DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Matt’s Top Films to look out for in 2008

"the Cloverfield mystery will be uncovered"

Matt’s Top Films to look out for in 2008

2008 looks like being another great year for cinemagoers with something for all tastes.

As a huge comic book fan I’m particularly excited about The Dark Knight, which is the follow up to Batman Begins. Christian Bale slips back into the bat-suit and is given a cool new weapon packed bat-motorbike with which to battle the return of perhaps his greatest foe… The Joker (Heath Ledger filling the twisted shoes last filled by Jack Nicholson). Also we’ll get a new reworking of The Incredible Hulk (hopefully more ‘incredible’ than the last Hulk movie) and Iron Man, which will see Robert Downey Jr. saving the world in his high tech personal armour bodysuit.

Family flavoured film highlights are likely to be the return of some heavy hitting favourites – Harry Potter hits the screen for the sixth time in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. And talking of princes – everyone is also invited back to Narnia to meet Prince Caspian in what looks like a stunning and more savage follow up to the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. Plus the latest series of kid friendly fantasy books to make the leap to the cinema are The Spiderwick Chronicles, about an alternate world full of faeries and other strange creatures.

Action fans should prepare to get reacquainted with a certain adventurous archaeologist - Mr Indiana Jones as he comes out of retirement to visit the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Or buckle up for Speed Racer, which sees the creators of The Matrix bring the classic 1960's Japanese animated series of bang up to date featuring the fastest car on the planet, the Mach 5. Doug ‘Bourne Identity’ Liman burst back with what looks like a seriously exciting sci fi actioner called Jumper. A terrifying tale about a man who has to fight for his life against a hoard of vicious jumpers, just kidding, actually Jumper stars Hayden Christensen as a guy who can ‘jump’ as in teleport at will.

If the word ‘teleport’ caught your eye, chances are you might be a Trekkie, in which case it’s my pleasure to be able to report that Star Trek will get a big budget re-imagining in ’08 that boldly go into the early days of James T. Kirk and his fellow USS Enterprise crew members.

Also in the realms of sci fi is the mysterious Cloverfield, the stunning trailer featured the Statue of Liberty's head being blown off certainly got people talking about this monster attacking New York tale which should satisfy those looking for an edge of the seat thriller.

For quality seekers the Coen Brothers are back with their unstoppable killer tale in No Country for Old Men, which pits Tommy Lee Jones against one of the most fearsome hitmen ever. For Oscar buzz Paul ‘Magnolia’ Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood where family, greed, religion, and oil, combine in the life of a turn-of-the-century Texas prospector (Daniel Day-Lewis).

More drama in the new big screen version of ‘80s series Brideshead Revisited with a classy cast reliving the memoirs of Captain Charles Ryder: stationed at Brideshead Castle during WWII. And that other English export James Bond will be back in the follow up Casino Royale which is in the capable hands of director Marc ‘Monsters Ball’ Forster.

Horror fans can look forward to All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, featuring hot upcoming actress Amber Heard in the title role, plus Ghost Town (scarily with Ricky Gervais on the cast list) or the annual death by numbers Saw V…

According to my wife, no advance film listing is valid without listing at least one romantic comedy and so if you’re looking for some Colin Firth swoon action you’ll probably want to check out The Accidental Husband where he’ll be romancing Uma Thurman.

Finally several other titles to keep on your radar should include Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, WALL – E (Pixar does cute robot tale) or Get Smart, which sees Steve Carell playing spies for comic effect.

One thing is for sure – there looks like being lots of reasons to visit the cinema in 2008, might see you there!?

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Balls of Fury - review

"can you spot the hidden symbolism in this poster?"

Balls of Fury (12a)

Dir. Robert Ben Garant

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

‘Balls’ is the word when it comes to Balls of Fury, a wacky comedy that sees down-and-out former professional ping-pong phenomenon, Randy Daytona (Dan Fogler), given a shot to redeem himself by entering the seedy world of underground table tennis.
Director Garant goes for sustained chuckles rather than belly laughs concocting a gleefully stupid tale that pits washed up Daytona against fiendish oriental crime lord Feng (Christopher Walken) who killed his father.
After being humiliated across the world as a child ping-pong Olympian, Daytona is marking time entertaining diners in a seedy Las Vegas joint when FBI Agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez) recruits him for a secret mission.
The gorgeous Maggie ‘Die Hard 4.0’ Q is on hand as the convenient love interest – niece of the blind master ping-pong trainer Master Wong who is tasked with getting Daytona back to his best in order to infiltrate an illicit tournament organised by Feng.
Everything proceeds as you might expect, with too many ‘blind man hurts himself’ jokes to mention. There are groin related slapstick injuries and innuendo aplenty – the balls of the title being just too much of a gift to scriptwriters of such limited ability.
All the cast seem to be enjoying the proceedings – especially an impromptu sing along of Def Leopard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me, a rare highlight which doesn’t come till the end credits.
Christopher Walken sleepwalks through his part with the minimum of effort and looks to be just here for the paycheque, but even on autopilot he injects some quality into the cheap and cheerful comedy.
Balls of Fury isn’t in any danger of being a last minute entry into anyone’s top ten films of the year, but it does have its moments. Fogler works hard in the lead role and he manages to keep you onside more than in his last outing – the terrible Good Luck Chuck. If you like his work here, look out for Fanboys which looks like being fun too – the tale of a bunch of Star Wars fans who plan to steal an advance copy of The Phantom Menace from George Lucas.
So if you’re already bored with your Christmas presents and / or have an unnatural thing for ping-pong related antics, there are worse films out at the moment *cough* St Trinian’s *cough*.

Out of 5 you have to go with a cheesy 2.5 (average fun with little balls)...

Darkmatters ratings (look out for the all new DM ratings in January '08!!):

Action ööö – High stakes Ping-Pong
Laughs ööö – Funny in places
Horror öö – Not so nasty
Babes öööö – Maggie Q wears some mean hotpants!

Overall öö1/2 (balls)

"Maggie Q... see what I mean about those shorts?"

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Festive Hitman Competition

"this just might be the PS3 game of 2008"

OK so it might be the Season of goodwill to all men...

But with HITMAN still in cinemas let's pretend that it's the season of goodwill to all but one...

If you fancy winning some random HITMAN merchandise - all you have to do is email your 'fantasy hit' to:


Just detail - who you would take out, how you would accomplish it...

I'll post the ones that amuse me most and send you prize (Cap, T Shirt, USB Phone Charger, Keychain, USB Memory Card etc).

UK readers only - Editors decision is final...
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St Trinians - Review

St Trinian's (12a)

Dir.Oliver Parker and Barnaby Thompson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Dear Parent / Guardian of Miss St Trinian,
please find below the school report for her latest film related efforts:

I am sorry to tell you that St Tinian’s English is very poor. From an unfunny script packed with dialogue which is cringe inducing and weak, through to a comprehensively cheesy plot riddled with terrible acting, there is very little to recommend or praise in this area.

Whilst St Trinian’s does have some nice figures in it, new girl Annabel (Talulah Riley) and head girl Kelly (Gemma Arterton) both being very watchable, the overall feedback I must give you is that in terms of cost / benefit the film does not pass the test. One can only wonder at the thinking of ploughing good money into such an uninspiring and ultimately feeble endeavour such as this.

It seems this new version of St Trinian’s is trying to recapture the success of Ealing Studios’ earlier efforts such as the Belles Of St Trinian's from 1954. It is unfortunate then that the 2007 incarnation is a scattergun mess that sees the young ‘ladies’ of the school mumble and grunt their lines whilst Colin Firth and Russell Brand waste their talent in clumsily drawn minor roles.

Whilst naughty behaviour is the expected norm at an institution like St Trinian’s, what is served up here feels very disjointed. Not knowing if it wants to be bawdy or bland, the film stutters between the two and so manages to alienate both younger and older audiences simultaneously. Double detention must be handed out to Girls Aloud too for creating an absolutely appalling new track especially for the film – see me after class!

With so little of merit on show here it falls to Rupert Everett in drag to be by far the best thing on offer. He plays the slightly demented Miss Fritton - Head Mistress of the delinquent school - like a Camilla Parker Bowles on acid. Everett gives his all but this just serves to highlight the ASBO lite acting of the rest of the cast. Quite what Lena ‘300’ Headey (soon to take the lead role in ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’) or Mischa Barton from The O.C. think they are doing here really is anyone’s guess.

In summation, the filmmakers must report to my office and write a thousand lines of ‘must try harder’ on the blackboard…

Out of 5 you have to go with a weak 1.5 (nice idea but rubbish execution)...

Darkmatters ratings (look out for the all new DM ratings in January '08!!):

Action öö – Some nonsensical plot action
Laughs öö – Limited and forced
Horror öö – The Girls Aloud song is pretty scary!
Babes öööö – Riley and Arterton might not be able to act but they are cute

Overall ö1/2 (poor)

"Girls Aloud - should be seen and not heard!"

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Enchanted - review

Enchanted (PG)

Dir. Kevin Lima

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

It’s Christmas, the halls have been decked, the cupboards stocked and goose is thinking he should give weight watchers a call in the New Year. There really couldn’t be a better time to treat yourself to a modern day slice of ‘happy ever after’ with this Disney reinvention of the classic handsome prince / beautiful princess fairytale.
Enchanted was my wife’s pick to be reviewed, and that gave me a handy excuse to drag our two boys to witness this unashamedly ‘most girly’ movie. We emerged having really enjoyed this ironic, post-modern flavoured romantic comedy, which has biting wit, real heart and much to my youngest son’s delight – even an evil dragon.
So princess Giselle (the scrummy Amy Adams) is all set for a two dimensional marriage to her dashing Prince Edward (James Marsden), when her wicked stepmother to be (Susan Sarandon) banishes her from her cartoon paradise to real world New York - "a place where no-one lives happily ever after".
Sashaying in the big green footprints of the wildly successful Shrek films, Enchanted manages to chalk up a valiant repost to the recent slew of pop culture CGI movies that have tried to move audiences on from the traditional Disney values.
The swoony (in my wife’s opinion at least) single father Robert (Patrick Dempsey), who doesn't believe in true love, is the chap who ends up babysitting the gorgeous but hopelessly naïve Princes Giselle.
One thing leads to another – you know, massive sing-a-long song and dance routine through central park, a Cinderella style cleaning of Robert’s apartment through enlisting of the city’s rats, flies, pigeons and cockroaches to help, a surrogate mother daughter shopping spree and of course a romantic showdown in a handily timed ball. It’s all a lot of good - if deeply soppy fun, but then just as my sons looked like they might make a bolt for the exit, the film delivers an exciting dragon verses princess showdown which meant we all went home happy after all.
Frothy and lightweight in equal measure and played with admirable straight faces when embracing concepts such as love’s true kiss being the most powerful force in the universe – even on the mean streets of Manhattan, there’s little here not to love. Except perhaps the fact that House of the Mouse can’t seem to shake the notion that a woman's greatest aspiration in life is that her hunky prince will arrive and whisk her off to be a happy domestic wife. Erm, actually…

Out of 5 you have to go with a quality 3.5 (a fairy tastic tale)...

Darkmatters ratings (look out for the all new DM ratings in January '08!!):

Action ööö – Soppiness but fun soppiness
Laughs ööö – Plenty
Horror öö – Wicked witch has her moments
Babes ööö – Adams is cutie

Overall ööö1/2 (good stuff)
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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Matt’s Top 10 Films of 2007

Matt’s Top 10 Films of 2007

This has been the year of the ‘Threequel’ – with Spiderman 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Shrek the Third to name just some of those carrying high anticipation burdens… Many people didn’t like any of those threesomes, I kinda did but none of them make my top ten – because thankfully there were lots of better movies released, here are the ones that did it most for me…

1. Hot Fuzz

Every minute of every day – a crime is being committed somewhere. I can feel it; I can sense the scum on our streets. For too long people have cried ‘where are the police when we need them?' But in this feral world, one man can make a difference – that man is Nicholas Angel (Simon ‘Spaced’ Pegg). Arriving in the impressive shockwave of his top Brit horror comedy Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz ups the ante, boosts the budget and delivers quality laughs, action and violence way beyond the call of duty.

Can’t wait for Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life which is rumoured to be about how hero Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil ex-boyfriends in battle… ETA 2009.

2. 300

I am a Spartan, descended from Hercules himself. Taught never to surrender and that death on the battlefield is the greatest glory in life (although film reviewing is obviously a close second)… If honour, excitement and entertainment beyond the thresholds of normal cinema is what you seek, there is nothing that can touch this bloody epic graphic novel come to life.

3. Sunshine

For years now we have stumbled in the darkness of a drought, an abyss, a cold hard vacuum of quality space based science fiction (apart from Serenity obviously).But Danny Boyle brought us a burning beautiful ball of light that promised much and delivered on all counts.

4. Transformers

Michael ‘Bad Boys’ Bay pulls out all the stops to bring the much-loved robotic action figures to living, breathing, butt-kicking glory and he does it with unrestrained aplomb. Remember, the freedom to enjoy lowbrow action packed nonsense like this is the right of all sentient beings...

5. The Darjeeling Limited

As is the case with most of director Wes 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.

6. This is England

Powerfull warpgate back to a time, not so long ago when Britain was at war, society was barely holding together in the face of suspicion and intolerance and violent gangs roamed the streets. Young Thomas Turgoose is a revelation.

7. Stardust

Wielding a heavyweight epic punch – boosted by literal ‘star power’ this is the most deliciously over the top and enjoyable fantasy film since The Princess Bride. Stardust does everything right and De Niro delivers the wonderful scene stealing Captain Shakespeare.

8. Atonement

Keira Knightley gives her best performance to date as the stunning Cecilla, whose breathtaking emergence from a fountain at one point is quite possibly the scene of the year for males the world over… McAvoy is excellent too

9. The Lives of Others

Scary Stasi story from the grey-bleak East Germany of the 80s. Ulrich Mühe is excellent as a GDR agent named Wiesler – somehow director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (great name) makes watching a guy wearing headphones compelling!

10. The Lookout

A must see for anyone who liked Memento or Brick, understated and cool, this is a slice of pure indie feel heist thriller and a very promising debut from director Scott Frank.

- - - - - - -

The near misses – this is something that I started last year and is a shameless way of getting to namecheck films without having to assign them a chart postion.

So, these are very cool films that almost made the top ten: 28 Weeks Later, The Bourne Ultimatum, Planet Terror, Superbad, Inland Empire, Zodiac, The Last King of Scotland and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Click here for the previous year's top 10's:

Matt's Top 10 Films 2006

Matt's Top 10 Films 2005

Matt's Top 10 Films 2004


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

12 and holding - review

"Do You Know Who Your Kids Are?"

12 and Holding (15)

Dir. Michael Cuesta

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

…the concrete broke your fall
to hear you speak of it
I'd have done anything
I would do anything…

You ever watch a film not knowing at all what to expect?
I’d heard good things about 12 and Holding director Michael Cuesta – he’s done some great work on the TV shows Dexter and Six Feet Under, and thanks to the joys of LOVEFILM, this week 12 and Holding dropped through my letterbox.
Having just watched it, I’m still reeling; REM’s ‘Why Not Smile?’ - which the film ends with – is just playing out. Quite simply a stunning little movie, excellently observed and featuring some of the best kid performances I’ve seen for long time. Even though 12 and Holding deals with some very hard issues, I’d say this is a must see for parents / guardians / anyone who works with children… The best film I’ve seen that encompasses perfectly the pre-teen angst that I can remember feeling at about that age… You remember? It’s a time when your parents still treat you like a child, but you feel like you’re growing up in a different world to them…

The plot sees brothers Rudy and Jacob, torn apart and the caustic fallout that ripples waves of unrest through their tight couple of friends when one of them is killed. We travel with the surviving Jacob who bears a massive birth mark on his face and has always felt that his parents loved his brother more, overweight kid Leonard who is trapped in a no hope lardtastic household and Malee, a young girl who desperately misses her absent father and who develops a dangerous crush on a much older guy named Gus (Jeremy Renner), who has issues of his own…

There are certainly echoes of other films in this genre Mean Creek or Lawn Dogs are two good examples, but 12 and Holding forges it’s own bittersweet path.

The dialogue crackles with wit and poignant believability. E.g. one of the opening scenes between the brothers sets the tone well:

Rudy: Our birthday comes once a year and you ask for a hockey mask. You don't even play.
Jacob: Jason from Friday the 13th wears one. He's bad-ass.

Conor Donovan who plays both brothers is superb, Jesse Camacho is Leonard, possibly the best ‘fat kid character’ ever to hit the screen and Zoë Weizenbaum who plays the precocious Malee nails her tricky role with aplomb.

12 and Holding is a film that should makes you reassess what the children you know might be thinking, might be struggling with…

Made me want to go and give my two sons a hug, and tell them that I'm here for them no matter what... and maybe just maybe I'll be a better parent for having watched this? Will get back to you on that.

Out of 5 you have to go with a heartbreaking 4.5 (we've all been there)...

Darkmatters ratings :

Action ööö – You've been sad for a while
Laughs ööö – Bleak humour from the edge
Horror ööö – Enough to unnerve
Babes öö – Not really

Overall öööö1/2 (powerful stuff, fantastically made)

"coming-of-age can be a complicated experience"

Darkmatters: H O M E

Why Not Smile

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bee Movie - review

Bee Movie (U)

Dir. Steve Hickner and Simon J. Smith

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

There’s been quite a bit of buzz about this new CGI adventure from Dreamworks (our other film is Shrek) Animation. It stars a young bee named Barry (voiced by Jerry Seinfeld) who is dissatisfied with his lot in life as a worker drone – with only one career option – making honey for the hive.
Barry rebels and flies wild in Manhattan, where he gets into many bee shaped scrapes and meets various other bugs including Chris Rock's cool mosquito ‘Mooseblood’. After being saved by and making friends with a compassionate florist named Vanessa (René Zellweger), Barry discovers that we humans have been ‘stealing’ honey from bees the world over to spread on our toast. In an insane plot leap he then sues the entire human race in order to get back the honey his fellow bees have slaved to make. Cue amusing court drama that pits Barry and the bees against the Honey industry in the form of shady southern style defence lawyer, excellently voiced by John Goodman.
Without wanting to ruin the plot for you – just stop to imagine if the bees won back the world’s honey lake and no longer needed to go forth and pollinate our flowers… Yep we’re talking massive eco disaster and one, which only the bees can put right. Bee Movie certainly throws lots at the screen, some of which works well – Sting getting given a hard time for choosing a bee-ist name and a superb mid air rescue of a stricken jumbo jet by millions of bees are highlights. Other bits are more ho ‘hum’ like a laboured send up of the Larry King show and an unnecessary bemusing cameo by Ray Liotta but overall Bee Movie comes out mostly smelling of roses.
My boys really lapped up all the comic touches and even though my wife took the opportunity to catch a few zzzz’s I’d recommend this as a fair family movie experience.
Those without kids however might struggle to find enough adult orientated value to make this a must see, but for a lightly amusing Festive diversion it’s either this or the Disney princess loose in the real world ‘Enchanted’ – more on that next week.
It does seem though that the CGI movie production line is in real need of some new ideas after serving up cooking rats and litigious bees… Maybe filmmakers should, erm, let it ‘bee’ for a while?

Out of 5 you have to go with slick but average 3 (come on guys, we want more quality!!)...

Darkmatters ratings :

Action ööö
– Fun and madcap
Laughs ööö – Some fun to be had but not really enough
Horror ö – Nothing very grim at all
Babes öö – CGI is kind to Zellweger

Overall ööö (Worth a look!)

"look at me... I'm buzzing!!"

Darkmatters: H O M E
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World War Hulk - review

"comic event of the year! Hulk Smash... the world!"

World War Hulk
Written by GREG PAK

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Destruction on an unprecedented scale... Marvel's ultimate face-off Hulk vs everyone else smackdown has finally come to its world shattering conclusion in World War Hulk #5. This has been by far my favourite comic series of '07, my sons and I have had a blast watching Hulk take apart Earth’s best heroes - respect to Greg Pak (writer) and penciling legend John Romita Jr.

At the end it is Sentry who steps up to try and end this massive conflict - can the almost limitless power of the Hulk stand against the hero who can channel the power of the million exploding suns? There's only one way to find out...

"this is what happens when two of the strongest comic book heroes ever go head to head..."

Out of 5 you have to go with butt kicking 5 (Hulk takes the comic book '07 crown)...

Darkmatters ratings :

Action ööööö – Awesome, jaw dropping - would make a great film!
Laughs öö – Not many but some wry jokes
Horror ööö – Character death...
Babes ö – Limited

Overall ööööö (Top draw... worth reading even if you don't like Hulk!!)

“Puny humans. I’ve come to smash.”

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Golden Compass - review

The Golden Compass (PG)

Dir. Chris Weitz

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

By order of the Magisterium’s General Oblation Board – freethinking is hereby outlawed… Anyone found to be enjoying this stylish but cold, and ultimately flat feeling fantasy adaptation must report for non-negotiable thought reconditioning.
Here we have the big screen version of the first of Philip Pullman's Dark Materials novels – Northern Lights (now renamed The Golden Compass thanks to our US friends). I must confess to being a fan of the books and so I had heady expectations for this huge budget, highly complex tale which en’compass’es cool battling polar bears, friendly witches, spirit linked daemons and a young girl who has mankind’s destiny on her shoulders.
Renowned as the ‘anti-Narnia’ Pullman’s atheist viewpoint championing series has been a bit neutered for its transfer to the cinema (possibly to stave off attacks from religious Fundamentalists out there). This is unlikely to go down well with lovers of the original dark material and even speaking as a Christian I felt that the changes weakened the narrative overall.
The plot sees feisty young heroine Lyra Belacqua (12 year old newcomer Dakota Blue Richards) entrusted with the last Golden Compass – a future / truth telling device also known as an alethiometer. Seems she is the prophesied chosen catalyst for an ragged alliance of freedom fighters to band together and overthrow the tyranny of the evil empire / dark wizard / ice queen, – erm I mean Magisterium of course.
Standing on the shoulders of many other fantasy films The Golden Compass shines only briefly – the ice bear smackdown being the only part that really upped my pulse rate. It all looks gorgeous though and has Nicole Kidman embodying evil itself. She manages to steal the show whenever she graces the screen as Mrs Coulter, deliciously beguiling and utterly chilling at the same time. Dashing Daniel Craig is also on hand as Lyra’s guardian Lord Asriel – a man on a mission to cross into one of the parallel worlds that sit alongside ours. But even the star studded cast can’t lift the overall pall that Golden Compass leaves – all the more obvious when compared to Stardust which delivered such high spirited fantasy fun just a few weeks ago.
Those coming to this having not read the books may find it all a bit convoluted, and could struggle to see what the heavyweight marketing fuss is about. I wouldn’t be surprised if non-believing Pullman himself isn’t offering up a small prayer that the filmmakers make a better job of the sequel should it get the ‘go ahead’.

Out of 5 you have to go with an but was hoping for more 3 (being visually stunning doesn't excuse 'dullness')...

Darkmatters ratings (look out for the all new DM ratings in January '08!!):

Action ööö – Ice Bears baby and an obligatory final battle
Laughs öö – Not funny. not really meant to be
Horror ööö – Some violence
Babes ööö – Kidman is all kinds of sexy but evil with it!

Overall ööö (No classic but nice enough)

"Nicole now being credited as 'golden monkey' apparently!?"
- oh no that's just her Daemon...

"This is what we want... bring it!!!!"

"More bear action in a director's cut would be nice!"

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Sunday, December 02, 2007

PS3 - spread the love...

"everything you need for a very jolly Christmas!"

Got a text from a work friend who'd just invested in a shiny new PS3...

I'm almost envious of him as that feeling of firing up the sleek black box of awesomeness for the first time is a very special one!!

This year has been a roller coaster of gaming fun - am still absolutely addicted to the wonderfully balanced WARHAWK (http://darkmatt.blogspot.com/2007/10/warhawk-review.html), pleasure delaying finishing the awesome Heavenly Sword (http://darkmatt.blogspot.com/2007/10/heavenly-sword-review.html) and working my way through both the excellent Assassin's Creed and Ratchet & Clank...

But I couldn't resist picking up LAIR this weekend - a game that has come in for a lot of criticism due to its motion control only - control scheme... First impressions are that piloting a dragon, unleashing burning death on your foes and stamping on knights is a blast.
Sure the controls take a bit of getting used to but the graphical excellence, battle gameplay and overall thrill of having your own dragon to ride on makes this a game that fantasy fans really should consider...

"Mmmmm gaming has never been so good - see you online!"

Darkmatters: H O M E
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Hitman - review

Hitman (15)

Dir. Xavier Gens

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

It’s a sad but universally acknowledged truth that computer games making the jump to film have produced more turkeys than you’d find packed into a Bernard Matthews poultry farm in this festive season. So as the ultimate PlayStation game Hitman known only as ‘Agent 47’ is made flesh in Timothy ‘baddie from Die Hard 4.0’ Olyphant – the bets are off that it will result in serious screen suckage.
And I must apologise in advance to my father-in-law who only enjoys my negative reviews – but Hitman manages to buck the turkey trend and deliver some impressively sleek, bold and beautiful big screen thrills.

Don’t expect any element of the plot to make too much sense, just sit back and enjoy the over the top carnage that kicks off when Agent 47 is set up whilst trying to assassinate the Russian president. Pursued by both Interpol (in the hangdog form of Dougray Scott), the Russian secret service FSB (in the form of stupiiid caricature Robert Knepper), and the very organisation that he was created by Agent 47 juggles an impressive array of high-powered weapons and leaves a massive trail of bodies in his wake.

Pausing briefly to save a smokin’ hot, clothing adverse prostitute named Nika (upcoming hottie Olga Kurylenko who you might have also seen in the cool French thriller The Snake earlier this year), Agent 47 carries off some spectacular action sequences that had the row of teenagers behind me whooping and cheering.

Hitman is basically Die Hard: in a suit – but with the twist that you’re rooting for the bald psychotic assassin for hire rather than the fast-mouthed bald cop in a vest. Director Xavier Gens stays true to the look and feel of the Hitman games, this is his follow up to the yet unreleased over here ‘Frontière(s)’ which has a reputation of being one of the bloodiest films ever committed to screen. Hitman doesn’t stint on the violence but uses it in tight controlled bursts that punctuate the fairly predictable ‘rogue agent takes on all comers’ plot.

So if you’re looking for heavy-duty tasty action, complemented with a babe who makes even Bond girls look a bit minging, Hitman will be Christmas come early for you. However if you’re after anything even remotely cerebrally challenging you might want to consider something like ‘Southland Tales’ from the strange mind behind Donnie Darko instead.

Out of 5 you have to go with a tasty and unexpected 


(4 - stupid but an oh-so-much-fun action overload)...

Darkmatters ratings:

Action öööö – bags of quite wonderful gunplay
Laughs ööö – darkly comic
Horror ööö – high velocity weapons can make a mess
Babes öööö – Olga Kurylenko is delicious - see below!!

Overall öööö (hits the screen with a serious payload of playful action)

"there are apparently some hidden messages in the film but I've yet to spot them"

"does a great line in dresses - Miss Kurylenko"

Darkmatters: H O M E
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