DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Monday, December 24, 2012

Darkmatters Review: Pitch Perfect


Pitch Perfect (12a)

Dir. Jason Moore

Reviewed by Mett Adcock

"I’m sure we can find super-hot girls with bikini-ready bodies who are pitch perfect singers…."

Meet the Barden Bellas, an all female collegiate a cappella group – bitchy and sexy, they failed embarrassingly in the big finals last year thanks to their uptight leader Aubrey (Anna ‘Mad Men’ Camp) who vomited all over the place… This year they need to win but their intake is slightly different – including Beca (Anna ‘End of Watch’ Kendrick),an alt-girl wannabe DJ, ‘Fat’ Amy (Rebel Wilson) who lives up to her name and Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) whose voice is a constant whisper but who says the most inappropriate things – all the time…

Directed by Jason Moore – based on the novel by Mickey Rapkin Pitch Perfect is a riotous blast of aca-fun which rips the piss out of Glee and other musical teen shows / films. Can this oddball bunch of girls overcome their misunderstood / misfit status and take on the cooler groups including the cocky all boy group ‘The Treblemakers’?

On paper this sounds like a cringe inducing waste of time and effort but to my complete surprise Pitch Perfect delivers a laugh-out-loud / feel-good dose of musical fun. The humour goes for a well-delivered gross out / unexpectedly dark vibe which puts this on the same playing field as Bridesmaids or 21 Jump Street.


Of course packing the cast with hot females is a win for male viewers too – Kendrick shows off her pleasing cleavage in just about every shot of her and the rest of the group tick the different look stereotypes – foxy redhead (Brittany Snow), man-eating slut (Alexis Knapp), feisty lesbian (Ester Dean) etc…


My esteemed pal Tom Wade nailed it in his review: ‘Well this is awkward… Everything about Pitch Perfect tells me that this is the sort of film that I should actively be protesting about as opposed to watching. A film that involves actresses clearly in their 30’s playing late teens/early twenties? Eurgh. A film that has no doubt been made due to the popularity of Glee? Stop! A film about an a cappella singing competition that has a plot so signposted that a 4 year old could see the ending 90 minutes earlier? No!

And yet… Something strange happened in Pitch Perfect. Maybe it’s the presence of the delightful Anna Kendrick, or maybe the spiky script or clever song routines, but by the end of Pitch Perfect I’d actually (whisper it) rather enjoyed myself.’

For an unexpectedly good time – Pitch Perfect shouldn’t be overlooked, prepare to get pitch slapped!

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööö1/2 - son of a pitch, this is really funny!?

3.5 – will fill you with glee...

Awesomeness ööö – maintains the momentum

Laughs öööö – really funny throughout

Horror öö – a little icky but nothing too bad

Babes öööö – something for everyone!

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - trust in yourself and your friends

Alexis Knapp (also in Project X this year)

Brittany Snow

Darkmatters Top Film Picks 2013


Darkmatters Top Film Picks 2013

Matt Adcock - is looking forward to these...


Man of Steel

Zack ‘Watchmen’ Synder brings Superman back – and it looks like he might just have the film of the year on his hands. The trailer alone is better then Superman Returns… Superfans rejoice!


Now You See Me

This looks a lot of fun - pitting an elite FBI squad in a game of cat and mouse against "The Four Horsemen," a super-team of the world's greatest illusionists. "The Four Horsemen" pull off a series of daring heists against corrupt business leaders during their performances, showering the stolen profits on their audiences while staying one step ahead of the law.




A Good Day to Die Hard

McClane has to balance saving the world with father / son bonding time when a nuclear-weapons heist is uncovered by the CIA.





Iron Man 3

Shane ‘Lethal Weapon’ Black takes directing duties in what promises to be the darkest Iron Man tale yet…


Star Trek: Into Darkness

The Enterprise finds an unstoppable force of terror and so Captain Kirk boldly leads a manhunt to a war-zone – looks like a winning follow up to the effective reboot.


Pacific Rim

Mankind mechs-up to face down massive alien threat – sounds like a must see especially with Guillermo del Toro in the director’s chair.


The Wolverine

Jackman snicks his claws again – this time in Japan with added samurais!


Oblivion

No – not the film of the Elder Scroll game but actually an apocalyptic tale starring Tom Cruise…


World War Z

It’s the zombie threat writ large with Brad Pitt leading the human resistance…


The World’s End

Edgar ‘Shaun of the Dead’ Wright take the pub crawl to the next level as five friends must drink to save the world!?


Anchorman: The Legend Continues

All hail to the newsman… lots to live up to in this much anticipated sequel.


Mad Max: Fury Road

Tom Hardy takes over Gibson as the iconic dusty leather jacket and looks set to up the badass-ness (if that’s even possible).


Robopocalypse

Steven Spielberg is back with robot-tastic tale based on the book by Daniel H Wilson, about a robot-reliant world that’s threatened when one of its number becomes self-aware. Extra excitement as Drew ‘The Cabin In The Woods’ Goddard is doing the script.


Robocop

Hoping this will work but am very worried that it might have suffered a ‘soul bypass’ like Total Recall did in the remaking…


300: Battle of Artemisia

This prequel to the ‘This Is Sparta’ epic could go either way, but hopes are high for it – even if it sounded cooler when called Xerxes.


KICK ASS 2

Kick-Ass is back – for what just might be the Darkmatters film of 2013. Hit-Girl and Red Mist (who goes very very bad this time) are also back- this time directed by Jeff ‘Never Back Down’ Wadlow steps up and if it holds to the graphic novel plot – there will be as many people offended as those who love this!?

- What are you looking forward to in 2013 film wise?


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Darkmatters Films of the year: 2012


Darkmatters Films of the year: 2012

Matt Adcock picks his top 10 (and some others that you really need to check out too)



10. Skyfall 

This is Craig's moment as Bond, the good work he did in Casino Royale is cemented to icon status here, even making up for the weaker Quantum of Solace. The whole package delivers on all fronts – Skyfall comprehensively trounces Taken 2 and The Bourne Legacy – it is by far the best spy action film of the year and should sure up the Bond franchise for some future adventures. Welcome back Mr Bond! Darkmatters Review



9. Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psychopaths is an excellent full frontal blast of Tarantino-esq pop culture and in-movie jokes that subverts every action kidnap thriller ever made and yet still manages to forge it’s own place in the ‘cult classic’ hall of fame. Highly recommended. Darkmatters Review


8. End of Watch

Lock and load for David ‘Street Kings and Harsh Times’ Ayer's powerful found-footage cop-drama-em-up. End of Watch is an awesomely kinetic free flowing tale of two likeable cops who get marked for death. High impact filmmaking - highly engaging film watching!  Darkmatters Review


7. Sightseers

Step this way for a pitch black comedy caravan road trip into the very heart of darkness that beats behind a sensible woollen jumper and ginger beard… Sightseers blows the Formica lined doors off the darkness of the human soul - and plays it for laughs. Ben ‘Kill List’ Wheatley delivers a fantastically nasty but also extremely funny caravan-em-up, which sees oddball British couple Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram) cutting a murderous swathe through the lesser-known tourist attractions of the Midlands. Darkmatters Review


6. Dredd

DREDD 3D is an action packed thrill ride that doesn’t pull its punches. The filmmakers, who include Luton’s finest Steve Worsley on assistant editing duties, bring the action to eye-watering life, making fine use of the 3D too in the process. Everything works in fine, brutal style, making DREDD 3D a highly recommended viewing! Darkmatters Review


5. Prometheus

Scott does a fantastic job of re-shuffling the basic elements from his classic Alien film – including Rapace as the strong female who must pit wits against an alien foe wearing just her underwear. But Prometheus is less a straight horror prequel and more as a fascinating glimpse into a fantastic exploration of the Alien universe. Darkmatters Review


4. Looper

Everything comes together in a superb slice of sci-fi action that brings whoops of appreciation from the audience and effortlessly delivers cult cool iconic status. It’s been a long time since Bruce Willis kicked this much ass – this is a ‘must see’ movie! Darkmatters Review


3. Avengers Assemble


Comic book fans the world over rejoice and behold the Avengers – the ultimate superhero team – finally unleashed on the big screen in an epic super-smackdown that sets a new standard for all superhero films. Darkmatters Review



2. The Dark Knight Rises

Sheer joy... Seeing Batman take to the sky in his new plaything ‘The Bat’ or streak through the city on his awesome Batpod Motorbike. Even as the odds against him grow, the plot deftly brings in elements such as brave cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), which offer tantalising glimpses of hope. Darkmatters Review 

As a director, Nolan is at the very top of his game here and he delivers a worthy, darker rival to wham-bam action fun of The Avengers. 2012 is proving to be a vintage year for superhero flicks and The Dark Knight Rises is potentially film of the year, but just pipped by a younger, first time director...

DARKMATTERS FILM OF THE YEAR IS:



1. Chronicle

“Telekinesis: The ability to move, lift, vibrate (that's my favourite), spin, bend, break or impact objects through the direct influence of mental power or other non-physical means." 

You want to see some ‘direct influence’? Go and see Chronicle, this is a pitch perfect tale of three high school kids who acquire telekinetic superpowers from a strange possibly alien artefact. So what are these young guys going to do with the power to move things, fly and attack people just with their minds?

Chronicle is a great film, it deconstructs the standard super hero genre in a similar way to the excellent Kick Ass or Super did and manages to play it both for laughs and packs a darker undercurrent. My teenage son loved it and proclaimed it to be ‘awesome’ which is high praise for a relatively low ($15m) budget film.

Darkmatters Review

Director Josh Trank is my 'director to watch' and for achieving such an incredible debut - CHRONICLE is my film of 2012! Can't wait to see what Trank directs next - rumours of a Fantastic Four reboot or Spiderman Baddie Venom movie could both be amazing...


Honourable mentions (you really need to see these too!):

The Sweeney- Review
Argo - Review
Life of Pi - Review
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Review
The Cabin In The Woods - Review
God Bless America - Review (coming soon)
Jack Reacher - Review
Sinister - Review
Lock Out - Review
The Raid - Review
21 Jump Street - Review

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Top 5 Renegade Cops / Agents


It's that countdown / top list time of year so let's kick off with a quick:

TOP 5 RENEGADE COPS / AGENTS

“Get Jack Reacher.” The only three words the primary suspect of a series of sniper homicides writes before slipping into a coma. Cryptic? Just a little. Cue the appearance of the mysterious Jack Reacher, an ex-army cop known for being untraceable to anyone and everyone unless he wants to be found. You don’t find him, he finds you. As he investigates the supposedly open and shut case of the murders, he realises that things are not quite what they seem. So, to celebrate the release of Jack Reacher, (in cinemas across the UK and Ireland from Wednesday 26th December), we have compiled a list of our top 5 renegade cops who, like Jack, come to discover that the law is not as black and white as it seems once they uncover the truth.


5. THE DEPARTED (2006) First up is Billy Costigan. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the young police academy student who drops out when he is given an undercover police assignment before he can even graduate. Going undercover as an ex-con, Billy must infiltrate a mob syndicate headed by criminal, Frank Costello (played by Jack Nicholson).


4. THE BOURNE IDENTITY (2002) Matt Damon is Jason Bourne who needs answers and he wants them badly enough to get them. But what will he do if he doesn’t like the truth once he discovers it?



3. TAKEN (2008) Former CIA agent Bryan Mills’ loves his teenage daughter, Kim, so when she’s kidnapped in Paris, he does whatever it takes, and kills whoever he must…


2. DIRTY HARRY (1971) Clint Eastwood stars as Police Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan in this classic cop thriller. Up against the sadistic serial killer, “Scorpio”, who by today’s standards is after an mildly unambitious $100,000.


1. DIE HARD (1988) New York City Detective John McClane (played by Bruce Willis) arrives in Los Angeles to reconcile with estranged wife Holly when the company Christmas party she is attending is taken hostage. McClane is not a traditional hero, but he’s a damn good one in a crisis!




Jack Reacher… Darkmatters review 

Boxing Day is the time to go see another former cop uncover more than he bargained for when he begins to investigate a seemingly simple case. Just don’t get in his way because he has nothing to lose and if “you’re smart that scares you!?”



"Jack Reacher's Alexia Fast - soaks up the sun"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Uncharted: Fight for Fortune - Review


Uncharted: Fight for Fortune (PSVITA)

Developed by Sony Bend

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

OK ‘cards on the table’ or rather ‘virtual cards on the crystal clear OLED VITA screen’ – I’m a veteran of strategic card games having played Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic: The Gathering, DuelMasters, Pokemon and even Star Wars: Collectable Card Game. My only excuse is that I have been busy raising two boys over the last 15 years and they happen to be lads who pack strategic brains – so alongside Chess, The Viking Game / Kings Table (Tafl), Discworld THUD, ShieldWall and even Nine-Men’s-Morris we’ve often indulged in some serious nerd-core strategy card game battles – and many of their videogame associated games.

"if you know what this card is - you are a hard core Yu-Gi-Oh! fan"

So it was with interest that I learnt Sony were adapting one of their AAA videogame action / adventure-em-ups Uncharted into a card battling experience… Uncharted: Fight for Fortune combines the characters and world of the Uncharted series – with different DLC packs for the various Uncharted games and whips up a very playable, easy to pick up but hard to master tactical card game.

The main characters such as Drake, Sully, Elena Fisher are joined by various baddies and side characters such as the zombie like Descendants plus comedy spin offs like a wiseass parrot or ‘Doughnut Drake’ who is an obese take on the hero. Cards are randomly shuffled and you play them in various phases using the VITA’s touchscreen. It’s a fight to the death as you and your opponent start with an allocated number of ‘life points’ and the first one reduced to zero loses.

"gotta collect em all"

Different cards have different attack / defence and each have a resource ‘cost’ which limits when they can be played. The cut and thrust of the turn based game sees you playing a character, equipping them with guns, armour or other bonuses and attacking you opponent whose lifepoints take the damage unless they have blocked you with a character of their own.

The cards are split into three Factions: Heroes, Villains, or Mercs and there is much strategy in working out which will boost your cards in play as various characters have side effect benefits when used together. In a freaking genius move, the cards themselves can be ‘levelled up’ by playing the excellent ‘real’ Uncharted: Golden Abyss – which has been patched to have cards hidden in it and which by achieving PSN trophies in the main game, they boost the effects and levels of the cards in Fight for Fortune.

Chances are that even if you’ve already beaten Golden Abyss, if you like Fight for Fortune you’ll be tempted to go back and play through again to improve your deck…

"wipe them out!!"

The ‘Fortune’ element of the game comes into play as it is the resource you can build up or spend on bonus cards – some games have different win criteria like ‘reach 100 fortune’ which changes how you play as killing the opponent is not longer how you win – rather you must carefully survive and build up your resource…

As well as the single player Fortune Hunter mode where you play against characters from the Uncharted universe, unlocking new cards for beating them, there are multiplayer options either online or ‘Pass and Play’ with a single Vita.

Only you know if you have the smarts and patience for a strategic game like Uncharted: Fight for Fortune – but if you want something different to stretch your brain and immerse yourself deeper into the Uncharted universe, this is a great game to pick up.

"Elena picks a card..."

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters: 

öööö – Tons of card battling fun on the go!

 4 – indulge your inner geek with some Uncharted love

Uncharted's pin up!

Darkmatters Review: Jack Reacher


Jack Reacher (12a)

Dir. Christopher McQuarrie

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“There's this guy. He's a kind of cop, at least he used to be. He doesn't care about proof, he doesn't care about the law, he only cares about what's right.”

Tom Cruise hits good form as Jack Reacher – a superbly tough antihero who finds himself up to his neck in a nasty sniper killing mystery that might be more than it first seems. This first big screen adaptation of Lee Child’s best selling and long running series of action thriller novels is a high quality production that delivers on all counts.

"cars, fights, girls... yep!"

Laura who I work with is a massive fan of the books and she expressed much derision at Cruise being cast – mostly because he’s older, shorter and not as blonde as the Jack Reacher of the books, but as a newcomer to the joys of Reacher I found that Cruise fits the role really well – he certainly hasn’t been this convincingly mean and moody since 2004’s Collateral.

The plot sees a renegade military sniper take out five innocent Americans, which feels very raw in the light of recent real life shootings and director Christopher ‘Way of the Gun’ McQuarrie certainly doesn’t let the 12a certificate get in the way of some disturbing scenes. The adult tone of the film works well and the slick cinematography, genuinely gripping; twisty plot and witty script combine to create the best action thriller of 2012.

The main suspect James Barr (Joseph Sikora), a former military sniper is soon traced and arrested but instead of signing a confession he request that Jack Reacher by contacted. And before you can say ‘great mix of danger and sexual tension’ Cruise is on the case working with Barr’s lawyer, Helen Rodin (the lovely Rosamund Pike).

"guns too"

Could it be that Barr is being set up? And how is the evil master villain ‘Zec’ (Werner ‘Bad Lieutenant’ Herzog) connected? There is a nicely tangled web to be explored, punctuated throughout with tasty action scenes that include fights, car chases and shoot-outs that are exciting but not stupidly over the top.

The climactic rain-drenched endgame will resonate with fans of the first Lethal Weapon and the gunplay is pure PS3 Black Ops death match come to life as Cruise runs and guns in style. There is also a great cameo from Robert Duvall and decent support from the sexy Alexia Fast and menacing Jai ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ Courtney.

"car chase up there with The Sweeney"

Overall Jack Reacher(s) the places that other action movies cannot – here’s to sequel soon before Cruise gets to old!!

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:

öööö1/2 - superb action thrills!

4.5 – Cruise will win you over even if a fan of the books

Awesomeness öööö – some great set pieces

Laughs ööö – funny in parts

Horror ööö – gets a little nasty in places

Babes öööö – Pike is still hot and Alexia Fast is one to watch (see below)

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - if you're bad, he'll come for you!


"Alexia Fast is on fire!"


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