DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Matt Adcock meets Russell Brand (and Adam Sandler)

Matt Adcock Meets Russell Brand (and Adam Sandler too)

As the new Disney magical fantasy adventure / comedy Bedtime Stories hits the screens I got to meet up with two of the stars of this fun family film.

Matt: I liked the ideas behind the stories your character tells the kids in this film coming to life. It must have been fun playing out the fantasy sections?

Adam: I looked great in a cowboy hat, so the Wild West scene was fun and I think I looked fantastic in leather pants in the space scene. I really looked good in the gladiator costume too. At least I am guessing I looked good judging by the reaction I got from my co-star Keri Russell.

Russell: I get to play a robot called ‘Lieutenant Mike’ in the Outer Space chapter and they were very diligent and assiduous in their make up job, painting even the inside of my mouth golden, in spite of what we learned from the film Goldfinger that being covered in gold paint can lead to death. There was one area of skin that didn’t get painted gold though… and when I went for a wee my genitals looked ridiculous, this pink organic object emerging from C-3PO’s robotic torso!

Matt: And so how did you pick Russell for the part?

Adam: We had a great part in the film for this room service guy at the hotel who was my best friend and kind of loose and great with the kids. First of all we imagined Russell doing it; we got excited just thinking about the possibility and then Russell was cool enough to say yes. I thought he would be good. He was more comfortable with the children than me in fact. Then we completed the movie and we screened it for the first time. When they ask audiences who is their favorite character, I got a score of 91 which is very high and I thought, ‘great’. But then I looked at Russell’s score and he got 96. I thought to myself: how dare he? The children of America have embraced the long and lean and handsome Russell Brand.

Russell: Thank you Adam and I look forward to in about 15 year’s time that will really start paying dividends!

Matt: What was it like making your first Disney film?

Adam: I always loved Disney movies growing up with my own family. Every Sunday we would watch a Disney movie with Kurt Russell. I was a very big Kurt Russell fan as a child and in fact I wanted to be the modern day Kurt Russell.

Russell: What I’d do is think ‘there are children here’. But it’s not mentally hard because, obviously in my life, I have friends who have got kids and hang out with kids. With them, I don’t think ‘right, now for some X-rated filth’ to pass the time. I use the usual methods I’d use socially and it’s nice to see myself doing something in a film and like it’s not all rude.

Matt: I’ve heard you’re both big sport fans – did you get to watch much whilst filming?

Russell: Sandler is obsessed with sport and, in fact, it seems to be prioritised over making the film. There were screens everywhere showing basketball, football and stuff like that next to the monitor that I’m trying my hardest to be doing my acting on. I’d say, what about that bit of acting? Was it all right?’ and someone would shout ‘they’ve just scored a touchdown’.
At least they understood the significance of West Ham United in my life. Sport was one of the things that made me feel very comfortable in that environment and enhanced my masculinity. It was like: ‘sport, hey? I like sport too. We’re not so different, are we?’

You can see Adam and Russell in Bedtime Stories from 26th December.

Read our review here and enter our competition here

Bedtime Stories - Christmas Competition

"be careful what you wish for..."


To celebrate the release of the new Disney film Bedtime Stories - Darkmatters have some cool prizes that you can win (if you live in the UK).

There are 4 runners up and one jackpot winner (umbrella, nightlight, book to write your own bedtime stories in...)

To be in with a chance of winning - just finish this sentence in less than 20 words and email it to:

My ulitmate bedtime story is the tale of......(your 20 words go here)

Editor's choice is final - winners picked by 12 Jan so get going!!

GOOD LUCK - and enjoy the film

Darkmatters review here: Bedtime Stories Review

Did it make our 'top ten films of the year'? find out here: matt's top ten films 2008

Film Review - Bedtime Stories

Bedtime Stories (PG)

Dir. Adam Shankman

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

2008 ends with a bang as the year’s most all round family pleasing fantasy effort rocks up to cinemas making far fetched children’s bedtime stories come to life.
In a brave move by Disney they have teamed up comedy goofball Adam Sandler with Brit shock comedian Russell Brand for their big Christmas movie. It might sound like a recipe for disaster but against all odds Bedtime Stories really works and director Adam ‘Cheaper By The Dozen 2’ Shankman manages to somewhat redeem his previous crimes against cinema with this genuinely good fun romp. So we have Skeeter Bronson (Adam Sandler) the immature but hardworking handyman at a swanky hotel that used to be run by his dad. Due to a twist of fate he is saddled with looking after his niece Bobbi and nephew Patrick (Laura Ann Kesling and Jonathan Morgan Heit) and all sorts of fun ensues when the crazy bedtime stories he tells them begin to come true in real life.Sure there is a predictable romantic subplot and lots of the comedy moments are telegraphed miles in advance but Sandler goes about his slapstick role with gusto and real heart. Russell Brand is surprisingly good as Mickey – Bronson’s best pal who also works at the hotel and suffers from a comedic sleep panic disorder but even he is upstaged by a goggle eyed guinea pig named Bugsy.
Bedtime Stories makes good use of it’s ‘anything can happen and you’re only limited by your imagination’ idea taking fantasy spins through the Wild West, a medieval castle and a messy outer space showdown. The kids are suitably adorable, the supporting cast are effective, especially Keri Russell as Jill ‘the love interest’ and the lovely Teresa Palmer as the spoilt babe daughter of the hotel owner Violet Nottingham. Of course there are baddies on offer in the form of underhand work rival Kendall (Guy Pearce) and his devious sidekick Aspen (Lucy Lawless). There are some lovely throw away touches such as a bright red Ferrari horse and Russell popping up as mermaid but pick of the bunch is Band’s robot alter ego – he could be C3PO’s long lost brother!
Hardened sceptics and Sandler haters might balk at such a machine tooled Disney feel good production but when it is done this well, there really isn’t any reason not to enjoy some fantasy kids dream wish fulfillment.

Happy Christmas!
Arbitrary final rating: öööööööö (8)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Matt's top ten films 2008

Matt’s Top Ten Films of 2008

2008 had some fantastic films in just about every genre – there was high camp in Mama Mia (even if it was a bit like watching actors play SingStar on a Greek holiday), future art in Wall-E (unique and lovely)and more shoes than you can count in Sex and The City (I didn't like this but I know some women who did) but for me here’s the top ten of films that are worthy of special note:

"no one was supposed to get hurt..."

10. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (15)
An awesome slow burning, nerve grinding tour de force that will make you squirm as you see characters making very bad decisions and then try to deal with the consequences. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke have never been better.

"What if the stories you told came to life?"

9. Bedtime Stories (PG)
You want ultimate kids dream wish fulfillment, genuinely funny slapstick, a romantic central plot and some great special effects… Disney deliver the goods this Christmas with the unlikely but winning team of Russell Brand and Adam Sandler bringing the feel good fun of making bedtime stories come to life. Adults need not apply.

"Never Forget. Never Forgive."

8. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (18)
Johnny Depp cuts a dashing swathe as the demon barber of Fleet Street, singing whilst he delivers this biting black comedy with a very sharp edge. A full blooded musical horror show driven by homicidal tendencies and cannibalistic appetites – it isn’t for the faint of heart.

"Shoot first. Sightsee later."

7. In Bruges (18)
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… Colin Farrell is on top form as a newbie contract killer hiding out in the quiet fairytale like Belgium town of Bruges.

"A comedy about growing up... and the bumps along the way."

6. Juno (15)
Teenage pregnancy is certainly no laughing matter but cool indie film Juno manages to deliver plenty of sharp comedy as well as a refreshing edginess in tackling a difficult subject head on. Juno has so much going for it, a fantastic cast, a rich and kookily left field comic vein and even a cool soundtrack. This compulsive watching and Ellen Page is going to be a massive star!

"When Ambition Meets Faith."

5. There Will Be Blood
Paul Thomas Anderson's epic sees Daniel Day-Lewis go completely over the top in a screen eating performance that burns into the retina. This is larger than life melodrama that doesn’t know when to stop. Mesmerising but uncomfortable – this is a must see, even if it’s only once.

"They took his daughter. He'll take their lives."

4. Taken (15)
“I will look for you, I will find you. And I will kill you…” People traffickers nab the wrong girl as her CIA trained dad (Neeson) goes on a rampage to save her. The plot might be wafer thin but that hardly matters when the action is this crunching and high octane. More exciting than the latest Bourne and Bond put together.

"Fully Charged."

3. Iron Man (12)
“Is it better to be feared or respected? I'd say is it too much to ask for both?” is the mantra of Tony Stark, multi-billionaire playboy and maverick high tech weapons dealer. Stark (a never better Robert Downey Jr.) becomes the titular metal clad super hero and unlike the multitude of tortured soul reluctant world saviours we’ve had recently, he relishes the opportunity.

"You can't stop what's coming."

2. No Country For Old Men (15)
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. 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.

"Why So Serious?"

1. The Dark Knight (12)
The stakes are raised for Batman / Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) when he has to figure out how to fight The Joker (Heath Ledger RIP) an enemy with an irrational lust for chaos. Dark and dangerous, fast and furious, a superhero film that is far more graphic novel than comic book. The Dark Knight is gorgeous, stylish and exciting - this is 2008’s defining film.

check out last year's list here:


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Film Review - Twilight

Twilight (12a)


Dir. Catherine Hardwicke (last two films: The Nativity, Lords of Dogtown)


Reviewed by Matt Adcock


Here’s something for those looking to get their teeth into an alternative teen angst relationship drama… Cribbed from Stephenie Meyer’s distinctly girly novel that takes on the live and loves of an impossibly good looking vampire Twilight oozes cool but lacks enough action or drama to make it worth more than a passing glance.

Director Catherine ‘Lords of Dogtown’ Hardwicke follows up her big screen depiction of the birth of Christ in The Nativity with a less festive tale of teenage love with a twist – one of the teenagers has been seventeen for over a hundred years!

Unfortunately it’s not as exciting as it sounds, Kristen Stewart plays Bella Swan, a love struck new girl in town who falls head over heels for goth looking Edward Cullen (Robert ‘Cedric from Harry Potter’ Pattinson). And erm, that’s about it really… Will it be love at first bite? Or is it just a pain in the neck?

My son Luke (now 11) said that he enjoyed the brief action scene towards the end where Cullen has to battle a much more evil vampire, but that the rest of the film left him cold. I can relate because  even the hand to hand combat between two super strong immortal creatures is a bit weak and over before it really has chance to raise the pulse rate. There’s a fun quidditch like game of vampire baseball at one point too but again it’s a blink and you’ll miss it few moments of light relief.

Most of the film is spent watching the two leads staring at each other, she can’t resist his vampire wiles despite his moody protestations that ‘you have to leave me alone or I’m liable to bite you’.  In fact it is Edward's repression of his bloodlust that forms most of the plot – a lumbering analogy for teen carnal impulses… Will he let his guard down and tuck into his new girlfriend or keep his fangs to himself and set up a lucrative sequel… take a wild guess… And is it just me or isn’t it a bit wrong for a guy who might look seventeen but is actually a very old man to be chasing such a young teenage girl?

Twilight has already been a pretty big hit in the States and has a series of novels to keep the films coming; I can only hope that they get more exciting as the go on.

Kristen Stewart - obvious vampire bait!

Arbitrary final rating: öööööö (6)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Film Review - The Day The Earth Stood Still

The Day The Earth Stood Still (12)

Dir.Scott Derrickson (last two films - The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Hellraiser: Inferno)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

The world is in peril like never before; we have been tried by our celestial neighbours and found wanting… our sentence – complete annihilation… So as ominous massive spheres land around the globe, the people of earth do what they do best panic!!

Alien ambassador Klaatu (Keanu Reeves – looking distinctly inhuman) emerges from the sphere that lands in Central Park and is immediately shot and captured. Our American friends giving him the usual ‘welcome to earth’ treatment of drugging and interrogation – a great scene which sees some awesome dialogue:

"I'm going to ask you a series of control questions. Are you currently in a seated position?”


“Are you human?”

“My body is.”

“Do you feel pain?”

“My Body does.”

“Are you aware of an impending attack on the planet earth?”

“You should let me go.”

Meanwhile Astro-biologist Helen Benson (Connelly) is forcefully dragged in to help the government figure out what they can do, but she takes a shine to our intergalactic guest and ends up on the run with him and her adopted son Jacob (Jaden Smith).

This remake of 1951’s sci-fi classic The Day The Earth Stood Still is a slick and relevant update, retooling the plot which then focused on the threat of nuclear war to now look at the eco disaster we’re busy creating. Director Scott ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’Derrickson keeps the best elements of the original including my favourite robot of all time ‘GORT’ (which stands for Genetically Organized Robotic Technology in case you were wondering). GORT is Klaatu’s bodyguard, a smooth, hulking, impassive sentinel that is so far beyond our primitive technology that we can’t even chip his armour plating.

Despite the end of the world scenario, sci-fi action seekers might be a bit gutted as this is more of the thinking thriller rather than butt kicking military battle simulator. There are a couple of action scenes and some jaw dropping effects which amp up when we feel the wrath of an impressive nanobot cloud but this certainly isn’t Independence Day 2.

Reeves is perfectly cast as Klaatu and Connelly does a good job of representing the human race, John Cleese even pops up as a professor at one point to allow for some high brow science discussions. Speaking of which the film also includes some interesting theological linkages- Klaatu gets to walk on water and raise someone from the dead. And if that isn’t enough for you, how about seeing him draw killer nanobots from the people he comes to care about and has them go into him instead… One friend suggested that this was like him taking away the sin of the world, I wouldn’t go that far but it makes for thought provoking watching. Are they saying that Jesus was one of these aliens that visited us 2,000 years ago?

Overall The Day The Earth Stood Still is a decent remake and good choice for anyone looking for something a little bit different. The eco moral running through the plot will give you lots to ponder and the eye candy special effects are very memorable.

Arbitrary final rating: öööööööö (8)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Film Review - He Was A Quiet Man

He Was A Quiet Man (15)

Dir. Frank A Cappello

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“You may ask why I did what I did. But what choice did you give me? How else could I get your attention? All I wanted to do is exist in your world. Just one person, would take time to actually see me. Help me find a way out.” Bob Maconel.

Bob (Christian Slater) was a quiet man, the office geek, the anonymous cube dwelling loser who nursed a deathwish about his work colleagues. This is the guy who sits across the street from this skyscraping workplace and fantasises about it blowing up, who actually carries a gun to work in his lunchbox with a view to blow a good number of his fellow workers away (egged on by his psychotic goldfish).

Welcome to a kind of Fightclub part 2, a world without rules, a frantic rollercoaster into the mind of a demented worker drone… Surreal and unnerving in equal measure, He Was A Quiet Man is a fantastic, amusing, satire / romance / thriller which digs under the calm surface tension of workplace bullying and wish fulfilment random violence leading to redemption. I mean who hasn’t at some point thought about blowing their co-workers away in a blaze of hot lead? Oh, you hadn’t, um, yeah well, it’s just a turn of phrase… Like when Bob says:

“There comes a time when the diseased and the weak must be sacrificed to save the herd.”

Slater is excellent here sporting an un-fetching receding hairline, chronic porno star moustache and a convincing clammy demeanour. He wants to be loved but he hasn’t got a chance with the pneumatic hotties in his office, especially as his male co-workers are loud, contemptible scumbags. One day the bald freako in the next booth beats Bob to the punch and starts to massacre everyone in the office. Bob is saved ironically because he was bending over to pick up a dropped bullet, and when he stands up is able to blow the killer away thus becoming an immediate hero. Suddenly Bob’s promoted to the role of Vice President for Creative Thinking, given a company car and executive privileges, life turns around so fast and so completely that it just might tip him over the edge. Also as a result of his hero status Bob gets to know Vanessa (Elisha Cuthbert) who took a bullet in the spine and is left paralysed, he steps up to become her new boyfriend / carer and things will never be the same for either of them…

The cinematography is superb, the flashes of surrealism are well judged and overall this is reality check for those who think Dilbert cartoons aren’t based in reality.

Even if you don’t think this sounds like your cup of tea, you should really check out the trailer for this mind blowing, challenging and altogether excellent movie… It’s a masterpiece and features some fantastic music – especially Robert Cosio’s ‘For You’… track it down here on my myspace page if you get chance.

He Was A Quiet Man is an odd film and certainly won’t be for everyone. But for me its gate crashed my top twenty films of all time and if you know the kind of stuff I like (Pi, Fight Club, The Crow, Die Hard, True Romance, Dark City, The Matrix etc) and think along the same lines then seeing this film should be the next thing you do!!

Film Review - Transporter 3

Transporter 3 (15)

Dir. Olivier Megaton

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Vroom vroom crash bang wallop… Frank ‘the transporter’ Martin (Jason Statham) is back in the third all driving, all fighting , all macho nonsense Transporter sequel, delivering crazy car chase action that makes the Top Gear chaps look like a bunch of Sunday drivers.
To date the Transporter movies have been slick, brainless, breathless action flicks – so can the momentum be maintained for another high octane trip or is the franchise finally running out of fuel?
Alas, the smooth - and I don’t just mean his bald head - Statham is hamstrung in this latest outing by the fact that we’ve just about everything on offer here before, and it was better last time... The set up is achingly familiar, dubious characters hire Frank to drive a package somewhere at high speed, there’s an obligatory hot female (Natalya Rudakova) along for the ride and a host of baddies who’ll try and stop him.
Unfortunately no amount of Audis jumping onto moving trains, mass brawl fist fights or proximity bombs attached to body organs can overcome the crunching law of diminishing returns which bites hard here. Transporter 3 somehow manages to be stupid in the extreme and yet still take itself far too seriously. Writer-producers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen seem content to serve up mildly reheated plot leftovers that not even Statham’s patented Bruce-Willis-alike smirk can make watchable.
New director Olivier Megaton couldn’t be less aptly named as Transporter 3 barely raises the pulse rate and delivers nothing very explosive. Also new is rubbish baddie named Johnson (Knepper) – a strong last minute entrant to nab the ‘weakest villain of the year’ award from that unthreatening bloke from Quantum of Solace. The dastardly plot is something about blackmail grubbiness to do with environmental policies and shiploads of toxic rubbish, which serves as an unfortunate but workable analogy for the film as a whole. One old face is back on duty but with very little to do except spout obvious plot observations and indulge in an odd spot of fishing with his unlikely pal Frank is Detective Tarconi (François Berléand), he really shouldn’t have bothered.
If a Transporter 4 is even being considered, we can only hope that it’s some kind of cross over where Jason Bourne, James Bond, John McClane and Frank Martin are pitted in a fight to death to see who is the hardest action hero… I’d pay to see that.
DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM (all ratings out of maximum 10 but '-' is bad whereas '+' is good):
Endorphin Stimulation: ööööö (5)
+ Averagely engaging
Tasty Action: öööööö (6)
+ Needed more polish, and new stuff...
Gratuitous Babeness: öööööö (6)
+ Natalya Rudakova is a bit freckly for my liking!?
Mind Blight / Boredom: öööööö (6)
+ No thinking required...
Comedic Value: ööööööö (7)
+ Best line... "are you 'the gay'?"... very amusing.
Arbitrary final rating: öööööö (5.5)
Fine but weakest of the series so far
Liable to make you:
"drive very fast on the way home"
DM Poster Quote:
"Choose life, choose Audi "