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

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Eastern Promises - review

Eastern Promises (18)

Dir. David Cronenberg

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

‘Every sin leaves a mark,’ so says the tag-line for this brutal contemporary peek into the seedy world of Russian organised crime in London. There’s plenty of sin to be found in Eastern Promises, plenty of sin and not a single piece of Fry’s Turkish Delight – which I’m beginning to doubt was ever as ‘full of eastern promise’ as the adverts led me to believe…
Anyway, this unhappy tale begins with a 14-year-old pregnant prostitute named Tatiana who collapses and dies in London hospital after giving birth. Attending nurse Anna (Naomi Watts) finds Tatiana’s diary and gets her Russian uncle to translate it in order to try and find a relative to take the baby. So far, so ever so slightly intriguing. Things get altogether uglier when the diary is found to chronicle the girl’s life of drugs, rape and prostitution, linked to a cartel of Russians. Anna then unwittingly puts herself in mortal danger by tracking down the mobster owner of a restaurant whose card is in its pages.
This also brings her into the paths of a dandy but dangerous hoodlum-about-town named Kirill (Vincent ‘Ocean’s 12 and 13’ Cassel) and his driver, Nikolai (Viggo ‘Lord of the Rings’ Mortensen) both of whom carry the film as long as you can forgive their terrible Russian accents. The central crux is whether Nikolai with choose to protect Anna or help in the execution of the baby and everyone who knows about the diary. Words like ‘quite implausible’ and ‘ bit simplistic’ kept popping into my head whilst watching and the quality cast are quickly wasted on the dubiously meandering and slow burning to the point of dullness storytelling.
Overall Eastern Promises is vaguely disappointing, all the more so because director Cronenberg’s last film ‘A History of Violence‘ was a stunning, exciting pulp masterpiece. Whilst ‘History of Violence’ grabbed you and rattled you with a constant stream of twists and upping of the ante, here you’ll most likely have seen the clichéd ending coming from a mile away and be hard pressed to care.The only really remarkable scenes are some of especially vicious violence (graphic throat cutting a speciality) and a bizarre naked showdown that sees Nikolai trying to knife fight two hit men in the buff. There’s little else to mark this out unless you have a thing for heavily tattooed Russian hard men or are really hankering for lightweight moral dilemma set against a murky London underbelly.

Out of 5 you have to go with a 2.5 (average not amazing)...

Darkmatters ratings:
Action öö – Insufficient but shocking when it kicks off
Laughs öö – The accents are funny!
Horror ööö –Some seriously nasty deaths
Babes ööö – Watts is pretty delicious

Overall öö1/2 (could called 'a lesser history of violence')

"Yesszz, we will hav to hav thiz Matt silencided az he didn't like our film..."

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blink Box - it's the future!!


Stumbled across a cool new site called 'blinkBox' – http://www.blinkbox.com/, seeing as you ask...
This blinkbox allows users to send friends personalised ‘blinks’. ‘Blinks’ are basically choice film clips tagged with personal messages that can be sent to anyone via email or mobile, and are embeddable on blogs (as above), sites and social network profiles.
Check out the Cult film content just waiting to be blinked and played around with... go on, do it now!!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Heavenly Sword - review

"nice sword, nice bum too..."

Heavenly Sword (PS3)

Ninja Theory

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

What do you get if you give an underwear model a divine massive sword - so blood hungry that together their antics will become legend? The answer is a game that delivers a furious battle simulator that even makes the God of War games look a bit timid in comparison. You might have seen Heavenly Sword being played in the cool TV series ‘Heroes’, or just be curious to find out for yourself if this flagship PS3 exclusive title is a reason to invest in Sony’s black box of high definition gaming love… Prepare yourself for graphics that will make you gasp out loud, jaw dropping carnage that will take your breath away and a fiery red-haired heroine who sets new standards of dishing out punishment whilst wearing a clingy skimpy outfit. Yes, Heavenly Sword’s Nariko is gorgeous, with curves rendered so well that she makes Laura Croft look a bit minging, but don’t let her foxy looks fool you, she packs a very serious punch!

"not many women look hot splattered with blood... Nariko pulls it off"

But here, like in life, a good-looking woman is nothing without a decent combat system (just ask my wife). Thankfully, Heavenly Sword is blessed with wonderful fighting mechanics that will see you cutting a swath through thousands of enemies – each attacking you with razor sharp A.I. The combat is all the more grin inducing and supremely satisfying because it combines a nicely balanced variety of attacks with nifty countering techniques giving it a delicious ‘easy to pick up, but challenging to master’ quality. As you progress, you’ll unlock a lot of tasty combo moves, which will enable you to perform truly spectacular kills. Using your three possible 'stances' - Speed, Range and Power – which you switched using the shoulder buttons, you can block enemy attacks and counter them with finishing moves. It works a treat and is very addictive.There’s no denying that pure Hollywood style production values and sheer bloodlust sating action make this stand out from anything else available on any console thus far. Plus there is extensive quality voice acting, and it all shines in it’s stunning high definition visuals. There’s very little not to love here, but if you really want me to knock something you might feel that you’ve romped through it all a bit too quickly and because the swordplay is so compelling, the shooting levels can leave you itching to get your sword out again?

Don’t be a wuss, Heavenly Sword is the very definition of a ‘must buy’ game – you need it in your life!!

"Heavenly pout!!"

Overall ööööö (pretty damn perfect)

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Monday, October 22, 2007

Stardust vs The Dark is Rising

"It's rising but can it compete with Stardust?"

"Contender for fantasy film of the year?"

Stardust (PG)

Dir. Matthew Vaughn


The Dark is Rising (12a)

Dir. David L Cunningham

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Fantasy as the name suggests is the ultimate genre for indulging our make believe wishes – a place for the fairy tales and fables that root our culture and teach us at a young age about life, the universe and everything.

This half term holiday sees another couple of contenders plying their magically enhanced storylines in cinemas – first up is Stardust (big budget, mega cast and based on respected author of comic books and fantasy novels Neil Gaiman). The second is The Dark is Rising (a darker, lower budget and more occultish effort based on the second of a five part series by author Susan Cooper).
So are either of these worthy of your hard earned cash and what do they have to offer? I took my ten year old son Luke with me to give a child’s perspective on them, and this is what we thought:

The Dark is Rising will appeal to those who like their fantasy with a mild horror edge and are not hung up on dazzling effects. It’s the tale of teenage Will Stanton (Alexander Ludwig) who unexpectedly finds out on his 14th birthday that he is The Seeker – a warrior for the forces of light in an ancient struggle between good and evil. It takes a long time to build up, then delivers a limited pay off for Stanton and his allies the ‘Old Ones’ – a title that could equally apply to the Brit Thesps playing them (Ian McShane, Jim Piddock etc) as their characters. Ex Dr Who Christopher Eccleston pops up as the envoy of the Darkness AKA ‘The Rider’ but he rarely musters sufficient menace.

Best bit: A swirling mass of darkness follows the rider obliterating all light around it as he sweeps across the countryside...

Worst bit: Unsatisfying ending which felt rushed.

Out of 5 you have to go with a 'not bad' 2.5 (for consideration for those who like mysteries)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action ööö – Not enough really
Laughs öö – Couple of funny bits
Horror ööö – Not grim but unnerving in parts
Babes öö – Cute love interest (but can you trust her?)

Overall öö1/2 (Can't quite shake off the 'made for TV' feel)

Stardust however wields a much more heavyweight epic punch – boosted by literal ‘star power’ this is the most deliciously over the top and enjoyable fantasy film since The Princess Bride. It has evil witches (a glorious Michelle Pfeiffer), camp sky pirates (a scene stealing De Niro) and even a cute falling star in the shapely form of Clare Danes. Stir into the mix some nasty princes both alive and undead, quality good spirited humour and a decent element of threat in which as my son pointed out ‘some characters really died in this – that’s wicked!!’ Stardust romps home delivering action, romance and fantasy spectacle over and above expectations.

Best bit: Captain Shakespeare - every time he's on screen is a treat!

Worst bit: Clunky dialogue throughout...

Out of 5 you have to go with a magical 4.5 (Delightful stuff)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action öööö – Plenty and doesn't pull its punches
Laughs ööö – Quality mirth to be had
Horror ööö
Babes ööö – Danes is yummy, Pfieffer you still would

Overall öööö (Magical entertainment)

So whilst both films are worth a look, Stardust is the ‘must see’ choice and it will take a mammoth effort from The Golden Compass to wrestle the ‘fantasy film of the year’ title away from it!

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bartman Begins

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Ratatouille - review

Ratatouille (U)

Dir. Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

A massive filthy disease ridden vermin infestation has been reported in cinemas this week across the country. Nowhere is safe from this plague carrying pestilence and what is more shocking is that it seems that mostly children are coming face to face with this mass of furry rodents. The upside however is that the only symptoms being exhibited after exposure to the infected cinema screens are laughter, genuine enjoyment and some good life lessons being learnt.
Pixar have done something amazing with Ratatouille – made rats fun, loveable little heroes on a par with superheroes, cars and toys… I probably don’t need to tell you about the genius CGI animation that sets new standards of eye-popping detail, or the excellent voice acting that really brings depth and emotional attachment to the characters. Pixar have created a gold standard in these departments and Ratatouille doesn’t disappoint, but where this film really shines is that it delivers a decent story, neither overly moralising pap, cheap sequel cash in or an obvious excuse to try and sell tie-in merchandise.
This is the tail, sorry tale, of a young rat named Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) who is blessed with taste buds beyond his scavenger station in life. Being a rat who can appreciate fine food over literal garbage leads him into many gastronomic adventures after he is separated from his family. One unlikely thing leads to another to set up the fun plot twist of Remy finding himself in the kitchen of a famous Parisian restaurant helping a good-hearted young lad named Linguini cook up a storm. But can the man / rat team overcome the obstacles of health inspectors, nasty superiors and scary food critics?
It’s unlikely and completely far-fetched but somehow you won’t hold that against the film as all the ingredients of this gently comic tale work together to make a deliciously fun distraction for kids and adults alike.
Both my sons (6 and 10 years old) really enjoyed Ratatouille, telling me that it was ‘coolest animated film this year’ – after witnessing the likes of the mediocre Shrek 3, I think the quality original story making resonated with them.
As opinionated top food critic Anton Ego puts it in the movie: ‘The bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.’ Ratatoulille I’m delighted to say is not ‘junk’, so hats off to the big cheeses at Pixar, long may they keep infesting our cinemas!

Out of 5 you have to go with a strong 4 (a tasty morsel)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action öööö – Scampers along at a good pace
Laughs ööö – FBI policy making!?
Horror ö – Nothing to report
Babes öö – Animated love interest (human not rat)

Overall öööö (this is not just food, this is PIXAR food)

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Fifa 08 vs PES - PS3

"It's coming home - oh yes!! Just look at the PES pimped PS3!?"

And while we wait for PES 2008, we play Fifa '08...

EA Sports, it's in the game... etc...

"He goes for glory..."

Fifa ‘08 (PS3)

Electronic Arts

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming… football’s coming home (to the next generation), in this case to Sony’s powerhouse PS3. But is this the year that EA nick a smooth Man United style win from the slick ‘footie–tastic’ Pro Evolution Soccer or will they manage to trip themselves up in a Tottenham* stylee… i.e. letting in as many goals as they score!?
I found myself playing Fifa ’08 on a massive high definition screen in Virgin’s Megastore in London on the night before it launched. I had a few minutes to kill as I was waiting for my mate Mike who was en route to check out a press screening of Black Sheep with me – but I digress…
My initial thoughts were ‘oh man it’s beautiful’ because the Fifa ’08 is seriously visually gorgeous, I mean like a dripping wet rubber dress wearing Keira Knightley (of footie games), absolutely stunning.

This is next gen graphics doing what we want them to do – burning detail into the retinas of all who see them. I was impressed, the pitch looked so good you could almost smell the freshly cut grass, the stadiums glistened and even the fans looked the part and yet at the same time the players for all their motion capturing technology still look like the slightly uglier mutant brothers of their real life counterparts. No matter, visuals can only get you so far, it’s gameplay that makes of breaks a game, gameplay and possibly super advanced A.I. In Fifa ’08 the players make over 1000 decisions every second, can apparently strike the ball in a virtually infinite number of ways and the ball physics take into account wind speed, player skill / balance, spin from the pitch etc… But all of this would be for nothing if it didn’t play well.

So you ask ‘Matt, how does it play?’ and I reply ‘FIFA ‘08 is a surprisingly wonderful realistic football sim - one that will make you think like a real player no less’. And by that I don’t mean, thinking ‘I should be earning at least £50k more a week for all my skills!’ or ‘Who’s that pop starlet in the VIP box?’ No, I mean, ‘I’m going to take the ball on the outside of my foot, control it, dummy the last defender and score!’

Just so we’re clear – I it plays real sweet, real like erm, real football!? Yes there’s no more sticky feet or homing missile passes, the game ebbs and flows with disturbing authenticity – you’ll have to fight for every ball. This didn’t go down so well with my 6 year old son – he soon defected back to Fifa ’07 on the PS2 but for someone looking for a more realistic footie experience, step up for some quality Fifa action!

Darkmatters rating: öööö (4/5 might actually be a worthy PES alternative this year...)

*I’m a Tottenham fan…

"in other non related gaming news... look how good it is when lots of women who have played Laura Croft all put on black rubber catsuits - erm, yeah, that's it really"

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Kingdom - review

"Foreign policy - gets seriously tooled up!"

The Kingdom (15)

Dir. Peter Berg

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Cut to the interior of a claustrophobic run down apartment block somewhere in Saudi Arabia (which is the ‘Kingdom’ of the title). The tension is off the scale as special FBI agent Ronald Fleury (Janie Foxx) crouches outside a door behind which the terrorist cell responsible for murdering hundreds of innocent American civilians might be waiting. He turns to the only back up he has – a local police Colonel who has been assigned to help Fleury’s investigation. As they prepare to burst into the room and possible death, Fleury asks “Which side do you think Allah's on?” The Colonel without missing a beat replies: “We are about to find out!”
This scene sums up The Kingdom completely – a rousing battle cry for the ongoing gung ho U.S. ‘war on terror’, complete with a peek into the limited understanding about the full religious and cultural issues at stake.
Director Peter ‘Very Bad Things’ Berg aims for maximum edgy nightmare ‘what if’ real world paranoia with this piece of fantasy confrontation and culture clash. He is reunited with the gorgeous Jennifer Garner (who he acted alongside briefly in the TV show Alias), and The Kingdom almost comes across as big screen spin off of that high concept U.S. agents saving the world show.
Foxx puts in some good work as agent Fleury, who is very much in the mould of last year’s Tubbs from Miami Vice. His small team which includes the Chris Cooper (explosives), Jennifer Garner (forensics) and Jason Bateman (intelligence) – are given five days to identify and take down the extremists who are believed to still be in the Kingdom.
The slow build up which packs a high ‘cliché per minute’ ratio and isn’t as gritty or authentic as it thinks it is, but it works in a simplistic way only to ramp up to an incredible kick-ass finale. The Kingdom is a film for those who want to have their irresolvable cultural conflict issues painted by numbers in broad strokes and then go home having witnessed justice being served with extreme prejudice.
It’s super slick and morally dubious in equal measure – but it sure does deliver in the action stakes. The last 20 minutes are possibly the most exciting I’ve witnessed in the cinema this year but then I’m a sucker for tasty cinematic gunplay, oh, and Jennifer Garner!?

Out of 5 you have to go with a solid 3.5 (The last minutes mins are worth 4 out of 5)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action öööö – Crunching and tasty stuff, worth waiting for
Laughs ööö – FBI policy making!?
Horror öö – Nothing too grim
Babes öööö – Garner's still got it!

Overall ööö1/2 (Seriously flawed but redeemed through action)

"Garner - looks good in anything, even FBI issue fatigues"

More of my semi obsession with Jennifer G: http://darkmatt.blogspot.com/2005/01/jennifer-garner-great-looking-but.html

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Black Sheep - review

Black Sheep (15)

Dir. Jonathan King

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir – three bags full,
but I’ll rip your throat out and munch on your insides before you get your damned hands on it!!

Prepare to witness the ‘Violence of the Lambs’ in this new horror comedy where hills are alive with rampant killer sheep (yes you read that right). Black Sheep is the happy tale of Henry Oldfield (Nathan Meister) who manages to overcome his debilitating terror of sheep and return to his family’s farm in order to sell his share in it. But all is not right because his brother Angus has instigated a reckless ‘super sheep’ genetic engineering programme which has the unfortunate side effect of turning the once peace loving ovine grass munchers into flesh craving mutant nightmares.

Writer / Director Jonathan King has created a madcap, vegetarian’s worst nightmare writ large which drips gore and laughs in equal measure. The thousands of sheep are the stars with their eerie blank eyes, cloven hooves and newly acquired taste for humans – these are woollen predators that mean business. New Zealand’s gorgeous rolling pastures are put to good use as the picturesque backdrop to the humans vs sheep carnage and the Antipodean connect continues through the use of Peter Jackson’s WETA workshop who supply the grizzly special effects.

The cast go about the very silly plot with plenty of gusto – which features freakiness like being sexually assault by a ram, horrifically turning into ‘were-sheep’ and of course much running away from the bloodthirsty flock. A love interest for reluctant hero Henry is injected through a ditzy environmentalist named Experience (Danielle Mason) – so you could almost say this is a date movie, it really depends on what ewe want from an evening out I suppose…

The director assures us that ‘no sheep were harmed in the making of the film’ but he goes on to say ‘though I must say there were days when I wanted to!’
Overall this is promising debut from King and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.
Black Sheep could well be described as this year’s ‘shorn of the dead’ such is the gleefully macabre action on offer. You might say ‘baa humbug’ but I assure you that you won’t see a better mutant killer sheep film this year!

Out of 5 you have to go with a much better than expected 3.5 (Mutton dressed as lamb but tasty chops anyway!!)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action ööö – Bleatings a plenty
Laughs ööö – Lots of wooly fun
Horror ööö – Make sure your finish your popcorn early on!
Babes öö – Unless ewe look at sheep 'that' way

Overall ööö1/2 (wolf in sheep's clothing)

"does this guy taste like chicken to you?"

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Warhawk - review

"I feel the need, the need for PS3!!"

"On March 3, 1969 the United States Navy established an elite school for the top one percent of its pilots. Its purpose was to teach the lost art of aerial combat and to insure that the handful of men who graduated were the best fighter pilots in the world.
They succeeded. Today, the Navy calls it Fighter Weapons School. The flyers call it: Warhawk, err, sorry - TOP GUN."

Warhawk (PS3)

Incognito / Sony

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

There is a unique feeling that only gamers who have experienced the all out thrill of a no holds barred Warhawk death match against 31 other tooled up killers have felt… It’s a primal, hair raising, endorphin rush – adrenalin overloading your sensory perception, your reflexes heightened and a wild animal bloodlust pounding through your veins… All around you bullets fly, rockets whiz and grenades explode, tanks are pounding the area with their heavy shells, jeeps rake your position with machinegun fire, then from nowhere comes the fearsome sight of a WarHawk jump jet coming over the rise, before you can react there are ground to air missiles being launched at you backed up by large calibre chain gun fire. You’re blown into the air from the multiple impacts – a warrior’s death, a noble way to go – but just another point to the pilot of the Warhawk!

I’m not kidding when I tell you that WarHawk is the future of multiplayer online warfare. It all looks stunning from the air or the ground, run, drive or soar across the various battlefields the words ‘jaw dropping’ do not adequately convey the sheer wonder of the graphics which boasts unprecedented draw distances and gorgeously violent battle effects.Freedom is the name of the game – you can play it however you want, take a mate or two or three online with you in cool split screen action. Or go for glory alone in a ranked game and reap the benefits of rank progression, which allows for new options of customisation to open up – for example if you fancy fighting in a Viking helmet, it’s there to be unlocked… The PS3 has been in need of a decent companion to Resistance Fall of Man’s online shooting antics and Warhawk delivers the best multiplayer shoot ‘em up fun yet.

Warhawk is a multiplayer only game but it wasn’t always that way, there was going to be a single player campaign but when it looked a bit sub par – Incongnito took the bold decision to go all out on the making the online game experience the best ever. And it is very impressive, even with masses of players in different vehicles all going at I’ve not noticed any lag. The weapon list is currently basic pistol, knife, grenades, assault rifle, sniper rifle, mines and the always-good rocket launcher. Warhawks have their own air to air and air to ground weapons power ups – plus a sneaky invisibility and useful chaff option. modes. Death Match, Team Death Match, Capture the Flag, Zones and Dogfights – those are the your options.

If you’re at all a fan of shooting, flying or just blowing things up – you need Warhawk in your life. More maps, vehicles and weapons are coming in the form of downloadable content via PSN – which will give the already highly addictive game an even longer lifespan.

Darkmatters rating: ööööö (5/5 a superb 'must buy')

"take your mates online with you on a single PS3!"

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Mr Brooks - review

"Surprisingly not a film about my mate Mike Brooks"

Mr Brooks (18)

Dir. Bruce A. Evans

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Want to play a game? Let’s play ‘Marshall says’…
OK, Marshall says: “follow that attractive couple home and scout out their house.”
Nobody will suspect you because you’re a wealthy, successful businessman – a real pillar of the community.

Marshall says: “create a believable excuse for you to be working late into the night.”
This is easier than expected because you’ve got your own glazing studio in which you can work on projects (it comes equipped with a handy kiln / incinerator).

Marshall says: “murder the attractive couple for kicks and ensure that there’s absolutely nothing that can tie you to the scene of the crime.”
Aha, now we’re having fun, you see serially killing random people is our hobby and we’ve been meticulously doing it for years – we even have our own media moniker - ‘The thumbprint killer’.

Marshall says: “you were stupid and someone took a photo of you at the murder scene.”
Oh dear, now this is a problem, how could we have been so foolish, this could undo all our carefully laid plans.

Marshall says: “everything you know is over as the photographer is going to blackmail you.”
HHhmmmm, need to think about this carefully, but wait, seems this isn’t going to be your average blackmail request…

Marshall says: “you’ve either got to find a way to kill this scumbag or face life in jail…”
Yes yes, details details. Does this schmuck know who he’s dealing with here?

Marshall says: “he can’t tell you anymore or it will ruin the plot of Mr Brooks for you!”
Fair point that one, this is a film worth seeing without knowing too much detail.

And so it is that Mr Brooks (Kevin Costner on a blistering return to form) leads a double life – by day sweet natured businessman and father, - by night a serial killer who has evaded capture for many years racking up a huge bodycount in the process. His mental instability is brilliantly realised by having William Hurt play the ‘voice in his head’ – Marshall who only Brooks and the audience can see. Director Bruce ‘Kuffs’ Evans does a credible job of turning Kevin Costner into an antihero to rival the mighty Hannibal Lector with this sharply plotted and brutally satisfying thriller. It shows the charisma that Mr Brooks emanates in that by the end you’re more likely to be willing him to get away with his dastardly deeds than see him brought to book by dogged Detective Atwood (Demi Moore).

Marshall says : “go and see Mr Brooks!”
– for once it’s worth listening to the voice in your head because he seems to have a good taste in films!

Out of 5 you have to go with a much better than expected 4 (Marshall told me to give it 5 but I think 4 is fair)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action ööö – Enough to keep it all ticking over very nicely
Laughs ööö – some wry dark humour
Horror ööö – some pretty icky kills
Babes ööö – Brook's daughter is cute (see below)

Overall öööö (who'd have suspected Kostner of having it in him?)

"like father, like daughter... subplot alert!"

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Monday, October 01, 2007

Halloween 2007 - review

"long haired greasy metal head... is the new Michael Myers!"

Halloween (18)

Dir. Rob Zombie

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

According to child development psychologist Dr. Samuel Loomis: “the darkest souls are not those which choose to exist within the hell of the abyss, but those which choose to move silently among us.” This concept has perhaps never been as clearly and unsettlingly realised as in the original Halloween film by John Carpenter back in 1978.

Now we’ve a modern remake of that highly influential ‘daddy’ of pretty much every other slasher film to stalk the big screen, and this one is made by self-confessed horror aficionado Rob Zombie.

Director Zombie declared his love for the original Halloween and that he hated the 7 increasingly stupid sequels, his vision was ‘to make Halloween scary again’… Oh dear… After witnessing his efforts I have to report that he’s failed on the brief -  this is nasty, sure, but it's meat-headed and slack-jawed, basically low on scares.

There’s a big difference between tense creeping dread and explicit, obnoxious violence shown just to disgust. Unfortunately, nobody told Zombie and his Halloween lumbers from one graphic death scene to another with little pause for breath or any build-up of suspense. Whereas Carpenter's dark-souled killer had an eerie menace and proffered no insight into the reason for his homicidal rampaging. Zombie’s Michael Myers is nothing more than a long-haired nutcase who developed a taste for slaughter after an unhappy childhood. 

The other major difference between the two versions of the film is in a word - ‘titillation’, the modern redneck Halloween seemingly having a ‘compulsory topless clause’ written in for all it’s female characters. Even Zombie’s wife who plays the distraught mother of psychopathic Myers is a pole dancer – move along if looking for any sort of female empowerment.
The opening 40mins where we meet ten-year-old Michael Myers (a meaty performance by Daeg Faerch who is convincingly disturbed) is of some interest as it tries to flesh out the background as to why he becomes a monster. Unfortunately knowing that he tortured animals for fun and got nothing but abuse from his stepfather didn’t add to the mystique of the legendary killer, it just made me lament the world that is probably very much the experience of far too many youngsters.

Halloween 2007 is an interesting spin on the original but it's brutality-over-substance. If you’re looking for a really scary movie this Halloween I’d pick 30 Days of Night which is equally nasty but shows that you can mix frights with kills.

Out of 5 you have to go with a:

3 (Halloween goes grindhouse)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action ööö – there be chopping n stabing n beating
Laughs ö – not really (I might have missed the dark humour)
Horror öööö – yep it's pretty nasty stuff
Babes öööö – ouch, titillation indeed

Overall ööö (remake worse than original shock...)

Darkmatters: H O M E
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