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

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Film Review: Click

"it's soo true..."

Click (12a)
Dir. Frank Coraci

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

When I press this button you will not be able to move, you will be completely at my mercy. Everything will be ‘paused’ except me and you better hope that I like you… Because I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want me to slap you around, break wind in your face or take off vital pieces of your clothing – leaving you hurting / gagging or just plain embarrassed when I restart time? Of course it’s just a movie but you’ve got to admit that the idea of having a ‘universal remote control’ which works on the universe itself is a fun one and director Frank ‘The Wedding Singer’ Coraci milks it for every last drop of potential mirth.
Adam Sandler plays Michael Newman, your average American guy who is striving to please his scumbag boss (a top cameo by David Hasselhoff), keep his cute kids and gorgeous wife (a jaw droppingly hot Kate Beckinsale) happy and still have time for his extended family. It’s an impossible task and it’s driving him mental. That is until he one day is given a universal remote by wacky inventor / angel Christopher Walken. From then on Click plays like a kind of Bruce Almighty just with supernatural technology giving him the Godlike powers rather than deifying himself. There were an awful lot men in the cinema wearing wistfully envious looks when Newman experiences the delights of being able to ‘picture in picture’ sports channel coverage into his field of vision at any time, and several partners got evil looks when nodding vigorously at the great idea of being able to fast forward through every argument you ever have with your better half. How about using it to turn down the volume on a whining needy friend, annoyingly jolly karaoke merchant or loudly barking dog? What about hitting the slow motion button when a foxy female jogger passes or pausing time to give your boss a quick beating when given an outrageous deadline? Click takes puerile (mostly male) wish fulfillment and plays it large on the big screen.
The fun does slow down for a schmaltzy moral about wasting your life but even that doesn’t detract from Click being a very worthwhile way to kill some time. There’s even a great soundtrack which features one of my all time favourite tracks - U2’s Achtung Baby masterpiece ‘Ultraviolet’. I went to see Click with fairly low expectations but will now chalk it up as potentially Adam Sandler’s finest work to date.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öö - not an action flick but pacy enough
Laughs öööö – plenty and well observed, you will laugh out loud
Horror ö – nothing too grim except Sandler in a fat suit at one point
Babes öööö – Beckinsale is in my all time top 10!

Overall öööö (more fun than you might expect!)

"Kate Beckinsale... yes please!!"

More Beckinsale on Darkmatters:

Top of my would like to... list

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Film Review: Hoodwinked

Hoodwinked (U)
Dir. Cory Edwards

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Have you ever wondered if your dear sweet granny might actually be living a double life? Perhaps behind the cup cakes, jumpers and general mild mannered exterior – maybe she’s known as ‘Triple G’ and into extreme sports and danger? No, me either, but it’s a great ‘what if’ and it works brilliantly in Hoodwinked – a fun animated comedy for all the family. You just know you’re in for something a little bit special when you have Little Red Riding Hood in situations like this:

Red (voiced by the always yummy Anne Hathaway) finds a medallion in one Granny's kitchen drawers and asks. “Granny, what's this?” Granny (a wonderfully fun turn by Glen Close) replies, “Uhhh... It says 'World's Greatest Grandma'.” Red quick as wink however says, “Granny, I can read. It says 'Battle of the Iron Cage Gladiators'.” And we get treated to a quick flashback of Granny in all her cage wrestling smack-down glory!

Yes Hoodwinked is that rare beast, an animated film made by someone other than Pixar or Dreamworks that is actually worth checking out. Blessed with a razor sharp script and enough madcap ideas per minute to keep kids and adults thoroughly entertained, this went down a treat with both my boys and my wife… In fact when we got back from the cinema my youngest son James phoned his grandma just to check that she wasn’t a secret snowboarding adrenalin junky (she isn’t in case you were wondering).

Director Cory Edwards should be very proud of what he’s made here – think Little Red Riding Hood crossed with ‘The Usual Suspects’. The plot is staged in flashback as each of the main characters from the fairy tale - the smooth talking wolf (Patrick Warburton), the axe wielding lumberjack (James Belushi) plus Red and Granny / Triple G each tell their conflicting version of events. It’s down to the hard boiled detective Nicky Flippers (David Ogden Stiers) to crack the case and while he’s at it track down the forest’s public enemy number one – the Goody Thief…

I particularly enjoyed the witty asides and quips from the wolf, turns out he’s a journalist working undercover working a scoop on the Goody Thief, you see. Pick of his lines is when he bemoans his lot in life as a humble hack – wistfully exclaiming, “Man, I should have been a film reviewer!” And when the films are as good as Hoodwinked – he’s got a point!

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööö - cool set pieces even if not cutting edge animation
Laughs öööö – lots and they hit their targets
Horror ö – mild suspense, nothing to perturb
Babes ööö – hathaway even sounds hot

Overall öööö (lots of fun)

Darkmatters: H O M E

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Film Review: Children of Men

Children of Men (15)
Dir. Alfonso Cuarón

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“I can't really remember when I last had any hope, and I certainly can't remember when anyone else did either. Because really, since women stopped being able to have babies, what's left to hope for?” This is the cheery sentiment of the impressively bleak new slice of British sci-fi directed by Alfonso ‘Harry Potter 3’ Cuarón. Children of Men is a scarily believable near future world in the grip of brutal martial law and serious population decline thanks to the fact that it’s been more than eighteen years since the last baby was born.
Clive Owen stars as Theodore Faron – a grizzled ex-activist whose life is blown apart when he unwittingly becomes the guardian of a young refugee who has become pregnant and so might just hold the future of mankind in the balance…
I took my wife to see this but am beginning to regret it as she’s described the film as ‘a visual assault on the senses that leaves you shaken and bewildered’, not really what you want from a romantic evening out!?
She’s not wrong though; Children of Men is not an easy film to watch – filmed in a raw photojournalistic style, which drags you through the vicious climate of fear, paranoia and heavy-handed government control. Claire-Hope Ashitey is amazing as the potentially world changing mother-to-be and her plight is heartfelt. Sir Michael Caine and Julianne Moore provide serious quality support to the proceedings, although in Caine’s case – as a wacky pothead the word ‘serious’ might be open to interpretation.
The action scenes are pleasingly heavy duty, unflinching and stark but they have an authentic feel that makes you care what happens to the characters. Look, I don’t want to spoil it for you but here’s a hint – I wouldn’t get too attached to any of them if you don’t want your evening ruined.
It’s great to see a Brit(ish) film boldly charting territory that is usually the sole domain of Hollywood and coming away with its head held high. If you sign up for this dark journey, do keep your eyes peeled for some great incidental in jokes though, like a huge unexplained floating pig in the air near Battersea power station - surely a reference to the cover image of the Pink Floyd album "Animals"?
Children of Men is a quality alternative to the crass mainstream offerings so often found clogging up cinemas.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööö - not action packed but enough to satisfy
Laughs öö – a few - mostly thanks to Caine
Horror ööö – some grimness and lots of suspense
Babes öö – Julianne Moore doesn't really do it for me

Overall ööö1/2 (worthy of your time)

Darkmatters: H O M E

Friday, September 22, 2006

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07

"today was a great day for virtual golf lovers... Tiger is back!!"

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
Matt's first impressions of PSP and PS2 versions...

As the Europeans take the early upper hand at 5-3 in an absorbing opening day at the 36th Ryder Cup, I was rather more excited at the prospect of taking Tiger Woods home and humiliating him...

Anticipation of EA Games' Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 was running very high in the Adcock household... After last year's slight missfire I was keen to see if '07 would impress enough to make it essential play - both at home on the trusty PS2 and on my commute with the loveable PSP...

So there I was, drooling like a loon as I surrendered my credit card to the very fit young lady in HMV and in return she slipped me two slices of gaming golf heaven...

I will go into details in a proper review later (actually finding it hard to stop playing long enough to write this) but for now if you've ever been a fan of the series - rest assured that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 is 'return of the king' and he's better than ever!!

First impressions of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 - it is as sexy as:

Mischa Barton!! i.e. very very tasty...

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Thursday, September 21, 2006

'300' Trailer Is a Killer - must see!!

"by the look on her face, women go wild for a battle hero - obviously..."

Frank Miller - you've got to love the guy's graphic novels - almost single handedly producing the best ever Batman stories (Dark Knight Returns / Strikes Again), kicking all sort of butt in his masterpiece series of Sin City (cracking film last year setting new standard in graphic novel screen realisation) and now his blistering combat epic '300' is going to hit the big screen next year... And thanks to many sources (freshvisual, and filmstalker to name but two of the coolest ones) you can now find links over to the trailer and boy... it looks good!!!!

Based on the insanely violent Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. , where the King of Sparta led his army against the advancing Persians; the '300' of the title comes from the crack band of soldiers who rode to meet the tens of thousands of enemy who were approaching and held them in mortal combat at a valley which prevented the enemy's numbers being the deciding factor...

As the hero screams at the end of the trailer 'this is the battle where few stood against the many!' and their actions are said to have inspired all of Greece to band together against the Persians, and helped usher in the world's first democracy...

Factoring '300' on my must see list for 2007... See the trailer here: promo-trailer

Darkmatters: H O M E

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Matt experiences Time Of The Wolf (Le Temps du Loup)

Time of the Wolf / Le Temps du Loup (15)
Dir. Michael Haneke

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

This just in from France…

A naked boy prepares to leap into a roaring fire – hoping that he is one of the 36 ‘Justs’.

A mother and her children struggle to come to terms with the brutal slaying of their husband / father at the hands of a rifle toting stranger they find in their holiday home.

The water supply across the land has become tainted leading to social breakdown and anarchic behaviour as the populace turn on each other in a starkly pessimistic future.

Meanwhile a young man watches the developments at makeshift refugee camp where a small band of hopeful people have set up a mini community and wait for the coming of a train…

Yes France eh? Great place!! And I’m maybe just saying that in the light of a wicked summer holiday at Le Pas Opton (Spring Harvest Holiday’s finest English enclave – in the wild Vendée not far from the superb beaches of St. Gilles Croix-De-Vie…) slurping chilled rose and munching rare burger galettes in the French sunshine with my family…

But enough happiness, Time of the Wolf or Le Temps du Loup if you’re that way inclined is an enigmatic audience splitter of sombre social dislocation in the near future by Michael ‘Hidden / Cache’ Haneke.

It isn’t an easy night’s viewing - think a much more culturally obscure 28 Days Later without the zombies and you might be close. There is very little action, some seriously kooky dialogue and for every ‘cool’ shot or set up it feels like you have to wade through half an hour of exposition and art house flights of distraction.

I think the always funky Ed Gonzalez who writes for the excellent Slant Magazine summed it up best when he said: “Haneke's austere images depict terrified citizens of the world clinging to the feckless logic of the modern world even as the film's unspecified darkness pummels them into a lawless vortex.” – so now you know…

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öö – Plodding but beguiling
Laughs ö – Unless you find grim French people funny?
Horror ööö – Death and what looks like live horse slaughter
Babes öö – All a grimy and in need of a bath!

Overall ööö (a better experience than the sum of its parts)

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Film Review: DOA: Dead or Alive

"so very hot..."

DOA: Dead or Alive (15)
Dir. Corey Yuen

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Prepare yourself. Only those blessed with very special appreciation skills will find enlightenment in DOA: Dead or Alive. For in accordance with the ancient Xbox prophecy: “The hottest babes in Christendom will come forth clad in bikinis and fight in slow motion for about an hour and half. Then shall the males of the world remember to breathe again and return to their places of habitat primed for some serious joystick action...”
Yes – DOA is the computer game(s) of the same name made flesh and in a level of inspired casting possibly never to be equaled the ‘flesh’ in question belongs to the smokin hot Holly Valance, Sarah Carter, Devon Aoki and Jaime Pressly. Oh there are a couple of guys in it too but they are just bit parts, especially so called villain Donovan (played ineptly by Eric Roberts – brother of Julia no less).
DOA is all about ‘girl power’ and it expresses this through lingering shots of the nubile combatants as they compete in clandestine tournament to find the world’s best fighter. You might wonder how this works in terms of cinematic style, tone, vision and ambience – I think the words of my esteemed nineteen year old friend Tom who’s studying at Cambridge answers those questions in full: “Best Film Ever!”
Director Corey ‘The Transporter’ Yuen certainly takes his job of recreating the deeply mysterious nature of the pixelated fighting / beach volleyball simulations seriously here. There may never have been a martial arts actioner more blatantly designed to please red blooded males but at least it doesn’t try to be anything other than ‘House of the Flying Bikinis’. There are no real redeeming features apart from the sheer novelty factor of seeing scenes like when Holly Valance’s thief character Christie manages to take out a whole squad of police officers whilst putting on her underwear. It’s challenging stuff I tell you.
You’ll have undoubtedly already some idea by now if this is the sort of thing you want to witness on the big screen – but as computer game adaptations go, this is one of the most faithful (and probably lucrative).
For those looking for something other than hot women in bikinis beating the living daylights out of each other – you might want to try ‘Children of Men’ the new Clive Owen starring near future shock tale where mankind has become sterile (more on this next week).

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öööö – Butts get kicked (very cute female butts mostly)
Laughs öö – Not a laugh riot unless you're trying to take it seriously
Horror öö – No blood, nothing too grim actually
Babes ööööö – Awesome, just awesome

Overall either öööö (if you're a fan of the games)
or öö (if you don't 'get' videogames or films based on them)

"I think this picture speaks for itself..."

Earlier post about DOA -babetastic

Other screen females worthy of your attention:

Keira Knightley

Jessica Alba's Ass

Natalie Portman

Leighton Meester

Darkmatters: H O M E

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Film Review: Bums

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"no bums were harmed in the making of this movie - I think"

BUMS (unclassified)
Dir. Brett and Jason Butler

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

There are some perks to having a film review gig on the side and one of them is that from time to time film makers, games producers and car manufacturers send you free product to review… I’m actually still waiting on the free cars but hey… it could happen…

Anyway, I was sent a DVD from sibling writer directors Brett and Jason Butler who wanted to show me their Bums… And here is their yet unclassified slice of Canadian slackerdom that walks in the indie footsteps of Clerks and tries really hard to get a buzz out of its zero budget day-in-the-life of six class ‘A’ loser friends semi documentary feel.

My wife watched the trailer and stated that it looked so poor shed have to be sedated in order to sit through the feature. Not having my chloroform to hand I let her escape and watched this one solo, and found myself enjoying it.

Despite the rawness of the ‘acting’ – I use the term advisedly after consulting with my lawyer – there is some cool stuff to be found here. I’m a sucker for Top Gun dialogue being quoted and could relate to the characters debating their Top Gun later egos. A couple of the women are cute too but nothing very much happens – no action, no sex, nothing but chatting and drinking really – but that’s not actually as bad a thing as it sounds. Bums serves as a snapshot of young waster’s views on the world of relationships and from that perspective it will probably be referred to in the future as “The Authoritive Voice of Canadian Semi Youth”… or not.

I’ll certainly be interested to see what the Butlers get up to next film wise – if slacking is of interest to you Bums should be on you ‘to see sometime’ list.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ö – pretty much an 'anti action film'
Laughs ööö – if you relate to the characters you'll laugh with 'em
Horror ö – move along - nothing horrible to see here
Babes öö – couple of cuties

Overall öö1/2 (slack but fun)

"Evan Rachel Wood - not in Bums alas..."

Darkmatters: H O M E

Friday, September 15, 2006

Matt gets KILLERS tickets... Wife very pleased

"you want the goat or the model? we cater for all tastes"

Oh yes... Even though I was still in a state of shock from having seen Robbie Williams and Basement Jaxx live last night (good stuff - highlights included 'where's your head at' and 'sin sin sin'), and trying to come to terms with the joy of Spurs winning in Europe (however short lived that might prove to be - cos I think we'll either struggle in the group stages or win the UEFA Cup this year!?). I still should have realised that today was the day that The Killers London dates tickets went on sale but it was like 10.30am before a work colleague tipped me off.
Cue panic, frantic phoning / searching of ticket agencies and websites and after many a 'sorry mate they sold out an hour ago' responses I finally found a pair of sexy Brixton Academy tickets for their opening London night for a non too bankruptcy inducing sum...

Now roll on the 26Nov!!


Click here: Doesn't Look A Thing Like Jesus to read my thoughts on new Killers single 'When We Were Young'

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Matt loves Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005)

"like taking a double barrel shotgun load of kookiness to the face, but in a good way..."

Me and You and Everyone We Know (15)
Dir. Miranda July

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Great little film this, an unexpected joy, one of those that sucks you in and makes you care about the characters (an endearing bunch of average Joes, oddballs, losers and confused kids). You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll feel very uncomfortable when the middle age guy tells the two young teen girls outside his apartment:

"I would love to believe in a universe where you wake up and don't have to to go to work and you step outside and meet two beautiful 18-year-old sisters who are also girlfriends and are also very nice people..."

All human life is here and I recommend you join them for an alternative experience.
Don't watch if you're adverse to kookiness though!?

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööö – Slow but painfully tense in places
Laughs ööö – Weird and wonderful, probably have to be in the right mood
Horror öö – Self torching and some grim description of 'back and forth' fun!?
Babes ööö – Yes but their too young!!

Overall öööö (emotional)

Another cool review of the film here: Me and You and Everyone We Know

Darkmatters: H O M E

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Film Review: BEERFEST

"standing ovation for the Swedish team?"

Beerfest (15)
Dir. Jay Chandrasekhar

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

There is a secret underground contest where highly skilled teams compete at the highest level for glory, honour and national pride. I have learned that the contest is held each year in Germany and is referred to simply as ‘Beerfest’. Thanks to some intensive undercover drinking activities I have been granted access to this clandestine world where danger and buxom wenches go hand in hand and life is cheap, but not as cheap as the drinks.

I’m prepared to now risk everything by going public about this ‘Beerfest’, please pay heed to what I say as many Bothan spies died to bring you this information (they just can’t hold their drinks apparently)…

I got to celebrate notching up 300 film reviews for this esteemed title by spending almost two hours witnessing some of the least inspired gross-out humour ever to slop over the screen. Better men than I would have shirked the task but I just downed a beer, stocked up on popcorn and faced the challenge.

Beerfest opens with a severe warning / disclaimer that ‘if you drink the amount of beer the characters do in this film… you will die’. It’s a sobering thought but it’s also bang on the money. Beerfest depicts drinking on a scale that would cripple the NHS if emulated and what’s more its lame central message is that ‘drinking beer is funny’. Make of that what you will.

Written by Broken Lizard, the US comedy troop who have yet to deliver a really funny film and directed by Jay ‘Dukes of Hazard’ Chandrasekhar, you’ll hopefully know from the title what’s on offer here.

The inebriated plot features American brothers Todd and Jan Wolfhouse (Erik Stolhanske and Paul Soter) who inadvertently stumble upon a titular German underground beer drinking contest. In true US style they immediately try to show the rest of the world how things are done but are unprepared for the sheer drinking ability of their hosts and go home badly humiliated. For once however, instead of invading the offending country, the chastened yanks get beer drinking training in order to return the following year and prove that Americans can chug on a world wide stage.

Unfortunately for beer lovers everywhere, Beerfest is so sloppy that after what seems like hours of mildly amusing sleazy “jokes” and dim drinking games, any hope of enjoyment wears off like a short lived beer buzz and a cinematic hangover quickly sets in.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öö – Limited to drinking (but what did you expect?)
Laughs öö – Lacking big time, few and far between
Horror öö – Some horrific scenes of Germans
Babes ööö – Babes ahoy kits off...

Overall öö (not great even if viewed through beer goggles)

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Friday, September 08, 2006

He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus...

"The Killers are back!!"

...And sometimes you close your eyes and see the place where you used to live

When you were young

They say the devil's water it ain’t so sweet
You don’t have to drink right now
But you can dip your feet
Every once in a little while...

...You play for goodness
Watch it, now here he comes

He doesn't look a thing like Jesus
But he talks like a gentleman

Like you imagined
When you were young...

When You Were Young - The Killers (possible single of the year)

Listen to it and check out their funky site here:

I love it...Can't wait for the new album Sam's Town
(even though I'm enjoying Empire by Kasabian in the mean time)...

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Film Review: The Wicker Man

"something 'Wicker' this ways comes..."

The Wicker Man (12a)
Dir. Neil LaBute

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

‘Some Sacrifices Must Be Made’ reads the tag line for this remake of the much revered British 1973 pyromaniac pagans on the loose chiller… What it failed to mention is that those sacrifices will be:

1. your sense of enjoyment,
2. your respect for the usually talented director Neil LaBute
and 3. by about half way through – your will to live…
Yes The Wicker Man 2006 is a tedious waste of time that should only be viewed by those diagnosed with a rare medical condition requiring them to see repeated shots of Nicholas Cage doing his ‘worried horse’ face in order to survive.
At one point Cage ponders loudly "Every time I turn my head, something doesn't make sense!" and if you go see this you’ll be tempted to shout out “yes – why did you waste your effort on this steaming floater of a movie?” It really is that bad, The Wicker Man is easily the worst Nicolas Cage movie I’ve ever seen.
The BBC called the film ‘laughably bad’, at least they seemed to be able to laugh at it but the crack team of mates that I took to view this (really sorry Tom, Matt and Steve) gave it unanimous thumbs down. Their comments included ‘weird’, ‘rubbish’ and ‘was that supposed to be scary?’ and I concur – don’t waste your money on this pointless unscary dross.
If pagan nuttiness is what you’re after then you might be interested in the fact that the director of the original Wicker Man is working on a ‘reimagining’ of the story under the curious working title ‘Cowboys for Christ’. The mind boggles…
But anyway, something is seriously amiss on the isle of Summersisle - just off the coast of the U.S. where a young girl has gone missing. Sensitive cop Edward Malus (Cage) is invited by the girl’s mother ‘Willow’ (the beautiful Kate Beahan) to investigate but he soon finds himself caught up in the island's mysterious pagan community, and suspicious of its leader Sister Summersisle (Ellen Burstyn).
Even those who haven’t seen the original (out this week on DVD as a 3 disc special edition coincidently) will sense that it’s going to end in tears. I was actually a little bit gutted that the new version sticks so religiously to the plot because for once I’d have been delighted to see a gung ho Hollywood gunfest ending… Alas it all goes up in flames, don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öö – 'Get off the bike'
Laughs öö – Unintentional mirth ahoy
Horror öö – Just not nasty enough!!
Babes ööö – Kate Beahan has lips to die for

Overall ö1/2 (the worst film I've seen for some time!!)

Darkmatters: H O M E

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