DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit


Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (12)

Dir. Kenneth Branagh

“You Americans like to think of yourselves as direct. Perhaps you are just rude.”

Jack Ryan, the all American super spy is back – here to entertain those cinema goers for whom Bond is a bit too British, Bourne a bit to violent and Mission Impossible’s Ethan Hunt a bit too unpredictable… Ryan has been portrayed by Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Alec Baldwin to various degrees of success but here we have a younger ‘prequel’ Ryan played by Chris ‘Kirk from Star Trek’ Pine – all fresh faced and eager to save the world.

"beam me up, oh sorry, wrong flick"

Shadow Recruit is the first Ryan adventure not based on an established Tom Clancy novel and it shows. The plot sees young Jack signing up to the CIA, falling in love with a gorgeous doctor Muller (Keira Knightley) - who helps him recover from getting injured serving in Afghanistan - and being dispatched into the field by veteran spy Harper (Kevin Costner). After the initial set up has been ticked off, the action can begin – the threat being a dastardly evil Russian plan to destroy the American economy by Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh who also directs).

Cue plenty of sneaking about, the occasional fight, a spot of breaking into highly guarded offices and of course a ‘thrilling’ against the clock climax to try and advert catastrophe… It’s decent enough entertainment, slickly put together and looks good – Pine and Knightley make a gorgeous couple but there is nothing overly compelling and certainly nothing very memorable. If anyone puts Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit on their ‘films of 2014’ list I’ll want to have words with them – this is Hollywood by-the-numbers action film creation which – as a prequel – doesn’t even hold the threat that our hero might not survive.

"Those nasty Russians will tickle your girlfriend!"

I took my son and his girlfriend who are 16 to see this and their views (having never seen a Jack Ryan movie before) were more favourable than mine. So if you’re new the world of action thrillers, this is probably an ok place to start, kind of breaking you in gently without disturbing you too much or troubling your grey matter. In fact in order to enjoy Shadow Recruit it is highly recommended that you put your brain into neutral and let the moments of highly improbable coincidence – that are essential to the plot wash over you.

I don’t envy the marketing team behind this film, as it must be tough to sell such an ordinary flick. Jack Ryan: The Slightly Dull Early Years could well have been an early rejected working title!?

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

öö1/2

(2.5 - Trust no-one, and don't get your hopes up!)

Awesomeness ööö – bursts of almost tasty action in places

Laughs öö – amusing in parts but not always intentionally

Horror öö – not very grim

Babes ööö – Knightley is lovely

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – God loves boyscouts

Recommended Hashtag: #TrustNoone #TheOtherRyanFilmsAreBetter

"Knightley night"







Monday, January 20, 2014

Darkmatters Review: The Wolf of Wall Street


The Wolf of Wall Street (18)

Dir. Martin Scorsese

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Gazette

“My name is Jordan Belfort. I'm a former member of the middle class raised by two accountants in a tiny apartment in Bayside Queens. The year I turned 26 as the head of my own brokerage firm I made 49 million dollars, which really p&$%ed me off because it was three shy of a million a week...“

2014 explodes onto the big screen with a dirty, frantic and crazed epic from Martin Scorsese, which brings laugh-out-loud black comedy of the darkest kind along with an overdose of seriously dubious morals. This isn’t as nasty as Goodfellas or Casino but it does form the final part of his loosely theme linked trilogy.

"making money - the illegal way"

The Wolf of Wall Street is highly entertaining and exquisitely made, boasting a AAA cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio on dazzling form as Jordan Belfort - a wannabe stock broker who somehow managed to rake in millions through defrauding investors. The fact that much of this debauched tale is true is terrifying, but given the cases of corruption that dealings on Wall Street have thrown up over the years it is also believable.

"always know who is boss"

Belfort is the ‘Wolf’ of the title (which he was christened in an article about him in Forbes), he started a brokerage firm called Stratford-Oakmont with the sole aim of ripping off as many people as possible. But as the company grows, so does the crazy lifestyle of its employees - which includes massive drug use, lavish gluttony, over-the-top partying and sexual depravity – on heavy rotation.

"money suite"

Aided and abetted by his hand picked team who include loser pal and general liability Donnie Azoff – based on real life Daniel Porush (Jonah Hill) and Nicky Koskoff known as 'Rugrat' (P.J. Byrne). Also on hand are the women in Belfort’s life - long suffering first wife Teresa Petrillo (Cristin Milioti), his sexy second wife Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie who steams up the screen) and flirty Aunt Emma (the superb Joanna Lumley).

"cougar?"

With the flamboyant excess of Belfort and his company being flaunted so openly, it’s no surprise when the FBI targets Stratford-Oakmont. The cat and mouse game between Agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) and Belfort is a lot of fun to watch. Scorsese isn’t afraid to show the ‘crime does not pay’ message at the end of the 3 hour flick, but in The Wolf of Wall Street crime certainly does pay for a long time!?

"the ill gotten gains"

This wolf delivers a wild, sweary ride, that is well worth a look – just not for the faint of heart or easily offended.

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

öööö

(4 - the love of money is the root of all evil!?)

Awesomeness öööö – wild living a go go...

Laughs öööö – very very funny in places

Horror öö – not as nasty as most Scorsese flicks

Babes öööö – Robbie is jaw droppingly hot

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – depravity over the top

Recommended Hashtag: #MoreIsNeverEnough



Monday, January 13, 2014

Darkmatters Review: 12 Years A Slave


12 Years A Slave (15)

Dir. Steve McQueen

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Newspaper version of this review: The Gazette

“Laws change. Social systems crumble. Universal truths though are constant.
It is a fact, it is a plain fact that what is true and right is true and right for all.
White and black alike.”

History can be the source of stories so heart breaking, so incredible that you’d be hard pressed to believe them… 12 Years A Slave is one of the most compelling, harrowing and inspiring ever committed to the big screen and it demands your attention.

Director Steve ‘Shame’ McQueen delivers the epic tale of one man's fight for survival and freedom, which will shock you to the core and potentially re-evaluate your soul.

Set in the pre-Civil War United States, this is the unhappy revelations of Solomon Northup (an incredible performance from Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York. Life is good for Northup until he is taken in and kidnapped and sold into hard labour slavery.

"no humanity"

Thrown into an existence of constant cruelty - personified by malevolent slave owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), and forced to work on plantations with others who were born slaves like the hard working Patsey (Lupita Nyong'o) as well as those forced into it for profit. Solomon’s daily struggle is not only to stay alive, but to try and retain his dignity in a world where any slave who claims to have any learning is resented and often disposed of.

It’s not until the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey that there is any chance for, Solomon's future to change when his path crosses with Canadian abolitionist Samuel Bass (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life.

"cry freedom"

12 Years A Slave is an unforgettable piece of cinema, it isn’t an easy watch but it is crafted with a wonderful eye for incidental moments of wonder which helps viewers through the main story that is soul sapping. It would be an injustice if this film does not bag a host of awards this year.

The cast are magnificent throughout with Ejiofor, Fassbender and Pitt ably backed up by the likes of Benedict ‘BBC’s Sherlock’ Cumberbatch, Sarah ‘Serenity’ Paulson and Paul ‘Sideways’ Giamatti.

It is a joy that films like 12 Years A Slave are made – we need cinema to be a showcase not just for fantasy and escapism but as a place of homage and recognition of human endeavor.

"one man can make a difference..."

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - extraordinary and true)

Awesomeness öööö – staggering scenes that will leave you in pieces

Laughs öö – limited mirth

Horror öööö – brutal inhumanity is hard to watch at points

Babes öö – Paulson has a very long neck

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö – man's dark hearts need salvation

Recommended Hashtag: #HeartbreakingTruth 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Knack



Knack (PS4)

Developed by SCE Japan Studio

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

In this all age bash-em-up, humankind is threatened by an evil goblin menace - freaky creatures who have somehow gotten hold of some serious military hardware so that they can take us out!?

Who or what can save us?

How about a robot-esq creature whose body is made up of powerful relics - rune like remnants of elder civilisation. Channelling this ancient tech is the key to building up a size-shifting sentient weapon that might just turn the tide against the goblins and save our asses...

Called 'Knack' this creature is the product of research by a lab doctor who has studied the ancient power runes and managed to harness them and bring them to life for the first time in recorded history...

"Goblin bashing time"

OK enough scene setting - Knack is a 3D platform / brawl-em-up which aims to recapture the patented Sony glory days of Ratchet and Clank, Crash Bandicote, Sly Cooper and Jak & Daxter etc...

So does Knack bring the requisite energy, smile inducing gameplay and general feel good factor to make Mario look nervously over his shoulder? Or is this a flashy but 'knackered' (sorry) hollow shell that even the Pixar level cut scenes can't save?

Um, in truth Knack is a mixture of both. If played on 'easy' then there is much to enjoy, there's a special satisfaction to the slow motion killer punch you land on an enemy, a nicely parred down God of War combo addition to some fights and it rocks a simple control scheme that lends it to a very quick 'pick up and play' satisfaction. Running around beating the living daylights out of enemies, jumping and double jumping around the scenery and unleashing righteous fury with your superpowered attacks such as a ground smash shockwave, a long range multiple blast and a controllable whirlwind which hits enemies with something like the might and rage of an English winter storm is often gaming at its best.

"Vampire Knack... changes the play dynamics"

Knack's ability to boost himself with various elements makes for some great visuals e.g. at one point you get to cover yourself with ice crystals to become a spiky ice warrior, at another you use burning wood (which is probably the pick of the bunch visually) - these add to your health bar as all good armour should.

A lot of reviewers have marked Knack down due to the wild difficulty spike - which is certainly severe in places and takes away your dreams of seeing yourself as a gaming ninja because if you venture on to the 'normal' difficulty or above you will die, a lot, and it will get frustrating very quickly. I can see the thinking in that the makers want to offer a challenge to hard-core next gen gamers but Knack's balance is off and its a shame that you are relegated to picking the shameful easy mode just to make any sort of progress!? If being generous you could describe the eye-watering difficulty as 'old-school' but there just isn't a good enough combat dynamic on offer here to allow you get good enough to beat the game without hundreds of hours or trial and error and a lot of luck.
Oh and gadgets and upgrades, because what a lot of reviewers seem to have missed is that you can play through again with a bigger badder Knack at your disposal and have new weaponry plus generally useful gadgets which add to the gameplay and become vital for any progression on harder difficulties.

"Robots too"

So is Knack a good game? At heart yes, but it aches with ideas and potential that are only partly fulfilled and yet it brings some really nice extra dimensions such as the option to play through in co-op mode where the second player has additional powers to heal the other so it's a nice if playing with a younger family member... There is also a helpful Knack's Quest iphone app which rocks the standard Bejewelled-esq match 3 or more of the same crystal gameplay (in itself quite addictive) and it connects to the main game so any collectibles parts for in game gadgets and Knack power upgrades can be transferred.

At the weird metallic beating heart of Knack is the nostalgic spirit of classic platform romps - so old timers who were there when this was all new will get a kick from it, but quite what newcomers will make of it in this post Wreck-It Ralph world is going to be interesting. Of course - taking the gameplay away with you via remote play on the PS Vita works really well too and is an excellent way to grind through a couple of levels in a lunch hour providing you have strong wifi!

Overall Knack is fun blast which serves as a good introduction to the PS4's lovely new controller and is a game that will amuse sufficiently if you play through on 'easy' - whether you have the mental chops to face down repeated play throughs in order to beat the game on normal or hard is a whole other question!

"finding secret stuff is always good!"


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

ööö1/2

(3.5 - old-school gameplay, next gen looks, dedication required)...

Post Script:

I'd love to see a Knack 2 where they develop the character, add more varied combat and possibly a multiplayer option... And with Knack having sold a healthy over a million units so far - it might have a good chance!

"brothers in platforming!"



Saturday, January 11, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Gran Turismo 6



Gran Turismo 6 - The Real Driving Simulator (PS3 Exclusive)

Developed by Polyphony Digital

Driven by Matt 'Vettel' Adcock


"Gamers - start your engines…"

"Vrrooommm!"

Buckle up for a driving experience that changes everything. Grab the keys to over 1,200 cars, from historic classics to the latest dream machines from manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bugatti... But you know this right - if you're a gamer then Gran Turismo is part of your DNA, from the original Playstation iteration that blew people's minds, through to the lovely but incomplete Gran Turismo 5 which has been updated so many times... But here we are, at the end of the PS3 generation, yes it has outsold the Xbox 360 world-wide, yes it has changed the gaming landscape forever with titles like Uncharted and inFamous so can Sony's ageing beast of a console go out with the world's best driving game?

"Not all BMW drivers are twats (online at least)!?"

It sure looks that way! GT6 is the most complete, best looking and importantly 'most fun to play' of the classic series. The bods at Polyphony Digital Inc. take their job of developing ‘the real driving simulator’ seriously - and with this game they have delivered the most authentic experience to date (which handily celebrates the franchise’s 15th Anniversary too).

Where to start? Well, the engine driving GT6 on PS3 is turbo charged and spewing non carbon level friendly emissions of nitrous enhanced performance, it delivers the most realistic physics that the series is famed for, improves on them even has time to add much improved online functionality.

Cars? yes there are over 1,200 of the world’s best cars to drive and collect, each lovingly rendered for you to take for a spin over 37 tracks - all the major race venues such as the iconic Silverstone Circuit but also some new ones like Australia’s Mount Panorama and Spain’s Ascari Race Resort, and erm, the moon!? Yes GT6 takes the series into space - so grab your helmet and prepare to race where no man has raced before.

"In space no-can hear you scream: 'tasty one!'"

More cool stuff includes the ability to personalise your tracks, create your own then go online to connect with friends, leagues and tournaments, and discover a world of driving you didn’t know existed - some of this functionality comes out of the box, with more on the way (which is the Gran Turismo way after all).

It feels like Gran Turismo 6 was developed with the intention of enhancing the foundation of the series while at the same time offering new challenges. The new UI is slick and feels more immediate (as does the racing itself), but there are lots of improvements to the vehicle dynamics, and a handy tutorial at the beginning of the game for anyone too young or too Xbox to have not enjoyed a Gran Turismo game up until now...

The 'Career Mode' is the main area where you'll battle through cups, earn your licences (with the ability to compare your performance to your PSN friends now which makes for a lot of replaying trying to grab the number one position). The core is complemented by a host of special events and challenges, from knocking down cones through to nailing performance trials, it's a nice distraction from grinding your way through the levels.

Gran Turismo 6 does go for a combination of both Arcade and Sim - so if you want a driving game to 'pick-up-and-play' - boom this is it, but you've also got the insane depth of winning championships, earning licences, bagging trophies and buying a host of cars.

"the tracks await..."

If you're thinking of becoming an actual race driver, GT6 is good place to start as you can learn to drive pure formula cars step-by-step by undertaking the 'Red Bull X Challenge', mentored by the champion Sebastian Vettel. First off you'll want to try the Red Bull Kart Masters kart racing challenge and it just might be your first step on the road to becoming a real racing driver!

Redefined multiplayer... GT5's multiplayer was fine but if you were one of the over 1.25 million people who were racing together in the last game, you'll be delighted to know that GT6 is much much better online. A lot more functions are available and planned for player versus player races

Having played both this and the latest Forza 5 on XboxOne, it is GT6 that I'll be returning to more often for sheer depth of options and unmitigated driving fun.

In short, if you have ever enjoyed a driving game, you need to own Gran Turismo 6, we now stand in utmost anticipation of what GT7 can bring on PS4!!

"the real life / game blur... just wait till PS4"


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

ööööö

(5 - Real driving feeling, play it, drive it, love it!)...




Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Paranormal Activity - The Marked Ones


Paranormal Activity - The Marked Ones (15)

Dir. Christopher Landon

Reviewed by Matt 'Ghost Buster' Adcock (@Cleric20)

"This is not a gift..."

If you're a 'found footage' Paranormal Activity fan then you might well be interested in this 'spin off' / side story to the main cannon which has seen various families beset by the forces of darkness. Here the story picks up in June 2012 in Oxnard, California with the graduation from high school of young Jesse (Andrew Jacobs). Jesse thinks he's just an average 18 year old until he finds a bite on his arm and develops some freaky superhuman abilities - think 'Chronicle' but with spookier / darker overtones.

Jessie's friends Hector (Jorge Diaz) and Marisol (Gabrielle Walsh) are worried - things start to go bump in the night, an old 'Simon' game begins to have the power to answer questions correctly and when two thugs attack Jessie one evening, he somehow manages to blast them through the air in a most kick ass fashion.

"devilish selfie"

Looking for answers leads the youngsters to their downstairs neighbour who might just be a witch... And when she dies mysteriously one night they decide to check her basement and find photos of Jesse, and his family in a black magic kind of set up... All is not OK. But being young and dumb Jessie goes back to the basement and is confronted by ghostly figures, including those of young Katie and Kristi (Chloe Csengery and Jessica Tyler Brown) from previous Paranormal Activity films.

From then on it all goes kinda Grand Theft Auto: Blair Witch with a rare action scene seeing some gang banging homies taking on knife wielding witches with shotguns!

"cue explanation from star of previous PA film (pt2)"

The ending does a nice job of connecting the other films in the franchise by returning Jessie to the home from the original Paranormal Activity - which shows that at least the filmmakers are trying to maintain a mythos that can hopefully move to a conclusion of the series soon (Paranormal Activity 5 opens later this year).

The Marked Ones isn't a great film but it does have some good scenes and if you've seen the other 4 movies then you'll get a kick out of the references and cameo characters that pop up. It looks like the box office is diminishing for the Paranormal Activity series (part 4 only made 1/2 as much cash as the first one) but as The Marked Ones only costs $5 million to make, even an ok $34 million return in the first week shows that it's still delivering positive returns.

"that's going to sting a bit"

This Paranormal Activity is by far the swearest, most 'hip' of the series but it certainly isn't the scariest. At least is doesn't have the stupid Xbox product placement of part 4 but it does feel like it's time to maybe finish off the franchise now before all good will is lost.

As a Christian, the Paranormal Activity films - along with others that depict demonic forces are interesting but this series stands apart (as yet) in that they haven't gone for any real counterbalancing force of good / God. It would be interesting to see some how the baddie forces here would hold up in the face of an agent of the Almighty - as another 'found footage' horror movie 'The Last Exorcism' stated “If you are a Christian and you believe in God, then you have to believe also in demons...”

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

ööö

(3 - better than pt 4 / not as good as pt 3)...

Awesomeness ööö – even maniac witches fall when shotgunned!

Laughs öö – some dark humour

Horror ööö – tries for horror, some of it works

Babes öö – Walsh has a great smile

Spiritual Enlightenment -öö – evil is not a plaything

Recommended Hashtags: #Iaintscaredofnoghost #FearTheSequel

"Gabrielle Walsh"


Sunday, January 05, 2014

Darkmatters Review: American Hustle


American Hustle (15)

Dir. David O. Russell

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the newspaper version of this review at: The Bedford Times & Citizen

"Some of this actually happened…"

Here’s a thing – I can make you rich – if you’re in need of credit, cash, liquidity etc but are somehow challenged / crooked / desperate – come to me and I’ll sort you out – just as long as you give me an upfront non-refundable fee…

American Hustle is the half true but mostly fictitious tale of Irving Rosenfeld (a superbly bulked up and bloated Christian “Dark Knight’ Bale), who is brilliant con man scamming desperate people out their money. We meet him as he teams up with faux British accented Sydney Prosser (Amy ‘Man of Steel’ Adams who sizzles throughout) but just as things are getting interesting for the pair, the FBI shut them down.

"anchorman cross over?"

Forced against their will to work for renegade Agent Richie DiMaso (a perm haired Bradley Cooper) who wants them to help him take down much larger fish who include Senators, Crime Bosses and all many of targets – this is where the real life ‘Abscam’ political sting of 1978 is incorporated to the plot. But as the stakes rise so does the danger – and when the Mafia get involved in the shape of notoriously violent overlord Victor Tellegio (an unaccredited Robert De Niro) it could well be the end for the hustlers.

The plot is your average twisty turny scam-em-up but it’s the AAA cast who make this movie so much larger than life and must bring Oscar possibilities. All the leads are excellent and include Jennifer ‘Hunger Games’ Lawrence as the wildcard wife of Irving who just might bring the whole hustle crashing down with deadly consequences.

"Lawrence - agent of destruction?"

Drawn into the scheme is corrupt mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy ‘Avengers’ Renner) who is prepared to do some shady deals in order to try and make New Jersey a better place – and make some money along the way. The emotional friendship between Carmine and Irving is one of the film’s cores and you’ll find yourself genuinely moved by the interplay of men whose relationship is built on a lie.

Director Russell brings a convincing ’70s look and feel to the whole production – it really is like stepping back in time as you soak up the fashion and culture of the time. American Hustle is a love letter to the shady dealings the tore the heart out of the US political system but it maintains a great balance between danger and fun.

If you learn anything from American Hustle - you can take away the fact that both the hottie leading ladies are swooning over a 'larger' gentleman throughout... or as poet lariat in the making Ben Molyneux noted: "My big take away was that Adams and Lawrence dig fat dudes."

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - Everyone hustles sometimes)...

Awesomeness öööö – very strong scenes, feel the tension dripping off the screen

Laughs öö – occasionally funny

Horror öö – couple of grim moments

Babes öööö – Adams and Lawrence try to out cleavage each other

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – don't fool yourself

Recommended Hashtag: #HustlersFTW #ChicksDigFatDudes

"hope for men with bellies everywhere"



Saturday, January 04, 2014

Darkmatters Review: The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty


The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (PG)

Dir. Ben Stiller

Reviewed by Matt 'Major Tom' Adcock

"Beautiful things don't ask for attention."

You know something? I quite often track down and kill people (bad people you understand - terrorists, serial killers, rapists, Daily Mail Editors...) but it's invigorating, life affirming and a supreme rush - taking the law into my own hands and making the world a better place through the use of heavy weaponry, fast cars, attack helicopters and even super powers which I have but keep quiet about!?

*ah* sorry, I zoned out there for a minute but do you ever find yourself lost in a daydream of epic proportions? Maybe in a dull meeting, a long church service or just in a odd moment during the working day? I'm not saying your daydreams are hunting down violent maniacs or despicable scumbags but even if you've just stopped to consider spending a unforeseen lottery win - this is a film for you...


"fully zoned out"

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty is the story of a man who wants to be taken seriously, who yearns for love and accolades but who hasn't ever knowingly done anything meaningful, exciting or of significance.

What Walter (Ben Stiller) does is often zone out from reality staring into the middle-distance oblivious to everything around him. But his imagination is well honed and his fantasies are joyous forays into crazy daring-do adventures - valiantly saving animals from burning buildings, smashing his awful boss through 30th storey windows, smoothly wooing the quietly sexy girl from accounts... Things are just better in Walter's head than they are in real life where he works ironically enough for 'Life' magazine as a photo asset controller.

"adventure awaits"

But life hits Walter hard when the magazine is taken over, moved online  and the hard copy operation shut down - leaving him the chance of one final cover image to send the title on its way into history.

This is where world renown guerrilla photojournalist Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn) comes in has he has submitted a shot he'd like considered for the final cover - one that captures the 'quintessence of life' no less. The fabled shot however has been mislaid and with his job on the line Walter must embark on the adventure of his lifetime to try and find it!

Cue scaling mountains, leaping from helicopters, battling sharks, fleeing erupting volcanoes - all the while bring called by Todd Maher (Patton Oswalt) the rep from his lonely heart dating website eHarmony, helping him update his chronically dull profile.

It's a fun trip travelling with Walter in this bitter sweet tale that sees him trek through some amazing scenery, face down improbably odds, get the girl (Kristen Wiig) and maybe, just maybe save the day...

"smooth"

I watched this with my lovely wife and it was a superb date movie - funny, thought provoking and engaging throughout. If you're after something refreshing and fun, stop daydreaming and take a trip with Walter!!

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

öööö

(4 - Strong reality bites fantasy)...

Awesomeness öööö – lovely fantasies, superb effects, great reality

Laughs ööö – good comedy moments

Horror ö – not very nasty

Babes ööö – Wiig's Cheryl Melhoff is a great fantasy in herself

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö – life is for living!

Recommended Hashtag: #Thegreatestadventurestartswithonestep

"fantasy girl?"

Friday, January 03, 2014

Darkmatters explores: The Twitter Gospels


#Twitter_Gospels

Reaction by Matt Adcock

Here are two things that are obviously synergistic, the Word of God and Twitter...

The ambitious Twitter Gospels project headed by Andrew Richardson from the University of Sunderland is a contemporary response to the idea of illuminated writing in the context of a digitally connected community. Think Lindisfarne Gospels 2.0 and you'll be in the right headspace.

The project explores and examines ideas of meaning, legibility and aesthetics by creating a digitally illuminated version of the Gospel text, informed by online communities - it looks great in the book format and also when witnessed projected (see below).


The project used a Twitter feed to capture contemporary responses and thoughts about the Gospel text, in the form of ‘tweets’ written in response to each chapter and verse over the course of a single day.

It is fascinating to read through the data that was translated into a computationally generated ‘illumination’ of the Gospels - it becomes a unique, visual representation of the Gospels in the light of online social engagement.

Some of the text is hard to read, on other pages you have to simply let the visualisation wash over you but there is something very cool going on here and it is worthy of your time.

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

öööö1/5 - a great new way of exploring an ancient text

4.5 - Visual food for the soul!

More on this subject:

Official Site

Reaction blog by PM Phillips


"Vicky Beeching - a strong Christian twitter advocate
worth a follow at: @vickybeeching !"

"Conrad Gempf at The London School of Theology... 
would be awesome if he started tweeting"



Another Darkmatters mini book review:

St George Blood & Martyrs





Thursday, January 02, 2014

Darkmatters Review: 47 Ronin

47 Ronin (15)

Dir. Carl Rinsch

Reviewed by Matt 'Half Breed' Adcock


“I will search for you through 1,000 worlds and 10,000 lifetimes...”

I am a Ronin, a master less Samurai who wanders the earth looking to restore my honour. Legends will be told of my valour, my courage and my 46 other pals who I like to kick ass with...

This special effects heavy, chop-em-up fantasy tale is set in Feudal Japan where Kai (Keanu 'The Matrix' Reeves) plays a half-breed warrior (half Japanese, half English) who was raised in the forest by demons after being abandoned there as an unwanted child.

We join his tale as he fights alongside a group of Samurai - in one memorable scene they take down a woodland dragon beast with six eyes - you know just for the LOLs. Anyway all is not good times and sushi because their master Lord Asano (Min Tanaka) is shamed and has to off himself leaving them disbanded as Ronin.

"ride of the 47..."

But the evil Lord Kira (Tadanobu Ansano - no relation to the good master character) wants them wiped out whilst he forces the young hottie princes Mika (Kô Shibasaki) - who is in love with Kai- to be his wife / thus joining the whole of Japan under his baddie rule.

Lord Kira is backed up not only by his army of Samurai but a huge metal clad warrior giant and a sexy evil witch played by Rinko 'Pacific Rim' Kikuchi - who has the ability to transform herself into various guises including a white fox and travel on the wind as a twisting silk kimono. Oh and when threatened the witch can also become a huge battle dragon-like creature!?

"dragon slaying time"

This won't be everyone's cup of tea but if you enjoyed The House of Flying Daggers or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon then you should give 47 Ronin a look as it delivers plenty of Samurai battles, some great fantasy creatures and has an ending you'll likely discuss for some time!

It really is a shame that 47 Ronin has flopped so hard at the international box office (only making back a fraction of its $175million budget) - I guess there are just not many Samurai fans left!?

"freaky hair..."

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

ööö

(3 - Honour your inner Ronin)...

Awesomeness ööö – decent fights and effects

Laughs ö – not a comedy

Horror ööö – some grimness

Babes ööö – Rinko Kikuchi is lovely

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – live with honour

Recommended Hashtags: #SexyWitch #Honour #RoninFTW

"two for tea"

"Rinko Kikuchi"







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