DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Darkmatters Review: Hunger Games Catching Fire


The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (12a)

Dir. Frances Lawrence

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the newspaper version of this review at: The Hemel Gazette

“I want you to forget everything you think you know about the games. Last year was child's play. This year, you're dealing with all experienced killers.”

The life and death Hunger Games are back on the big screen and this time the stakes have been raised even higher – thanks to Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) managing to win the 74th Games along with fellow ‘tribute’ Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson).

"on fire..."

Alas by winning means that the two victors are now pawns of the corrupt President Snow (Donald Sutherland) who wants to use them to try and quell a rising potential rebellion.

So Katniss and Peeta are dispatched on a Victor's Tour of the districts but when the people start to see Katniss as a hero to rally behind, the Capitol prepare to get rid of her by making the 75th Annual Hunger Games – a ‘Quarter Quell’ - a special event where the previous winners must now fight to the death.

With the odds stacked against Katniss by President Snow and a new devious Games creator in post, Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman), this Hunger Games may well change the future of Panem forever.

"tributes - ready!"

Catching Fire is slickly put together and directed by Frances ‘I Am Legend’ Lawrence and I’ve been told by fans that it adheres very closely to Suzanne Collins’ bestselling novel that it is based on.

Jennifer Lawrence has made the role of Katniss her own – and she’s ably supported by the eclectic range of other contestants that include Finnick (Sam Claflin), Johanna (Jena Malone) and Beetee (Jeffrey Wright) to name but a few.

There are some great special effects balanced with enough threat to stop the film feeling entirely for teens. It could have probably done more justice to the brutal elements if given a higher certificate but the director has managed to squeeze a lot of grimness out of the 12a – so it isn’t for those youngsters that are easily disturbed.

"notice the subtle fire imagery"

The film flies past even though it is over two hours long as you get caught up in the political power plays as well as the gruesome Games themselves. Catching Fire being the middle book of the trilogy means that it ends mid action which will frustrate some but does mean that you’ll very likely want to come back and see how it all ends in the obligatory two film adaptation of the final book.

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

öööö

(4 - a good continuation)...

Awesomeness öööö – fairly tasty in places

Laughs öö – not much comedy

Horror ööö – a bit brutal (but not really enough)

Babes öö – Garner is good in the lead

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – revolution baby!

"premier launch - not so much catching fire as catching cold!?"


Monday, November 18, 2013

PS4 takes London... UK Countdown

"press x to continue"


Darkmatters PS4 countdown to the UK launch...

Matt Adcock

After seeing the US blow the doors off the whole console launch thing with over a million PS4's being sold in one day - we're now fast approaching the UK (and wider Euro) launch. LINK

Nice to see SONY lighting up the London sky with their iconic PlayStation controller symbols on teh OXO tower! Also interesting to see England's future king tipping the PS4 as the console of choice: HRH wants a PS4

If you've not already checked the awesome '4 The Players' videos then do WATCH THEM HERE

Here's the UK TV advert which is packed full of PlayStation Easter Eggs:




Plus you should really check out this SIZZLE vid which includes taster footage from The Order, inFAMOUS Second Son, Drive Club, Kingdom Hearts, War Thunder, War Frame, AC4, Killzone Shadowfall, Knack, Elder Scrolls Online and more...



Later this week Darkmatters will be attending an cool screening of our favourite movie DRIVE at the awesome Den of Geek's Need for Speed: Rivals launch party!

G R E A T N E S S   A W A I T S   (but we won't have to wait for much longer)!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Darkmatters Review: The Counsellor


The Counsellor (18)

Dir. Ridley Scott

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the newspaper version of this review HERE

“I suspect that we are ill-formed for the path we have chosen.

Ill-formed and ill-prepared. We would like to draw a veil over all the blood and terror that have brought us to this place.

It is our faintness of heart that would close our eyes to all of that, but in so doing it makes of it our destiny... But nothing is crueler than a coward, and the slaughter to come is probably beyond our imagining...”

The Counsellor (Counselor if you’re American) is not alas the exposé life story of a UK Counsellor such as Kirsty Annable who I work with – but rather a dark, violent crime-and-punishment high stakes thriller. Ok, maybe not that different then!?

"The LST Counselling Dept's staff day out..."

Esteemed Brit director Ridley ‘Gladiator’ Scott brings his trademark visual flair to the screen with this the heavy-duty original screenplay by Cormac McCarthy. Blessed with a stunning triple A cast led by Michael ‘Prometheus’ Fassbender as a hotshot lawyer, only referred to as "counsellor" throughout the movie, he’s head over heals in love with Laura (Penélope Cruz still sizzlingly hot) who he plans to marry.

Unfortunately this counsellor has got himself into a bit of pickle financially and is gambling everything on a potentially life changing Colombian drug deal that could make him close to $20million. But with great potential wealth comes massive risk – drug cartels not being people to cross.

"Do you want to talk about your feelings?"

Also on hand are Reiner (Javier ‘Skyfall’ Bardem) who lives a very lavish lifestyle from ill-gotten gains, Malkina (Cameron Diaz ) his glamorous but untrustworthy girlfriend, and slightly dodgy adviser Westray (Brad Pitt).

Just how far the counsellor has drifted from any sense of normality or safety is clear as soon as the shipment he is banking on is stolen. What follows is a compelling narrative and dialogue heavy descent into ultra-violence and paranoia. The few action scenes are sparingly used but they pack a serious punch – especially one character death on the streets of London that will stay with you long after the credits role.

"Death follows"

Cruz and Diaz bring counter balancing sexiness – with one playing the good woman and the other ungodly evil. Bardem and Pitt add decent scenery but The Counsellor is all about Fassbender who eats up every scene in some style.

This isn’t a film for everyone – it’s brutal and offensive in places but at heart it’s a meaty and thought provoking ‘crime does not pay’ cautionary tale.

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

ööö1/2

(3.5 - Sin is a choice - but the wages of sin is death)...

Awesomeness öööö – grissly, hard action in places

Laughs ööö – darkly comic in places

Horror öööö – gets grim and offensive too

Babes öööö – Cruz and Diaz are backed up by Natalie 'Margaery Tyrell' Dormer

Spiritual Enlightenment -öö – evil has consequences

"Dormer helps The Counselor chose some stockings - this scene is from the trailer and not used in the movie itself"

PS4 Sales Figures Released - ONE MILLION on DAY ONE!!


One Million PS4s in 24hrs!

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) today announced that the highly anticipated launch of the PlayStation®4 (PS4™) computer entertainment system resulted in 1 million units sold through during the first 24 hours after it became available on November 15, 2013 in the United States and Canada.

Darkmatters asked Andrew House, President and Group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. to comment but he too busy rolling around in a monster pile of money, when pressed though he said:

"The PS4 was designed with an unwavering commitment to gamers, and we are thrilled that consumer reaction has been so phenomenal. Sales remain very strong in North America, and we expect continued enthusiasm as we launch the PlayStation 4 in Europe and Latin America on November 29. We are extremely grateful for the passion of PlayStation fans and thank them for their continued support."

If you want to put the PS4 launch into context - the PS3 sold c197,000 units in two weeks when it hit the U.S. in 2006...

This makes the PS4 the biggest console launch of all time - and it's only just begun. Last night (16th Nov) there were almost a quarter of a million PS4 players in online playing Call of Duty: Ghosts.

"Tasty"

In two weeks the PS4 rolls out across Europe (Matt Adcock will be there for the midnight launch) - can the Eruo's bring in similar number of units at launch?

And then in February 2014 the PS4 hits Japan.

Looks like Greatness is happening - and gamers the world over are choosing PlayStation...






Monday, November 11, 2013

Darkmatters Review: GRAVITY


Gravity (12a)

Dir. Alfonso Cuarón

Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Read the newspaper version of this review in the Banbury Guardian

‘Houston, do you read me? I have a bad feeling about this mission…’

Mission Control: ‘Please elaborate.’

‘Well, it looks like the Russians have inadvertently caused a space incident due to the wreckage from one of their satellites is heading in our direction… All I see now are clear skies – just with a chance of satellite debris!?’

Welcome to the saviour of 3D cinema – a literally ‘out of this world’ thrill ride that sees brilliant medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) on her first shuttle mission. The problem is, thanks to a disastrous emergency the envelops her and her team which includes veteran astronaut commander Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), this might very well also be her last ever mission.

So ‘survive-em-up’ Gravity, under the careful direction of Alfonso ‘Children of Men’ Cuarón, is a masterful life and death exercise in eye-popping tension. Blessed with jaw-dropping space visages and the kind of special effects that are so good you forget that they aren’t actually real.

"kick back and enjoy the view?"

Watching Stone and Kowalski facing the truly nightmare scenario of being alone and tethered to nothing but each other as they spiral out into the blackness of space is so incredibly tense that you have to keep reminding yourself every now and then to breath.

And breathing is key to the existence of the two space farers as they face a constant battle to maintain oxygen levels in the oppressive cold dark vacuum. Watching them having to risk everything to grasp even the smallest chance of survival is seriously gripping viewing.

There is a winning chemistry between Clooney and Bullock which helps suck you in to caring about their fates, and there are some nice nods to other sci-fi films in places.

"oops"

Both the lead actors are on career best form but the real ‘stars’ of the film are the stunning views of outer space. Never before have lens-flare and solar halo light-bursts been so effortlessly committed to the screen. Gravity might fill the foreground with raw human emotion but plays out the survivalist plot against a background of the most incredible starscapes.

Oh and about the 3D - I’m no fan of most 3D films but Cuarón has created a film that demands to be seen not just in 3D but also on the biggest screen you can get to.

Remember - In space, no one can hear you biting your nails…

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - stylish space tension that will leave you breathless)...

Awesomeness öööö – high velocity disaster

Laughs ö – couple of funny lines

Horror öö – tense rather than horrible

Babes öö – Bullock channels Sigorny Weaver and Barbarella at points

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – the will to survive is strong

"no gravity"

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Darkmatters Review: Thor The Dark World


Thor: The Dark World (12a)

Dir. Alan Taylor

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the newspaper version of this review here: THAME GAZETTE


“Some believe that before the universe, there was nothing. They're wrong. There was darkness... and it has survived.”

Desperate times are afoot as in the aftermath of Avengers Assemble and Iron Man 3, earth and all the 9 realms are faced with an enemy that even Odin and the forces of Asgard cannot withstand… So it’s up to the hunky Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to step up and embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet – to face down a challenge so great he’ll even need to team up with his highly untrustworthy half brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

Thor: The Dark World brings a new baddie into play - Christopher Eccleston's dark elf leader Malakith who has a plan to plunge the entire universe into darkness. As luck would have it though, sexy earth scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has managed to get herself possessed by the very freakish energy known as ‘Aether’ that Malakith is after to fulfill his wishes.

"things are looking up..."

Cue Thor and Loki going all out to try and save not just the universe but Foster’s cute butt in particular!? Demi Gods eh?

This being a Marvel Phase 2 film, the production values are superb – with action set pieces that feel fresh and deliver the requisite thrills plus a decent amount of humour keeps the whole film fun and light hearted.

As a Brit it is especially cool to see Thor battling dark elves on the streets of London, plus there are some great laugh out loud incidental pleasures such as Thor getting the tube and having to ask how many stops to take, or politely hanging up his hammer on a coat hook when invited in to a London flat.

"tasty"

Alan ‘Game of Thrones’ Taylor takes over the directing duties from Kenneth Branagh and Joss Whedon and proves adept at bringing exciting super combat to the big screen. Hiddleston as Loki steals the show with his excellent acting but it’s no wonder as he is given some juicy fun elements to play with including transforming into one of Thor’s Avengers pals, just to mock him.

Hemsworth might not be the best actor in the world but he sure looks the part… For the female comic book fans there is even a slow-motion scene of him washing topless!?

"brotherly love"

The rest of the cast do well with the fantasy material, Stellan Skarsgård is noteworthy as comic relief as Dr Eric Selvig and it’s always nice to see Kat Dennings.

My esteemed pal Tom Wade was moved to poetry by Thor: The Dark World... Apologies in advance but it goes like this:

I saw Thor, it wasn't a bore,
it's got beards on jaw, a chiseled core,
you will not snore, it's really top drawer,
Marvels' word is law...

It goes on but you probably get the gist!?

Overall this Thor sequel is a comic book joy that all Avenger fans should see!

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

öööö

(4 - as Empire mag said 'Thor out of Thive')...

Awesomeness öööö – nothing but a good time

Laughs ööö – some great comedy touches

Horror öö – not really grim (enough?)

Babes öööö – Portman is yummy, but so are Dennings and Jaimie Alexander

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – comic book deity delight

"Alexandra the great"






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