DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Read my novel: Complete Darkness

Listen to the PODCAST I co-host: Hosts in the Shell

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Matt Adcock meets Ellen Page

"She's cool"

"She's almost 21"

"and generally gorgeous..."

Matt Adcock meets Ellen Page

So there I am in this swish London hotel and suddenly I’m joined by the cutest, coolest, shortest and possibly ‘most likely to be mistaken for a pixie-est’ actress ever – Ellen Page. Almost 21, fresh from bagging an Oscar nomination and riding the wave of positive buzz around her new Oscar nominated film Juno (which is excellent by the way), Ellen radiates a beguiling mixture of shyness and confidence, for a minute I don’t quite know what to say.

MA: Ellen hey, I’m a fan. You’ve already played some incredible characters, what attracted you to the role of a pregnant teenager Juno?

EP: I was blown away when I read the screenplay and just wanted to be that girl. I love this character because she’s so interesting. She is honest; she stays true to herself and it’s so refreshing to find someone like that in a movie. I just feel really passionate about this film. I think it is appealing to play someone who is outside the typical teen stereotypes that you see on film.

MA: What can you say about Juno herself, what kind of girl is she?

EP: Juno says what she thinks and listens to her own kind of music, she is not influenced by fashion or trends. She likes what she likes and wears the clothes she wants to wear. She could not care less about the way people are judging her or what anyone thinks of her and I really respect that.

MA: The Music is a real feature in the film, did you have a say in picking it?

EP: I did. Early on I was in Jason Reitman’s office with him and he asked me what kind of music I thought Juno would listen to and I said instantly ‘The Moldy Peaches.’ I went onto his computer and played him some songs by them and he liked it and decided to them.

MA: You’ve played some dark roles, was it a conscious decision to choose a comedy at this point in your career and are there any film genres you wouldn’t consider?

EP: It just made sense for me to do this comedy after my film An American Crime. It was a very hard film to shoot, especially because it was based on a true story about a teenager that was very dark and disturbing and upsetting. I remember just thinking at the end of that film: ‘oh my God I have to do comedy next, I have to laugh’. So I was delighted to do Juno. And I’m pretty interested in whatever good roles come along whatever the genre – although I may not do any porn.

MA: If you don’t mind me saying – you look a lot younger than you are, - which is handy for playing a sixteen year old, but do people generally treat you as younger?

EP: I can’t even begin to tell you, it’s a daily thing. I really believe that ageism exists and I suffer from it. I am sometimes treated really badly because I do look young. People always think I’m younger than I am and I’m often asked for my driving license.

It’s true though – Ellen might have played a paedophile hunting vigilante in Hard Candy and an iconic X-men super heroine in Xmen: The Last Stand but it’s her smart, left field role as a young teenage mother-to-be Juno that has really ignited her career. And although she’s only just over 5 foot, I predict she’s going to be huge.

Darkmatters: H O M E

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Call Of Duty 4 Modern Warfare - review

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PS3)

Reviewed by Matt 'Cleric20' Adcock

Report marine, you horrible little grunt…
This is the real thing – well as near to the real thing as is currently possible on any games console – so prepare yourself.

Activision are sending you and a crack squad of elite soldiers into a dangerous warzone where you’ll need razor fast reflexes, a strong strategic brain and most of all, a comfy sofa because this hop is so good that you're going to be playing for some time!!

If the words ‘explosive action’ make you excited, then Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare might just tip you over the edge. Kiss goodbye to your social life, family and friends (unless they have PS3's too – then join them online), because never before has a FPS (first person shooter) been quite so cool, playable, graphically impressive and downright fun – and yes I’ve played Halo 1-3, Warhawk and the Orange Box…

This game looks amazing enough in the cut scenes but you really will have to pinch yourself when you see this baby’s in game play running in high def glory – smooth – that’s the only word for it. Setting impressive new standards for physics-enabled effects and virtually photo-realistic gaming experience, the only bad news is that this might make other games in your collection look a bit duff in comparison (unless you only own COD4, Uncharted and Ratchet & Clank: Future which together form the current ‘holy trinity’ of beautiful shooters for the PS3 in particular).

The single player rocks – gone are those pesky Nazis and ‘played this a million times already’ WW2 campaigns, in come terrorist cells and paid mercenaries wielding tactical nuclear weapons and taking no prisoners. Suffice to say that the single player game is fun, frantic and rewarding, especially as you can unlock some great bonuses like an ‘arcade mode’ which makes replaying it for ‘points per kill’ a real treat. The plot is kinda Tom Clancy-ish and best experienced first hand rather than read about in advance.

Then there’s the multiplayer which I was introduced to by a work colleague – we’ve been shooting each other online ever since – cheers Robin! Building on the hit Call of Duty 2 online experience, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare sets the bar high for multiplayer by being the most addictive and accessible experience I’ve played online and remarkably it works for gamers of all levels. With a dizzying number of weapon options - assault rifles, machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles, pistols, multiple types of grenades and some very nifty claymore mines, there is something for everyone, and best of all you can modify your soldier through ‘perks’. This is the role playing lite element which allows you to customise how you play e.g. more life bar or better aim? Self destruct option when shot or radar jamming device... there’s so much depth to this that you’ll be tinkering with your set up until you become the ultimate killing machine.

Accept no substitute – if you only buy one shooter and you value multiplayer over single player, COD4 is your new best friend.

Overall ööööö (5/5 warfare has never been as good)

My PSN gamertag is 'Cleric20' - come and find me online!!

"this is in game - look at the detail - look at the carnage!!"

If you prefer chopping enemies up with a sword... may I suggest you pick a Heavenly Sword: Matt's Heavenly Sword (review)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Aliens vs Predator Requiem - review

Alien vs Predator
"take one iconic space monster"
sex with an alien
"add another 'almost as iconic' space monster"

- light the fuse for an all time classic!

Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem (15)

Dir. The Brothers Strause (Greg and Colin)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Remember - in space, no one can hear you scream.

On Earth, everyone will hear you – it’s just a shame that you’ll probably be screaming ‘I want my money back!!’…

Learning nothing it seems from the minor hit Alien vs. Predator from 2004, except that there is an audience of people who will still pay to see these two iconic creatures – the money men at Twentieth Century Fox have given us Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem (AVP-R).

As big fan of both series of films (I liked the first AVP film) I was stoked at the thought that this just night be the ultimate stand-off between the classic shiny headed, chest bursting, jaw extending xenomorphs and the dreadlocked space hunters with a nifty line in infra-red vision and shoulder mounted laser cannons. Directed by ‘lifelong fans of both franchises’, Greg and Colin Strause, who were eager to recreate the magic of the terrifying space saga and pay homage to the hallmarks that made the originals so memorable.

Set in a modern day small U.S. town, a predator training ship carrying the hybrid ‘predalien’, hinted at in the last AVP film, crash lands leading to a very bad time for the population and an ensuing massive alien infection. A sole predator ‘cleaner’ is dispatched from the predator homeworld – he’s a badass alien exterminator tasked with saving the day before the situation gets out of hand. What’s not to love?

Um, how about just about everything?

AVP-R is a cheap looking, slap in the face of all the Alien or Predator films that have gone before. Gone is anything classy, or any scenes that will make you drop your popcorn and applaud, in fact anything much worthy of praise or merit - apart from some occasionally decent special effects. Instead we get a derisive, predictable and painfully muddled plotline, weak and entirely disposable characters – you know you’re in trouble when the most likeable is the dim blonde love interest Jesse (Kristen Hager).

sexy Kristen Hager bikini ass alien
"Miss Hager shows off her acting skills"  

Then there’s the supposedly heroic Dallas (yes the namesake of the Captain in the original Alien) played by Steven Pasquale – not sure if he’s any relation to Joe - an ‘off the shelf’ bad boy who specialises in shouting out a running commentary on what’s happening right in front of him like: “People are dying... we need guns!”

So how can you enjoy the slack jawed and ‘trying a bit too hard to be nasty’ thrills on offer in AVP-R? I’d advise unplugging your brain and leaving behind any love you have for the Alien or Predator films thus far - approach AVP-R with very limited expectations and they might just be met.

Having said that if seeing a ward of pregnant women being overrun by aliens, a young boy having his stomach burst our after seeing his father die the same way and actually finding yourself starting to feel sorry for the Predator that seems to have to wander around aimlessly for quite a lot of the screen time appeals to you… Step this way!

NEW DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM FOR 2008 (all ratings out of maximum 10):

Mind Blight / Boredom: ööööööööö (9)
- Chronic and dangerous levels, approach with caution

Comedic Value: ööööö (5)
- Laughable more like!

Endorphin Stimulation: ö (1)- flatline excitement levels...

Tasty Action: öö (2)
- couple of almost interesting fights, but most of the 'action' is badly directed and lacks punch

Arbitrary final rating: ööö (3)
- The brothers Strause should be impregnated with alien spawn...

Liable to make you:
“weep for how bigger missed opportunity this was... and how crap it is!"

DM Poster Quote:
“They really should have stayed in space ”

Saturday, January 26, 2008

In the Valley of Elah - review

In the Valley of Elah (15)

Dir. Paul Haggis

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

The Valley of Elah is the middle-eastern place noted in the Bible where the young shepherd boy (and one day King) David managed to kill the Philistine giant warrior champion Goliath – with nothing more than a well-aimed slingshot. This is the epic recreation of the that famous battle, no actually this is Paul ‘Crash’ Haggis’ cutting anti-war film that rips the jugular out of any romantic notions that signing up for the armed forces is cool or praiseworthy.

Tommy Lee Jones is on top form as Hank Deerfield, a retired Sergeant whose soldier son Mike has mysteriously disappeared after coming back from his latest tour of duty in Iraq. Charlize Theron plays detective Emily Sanders who gets dragged into the investigation when it looks like there may be foul play – and a possible military cover-up due to ‘something that happened involving Mike overseas’.
Jones is awesome as the devoted father, determined to find out what happened to his son, sketchy clues to which he uncovers on media files recorded on Mike's mobile phone. Haggis who wrote as well as directs stirs up a veritable hornets nest of rage and anguish, grief and betrayal, but all of it is ratcheted up in a slow burning way. Whilst In the Valley of Elah is no action thriller, it is a gripping, smouldering fuse that leads all the while to something very nasty.

If looking for a feel good or life-affirming movie, you should move along – watching Elah is like taking a depressing punch to the frontal cortex (that part of the brain generally thought to be where higher-level thinking takes place). The plot unfurls at a walking pace but you won’t be able to help yourself thinking ahead, all the while trying to figure out ‘whodunit’ and perhaps more importantly ‘why did they do it’?

There is excellent chemistry between Jones and Theron (in a wonderfully friends trying to help each other way); plus there are moments of stunning cinematography that elevate this over and above your average ‘war screws you up’ political effort. Elah hasn’t been very well received in the States, which doesn’t surprise me as it makes for a pretty damning case against the current administration’s foreign policy on Iraq. With this and No Country for Old Men, Jones has found a superb vein of recent form and this film has brought him an Oscar nominations to boot.

NEW DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM FOR 2008 (all ratings out of maximum 10):

Endorphin Stimulation: öööööö (6)
- 'thinking' rather than being 'blown away with excitement'

Tasty Action: öööö (4)
- not masses but some bursts of tension

Gratuitous Babeness: öööööö (6)
- Theron is hot in an understated way here

Mind Blight / Boredom: öööö (4)
- this won't keep everyone on the edge of their seats (brain required)

Comedic Value: öööö (4)
- Not a comedy by any definition

Arbitrary final rating: ööööööö (7)
- Quality film, powerfully made and packed with decent acting but maybe not a classic

Liable to make you:
“vow not to sign up for the armed forces"

DM Poster Quote:
“if we create killing machines, can we expect them to stop?”

"so I heard you have a thing about Oscar nomated stars!?"

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - review

Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (18)

Dir. Tim Burton

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

A dangerous spirit can be found haunting Old London Town. A dashing new barber has set up shop in Fleet Street guaranteeing the ‘closest shave you’ll ever have’ – not to mention that it could well be also the last shave you’ll ever have!? Believe me when I tell you that there’s no one who can handle a cutthroat razor quite like the talented Mr Sweeney Todd.

Strangely it seems business is also unnaturally brisk in Mrs Lovett's pie-shop situated right underneath Mr Todd’s barbers… There’s something quite special and yet hard to put your finger in – sorry I mean on - about Lovett’s new secret recipe ‘meat’ pies.

So cor blimey governor if this ain’t Tim Burton’s new musical sing a long horror show that takes the Broadway hit musical and brings it lavishly to superb big screen life. But before you rush out and book your tickets for a family night out of show tunes in the company of the wickedly cool Johnny Depp and the ‘never been more gothic – and that’s really saying something’ Helena Bonham Carter, be advised that is a red-blooded eighteen certificate film that comes with serious graphic slaughter to rival certain chainsaw wielding maniacs.

This latest incarnation of Sweeney Todd drips Burton’s trademark gothic visual flair, delivering a ticket to a fantastic archetypal Victorian London where revenge is the order of the day and vengeance driven homicidal tendencies go hand in hand with cannibalistic appetites. It certainly isn’t a very happy tale; in fact this is possibly the nastiest and most head wracking work of musical desolation ever to offer it’s dark heart to public gaze. But if you’ve the stomach for powerhouse gut-churning horror mixed with darkly comic tragedy – this will ravish your senses to within an inch of their life.

Depp is just awesome in the title role, notching up another iconic character with ease. Seems Mr Depp can sing too which helps as virtually all of the dialogue is sung, so make sure you’re ready for ditties about selecting murder victims, heartbreaking pain and general unpleasantness in lieu of witty banter. Some quality brief light relief comes in the riotous form of Sacha ‘Borat’ Baron Cohen whose faux Italian barber ‘Pirelli’ sports a cockney accent that puts even Depp’s to shame and is a character worthy of having his own whole spin off film. Yes, pretty much everything on offer here is premium high-class entertainment even if it deals in thoroughly unpleasant subject matter – don’t let that stop you singing along!

NEW DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM FOR 2008 (all ratings out of maximum 10):

Endorphin Stimulation: öööööööö (8)
- There will be blood, by the bucketfull!!

Tasty Action: ööööööö (7)
- Killing in the name of... revenge, singing all the while.

Gratuitous Babeness: ööööööö (7)
- Jayne Wisener (Johanna) is a hottie to watch, HBC still looks good too!

Mind Blight / Boredom: ö (1)
- None unless singing puts you to sleep.

Comedic Value: ööööööö (7)
- Black comedy with a sharp edge...

Arbitrary final rating: ööööööööö (9)
- An awesome cinematic experience!

Liable to make you:
“Not choose a wet shave at a barbers anytime soon"

DM Poster Quote:
“Don't miss this bloody brilliant tale, not by the hair on your chinny chin chin!?”


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No Country for Old Men - review

No Country for Old Men (15)

Dir. Joel and Ethan Coen

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

In the land of the free they say that ‘there are no clean getaways’, and No Country for Old Men takes that notion and splatters it large across the screen in a stunning, violent modern classic. Opening with a fantastically barren Texas vista, a captivating voice-over sucks you immediately into the world of central protagonists Vietnam vet Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) and washed up sheriff Ed Tom Bell (a never better Tommy Lee Jones).

So one day Moss stumbles upon and takes a bag containing millions of dollars, the previous owners of which are now conspicuously dead in a rather obvious drug deal gone wrong. This is the trigger to a nail-biting odyssey that sees all manner of very nasty characters on the trail of the ill-gotten bounty. The plot is a faithful adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's highly charged but desperately bleak novel, which the Coen brothers have taken and wreathed in classy noir western, hard-boiled road movie styling.

Thrillers just don’t come much tenser or with a more palpable air of danger – No Country for Old Men plays like a super charged western style sequel to my favourite Coen brother’s film up until now - their debut Blood Simple.

Here is a movie where everything is up for grabs; the gathering storm that whirls around the loot evokes a feeling of how one bad choice can lead to unprecedented life wrecking repercussions.
Credit must also go to Woody Harrelson who delivers over and above the call of duty as a slick hit man ‘cleaner’ sent in by a crime boss to try and sort out the escalating situation. But even he can’t hold a candle to the unstoppable killing machine psycho named Anton Chigurh (Javier Bordem), the scariest cattle abattoir gun wielding, remorseless bad guy you’ll ever wish to meet. Here’s a tip, if you meet a blank faced bowl cut styled lunatic like Chigurh, the chances are he’ll be the last thing you ever see – and if he asks you call ‘heads or tails’ on a coin toss, at least you’ll have a fifty percent chance of living…

No Country for Old Men is an awesome experience - a perfect storm of a talented cast, quality source material and stunning direction, mixed with jaw dropping cinematography and the best use of sound in a film ever? The first contender for film of the year already!!

NEW DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM FOR 2008 (all ratings out of maximum 10):

Endorphin Stimulation: ööööööööö (9)
- This will make you think 'dear God is there hope for any of us in the face of unfathomable evil?'

Tasty Action: öööööööö (8)
- Some wicked shoot outs, chases and stand offs

Gratuitous Babeness: öööööö (6)
- Kelly 'Diane from Trainspotting' Macdonald is still cute

Mind Blight / Boredom: ö (1)
- Long but only those with ADHD will get at all bored

Comedic Value: öööööö (6)
- Sly dark humour, but certainly not a comedy

Arbitrary final rating: öööööööööö (10)
- An awesome cinematic experience!

Liable to make you:
“Saddle up and search the prairie for $2million in drug money, or buy an abattoir cattle gun ”

DM Poster Quote:
“Somewhere in the darkness of men's souls lies redemption… just not here...”

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

P.S. I Love You - review

"Look out - he's behind you!!"

P.S. I Love You (12a)

Dir. Richard LaGravenese

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Prepare yourself – this just might be the most horrific cinematic experience you have in 2008. Imagine a sick film where a grieving widow is maliciously stalked by a maniac who sends her sinister letters supposedly signed by her dead husband… Actually that’s not true, change the stalking maniac to the woman’s utterly obsessed husband who is actually tricking her into thinking that he’s dead – all the while laughing at her from beyond the grave… ingeniously messed up huh?
Oh it’s no use, there’s no way I can try and make P.S. I Love You sound any better than it is and that’s the very worst kind of soppy, schmaltzy supposedly romantic comedy, utterly bereft of either romance, or comedy.

Hilary ‘Million Dollar Baby’ Swank, might be a great actress but she’s neither cute nor funny enough to salvage this turgid festering cesspool of irritating boredom. And in this sorry and mildly unsettling tale of how her hunky Irish husband (Gerald ‘300’ Butler) dies young but finds the time to somehow write lots of letters, arrange holidays and other ‘surprises’ to lavish on her after he’s popped his clogs.

If that whole concept doesn’t weird you out then there’s still no reason I can give you to go and see this. Holly (Swank) is one of the most annoying main characters ever committed to film but even she is endearing when compared to her overgrown leprechaun of a husband who needs to tried for crimes against the Irish accent. Butler was outstanding as King Leonidas in 300 last year but here he stinks up the screen to the point that I was delighted when he was killed off prematurely. Alas he’s a hard man to keep down and he pops up again at regular intervals either as a ghost or in vapid flashbacks. Then there’s Lisa Kudrow (still playing Phoebe from Friends) and Harry Connick, Jr who provide some light relief only by not being quite as bad as the two leads,

The only moment of pleasure I had during the whole film was when I turned to see if my mate Tom and his girlfriend were enjoying it as little as I was and found that Tom was actually poking himself in the eye in order to try and stay awake!

P.S. Don’t rob yourself of two hours that you’ll never get back. – go and see something else!!


(all ratings out of maximum 10):

Endorphin Stimulation: ööö

- you might enjoy taking the piss out of it

Tasty Action: ö

- none, unless you count Swank falling off a stage

Gratuitous Babeness: öö

- Swank in a bra really isn't very sexy

Mind Blight / Boredom: ööööööööö

- eye poking recommended

Comedic Value: öö

- very limited mirth

Arbitrary final rating: ö

- P.S. I really don't like you!!

Liable to make you: “Puke sentimental chunks of soppiness”

DM Poster Quote: “Death was too good for him, and her too actually…”

"Irish eyes might be smiling - but that's the only thing in this film!"

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