Playstation store with some great content (Gran Turismo HD, Tekken 5, game demos etc), motion sensitive wirless controllers, very crisp feature laden DVD playback.


Cons – Expensive (shopkeeper in independent game shop I was in yesterday said that most of his PS3 sales had seen people trading in their 360s and / or PS2s to off set the cost, no Next Gen football games yet, Lack of rumble in pads at the moment is sad.

Darkmatters: H O M E

Monday, March 26, 2007

MotorStorm PS3 Review - Racing has never been so good


"A Storm is coming... MOTORSTORM!!"

MotorStorm PS3 (12+)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Every console should have a least one 5 star, AAA game to inspire legend and make people really want it but few ever have one to launch with… The Playstation 3 however, well it might just have got one for its Euro launch in the mud splattered shape of the ultimate off road racer MotorStorm!!
MotorStorm is an awesome experience – it taps into the ‘pure gaming spirit’ that has previously manifested itself in the original WipeOut on PS1, Grand Theft Auto III on PS2, Halo on Xbox and Zelda on the Gamecube… It’s a zeitgeist – a phenomenon - it’s a portal to utter gaming pleasure that even the most ardent fanboy from other platforms cannot help but deep down admit that they’d love it to be theirs.
I took the day off work in order to set and experience the PS3, it didn’t take long to set it up, fire it up and get online – after a preliminary browse of the Playstation Store (and a quick download of Gran Turismo HD for free) I began working my way through the launch games that I’d picked – Resistance Fall Of Man was first up, more on that later but first impressions were good. Next came Tiger Woods ’07 which was all that could have been expected of a next generation version, then came the moment which I had probably been pleasure delaying subliminally…

MotorStorm…

Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.

The opening voice over and movie sets the tone for an epic and the game itself does not disappoint. Sure it takes a few games to find your bearings but before you realise it you’re living the MotorStorm and the adrenalin is pumping through your veins. Nothing else matters, you work your way through the various vehicle options – from the light and frisky motorbikes and quads, through the rally cars and trucks, up to the ground tearing big rigs…

Welcome to MotorStorm, the world's most brutal off-road racing event where the goal is to win at all costs. Survival is the priority, real-time deforming terrain sprays in all directions… The course literally gets torn up with each passing vehicle, causing every lap to be different. You’ll marvel at the advanced particle effects as the debris splatters each vehicle – the crashes are spectacular, burning wreckage never looked so good!! I’m talking Hollywood-style crash sequences that set new standards for game visuals. Then take the race online for some of the most intense head-to-head off-road racing you’ll witness (at least until the additional content comes online in a month or so and keeps coming until MotorStorm 2 rewrites the rules again... I can’t really find words for the feeling off pulling up level with the leader – in this case a self branded Australian, landing a clean punch which knocks him sprawling from the his ride off a 700 foot drop and burning ahead to win the race… Even if you’re not online you can witness the A.I opponents simulating human traits, like showing off, attacking, taunting, and doing whatever it takes to win. A nice change from the ‘on rails’ dubious A.I. that has plagued so many racing games up until now!

Yes the PS3 is expensive, it’s late and it’s got a big lead to overhaul from the 360 and Wii but if MotorStorm is any indication of the exclusive material that PS3 owners can look forward to (and Little Big Planet, Killzone 2, Ratchet & Clank are fast approaching), I am absolutely delighted to have witnessed the future of racing… If you’ve ever enjoyed a racing game, you owe it to yourself to spend some hours in the company of the mind wrecking, motor carnage of MotorStorm which is unmatched on any platform.


'ThreeSpeach' is reporting that a time trail mode will soon be made available: "PS3 owners who play MotorStorm online will receive a new 'Time Trial Mode' automatically – you won’t even need to download this one from the PLAYSTATION Store. Take any vehicle out on the track of your choice and go hell for leather to lay down the quickest lap time. You can race against ghost vehicles of your previous efforts, other players’ times and the best attempts from the MotorStorm development team – and then upload your best times to the global online rankings. In addition, more tracks, vehicles and game modes will be available later in the month, and thereafter on a regular basis... " NICE!!

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Overall öööö1/2 (have never witnessed racing action as good!)


"Vrrooommm... speed blur insanity - love it!"


"Time to get a new motor perhaps!?"

Other reviews:

GameSpy
3/16/2007
4 out of 5
80.0%

GameSpot
3/5/2007
7.9 out of 10
79.0%

IGN
4/1/2007
8 out of 10
80.0%

Worth Playing
3/18/2007
8.5 out of 10
85.0%

Yahoo! Games
3/6/2007
4.5 out of 5
90.0%


Darkmatters: H O M E

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Meet the Robinsons - review



Meet the Robinsons (U)
Dir. Stephen J. Anderson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

So Disney fire their first big animated blockbuster of the year into cinemas this week with just a little production help from John ‘Cars’ Lasseter. It is the story of Lewis, a brilliant young orphan who has a passion for creating weird and wonderful inventions. His latest however a Memory Scanner, which he knocked up to help him find his lost birth mother (so they can become a family in true Disney style) gets him into all sorts of bother. And when I say ‘all sorts of bother’ I mean close encounters with evil mind controlling robotic bowler hats, a hungry but none too bright dinosaur and possibly the most dysfunctional future family ever…
Meet the Robinsons blazes a fun sci-fi comedy vibe that will please adults and children alike – my two sons (aged 6 and 9) were entranced and pronounced it to be ‘very cool’ and ‘absolutely awesome’ respectively. My mate Tim laughed loud and long too – especially at the more ‘off the wall’ moments such as a fun cameo photo of Tom Selleck and various oddball family members whose antics sailed over the heads of the kids.
The plot takes in many sci-fi references from Back to the Future to The Matrix and mixes a deftly wonderful combination that succeeds in both its comedy and obligatory Disney ‘lump in throat’ climax. You’ll certainly laugh – especially at scenes such as when uber bad guy demands of his T-Rex “Why aren't you seizing the boy?!” (Lewis is trapped in the corner). The dino replies after banging his head against the wall several times: “Because I have a big head and little arms… I'm just not sure how well this plan was thought through.”
It all zips along with pleasing pizzazz, limiting the musical numbers to a funky swing effort by and bunch of genetically enhanced mobster frogs – yes you did read that right!? I didn’t know what to expect from Meet the Robinsons having not read the book it is based on but I came away very pleased having witnessed the high jinks on offer here.
If you enjoyed The Incredibles, this will give you a similar buzz of feel good future action and comedy adventure. Hats off to Disney for delivering the first must see all age time travelling spectacular of the year!


Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööö - family friendly comic action
Laughs öööö – very funny- quality stuff
Horror ö – mild tension
Babes ö – nothing animatedly sexy

Overall öööö (highly watchable fun)

"sit and stay... good boy!"

Darkmatters: H O M E

Kelly Craig - 300's hot secret weapon


"Photographic evidence that she really is 'smokin hot'!"

300 - what a film eh? I'm still high from its blood soaked overdose of glory... But one of the many great things in the film was the inclusion of Kelly Craig as the 'Oracle Girl'... Her sexy dance (which was filmed underwater by the way) was absolutely captivating, I tip the foxy model from Canada to go on to greater things movie wise after this...

Here are a couple more of her modelling shots...


"you don't need to be a mystic oracle to appreciate natural good looks"


"Um, miss Craig I think your trousers are falling down..."
Related links:
Click here to read My 300 Review
Leighton Meester (another movie / TV babe...) see her here
Katrina Bowden (" " " ") see her here
Darkmatters: H O M E

Sunshine - review




Sunshine (15)
Dir. Danny Boyle

Reviewed by Matt Adcock


…Incoming message from 1.2 lightyears out…
For years now we have stumbled in the darkness of a drought, an abyss, a cold hard vacuum of quality space based science fiction (apart from Serenity obviously).
But there is something bright on the horizon, a burning beautiful ball of light that promises to scorch away the rancid memories of Red Planet and Mission to Mars…

With a spirit of burgeoning optimism it was that I walked into the brilliant brightness of Sunshine and let it burn its memorable imprint into my retinas.

Sunshine by Danny ‘Trainspotting’ Boyle is based on an original screenplay by Alex ‘The Beach’ Garland and at first glance it might make you think of 2001: A Space Odyssey only on a more nihilistic and altogether darker vibe. It seems you see that in just fifty or so years our sun will die out and the future of humanity will rely on a select group of astronauts and scientists packed aboard a spaceship named ‘Icarus 2’ armed only with a giant deflector shield and a huge bomb – a bomb designed to reignite our nearest star. So we get to travel with the mix n match crew as they trace the same path of the ‘missing presumed dead Icarus 1’ that disappeared without trace some years before whilst also attempting to plant a bomb on our dying sun.

So far, so Armageddon 2, but Sunshine actually has far more in common with the classic Alien for ‘feel’ and not just because they pick up something rather malevolent en route… But it might just be their battle with the sheer tedium of being trapped in a cabin fever inducing spaceship for months on end that is their undoing… Or then again could there another influence altogether that will undoes their vital mission – it’s gripping stuff that walks the line between pondering mental anguish (otherwise known as Solaris) and kick ass crisis action (echoes of Boyle’s own 28 Days Later).

The Icarus II spaceship is a cool, iconic design and comes handily equipped with plentiful sci-fi cliché specials – tactically placed air locks, an on board AI that might have a mind of its own and of course miles of claustrophobic corridors in which to run, scream, fight and go mental.
The special effects rock too and deserve to be witnessed on the big screen, Sunshine really delivers on all fronts and
Cillian Murphy is worthy of special praise for his perfectly weighted performance.
…Message ends…

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öööö - serious sci-fi thrills
Laughs öö – some but limited dark humour
Horror ööö – Boyle has good form for grimness
Babes öö – not what this is all about

Overall öööö (impressive)



"knock knock... who's there? The DARKNESS OF SPACE!!"

Darkmatters:
H O M E

Thursday, March 22, 2007

300 - review


"no not the Biblical Gideon and his 300 warriors... these guys are SPARTAN"


"freestyle cliff diving - was big in ancient Sparta"

300 (15)
Dir. Zack Snyder

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

I am a Spartan, descended from Hercules himself. Taught never to surrender and that death on the battlefield is the greatest glory in life (although film reviewing is obviously a close second)…
Now come and witness Sparta’s finest hour – the battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. where 300 Spartan warriors stood against the combined might of over a million aggressors. 300 is an unbelievable achievement, director Zack ‘Dawn of the Dead’ Snyder has brought to vivid, blood soaked life the crunching graphic novel by Frank ‘Sin City’ Miller. It’s powerful, full on macho stuff too, which has battle action that makes Gladiator, Braveheart and Lord of the Rings look positively tame in comparison. 300 is a film that unleashes the inner ‘wild at heart’ warrior in the viewer. If you’ve ever longed to stand by your principles and not be cowed, or just can’t take another day of having your soul sapped by the dreariness of everyday life – choose 300 and learn how from the greatest warriors who ever lived.

If the heroic tale of King Leonidas (Gerard Butler), who took on the self proclaimed ‘god king’ Xerxes and his millions of invading Persians with nothing more than his personal bodyguard of 300 blokes doesn’t move you, it’s time to check for a pulse. This is a guy who sacrifices everything to make a stand for freedom and was empowered to do so by his gorgeous wife Gorgo (Lena Headey). Gorgo not only willingly releases her king to certain death but also takes drastic measures on the home front to fight the insidious political traitors too.

Leonidas really sets the standard for noble warrior Kings and his stand against such insurmountable odds reverberates through history. His father’s heart of love for his family, his men and his country is moving to behold and the few potent moments when limbs are not being cleaved off really struck me.

300 is also the most visually spectacular film I’ve ever witnessed – every frame is a heavily stylised moving enhancement of the original graphic masterpiece. Battle may never look this good again but if total carnage leaves you cold then this really isn’t the film for you. If honour, excitement and entertainment beyond the thresholds of normal cinema is what you seek, there is nothing that can touch this bloody epic.

Enjoy it and then go and see it in IMAX too if you can!!

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööööö - unsurpassed battle glory
Laughs ööö – wry wit and dark humour
Horror ööö – plenty of blood soaked grimness
Babes öööö – Kelly Criag is a total babe!!

Overall ööööö (see it, love it, see it again!!)




"See a graphic novel come to life!!"


"feel the heat of battle!"




"Kelly 'how hot am I?' Craig in her show stopping Oracle dance"
See more of Kelly Craig here: Kelly Craig 300s Secret Weapon
Darkmatters: H O M E

Venom attacks - Spiderman 3


"The darkness consumes a new victim..."

"Prepare for a cool big screen showdown!!"

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Factory Girl - review



Factory Girl (15)
Dir. George Hickenlooper

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

If and only if the thought of watching breath-taking action involving heroically muscled men in skimpy outfits and red cloaks battling insane odds leave you cold should you seek out Factory Girl this week over the mighty 300. This is a self important, fictionally enhanced tale of Edie Sedgwick, troubled society girl extraordinaire who never quite made it big but whose claim to fame was being patronised by Andy Warhol.

Warhol's bloated and seedy world of the ‘Factory’ is a place that grates on the nerves very quickly. Whilst everything is effectively brought to life – you can virtually smell the flatulent drug haze – it doesn’t mean that it’s a place you’d want to hang out.
Sienna Miller makes an attractive Sedgwick and really throws herself into the role but it is to little avail. The sad fact is that it’s simply no fun watching a spoilt little rich girl self destructing in grand style however authentically it is portrayed. Whatever slight sympathy you might harbour for Sedgwick has a very short half-life as she along with just about everybody else here become tedious to watch before the film is half done.
So Miller proves she can deliver in a leading role and Guy Pearce makes a decent Warhol even though it could be anyone under the glasses and wig. Hayden ‘Skywalker’ Christensen plays Bob Dylan who gets into an awkward romantic situation with Sedgwick (although his character is not named because of legal wrangles from the Dylan estate).
Some may enjoy seeing a society ‘it girl’ poverty-stricken, drug-addicted and generally on the ropes but Factory Girl fails to win any hearts of minds and merely serves as a car crash spectacle.
What’s annoying is that the whole Factory scene must have been an insane coalition and could potentially have made a crazy film experience detailing the dangers of excess, fleeting celebrity and of course the life wrecking drug effects. Alas Factory Girl is a limping shallow exercise in boredom, which cannot be saved even by copious ‘real’ talking heads who expound their recollections of Edie Sedgwick over the end credits. Unfortunately for all concerned by that point it’s far too little, too late…
Give me the blood soaked glory of 300’s Spartan warfare over this arty self-obsessed claptrap any day.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ö - none to speak of
Laughs ö – none to speak of
Horror ö – none to speak of
Babes ööö – Sienna is hot but this movie isn't

Overall ö (rich girls have issues too!)

Darkmatters:
H O M E
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Monday, March 12, 2007

Sunshine - dark days are coming


"am checking this out tomorrow... hopes are high..."

check out the cool trailer here:
http://www.apple.com/trailers/

Darkmatters:
H O M E
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Inland Empire - review



Inland Empire
Dir. David Lynch

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Congratulations – you’re visa has been approved for a visit to the Inland Empire – it’s a place like none you’ve ever imagined, but for David Lynch fans it’s also home… Inland Empire is a slow (very slow at three hours!) trip through the sleazy underbelly of Hollywood – or is it?

How else did I describe this freakfest?

a. like having the devil rub his hard-on on the back of your neck
b. the mother of all Lynchisms
c. freak fiction of the highest quality

or
d. all of the above...

Find out by reading the full review here:
http://www.frankthemonkey.com

Darkmatters:
H O M E
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Becoming Jane - review



Becoming Jane (PG)
Dir. Julian Jarrold

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

This is tale that the government has tried to hush up, an unsettling account of assassination, intrigue and of killer robots sent back in time to wipe out the future of humanity. Seems you see that Jane Austen wasn’t quite the plain looking, innocent virtuoso authoress that historical records would have us believe. Oh no, the secret that I am now risking all to share with you is that actually, Jane Austen was a bit of alright, an absolute babe in fact – and whisper this – judging by her accent I think she might have been American too!?
Yes, Becoming Jane blows the lid off the ‘real’ and by ‘real’ I mean ‘mostly made up’ life story of one of Britain’s’ best loved authors. Anne ‘Devil Wears Prada’ Hathaway takes the title role and delivers a brilliantly spirited turn (my wife said that she even blew Kiera Knightley’s Pride & Prejudice heroine away, but I won’t hear a word against my mate Kiera). James ‘Last King of Scotland’ McAvoy is the dashingly smug Tom Lefroy (I promised that I wouldn’t repeat what my wife said about him, but it was very positive too).
The two leads absolutely fizz with chemistry and although most of their relationship is almost entirely fictional, you still get some sense of her quiet and mostly uneventful life in the wilds of Hampshire. The film plays out like a prequel to one of Austen’s novels with characters like the flitrtatious Elisa de Feuillade played by Lucy ‘mostly worked on Brit TV series The Bill’ Cohu, married to a French count who was later guillotined. And of course the dashing young Irish lawyer Tom Lefroy, with whom Jane fell in love and hoped to marry / elope.
As a bit of a Jane Austen lover I have to admit that I went to see this with a deep scepticism but came out having thoroughly enjoyed tracing the emotional impact that Jane’s encounters had on her own fictional output. Becoming Jane is a quality date movie too, Hathaway is absolutely gorgeous, all poised pouts backed up with a fine repertoire of wicked smiles. McAvoy is excellent too and stands out amongst a decent cast that also includes Julie Walters as Jane’s mother. Mrs. Austen get many of the best lines including: "Affection is desirable. Money is absolutely indispensable!" Becoming Jane deserves to be a success – if you’re feeling even slightly romantic don’t deny yourself this period romantic hit!

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öööö - smooching ahoy... they made that up!
Laughs öö – wicked wit in evidence... they made that up too!
Horror ö – nothing nasty here
Babes öööö – Anne Hathaway is a foxy minx!!

Overall öööö (if you don't fall in love with this - you've got issues!)



"Miss Austen shows us two fo her better points..."


"look at that dramatic tension!?"


Darkmatters: H O M E


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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Older... darker..?



Just had to share this piece of superb Birthday 'art' from my oldest, darkest friend - MIKE - he's the guy who goes ahead of me each year pathfinding what it feels like to be older... then about a month later I follow him, this year, into pre-middleage (36)...

Here's his words of wisedom... "i thought i might leave with this depressing thought, brought home to me from the film rumble fish, and delivered in world weary style by Tom Waites:


'Time is a funny thing. Time is a very peculiar item.When you're young, you're a kid, you got time.Throw away a couple of years, a couple of years ...It doesn't matter. You know? The older you get you say,'Jesus, how much I got?...35 summers left,' think about it.'
Statistically, we have 43 summers left. I doesn't sound like much when you break it down like that. makes you think. enjoy."


It does make you think...
makes me think that I need to finish Darkmatters (2 weeks from manuscript deadline now)

and while you're waiting - he's my review of new French horror Sheitan (SATAN):

"Ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight? Oh you have… Um, bet it wasn’t in a rural French chateau populated with a volatile mixture of freaky insane family members, gorgeously hot and seductive nymphets and a mentally jovial caretaker who might have sold his soul to the devil? Oh, you did?Hhhmm, who’d have thought? Well in that case you should check out Sheitan (Satan) – the latest French horror blast which walks in the bloody slasher footsteps of Switchblade Romance and Ils but brings the horned beast to the party too… I’m pretty sure that if the devil exists he’ll have been amused watching Sheitan as this cinematic orgy of... click here to read the rest over at
FRANK THE MONKEY

Darkmatters:
H O M E

Sunday, March 04, 2007

OUTLAW - review


"don't sign a petition pick up an automatic weapon..."

Outlaw (18)
Dir. Nick Love

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“There will be no excuses. The guilty will be punished…”
Right, this is how it’s going to be: for too long nonces, bullies, hoodies and scumbags of all types have taken advantage of our lax UK legal system, the innocent have suffered and the criminals have prospered – that ends now.
No longer will we take it, the public are fighting back and when I say ‘public’ I obviously mean ‘Sean Bean, Danny Dyer, Bob Hoskins and some other nice but violently disposed chaps’…
Outlaw is a Nick ‘Football Factory, The Business’ Love film – he’s the UK’s best at chav culture bloke wish fulfilment and Outlaw builds on his cocky, loveable geezer angst and filters it through the heavy hitting tones of a Michael Mann movie. The result is a high velocity rifle shot of modern day knee jerk violent revenge that could be ripped from any copy of Daily Mail.
Basically the outlaws here are like an English A-Team just without the ‘build a tank in the back garden plotlines’. Cue the music ‘Da da dan da, da da da… In 2007 a crack commando (Bean) and some other blokes form a unit and are vilified for a crime they don't commit. These men promptly escape from an unlikely Police sting to the London underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as thugs of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The Outlaws…
Yes that just about sums up this film, it’s gritty, it’s violent and it is liable to encourage angry mobs to form and take their own brand of violent vigilante ‘justice’ to the streets. So whilst morally reprehensible and obviously not to meant to be ‘tried at home’ Outlaw manages to be bloody good fun too. It’s hard not to feel a twinge of ‘go get the scumbags’ sentiment when the posse decide to avenge the horrific murder of one of their wives. And despite most of them not knowing which way round to hold their AK47s they manage to get out there and do some damage to the criminal underworld.
It’s not big or clever but if you’ve ever felt let down by the system and fancy seeing a bit of make believe macho retribution - Outlaw delivers a serious payload of hardball thrills, think a British Fight Club and you’ll be in the right neighbourhood.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):
Action öööö -
come on then, you looking at me punk!?
Laughs öö – it's not supposed to be comedy but Dyer is born comedian
Horror ööö – some serious violence ensues
Babes öö – this is a boys film with 'guns' not 'babes'

Overall öööö (nasty but necessary)


"the 'vigilante gun idol' contestants strutted their stuff"

Links:

More Danny Dyer revenge in soon to be released 'Straightheads'

Or balls to the wall horror comedy Severance

Darkmatters:
H O M E

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Ghost Rider - review


"nice bike, shame about the film..."


Ghost Rider (12a)
Dir. Mark Steven Johnson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“There will be no excuses. The guilty will be punished…”
In this case though the guilty are the filmmakers who have unashamedly taken a half decent comic book premise – man sells soul to devil but is tricked into becoming the evil one’s bounty hunter, and dumbed it down, blandedit out and laughed all the way to the bank as it cruises past $100million dollar takings in the U.S. alone.
I used to have a pile of Ghost Rider comics and matchbox toy of his flaming bike which I loved as a boy; alas those pleasant memories of long afternoons burning around my house have been ruined by this limp screen adaptation. Anyway, step this way if you’re in the mood to see Nicholas Cage act even less convincingly than he did in the abysmal Wicker Man remake last year. Here he plays Johnny Blaze, a hot shot stunt biker who inadvertently signs over his soul to Mephistopheles (played like a camp Christopher Walken by Peter Fonda). This diabolic dealing leaves Blaze contractually obligated to be the devil’s own biker scout by night, his head becomes a flaming skull and his bike develops a seriously flammable demeanour.
The sight of the Ghost Rider in full CGI glory is probably the only thing worth checking this stale, lame and completely unnecessary movie out for. But even this wears thin after about a minute or two and becomes laughable when you see the ‘skull’ try to lip synch his clichéd lines.
The baddies don’t fare much better with satan’s son ‘Blackheart’ (Wes Bentley) moping about the place randomly killing people whilst tracking down a legendary contract that he wants to use to put his dad out of a job. The ‘climatic’ showdown between Ghost Rider and Blackheart has to be one of the weakest on screen battles ever, several people even walked out during it which really isn’t a good sign.
The gorgeous Eva Mendez pops up as the unfortunate love interest who has to share Blaze with his hot headed nocturnal exploits – but she’s given little to do except look doe eyed and pout.
Beware Mark Steven Johnson (the director), because if the Ghost Rider is out there, as he says in the film: “Your soul has been tainted by the blood of the innocent. Look into my eyes and feel their pain!” – That’s the pain of the audience he’s talking about and you will suffer greatly!!

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ö - weak and frankly rubbish
Laughs öö – a couple, mostly laughing 'at it' not 'with it'
Horror öö – some unpleasant images
Babes ööö – Mendez is hot
Overall öö(prepare for disappointment)


"please don't make me make a sequel!?"

Darkmatters:
H O M E

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Battlestar Galactica - love it!!


"No, sorry never had a black Trans Am named KITT in my family"

Battlestar Galactica - register a new convert...

'Lighten up a little bit. It's only the end of the world.'

Love love love the new Battlestar Galactica - Tom my mentee got me the first season on DVD for my B'day, well done Mr Wade, I'm completely addicted!!

Cool CGI, tight plots and compelling characters, it's all good. Am having to fight the urge to burn through the whole series but am trying to pace myself until my previous joint favourite space based series (the other obviously being Firefly) - Babylon 5 'Complete Universe' arrives and I can relive evey last second of that, this time with my sons...


"tasty new CGI Vipers in action!"

Also the new Battlestar G has got a lot of the religious folks that I mix with excited because of all the 'spirituality' in it - as a believer myself that's just an added bonus. Here's some background if you're interested in that angle:

Unbeknownst to most viewers, "Battlestar Galactica" has been steeped in religion since its very inception. First pitched by uber-producer Glen A. Larson as a series of Bible stories set in space called "Adam's Ark," the reworked "Battlestar Galactica" was also influenced by another religious book: the Book of Mormon. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Larson borrowed plot points from his faith's sacred texts.*


But in a sage decision the makers have upped the 'babe' factor considerably injecting evil sexy Cylon blonde Tricia Helfer, tomboy 'starbuck' Katee Sackhoff, Boomer 'Tom's Choice' Grace Park and not forgetting super cute space pixie - Nicki 'Cally' Clyne!? see below:


"Aaron Douglas... he's not so cute"

*taken from "Born-Again 'Battlestar'" link:
http://www.beliefnet.com/story/166/story_16633_1.html

Links:

National Serenity Day

Firefly review

Darkmatters: H O M E

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