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, November 25, 2007

Sleuth - review

Sleuth (15)

Dir. Kenneth Branagh

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

‘What’s it all about eh?’
This is not just the badly misjudged line swiped from Alfie (the last film where Jude ‘my ego is out of control’ Law vied to become the Michael Caine for a new generation) but also the question most cinema-goers will be asking if they go to see this new version of Sleuth.
Law does his long term career no favours by murdering another classic Caine role in this vacuous, soulless and shambolic update of ‘70s plot-twist overloaded original. The mighty lord Michael of Caine is here too though, now resigned to playing the elder protagonist in this dark battle of wits, just, erm – minus most of the wittiness that made it so much fun before.
Kenneth ‘lovey magnet’ Branagh directs with excess overblown technical whiz but a vapid lack of tension, tricksy delight or interest sustaining action. One has to wonder quite why anyone agreed to take on this thankless exercise in cynical remaking, except to countenance that all concerned are simply too far removed from reality to realise the error of their ways.
The plot sees super rich crime thriller author Andrew Wyke (Caine) going head to head with adulterous hairdresser Milo Tindle (Law), who has shacked up with Wyke’s wife. An escalating bout of one-upmanship ensues, with humiliation, intimidation and even possibly murder on the menu before the scores are settled.
It starts okay, the action having been updated to take place in a gleaming gadget packed high tech abode where motion detecting camera lurk in every corner and everything from lights to moving walls is accessed through Caine’s remote control device. Unfortunately, before you can say ‘hasn’t all this flashy techno gubbins has been thrown in for no good reason?’ you’ll be realising that it’s a technical smoke screen that tries to cover up the weakness of the pared down thrills on offer.
Harold Pinter’s script loses the original’s intricate twists and counter plotting shocks, replacing them with unnecessary swearing and generally less convincing psychological pratfalls. Then there’s the woeful void where the original had arcing chemistry between the two rivals, which leaves these two undoubtedly talented actors acting their socks off to absolutely no avail.
The only acceptable reaction is ‘Meh’ with a capital ‘M’, never have the words ‘style over substance’ been more apt. You don’t need to be an amateur sleuth to deduce that fans of the original should avoid this at all costs, whilst determined newcomers should prepare to be seriously under whelmed. Hogwash…

Out of 5 you have to go with a 1 (tedious and unnecessary)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action öö – barely any
Laughs ö – just not even darkly funny
Horror ö – nope very tame
Babes ö – none so as to speak of

Overall ö (waste of talent)

"are you as bored as I am old fellow?"

Darkmatters: H O M E
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Darjeeling Limited - review

The Darjeeling Limited (15)

Dir. Wes Anderson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“I love you too, but I'm gonna mace you in the face!”
This is the kind of brotherly love exhibited in Wes ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ Anderson’s odyssey of total family disintegration and partial reformation - The Darjeeling Limited.
Here we have the tale of three brothers who embark on an epic railway journey of discovery through India, with a view of rekindling their love for each other and the hope of finding their errant mother.
In true quirky Anderson form, before the main feature rolls there is a bonus short film called Hotel Chevalier which serves to introduce brother number 1 – Jack (Jason Schwartzman) and give insight into his fragile state of mind. Seems he’s in the midst of a painful break up with his girlfriend (Natalie Portman) and has also become estranged from his brothers after the dearth of their father.
Then The Darjeeling Limited kicks in and we find Jack on a life-changing train trip through India planned by his domineering elder brother Francis (Luke Owen). Also on board is middle brother Peter (Adrien Brody) and together these guys form a family that takes the word ‘dysfunctional’ to a whole new level. As is the case with most of Anderson’s films, The Darjeeling Limited is a window into a poignant, mesmerising and heart warming reality where the journey matters more than the destination. By turns highly comic and then without warning utterly tragic, you’ll laugh, cry and be deeply moved as the film meanders across the screen with wonderful style and gorgeous cinematography.
It’s really hard to put your finger on quite what makes this so special, but be assured that this is a film to be savoured in the utmost. Here is a spectacle that no lover of film should miss, an adventure of the spirit and a wanton indulgence – how else can you countenance three wealthy Americans traversing some of the poorest areas on earth from a luxury train?
The brothers are each memorable characters and the situations they are put through encompass all of human nature. Owen is particularly impressive and shows a range and depth far beyond his lightweight comedy roles of late, although there are no weak links here. Even a small cameo by Anderson favourite Bill Murray leaves a lovely retina burn on your mind. Missing The Darjeeling Limited would be to impoverish your 2007 cinematic experience – go and witness this as soon as you can.

Out of 5 you have to go with a cult classic 5 (Anderson back to his Rushmore best!)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action ööö – enough but not too much
Laughs öööö – not many belly laughs but strong humour
Horror ö – no pretty tame really
Babes ööö – yummy Amara Karan is very watchable

Overall ööööö (magical mystery tour - delivers)

"brotherly love - writ large and in an amusing detail!"

Darkmatters: H O M E
Posted by Picasa

Beowulf - review

"Heroes in pants and sexy demons with built in high heels..."

Beowulf (12a)

Dir. Robert Zemeckis

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Are you the one they call Beowulf?
Such a strong man you are... a man like you could own the greatest tale ever sung, or erm, a flashy but hollow fantasy action 3D computer-generated movie…
I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of the opening text of the classic Old English poem, but in case you’re a little rusty it goes something like: ‘Quiet! Our story speaks of the Spear-Danes their greatest kings' accomplishments how in former times lived fearless men.’
That is pretty much the mantra that drives through this thoroughly modern reworking of the ancient tale. Robert ‘The Polar Express’ Zemeckis slaps and tickles the screen with lashing of bawdy T&A, some thumpingly nasty dragons, trolls (and their evil demon mother), plus not a little blood splattered violence.
Presented in newfangled digital three-dimensional footage, which renders real actors as weirdly waxy mannequins who look like they’ve borrowed their teeth and eyes from corpses. It takes a while to get accustomed to the jerky characterisations of Danish king Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins), his slimy advisor Unferth (John Malkovich) and lovely queen Wealthow (Robin Wright Penn). Something is certainly rotten in the state of Denmark however and it goes by the name Grendel (Crispin Glover) – a monstrous troll with a taste for chomping on the local populace.
The King knows more about this creature than he is letting on but one thing everyone is agreed on, Denmark is in need of a hero to rid the land of their curse.
Step up Beowulf (the unlikely Ray ‘Sexy Beast’ Winstone), a lean mean fantasy creature fighting machine who has come to save the day. The one thing that this film delivers in style is man on monster smack down – there are two absolutely jaw dropping sequences that are worth the price of admission (plus if you pick the 3D version you’ll get a natty pair of specs which make you look like David Tennent’s Dr Who).
So why as a huge fan of this genre (300 is in my top ten films of the year) aren’t I whole-heartedly recommending Beowulf? Basically for all the action and the most pleasing digital rendition of Angelina Jolie’s female form, there is a childishly awkward artificial feeling to the whole proceedings. You can’t help but wonder how much cooler it all might have been if the makers had opted for a higher age certificate and really let loose with the battle and babe storyline. Remember “I am the ripper, the terror, the slasher. I am the teeth in the darkness! The talons in the night! My name is strength, and lust, and power! I AM BEOWULF!”
Class this as a ‘near miss’ attempt at being this year’s best rousing fantasy epic.

Out of 5 you have to go with a good in parts 3 (was hoping for more)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action öööö – spectacular in places
Laughs öö – some bawdy giggles
Horror ööö – fearsome beasties ahoy!
Babes öööö – Jolie is super yummy - and the 3D slow motion busty 'jiggle vision' is impressive

Overall ööö (worth it, but only just!)

"mediocre fantasy films also breed pain..."

Darkmatters: H O M E
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Lookout - review

The Lookout (15)

Dir. Scott Frank

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

The Lookout is a film that slipped almost completely under the radar of most UK cinema goers. I however checked it at the impressive O2 cinema with my mate John and we came away impressed.

Starring Chris Pratt (Joseph ‘Looper’ Gordon-Levitt) as a popular and talented jock ice hockey hero whose life is completely shattered by a terrible car crash. Eaten by guilt (two of his friends died and his girlfriend lost a limb) and brain damaged to the point that he has to write down everything he does for reference in a notebook – life isn’t so good for young Chris.

His problems are compounded when he is befriended by a cool but shady stranger named Gary Spargo (Matthew ‘Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias in Watchmen’ Goode) and his foxy accomplice Luvlee (Isla ‘Wedding Crashers’ Fisher)… Could it be that they are only interested in him because he works nights as the janitor of a small town bank?

Gordon Levitt completely nails the tricky lead role, bringing just the right amount of pathos and vulnerability to the part of Chris. The poor chap is estranged from his wealthy family, desperate for a girl and even more desperate to atone for his guilt.

Living with Lewis (Jeff Daniels who is getting better and better as he gets older) - his old blind mentor is an unsatisfying grind. It might be a simple life but all that is going to change... Debut director Scott Frank does a fantastic job of ratcheting up the tension piece by piece until before you quite know it we’re up to our necks in a full on heist movie.

When the action kicks off it still keeps you guessing and is intelligent enough not to spoon feed you the motivations of all concerned. Fisher is great as the cute minx who beds Chris as the honey trap vice in order to get him onside, she plays ‘hot but dumb’ very convincingly – in fact reminded me of too many of my ex-girlfriends!!

Goode as Spargo delivers good 'dastard' and is backed up with a shadowy constant threat of a shade wearing stone cold killer ‘Bone’ (Greg Dunham) – this guy really looks like he’s wandered in from the set of Near Dark 2!?

The Lookout is a must see for anyone who liked Memento or Brick, it's understated and cool and just goes to show that sometimes the best films around are those not embraced by the mainstream…

Out of 5 you have to go with a cult classic 5 (from out of nowhere to Matt's top 10 films of the year!)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action öööö – builds up then delivers in the goods
Laughs öö – not many but a couple of good ones
Horror öö – not too nasty
Babes öööö – Fisher is totally hot!! (see below)

Overall ööööö (highly recommended!)

"is that look enough to make you rob a bank?"

"the setting for the climax... hold tight!"

Posted by Picasa

American Gangster - review

American Gangster (18)

Dir. Ridley Scott

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

‘Damn it feels good to be a gangsta’…goes the hip hop track (best ever usage in the film 'Office Space' and it certainly seems to be the case for 70s drugs kingpin Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) – the American Gangster in question here.

Director Ridley ‘Gladiator’ Scott perfectly captures the audacious drugs entrepreneurship of Lucas who managed to flood the streets of the US with high-grade heroin imported from Vietnam via some dodgy military contacts.

Based on a true story, the American authorities simply refused to believe that a black mobster’s chauffer could rise to become the most successful and dangerous of drug lords, even outstripping the crime networks of the established Italian Families. But then there’s always one who’ll believe the unbelievable and here it is ‘last good cop’ Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe), a doggedly honest detective – hated by most of his corrupt colleagues for turning in over a million dollars of dirty drugs money rather than sharing it out. Roberts is a guy who simply will not quit once he gets a sniff of the unlikely trail leading to Lucas and his massive drug empire.

Washington burns up the screen with his depiction of the drug kingpin, by turns crackling with deadly charisma, then slow-burning, smouldering menace. Adored and idolised by his family - all of whom he moves in to a lavish new home, he employs his brothers, cousins and other family connections to front his drugs distribution network. On the surface Lucas seems to have it all but in American Gangster we get some insight into the swirling emotions and frantic doubts that lie beneath the cool, calm exterior.

Scott draws obvious inspiration from classics of the genre from Godfather to Scarface and whilst this doesn’t give the film an original feel, it does ground it in quality. Some great edgy action scenes punctuate the build up as the plot unfurls at a leisurely pace. Both lead actors are just excellent in their deadly game of cat and mouse – at times it seems that Roberts is small kitten looking to take down Lucas’s monster rabid rat but that too just adds to the viewer’s engagement.

American Gangster is a good looking film, with solid attention to detail and a believable ‘70s vibe. It’s certainly a trip worthy taking and it stands as a testimony to how laborious hard work can pay off in the end. Seems however that even for those who get to the top, sometimes it’s not so good to be a gangster…

Out of 5 you have to go with a heavy duty crimewave 4 (Crime doesn't pay!)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action ööö – couple of very cool action scenes
Laughs ööö – surprising amount of good vibes
Horror ööö – nasty but necessary
Babes öö – not really babelicious

Overall öööö (better than the sum of its parts)

"Damn it feels good to be a policeman... um actually not so sure about that"

Darkmatters: H O M E

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Planet Terror - review

"High velocity automatic rifles for legs - saves on shoes!!"

Planet Terror (18)

Dir. Robert Rodriguez

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Welcome to Planet Terror – the zombie B-movie inspired - cheese-ball-tastic second half of the Grindhouse project directed by Robert ‘Spy Kids’ Rodriguez. It’s a non-stop roller coaster of guns, babes, crazed flesh hungry mutants and generally unacceptable exploitation – bit like your average Friday night out in Luton.
I’ve yet to see another film quite so keen to slap you directly in the face with an overload of gloopy horror, laugh out loud comedy and a frantic paced action. You’ll barely have time to catch your breath after the mock trailer opening before finding yourself up to your neck in a full-blooded sensory overload.

Bruce Willis leads a shady military group who have commissioned a new deadly bio-weapon that turns anyone infected by it into a cannibalistic mutant zombie, complete with horrific mutations, most of which are covered in disgusting gunk filled legions. When a deal to sell the weapon goes wrong and the test subjects escape into the local town – all hell breaks loose. Caught in the gruesome path of this military created zombie apocalypse are a number of memorable characters including smoking hot Go Go dancer Cherry Darling (a career best role for Rose McGowan) who gets one of her legs ripped off and replaced with a massive automatic rifle / grenade launcher. Cherry teams up with maverick gun slinging bad boy El Wray (Freddy Rodríguez) and a rag tag bunch of survivors, then all bets are well and truly off as to who will survive and quite what will be left of them. With so much insanely over the top action splattering the screen you’ll either be shocked and awed or be feeling bemused and a bit ill. Either way do look out for the literal ‘no brainer’ scene involving Fergie from The Black Eyed Peas, it perfectly captures the tone for the whole movie.

You've probably have already worked out if this might be the film for you but I’ll leave you with my favourite piece of dialogue. Distraught Doctor Dakota Block (Marley Shelton) - who you could have spotted in Tarantino’s half of the Grindhouse ‘Death Proof’ earlier this year, gives a handgun to her young son. “If anyone comes to the car who’s not me I want you to shoot them” she says. “What if it’s dad?” He asks, only to be told “especially if it’s your dad!”

Out of 5 you have to go with a mental 4 (Cheap and nasty, actually, probably not that cheap but v. cool!)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action öööö – goes over the top and doesn't slow down
Laughs ööö – very funny in places
Horror ööööö –superb splatter - if that's what you're after
Babes öööö – Rose McGowan is scorching!!

Overall öööö (the perfect grindhouse fun)

"Bruce Willis - eating up the screen in style"

"I'm thinking that not many women could pull off that look so well!"

Darkmatters: H O M E
Posted by Picasa

Carter USM - Final Goodnight from Brixton

"Matt and Mike get mugged - 24 Minutes From Tulse Hill..."

Carter: The UNFORGETTABLE Sex Machine

It's taken me over a week to find the words with which to capture my feelings about the final ever Carter USM concert...

Date: 02 November 2007

Place: Brixton Academy - my favourite London venue,

Artist: Carter USM, my favourite ever band,

Company: Mike USM, one my oldest and dearest pals

Feeling: Euphoric, emotional and wasted...

"That's me... third head from the stage... thanks to whoever took this!!"

The 'Back In Bed' farewell gig sold out fast, we're talking under two hours and it was only advertised on fan website and email list... So it was that I joined 5,000 of the hardcore Cater fans who had come from all over the world to witness this final show, and it rocked so very very hard that I was literally 'blown away' - at least my ears were as I had a two day threshold shift - which was worse than even The Pixies (which was probably my loudest gig before this one).

"So awesome, they've still got it after 10 years of various non Carter activity"

Highlights for me were numerous - I've always loved 'The Music That Nobody Likes', 'Do Re Me - So Far, So Good', 'Shoppers Paradise' and 'G I Blues' and Carter did them proud...

Check this:

Such great tunes...

"Another of my quickly snatched shots... it was a mental camera unfriendly moshpit!"

The dynamic duo played for 2 hours and picked off some cracking tracks - covers of 'Rent' and 'This is How it Feels' were just superb and real added value. The set list spanned mostly their earlier albums (101 Damnations, 30 Something, 1992: The Love Album and Post Historic Monsters) with a couple from Worry Bomb but where was 'And God Created Brixton??????'

"Not a dry eye in the house!! There's still a lot of love out there for Carter"

"Goodnight Jimbob... So long Fruitbat!"

This was the end:

Fondly remembered forever: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=HgWp5Ee8JGg

Some other write ups: http://uk.launch.yahoo.com/071108/33/21tbr.html


Darkmatters: H O M E

Monday, November 05, 2007

Good Luck Chuck - review

"nice poster... shame about the film"

Good Luck Chuck (15)

Dir. Mark Helfrich

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Want to pay good money to be patronised, mocked and generally made to feel nauseous? Step right up for this gross out romantic comedy that wastes the weirdly funny idea of a guy – Charlie, the ‘Chuck’ of the title played by the likeable Dane Cook – who is cursed so that every woman he sleeps with immediately falls in love and marries the next bloke to ask them out.
Newbie director Helfrich cooks up some very funny stuff, some very gross stuff, some very cutesy cloying and clichéd stuff and sprinkles it throughout 99 minutes of absolute rubbish. This means that for every amusing scene of Chuck trying to deal with his fast growing reputation as a ‘lucky charm’ for women looking for love, you also have to sit through some mind bendingly gross and unfunny scenes of obese body horror which could well haunt you forever. Yes, bodily function jokes and pratfalls replace anything like a decent plot and the script appears to have been carefully created to offend as many people as possible without being at all witty or memorable. There are points when it looks like the actors are having serious second thoughts about their even being in this movie… If you look closely you might be able to see the shadows of their agents just off screen holding cattle prods to prevent the talent making a run for it. More criminal still is the fact that the filmmakers waste the not inconsiderable charms of Jessica Alba who is given a supremely thankless role of Cam - a clumsy Penguin loving zoo worker, not one to treasure on her acting CV. Then there’s Dan Fogler as Stu, a randy breast-mad plastic surgeon who will surely go down in history as one of the most annoying screen characters of all time.
Good Luck Chuck really wants to be the next Knocked Up or Superbad, alas it doesn’t have a prayer as it flops from one cringe worthy set piece to another, before running completely out of ideas, gives up even try and be funny and resorts to an off the shelf ‘last-minute dash to the airport’ ending
In the end Good Luck Chuck is a Jekyll and Hyde movie – one which punishes you for every few minutes of it that you might find enjoyable with at least double that amount of bottom of the barrel bilge.

Out of 5 you have to go with a sloppy 2 (weak and painful - with sparodic funnies)...

Darkmatters ratings:
Action öö
– cliched set pieces...
Laughs ööö – couple of quality moments
Horror ööö –at least one very very scary date
Babes öööö – Alba is hot and there's lots of other hotties too

Overall öö (Bad Luck Chuck)

"Alba shows what she thinks of the script"

Darkmatters: H O M E
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 04, 2007

30 Days of Night - review

30 Days of Night (15)

Dir. David Slade

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

‘Board the windows. Try to hide. They're coming…’ No, not the in-laws – something much, much worse…
30 Days of Night brings a brutally effective new imagining of the vampire myth and the very bad news for the plucky potential victims here is that when the sun goes down in Barrow (the most northernmost town in the US) it’s a whole month before the next dawn.
Based on the groundbreaking graphic novel by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith, David ‘Hard Candy’ Slade’s film adaptation is a turbo charged kill ride that will drag you kicking and screaming through a very tense couple of hours.
The vampires on offer here are pure modern nightmares made flesh - black eyed, multiple toothed, and with a fiendish plan so cleverly co-ordinated that, whatever their star status, there’s no guarantee that any of the cast will make to see the final credits roll.
Danny Huston is excellent as Marlow – the merciless ancient vampire leader who speaks in a language of corruption and who is responsible for the plan to take advantage of Barrow’s unique 30 days of darkness. It basically represents an ‘all you can eat buffet’ for the vampire clan who plan to wipe out the entire township and leave nothing and no-one standing to explain what happened.
The hopes of the ever-dwindling group of survivors lie with town sheriff Josh Hartnett who finds himself in this most desperate of situations, trapped with his estranged ex-wife Stella (Melissa George), up against foes that doesn’t abide by any of the usual vampire conventions. So throw out your garlic, crosses and any holy water – these blood hungry enemies can only be killed by decapitation, cue very graphic scenes including possibly the best ever use of a massive chainsaw like trench digger!?
So it’s not for the squeamish or those who flinch at the sight of blood, in fact there is an aerial tracking shot of the snowbound town being completely overrun that is liable to stay with you long after the nerve shredding action has wrapped.
Ben ‘Alpha Dog’ Foster also delivers a stand out performance as a weasel faced human who yearns to be a vampire and sells out his fellow men by doing lots of dirty work for his bloodsucking masters.30 Days of Night is a welcome injection of fresh new blood into the vampire genre and certainly one of the best monster movies of the year.

Out of 5 you have to go with a top draw 4 (thrilling and cool - a savoury treat)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action öööö – bloody good show...
Laughs öö – not really a laughathon
Horror öööö –pushes the boundaries of a 15 cert
Babes ööö – Melissa George is a babe for sure

Overall öööö (excellent fangster fun for horrorheads)

"Cool artwork - a ready made screen look from the graphic novel"

Darkmatters: H O M E
Posted by Picasa

Katrina Bowden - so very hot...

sex bikini katrina bowden ass
"Miss Bowden about to make the leap from small to big screen!"

sexy bikini katrina bowden hot ass
"Bowden looking good in new flick Tucker & Dale vs Evil!"

Katrina Bowden - so very cute, outrageous skimpy costume wearing scene stealer of fun comedy '30 Rock' and the potential hit with red blooded movie goers Ratko: The Dictator's Son (from the director of '80s classic movie Better Off Dead...)

For me it's a 'hard' call between Katrina and the delicious Amber Heard...

I think she has lots of potential!!

sex bikini katrina bowden ass
"Miss Bowden does bikini - looks good from the front!"

sex bikini katrina bowden ass
"And the back!?"

Read my earlier Darkmatters post about miss Bowden (and the 26 hilraious comments on it!):

UPDATE - Katrina has just won the 'Sexiest Woman Alive' award from Esquire magazine (March 2011) - click here for details

But is she as cute as Leighton Meester see below?

leighton_meester-bikini sexy

leighton meester legs spread corset stockings

Or Amber Heard?

Amber Heard sexy legs

Darkmatters: H O M E
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 01, 2007

This is living... PS3

You have to play this ad - it's the coolest ever!!

...Ladies and gentlemen good evening

You’ve seen that seeing is believing!

Your ears and your eyes will be bleeding...

Please check to see if you’re still breathing!?

Hold tight because the show is not over,

If you will please move in closer

You're about to be bowled over

By the wonders you’re about to behold here

Welcome to the show... The PS3 is about to go MAG LEVEL:

Am currently playing WARHAWK, HEAVENLY SWORD, FOLKLORE and MOTORSTORM (extra content from the PlayStation Network is great)...

But in the next few weeks -

Uncharted: Drakes Fortune

Ratchet & Clanket


Unreal Tournement 3

Call of Duty 4

It's going to be a very SONY Christmas!!