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, April 20, 2008

Darkmatters Review: In Bruges

In Bruges (18)

Dir. Martin McDonagh

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

You might not expect a foul mouthed, crunchingly violent and darkly comic oddball film about hitmen to make you stop and consider life, honour and the nature of Purgatory but that’s exactly what In Bruges achieves…

Meet Ray (Colin Farrell) a newbie contract killer who is eaten up with guilt because his first job has seen him accidentally murder a small boy. He’s hiding out in the quiet fairytale like Belgium town of Bruges with his fellow hitman / mentor Ken (Brendan Gleeson) – both of whom could be in serious trouble with their nasty boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes).
From the initial bickering about being holed up in the middle of nowhere with sightseeing the only real option, things get progressively weirder by the moment in this hard to classify movie that straddles genres. There is so much happening here - one minute you’ll be laughing at dubious kung fu violence being inflicted on a coked up dwarf and the next pondering the afterlife thanks to Hieronymus Bosch's classical painting ‘The Last Judgement’.

Writer / director Martin McDonagh peppers the script by with moments of sublime banter (none of which is very good taste but is liable to make you grin) e.g. Ken tells Ray: “You are the worst tourist.” To which Ray responds “Look, Ken. I grew up in Dublin, and I love Dublin. If I had grown up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me. But I didn't, so it doesn't.”
Or as a Spurs fan - my favourite line in which Ray sums up Purgatory as: “It's when you're not awful, not really bad, but you’re not really good either – a bit like Tottenham…” And that kind of fittingly sums up the film too. I guarantee one thing; you won’t see a stranger neo-noir crime comedy hitman saga this year. Farrell and Gleeson are a very watchable duo who take the wacky plot twists in their stride whilst skating on the surface tension of their misdeeds and the potential repercussions thereof.

"this'll teach you for not liking me in Miami Vice"

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

Endorphin Stimulation: ööööööö (7)

- Not a very cohesive whole but a fun packed treat anyway

Tasty Action: öööööö (6)
- Different and brutal

Mind Blight / Boredom: ööööö (6)- Some people won't 'get' this at all

Comedic Value: öööööööö (8)
- Very funny if completely un P.C.

Arbitrary final rating: öööööööö (8)
- Worth seeking out, just don't expect a happy ending!

Liable to make you:
"start contemplating the lives of midgets and hitmen"

DM Poster Quote:
“a drug fuelled orgy of dwarves and gunplay and freakiness"
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PS3 swag to win...

"over at funky PS3 Attitude..."

Bag yourself some wicked PS3 stuff by clicking over to PS3 Attitude (here: http://www.ps3attitude.com/2008/04/april-competition-win-our-swag.html) - all you have to do is sign up to their email list or something!?

What's on offer? Well from Ubisoft - an environmentally friendly cloth bag, from Codemasters - a Lord of the Rings leather bracelet and an exclusive magnetic paperweight, from SanDisk - a baseball cap, a lanyard, a pen and a Ducati T-Shirt, from Play.com - 2 x Ratatouille keyrings, a 'Spooks' book, 'Ice Age' Extreme Cool Edition DVD, from THQ - Stuntman Ignition metal number plate and a Conan mini-comic...

Who is the competition open to? All PS3 Attitude email subscribers worldwide and the winner will be chosen at random...

Why not give it a go?
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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pathology - the 'diagnosis rubbish' review

Pathology (18)

Dir. Marc Schoelermann

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

I’ve heard it said that Pathology is actually a ‘window to God’. Pathologists get to witness things that most of us will never see – the perversion and corruption of the flesh by all means unnatural...by violence...by toxin...by madness... and their job is to determine the cause of death.
Pathology the movie is an attempt to explore the dark underbelly of the profession, asking the question ‘what if these doctors turned homicidal and started killing people for kicks?’ Sounds like an interesting idea for a film yeah? Well here’s a transcript I found stuffed down the back of one of the seats at Cineworld Luton… it seems to reveal how the movie came about…

Hotshot writing duo: Pathology – it’s about this group of doctors who form a dangerous clique where they take in turns to kill people and the rest have to work out how they did it… The audience get to watch in gruesome details as the bodies are cut up, we’re talking lots of blood and internal organ close ups!!

Studio film funding Exec: Cool, like a chainsaw to the head?

Hotshot writing duo: No, much more sneaky, we envisage chemicals and devious stuff like that…

Studio film funding Exec: Hhmmm, sounds a bit like an episode of Casualty… What’s the selling point?

Hotshot writing duo: What about if the doctors are kinky and two of them are hot women who maybe get off with each other?

Studio film funding Exec: I’m interested…

Hotshot writing duo: And we can make one of then get naked a lot and even have it off in front of a dead body… Oh and how about making her have a passion for sticking needles in her lovers?

Studio film funding Exec: Urggh that’s gross… I‘m sold – kinky deviant doctors, bloody dissection and stomach turning close ups of internal organs, this is going to be great! Who’s the hero?

Hotshot writing duo: Milo Ventimiglia… that guy from Heroes

Studio film funding Exec: YES! He’s credible… will he do it?

Agent for Milo ‘ Heroes’ Ventimiglia: I can confirm that my client has no problem with the masses of perverse behaviour, including violence, gruesome images, strong sexual content, nudity, drug use and bad language that make up this movie.

Hotshot writing duo: Oh, just one more thing, it's all a bit rubbish.

Studio film funding Exec: Who cares, we’ll just make a cool poster… Kerching!! Bring it!

Hotshot writing duo: Remember: no ‘body’ is safe… lol… we’re off to quickly bank that cheque before everybody sees how bad this is!

"if you have a problem, if no-one else can help, and if you can find them..."

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

Endorphin Stimulation: ööö (3)

- limited enjoyment and nothing to get the heart racing

Tasty Action: öööö (4)
- not very tasty, more 'distasteful'

Gratuitous Babeness: öööööööö (8)
- Lauren Lee Smith is often unclad... men everywhere are grateful

Mind Blight / Boredom: ööööööö (8)
- slow and drooping pacing doesn't help

Comedic Value: öööö (4)
- nothing very funny here

Arbitrary final rating: ööö (3)
- Interesting idea, shame about the actual film!

Liable to make you:
"not be able to look your doctor in the eye"

DM Poster Quote:
“It's what on the inside that counts..."

"see this scalpel, have a guess where I'm going to stick it!"

Darkmatters: H O M E

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Southland Tales - the 'world ends with a bang' review

Southland Tales (15)

Dir. Richard Kelly

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

After a serious week of bible study and generally getting into a metaphysical space wherewith to commune better with God… at a place called SPRING HARVEST based in Butlins no less in Skegness even… I can tell you right away that the heady mix of spiritual teaching, dangerous water flumes, nasty junk food and chav accommodation left me ready to have my mind blown wide open in a new and dangerous way…

So I called to the Lord for a film to watch and lo, He did answer – He answered in a mysterious way… by meeting me in Morrisons and guiding me to their limited new DVD release section and in an act of unsurpassed divine wonderfulness – there it was that I found Southland Tales. This is a film that I’d wanted to see for some time (being a big fan of Kelly’s Donnie Darko) and having had my curiosity peaked by the critical mauling that it received at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.

Did the Lord really want to speak to me through a film about a Porn Star named Krysta (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who might be psychic, a confused missing actor (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) and a rift in the time space continuum which may be responsible for multiple individuals and the end of the world? – it did indeed seem so… and this despite the intellectually challenged gibbering shop assistant who forgot to put the DVD in the case so I had to go back and slap her about a little for her mistake…
So I leapt into the incomprehensible, self-indulgent, fairly long but not too long universe of Southland Tales... It was a everything I had hoped and feared and more. There’s no easy way to describe the plot so I’m not going to bother, there is so much packed into it though - ice cream vans packed with weaponry for sale, a crazy large zeppelin and assorted military vehicles powered by a new energy source ‘fluid karma’, guns that can shoot around corners, TS Eliot and American politics, Justin Timberlake reading the book of Revelation whilst manning a huge computer controlled gun emplacement… A killer soundtrack which notched up some of my all time favourite tracks like Wave of Mutilation [UK Surf Version] by The Pixies backed up by other quality artists like Jane's Addiction, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Killers.

The film is amazing, a megaton sensory explosion of ideas and the film isn’t even the end or should I say beginning? You see Kelly being such a cool guy – a guy after my own heart / Darkmatters vision… He’s only gone and created 3 graphic novels which form prequels to the film, filling in delicious details of the three days leading up to the events of the film itself. The graphic novels (known as ‘Two Roads Divide, Fingerprints and The Mechanicals) are excellent – written by Kelly and illustrated in some fine style by Brett Weldele… worth getting even if you never watch the film!

Revelation 22:5 - For It Will Never Be Night Again, And They Would Not Need Lamp Light Or Sunlight, For the Lord God Will Be Shining On Them... And They Shall Reign Forever and Ever...

– see that Spring Harvest stuff sinks in!!

"Sarah Michelle Gellar... as a porn star? crumbs..."

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

Endorphin Stimulation: ööööööö (9)
- Amazing and strange, awesome and mind melting, like nothing ever seen before

Tasty Action: öööööööö (8)
- Enough sporadic violence and tension to keep you on edge

Gratuitous Babeness: öööööööö (8)
- Sarah Michelle Gellar is still hot

Mind Blight / Boredom: ööööööö (7)
- Never dull but it might blight your mind!!

Comedic Value: öööööööö (8)
- Very funny, darkly comic , superb really

Arbitrary final rating: ööööööööö (9)
- The world ends with a bang... You won’t want to miss it!

Liable to make you:
"pray for more from this talented writer / director"

DM Poster Quote:
“America takes a nuclear overload in the butt - nothing will be the same"

Click here to read: When Matt met Sarah Michelle Gellar

Darkmatters: H O M E

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Never Back Down - the 'Amber Heard rocks' review

Never Back Down (15)

Dir. Jeff Wadlow

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

It’s a little known fact that film reviewers are often secret martial arts experts – me, I am an adherent of the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). This is a combat sport where there are no holds barred, except eye gouging, biting and low blows. Sure the rigorous training regime is a bind but you should see my ripped abs!?

Seems I have much in common with the sexy young people of Never Back Down’s high school in Orlando, Florida where loveable bad boy Jake (Sean ‘the new Tom Cruise’ Faris) has had to move. On his first day he meets the comically named Baja (Amber ‘All the Boys Love Mandy Lane’ Heard) who is the super hot girlfriend of school bully / MMA champion Ryan McCarthy (Cam Gigandet).

Director Jeff ‘Cry Wolf’ Wadlow delivers a violent fantasy teen drama where everyone looks good, all the time, even after a serious beating. Never Back Down basically takes the Karate Kid plot and injects it with the O.C. lifestyle and some bone crunching Fight Club style bouts, plus more bikini clad babes than you’ll ever need to see.

Jean Roqua (Djimon ‘Blood Diamond’ Hounsou) takes on reluctant mentoring duties and the sweaty training montages come thick and fast. All of the characters are rock solid clichés including slightly chubby best friend Max (Evan Peters), annoying tennis protégé younger brother and mother who doesn’t understand why her son feels the need to fight… But in any film with the tag line ‘Everyone has their fight’, fighting isn’t really optional even if the non-fighting or training sections of screen time are mostly filled with YouTube clips, flash cars and partying babes. Speaking of babes, Amber Heard really is something special, I’m thinking a possible ‘American Keria Knightley’; you can see her later this year in ‘The Informers’ – the big screen treatment of the cult Bret Easton Ellis' novel.

Never Back Down is not big or clever and however much it proclaims that “fighting isn’t the answer”, you know that it will end with a one on one fight brutal enough to send a warning message to bullies the world over.
What more can I add except to quote the fabulously named ‘Baja’ who says at one point: "Walking away and giving up are not the same thing." Fortunately neither of those options appeal much to heroic but misunderstood Jake and it is a pure guilty pleasure watching the fireworks go off!

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

Endorphin Stimulation: ööööööö (7)

- Limited thinking required, except if it is 'wow look at her' or 'ouch, that's got to hurt!'

Tasty Action: öööööööö (8)
- The fight scenes are seriously crunching

Gratuitous Babeness: ööööööööö (9)
- Amber Heard is a goddess

Mind Blight / Boredom: ööööö (5)
- Limited dullness but some very stupid scenes

Comedic Value: öööööö (6)
- Funny in parts, even when it's not meant to be!

Arbitrary final rating: öööööööö (8)
- All adrenalin rush fights and good looking teens...

Liable to make you:
"take up MMA"

DM Poster Quote:
“don't be a pussy... sometimes you have to fight!"

"Amber Heard - almost wearing a dress!"

"Amber looking good in GQ magazine"

See more of Amber Heard here:
Amber Heard -New Film Hottie

Darkmatters: H O M E