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 29, 2009

Top movie babes 2008

"Amber Heard...mmmmm"

The list is up - hosted at the great and wonderful FILMSTALKER...

Check it for your self by clicking here: http://www.filmstalker.co.uk/archives/2009/01/stalkers_top_ten_2008_matt_adc.html

Here are some of the upcoming talent to keep an eye on:

"Miss AnnaSophia Robb... looking good in bikini for new film 'SoulSurfer'"

"Dakota Fanning before her Twilight 'red eyes' period"

"Elle Fanning also looking good!"

"unknown redhead with filmstar looks!"

Other babe links:

Keira Knightley

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Film Review - Valkyrie

Valkyrie (12a)

Dir. Bryan Singer (Superman Returns, Xmen and Usual Suspects)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Achtung!! We have new intelligence about a rare group of ‘honourable’ Nazi Soldiers who attempted to save Europe from total destruction by assassinating Adolf Hitler. These brave souls risked everything to try and cut the evil heart from the SS war machine and show the world that not all Germans signed up to Hitler’s detestable ideology.
Bryan ‘The Usual Suspects’ Singer directs a stellar cast which works to honour the memory of those who took a stand for what was right even if it cost them everything. Because let’s face it, it’s not like we don’t know that this is one mission that never quite worked out how they had planned.
So we have Tom Cruise Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a valiant commander who realised that he could not serve both the best interests of Germany and his moustachioed Fuhrer – it had to be one or the other. He is recruited by the plot to take out Hitler by General Friedrich Olbricht (a convincingly twitchy and nervous Bill Nighy) and Major-General Henning von Tresckow (an overly smug Kenneth Branagh who struggles to keep his loviness in check). After losing a hand, an eye and what was left of his allegiance to Fuhrer in an allied attack, Stauffenberg signs up and commits what’s left of his body to the cause with vigour. Spouting superb lines such as “I am involved in high treason with all means available to me. Can I count you in?” Cruise is great value in the main role – I was won over quickly despite his accent fluctuations, he just really looks the part in his shiny Nazi boots and black eye-patch.
Valkyrie works better than many big budget Hollywood remaking of historic moment films *cough ‘Pearl Harbour’ cough*… Singer is a great director and he manages to imbibe real emotion despite the heavy weight Brit cast which contains Terrence Stamp, Eddie Izzard, and Tom Wilkinson all madly trying to out act each other.
There is palpable tension which mounts as the traitors put their audacious plan into operation. What they tried to do would have made such as massive difference and saved millions of lives that you can’t help but be heartbroken by the events that undo their scheme.
Valkyrie might not be getting Oscar attention but anyone looking for a well made military thriller should enlist today for this slick nail biter that reminds us all that while many saw evil, some tried to fight it.

Arbitrary Darkmatters final rating: ööööööö (7 - GOOD)

Darkmatters quick reference guide (new for 2009):

Action 8, Style 8, Babes 6, Comedy 4, Spiritual Enlightenment 5

+ A film that makes you want to take a stand...

Best line: " The point of replacing Hitler is to negotiate the truce with the Allies. The Allies, I suspect would be more amenable to a truce if we offer it to them before they get to f**king Berlin! ."

Film Review - The Wrestler

The Wrestler (15)

Dir. Darren Aronofsky (The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream, Pi)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Let’s get ready to rumble…

“In this life you can lose everything you love, everything that loves you. A lot of people told me that I'd never wrestle again, the only one that's gonna tell me when I'm through doing my thing, is you people here…” but enough about my personal life, what about this new film that sees a never better Mickey Rourke deliver the performance of a lifetime?
Who’d have thought that the tale of a bruised and haggard washed up pro wrestler could be so compelling; I’m not even a fan of the men in spandex generally. But this is a real tour-de-force that sees a lifetime of bad decisions by Rourke finally paying off in the shape of the valiant but broken Randy "The Ram" Robinson. Here is a man still living off his halcyon era back in the 80’s when he was the star of Nintendo games and had his own blonde mulleted action figure. Now he eeks out a meagre living playing staged bouts on a local scene that are large on blood and spectacle but low on athleticism. A shadow of his celebrity chair breaking ‘pay per view’ days - imagine a more weathered Rocky Balboa in day glow outfit, living in a trailer park and dreaming of finding love before it’s too late.
Director Aronofsky follows up his weird and wonderful ‘The Fountain’ with a semi documentary of a loveable perpetual screw up who might have a lion’s heart but whose weary frame is simply too old to change.
Can a terminal loser like Randy find redemption in the arms of lap dancer Cassidy (Marisa ‘Before the Devil Knows You're Dead’ Tomei)? They certainly share a bond of being past their best and as she struggles as a single mum, he is estranged from his gorgeous daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood - girlfriend of Marilyn Manson - lucky swine).
The New Jersey setting is effectively used, all brutal greys and unflinchingly chilly vistas, which serve as excellent contrast to the cheesy wrestling arenas and neon strip bars.
The Wrestler is an amazing film and is rightly receiving award attention – you can’t help but feel that Rouke is exorcising personal demons in this role which drips self destructive authenticity from every battered pore. Aronofsky is gearing up to re-launch the Robocop franchise next which is a very exciting prospect given his remarkable track record for films to date. And wherever Rouke goes from here he can look back on having created an iconic screen character that will be long remembered

Arbitrary Darkmatters final rating: ööööööööö (9 - GREAT)

Darkmatters quick reference guide (new for 2009):

Action 7, Style 8, Babes 7, Comedy 6, Spiritual Enlightenment 7

+ I never thought that a role would suit Rouke more than Marv in Sin City but this is the one...

Best line: "I'm an old broken down piece of meat and I deserve to be all alone, I just don't want you to hate me."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Film Review - Defiance

Defiance (15)

Dir. Edward Zwick (last film 'Blood Diamond' DM rated 8/10)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

It’s 1941 and the Nazis are on the march rounding up and killing Jews. Defiance is the ‘based on true events’ tale of Jewish brothers Tuvia (Daniel Craig), Zus (Live Schreiber), and Asael Beilski (Jamie Bell) who manage to turn the forests of Belarussia into a temporary haven for their people.
Director Edward ‘Blood Diamond’ Zwick goes for a broad stroke depiction of the struggles faced by those staring extermination in the face. You can check off the scenes – Nazis search for Jews, local police aid them, the brothers have their families murdered and swear to begin to fight back… which helps of course if you’ve got the current James Bond on your side!?
You will have seen many aspects of the cliché rich two hours plus before but there is always merit in being reminded of the strength of the human spirit, lest we forget how bad things got for those persecuted by the Nazis. The hardships of starvation, the unrelenting danger of the enemies and their collaborators – there are lots of thought provoking ‘what would you have done’ moments to ponder.
The inspirational elements of the tale of the brothers who came to be remembered as the “Beilski Partisans” attempt to balance out the crushing bleakness of this dark period in history. The wartime suffering is painted brutally, there are some savagely violent encounters and some stock quotable quotes such as ‘Our vengeance is to live’... The effective combat scenes and tenacious Moses-like leading of the people through a flooded marshland whilst being pursued, ramp up the tension – especially as the fates of the brothers are withheld until the end.
Craig does his best in the lead role but is somewhat upstaged by the gutsy Schreiber as his younger brother Zus, who is excellent throughout in a trickier, more nuanced role. Love interests are on hand in the shapely forms of Lilka (Alexa Davalos), Bella (Iben Hjejle) and Riva (Kate Fahy) who all look good despite the challenges of forest dwelling.

Defiance certainly goes for the emotional blackmail juncture at several points and if not based on real events could well be taken as a purely cynical cash in on the horrors faced and the bravery shown by this group of Jews who took the fight back to the Nazis in the own way. So whilst maybe not a classic of the wartime genre, Defiance offers enough to make it a worthwhile reminder of humanity pushed to breaking point and extraordinary valour that can result.

Arbitrary Darkmatters final rating: ööööööö (7)

Darkmatters quick reference guide (new for 2009):

Action 7, Style 7, Babes 7, Comedy 5, Spiritual Enlightenment 7

+ Defiance looks the part - shot in a remote, wooded area in Lithuania, about a hundred miles away from the real location of the Bielski brothers camp....

+ (SPOILER WARNING) Craig gets to take out a platoon of Nazis in the one big firefight - it's very satisfying seeing the enemy on the recieving end of one of their own heavy machine guns...

- One of the guys I saw this with hated it and I thought he'd dig it...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Film Review - The Spirit

The Spirit (12a)

Dir. Frank Miller (last film 'Sin City' - DM rated 10/10)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

First a confession – I’m a massive fan of comic books and am always naively optimistic when they hit the big screen, even though for every awesome Dark Knight there are several weak Phantoms or Ghost Riders to endure. Now the genius that is Frank Miller, writer of my favourite graphic novel ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ comes a noir knock off of Sin City (which Miller co-directed with Robert Rodriguez). Based on the comic books by Will Eisner, The Spirit tries hard to be a cool stylized crime busting riff starring Samuel L. Jackson as the villainous Octopus and Gabriel Macht, as the Spirit himself. Unfortunately where Sin City was stylish and hard boiled to the max, The Spirit isn’t half as compelling and has a jokey tongue in cheek plot that never really finds a satisfying groove. By turns campy, cool, comic, dark and sexy – it’s hard to work out quite why it isn’t a massive triumph but it really isn’t anything more than a forgettable experiment.
There are certainly some things that The Spirit does right e.g. it has an abundance of quality babes led by Eva Mendes as seductive bad girl ‘Sand Seref’ and Scarlett Johansson, as ‘Silken Floss’ – the Octopus' slinky right hand woman. You see The Spirit is a ladies man who just can’t resist the charms of an attractive femme fatale and he’s spoilt for choice here what with Jamie King, Paz Vega and Seychelle Gabriel all on hand. He might be a vengeful hero who has returned from the grave but The Spirit is a womanizer at heart.
Set in a stark black and white lit metropolis referred to as Central City, but it could just as well be Gotham City or Metropolis, contemporary technology is fused with near future and yet everything is dressed as ‘40s style glamour.
The Spirit has been mauled by many critics, one called it ‘the worst film I’ve ever seen’ which is pretty strong damnation. It doesn’t take long before you realise that director Miller seems wildly out of his depth without Robert Rodriguez to back up his stylish flair. The fantastic look of the film achieves a convincing ‘graphic novel come to life’ style but the action is so disjointed and the characters are so utterly unconvincing that it is hard to recommend to anyone other than rabid film noir comic book fans.

Arbitrary Darkmatters final rating: öööööö (6)

Darkmatters quick reference guide (new for 2009):

Action 7, Style 8, Babes 8, Comedy 6, 'Spirit'-ual Enlightenment 5

+ The Spirit features an amazing noir look and feel...

+ Babes are the best thing on offer, Seychelle Gabriel is my tip for the future...

- Frank Miller really can't direct solo, fingers crossed Rodriguez will prevent him from ballsing up Sin City 2...

- Most memorable quote: "I'm gonna kill you all kinds of dead."