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, August 31, 2006

Matt Looks Through A Scanner Darkly

A Scanner Darkly (15)
Dir. Richard Linklater

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Everything is not going to be OK”

I refer you to my utterance, again, be of no doubt that there is an uttermost haze over the component cabinet before which I stand. I stand and ponder the components as they in turn ponder me (or at least a facet of ‘me’ which may or may not be the Matt Adcock that the inner ‘me’ relates to)… As my ransacked brain scans the assorted items and picks a can of Coca Cola ‘Blak’ (new coffee flavour coke I got addicted to in France last week) – I can feel a foreboding sense that things might not be making any… sense that is… And so it is that I have experienced a work of high art based on the 1977 novel by everybody’s future shaper Philip K. Dick, whose works have become movies like Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Minority Report. Now if you like Dick as much as I do (no, not like that), then you’ll be delighted by A Scanner Darkly because it is for my money the most faithful Dickness to hit the big screen.
And it’s rotoscoped! This means that every frame of film was shot with digital cameras and then a crew of insane seven year old animators were allowed to hand-paint all over every one – the effect is disorientating, the effect is somewhat disorientating, but it is also disorientating… I might have said that already.
Is it any good?
Utterly good, utterly dark and utterly spaceballed. If you’re looking for an utterly unique cinematic experience of the near future in which stoner dudes freak each other out and paranoia munches the coating from the screen: Choose Scanner.
If you need a coherent plot, can’t take trippy visuals and / or film reviews written whilst the writer was smacked out of his head on Substance D (or Coca Cola ‘Blak’) annoy you, you might want to quietly leave now, find a comfortable spot, curl up into a foetal ball and hum James Blunt songs gently to yourself.
Substance D, which it seems an alarming percentage of the population is already taking on a regular basis, is the number one problem for the government. Every possible user has been put under constant surveillance – yes that means you too.
I’d advise you to investigate yourself as soon as possible and turn yourself in if you find something unsightly…
We’ve known it for a while but everything is not going to be OK – A Scanner Darkly isn’t OK, it’s genius, but it’s not for everyone.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööö – slowburn dude
Laughs öööö – I laughed a lot, that doesn't necessarily mean it was funny
Horror ööö – skin might crawl
Babes ööö – I'd like to rotoscope Winona Ryder

Overall öööö (some will love this, others won't - I loved it but the voices in my head didn't)

"rotoscope me one more time"


Darkmatters: H O M E

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Matt's Top 20 Films Ever: YMDB

YMDB... a simple concept but one that is irresistable to film fans.

Can you list your top 20 films ever?

You can check mine here:


And then leave a comment telling me how wrong you think I am...

Love it!!

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Film Review: Millions (2004)

Dir. Danny Boyle

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

It’s ‘grim up north’ for two young brothers who have lost their mother - Damian (Alex Etel) a young philanthropist who is often visited by various saints and his older brother Anthony (Lewis McGibbon) who is more worldly wise…
That is until one day when ‘God’ sends them a Nike bag overflowing stuffed with almost £300,000 in cash… The only drawback being that the cash is in British pounds and there are only a few days left that it will be legal tender as the Bank of England is about to condemn us Brits to the European ‘Euro’. This is a case of use it or lose it…

Has the bag of cash from above really been sent as a gift from heaven to help the poor? How many mates can you buy at school when you’re absolutely loaded? What are a couple of young lads to do with more money than they can carry? And perhaps most pertinently… just who is that very dodgy looking dangerous character that seems to know that there is a bag of money around?

Millions could be seen as a children’s version of Boyle's first film ‘Shallow Grave’, which also looked at human behaviour in the face of mucho ill gotten cash. Millions certainly doesn’t have the gut wrenching violence of Shallow Grave but it retains the elements of fun, greed, danger and bewilderment and is just as watchable.

You just know trouble is on the way when the boys make a hefty £1000 donation to a school charity. Their generosity brings all sorts of unwanted attention and their dad (James Nesbitt) gets handily romantically linked to charity worker (Daisy ‘Spaced’ Donovan). The adults here are really bit players though as it is the two brothers who make this film work so well...

Sweet enough without being saccharine, Millions is an enjoyable fable that I’d strongly recommend.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öö – some chasing about - madcap
Laughs öööö – wry, well observed humour...
Horror ö – tense moments but nothing horrific
Babes ö – not much eye candy

Overall ööö1/2 (perfect film to chill to for grown up kids everywhere)

Darkmatters: H O M E

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Matt is probably on the beach...

Cowboy (who looks like Edward Norton): "hey sexy Evan Rachel Wood - have you seen Matt about anywhere on this beach? He hasn't updated his blog for like a week or something..."

Sexy Evan Rachel Wood: "nope, not seen him - I heard he'd gone to France with his family so he's probably not going to have chance to blog till the 30th August now... didn't even ask me to go neither..."

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Film Review: Harsh Times

Harsh Times (15) 

Dir. David Ayer 

Reviewed by Matt Adcock 

"I'm a soldier of the apocalypse, man - a stone-cold killer… A psyched out, mentally unstable nightmare on your doorstep and you want to know the best part? I’m going to be a cop real soon… Let’s be careful out there yeah?"

Times certainly are ‘harsh’ in this powerful directorial debut from ‘Training Day’ screenwriter David Ayer. Christian Bale excels as Jim, your average disturbed ex-US Ranger / heavy-duty American psycho, burning up the screen and damaging all who come into contact with him. That’s not to say that he isn’t trying to be a nice guy most of the time, just that he’s only ever a hair-trigger away from unleashing a world of violent pain on anyone who crosses him. 

Harsh Times really is a kind of Taxi Driver companion piece and it’s every bit as good as Martin Scorsese’s ’76 tour de force. This time we have an alienated Iraq War veteran trying to get his life together back on civvy street but the phrase ‘own worst enemy

has never been so apt. Spending his days hanging out with his best pal Mike (Freddy Rodríguez) the two of them are trouble magnets despite their good intentions of finding jobs and settling down with their women (the gorgeous pair of Eva ‘Desperate Housewives’ Longoria and Tammy Trull). The film is incredibly watchable and the script sparkles with genius lines like when Jim surveys the other candidates around the Homeland Security training centre and deadpan quips “I see dumb people.” 

Harsh Times deals in self-destructive black comedy of the highest order. The characters are ones which you will want to see survive, that you’d like to see make it to the dream happy-ever-after of meaningful employment and family life. But, however much fun the dodgy duo of pals get into – there is a creeping sense of unassailable, inevitable doom stalking the plotline and you just know that it will end in tears. Tears and heavy-duty gunplay quite possibly involving some scumbag Mexican gangbangers. 

I can’t state enough just how astonishing Bale’s performance is here, he’s scarily convincing as a pure rage-fuelled powderkeg of anger. It’s all beautifully shot too with grainy handheld camerawork mixed with sweeping vistas which puts you right there on the mean streets of LA and Mexico. 

If you’ve a hankering for an intense cinematic experience that will take you on a ride to the edge, Harsh Times will blow you away. 

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5): 

Action öööö – gunfights and beatings look very good here 

Laughs ööö – some great moments 

Horror ööö – brutal but not horrific 

Babes öööö – Eva Longoria and Tammy Trull look bring the girl power

Overall öööö (very impressive debut!!)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Film Review: Severance


Severance (15) 

Dir. Christopher Smith 

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

Welcome to the latest team-building exercise for the European sales division of Palisade Defence (the multi-national weapons company that really cares about its staff). On this excursion, you will get to experience the thrill of bonding with your co-workers in ways I’m pretty sure you’ll have never dreamt of. 

As well as the usual paintball, brainstorming, and socialising – there will be some fun additional activities that include: Running for your lives from a psychopathic bunch of war-crazed killers intent on murdering every last one of you, and avoiding the numerous booby traps such as antipersonnel landmines (Palisade’s finest of course) and some very nasty bear traps… 

Of course if Palisade had just gone to the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) for their management training requirements none of this would have been necessary… Anyway, Severance is pretty much the ultimate slasher/action/comedy film. Think ‘Shaun of the Dead’ but swap the zombies for evil gun and machete toting nutjobs and you’ll be in the right zone. And Severance really delivers in all areas; I was literally blown away by Christopher ‘Creep’ Smith’s insanely enjoyable film. Danny ‘The Football Factory’ Dyer as wide-boy stoner Steve leads the impressive ensemble cast on this amusingly doomed expedition. 

An ill-fated journey that takes in levels of violence that wouldn’t have been out of place in Eli Roth’s ‘Hostel’, so be warned, Severance is certainly not for the squeamish. Having said that however the makers manage to do something very difficult –have you laughing out loud one moment and genuinely scared the next. Add into the mix some very smart and politically astute dialogue, characters that you get to care about (before they die), and some crunching fight scenes and you’re in for a very good evening. 

Also, watch out for the ‘rocket launcher scene’ which is so audacious that it instantly became my new ‘all-time favourite scene ever’!! I’ll no doubt have to do some sort of penance for wholeheartedly endorsing such a twisted and gleefully nasty tale but I’m afraid that films like this just don’t come along very often… 

Makers of scary movies the world over should take note – this is how you make a decent horror/comedy film. Severance is, without doubt, the most dysfunctional, delightful and potentially brain-damaging cinematic experience of 2006 – altogether a superior quality British film you simply must not miss...!! 

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öööö – slapstick, gunfights, set-piece heaven

Laughs öööö – superb dark wit at work here

Horror ööööö – downright nasty in places and scary too

Overall ööööö (perfect Brit horror comedy? ...pretty darned close!)

Link to previous post on Severance: http://darkmatt.blogspot.com/2006/08/brit-horror-comedy-severancelooks.html 

"you know smoking kills but then so do masked psychopaths..."

Make someone happy (me) - check out my novel - click this banner...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Be afraid - The Straw Men are here…

"slick, intense, and harrowing... like good thrillers should be..."

The Straw Men
By Michael Marshall

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Every parents nightmare… Their 14year old daughter abducted… An insane serial killer "The Upright Man", on the loose… A grisly trail that means if it’s ‘him’ that has their child, she is likely to be tortured and has at best about a week to live…
Cue hard boiled and self hating LA homicide detective hero (whose own daughter was one of the killer’s victims) and a link to a guy who is fast finding out that nothing he thought he knew about his past or his parents was based on fact.
Mix these elements and pump them through the highly creative mind of Michael Marshall – Brit author of the very cool ‘Spares, One of Us and Only Forward’ and you have an absolute grade 'A' thriller that will rip your still beating heart out and eat it in front of you... The good news for sicko killer thriller fans being that The Straw Men is only part one of a trilogy (I will be seeking out and reading part 2 The Lonely Dead ASAP)…

Sample passage page 437:
“All three had guns. All were firing them.
The youth died first. His technique was pure television: gun held out sideways, gangbanger style. Bobby had him down with one shot. I slipped behind one of the pillars and straight out the other side, getting McGregor first in the thigh, then the chest. I still only narrowly avoided taking one to the face, felt the hum as it spun past my head. I dropped to one knee and scooted behind one corner of the reception, praying that the woman hadn’t seen me. Reloaded dropping half the bullets…
McGregor was still shooting. The woman behind the desk nearly took Bobby out before I took a breath and stood up, emptying half of my gun into her.”

MM said that he saw the book as: “a reminder that we're animals, and that much of what we do and how we behave can be more easily explained by remembering that, rather than pretending that we're a bunch of angels wandering amongst the beasts."
That sounds about right to me…

The Straw Men is a cracking read and would lend itself to a film or mini series – am really looking forward to parts 2 & 3.

Buy it at Amazon:
The Straw Men

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):
Action öööö – When it hits, it hits hard
Laughs ööö – Some decent black humour
Horror ööö – Gets grim but not over the top
Babes ö – Nothing to get excited about in this area

Overall öööö (buy it and never look at your neighbour the same way again)
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Matt Adcock meets M Night Shyamalan

Matt Adcock Meets M Night Shyamalan

Everything looks a little off kilter after witnessing M Night Shyamalan’s latest film, Lady in the Water. Or it might just be the effect of the multiple blue spotlights that the Warner Bros PR people have set up – either way I’m excited to be able to put some questions to the writer/director/actor who shot to fame with his movie ‘The Sixth Sense’ and has been spooking audiences ever since.

Where did you get the ideas for Lady in the Water?

A. The story actually came from me telling the back story that’s in the movie to my kids as a bedtime tale. Ultimately, what I was trying to duplicate with the movie was the kind of free-spiritedness that’s there when you tell it to your kids. I think there’s a moment when I watch Wizard of Oz or Peter Pan where you sense that the author has left the rules of normal storytelling and they’re following a light that’s moving around, going places that they might not fully understand and yet children can understand.

Do you think that audiences might be coming to this film expecting to be scared rather than charmed?

A. I’ve been struggling with what to do with all that. The Sixth Sense was my first one that everyone got to see and that happened to be scary. Then I did Unbreakable about comic books and it wasn’t meant to be scary. But it became seen as a mistake that it wasn’t scary. I didn’t even know that I’d been put in that ‘He’s the scary film guy’ vein then. I definitely like suspense though – I don’t even know how to think without it.

Your role is Lady in the Water is your biggest yet – are you planning to take the lead in your next film maybe?

A. Luckily, there are world class actors that can do that. But I did one film called Playing With Anger, which was my first film in India with a really low budget, and I was the lead in that. With this one, the struggle of a writer is something that I'm obviously very, very familiar with. I’ve felt that feeling of going into a closed room and just feeling lost. So anytime anyone writes something about a writer I'm always connected to the plight of that lonely person struggling to hear something.
But role wise - Signs offered the perfect balance of what I’d love to do – a meaningful small role that can contribute to the emotion of the movie.

How did your children react to seeing their bedtime story up on the big screen?

A. That was the only time I was really, really nervous - the day I showed it to them. The last thing you want is pity from your kids, for them to look up with that expression they give people who give them presents that they don’t really like… But they loved it, they’re 10 and 6, and I’d never seen them so transported. They’ve seen it now four times.

As a fellow dad I can relate to that feeling of wanting your children to like what you’ve created. Alas the novel I’m working on is pretty adult orientated so it might be a while before they get to read it. For now though I’ll be interested to see what my boys think of Lady in the Water, it’s certainly dark and scary in places – like many of the classic children’s stories?

Lady in the Water review: http://darkmatt.blogspot.com/2006/08/film-review-lady-in-water.html

Darkmatters: H O M E

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Film Review: Lady in the Water

Lady in the Water (PG)
Dir. M Night Shyamalan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Let me tell you a strange bedtime story of weird and wacky things that go ‘splash’ in the night. Come with me to the blue world, a place populated by Narfs (water nymphs), Scrunts (ferocious predatory wolf things) and the Tartutic (three simian beasts made out of trees)… No, I’m not making this up I swear – this tale springs from the fervently bonkers imagination of M Night ‘Sixth Sense’ Shyamalan who made it up for his children.
Lady in the Water is highly divisive with many people just not buying into the kooky childish mythology or feeling let down by the only moderate scares on offer here. And even those who are prepared to go along with this uncompromisingly odd brain splurge could be forgiven for joining those still feeling let down by The Village a couple of years ago in thinking that this is his worst film to date… Unfortunately I’d have to agree but even saying that I did enjoy parts of Lady in the Water, (I mean what’s not to like in a scene where the know it all film critic tries to talk his way out of a confrontation with a monster - only to get mauled to death anyway!?).
One of the main problems is that whilst the excellent Paul Giamatti battles heroically to overcome the cumbersome script and brings real feeling to his care-worn caretaker character, everybody else seems to have regressed to a state of non acting ability. Also you’ll have to make your own mind up about how Shyamalan’s role of ‘misunderstood genius writer who will change the world’ relates to his own view of himself… After meeting him this week I am just about prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and file this as a valiant failure.
So it is that ‘Story’ the Narf (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) has little to do but look confused and get attacked by the vicious scrunts. And when one character says: “This is like a scene out of a horror movie,” you wonder if they may have been adlibbing a bit too accurately? Alas it looks like time is running out for a happy ending to the M Night Shyamalan series of films unless he finds a much stronger project to bounce back with – perhaps recapturing his magic with Unbreakable 2 or The Seventh Sense?

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):
Action öö – bit soggy
Laughs ööö – some nice flashes of genius
Horror ööö – couple of nice jumps and some kid friendly menace
Babes ööö – Bryce Dallas Howard is yummy

Overall öö1/2 (a near miss - but still worth seeing)

Matt Adcock meets M Night Shyamalan

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Film Review: Stormbreaker

Stormbreaker (PG)
Dir. Geoffrey Sax

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“You know, I wouldn't mind giving you one too…”

Thus says evil baddie Darrius Sayle (Mickey ‘Sin City’ Rourke) most inappropriately to the young female BBC Newsround reporter and I can’t help laughing… Suddenly I realise that I’m the only person in the cinema laughing at this semi crude joke which has gone over the heads of the amassed kids (my two sons included) – ah well, respect to the filmmakers for putting some little adult friendly bonuses like that into this fun junior Bond-esq romp.

Director Sax makes amends for his weak White Noise last year with Stormbreaker – the big screen version of the first of Anthony Horowitz’s teen spy book series. It’s jolly good fun too with enough action to stop children losing interest and a plot so lightweight that it makes Miami Vice look like a serious essay on the human soul…

Alex Pettyfer does a decent enough job in the lead role of Alex Rider. The ensemble supporting cast go about the daftness with aplomb and Sarah ‘In America’ Bolger tries her hand being a teen romantic interest.

My eldest son Luke who is 9 has become a big fan of all things Stormbreaker (DS Game, Graphic Novel etc etc) and it’s a series that has potential to make a not unwelcome return at some point soon – providing the box office holds up I’m guessing?

Stormbreaker cracks along competently and I enjoyed it all – this is a fun action packed family movie that makes a decent change from animated rodents and soppy family comedies… Enjoy…

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):
Action ööö
– some decently staged set pieces
Laughs ööö – more than I expected
Horror ö – nothing much too nasty
Babes ööö – Bolger has potential for a few years time…

Overall ööö (you’re never too young to die – or enjoy fun films)

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Game nerds heaven... don't look if you're adverse to hot females

"last gasp usage of non wireless controllers"

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Brit horror / comedy Severance looks great!!

"Remember - there's no 'i' in 'team', there are a couple in 'kill or be killed'"

Top looking new UK horror / comedy Severance hits the screens in a couple of weeks and stars cheeky cool Brit actor Danny 'Football Factory' Dyer and a bird named Laura Harris. It's the story of mucho death in the countryside when an international arms dealer (Palisade Defence) decides to reward its six-member sales division with a weekend team-building retreat in the mountains of Eastern Europe...

The agenda for their trip changes when the group realise that they are under attack from a renegade band of war-crazed soldiers seeking twisted revenge...

Forced to defend themselves, the group of corporate execs don't know whether to laugh, cry or get medieval on their asses...

File this under 'must see'!!

Check out the official site severancethemovie.co.uk and play a sick sick game online (if you like that sort of thing!?).

Darkmatters: H O M E

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Film Review: Miami Vice

Miami Vice (15)

Dir. Michael Mann

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Smooth… That’s how we do it.”

Oh yes, here it is – Miami Vice finally on the big screen some 20 years since the TV show changed the viewing habits and dress sense of millions of impressionable males across the world. I should know, I was one of them. So bad was my love of Miami Vice that it wasn’t until I met my wife in the early nineties that I finally accepted it was ‘not actually cool’ to walk around with the sleeves of my cream linen jacket rolled up and Jan Hammer tunes blaring from my car stereo…

The feature film is directed by Michael ‘Heat’ Mann who also created the original TV series but only the title, premise and characters have survived. Everything about the new version is harder, darker and more stylish than before. Miami Vice is a deliciously vicious victory of boiled down style over substance. The message here is that you don’t need to know any back story to these two cool undercover cops – and character development is for wimps. 

What you sign up for this time is two and bit hours in their dangerous knife edge world where attitude, confidence and crunching violence are the only necessary currency.
The plot is perfunctory; detectives Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) go undercover in Miami to bring down a serious bunch of drug dealers. Things get a bit out of hand when Crockett falls for drug princess Isabella (Gong Li) and completely ‘which way is up’ when a white supremacist group start mixing weapon shipments and abductions into the drug running mix. Add cool cars, tasty speedboats, private jets and high tech counter espionage and ignite the slow burn fuse.

In order to really appreciate Miami Vice in its new guise you need something that many cinema goers simply have forgotten how to use – an attention span of more than five minutes. From the moment you’re thrown into a throbbing nightclub opening scene without a clue what’s going on, through to the climatic gun battle that sets new standards in awesome cinematic overkill, you need to pay attention.

It’s worth it though because this is cinema at its macho best. Mann has successfully taken the classic cheesy TV show, stripped it, remixed it and unleashed it on a new generation. 

As Tubbs asks at one point:

“Do you understand the meaning of the word ‘foreboding’, as in badness is happening right now?” 

Watch this and you will do… 

Highly recommended viewing.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öööö – when it comes... it hits hard

Laughs öö – not much apart from Farrell's hairdo

Horror ööö – some seriously nasty death shots

Babes ööö – Gong Li... yes please

Overall öööö (quality reworking of much loved TV series)


Matt Adcock meets Colin Farrell

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Matt falls for ANGEL - A

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Angel - A (15)
Dir. Luc Besson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“I can feel my life ebbing away, evil chills creep into me in exchange for the steady loss of consciousness… I realise exactly what is happening but quite why my untimely demise should be any consideration to you… that is something I do not understand?”
From the novel ‘Darkmatters’

Imagine it’s all true… that angels exist and are amongst us on missions to help out poor souls – it’s a nice concept, an uplifting thought and one which seems to have tickled the fancy of cool French film maker Besson in his romantic fantasy ‘Angel – A’.

This is the story of big time loser Andre (Jamel Debbouze) who is so down on his luck – and not to mention so in debt some rather nasty types – that he decides to top himself by jumping into the Seine. Imagine his surprise when he sees a super hot blonde in a micro dress about to do the same…

He rescues her, she tells him that she’ll do anything he wants to help him get back on his feet and the pair bicker in the best style before finally admitting their true feelings for each other… Just one problem, she’s actually an angel and she’s not allowed to get involved with humans…

Angel A has had a pretty rough ride from critics so far but it touch me deeply and I was swept up in it’s monochrome wonderfulness. Plus of course the blonde angel (Rie Rasmussen) is an absolute babe who can fight, screw and smoke any man under the table…

Don’t go expecting Besson’s usual violence (which I do love especially in Nikita, Leon and 5th Element) – take a date and revel in the most gorgeous film for lovers to hit the screen in years…

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):
Action ööö – some fights but no gunplay
Laughs ööö – I laughed out loud several times
Horror öö – nothing too nasty
Babes öööö – Rasmussen is gorgeous and her legs go on forever!

Overall öööö (quality fantasy… memorable)

"only angels can wear dresses this short!"

Darkmatters: H O M E

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hot new Spanish horror 'La Hora Fria' trailer now live

"guns vs the unknown... with Spanish style"

La Hora Fria is shaping up to be a cool underground horror hit from sunny Spain...

The tale is about a group of eight people living in isolated in crumbling installations. They cannot abandon the complex and they live in a constant state of vigilance. The food supplies are running out and they urgently need medicines and ammunitions, but in order to find them they must abandon the secure area. What lurks outside the small area they inhabit, however, is so menacing that they dare not even speak of it...

I like the set up and will be tracking this for a release date.

The teaser trailer from "La Hora Fria" is now available with english subtitles:

If you can't see it above - check it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0iI02f6li4

Darkmatters: H O M E

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Film Review: Renaissance

"out now in the UK and September '06 in the US"

Renaissance (15)
Dir: Christian Volckman

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“First I’m strip you naked, then I’m gonna tie you up. You know of course that I’m going to torture you until you lose control. Finally I’ll dispose you in some quiet Parisian sewer and nobody will ever know where you went or why…”
Crumbs… did I say that out loud? Sorry about that – think I might have just had a flashback from the subliminal programming I might have received whilst watching Renaissance – an uber dark, paranoia inducing, threatening and completely unique cinematic experience.

Welcome to a near future underworld (Paris, AD 2054) ripped from a comic which could sit alongside Sin City and not look out of place. Actually Renaissance is an original film – it started production before Sin City came along and trumped it last year… This in many ways is a tragedy for the Renaissance makers, because whilst their film is bold, striking and looks amazing, it just can't touch the storyline or characters of Frank Miller's classic.

He’s a snippet from a BBC interview with the director: “Two or three years into production we saw the first Sin City trailers and completely freaked out. We thought, ‘That’s it, someone’s doing this before us.’ But I think if we had come out first, people would say, ‘Oh, Sin City is like Renaissance…’ I was trying to achieve the same feeling that you have when you’re looking at a painting. Which is a cross between reality and something more graphic or dreamlike. So with black-and-white and Motion Capture I could have this realistic feeling of human movement on one side, and on the other side have this completely strange world.” Read more here:

Anyway, the 'movement capture' used here is pretty impressive stuff – the high contrast black and sheer white is retina burning - it needs to be seen to be believed. The story is your average bad corporation / abducted female scientist kind of thing. You know, a tough cop (voiced by new James Bond Daniel Craig no less) stumbles into a sinister secret project to find a way of living forever etc…

Graphic novel lovers are in for a visual treat and whilst it tends to drag a little and could have been tighter with some of the padding removed but it’s still a ‘must see’ movie!

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööö – some gun scenes, some chasing, you know the drill
Laughs ö – not a comedy in any shape or form
Horror ööö – slightly disturbing
Babes ööö – if you like your T&A animated, step right up…

Overall öööö (I love the genre but Sin City just did it better)


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