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

Monday, September 28, 2009

Darkmatters Review: Fame

Fame (PG)
Dir. Kevin Tancharoen
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
ONE WORD SUMMATION: Remembermyname
“Baby look at me, and tell me what you see. You ain't seen the best of me yet, give me time I'll make you forget the rest…”
Fame is back retooled for a new generation and much to my wife’s disgust – without a legwarmer in sight… The basic plot is the same, take one group of variously talented dancers, singers and actors, track them over their four years at the New York City High School of Performing Arts and watch as their dreams either come true or crash and burn.
It’s kind of like X-Factor boot camp but without the judges, and with less convincing ‘talent’.

"Kherington Payne... looks amazing"

The film stands and falls on the personalities of the students we get to follow and that is where the 2009 version doesn’t match up to the 1980 original. First up we have cute but wet Jenny Garrison (Kay ‘Ellen Page lite’ Panabaker) who is struggling with being horribly repressed. She falls for Marco (Asher Book) who is a talented singer but doesn’t take life seriously. Then there’s Victor Taveras (Walter Perez) who is a wannabe producer who falls for supernova hot but aloof blonde dancing sensation Alice Ellerton (Kherington Payne). There’s also a token Hannah Montana graduate in Anna Maria Perez who plays ditzy Joy, and ‘rent a tortured soul’ Kevin Barrett (Paul McGill) who is odds on not to make it to his dream.
Finally there’s Denise Dupree (Naturi Naughton) who is the real deal, packing a voice that Beyoncé wouldn’t be ashamed to call her own. Denise is trapped by her parents who won’t support her dreams of singing and want her only to focus on classical piano forte. Oh almost forgot Malik Washburn (Collins Pennie) as the stereotypical angry black guy from the street…
Each student strives for personal glory but who has the talent and will to succeed? Because as the original film told us, fame costs, and right here is where they start paying – in sweat.
It takes a while to get going however, and unfortunately for the viewer most of the characters and entirely forgettable (which is ironic given the ‘Remember my name’ lyrics to the title song…).
Tancharoen directs this ensemble piece with a detached feeling but in parts it looks excellent – the stand out scenes being Payne’s sizzling dance production to Sam Sparro’s Black and Gold and Naugnton’s two big songs.
At the Luton opening night I caught this at we were also treated to an impromptu pre-credit dance display by a local dance troop, looks like there’s still a lot of Fame hungry youngsters out there!

Darkmatters final rating of: ööööööö (7 – updated but not better than the original)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 6 (dance happens...)

Style 7 (nice gritty feel)

Babes 8 (Kherington Payne is off the scale sexy when she moves, not so much when she talks)

Comedy 5 (not funny enough really)

Horror 5 (fear this only if you have a fear of performing arts)

Spiritual Enlightenment 5 (life had both ups and downs)

"one more time... let's hear it for miss Payne"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Darkmatters Review: Gamer

Gamer (18)

Dir. Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who also made CRANK and CRANK: High Voltage

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

ONE WORD SUMMATION: shoot-frag-shag-em-up

If Sci-fi shoot em up Gamer is to be believed then the future of gaming consists of nano-cells... They’re real small critters, a thousand times smaller than dust particles... If you inhaled a cloud of them you wouldn’t even know until it was too late – they’d be replicating, spreading like a virus, multiplying in exponentials throughout your nervous system. In under just six months a hundred million people could be ‘converted’ and by that I actually mean ‘enslaved’. Yes, this is Gamer and we’re in a dystopian future where nano-cell infused people can be controlled by players and there are two big games featuring this incredible (if morally dubious) technology.

"kill or be killed..."

First up is ‘Society’, a Second Life like game that looks like a real life version of the PS3’s ‘Home’ just without any moral boundaries. Players pay to control real people – who get paid for letting themselves be controlled, and there don’t seem to be any limits as to what they can be made to do… Needless to say that this set up leads to a lot of stereotypical fat male gaming slobs perving as they make scantily clad hot females act out their fantasies.

"choose your plaything..."

Then there’s the even darker alternative game ‘Slayers’ which is where death row inmates are controlled by gamers in battle games that play out like real life Call of Duty or Killzone 2 levels. High powered weaponry and armour can be downloaded to the players for a price as can various mods (modifications to the players abilities). In a Running Man styled incentive, if a player survives 30 games, they win their freedom with a full pardon but no-one has yet achieved this goal.

Step up grizzled macho hero Kable (Gerald ‘300’ Butler) who has become a celebrity star of Slayers by surviving 27 games. Will he – controlled by his hotshot 17 year player Simon (Logan ‘3:10 to Yuma’ Lerman) – be the first to win his freedom? Could he even be the one to escape the Slayers game world, find and free his wife Angie (Amber ‘Transporter 2’ Valletta) who is being sexually exploited in ‘Society’ and generally save the world? Obviously there are some off the shelf rebels who try to assist Kable – led by rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges – who start to slip his player Simon some illegal mods such as one that allows him to directly talk to Kable in game. But the Humanz as the rebels call themselves feel a bit tacked on to the main one man against the odds plotline.

"Mr n Mrs 'sex n violence 2009...'"

Both the nano-cell based games are created by nasty media mogul Ken Castle (Michael C. Hall from TV’s Dexter) who seems to have plans to expand the games to the point where we are all being ‘played’… But Kable might just be the man to foil Castle’s dastardly plan – so he must be silenced at any cost…

Directors Neveldine and Taylor have carved out reputations for making films that kick ass first and ask questions later with the two Crank flicks. Gamer continues the dim witted hyperkinetic action elements of the Crank series but ups the firepower. Things get blown up in high definition, cars, helicopters and of course people get demolished in blood thirsty close up. Then for the ultimate sex n violence combo we have ‘Society’ which delivers pulsing babes and nudity to the strains of The Bloodhound Gang’s “The Bad Touch.”

Darkmatters Verdict:

Gamer isn’t actually as big or clever as I suspect the makers were secretly hoping it to be but it does deliver some tasty wham bang action, gratuitously sexist titillation and interesting conceptualisation as to what the future of gaming holds. If the next generation of consoles come with a head chips to insert, it might be wise to stick with the trusty PS3!?
All in all it’s a perfect Friday night romp.

Darkmatters final rating of: öööööööö (8 – if you see one game based film this year)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 8 (intense combat action in bursts)

Style 7 (frenzied future freakshow)

Babes 7 (Amber Valletta a major babe)

Comedy 6 (moments of fun)

Horror 8 (nasty in places)

Spiritual Enlightenment -3 (soul sapping)

"the future is short shorts..."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Darkmatters Review: The Firm 2009

The Firm (18)

Dir. Nick Love, who also made The Business, Outlaw and The Football Factory

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

ONE WORD SUMMATION: an’80sfootballfactory

Nick Love burst back onto the footie-chav-em-up scene following up his ‘revenge is big and clever actually’ Daily Mail reader pleasing Outlaw. This time he’s gone and remade The Firm - one of the best dramas about football violence (only bettered by the superb I.D. for me).

In fact here’s a quick Darkmatters top 5 football hooligan films:

1. I.D.
2. The Firm (1988)
3. The Football Factory
4. Rise of the Footsoldier
5. The Firm (2009)

The Firm remake tells the tale of young Dom (Calum ‘Danny Dyer mk II’ McNab) a 17-year-old who tells us that he’s “looking for more from life than break dancing and fingering his best mate’s little sister”… Alas what he finds is the West Ham Firm led by scary weasel-ish psycho Bex (Paul Anderson taking on the Gary Oldman role from the original).

Overall The Firm ’09 passes muster and is far better than the ‘hobbit football rampage’ of Green Street and the weak ass Green Street 2: Stand Your Ground which has to be the low point of this whole sub-genre.

Nick Love films always have top soundtracks and there are some wicked ’80s tunes here that help set the scene along with authentically bad clobber including the worst excesses of the track suit casual culture that will make anyone who lived through them cringe.

The violence is kept scary, messy and vicious, and thankfully less glamorised than in many footy hooligan flicks. If you’re into foot ruck films then you should check this out, if not then you’re unlikely to be converted and may never venture near a football ground ever again.
Darkmatters final rating of: ööööööö (7 – a decent effort but outclassed by older firms)
Darkmatters quick reference guide:
Action 7 (bring your bottles and stanley knives)
Style 7 (great '80s look)
Babes 6 (Dom's cherry busting babe is the highlight)
Comedy 8 (The parents are really funny and get most of the best lines)
Horror 8 (nasty enough to de-glamorise)
Spiritual Enlightenment 6 (only mugs join firms?)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 'boob motion control' on PS3

"Ninjas, violence and dualshock motion control"

"As you can see - NGS2 retains all the bloody battling of the 360 version"

Check this video - it is either the most sexist thing ever or a work of artistic genius...

Let me know your thoughts...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mesrine: Killer Instinct - L'Instinct De Mort and Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One - L'Ennemi Public No 1

Alors – here’s your chance to spend more than four hours in the company of possibly the most dangerous Frenchman ever…

Mesrine: Killer Instinct - L'Instinct De Mort (15)


Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One - L'Ennemi Public No 1 (15)

Dir. Jean-François Richet, who made the Assault on Precinct 13 remake.

Reviewed by Matt ‘le Roast Beef’ Adcock

ONE WORD SUMMATION: legloriousbastard

Zut mon frère, Il y a un ‘two-part crim-em-up’ bio of France's public enemy number un.

Vincent Cassel steps into the large shoes of Jacques Mesrine, the craziest French crimelord you may never have ever heard of… In Mesrine: Killer Instinct we get to see this bad boy’s rise to prominence as he wheels, deals and blows people away in a bid to impress local crime boss Guido (Gérard Depardieu). Then in Public Enemy Number One we find Mesrine (still Cassel) we get to see the gangster grow too big for his boots, believing his own press and getting complacent in the arms of his hottie girlfriend (Ludivine ‘Swimming Pool’ Sagnier).

Jacques Mesrine was a crazy son of a gun who loved himself and wouldn’t let anything stand in his way… Richet directs at a leisurely pace but packs in lots of action – especially in Killer Instinct which cranks up the violent mayhem to the point that it’s easy to forget that most of it is based in fact. Not content with breaking out of maximum security jails, Mesrine is insane enough to try and break back in and rescue his pals…

Once you’ve invested in part one though, you’ll have to come back for part two, Mesrine: Public Enemy… The second film delves deeper into the man’s obsession with his own achievements. You know it’ll end badly for the charismatic froggy baddie but it’s a compelling ride all the way to the blood soaked finale.

Both films are worth your time – I rate em:

Mesrine: Killer Instinct

Darkmatters final rating of: öööööööö (8 – a joyride of criminal destruction)

Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One

Darkmatters final rating of: ööööööö (7 – decent end of the road for le gangster)

"Ludivine ‘Swimming Pool’ Sagnier"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Darkmatters Review: Fish Tank

Fish Tank (15)

Dir. Andrea Arnold, who also made the gritty Red Road

Reviewed by Matt Adcock


As rapper Nas said “Life’s a bitch and then you die…” and that pretty much sums up Fish Tank, a gritty yet poignant British film that is liable to blow your socks right off.

Venture with me into a seriously Chav estate where the dogs run wild, the children are mostly feral and nobody has a chance. See that cute but mouthy 15-year-old? That’s Mia (an awesome natural-feeling performance from newcomer Katie Jarvis who is going to be star). Mia’s life is pretty rubbish, excluded from school, verbally abused by her slag of a mum (a scarily convincing Kierston ‘Rise of the Footsoldier’ Wareing) and at odds with her so call friends. With nothing but her vague dream of becoming a dancer to guide her, Mia drinks, fights, swears and harbours more resentment than any youngster should really have to deal with… Then one day he mum brings home a new boyfriend – a cut above her usual men, Conor (Michael ‘Inglorious Basterds and Eden Lake’ Fassbender) seems like an Adonis of charismatic, sexy opportunity. Mia initially doesn’t know what to make of this guy who oozes erotic tension in the way he looks her up and down but acts like he just wants to be her mate / surrogate father figure.

Conor introduces Mia and her small family which includes her hard as nails little sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths) to new things like… a trip to the countryside where he and Mia catch a fish much to the disgust and ridicule of the others… but has Conor got other things on his agenda that he’s like to introduce Mia to? Is he a wrong-un grooming her or is he really a decent bloke?

"Think a British Flashdance without the glam crap or the happy ending"

Barking council won’t be thrilled by the depiction of the estate wilderness that Mia lives in - the gloomy bleakness of the crowded concrete jungle reeks of neglect, this is the England that haunts the nightmares of Daily Mail readers.

It’s a fish tank – where kids like Mia might want to escape from and swim in the free ocean but never can get past the grimy glass walls that hold them in.

Plot-wise it’s better not to know too much as the tension ramps up considerably as the interplay between the convincing characters becomes sexually charged and dangerous. Jarvis is superb and her chemistry with Fassbender is unnerving. Apparently Arnold found Jarvis witnessing her having a blazing row with her boyfriend at Tilbury Town Station. The events spiral downwards dragging the audience kicking and screaming into a dark swerve of 100mph nail-biting, drunk driving, head on collision with issues that many wouldn’t dare depict on the big screen...

"Do you come here often?"

Fish Tank is a ride worth taking – potentially the best British film of the year. If you’ve the stomach to witness the harshness of real life for those who are trapped in the fish tanks of sink estates, this delivers over and above expectations. It's genius…

Darkmatters final rating of: ööööööööö (9 – masterful stuff, highly recommended)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 6 (flashpoints)

Style 7 (drips with urban grime)

Babes 8 (Katie Jarvis is going to be a babe)

Comedy 6 (tragically comic in places)

Horror 5 (not too horrible)

Spiritual Enlightenment 7 (live, love and give as good as you get)

Official Site: http://www.fishtankmovie.com/

"Katie Jarvis - less Chav out of costume!"

Read a great interview with her over at Little White Lies

Monday, September 14, 2009

Star Wars - Total Film has unseen pics!!

"we need more buns"

"The dark side in effect?"

"Fly the friendly skies..."

Total Film has some quality rarely seen Star Wars pics - like those above...

Click here to see em

or click here to see Leia in her slave girl glory

Darkmatters Review: Dorian Gray

Dorian Gray (15)

Dir. Oliver Parker (St Trinian’s, The Importance of Being Earnest)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (in Luton with the man who screams at horror i.e. Matt Landsman)

ONE WORD SUMMATION: stuffmedouble

Oscar Wilde’s tale of damned souls and eternal youth is given another big screen outing thanks to Oliver ‘St Trinian’s’ Parker. It’s a relatively faithful retelling of how swoony young Dorian (Ben ‘Prince Caspian’ Barnes) trades his soul for the ultimate ‘get out of jail free’ card.
Imagine having a painting that ages and takes the physical damage for you whilst you live a life unblemished and unharmed no matter what you get up to… It’s a great dark, plot that should make for a powerful gothic horror of man’s insatiable carnal appetites but somehow this version plays it far too safe and reserved.
The best thing on offer here is Colin Firth as Lord Henry Wotton, a kind of Mr Darcy gone over to the dark side, who initially revels in leading young Dorian astray. Firth plays his role with gusto and delivers some of the best lines with aplomb – for female readers though I have to relate the sad news that at no time does he get soaked whilst wearing his trademark white shirt.
Barnes does an ok job in the title role but never really convinces as a maverick libertine, he suffers from simply being too nice. Even when seducing a society matron while her young daughter (who he’d just finished deflowering) hides underneath the bed he looks more startled teen than smooth ladies man. He never looks very comfortable during the same sex clinches he explores in his debauched lifestyle either- really, there’s no pleasing some people!?

"For Narnia!! Oh, sorry, wrong film..."

So everything ticks along agreeably and it all looks rather nice but there’s nothing here to send shivers up your spine, least of all the infamous portrait which suffers from some distinctly lackluster CGI effects. It’s like the makers are a bit worried that it might frighten the audience too much so opt for a genteel generic zombie-lite painting.
My esteemed friend Matt Landsman who I saw this with (and who normally screams like a girl at horror films) made a really good point as we discussed this one – what Dorian Gray really needs is the Tim Burton treatment. That could have made this a classic film adaptation rather than the glossy vacuous and ironically soul-less effort that Parker delivers.
So Wilde’s tale still awaits a full blooded effort but thanks to this one we’ll probably never see it…

Darkmatters final rating of: öööööö (6 – neither terrible nor excellent)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 5 (weak on the action front)

Style 7 (there's some money been thrown at the look - but not enough)

Babes 7 (Rachel Hurd-Wood is yummy)

Comedy 6 (darkly funny in parts)

Horror 6 (not really scary enough)

Spiritual Enlightenment 4 (average morality tale)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Darkmatters Review: District 9

District 9 (15)

Dir. Neill Blomkamp - this is his first major film - see also CHAPPiE & Elysium

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (in a mixed crowd of humans and aliens in Stevenage)

ONE WORD SUMMATION: spicyprawncocktail

Attention human readers – please note some important details of how to interact with our current alien visitors.

1. When dealing with aliens, try to be polite, but firm. And always remember that a smile is cheaper than a bullet.

2. The aliens are not ‘prawns’ and it is offensive to call them such.

3. If you accidentally ingest any of the alien fuel, please report any changes to your body to authorities as soon as possible – we only want to help.

Thank you for your co-operation.


District 9 is a hot new sci-fi, a Peter ‘Lord of the Rings’ Jackson presentation no less. Director Neil Blomkamp (who Jackson picked to direct the ill fated ‘Halo’ movie) delivers a startlingly fresh slice of intergalactic race relations gone awry. It is 20 years you see since a massive alien spaceship parked mysteriously over Johannesburg, and since then the aliens or ‘prawns’ as we nickname them, have been housed in a slum like refugee camp called District 9 underneath.

We join pen pushing doormat Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) who works for Multi-National United (MNU) – a shady corporate security force - on the day he gets promoted to project manage the forceful relocation of the aliens from District 9.

"Mech me up"

It seems the camp has become a hive of scum and villainy and human / alien relations are becoming strained to breaking point. So far, so much of a sci-fi apartheid allegory but District 9 is far more then that. Whilst going about his job of serving eviction notices Wikus gets exposed to some alien fuel and begins to his horror to transform into one of the ‘prawns’.

This changes more than just his body – although there are suitably icky special effects as he undergoes a ‘Fly’ like metamorphosis. Teaming up with a prawn visitor called Christopher, who seems to have a hidden plan, can Wikus escape MNU who now want him as his DNA is key to unlocking the alien weaponry?

Speaking of which, I wonder if that alien Mech battle armour suit might come into play in a wonderful pulse pounding climatic battle?

District 9 is an excellent new addition to the sci-fi hall of fame, featuring smart, funny dialogue and packing some excellent action and special effects – this is the complete package.

"Highly recommended viewing for humans and aliens alike... "

Darkmatters final rating (out of 5)

of: ööööö (5 – original, excellent ideas backed up with stylish direction and tasty action)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 4 (I'm a sucker for Mech battle suits!)

Style 4 (has a unique look and feel all its own)

Comedy 4 (some great horror comedy elements)

Horror 4 (nasty body transformation!)

Spiritual Enlightenment 3 (respect should be intergalactic)