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

Friday, July 29, 2005

Matt has gone to Spain...

Back in a week or so...

** next update probably 07 August **

Film Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (PG)
Dir. Tim Burton

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka, the amazing chocolatier, Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka, everybody give a cheer. He's modest, clever, and so smart he barely can explain it, with so much generosity, there is just no way to contain it… Yes the golden tickets have landed across the country and now you are cordially invited to visit Willy Wonka’s amazing chocolate factory – so ask yourself this question - do you have a taste for adventure?

Tim ‘Beetle Juice’ Burton is the brave director who tackles Roald Dahl's much-loved tale of confectionary overload, childhood development and a certain mischievous man/child genius (no, not Michael Jackson)… And this version is an altogether superior offering to the Mel Stuart's 1971 enjoyable psychedelic musical starring Gene Wilder, although I did miss my favourite line from that one where Wonka replies to the frantic mother’s plea that her drowning son can’t swim with; “There's no better time to learn.”

Everything on screen is sumptuously presented, the factory itself has a real ‘wow’ factor and the Oompa Loompa’s are now a mini army of clones (well, all played by the same actor at least). Johnny Depp shows just what an inspired casting choice he was with his pleasingly weird responses and killer deadpan expressions. He still gets plenty of humorous moments – I loved the scene in the nut sorting room where he cries “Don't touch the squirrel's nuts! You'll drive him crazy!!” and the overall feel is certainly darker but not enough to really disturb. Christopher Lee is drafted in as Wonka Senior for some impressive flashbacks of Wonka’s childhood, which really help, build up a twisted sense of empathy for the wacko candy maker.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory works on all levels – my 8-year-old son Luke lapped it up and declared it the best film he’s seen this year. So I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending it to you for your viewing pleasure. As Depp explained in a recent interview: “You think it’s going in one direction and then it slams you with another alternative, another route, and makes you think. At its centre, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a great morality tale. But there’s also a lot of magic and fun.” Yes, if it’s magic and fun that you’re looking for then go and join young Charlie (a superb performance from Freddie Highmore if you were wondering) on his adventure in the chocolate factory.

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (a Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight!)

Reviews of other films and stuff you might want to read indexed here

Film Review: Herbie Fully Loaded

Herbie: Fully Loaded (U)

Dir. Angela Robinson
Reviewed by Matt Adcock

You know what they say: “Get your motor running… Head out on the highway… Looking for adventure and whatever comes our way…” Or of course you could just go and see Herbie: Fully Loaded, which is the new big screen outing for the famous little VW Beetle with a mind of its own.

This new tale introduces Herbie to the high-speed U.S. world of NASCAR racing, a last car standing destruction derby and perhaps most dangerous of all - his new owner Lindsay Lohan who is almost as curvy as he is… In fact you can play the fun game of trying to spot where the Disney executives reportedly spent $1 million to digitally reduce the size and bounciness of certain female attributes that they thought might detract from the story.

Anyway Lohan plays Maggie Peyton, your average all American teenage girl who likes to race cars on the streets when not graduating from college. Her father Ray – Michael Keaton who sleepwalks through this undemanding role – is the head of a NASCAR racing team who are losing sponsors almost as fast as they are losing races. The problem being that the team driver, Maggie’s brother Ray Peyton Jr. (Breckin Meyer) can’t actually drive more than a lap without smashing into the circuit wall… If only there was someone else in the family who could drive?

Then before you can shout ‘but where’s Herbie?’ Maggie buys him from the scrap yard in which he has ended up. Cue an unlikely plot that sees her going head to head against the worlds number one NASCAR driver Trip Murphy (a nicely slimy Matt Dillon), Herbie becoming the new team Peton race car and of course the obligatory realisation of the ‘old friend / teen romance’.

The special effects are handled nicely, Herbie has survived the jump to semi CGI with most of his charm intact and director Angela Robinson obviously tries to keep some of the feel of the earlier films. Some may say that this is all just a cynical way to boost sales of the undoubtedly soon to be released Herbie DVD box set but I think there is probably room in a new generation’s hearts for some positive Herbie action. But, can Herbie save the day, win the major championship race and find time to hit on a sexy new style VW Beetle along the way? Come on, this is the ‘big’ family Disney film of the summer – have a wild guess!

Darkmatt Rating: öö (Fun but only vaguely watchable)

Matt Adcock meets Herbie


Matt Adcock meets Herbie...

"Brrmmm - that taser gun really hurt!!"

Matt Adcock meets HERBIE

Herbie, the free-wheelin’ Volkswagen bug with a mind of his own, was one of the biggest stars of the Seventies. Now he's making a comebacks, returning to the big screen in Herbie: Fully Loaded. The film co-stars the rather delicious Lindsay Lohan and finds she and Herbie teaming up to do a little race-car driving. In his first interview in 25 years, the famously reclusive Herbie talks about why he went into retirement, why he’s back and what he thought of his curvy co-star...

Herbie. Can you tell me something about the plot of your new film, Herbie: Fully Loaded?
A. Yes. I think I bring a mixture of comedy, action, and romance to any part I play. In the film, I try to help a recent college graduate—played by Lindsay Lohan—achieve her dreams of becoming a Nascar driver.

Of course, this isn’t your first film. Will you tell younger filmgoers about the last time you were up on the big screen.
A. I got my first starring role in the original Love Bug movie back in 1968. I was just a kid then. I’ve done four feature films total. I’d tell the kids to go out and buy the newly released box set of movies to see some of my earlier work. Whether it was foiling a jewelry heist in Herbie Goes To Monte Carol or saving an old lady from greedy real estate developers in Herbie Rides Again, in all of my films I’ve tried to help people in one way or another.

It’s been a long time since that film. Why did you turn your back on Hollywood?
A. I love acting, but after my last feature in 1980, I really needed to put the brakes on for a little while. Those were crazy days in Hollywood. My schedule was so hectic, I was going through two or three quarts of oil a week to keep up with the pace. My mechanics were worried I was going to blow a tire and spin out of control.

You must have got a lot of offers in the intervening years?
A. My agents certainly weren’t happy with the decision to take some time off. I was offered everything from a crime-fighting TV series with David Hasselhoff to some time travel movie starring Michael J. Fox. I have no regrets though.

And what did you do during your retirement?
A. I really kept a low profile during my self-imposed hiatus. But I wasn’t just spinning my wheels. I did the normal everyday things I never got to experience when I was in the spotlight: spent a lot of time reading (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, On The Road, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), cleaning my garage, and watching lots of VH1. I’ll come right out and answer the big question everyone has been wondering: Yes, I did have some work done. Some body work here and there kept me looking young. And with the changing emissions standards, I also needed improvements under the hood.

So why come back now? Was Disney very persuasive? Was there something special about this script or your co-stars?
A. Around the time I was starting to get bored, I ran into Disney’s Motion Picture Group topper Nina Jacobson in the supermarket parking lot one day. She pitched me the idea, and I read the script and loved it. Plus I needed the money. It’s not cheap to keep looking this good. I thought if Travolta could make a comeback, why not me?

Can you tell us a little bit more about your co-star in Herbie: Fully Loaded, Lindsay Lohan. She’s become quite a Hollywood “It” girl, hasn’t she?
A. I’ve been a huge fan of Lindsay’s ever since I saw Parent Trap at the drive-in a few years ago. I thought the idea of combining the biggest star of the 1960s and 70s with one of today’s most talented leading young ladies, would make for an irresistible hit.

Do you think she was intimidated to be working with you? How did you break the ice?
A. Frankly, I think I was more nervous to be working with her. Lindsay’s a total pro. I hadn’t been on a movie set in a long time. Plus, I’m no spring chicken anymore. Memorizing that script wasn’t easy. On the first day of shooting, I accidentally ran out of gas. Totally embarrassing! But Lindsay brought me an air freshener, and that really put us at ease.

Lindsay has a love interest in this film? How about you?
A. I don’t want to give away any big secrets, but let’s just say it’s hard to imagine a car as sleek and well-built as me not having a love interest.

Which other actors inspire you?
A. I was inspired to work with Michael Keaton. I’ve been a huge fan of his ever since Gung Ho. Other than that, the actors you’d expect help keep my engine revving: The Mystery Machine Van from Scooby Doo, the Batmobile, and the Ferrari from Magnum PI.

There are a lot of action scenes in the movie and a lot of stunts. Do you do your own stunts or do you have a double for those scenes?
A. I do my own stunts, although sometimes I prefer them to use a body double for shots of my bumper.

Any thoughts on a sequel?
A. Since I had such a great time, I really hope I get the opportunity to do a follow-up to Fully Loaded. I just hope Disney is saving their money, because my sequel salary isn’t going to be cheap.

"Linsay Lohan... Herbie's new driver, love bug indeed?"

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Film Review: The Nest (Nid de guêpes)

The Nest (15)
Dir. Florent Emilio Siri

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Being a Brit generally means several key things… We have a well developed appreciation of a good ‘cup of tea’, a major sense of superiority over every other nation on earth – especially Americans, and of course an unchangeable conviction that the French are talentless, lazy cowards who were never going to beat us in getting the 2012 Olympics anyway…

But wait, this can’t be right… In recent years there have been several French movies that have actually rocked – Dobermann, Nikita, Brotherhood of the Wolf and Haute tension / SwitchBlade Romance to name but a few… And now on DVD I discovered The Nest or Nid de guêpes if you want to give it its French title.

Directed by Florent ‘Hostage’ Emilio Siri The Nest stars the lovely Nadia Fares as Laborie, no not a dog as the name might suppose but actually a butt kicking officer in an elite police squad who are tasked with delivering Albanian mob boss Nexhep (Angelo Infanti) for trial. Of course there’s a huge gang of tooled up crims just waiting to bust their leader out en route – and when I say ‘tooled up’ I mean to Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell proportions… That alone would make for a fun film but just to top it off the heroic Laborie has to hole up in a warehouse trying to fight off the assailants in a scenes that made me grin from ear to ear as heavy weaponry is deployed at close quarters… And it turns out that already in the warehouse are a bunch of loveable thieves led by Santino (Benoit Magimel) whose plans to steal a load of laptop computers have to change to ‘fight to the death with the unstoppable force of mob gunmen now surrounding the warehouse’…

Believe me when I say that if you want an action film along the lines of HEAT mixed with Assault on Precinct 13… The Nest should be the next film you see… Intense from beginning to end, stylish and action packed… It’s a winner!!
Darkmatt Rating: öööö (Excellent action from a Director to watch)

"Police special forces know exactly where to stand to miss armour piercing rounds..."

Monday, July 25, 2005

Film Review: Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four (PG)

Dir. Tim Story

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Hotter than the sun, stunning, just amazing in every sense of the word, you really won’t believe what you’re seeing…

Yes, Jessica Alba is just one very good reason to go see Fantastic Four but there are many others too because the ‘feel good summer blockbuster adventure of the year’ is here. Fantastic Four isn’t dark, moody or highbrow, there aren’t any sinister undercurrents or bold life changing ideologies put forward, what you get is an overdose of prime lightweight comic book fluff, and I for one really enjoyed it… For the first time in weeks I was able to just sit back and let a far-fetched tale of heroes and villains wash over me without having to think a single thought apart from the occasional ‘ooh that’s cool’. You can say what you like about the acting, or nitpick over some of the special effects but if you are looking for some seriously entertaining ‘wham bam – what the hell was that all about?’ action - then this is the movie for you.

Firstly as I might have already mentioned there’s the gorgeous miss Alba as Sue Storm / Invisible Woman, she rocks and whilst you might not believe she’s a trained genetic scientist, the male population will certainly appreciate her costume. Next you get the irrepressible Chris Evans (no, not that one) who has an absolute blast as Johnny Storm / The ‘flame on’ Human Torch – he’s sexy, funny and extremely watchable, plus he gets the best lines like: “What if we got these powers for a reason? It's like some higher calling.” To which Mr Fantastic / Reed Richards played by Ioan Gruffudd replies: “Like getting girls and making money?” And Johnny smirks: “Is there any higher?”

"the problems of invisibility - when you clothes don't disappear"

Gruffudd does a reasonable job (can’t be easy playing a major cult American hero when you come from Wales after all) but the other standout performance is from Michael Chiklis from under 60lbs of ‘Thing’ makeup.

You see it might appear to be all ‘get the girl, kill the baddies and save the entire planet’ in a comic book world but Fantastic Four shows that there’s a price to such fame – and it might be just learning to embrace your destiny and enjoy it. Which is what I’d urge you to do, take your inner 10 year old to go see Fantastic Four and then try to resist the urge to run down the street shouting “flame on” when you come out…

Darkmatters Rating: ööö (Super fun for all the family)

Matt Adcock meets Jessica Alba

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Matt Adcock meets Jessica Alba and the Fantastic Four

"This Sin City outfit is a keeper!!"

Matt Adcock meets Jessica Alba … and rest of the Fantastic Four!!

Jessica Alba, her very name is enough to make many men go weak at the knees…After scorching the screen with her ‘exotic’ dancing in Sin City and garnering a cult following as the sexiest soldier on the planet in the TV series Dark Angel – now she’s back in cinemas, filling the tight bodysuit of Sue Storm – also known as the Invisible Woman. I got meet her in London along with the other ‘fantastic’ team mates (Michael Chiklis – the brick ‘Hulk like’ Thing, Chris Evans – not the British ‘ginger winger’ but the actor who brings the Human Torch to life, and Ioan Gruffudd or ‘Mr Fantastic’ as you can call him).

So Jessica were you a Fantastic Four comic book fan?

Jessica: I actually wasn't very familiar with the Fantastic Four. I wasn't a big comic book reader as a kid. So my homework when I got the movie was to read the Ultimate and Marvel Night Series.

And to all of you, if you had a super-power for the weekend? What would it be?

Jessica: Everyone asks me what I’d do if I was invisible and one guy told me today that he’d like to be invisible in a girl’s locker room – to which I said touché, I’d like to be invisible in a guy’s locker room… But the funnest of all of the powers, and the most selfish, is the ability to fly. I think that's one thing we could all really enjoy for a good long weekend. I'd fly in the night, of course, so I wouldn't have to deal with the press.

Evans: I've always wanted to fly, it would be a beautiful way to see the world. I'd travel, see the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Mount Everest - what wouldn't seem beautiful from 500 feet in the air?

Chiklis: Flying sounds really good. But I've always fancied great strength. That's why I was sort of cast in the right role. But for the weekend, I think I have to go with flight too. If you only had a limited amount of time, it's the thing you could do the most with.

Gruffudd: I wouldn't mind the ability to stretch. I think all us guys could do with a bit of help now and again, especially after ten pints of lager!

Erm – I’m sure I don’t know what you mean… Can I just say that I enjoyed the movie but some critics, especially the US ones have knocked it – what’s your reaction to that?

Anyone who was negative critically obviously didn't read the comic book and didn't know what the Fantastic Four was about for its time. They're also trying to pick Academy Award winning movies, not movies that audiences want to go to and have fun, and laugh for 90 minutes, and escape their everyday realities.

Chiklis: It seemed like they were reviewing Wuthering Heights. Look, we went in to it knowing what it was and what we were trying to make, which was a fun ride - something to go to with the family, friends, or a date, or with children, and have a ride and a laugh. It's fun!

Jessica – you look great in this film and have developed a very ‘sexy’ image – especially in Sin City - are you ever worried that people will just see you as a sexy female lead rather than a good actor?

I just think the more variety that people see in the different roles that I play the better. In this movie, Sue Storm is sexy. I put on a tight outfit, I am the only woman, so of course that's what people's minds are going to go to. But at the end of the day, that's alright.

Ioan, was it disappointing to only get to kiss the ‘Invisible’ bits of the Invisible Woman?

Well Jessica kindly allowed me to feel what it was actually like, before I started kissing the air, miming it.
Jessica: Well that was because you were groping me low.
Gruffudd: Hey, you'd given me the green light, you know. Those moments in the film, we'd do it once, naturally, and then Jessica would step away and then I would physically resort to mime.

He goes on to demonstrate his mime kissing skills which I have to admit are fairly impressive…
How did you mange to look the part in the spandex?

Six months down the gym! To be honest, you need a little bit of help from the sculptor who sculpted our muscle-suits that we wore underneath. Myself and Chris that is, Jessica is perfectly natural.

And I heard there are two projected sequels?
Doing this movie was sort of an hour by hour process for me, so it's hard for me to go back and transform into the Thing. But I think we all look forward to doing more.

"The invisible woman - not so invisible after all... thank you God!!"

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Matt Adcock meets Isla Fisher - Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson Crash the interview

"Isla shows she looks good even when someone seems to have nicked her clothes..."

Matt Adcock meets Isla Fisher … oh and Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson crash the interview…

How would you feel if someone crashed your wedding?

Owen: Hey, it depends on the person. If some of the people seated here were to crash my wedding - and they would have to crash, as they wouldn't be invited - I'd probably let bygones be bygones and welcome them.

Isla, did you enjoy playing the ‘sexy but unstable’ Gloria?

Isla: “Sure, she’s young and impressionable – and he’s a real ladies man who woos her. Gloria is swept off her feet and becomes very much a woman obsessed… She’s a bit like a spoiled kid with a new toy who just wants to snap its head off!”

Oohh Kay… So Vince have you ever had a date as scary as Isla’s character in this movie?

Vince: Nothing comparable to that, no! But it was a lot of fun for me because Isla is very funny and also a good actress, so it was nice to go and do a scene and by default to be the one who's reacting to stuff.

Isla, can I just say that you look into total control of the more err, ‘risqué’ scenes your character has. And erm, was that ‘all you’ that we saw?

“Vince and I both had body doubles for the dinner table scene and I had one for the tying up scene. But it was definitely daunting.”

Vince: “We originally didn't have a body double for the dinner table scene. David had a thing that we put in that didn't quite work out.”

So, as potential ‘Mrs Ali G’, how highly do you rate a sense of humour on a man that you might be attracted to?

“Duh, it's pretty important.”

Right, yes… How was working with Owen Wilson?

“Hey Owen Wilson is a big dollar sign!! When I look at this guy all I see is a dollar sign… I said, ‘Owen, here's how it's going to work, amigo: I'm gonna say something stupid, you're gonna roll your eyes, step on your toe and the guy in the glasses is gonna yell cut.’”

You seemed to like the all singing all dancing elements of Wedding Crashers - might there be a musical in the works for you?

Vince: Thank you for asking. There is a musical that Owen and I are actually working on right now. We play two rodeo clowns who leave the rodeo and become lifeguards at a park district pool outside of Chicago where we befriend a young Filipino boy who has an outie belly button and we teach him what it's like to get along with the other kids that summer. It's called Mr Sunshine and Owen plays Mr Sunshine.

Do you have favourites of the characters you play in different movies?

Owen, can we see him, does Hutch want to come out right now?
Owen: I'm a little shy. The little Filipino boy in Mr Sunshine.
Vince: Is Hutch there, does he want to come out and talk to everyone?
Owen: Hutch is very shy right now. Probably my favourite movie would be the first movie I worked on because that was the one that was the hardest to get made and it test screened worse than any movie in Sony's history and stuff. So that was the most important one too.

Aeon Flux "it's going to be hot baby"

Movienewz have a great promo for Aeon Flux...

Click the link below or the title of this post to see the gorgeous Charlize Theron talking about the film which she describes as "it's going to be hot baby!" and from the look of her in that outfit... I'm not doubting it!!


previous post about AF

"I say...do you come here often?"

Monday, July 18, 2005

Film Review: Wedding Crashers

Wedding Crashers (15)
Dir. David Dobkin

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Dearly beloved, we are gathered together to witness the joining of this man and woman in matrimony and, um it seems maybe that man (whoever he is) and this bridesmaid and that other guy who definitely wasn’t on the invite list with that lovely young lady… Yes, this is Wedding Crashers, the loved up and outrageous new comedy starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn where no bridesmaid is safe!
The ‘art’ of wedding crashing (inviting yourself to a wedding with the sole intention of pulling one or more of the women guests) has some strict rules that apply. Firstly: ‘Make sure she’s single’ - this is one that Wilson ignores to his peril when he meets and falls for the gorgeous Claire (Rachel McAdams), daughter of the powerful US Senator William Cleary played by Christopher Walken.
The next rule is ‘Never use your real name’ – although this can get messy if you actually find yourself in love with the object of your affection. But above all else is the rule ‘Never leave a fellow crasher behind’ – and in a true Black Hawk Down style moment this is the one that drags Vaughn into the clutches of the ‘hot but psychotic’ Gloria, a complete nympho played by a believably unhinged Isla Fisher (Walkern’s other daughter)…
Wedding Crashers is unapologetically a bloke’s film - the ‘sharking’ behaviour of the two ‘heroes’ is the height of immoral womanising but it is also very funny. And, unlikely as it may seem, their actions are positively honourable compared to Chaz (a hilarious cameo by Will Ferrell) who is regarded as the ‘master wedding crasher’ – a man so lacking moral fibre that he has progressed to crashing funerals in order to pick up weeping widows…
Wedding Crashers is raunchy, bawdy and laugh out loud funny. Scenes like the ‘helping hand’ Vaughn gets from Gloria under the dinner table whilst the whole family are present or the unforgettable night he has to spend tied up in his bed are liable to become comedy cult classics. Wilson and Vaughn bounce off each other well enough to hold your attention throughout and did I mention that the women are all gorgeous (even Jane ‘Dr. Quinn’ Seymore proves that 50 year olds can still steal scenes).So if you’re fed up with dull wedding speeches and dry cake – why not invite yourself to see Wedding Crashers for a good night out, just don’t necessarily expect to be going home with any of the cinema staff…
Darkmatt Rating: ööö (what's a hot chick like you doing at wedding like this? Oh... getting married...)

"Caution - sweeping attractive females off their feet can lead to stalking"

"but some females are almost certainly worth the risk!"

Friday, July 15, 2005

This is the hour...

"From the darkest place... will come the ultimate adventure"
And so it begins...
From today I will be working full time on my novel - no day job, no limits, with a view to having finished by the end of the Summer (ETA September). Excited, confident and prepared... Thanks for all the words of encouragement, feedback on the sneak previews posted on this blog and those who have signed up help make this happen: Lee Davies (graphic genius who made logo), Steve Worsley (film genius who is in preproduction of the trailer), Keith Thompson (art genius who drew Cleric for the character bio page), John Richardson (web genius who will be building the actual website) and many others... including the 'editorial panel' who will be reading and advising on finished copy.
DARKMATTERS is going to redefine the experience of reading - also look out for a complete redesign of this blog over August (short stories from the world of DARKMATTERS, character art and of course the legendary 20 second film trailer...

This is the day, this is the hour,


is this...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Desperate Housewives Season 2: My thing for married women...

Dark Horizons has posted some second season details of the show I swore I wouldn't watch but became addicted to anyway...

Apparently second-season opener looks like this:

"The episode will involve Lynette Scavo looking for a new job in advertising, Gabrielle Solis seeing her lover John Rowland head off to prison, too, and Bree van de Kamp having to identify Rex at the coroner's office, putting to rest rumors that his death had been faked. And it seems the Grim Reaper will visit the show once again, as one of the characters on the show will be losing their father in the episode."

It hits the US on October 2nd on ABC, no details of when it will make it to the UK...

Reviews of other films and stuff you might want to read indexed here

Monday, July 11, 2005

Film Review: The Descent

The Descent
Dir. Neil Marshall

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Prepare yourself… The Descent is the hardest, goriest and altogether nastiest British horror film for years – it’s also the best. You could describe it as ‘Six psycho chicks with picks vs hundreds of carnivorous cave mutants’ but that doesn’t do it justice as this is one of those rare horror films where you get enough character build up to actually empathise with the plucky heroines. Just don’t get too attached to these well-rounded females because The Descent is not kind to its protagonists and I guarantee that you’ll cringe, wince and maybe even shout “Arrgghhh that’s got to hurt!” if you’re brave enough to tackle this tale. If you’re looking for survival against the odds mixed with large doses of the sort of girly posturing / bitching that only an all woman cast can deliver – like a serious PMT overload right there on the screen (and that’s a truly terrifying thought for males everywhere!) then you’ve come to the right place.
Director Neil Marshall builds a solid story set up from the start – and the jumps come even before the 6 females decide to ‘go underground’. Once in the darkness of the caves (point to note: do not watch this film if you ever plan to go potholing or cave exploring in the future) the tension amps up to an almost unbearable level. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so claustrophobic watching a film and it had nothing to do with my mate Matt Landsman screaming like a girl beside me – actually it wasn’t him screaming – it was everybody in the cinema, but special credit to the woman behind us who made the whole experience into one of ‘Dolby surround sound screaming’…

The Descent is a clever title too because whilst it aptly describes the action of descending into the darkness – it also refers to the mental state of the women – especially hardass Juno (Natalie Jackson Mendoza) who’s past sins come to influence her actions and she is not the sort of pal you want to have stalking you with a climbing axe!
So, obviously The Descent is not a film for everyone and if you like nice happy films where people generally don’t get axes through the throat or their insides ripped out whilst still alive – you’d do best to avoid this because otherwise you’ll be traumatised for life… But for those who like to see human nature pushed beyond breaking point and for everyone who enjoyed tense monster films like Alien… The Descent should be your next destination.

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (another good reason to be afraid of the dark)

Reviews of other films and stuff you might want to read indexed here

"this is for saying my bum looked big in my climbing gear"

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Film Review: Madagascar

Madagascar (U)
Dir. Eric Darnell & Tom McGrath

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

See the majestic lion Alex – surely he is a sight to behold. Watch in wonder at how the king of beasts stalks his prey, marvel at how he erm, seems to like his steaks served to him on a platter and at how he’s now having a laugh with what I thought was his prey but it fact turns out to be his best mate – a Zebra named Marty… Things aren’t running according to their natural order here - these animals obviously weren't born in the wild... But they are about to get shipped there!
Madagascar is the latest CGI animation funfest from Dreamworks (home of both Shrek and Shark Tale) and whilst it might be absolute lightweight nonsense – it delivers a fun couple of hours for kids and adults alike. Ben Stiller has a lot of fun playing Alex the lion, he’s the main attraction at New York City Zoo, his every need is catered for and he’s lost his killer instinct. His best friend Marty (Chris Rock) however is hankering to know what it would be like to live in the wild and gets chance to find out thanks to a mad cap botched escape attempt involving some scene stealing psychotic penguins. So Marty, Alex and their friends Melman the neurotic Giraffe (David Schwimmer) plus Gloria the sassy Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) are marooned on the mental lemur infested island Madagascar. And there is lots of fun to be had watching the jokes, pratfalls and obligatory film references – look out for the excellent Chariots of Fire reunion and the American Beauty ‘steak’ dream. Also on hand is British comic Sacha Baron Cohen (Ali G) who’s insanely over the top ‘king of the lemurs’ is a great counter foil to the NYC animals. Watching them discover the meaning of what it means to be ‘carnivore’ or as Marty asks Alex at one point: “Why are you biting my butt?” is great ‘food for thought’…
OK, the animation isn’t going to win any awards and it’s a shame but at no point does Madagascar reach the glorious humorous heights of the Shrek series but surely only a truly bitter, wretched person could possibly not enjoy the antics of these overly domesticated “wild” animals…
Remember – it’s a jungle out there – and it’s waiting for you at your local cinema.

Darkmatt Rating: ööö (all age 'wild' fun)

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Friday, July 08, 2005

Film Review: Dark Water

"FFS can't you use the toilet like everybody else!?"

Dark Water (15)
Dir. Walter Salles

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Yes it’s another of those freaky Japanese horror movies reworked for the Western market but Dark Water is a prime cut above The Ring et al. Boosted immensely by having the gorgeous Jennifer Connelly in the lead role – Dark Water is a slow burning mystery that amps up the freakiness towards the bitter end. Yes Dark Water doesn’t cop out with an unbelievable feel good ‘happy ending’ – this is a malevolent head squeezing exercise in unnerving the audience and it works a treat.

OK so there aren’t many ‘jump out of your seat’ moments but it’s not that type of film. Dark Water is more likely to make you start to look around nervously, check for any shadowy areas on your ceiling and basically never ever investigate weird cases of missing children…

So, single mother Dahlia (Connelly) moves with daughter Ceci (Ariel Gade) to a grim apartment complex on Roosevelt Island – can’t think how I missed checking this hellhole out when visiting NYC last year!?

Things start to go ‘bump’ in the night and it quickly becomes clear that they are ‘not alone’ in their squalid new abode – or is Dahlia losing it? One thing is for sure – there is evil black water dripping from the ceiling and a definite sound of footsteps in the deserted apartment above… This cues up some nasty flashback scenes and plenty of genuinely unpleasant moments of tension.
The supporting cast are good too - including Tim Roth as a lawyer who operates out of his car and Pete Postlethwaite as the building’s Scooby Doo type of dodgy janitor who may know more than he’s letting on about the missing little girl… John C. Reilly though steals his scenes as a complete bastard of an estate agent, he’s a sleazeball dirtbag of the highest order to whom who bullsh*te is a way of life…

Dark Water is for those out there looking for some above average mysterious goings on…
And I’m not kidding about the ending…
Darkmatt Rating: ööö (a worthy freak out)
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"JC's still 'doing it' for me"

Jessica Alba: "Fantastic" Interview coming soon!!

The lovely Jessica Alba as 1. Sue Storm / Invisible Woman

and 2. some random Babe in a Swimsuit...

Just got the call today that Jessica Alba will be making herself available to me in a week or so's time... So however the new Fantastic Four movie turns out - I'm already looking forward to meeting the Invisible Girl herself (I think she's bringing the rest of her super 4some with her too but I think it's pretty clear who I'm most stoked about meeting!!

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Bombs: Darkmatt not dead!!

Despite the efforts of whoever was responsible for the cowardly, unjustifiable attacks on London this morning - I'm still alive. For that I am extremely grateful, but equally sobered that if I had been 20 mins earlier then I would have got hit by one of the underground attacks on the Tube...

It makes you think, at least it made me think - in particular it made me give thanks to God and marvel that sometimes it's worth being that little bit late.

My prayers are with those injured and their families.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Film Review: War of the Worlds

"we are no longer masters of our planet"

War of the Worlds (12a)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Run for your lives… Big mean metallic alien killing machines are coming this way – in fact they’ve already been sighted in Luton!! Actually – if you haven’t already left you may as well forget about running – you’ll just die tired. These aliens are seriously tooled up, their massive war tripods have evil destruction beams that disintegrate you on contact, plus they have tentacles, which grab people and sling them into their holding pens. If you’re unlucky enough to be caught, there are seriously unpleasant things on the way in your future (unless the thought of having your insides forcefully sucked out appeals?).
All in all it’s looking pretty bleak for us humans and to make matters worse; the firepower of our entire armed forces has so far failed to even scratch the invaders. Where’s Will Smith when you need him eh?
But War of the Worlds is not about plucky human wisecracking heroes rising to the challenge and kicking alien butt. This is a bleak, terrifying survival tale set against the backdrop of $200million dollars of premium alien onslaught. Director Spielberg is on top form – where a lesser director might have been so enraptured with the awesome alien battle machines that he’d pack loving close ups of them into every shot – here we get to see just enough to instill their very real threat, yet not so much that they lose their mystique. War of the Worlds is at heart a very ‘human’ story, which asks the question – what would you do to survive?
Tom Cruise delivers one of his best ever roles as Ray Ferrier, a father who’s managed to alienate his family (cute daughter Dakota Fanning who turns in a stellar ‘wide eyed terrified’ performance, and Justin Chatwin who epitomises teenage slacker rebellion). Ferrier is a bad dad, selfish obsessed and juvenile but when faced with having to try and protect his children from the unstoppable threat of the unfriendly ETs – we get to see him find some kind of resolve and redemption that can give us all hope.
The action is nerve shredding in the way that makes you shout out loud at the screen – there are some spectacular shots you’ll never forget – highway bridges torn apart, ferries tipped over and battalions of alien tripods systematically exterminating people, to name but a few. War of the Worlds is so much more than just another summer blockbuster – it’s a classic retelling of a classic tale – run, don’t walk to the nearest cinema and check it out for yourself!

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (essential viewing)

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