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

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Film Review: House of 9

"Hopper was always going to win the
'Sean Connery look alike contest' against Kelly Brook"

House of Nine
Dir. Steven Monroe

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Day four in the Big Brother house… Kelly Brook has been electrocuted and she hadn’t even had chance to strip off. Several people have died, shooting, stabbing and bludgeoning have occurred but more concerning still, Dennis Hopper is hamming it up like a staving mad man let loose on an ‘all you can eat bacon buffet’…
Who goes… you don’t decide, but you do get to watch as 9 strangers are abducted off the street and trapped in a house (see where they got the cunning title now eh?) – and offered $5million to the sole survivor – once they’ve killed the rest…
Hardly a new concept but still a fairly amusing way to pass the time – HO9 owes it’s existence to films like Cube, Saw and My Little Eye. This British effort bills itself as “The ultimate test of human character” – they might be referring to having the endurance to watch all 86 mins without laughing at the clichéd characters but I think the makers had loftier ambitions.

Here’s a quick character synopsis by the good people over at www.beyondhollywood.com
“The characters are inevitably familiar archetypes: the Hardnosed Cop (Raffaello Degruttola), who besides being left with the only gun in the house, also sports cinema's most unsightly mustache; the Angry Black Guy (Ashley Walters), who was on the verge of a record deal when he got snatched, and who opens up the proceedings by informing everyone how much he hates cops, white folk, and especially "white bitches" (a phrase he uses often); the feuding married couple, of which the husband half is a controlling jerk; the stuffy clothing designer (Peter Capaldi); the mousy dancer (Kelly Brook); the Spoiled Rich Bitch (Susie Amy); Dennis Hopper as an Irish (I think) priest; and finally, the British equivalent of White Trailer Trash (Morven Christie)… The Angry Black Guy is very angry; the Controlling Cop is very controlling; the Passive Girl is very passive; and the Rich Spoiled Bitch is -- well, you get the idea.”
One thing that did annoy me was that the house might be rigged so as to be impossible to escape from and have 75 cameras recording every grisly move made by the inhabitants but boy does their image quality suck… If you were the type to invest masses of cash in adducting people, decking out a killzone house and offering $5million to the winner – you could probably have afforded cameras that offer a decent resolution? I know I would. When the director switches to the ‘sick game controller’s’ point of view you can barely tell Kelly Brook apart from Dennis Hopper or Susie Amy (Chardonnay from Footballers’ Wives) which caused me some consternation…

And as a Christian I couldn’t pass up the chance to share with you some theological thinking related to human nature – as Thomas Boston (1676–1732) said:

“The four states of human nature are:
Primitive Integrity;
Entire Depravity;
Begun Recovery;
and Consummate Happiness or Misery.
It must be noted that in all four states, man is free to choose what to do or not to do according to his will.”

Anyway – you’re free to choose whether to check out this passable human cliché study with lame killings and an obligatory twist ending…

Poster Quote: “They died screaming - screaming ‘I want to kill my agent for putting me in the cast of House of 9’…”

Darkmatt Rating: öö (been there, done that, got the $5million)

"Footballers' Wives: the sequel... Chardonnay hadn't dressed to kill 8 strangers"

Darkmatters: H O M E

Monday, January 30, 2006

Film Review: Match Point

Match Point (12a)
Dir. Woody Allen

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

I haven’t enjoyed a Woody Allen movie since 1973’s Sleeper so imagine my surprise when two of my very best friends tell me that Match Point is really good and I have to see it…

It becomes obvious to me that either –
a. two of my best friends are lying bast*rds
b. two of my best friends have been in touch with each other and thought it would be funny to send me to see a duff film
c. two of my best friends are right…

So I went and saw Match Point – on the plus side I thought – at least it’s a thriller (I’m always up for a good thriller) and it’s got Scarlett Johansson in it and I’m always up for a bit of Scarlett Johansson (you can guess which bit in particular)…

And I’ll be tied up and unspeakably assaulted with a unwatched DVD copy of Broadway Danny Rose if Match Point didn’t actually turn out to be a great little thriller!

So, faith in friends restored and I can now honestly say that I ‘enjoyed a Woody Allen film the other day’… without smirking and shaking my head. Anyway, Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays Chris Wilton – your average guy who marries the ditzy daughter of a rich family (Emily Mortimer) and then meets his new potential sister in law - Nola Rice (Johansson) and falls for her.
Murder, sex and all sorts of tension ensue in a most agreeable fashion. Meyers gets some great lines like:
“The innocent are sometimes slain to make way for grander schemes. You were collateral damage.”

My favourite interchange between Meyers and Johansson is this:

Chris: So you are aware of your affect on men?
She replies: They think I'd be something very special.
Chris: And are you?
Nola: No one's ever asked for they're money back.

Catch it on the big screen if you can – or be sure to see it on DVD!

Poster Quote: “Match Point gave me a Woody I could be proud of…”

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (Passion Temptation Obsession stylishly done)

"Hey - look everyone... I'm having it off with Scarlett Johansson... in public!!"

Darkmatters: H O M E

Leighton Meester... making Surface a must see event!!

"See how much cuter I am than my brother!?"

Surface - the best sci fi show on TV...

Have been glued to Surface since it kicked off in the UK this year - and am very impressed with Leighton Meester who plays Savannah Barnett - man she's the 20 year old eye candy that balances out the huge ugly sea monsters...

See what I mean below:

"Leighton Meester looking good whichever way you see her..."

And apparently - it's not a new phenomenom... here she is in North Shore from 2004:

"thankyou miss Meester... you've got the part!"

and Miss Fisher from Surface isn't too bad either...

Links:Surface comes to the UK

How Cute Is Leighton Meester?
Other screen females worthy of your attention:

Keira Knightley

Jessica Alba's Ass
Natalie Portman
Other cool TV...
Carnivale - still awaiting Season 2 on DVD


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Ultraviolet: Jovovich looks like kicking butt!!

Ultraviolet: Heads Up

I was one of those happy souls who really enjoyed 2002's Equilibrium by Kurt Wimmer... Well, now he's back with Ultraviolet and it looks like 'my cup of tea'!

Milla Jovovich stars and apparently uses a more authentic variant of "Gun Kata" - a unique blend of gunfighting and martial arts developed by director Kurt Wimmer for his previous film Equilibrium.

Count me in (check these photos and let me know your thoughts!)

"that's what I like to see... a lovely lady with a shiny bum dispatching baddies with cool guns..."

"borrowing Daredevil's leathers looks good - not sure about the glasses though?"

Darkmatters: H O M E

Film Review: Munich

Munich (15)
Dir. Steven Spielberg

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

The world was watching in 1972 as 11 Israeli athletes were murdered at the Munich Olympics. This is the story of what happened next… and man it’s strong stuff too.
Thrilling but brutal, grim and highly paranoid – that’s a description which fits both the plot overall and the actions of the main protagonists of the film. Eric ‘Hulk’ Bana is on scorching form as Avner, the meek leader of a revenge hit squad unofficially commissioned by the Israeli government to seek out and execute those Palestinians deemed responsible for the Munich killings. Avner is a man driven by the desire to please his mother country even when faced with actions that he questions and targets whose part in the Munich atrocity he doesn’t know. Motivated and galvanised principally by Prime Minister Golda Meir who tells him: ”Forget peace for now. We have to show them we're strong.” This is a film that will make you think long into the night about morals, righteous revenge and the value of life – throw away entertainment this is not.
But then it is a Steven Spielberg film, so you can expect the meticulous attention to detail - it really does feel like a historical flashback if you have any memories of the 70 's. This is evidently a high quality package, which tightly winds a compelling tale based on real events, liberally sprinkled with hard hitting murders and an ever-increasing sense of menace that will stay with you.
In this post 9/11 world it is somehow easier to believe that there were groups operating 30 odd years ago whose sole objectives were the hunting down and killing of terrorist ring leaders wherever they might be. Spielberg to his credit though doesn’t play for quick ‘kill the bad guys’ thrills but really gets into the brain scrambling consequences of the Israeli reactive stance and the cyclical nature of violence and terrorism.
There are some truly superb nail biting sequences that will make you sweat with that delicious edge of the seat tension you only find in films which suck you right into the drama on screen. My pick is one scene where a target’s cute young daughter is on the verge of answering a booby-trapped telephone – you’ll really want to scream at the screen.
In short then, Munich is potentially the most powerful, intense and important film of the year already, the definition of a ‘must see’ movie.

Darkmatt Rating: ööööö (excellent thriller - that everyone who likes film needs to see)

"For the love of God man - take off the 'I'm a Undercover Hitman' cap!!"

Darkmatters: H O M E

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Desperate Housewives series 2... nice to see you!!

"Everyone has a little dirty laundry... I just like watching these people's on Channel 4"

Desperate Housewives series 2

I know it's not macho but damn I do love those desperate housewives and I for one am very glad that they are back on UK TV this month... Although I plan to be 'doing' series one again if my own lovely desperate housewife gets me the DVD box set for my B'day!

Series 2 kicked off well last week and I'll be hooked each week again - DH and Surface are the only two shows I'm catching every episode of - although Life On Mars is proving diverting too.

Teri Hatcher as Susan is my fav housewife - but Gabrielle gets some of the best lines like:

"The only person more self-centred than me is Carlos,
he's so self-centred he doesn't even know how self-centred I am."

"She can certainly wear a mean pair of jeans..."

Link em if you got em...

Surface comes to the UK

Earlier post about Desperate Housewives Season 2

Darkmatters: H O M E

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Book Review: Altered Carbon

Altered Carbon
by Richard Morgan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Stuart Carter over at http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/ says “a first novel so exciting, so addictive and so bone-crunchingly in your face that it beggars the need for such virtual reality as it occasionally employs.” Unfortunately he’s not talking about Darkmatters but Altered Carbon and whilst he's obviously more impressed with AC than I was (or just trying to get a jacket quote in the next print run)- in the main I have to concur with his thoughts...

A friend leant me Altered Carbon after I’d mapped out the plot of Darkmatters for him – ‘it’s kind in the same area’ he said – and he’s right. If you like near future action thrillers with serious amounts of gunplay, hot women, robots and cool heroes then I’d urge you to check this out.

Quick plot overview from Wikipedia: “Kovacs is an Envoy - a member of a military unit formed to cope with the challenge of interstellar warfare. In the novel's universe, faster-than-light travel is only possible by transmitting the digitally stored mind via 'needlecast' across space into a new sleeve. Transmitting normal soldiers in this way will severely inhibit their effectiveness, since they will have to cope with finding themselves in a new body while fighting. To combat this, Envoy training emphasises the mental techniques necessary to survive in different bodies over physical strength (which is useless when the soldier is downloaded into a new body). The effectiveness of the Envoy Corps' mental training is such that Envoys are banned from holding governmental positions on most worlds.
Kovacs - who is killed in the novel's prologue and stored in digital form - is downloaded into a temporary sleeve formerly inhabited by Bay City policeman Elias Ryker and turned loose on the investigation. The plot unfolds through Kovacs's "hard-boiled" narrative. Kovacs eventually solves the mystery, but only after great personal suffering under which he is able to bear up only because of his Envoy training.”

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (future violent noir – detective thriller meets cyberpunk)

"Drew Barrymore - would make a good 'Ortega' - one of the love interests in AC"

You can probably pick up a copy of the book here: www.amazon.co.uk

Other books that I’ve reviewed that you might like if you enjoyed Altered Carbon:

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson

Diary by Chuck Palahniuk

Darkmatters: H O M E

Film Review: Underworld Evolution

Underworld: Evolution (18)
Dir. Len Wiseman

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

I am a Death Dealer, sworn to destroy those known as the Lychans (werewolves to you). Our war has waged for centuries, unseen by human eyes – apart form that whole Underworld film back in 2003, but ah, well, if you’ve seen that then you’ll know what I’m on about.
Underworld: Evolution is both a sequel and prequel to the first film. Kate ‘cutest, shiniest "behind" on the planet’ Beckinsale is back as Selene – the sexiest vampire ever dreamt up. And more importantly perhaps, she’s still wearing her wet look rubber cat suit that really should carry a health warning for men with weak hearts… Anyway, this time we get to see vampire leader Bill Nighy go supernova for his five minutes of screen time in an overacting master class which will possibly never be equalled. Scott Speedman is also back as the vampire / werewolf hybrid Michael Corvin – which basically means he can turn grey and grow fangs – when he’s not copping off with Selene. Yes, I feel it’s my duty to warn you that this time the gorgeous Beckinsale, in a shameless bid to drive men over the edge, strips off for a spot of naked frolicking. That plus all manner of grisly death scenes (including possibly the best death by helicopter blades ever) ups the rating of the sequel plus the action and excitement are cranked up a few notches from part one.
So, if you liked Underworld, then Underworld: Evolution will ring all your bells, but if the idea of seeing superhuman creatures beating the living daylights out of each other doesn’t excite, then this may not be the film for you.
There is a plot of sorts – opening with a quick detour back to 1202 to show some of the vampire/lycan origins, then it’s full steam ahead with Selene and Michael battling super baddie vampire Marcus (Tony Curran) who is trying to free his imprisoned super werewolf brother William (Brian Steele) and unleash a plague of uncontrollable werewolves – which is generally thought to be a bad thing.
It all cracks along at a blistering pace; the action is cool and over the top to the point where you can’t help laughing along. The cinematic s are chic and gloomy and generally designed to make Selene look good (but then it is directed by Beckinsale’s husband Len Wiseman so that’s not so very surprising), and to be honest she really doesn’t need much help. In fact I’d be interested to find out where you can buy outfits like Selene’s (could make a great 12th wedding anniversary present for my lovely wife!?).

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (stupid - yes, but sexy as hell and cool too!)

"great outfit - but I'm not convinced I'd look as good as Kate in it!?)"

Here's my review of Underworld from 2003 (before Darkmatters existed) in case you missed it:

Underworld (15)

I am a Death Dealer, sworn to destroy those known as the Lychans. Our war has waged for centuries, unseen by human eyes. But all that is about to change… err, sorry got a bit carried away there but Underworld is that kind of film. You have to buy into it whole-heartedly otherwise you’ll be sitting there saying “I’m sure that would never happen”.
I absolutely LOVED this film – for so many reasons - but the main one being Kate Beckinsale who plays Selene, by far the foxiest vampire you’re ever likely to come across. I really don’t know how she got into her PVC cat suit but it makes her look awesome. In fact there is now a fierce debate raging on several film websites as to who is sexier – Selene from Underworld or Trinity from The Matrix, I asked a couple of my mates and even they were split (Guy the Pilot went for Trinity, John the Web Designer for Selene). I think for me Selene just edges it but you get the idea - we’re talking seriously attractive women here – right up there with my wife!!
OK, so what else is great about Underworld? The battles for one thing, the special effects for another and shock horror – this fantasy action adventure / sensory overload even has a clever plot (think Romeo and Juliet with fangs and guns). Also don’t get me started on the cool cars, impressive gothic feel to the proceedings and of course the costumes.Anyway, it seems that vampires and werewolves have fallen out and are now at war. The vamps being aristocratic dandies who lounge around huge mansions when not out hunting down the more thug like werewolves (Lychans) who shack up in grubby underground dens. The reason for this animosity is that both these immortal groups share a common ancestor and when a wolf boy once fell for a vampire girl it all ended in tears. Now we get Selene who whilst out stomping some wolf scum meets the sexy Michael (Scott Speedman, another Brit). One thing leads to another – he gets bitten by a werewolf but saves her life and before you can say “I’m sure that would never happen” you’ll be caught up in the ultra violent fallout of their growing love. Oh yes, Underworld is essential viewing for anyone who likes tasty action, horror, romance or just fine women in rubber.

Some photos of Selene: underworld-2-evolution

Darkmatters: H O M E

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Kate Beckinsale is back... in Underworld: Evolution

"Kate didn't look so sure about the threesome when she saw how hairy the blokes were"
Underworld: Evolution opens in a few hours in the UK... I'm quite excited about it - I mean even if the movie isn't all that - Kate Beckinsale back her famous 'Selene' outfit will be enough for me!!

Check back for review this weekend.

More photos: underworld-2-evolution

Darkmatters: H O M E

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Film Review: JARHEAD

Jarhead (15)
Dir. Sam Mendes’

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Welcome to the U.S. Marines. Thank you signing up to become a Jarhead – a hollow headed recruit ready to have your mind filled with killing know how, patriotic jingoism and an unswerving desire to serve your commanding officer. It’s a great life. See the world (well the desert at least), make some interesting new friends (admittedly mostly psychos), and after an arduous soul destroying training process – go out there are kill some enemies*. Remember that your country loves you and is grateful for the oil supplies your actions are helping to secure…
*Actually you might not get to kill (or even see) any enemies on the duration of your tour of duty, but there are refunds.
For most problems the U.S. Marine is issued a solution. If ill, go to sickbay. If wounded, call a Corpsman. If dead, report to graves registration. If losing his mind, however, no standard solution exists… So, welcome to The Suck.
Sam ‘American Beauty’ Mendes’ film is a fascinating, disturbing and powerful portrayal of one Jarhead’s experience of the first Gulf War. Based on the real life Anthony Swofford's memoirs – he is brought to the big screen by a suitably bulked up Jake Gyllenhaal. Perhaps. the most shocking thing about Jarhead is that there is hardly any ‘action’ – it is a study of men going out of their minds through boredom, whilst always under the tease/spectre of attack. The harsh desert conditions combine with the ever increasing realisation that the girlfriends back home may not be wearing yellow ribbons and waiting patiently for them. Doubts and lack of anything meaningful to do start to sap the sanity from the soldiers and while it might not sound like it; it’s compelling stuff to watch. Jamie Foxx is excellent as Swofford’s corp loving Staff Sergeant and Mendes delivers some retina burning images such as Iraq’s burning oilfields.
One thing is for sure – Jarhead is not likely to prompt a massive rush to enlist in the way that more pumped up action orientated war films have (yes, I admit that even I wanted to be a Naval Aviator after Top Gun). But I strongly recommend this film – it is a delicious counterbalance to the ‘managed’ news coverage, which can make it all look so easy to the casual observer.
Now, repeat after me. “This is my rifle. There are many like it but this one is mine. Without my rifle, I am nothing. Without me, my rifle is nothing”... Woo Haa!!

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (I feel the need, the need for speed... erm or going mental in the desert)

"The Suck is always waiting..."

Darkmatters: H O M E

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Film Review: The Tesseract

The Tesseract (15)
Dir. Oxide Pang

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Here’s some advance science that you might need to get your head around if you’re going to take The Tesseract at face value (i.e. anything other than just pretentious bollox).

1. The tesseract is apparently a hypercube ‘unravelled’.

2. When you ‘unravel’ a square you get: a line, (two dimensions become one).

3, If do the same to a cube you get: a cross, (three dimensions become two).

4. Now… try it with a hypercube and you’ll find that it unravels to become a tesseract, (four dimensions become three).
- You’ll also find that the half decent novel by Alex ‘The Beach’ Garland and unravels to become a woolly, strange little film that fails to engage or amuse very much at all…

So this Englishman, female psychologist, young bellboy and a wounded female assassin walk into a Bankok bar… “Why the long face?” asks the bartender – “just watch this film we’re in“ they reply in unison… their fates cross and it all unfolds in or around a sleazy Bangkok hotel, or does it?

Erm, yes, yes it does but don’t forget though that a tesseract is ‘a hypercube unravelled’, which is to say it is a representation in three dimensions of a cube's four-dimensional equivalent – and you may well find your mind unravelling whilst watching this – causing thoughts like ‘why am I not watching something better instead?’ to circle in your brain… You see the complex criss-crossing of four strangers' lives through an achronological framework is actually a bit duff up on screen.

Darkmatt Rating: öö (You’ve got better things to do with your time)

"if you mention the huge zit on my forehead I'm going to blow you away!!"

Darkmatters: H O M E

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hard Candy - Sugar, We're Going Down

"great poster... get ready for a cool looking psychological thriller"

Xmen 3's Kathryn "Kitty" Pryde/Shadowcat (Ellen Page) stars in this provocative drama about a 32-year-old man who takes home a 14-year-old girl he meets on the Internet - with surprising / gruesome consequences... Nice idea to see the tables turned on the predatory adult for a change...

Check more details here:
Hard Candy

And also discovered the joys of Fall Out Boy this week...

"A loaded god complex, cock it and pull it..."

The album is a cool fast paced effort but 'Sugar We're Going Down' is the standout track.

Reviews of other stuff you might want to read indexed here

Darkmatters: H O M E

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

SURFACE comes to the UK

"or Tuesdays 9pm on ITV2 if you're in the UK!"

SURFACE comes to the UK - Matt gets very excited!!

It's not everyday that you find a killer new TV show. So God bless ITV2 for bringing the best US sci fi TV show since 'Carnivale' to the UK. I tuned in last night not knowing what to expect - except 'big underwater creatures' and I was blown away by just how cool this series it...

You have to love the tag line: "The fate of the world is in their hands... They just don't know it yet!"

As the official site blurb for the pilot goes: "THERE'S SOMETHING STRANGE GOING ON IN THE WORLDS OCEANS During a routine submarine dive, oceanographer Laura Daughtery (Lake Bell) discovers an unknown life form and unearths a government cover-up operation led by scientist Dr. Aleksander Cirko (Rade Sherbedegia) Meanwhile, Louisiana fisherman and Christian Richard Beck (Jay R. Ferguson) loses his brother in a suspicious diving accident, and a young boy named Miles (Carter Jenkins) sneaks an unusual aquatic egg into his home. From the South Antarctic Sea and the Gulf of Mexico to San Diego and Monterey, there's something lurking in the water. Leighton Meester also stars." Read more here: http://www.nbc.com/Surface/

The directors - twin brothers Jonas and Josh Pate - have come up with a winning formula: take a good looking cast, add dragons of biblical proportions and mix with some decent scares... It's like watching 'The OC' crossed with Close Encounters, but of an aquatic kind...

Darkmatt first impression Rating: öööö (this one has legs, erm and fins)

"Hey, no looking at my tits!!"

But don't take my word for it - check out this great 'bible induced' write up from http://frimmin.com/movies/surface.html:
"The King James version of the Old Testament translated both the Hebrew ten and tanin as dragon, resulting in dozens of mentions. Ten simply was a mistranslation which most modern versions correctly render as “jackal.” Tanin is much more complex. Sometimes it's clearly a land creature, and seems to be merely the plural of ten, but other times, it refers to a magnificent, mythological beast of the sea, powerful, mighty, and wild beyond words. Tanin is often paired with the Leviathan which God shows off as something He's really proud of... The modern translations that render this super-beast tanin as “crocodile” or “hippopotamus” miss the point completely. These are God's dragons.
It has great characters, and sometimes jaw-dropping action, and beyond that, Surface includes things usually neglected in sci-fi action stories, like humor and charm, which it deftly uses to make its jolts even more shocking."

Sexy Leighton Meester - makes Surface a must see!

Reviews of other stuff you might want to read indexed here

Darkmatters: H O M E

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Film Review: Running Scared

Running Scared
Dir. Wayne Kramer

Reviewed by Matt ‘not in his right mind’ Adcock

As The Guardian’s Andrew Pulver says: “No one in their right minds could call this a good film, but it's certainly unique.” Well in that case I’m obviously not in my right mind as I loved it!!

You’ll know if you read my reviews that I’m often’ out of sync’ with the mainstream critics and so here I am again telling you that a film which is tracking poor reviews from the national media is actually really worthy of your time…

There is one perquisite to enjoying Running Scared though – you have to be able to take violence and not flinch at a remorseless stream of nasty things done by nasty characters… Paul Arendt from the BBC chips in for good measure: “the stage is set for a lurid mystery tour through Kramer's seedy cityscape, a neighbourhood populated exclusively by pimps, prostitutes, crack hounds, mobsters, tramps and bent coppers. It makes Sin City look like Disneyland.” Oh and he forgot to mention the sickest pair of paedophiles to grace the screen for some time too. But what is great about Running Scared is that it sets about taking out the trash with a nitrous powered deathwish. This is a modern fairy tale – think of it like an 18 rated version of Lemony Snicket's 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' – with lots of gun battles, car chases, hot women and a constant stream of deviant baddies…

Paul ‘Fast and the Furious’ Walker comes across well as the mob associate charged with disposing of the guns used in the various nefarious acts carried out and he’s built up quite a collection. When a crooked cop has his balls blown clean off and another slug put in his head by the same gun, it is deposited with Walker for disposal. Alas his next door neighbour’s kid ‘borrows’ the gun used in the police killing and ventilates his abusive father... setting in motion a manic night of events which has to be seen to be believed.

It is grim stuff but sometimes there’s a place for that – so if you’ve got the guts, check out Running Scared - I guarantee that you’ll never forget the ‘inquisition by hockey puck’ scene.

Mark my words - "This will be a ‘cult classic’ before the year is out!!"

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (grim but good... from the maker of 'The Cooler')

"love the artwork - and from the end credits am sure there's an Asley Wood influence / connection?"

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

Darkmatters: H O M E

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Film Review: Memoirs of a Geisha

"A story like mine has never been told."

Memoirs of a Geisha (12a)
Dir. Rob Marshall

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

I confess right away that I was not born into the life of a Geisha, for that I am grateful but to be honest I don’t think I have the legs for it anyway… The Japanese Geisha girls were not courtesans, they were not wives, they were a unique kind of companion tasked with creating a secret world, a place only of beauty. The very word "Geisha" means ’artist‘ and to be a Geisha is to be judged as a moving work of art. Rob ‘Chicago’ Marshall’s film version really captures this. Helped in no little measure by having the gorgeous Ziyi Zhang in the lead role of Sayuri, Memoirs of a Geisha has some of the most beautiful screen imagery ever committed to film.

Based on the international best selling novel by Arthur Golden, the film doesn’t strive for anything deep or very meaningful but does manage to deliver a strong love story set in a world which has mostly past into legend now.
As a visual experience Memoirs of a Geisha conjures up words like sumptuous, seductive and striking. The sets, the costumes, the acting – all blend into a wonderful picture book that will leave its imprint on your mind’s eye. Ken Watanabe takes a break from his recent action roles in Batman Begins and Last Samurai to be the iconic ‘Chairman’ – the man who wins the heart of Sayuri. But the course of true love never runs straight (or easy) and the villain of the piece is the hate filled Hatsumomo played by the lovely Li Gong, back on screen again soon in the new Miami Vice film. Here though she is an older rival Geisha who does all she can to break Sayuri’s spirit, and the resulting emotional battle of wills between the two leading ladies is quite something to behold. At points you can almost feel Zhang struggling not to launch into one of her martial arts combat moves which she excelled at in films like ‘House of Flying Daggers’. I had the chance to talk to her at the press conference for Memoirs of a Geisha and asked which was tougher – the fighting or the Geisha training. She told me “I think to be a Geisha is harder.” And after watching the film you may well believe her!

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (a simple but tasty oriental treat)

Matt Adcock meets Ziyi Zhang

"Ziyi was hot but hadn't quite got the hang of the YMCA dance..."

Earlier post about the Geisha including some lovely photos of Ziyi Zhang

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

h o m e

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Matt Adcock meets Ziyi Zhang

to quote Beyonce: "ooh boy you lookin like you like what you see..."

Matt Adcock meets Ziyi Zhang

Here - finally - is my quick interview with the gorgeous Ziyi Zhang... English is her second language so it wasn't the chattiest few minutes but man she is hot hot hot!!

So Ziyi, was Memoirs of A Geisha a book you knew?

Zhang: “I read it five years ago. I’d heard about it from many of my friends who just loved it. I loved this story, it was so special. I never thought that one day I could be in this story, playing this character. So for me, the first time I heard I had got the role I was happily surprised. At the same time I felt tremendous pressure, because I knew Rob was going to make this movie in English. For me that was my biggest obstacle, because English is my second language and I only started learning it two years ago. I just felt that then I had to live up to their expectations and had to give all my best efforts. You can’t let them have any regrets, you have to do your best.”

What was the hardest aspect of geisha training?

Zhang: “I found my dance the hardest thing to learn. Even though I had six years of dance background, that was the hardest thing to do. You have to get used to wearing those big platform shoes. The first time Michelle saw those shoes she asked if they were handbags. We thought it must be a prop, but John, our choreographer, told me I had to dance in them. I thought it’d be impossible, but after five hours a day over a few weeks, finally I could get it. I love the dance because it involved a high degree of acting as well. I know the process was really difficult but, for me, it was also a big challenge.”

Having been seen on screen engaged in some epic fights in recent years, which is harder for you Ziyi – fighting or being a geisha?

Zhang: “I think to be a geisha is harder.”

So, there you go... GEISHA review will be up this weekend (link to follow).

Earlier post about the Geisha including some lovely photos of Ziyi Zhang

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

h o m e

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Film Review: Honey

"Honey by name and - well just look at her will you?"

Honey (PG)
Dir. Bille Woodruff

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Sometimes you can't help but come across a film, um, no - not like that... Perhaps I should say 'rediscover' a film that you kind of meant to watch when it came out (2003) but never bothered to.

Well today I came over young Honey's face
- peeking out of my
lovefilm envelope but alas it was a hollow experience.

As my friend
'Planet Sickboy' said: "The acting – and God help me if this hinders my future attempts to woo Ms. Alba – is abominable. Alba is armed with a perpetual wide smile that borders on mildly retarded."

Honey is a poor film but my goodness Jessica Alba is still so supremely watchable that it almost doesn't matter... See her put the 'sex' into 'sexy Hip Hop video', marvel at how she becomes a world leading video director over night, vomit at the 'dance can defeat any evil' motive, rewind and watch her putting the 'sex' in to 'sexy Hip Hop video' etc.

Darkmatt Rating: öö (and both of those ö's are for the dance scenes alone)

Reviews of other stuff you might want to read indexed here

"Ah miss Alba, did I ever need a reason to post photos of you on my blog?"

Matt's Top Games of 2005

"The 'stunningly lifelike' solid silver award for best game 2005 goes to..."

I found it really hard to choose an outright winner from the games I've spent far too much time playing in 2005... so in an outrageous cop out here are my top ten but in no particular order except by format as each has its own distinctive merits and ate many hours...

On the PC:

Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War: Winter Assault
- how to make the best RTS war game even better? Just add this expansion pack!!

The Movies
- This is the game that the Sims etc have wanted to become - lights camera action...

On the PS2:


- Hunting down scumbags in a warzone for cash rewards (dressed as Han Solo - yes please!)

Burnout Revenge
- More high octane thrills and spills than you can shake a can of nitrous boost at.

- Yee Haa, I'm a cowboy and I'll freakin blow you to kingdom come.

On the PSP:
So many cool games but highlights have to be...

- Pure addiction that lasts longer than you'd ever have thought!

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
- The 'daddy' of handheld games, this is an awesome game, just amazing...

The Lord of the Rings: Tactics
- Hunting hobbits as a black rider = highly fulfilling pastime!!

On the DS:

Advance Wars: Dual Strike
- Same again but with added cool new units and features? Yes...

On the humble GBA:

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
- From the makers of Advance Wars comes fantasy strategy joy in a little box.

On the XBox?
Um, move along here, there's nothing to see... there wasn't anything that I played to death - I guess Fable? but mostly a host of PS2 ports in the main with slightly better graphics, lets just hope the 360 gets some better games or I can see it getting squished by the PS3!!

Matt Adcock's Top Games of 2004

Film reviews of other stuff you might want to read indexed here

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Film Review: The Producers

The Producers (12a)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

OK, imagine you’ve always dreamed of being a Broadway Producer – the lights, the glamour, the masses of showgirls lining up to catch your eye – oh not to mention the money… But did you realise, that potentially, under the right circumstances, a producer could actually make more money with a flop than he could with a hit? That’s the central premise of The Producers, the film of the hit stage show, which was based on the original Mel ‘Blazing Saddles’ Brooks film.
Anyway here we get Nathan Lane (the voice of Timon from the Lion King no less) as a down on his luck producer who cooks up a get rich quick scam with his accountant played by Matthew Broderick. They plan to put on the worst show ever and settle for a snappy little title “Springtime for Hitler: A gay romp with Eva and Adolf at Berchtesgaden” which looks like fitting the bill rather well. In traditional Mel Brooks style a host of wacky characters are drawn into the one joke plot including a suitably over the top Will Ferrell as the neo-nazi author of Springtime for Hitler. Ferrell is amusing but his performance feels forced and alas too much of the mirth making burden falls on his head.
The best reason to go see The Producers though is Uma Thurman’s Ulla – a million miles away from The Bride in Kill Bill, here Uma gets to sizzle her way across the screen. Best described when Lane says following her audition: ”Even though we're sitting down, we're giving you a standing ovation”, and from the looks on the faces of the guys around the cinema – he and Broderick probably weren’t alone in that...
If you liked the stage version then you’ll want to check out this big screen retelling as the songs do look and sound good. What it doesn’t really do enough though is to utilise the unlimited boundaries of being a film rather than the restriction
s of a stage based musical. In the end unfortunately, The Producers just doesn’t deliver as much of a riotous laugh-a-thon as I was hoping for and although enjoyable it is quickly forgotten.
2006 however is looking rather promising on the movie front – with films to look forward to including: Superman Returns, The Da Vinci Code, Xmen 3, Miami Vice and of course the new James Bond (Daniel Craig) in Casino Royale – yes please!!

Darkmatt Rating: ööö (Uma makes it less painfull)

Reviews of other stuff you might want to read indexed here

"You've got the part(s) - I think you'll be a big hit Ulla!!"