DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Simpsons... on PS3


"you've got to love this take off of the 'Medal of Honour' games"

First bit of artwork I've seen from the upcoming new Simpsons game (multiformat but I'll be getting the PS3 version)...

With incidental little jokes like this in it - looks like it might be very very cool!
Posted by Picasa

Black Snake Moan - Review



Black Snake Moan (15)
Dir. Craig Brewer

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“I think... I think we’re f*cked up. I know I am. But that don't mean what I feel ain't real, that I can't love somebody. And I know what I done is real real bad, but um... … …
If you want to quit on me I understand….
But please don't.”

You look at the poster for Black Snake Moan and can’t quite believe what you see – is that a hot young white girl (Christina Ricci) chained up by grizzly looking black guy (Samuel L. Jackson)? Yes, yes it is…
And then maybe you see the trailer which features lots of Ricci wearing only a cut off t-shirt and skimpy panties whilst apparently spending the movie chained to Jackson’s radiator somewhere in the Deep South… Surely this must be some kind of dodgy, seedy exploitation flick – I thought perhaps I should investigate and report back to ahem ‘warn’ others about how dangerously depraved this film might be.
Then I read my esteemed film reviewer pal Bina’s review where she describes Black Snake Moan as: “a desperately sweet movie about unexpected friendship and redemption through the awesome medium of blues music… As emotional journeys go, Christina Ricci gives the performance of her career, and perhaps of the year.” And she’s right actually, well kind of…

There is a ton of misogynistic leering camerawork and probably more nymphomania, domestic style violence, swearing and random infidelity than will feature in any other film released this year but amazingly all that filth simply serves up the arena for a tale of true love and the painful confrontation of inner demons…
Black Snake Moan is the tale of Rae – a cute white trash nympho (played with sheer conviction by Ricci) who gets into all kinds of bother when her boyfriend Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) joins up and is posted off to Iraq. Before you can say ‘I wonder if she’ll stay faithful’ Rae is taking all comers trying to sate her turbo charged carnal appetites with any bloke who looks at her. This is a self-destructive young woman whose dangerous sexual hunger is a result of childhood abuse. It’s not long before she’s being beaten and left for dead in some country road – only to be found and taken in by blues aficionado Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson).
As a Christian I was interested in Lazarus’s character – his motivation for chaining up his new young charge is to cleanse her of her ‘wickedness’. Can bible based benevolence save a wanton wild child such as her? Is there hope of redemption for a Lazarus’s broken spirit through his unorthodox attempt at chaste resurrection for his ‘captive’? Apparently there is – although I don’t think the ‘chaining people to radiators form of therapy’ is likely to catch on.

Black Snake Moan might be raw, exploitive and dripping sweaty heat from every pore but it also exhibits tenderness towards its protagonists and if you stay the course, you’ll leave the film having been challenged about relationships and self worth. Oh and Timberlake is great in his weak dysfunctional role which is a million miles away from his tough kid persona in Alpha Dog – damn it looks like he’s actually turning out to be decent actor…

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööö – beatings and shaggings and bible readings etc
Laughs öö – limited mirth
Horror ööö – disturbing in parts
Babes öööö – Ricci is a sensation

Overall ööö1/2 (more to it than meets the eye)


"Christina Ricci - trying the Daisy Duke look"

Darkmatters: H O M E
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Thud!



Thud! – Book and Game
By Terry Pratchett

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Discworld eh? I used to be a bit of a fan of these fantasy novels – and I confess that I still like the idea of them but had lost track of the series because there are 30+ of them now...
So there I am minding my own business – looking for to satiate one of my compulsions by finding a new strategy war game (am a fan of chess but an even bigger fan of The Viking Game / Hnefatafl)… If you haven’t played it I urge to track down a set / try an online game…
Then it happened – THUD! – hits me like a Troll club to the back of the head!?
Terry Pratchett proves himself to be a bit of a canny bastard by launching a spin off Viking Game clone based on his discworld novel Thud!… And as it turns out the game is decent but the book just OK.
Plotwise it’s all about the ancient battle of Koom Valley, where Dwarfs and the Trolls went to war. Ankh-Morpork Police Commander Samuel Vimes can smell trouble as the anniversary of the battle threatens to tear the city apart in a Dwarf / Troll carnage…
I found it hard to make the trip back to Discworld having not read many of the previous books (one of my ‘even geekier’ mates - who asked not to be named online – has read them all and told me that they were humorous but not laugh-out-loud funny) and that’s kind of how I found Thud!
Alas it wasn’t enough to make me want to read any more Discworld books, but I will be playing Thud! the game for the foreseeable future… Bonus.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - review


Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (12a)
Dir. Gore Verbinski

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Yo ho ho and a bottle of ‘um, wait a minute – haven’t we seen all this somewhere before?’
Here it is, the third and potentially final Pirates of the Caribbean sails into cinemas all guns blazing, all timbers shivering and all expectations resting on it redeeming the swashbuckling fun series that faltered a little with last year’s Dead Man’s Chest.
As devious Pirate Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) states at one point: “Everything we've ever done has lead to this…”
It’s no secret that ‘At World’s End’ brings everybody’s favourite pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) back from his perilous departure at the end of the last movie, in fact just about everyone is back. Marvel at the slightly less useless Will Turner (Orlando ‘not sure I’m ever going to convince as a leading man’ Bloom) and the sexiest pirate fancier ever to walk the plank - Elizabeth Swann (Keira ‘nobody else could look this good in grimy pirate outfit’ Knightley) who are now allied with one time enemy Barbossa and the mystical Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris).
New additions include several more Pirate Captains such as Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat) and Captain Teague (a brilliant cameo by Keith Richards) but what you probably want to know is - does it deliver the goods?
Well me hearties – kind of… At World's End is a darker and less comically pleasing adventure than the previous two. The grimmer tone is set from the opening mass executions which might prove disturbing for – well, anyone actually and it takes a while to recover. There are at least a couple of quality mirthful moments (courtesy of Jack Sparrow of course), just don’t go expecting a laugh-a-thon. What I was looking forward to most was the promised titanic sea battle where every pirate must make a stand not only for their lives and fortunes, but the entire future of the freedom-loving Pirate way. Alas this was just one of many scenes that didn’t deliver all I was hoping; in fact Pirates 3 turns out to be just an OK (if much too long) film when it could have been an excellent one. Think muddled Matrix 3 more than fun Spiderman 3…
Having said that – you probably do want know if Will can save his dad from the dastardly Davy Jones? Has Captain Jack finally bitten off more than he can chew in coming back from the dead? And yes, someone finally gets the girl but who will it be?
Only one way to find out…

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööö – not enough, and what there is feels 'recycled'
Laughs öö – not enough!! come on... Sparrow is one of the funniest characters ever but wasted here
Horror ööö – more than expected, what was all that hanging about?
Babes öööö – Keira ‘nobody else could look this good in grimy pirate outfit’ Knightley

Overall ööö (It's OK, but it could have been great)


"all the girls love a pirate... especially the daper Jack Sparrow it seems!?"


"me? I'll settle for the gorgeous miss knightley - this is very much her film!"

Darkmatters: H O M E
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Zodiac - review



Zodiac (15)
Dir. David Fincher

Reviewed by Matt Adcock


Dear Herald & Post editor...
This is the Zodiac speaking, I have been observing the behaviour of several people in your area. You will be sad to hear that they are now dead and if you have any interest in preserving the people of your town I insist that you try to find me… Perhaps a good move would be to venture to the local picture house where you will surely flinch when you see my acts of utmost brutality depicted larger than life on the big screen.
You will however not catch me as I am far too clever, the film about me will mess with your head and may lead you in many directions before giving you enough evidence for you to draw your conclusions as to my identity.
Zodiac (great title for my film) is expertly crafted, well acted and dripping with oppressive tension as you might expect from master director David ‘Seven’ Fincher. Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. produce outstanding work, giving their characters heavyweight presence and deliciously believable quirks. The only minor niggle might be that it takes over two and a half hours to explore my tale but that surely only speaks masses as to how obsessed the film makers became with my ruthless and sadistic reign of terror. And I object to the implication that I might not have actually been the mass killer I took credit for – nobody should doubt my unhinged dedication to my campaign against rational humankind. There are scenes in this film that get so scary they are liable to give you heart palpitations. The plot takes up the story of Jake Gyllenhaal’s Robert Graysmith – a cartoonist at the San Francisco Chronicle (although I think he might have moved the Biggleswade Chronicle now). This likeable hack became completely fixated with tracking me down, he simply would not let go of the trail even after the cops had all but given up. It is a fascinating tale that shows there is more than one way to lose your life to a killer… But who wouldn’t feel the need to stand there, to look me in the eye and know that you’ve found the psychotic enemy of the people. But you never will – despite the compelling evidence pointing towards one suspect, the investigation into my crime spree is still filed as ‘open’ - so if this film inspires you to take up pursuit of me, I’ll be waiting...

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööö – something wicked this way comes
Laughs ö – couple of amusing quirky bits but if the person watching this starts giggling - run!!
Horror öööö – nasty murders and pervading menace
Babes öö – limited babeness on offer

Overall öööö1/2 (watch this - I'm watching you)

Darkmatters:
H O M E
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 13, 2007

28 Weeks Later - review



28 Weeks Later (18)
Dir. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Caution: there might be some out there who will not enjoy 28 Weeks Later…
They are people who do not want to experience gut wrenching, nerve shredding action / horror that rips up the mantra that sequels are never as good as the original…
28 Weeks Later is a direct continuation of the events set in motion by the cracking Brit zombie reinvention ‘28 Days Later’ from 2002. The good news is that this is bigger, better and more compulsive viewing in just about every way. Just when it looks like the worst is over, the Rage virus rears its vicious, blood drooling, flesh craving head again in Britain. New hero Don (Robert Carlyle) and his wife (Catherine McCormack) are holed up in a remote farmhouse, trying to lay low whilst the rest of the country tears each others brains out. But it seems that nobody is safe and before you can say ‘look out for those ravenous demented zombies’ even the newly repopulated area of London which is now under martial control by our dear US Military chums finds itself torn apart as hell breaks loose… again...
Juan ‘Intacto’ Carlos Fresnadillo picks up the directorial reigns from Danny Boyle and he brings all of his Spanish flair that made Intacto such a classic to this nitrous-fuelled rollercoaster of a horror that will tear your soul apart.
Carlyle does the business – capturing a wonderful level of pathos as the husband tormented by his cowardice and his central character is a worthy follow up to Cillian Murphy’s in the original. Undisputed star this time though is newcomer Imogen Poots – who despite her amusing name manages to be absolutely captivating in her role as Don’s daughter. Male cinema goers (including mate John who I saw this with) are liable to immediately loose their hearts to this hot upcoming actress who turns 18 this year.
28 Weeks Later contains scenes that will make you choke on your popcorn in sheer excitement mixed with nervous tension. The stand out scene has to be the best ever ‘escape from a horde of zombies through gratuitous use of helicopter’ – this is an eighteen rated film for very good reason.
I won’t bore you with some plot mapping against the War on Terror analogy – this is a horror action sequel in the same vein as Aliens and yes I know that’s high praise but 28 Weeks Later really delivers.
No review would be adequate without bigging up the unforgettable, sweat inducing musical score by John Murphy which cunningly remixes the anthem from ‘28 Days Later’ and builds it into a pitch perfect companion to the on screen action.
Fresnadillo is a red eyed, sharp toothed major talent to watch and he should be applauded for creating easily the best horror film of 2007 so far.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öööö – heavy duty gore soaked and hugely enjoyable
Laughs öö – there are some amusing scenes
Horror öööö – strong horror in places and general dread throughout
Babes öööö – Poots is gorgeous and has potential to be the next 'big Brit thing'

Overall öööö1/2 (a must see for fans of extreme horror action)


"... as she was in V for Vendetta"


"Imogen Poots stars - Keira Knightley watch your back - a new hot brit talent has arrived"


"Our US 'chums' decide to napalm bomb most of London including the tube network - the only way to be sure I guess"

"Love this poster too - this film is cult classic already!"

Darkmatters:
H O M E
Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Gospel According To Chris Moyles - review




The Gospel According To Chris Moyles
Reviewed by Matt Adcock

In the aftermath of most unsettling events, there follows what has been termed 'Contagious Dead Time'. Cracks that exist in our perception of reality become strained, allowing strange and uncomprehending drips of anti sanity to seep into our conscious realm. So there’s this scratching on my subconscious – and it started when I read The Gospel According To Chris Moyles: The Story Of A Man And His Mouth… And now I’m freaking out – is Moyles really the fabled ‘Saviour of Radio One’?

The Gospel According To Chris Moyles certainly backs up his self professed radio wave messianic claim and the book is such a light read that you can tear through it in a couple of hours.
I have to admit that I like the big mouthed, Leeds United supporting, brash and provocative DJ. He makes me laugh when I catch him on the radio and the book feels very much like he’s managed to rip out a bit of himself (possibly by a bout of intense self mutilation).

The good stuff is where he talks about his life, his various radio jobs up to and including Radio One and the genuinely amusing anecdotes. The bad stuff is the inane name dropping and brown nosing to the various stars he’s interviewed etc…

If you hate Moyles it’s debatable as to whether this book will change your mind – it’s too much ‘him’ dripping from every page – but for those who are either fans or count yourself amongst the few people who might not have come across him, you could do much worse than slip this onto your reading list. It doesn’t claim to be anything more than it is – it’s the story of the man and his mouth…

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Overall ööö1/2 (he really is the saviour)



"caution: this book might make you dig Moyles..."

Darkmatters:
H O M E
Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 07, 2007

Goya’s Ghosts - review



Goya’s Ghosts (15)
Dir. Milos Forman

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!
- Especially not to turn up on an unseasonably chilly evening in the wilds of Luton… But that is where I found them and it wasn’t long before they were up to their old tricks of abducting, torturing and condemning the heretic hoards, well Natalie Portman at least…
This weird and occasionally wonderful tale of one of the most erm, well, weird and occasionally wonderful painters ever is directed by Milos ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ Forman (who has form for this kind of lavish historical romp with his excellent Amadeus). Goya’s Ghosts or ‘Fantasmas de Goya’ to give it it’s authentic Spanish title covers a torrid period of Spanish history where they suffer at the hands of the evil and hypocritical Inquisition and then suffer some more when Napoleon decides to invade. It might not be very ‘feel good’ stuff but it’s brought to vivid and passionate life by a classy cast including Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem and Stellan Skarsgard.
Key to the plot is the twisted and staggeringly malicious Brother Lorenzo (Bardem) who is having his portrait painted by Goya (a nicely weighted performance by Skarsgard conveying both his mischievous nature and his virtuousness). The two men’s lives are rocked by the shapely form of Ines (Natalie Portman) Goya’s muse with an angel’s face but a body liable to ignite the lustful desires of even the most zealous monk – ahem, Lorenzo – I’m looking at you here.
Portman is delightful, handling her difficult role well – the torture scenes are especially grim and she also plays the equally beguiling illegitimate daughter of Ines towards the end of the film. But having been imprisoned by the Inquisition for supposedly being a Jew, Ines suffers terribly at the hands of the wicked monks and Lorenzo in particular. This is despite the noble actions of Goya but she is left to rot for fifteen years and is only freed when the French take over.
Goya’s Ghosts delivers much to be admired but doesn’t quite match the power or the wonder of Forman’s earlier classics. In the end you might find that the film simply whets your appetite and makes you want to find out more about the enigmatic Goya. The opening and closing title credits are a fantastic gallery of the painter’s work, which for me, are worth the price of admission on their own…

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öö – sufficient but not masses
Laughs öö – some amusing scenes
Horror ööö – nude torture and some grimness
Babes ööö – Portman, yes please (apart from after 15 years in jail!)

Overall öö1/2 (competent but not stunning)


"viva la France... eh?"


"I told you - I'm not into that kinky monk torture stuff..."

Darkmatters: H O M E
Posted by Picasa

Tweet this...