DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Read my novel: Complete Darkness

Listen to the PODCAST I co-host: Hosts in the Shell

Thursday, March 31, 2005

PSP - the reason we have thumbs?

"Matt's commute to work"

PSP - it's out in the USA now, out in Japan... but nobody knows for sure when it will come out over here in the UK... Still, I'm happily playing my Japanese import model (perfect, no dead pixels, 1Gb mem stick) and pretty much everyone who has a play with it (WipEout Pure is a great intro game) walks away slack jawed and vowing to get one - it kind of sells itself.
Anyway - I heard today that the latest South Park episode was written about the PSP - Kenny got one, Cartman wanted it etc... and then I stumbled over the wicked cartoon above at www.penny-arcade.com/ which is a site well worth a look... seems the PSP is seeping into the universal conciousness of society nicely...
So, think I'm gonna go bag some Metal Gear Acid plus maybe a Tiger Woods Golf?

Film Review: Stander

"You're Scheming On A Thing; That's Sabotage"

Dir. Bronwen Hughes

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Good cop – great criminal!!

Stander is cool crime caper based on the true story of André Stander, a South African homicide/robbery police captain who became one of the most notorious bank robbers in the country.

Thomas ‘The Punisher’ Jane plays the lead and obviously has a lot of fun as the cop who decides to defy the system and goes on an audacious crime spree; robbing banks during his lunch hour then returning to the scene of the crime to lead the investigation.

He gets taken down by his cop colleagues and jailed – and it is his speech in front of the court which highlights his dismay at being part of the oppressive system which sees him having to shoot and kill a black protester: “I'm tried for robbing banks. But, I have killed unarmed people.” To which the Judge replies “That is not the business of the court.”

It doesn’t end there – in jail Stander gets to know Allan Heyl (David O'Hara) and Lee McCall (a great turn by Dexter Fletcher). After a daring jailbreak, the 'Stander Gang' – looking for all the world like the Beastie Boys in their Sabotage video - go on a top robbery rampage. Their crimes get increasingly bold – even returning to a bank to rob it again when they hear the manager boasting that he had a second safe hidden…

So, loved by the public, their blatant disregard for authority makes them folk heroes and enemy no. 1 of the State.

Stander is a great film – it shows the issues of the time in a powerful way and ramps up enough robbery action to satisfy crime fans. It has a fun vibe too, some of the most wicked moustaches you’ll ever see and characters that you can’t help being sucked in by. A classy soundtrack helps nail this as a film really worth checking out when it opens at the end of May in the UK.

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (top drawer)

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Film Review: The Punisher

"your punishment - watch the DVD"

The Punisher
Dir. Jonathan Hensleigh

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“God's going to sit this one out” says Frank Castle aka The Punisher and to be honest I don’t blame God for doing that… The Punisher is a kick ass Marvel comic book hero who has been unlucky twice now in his cinematic turns. First there was the Dolph Lundgren (last seen in 2004’s ‘Fat Slags’ - the movie, as a gym instructor) version back in 1989. That film’s claim to fame was that 91 people got killed individually on screen, not including those who died en masse in explosions, etc… I’m not sure if any of those were reflections of audience members but safe to say that it was no classic (although now I have a strange desire to watch it again after seeing this new version).

As Frank himself says: “Those who do evil to others - the killers, the rapists, psychos, sadists - you will come to know me well…”– I guess they’re the type of people who will get this on DVD?
Still, The Punisher isn’t the worst action film I’ve ever seen but the tone jumps about horribly so that you can never be entirely sure whether to laugh or cry. Just for the record, The Punisher's arsenal includes: two modified Colt M1911 pistols, a Glock 18 with extended magazine and folding buttstock, a Colt Commando with attached M203 Grenade Launcher, a Colt Python revolver, a spring-loaded knife and a Claymore anti-personnel mine – but somehow it still doesn’t feel like he’s mean enough…

Stand out scenes were, um, damn there must have been some but all I can remember is some fat blonde Russian hitman having a slapstick slapdown (whilst looking a little bit like a blimped out Dolph Lundgren), the character called 'Spacker Dave' was played by Ben 'was cool in Hostage' Foster, oh and John Travolta who did his patented ‘arch villain’ bit. More about John Travolta soon as I got to meet him the other week at the UK Press Launch of Be Cool so check back for that.

Alas Frank Castle really is dead.

Call me The Punisher and please give me a better plot in the sequel…

Darkmatt Rating: öö (punishment for the viewer)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Film Review: Valiant

"pigeons - not just flying rats but war heroes!!"

Valiant (U)
Dir. Gary Chapman

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Is it a bird?
Is it a plane?
No it’s, Super…oh hang on I’m pretty sure that IS a bird – but not just any bird… That’s Valiant – heroic CGI wood pigeon, bravest of the brave, one patriotic little Brit who will stand up to the might of the Nazi hawks and try and save the day.

If you’re hankering for something a bit different, something to amuse the kids, make you smile and tickle your ‘proud to be British’ buttons then look no further. You don’t even have to like pigeons very much, but thanks to the excellent voice talents of Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry, John Cleese and Rik Mayall – to name but a few – you could well find a small place in your heart for them anyway.

Bizarre as it might sound, this is a thoroughly ‘old fashioned’ digitally animated comedy telling the story of a little pigeon named Valiant (McGregor). Valiant is a Nemo like runt-of-the-litter who overcomes his small size to help the Allies war effort by flying vital messages across the English Channel, whilst trying to avoid being eaten by the enemy's falcon brigade.

Based on the ‘real life’ Royal Homing Pigeon Service whose birds won more than 30 medals during WW2!? Valiant might be choc full of patriotism, clichés and bodily function gags (care of Gervais’ Bugsy) – but it also serves as a salute to the role that homing pigeons actually played in the war.

Try as it might, Valiant probably isn’t going to trouble the likes of the mighty Pixar or out gross the latest flash CGI film - Robots (which also has a character voiced by McGregor). But Vanguard productions have put a lot of heart into their film and it’s hard not to be swept up in the ‘bunch of unlikely misfits get entrusted with the big mission’ excitement.

Tim Curry is great as Von Talon, the lead pigeon menacing Nazi falcon, and Gervais pretty much steals the show as reluctant hero Bugsy who provides most of the comic relief. As the Brentmeister himself explains: “I have always wanted to be a big mouthy bird!” and that’s exactly what Bugsy is…

So the first 3D CGI film to be produced in the UK, turns out to be a hit, it’s a feel good, family friendly treat that deserves to be seen.
Darkmatt Rating: ööö (Tally Ho!!)

Read my interview with one of the 'Valiant' stars: Matt Adcock Meets Ricky Gervais

Saturday, March 26, 2005

PSP WipEout Pure = Heaven on Earth

"Sony PSP wipes the smile off competitors faces with WipEout Pure"

WipEout Pure - US version

The PSP really is an amazing little piece of hardware - and now that the US launch has taken place the US games are finding their way over to the UK,
which is s w e e t !!!
I picked up WipEout Pure and have not been able to put it down since. This game captures the perfect vibe that Wipeout games have always been associated with - insane speed, multi vehicle combat, gorgeous graphics and serious playability...
Put it this way, if you like videogames even a tiny bit, WipEout Pure will blow your socks off and put a mile wide grin on your face.

"come on then...
temporary shields can lead to brash comments in multiplayer wireless mode"

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Doctor Who Will See You... On Saturday!!

"artwork by insane creative genius and school-time friend who introduced me to the joys of CARTER USM...
Mister Lee Davies - remember that name he's gonna be big!!"

Who? is back...

The Doctor, a renegade Time Lord, an eccentric, highly-intelligent scientist from a distant planet...
Travelling through time and space in the TARDIS (which looks like an old Police telephone box and is larger on the inside than on the outside). The destroyer of Daleks, crusher of Cybermen and nemesis of The Master. He saves planets for a living - well more of a hobby actually, but he's quite good at it. He's saved us from alien menaces and evil from before time began - but just who is he?

Well, this time he's played by Christopher Eccleston and has a new sidekick Rose Tyler (Billie Piper)...

And we of the Adcock household are very excited about the new series (hopefully it will get that balance between being scary enough and fun enough to be embraced by my cool kids Luke and James -who don't even know who Dr Who? is... yet).

Bush captured 'thinking up some foreign policy'

"the most powerful man on the planet... on the toilet"

I have a friend named Lee Davies, he's gifted, he can conjure up superb visual artworks like the one above. Man I'd love to be able to draw like that but my thing is writing (which is far less cool to look at).

Click the title of this post to see some more of Lee's artwork!!

Or click here to see Lee's visual of the new Dr Who? Doctor Who

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Matt Adcock Meets Ricky Gervais

"Ricky (left) with Ewan McGregor (right) at the Valiant Premier"

Matt Adcock meets Ricky Gervais

I caught up with Ricky after the Premier of the new British animation film Valiant (having battled through a crowd of celebs including Ewan McGregor, Gail Porter, Kenzie from Blazin Squad, Justin from The Darkness etc etc). Valiant is a great 'old fashioned family film' which is brought to life with cutting edge CGI animation and Gervais voices one of the main pigeon heroes 'Bugsy'.

So do you like pigeons?

I like all animals. I saw a mad posh bloke hit one once with a stick and I wanted to take the stick and hit him.

Tell me about recording the voice of Bugsy?

I did four four hour sessions, the first time I just went and read the script and I was rubbish. I’d never done it before and I’m still mildly embarrassed being an actor, which is a terrible restriction and so I had to really warm up. They were like: “do it louder”, “do it like this”, “do it more cockney” and I said look I think you should have got Bob Hoskins and I saw them all look at each other and think – ‘he’s right!’ But then they let me ad lib a bit more and do my own thing and I made him more of that cowardly, wise cracking wide boy like Bob Hope or Woody Allen, because he is sort of a reluctant hero and there’s lots of “well I’d love to but I can’t”! All that sort of fear and by the end I wanted to start again! The director must have been very patient.

With something like this, you get the impression it’s very much you as the character…

Do you mean I’m a very, very limited actor?


Well I am!
I like to make things natural and it’s difficult in films when you don’t get the chance. I like to get a bit of naturalism because I just think people connect more with something they recognise as opposed to being force fed TV speak. I always try to give a bit of me…even to a pigeon!

You said you were ‘mildly embarrassed about being an actor’ why’s that?

Loads of reasons really, the association, most celebrities I don’t want to be associated with because they’re fools! Plus you get paid too much. You get paid more than nurses and you don’t really do anything so all I try and do is do my best and do a few things as well as I can because it’s not a thing to be proud of, it’s not like coming home from a war or saving a life, it’s mucking around. Which is what I would be doing anyway, so I just try and muck around as well as I can.

What do you enjoy about being famous?

I’ve worked out the only upside of fame is that people, even some of my heroes, like what I do. That’s the biggest perk, when I find out that Ben Stiller’s a fan or David Bowie or Matt Groening’s a fan. As long as you keep it in context it’s fine.

Bugsy is very much a closet hero. Is there anything you’re secretly very, very good at that no-one knows about and we’d be surprised to hear about?

No, I’ve given everything; I’ve got no hidden talents. Some would say no outward talents but no…
I suppose I’m quite a good shark hunter… no, that’s not actually true.

"From Jedi to pigeon and back to Jedi..."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Darkmatters Fiction: A Brief History of Dark Matter


by Matt Adcock

"A brief history of Dark Matter"

Human, the top of the evolutionary chain, here we are then on what turned out to be just a tiny planet in very huge cosmos. A planet that we humans have managed for the most part to completely wreck. From here we searched and scanned and mapped and planned further and further into the unknown, all the while committing ourselves to being a smaller and less significant fraction of the ever expanding universe.

Then to make matters worse we discovered that our best scientific technology was so limited that we could not even detect 99% of what is actually out there. That 99% we term Dark Matter and once we knew it was there - it was an invitation to us to crack its secrets. So here we are indeed riding on a tiny tiny spec in only 1% of everything that we could fathom. Step up to the L2 Dark Matter Collaboration and one of their official GOV briefings… “So, to restate our assumptions and initial findings: Dark matter is believed to comprise over 90% of the Milky Way and perhaps up to 99% of the Universe as a whole. A great deal of this matter could be in the form of cool stars, planets and black holes formed from collapsed stars. Origin track-backs however put serious limits on the levels of ‘conventional matter’ that this can be composed of and so we surmise that other candidates are heavy slow-moving particles known as WIMPS (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles) that have been drifting through space since the Universe began…”

Commissioned to spend unlimited funding over an unending timescale (as long as it took) - it wasn’t a complete surprise when the L2DMC finally made a break-through. The limited number of people allowed access to the knowledge welcomed it with various levels of enthusiasm.
“About fucking time” was the first high-level official GOV reaction - having already poured over 300 billion standard dollars into the project. Arch Prime Minister Carter allowed himself a moment of reflection before issuing his commands. Safe to say that the hush hush pre-brief regarding the preliminary findings didn’t go down well.

Findings such as these come along only once in history… and were of such significance that they changed absolutely everything. The government’s panic first manifests itself when the group assigned to pre-brief them are eliminated immediately after delivering their report.

“This is seriously need to know stuff we have here” quipped A*FUL the GOV ‘Bastard Level’ assassin bot reviewing the illegal copy it had made into its hard data storage area before expertly dispatching the scientists with its built in large calibre weaponry.

As soon as the preliminary findings briefing finishes, aware that the public will not know how to take the news (and that the media won’t hesitate to use the data in the most sensational way), Carter orders that everyone from the L2DMC be liquidated.

A*FUL reports to Commander Riichardson, the GOV’s head of robotic armed forces (a human who actually preferred the company of his metallic soldiers to that of other people). “The scientists have got to go – shall I dispatch them Sir?”

“No I’ve got it covered”, you can stand down.” Commander Riichardson had anyway long been expecting something of the sort and had taken the liberty of rigging the entire L2DMC labs with micro thermo nuclear charges – so he fired up his access chip, logged into the denotation sequence and then paused... “A*FUL did you catch any of the briefing?”
“Sorry Sir, I would be admitting to something highly irregular and completely illegal if that were the case.”
“So… How much do you have?”

I'm guessing at this point that you too might be curious as to what are these damn preliminary findings are?
Well, blinking away miles below the surface of L2 the L2DMC lab screens are displaying the first mapped segment of Dark Matter. Think about that for a minute - this is what we’ve never been able to see before; this is humanity’s first peek through a very large looking glass. And the sensational thing that warranted the immediate and brutal death of the experts who cracked this breakthrough?

There is something staring back at us from the other side.

Other extracts from Darkmatters the novel by Matt Adcock:

Cleric Gets Mugged
Film Gunfight
Fear of Death
Cleric Shows Up
Test Subject #30022

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Film Review: Constantine

Constantine (15)
Dir. Francis Lawrence

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

What if I told you that God and the devil made a wager, a kind of standing bet for the souls of all mankind? Or that Heaven and hell are right here, behind every wall, every window, the world behind the world. And we're smack in the middle?
No, wait, come back… this is Constantine a full on, effects heavy adaptation of the comic book ‘Hellblazer’ – if you can imagine the unholy love child of the Matrix and the Exorcist then you’ll have some idea of what to expect.

“Whoa dude…” Keanu Reeves plays John Constantine, a chain-smoking ‘freelance exorcist’ – originally a blonde scouser based on Sting - who goes around kicking the butts of evil demons (equipped with a ‘holy shotgun’ and an annoying expendable sidekick). Alas, Constantine’s is not a happy lot, doomed to an eternity in hell because of a botched suicide attempt – love that Catholic dogma - he has taken on his demon busting duties in a bid to win back some favour with God.

Anyway, things get a little bit complicated when his path crosses with Angela Dodson (the gorgeous Rachel Weisz) who is trying to find out why her twin sister committed suicide. He also meets the Angel Gabriel (Tilda Swinton) who tells him in no uncertain terms that he’s a goner – it’s most unnerving to see the Christmas messenger swearing like a trooper and doing dodgy deals with demons. In fact Constantine plays so fast and lose with the entire biblical theology that it carves itself an interesting niche in the ‘battle between heaven and hell’ depictions. Oh and there’s another subplot about the fabled ‘Spear of Destiny’ which leads to some more crunching special effects, plus of course Satan himself (Peter Stormare) pops in for a scene stealing face off towards the end.

It’s all a bit grim – sweaty exorcisms, electrocution, drowning, wrist-slashing and much demon melting / blasting / banishing. It’s by no means a classic, but Keanu and Weisz go about it all with conviction, so if you’re after something dark, different and stylish then Constantine certainly delivers a diverting couple of hours.

Darkmatt Rating: ööö (existential action)

For a much nicer, ‘family friendly’ trip to the cinema – you could always try the cool new British animation Valiant (full review next week). As Ricky Gervais, who voices one of the main characters, told me at the Premier in London, “it’s basically a film about courage, bravery and friendship but with pigeons.”

"you might find yourself 'constantly' checking

how good Rachel W looks in a wet white vest"

Friday, March 18, 2005

Every Prophet in his house - Carnivàle

"superbness - now available on DVD"


Into each generation is born a creature of light and a creature of darkness.
So it is in 1934, the ‘last great age of magic’, in the American dustbowl, a fugitive named Ben Hawkins takes up with a traveling Carnivàle. The Carnivàle is owned by the mysterious and unseen “Management”, who has designs on the young Hawkins, for the boy has an untapped gift: he can heal the lame and raise the dead – but it comes at a price. Ben also finds himself disturbed by cryptic and prophetic dreams, which he shares with a Methodist preacher in California, Brother Justin Crowe. Brother Justin, convinced he is following God's will, has begun to practice his own extraordinary talents, although the preacher's plans increasingly lead to disturbing and tragic consequences. In this "last great age of magic," Ben Hawkins and Justin Crowe are moving toward a great conflict between Good and Evil, although it not yet clear on which sides these men will stand.

Can I just say that I LOVE this series, it satisfies the ‘itch’ I’ve had ever since Twin Peaks for a quality and mysterious TV show. Carnivàle has exactly the right amount of freakiness and some of the best characters ever to grace the screen – how can you not love Brother Crowe when his sermons go like this:

The clock is ticking, brothers and sisters,
counting down to Armageddon.

The worm reveals himself in many guises across this once great land; from the intellectual elite cruelly indoctrinating our children with the savage blasphemy of Darwin, to the craven Hollywood pagans, corrupting them in the darkness of the local bijou, from the false prophets cowering behind our nation's pulpits to the vile parasites in our banks and boardrooms and the godless politicians, growing fat on the misery of their constituents.

The signs of the end times are all around us, etched in blood and fire by the left hand of god. You have but to open your eyes, brothers and sisters. The truth is that the
Devil is here.

The Anti-Christ, the Child of Lies, the Son of Darkness walks among us cloaked in the flesh of a man.

Does the Lord not weep at this degradation? Does He not tremble with righteous fury?

And shall he not seek retribution?

Ah that ‘old time religion’ eh?

All I can do is urge you to watch it –TV may never get this good again.

I leave you with the words of Samson (manager of the Carnivàle – played by the 'Man from Another Place' i.e. the dwarf from Twin Peaks):

On the heels of the skirmish man foolishly called The War to End All Wars, the dark one sought to elude his destiny, and live as a mortal. So he fled across the ocean to the empire called America.

But by his mere presence, a cancer corrupted the spirit of the land.
People were rendered mute by fools who spoke many words but said
nothing... for whom oppression and cowardice were virtues... and freedom, an obscenity.

And into this dark heartland, a prophet stalked his enemy. Until,
diminished by his wounds, he turned to the next in the ancient line of
light. And so it was that the fate of mankind came to rest on the trembling shoulders of the most reluctant of saviors...

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Valiant Premiere

"roger hawk commander - flipping the bird"

Have been invited to go to the UK Premiere of Valiant - new Brit animated comedy thing with pigeons... (which will be attended by Ewan McGregor, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Williams and Ricky Gervais) and then the press conference with Ricky afterwards.
The cool thing is that I can take my eldest son Luke and he get's a Valiant party... whatever that is after the film - he's hoping there's lots of cool freebies and that we get to sit next to Obi Wan!?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Bruce Willis Q&A

"Don't shoot Matt"




Release date: 11th March 2005

What was it about the book that struck you because you must get sent lots of stuff?

Actually I wasn’t sent it, I read the book on my own. I bought the book and it sat on my shelf for about a month and I picked it up and got caught up in it, read it overnight and called and asked about the rights and fortunately they were available, that was about four years ago.

So, what is it that got you excited?

It’s a really complicated novel, really complicated story and in turning the novel into a film it was a good opportunity for me to make a movie that had some action, that was a psychological thriller that wasn’t “a Bruce Willis movie”. Because of the success of a couple of films that I’ve done; The Die Hard series, Armageddon, films like that, I’ve saved the world I think 6 or 7 times now and I think that audiences have started expecting if I’m in a film that I’ll save the day and this story was about a guy who didn’t look like he was going to win, it looked like he was going to lose.

The Director, Florent Siri, and I worked very hard at constructing a story that had multiple obstacles in it; emotional, psychological and physical obstacles, and right up to the very end it does look like I’m not going to succeed.

You’ve got a birthday coming up and it’s been reported you’re going to do another movie as the world’s best known cop: John McClane?

Yup! Die Hard 4.0!

You’re meant to start slowing down when you hit 50. Why not you? What have you done to beat that barrier?

I don’t know, I have worked out off and on. I hate working out. Because I work out for films now solely I come to associate it with work. I did ‘Hostage’ then I did a Robert Rodriguez film called ‘Sin City’ where again I had to be completely naked, (it was shot tastefully so the good parts won’t be seen) [laughter] but I was literally hung by the neck, with my hands tied behind my back, so I had to stay in shape for that but as soon as that scene was shot I stopped working out, that was about a year ago.

I just did five days of work on a film called ‘Alpha Dog’ directed by Nick Cassavetes and I had to do what ten, fifteen, twenty years ago was a really simple stunt, I had to run and get away from the feds and in one move climb over a six and a half foot concrete wall and pop down on the other side and land on the side walk. It was the first time I ever thought “what if I fall on my ankle, go over on my ankle or break a bone…” and I took pause, then to make matters worse the character I’m playing in Alpha Dog is a real life guy who was there and Nick said “Jack, show Bruce how to go over the wall!” and he hops up over the wall jumps down. No pressure on me now! It was the first time I actually had to stop and think am I going to get through this and not embarrass myself, not go to hospital, not get a cast on my leg! The jumping off the roof of Nakatomi towers – those days are gone.

Will you be having a big party for your 50th, any particular plans and what would be your ideal 50th birthday present?

I hope so! I was meant to have a big bash but I think there’s going to be, I’m told it’s a surprise, not the party but the musical guests are going to be a surprise. I had my wish list of bands and singers I’d like so we’ll see who shows up.

You know 50 is the new 40 anyway, so!

Bearing in mind the huge variety of roles you’ve taken on in the last five years, what do you think the public perception of Bruce Willis is?

I’ve never really paid much attention to it. I suppose I should have. I’m from South Jersey, I don’t know if you know anyone from there. I never really have lost my blue collar background. I never really got caught up in the bullshit of Hollywood. I never became an actor because I wanted to be famous it kind of happened and I was as surprised as everyone else was.

I’ll tell you my little theory on the perception of Bruce Willis. If I meet fifty new people a year – that would be a lot. Actually meet someone and become friends with them. Everyone else I don’t meet that year, around the world has an idea of who they think I am based on films I do, interviews I do, tabloid stuff they read, TV shows, gossip, whatever people hear. But what that really is is like a holograph of me. It’s not who I am as a man and it’s not who I am as a father. Because who I am as a man and who I am as a father is far more important to me than any perception in the public of whether my work is good or bad. The audience I work for is my peers and there is a network of colleagues and actors who see each other and that’s the audience I look for now. The rest of it… as long as I keep being invited back that’s good…

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Film Review: What The Bleep Do We Know!?

"bleep me... my head's going to implode!"

What The Bleep Do We Know!?
Dir. Mark Vicente, Betsy Chasse and William Arntz

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Apparently Madonna said: “I found What The Bleep!? to be incredibly thought-provoking and inspiring” and it's not hard to see why. I was only telling my mate Dave the other day over a beer that I find it hard to understand how anyone can be alive and not be curious about issues such as: quantum physics, biochemistry, psychology and spirituality. Spirituality in particular seeing as I'm a signed up born again Christian and all... He looked at me, then lent me ‘The Universe Next Door’ to read and gave me Hitman Contracts for the PS2 to play – surely Dave is guy who has a sound philosophy of life!?

What the Bleep!? is a documentary film that asks the audience to consider the most fundamental of questions: What am I doing here? What are thoughts made of? What is reality? To quote the bloke who seems to know quite a bit in this area - Stephen W. Hawkings: “To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit,” quite...

Bleep!? claims to be an exploration of the world in which we live and the world which we perceive to exist around us. ‘Composed of an engrossing blend of popular science and spirituality with animation and a dramatic heroine played by academy award winner Marlee Matlin, the film subverts established ideals of self, religion, and the 'reality' in which we all believe ourselves to exist.’

Unfortunately – even though the subject matter is right up my street (I think Christians have to be willing to assess and investigate theories that deal with the very core of our existence rather than put heads in the sand and hope that the Bible will be enough), it's slightly undermined because, it feels like the filmmakers are students of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment. Why else would Ramtha (you know - Ramtha that 35,000 year-old spirit-warrior who appeared in J.Z. Knight’s kitchen in Tacoma, Washington in 1977) get so much screen time when denounced as a crackpot by many? And I’m not being a knee jerker but how come the religion bashing is rampant and yet any meaningful balancing right to reply is missing? Hhhmmm…

So, how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go? Well, i'd say that What The Bleep!? is certainly worth seeing – but if you find yourself unconsciously reaching for your wallet with a strong urge to donate your life savings to an obscure cult as a result – don’t say I didn’t warn you!!

And as the promotional blurb for the film goes: “One of the US’ Highest Ever Grossing Documentary Hits… Is on its bleep-ing way to the UK 20th May 2005!” – get ready to open your mind (but maybe make this just one source of input on the subject).

Darkmatt Rating: öö (great topic, interesting thinking but flawed line up of "experts")

Book Review: The Boys' Beer Book

"The mouth of a perfectly happy man...
is filled with beer." (ancient Egyptian proverb)

The Boys' Beer Book
by Jonny Goodall

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Beer eh? I'm a fan - and if you like beer then you could do a lot worse than reading The Boys' Beer Book... It's a quick a dirty guide to everything beer related - the author comes across as some obsessed nutjob out to convert the world to the joys of drinking beer (or maybe he was just pissed?).
Anyway, it only takes a hour or so to read and you'll soon be equipped to ask for a beer in over 50 countries, know the pretty much every type of beer available and errm, divine the 'quaint' customs of the great British pubs...
Darkmatt Rating: ööö (Mmmmm I'm off for a cold Hoegaarden)

Friday, March 11, 2005

Film Review: Boogeyman

Dir. Stephen T. Kay

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

For fifteen years, everybody told me I was making it up. Everyone said it was just a story. There's no such thing as the Boogeyman. But I was right - and here's the cinematic proof... Unfortunately it's just another perfunctory horror effort - low on scares, nastiness, gratuitous anything... Kind of poor show really.

Even the 'creature' looks ropey - not much better than the dreadful Creeper from Jeepers Creepers 1&2... The plot disappears up it's own backside after an averagely spooky and almost entertaining first hour.
Got to admit that I was hoping for more – seeing as this is from Sam Raimi's Ghost House production company who made the much scarier Grudge remake last year.

Any good points then? Well – there are some decent ‘ooh, what’s behind the door’ build ups and some nicely shot scenes. Plus I could really relate to the kid at the beginning looking round his room at night and getting freaked by the things there that look so much more sinister in the dark (yeah okay, I was a wimpy kid).

I think that the creature in the closet should contact it’s agent – Boogeyman in the end undoes a lot of the good work that House (still one of my favourite horror comedies ever) did in making people actually think twice before opening that dark closet door.

The BBC called this one right with their line: "AN ENDLESS MONTAGE OF STUPIDITY"

Darkmatt Rating: öö (bogey)

Click here to read: Matt Adcock's Other Film Reviews

"Hey, the blob remake isn't scheduled for a while yet... move along"

Thursday, March 10, 2005

This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time...

"i was Mr. Tumnus"

So Narnia is coming to the big screen and I'm hoping for good things. A fan of the books, I was once involved in a theatrical production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe... I played Mr Tumnus and got to scamper my little fawn legs about with the gorgeous Lucy (played a girl who looked very very good with her hair in bunches)...
Ah, happy days... Anyway, here's hoping that Andrew 'Shrek' Adamson can deliver a fantasy that will last (and make enough cash so that they can go on and make the other books of the series).

"First impressions are pretty good -
i like the almost but not quite so you can't sue us 'Lord of the Rings' style titles"

"and this artwork of the wicked white witch with her unicorn is pleasing too!"

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I find your lack of STAR WARS faith disturbing

"A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi knights. He betrayed and murdered your father."

I've tried really hard not to get excited about Episode 3 but I just can't help it... Star Wars has been such an influencial part of my life (saw 'A New Hope' aged 6... named my firstborn 'Luke'... walk around the house breathing like Vader etc).

Seeing the 'final' poster for the film has set me counting the days - please may the force be strong in this one!!

Click here to see the New Vader Costume: Luke I Am Your Father

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Dakota... just excellent stuff from the Stereophonics

"just beautiful"

Do you ever get a song in your head - one that changes your world and has to be repeat played like a drug?
I have that every now and then - now it's Dakota which my lovely wife spotted some time before it hit the top of the UK charts this week...

The lyrics go something like this:

Thinking about thinking of you Summertime think it was June Yeah think it was June
Laying back, head on the grass Chewin gum having some laughs Yeah having some laughs
You made me feel like the one Made me feel like the one The one You made me feel like the one Made me feel like the one The one
Drinking back, drinking for two Drinking with you When drinking was new
Sleeping in the back on my car We never went far Needed to go far
You made me feel like the one Made me feel like the one The one You made me feel like the one Made me feel like the one The one

I don't know where we are going now I don't know where we are going now

Wake up cold coffee and juice Remembering you What happened to you?
I wonder if we'll meet again Talk about us since then? Talk about why did it end?
You made me feel like the one Made me feel like the one The one You made me feel like the one Made me feel like the one The one

I don't know where we are going now I don't know where we are going now

So take a look at me now...

The dub version on the CD single is awesome too!!
My PSP's 'repeat play' function is getting a lot of use...

New Sin City Trailer... Very Tasty!!

"nothing sinful about a gorgeous girl dancing in saucy gettup...
Oh wait, I've just been informed that some folks might actually regard this as sinful"

Click this if you want to live...
New Sin City Trailer

"X marks the spot..."

Previous post about Sin City

Monday, March 07, 2005

Film Review: Hitch

"If you're having girl problems I feel bad for you son,
I got 99 problems but a Hitch aint one!"

Hitch (12a)
Dir. Andy Tennant

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

No matter what, no matter when, no matter who, any man has a chance to sweep any woman off her feet. He just needs the right broom.

Prepare to get seriously loved up as the bad boy Will Smith makes the jump from action movie hero to romantic comedy lead without missing a beat. Hitch is everything it should be - a funny, feel good, all lovin date movie of the highest order, with characters you’ll want to see getting together. Fellas, taking a date to see Hitch ought to get you about a million brownie points, after that, if it doesn’t work out - you’re doing something seriously wrong!!

But even if you’re unlucky in love, Alex 'Hitch' Hitchens (Smith) – the ‘date doctor’ – should be able to help. He’s the guy who specialises in helping blokes win the loves of their lives, and here he faces his toughest assignment yet when clumsy, uncool and chubby accountant Albert Brennaman (a superb Kevin James) commissions him to help win the heart of foxy rich socialite Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta).

Things get more complicated because Hitch himself finds himself head over heels for bitchy gossip column writer Sara Melas (the hot Eva Mendes)… You can see immediately where all this will go – but Smith and Mendes have real chemistry and Smith is just so darn likeable that you’ll have to be a seriously miserable person not to enjoy this romantic nonsense. This is pure entertainment – and the bonus is that mixed in amongst the fun and games are some useful real insights into relationships and dating issues. And it’s funny too – stand out scenes include James’ awesome dance demonstration, a disastrous first date, a case of food allergy that turns Smith into the Elephant man and the best food fight to hit the screen for a long time!

Apparently eight out of ten women believe that the first kiss will tell them everything they need to know about a relationship and Hitch delivers a smacker that will make romantics weak at the knees. So girls, next time a bloke makes an unexpected, gallant gesture that makes you smile – why not give him the chance to impress you further? And guys, surely any film that brings out the chivalrous, gentlemanly stud inside us all has to be good thing right? – Hey, just ask my wife (she loved Hitch even more than I did).

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (snuggle the Will)

Click here to read: Matt Adcock's Other Film Reviews

"this is where I grab you... ready?"

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Mercenaries vs Lumines vs Sanity

"I am a death dealer... for a price"
Man, I'm loving Mercenaries on the PS2... The tagline 'playground of destruction' is absolutely on the money!! It really is like Grand Theft Auto in a warzone - and as a stress relief goes, there's little to compare with stealing a helicopter, taking on most of the N. Korean army single handedly and then luring their leaders into a trap...
And just when I thought it couldn't get much better I've found out that you can open a surprise bonus... only Han Solo himself!! Yes, thanks to it being Lucasarts who created Mercenaries - they've slipped some sweet Easter Eggs into the game. Fancy playing as Han Solo? Or how about Indy?
This one will run and run!!

"Look, Your Worshipfulness, let's get one thing straight. I take orders from just one person: me"

"the words 'just one more go' rang out yet again in the Adcock household"

And if Mercenaries wasn't wasting enough of my time on the trusty slimline PS2 - I've found that Lumines on the sexy little PSP has pretty much taken over my train journeys, coffee breaks and err, lavatory visits!? I've just broken the 100,000 points barrier but sense that I have a long, long way to go...

It's not easy being a game freak.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Film Review: Saved!

"Alright! Alright! Who's down with G-O-D?"
I've been asked to write DVD group study notes on this cool film... for the UK Bible Society's REEL ISSUES - it's going to be interesting to see what feedback I get...

Saved! (12a)
Dir Brian Dannelly

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

You may or may not have heard about the controversial teen comedy film ‘Saved! - which features the most prominent ‘Christian subject matter’ film since The Passion of the Christ.

The plot is as follows; all round ‘good girl’ Mary (Jena Malone) and her domineering best friend, Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore), are in their senior year at the American Eagle Christian High School, activities include prayer groups, worship and a strict adherence to biblical values. All is well until Mary’s boyfriend tells her he thinks he might actually be gay, this coincides with Mary having a ‘vision’ of Jesus urging her to "do everything she can to help him." After a naïve desperate liaison with her boyfriend, to her horror and shame, she ends up pregnant. Suddenly, Mary begins to question everything she’s believed in, and Hilary Faye and her devoted “disciples” turn against her. After all, how can there be a place for a young unmarried mother named Mary in a Christian environment?

Writer/director Brian Dannelly says Saved! came about as a result of his own diverse background. “As a kid I went to Catholic elementary school, Christian high school, and a Jewish summer camp,” he says. “The biggest lesson I learned from my experiences became a line in the script: ‘They can’t all be wrong and they can’t all be right.’ I wanted to write a movie based on that.”
Which is all very well but the film has caused outrage in the U.S. where Christian commentators such as Ted Baehr, founder of the Christian Film & Television Commission, called the movie "a sad, bigoted, anti-Christian movie that mocks the Christian faith."

Producer of the film, Michael Stipe - the singer/songwriter of the band R.E.M., is however adamant about the film’s positive stance on religion. “I don’t think this film in any way mocks Christianity,” he says. “I come from a very religious family, and I would not insult them or the people I grew up with by working so hard on something I thought was insulting. This film presents things the way they really are. He also said: “My personal belief is that Christianity and spirituality in general need a little bit of a push into the 21st century, particularly from the point of view of a teenager.”

In discussing the potential controversy raised by Saved!’s subject matter, the cast have also been quick to point out that the main message of the film is one of love, one of inclusion and acceptance of all religions and beliefs. Mandy Moore said: “I think it’s inspirational to see my character, a Christian who tests her faith and finally decides to come back to it because it’s what she believes in.” This is echoed by Jena Malone who said: “In every young person’s life, there is a point when you have to question your foundation before you start building the walls for your own house.”
I can see why the film will anger many Christians but on reflection I believe that it does not really criticise Christians, religion, or faith. And unfortunately it may be those who condemn Saved! the loudest that might be those who most benefit from the messages knocking the intolerance and inability to even consider how Christianity can appear to the outside world.
Darkmatt Rating: öööö (essential viewing for all believers - and non believers actually)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Film Review: Hostage

"takes no prisoners"

Hostage (15)
Dir. Florent Siri

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

There will be no negotiation, Bruce Willis is back, back doing what he was born to do – run around looking worried whilst stylishly blowing baddies away and I for one am very happy!!

Ever since Die Hard (incidentally my favourite film), Bruce Willis has been the ‘everyman’ action hero of choice. If you’re in a jam with serious bad ass criminals, be it robbers, assassins or even intergalactic tyrants he’s the ‘the guy’ you’ll want on your side. So if your family were ever to be taken hostage by scumbags and it looked like gunplay would be necessary, Bruce should be the only call you make.

So here’s Hostage, the first English language film of hotshot French director Florent Siri. You might not have seen his last film ‘The Nest’ - it was a tense action thriller that covered similar themes (fear, mental suffering, empathy, cowardice). Anyway, Hostage is another deliciously dark tale of crime and retribution – you know how it goes – dumb but dangerous kids take family hostage, then realise that they may have gotten over their heads when it turns out that the dad is actually the accountant for a seriously shady bunch of crims. Bruce plays local Sheriff Jeff Talley who used to be a hostage negotiator but was dismissed for letting a young family get butchered by one of the kidnappers he failed to ‘talk down’.
Things get more complicated when the shady crims take Talley’s family hostage and force him to try and retrieve something from the under siege house. It’s a good set up but it wouldn’t have worked as just a standard Hollywood ‘production line’ action film. This is why Siri is directing – he’s definitely ‘one to watch’ because he lovingly creates a film that oozes style, brutal violence and has characters that you can’t help finding interesting.

I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I found it refreshing to see baddies who are prepared to actually follow through on their actions without stopping to worry if they’re upsetting the viewer. Hostage must push the boundaries of what can be allowed in a 15 certificate film, nobody is safe: Friendly black female cop? – shot repeatedly in the back as she tries to crawl away. Cute kids being held at gunpoint? – BANG BANG, not any more… The only limit on the perps behaviour here is that the main psycho (Mars) played superbly like some demented Crow wannabe by Ben Foster is a more of a gentleman than many deviants might be when obviously attracted to the teenage daughter he has tied to a bed. But hey, it’s violence not sex that Hostage brings to the party and it does it with style.

From the first second of the credits I just knew that I was going to enjoy Hostage (I’m a bit of a credit freak and get angry when I see lazy title sequences) – the opening titles here are presented a Sin City comic book style - the camera zooms around, in and out of a stand off scene. They are the best I’ve seen for a long time and really worthy of note. And then from the moment that the happy hairy (and old looking) Bruce is replaced by the charismatic bald avenger hero Bruce, the film never looks back. Willis is great and he works here without one of his usual weapons, his trademark one-liner funnies. But don’t be alarmed; Hostage really isn’t the place for glib off the cuff banter, everything that goes down is meticulously crafted to further the dark mood that envelops the action like a particularly dark night.

Credit should go to most of the cast, Foster delivers an iconic teen psycho, 17 year old Michelle Horn lives up to her name as the daughter in peril and Kevin ‘voice actor from Ewoks: The Battle for Endor’ Pollak is good as the dad. But this is Bruce’s film and he should be proud of it, he should also work with Siri again if he gets chance as the guy is quality and I can’t wait to see what he does next!!

Finally – this all bodes well for SIN CITY which is still my tip for film of 2005 (and yes I know there’s Kong, Sith, Narnia, Potter and Batman out there!!)
Darkmatt Rating: ööööö (tasty violence - welcome back Bruce)

"hey Bruce, you're 50 - can I be a new bloody action star?"

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Astronomers find star-less galaxy

"it's just gas man"

The BBC reports that "Astronomers have discovered an object that appears to be an invisible galaxy made almost entirely of dark matter.
The team, led by Cardiff University, UK, claims it is the first such object to be detected.

A dark galaxy is an area in the Universe containing a large amount of mass that rotates like a galaxy, but contains no stars. It was found 50 million light-years away using radio telescopes in England and Puerto Rico.

Very little is known about "dark matter", even though there is much more of it in the cosmos than "normal", or baryonic, matter, which constitutes the visible material from which stars and planets are built.
We only know of dark matter's existence because of its influence on ordinary matter.

Scientists can infer its presence by looking at the rotation of galaxies and measuring how fast their visible components are moving."

HHhhhmmmm... I have this theory...

Darkmatters Fiction: Cleric gets mugged


by Matt Adcock

Nobody saw this coming, our ungrateful brains rebelling so vigorously against the subliminal code words that changed our lives. CHATTER, the name given to the unfortunate side effect - now a mass epidemic - the collapse of everything rational and the regression of our human form; back to beast, further back still beyond animal.
Where were the safety standard enforcers?
How could we have done this without a safety net?
It looks like we have been left to destroy ourselves thoroughly and without hope of redemption.

This is how it started…
There is Cleric walking, his strides smooth and perfectly in time to the technologically enhanced music pounding inside his head. See him descend some stairs, watchful of the grimy ancient foot tunnel ahead; a stereotypical crime scene, complete with flickering antique neon tube lighting and murky water coursing down one of the walls. Cleric’s Social Rating™ blinks from "** Chilled" to “***** Very Pissed Off”, there is frantic reality betting taking place involving death, very possibly his, in the near future.
There’s nobody about, not even a token loitering begga or vendorbot. Cleric surprises himself by going ‘on guard’ in a way only those with I.F. training can - it's been years since he acted like this...

“Nice try”, he calls, drawing both his guns, a wry smile playing across his features.
Cleric’s musical choice is an thrash tech fusion reworking of a long lost band once referred to as ‘Pixies’, it makes a fitting soundtrack as the camera pulls back, suspense building with every step.
‘I’m digging for fire’, Cleric lipsyncs, checks the ammo indicators on his guns and then slowly creeps forward. It is a dark and dingy in the tunnel, exactly what the cliché doctor ordered for this all too obviously bad situation.
Cleric is smiling grimly and looking closely at the shadows at the far end of the tunnel.
Some shuffling can be heard but still nobody can be seen. A heat sensitive scan however shows three people and possibly a gunbot hidden around the far corner, from what you can make out from their stances, they are average assailants just doing their criminal thing, waiting for Cleric, waiting to strike.

Cleric walks slowly and confidently along the dim tunnel his guns held casually but the camera zooms in and we can see there is tension in his arms. As he approaches the end corner he pauses and casually swaps one of his guns for a nerf grenade. In one smooth motion he arms it and rolls it forward. It seems to take an eternity to roll to the end of the tunnel where the droid has sensed the incoming device and the three men are already leaping out and opening fire on Cleric who is no longer standing where they thought he was.
Cleric is somehow already crouching behind an air duct, tight to the wall and invisible to the assailants. He opens up with both his guns at waist height. In the hyper momentum of the attack the three are caught with multiple bullets to the groin and then head as they scramble to try and reach the grenade. The grenade detonates from just behind them and blows them off their feet, actually the condensed shrapnel shockwave blows off their feet if you want to be technical about it, slumping their falling bodies directly back into the path of the heavy gunfire that Cleric is delivering. The assailants die squealing as the hollow rounds Cleric is pumping into each of them blossom before exploding out the other side of their flesh leaving fist-sized holes. An unpleasant and rather messy way to go all things considered.
The gunbot however has been waiting and now makes its move. It is covered with the blood and gore fragments of its compatriots and looks like some kind of demented undead metal midget as it lumbers around the corner.
“Just pathetic”, Cleric says and fries it with a single shot to head.
He carefully steps through the scene of carnage; blood is everywhere, steaming gently from the walls, and floor into another cold, dark L2 night. Cleric kicks the guns from the dead hands of the unfortunate attackers. “Picked the wrong guy to jump pal,” he mumbles.

Each of the dead crims has a similar headchip implant, low level, nasty street tech – but unusual for punks like these. As cleric makes his way up the steps, leaving a trail of slick red footprints the air in the tunnel shimmers, and for a second it looks like a hidden doorway has opened in the air itself.
Other extracts from Darkmatters the novel by Matt Adcock:

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"The elephant man of the robot world? No, but he is paranoid!"

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy... one of my favourite books is arriving soon as a big screen movie, I am cautiously optimistic about it - especially as it stars Martin 'The Office' Freeman as Arthur Dent.

If you don't know Hitchhikers - here's a quick plot synopsis:
Mere seconds before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, journeyman Arthur Dent is swept off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher penning a new edition of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
I can still remember having my copy of Hitchhikers confiscated in French class in school where I'd been reading it under the desk. "Good book" the teacher said as she took it away - I later spotted her reading it in the staff room...