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

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tim Burton's apocalyptic, animated horror film '9' in eye watering HD Quality

Tim Burton's apocalyptic, animated horror film '9' in eye watering HD Quality.

Click the excellent trailer below...

Darkmatters Jennifer's Body COMPETITION

Darkmatters Jennifer's Body COMPETITION!!

Seen the gorgeous Megan Fox in Jennifer's Body yet?

If you live in the UK and wanna win some Jennifer's Body cool stuff - Iphone/Ipod Touch cover, T Shirt (guy's say 'I've seen Jennifer's Body' or girl's say 'I eat boys'), rocking soundtrack with White Lies, Black Kids, Florence and the Machine...

Here's what you have to do:

1. Marvel at the film's cheeky dialogue like this:

Needy Lesnicky: You're a terrible best friend. You stole my toys when we were little. You poured lemonade on my bed.

Jennifer Check: And now I'm eating your boyfriend. At least I'm consistent...

"don't try this at home"

2. Come up with your own suggested two liner using the same opening and closing lines - making up the most outrageous 'terrible best friend action and response from Jennifer' e.g. like this technology / pet cross over theme a friend suggested:

Needy Lesnicky: You're a terrible best friend. You superglued my hamster to my Iphone.

Jennifer Check: And now I'm feed your goldfish into your PS3. At least I'm consistent...

Email your entries to: darkmatters@another.com

- include your answer dialogue and contact details / postal address and choice of 'guy' or 'girl' shirt (then presuming we still have a functioning mail service once the strikes are over we will get the goodies out to you).

Best entries in by 14th November will win, Editor's decision is final...

Good luck!

"beware - smiling cheerleaders"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Darkmatters Review: Borderlands PS3

Borderlands PS3

Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

ONE WORD SUMMATION: gunporn-onlineheaven

Charlie Brooker said on his fun one-shot TV programme ‘Gameswipe’: “Shooting people in the face never gets old” - just one of the excellent observations made (alongside profiling the history of gaming and showing up pompous twats like Mark Kermode who harbour hatred of videogames as being ‘beneath them – although he was talking about the Wii so maybe I can let him off). Anyway, we’re here to talk about Borderlands - the first title in mooted all-new sci-fi action franchise from the tasty people behind such classics as Bioshock.

Borderlands is not your average mainstream game, oh no, this is a combination of the best elements of first-person action titles with player customisation, vehicular combat, strange beasts and cutting dark humour. All presented in a Fallout 3-esq Mad Max kind of world that has been put through a psychedelic ‘cell shader’ and results in looking like the most amazing cartoonish grown up virtual world I’ve had the pleasure of finding myself. I say ‘myself’ but in Borderlands I’m a ‘Siren’ – a female hottie who can ‘phase walk’ i.e. go invisible and move really fast spewing electricity damage to all who I rub against for a few seconds.

"those dogs have seconds to live... but you're probably not looking at the dogs?"

The plot is of the quest to reach a legendary vault or something… It doesn’t really matter because Borderlands is mostly about guns, lots of guns…oh and a near-endless variety in missions, environments, enemies, weapons, loot etc etc. And whilst it rocks really hard in single player mode, Borderlands is an absolute life changing cooperative online experience, allowing for multiple players to share the same game experience simultaneously, freely joining or leave each other’s games at anytime.

As well as the seriously enjoyable shoot-em / loot-em Diablo style gameplay, the writing team behind this are absolutely on my wavelength… I laughed out loud at the film referencing such as Die Hard mix up ‘Bruce McClone’ or ‘Mad Mel’ instead of Mad Max. There are superb trophies to earn too such as ‘My Brother is an Italian Plumber’ for dispatching an enemy Mario style…

Grinding your way to better levels and buying tastier weaponry means that you’ll meet and kill an agreeably eclectic mix of foes including ‘Mutant Midget Psychos’ or ‘Crabworms’ – yep a giant freakshow mixture of those two creatures. There are aliens packing advanced tech and red eyed soldiers who look like Killzone 2 misfits – and skags (half dog, half Predator), lots of skags.

"the road warrior driving bits are great fun"

Borderlands is a wonderful (if violent) experience – it’s not for the weak or the useless at computer games – there is no choice of difficulty level… just the wastelands, the beasts, the guns and promise of zombie downloadable content very soon!

Darkmatters final rating of: ööööööööö (9 – awesomeness for action / shooter / role players everywhere)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Darkmatters Review: Fantastic Mr Fox

Fantastic Mr Fox (PG)

Dir. Wes Anderson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

ONE WORD SUMMATION: fantastic-cussing-foxbusiness

You may well know the tale of evil farmers ‘Boggis and Bunce and Bean’ - one fat, one short, one lean. Each was a horrible crook, so different in looks but none the less equally mean… But hero of this Roald Dahl adaptation is the quote / unquote “Fantastic” Mr Fox (here voiced to perfection by the gorgeous George Clooney).

This family cinematic treat is an awesome mixture that fuses Dahl's fun foxy tale of wildlife vs farmers with Anderson’s distinctly oddball humour. It works better than I thought it possible, forsaking the current de rigueur CGI trickery for traditional 'stop motion' animation. There is a very distinct look and feel on offer here that you just won’t find anywhere else.

Quality actors are on hand such as Meryl Streep who is great as Mrs Fox, Bill Murray as grumpy Badger and Michael Gambon as mean Farmer Bean. The voice talent all throw themselves into this slightly darker take on the source material which includes new character ‘Kristofferson’ who puts Mr Fox's teenage son Ash (Jason Schwartzman) into a depressive state. The farmer villains are backed up by the token scary character – a flick knife wielding Rat (a suitably nasty Willem Dafoe).

"this poster is for those who've not heard of it - i.e. whose parents didn't love them?"

I saw this with my family and my sons were in stitches at the clever use of the word ‘cuss’ which allows for dialogue between characters that otherwise would be more suited to a Tarantino film such as this ace scene:

Badger: In summation, I think you just got to not do it, man. That's all.
Mr. Fox: I understand what you're saying, and your comments are valuable, but I'm gonna ignore your advice.
Badger: The cuss you are.
Mr. Fox: The cuss am I? Are you cussing with me?
Badger: No, you cussing with me?
Mr. Fox: Don't cussing point at me!
Badger If you're gonna cuss, you're not gonna cuss with me, you little cuss!

Genius stuff! This is a quality film that should stand the test of time; it just goes to show that flashy special effects aren’t everything – which in an age where Transformers is the highest grossing film of the year is good news.

If looking for something that will genuinely amuse both adults and kids alike I’d advise a spot of Fantastic Mr Fox hunting.

Darkmatters final rating of: öööööööö (8 – charming and fun, quality Dahl-ism)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 7 (chicken stealing is fun!)

Style 8 (highly visual and unique)

Babes 4 (too hairy for most)

Comedy 7 (pleasingly funny)

Horror 5 (rat is the bag guy)

Spiritual Enlightenment 6 (do what’s right!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Darkmatters Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

As a young boy I suffered terribly at the hands of my Jane Austen crazed mother. Before I started school I had read Pride and Prejudice and could recite every line uttered by the infamous Mr Darcy – owning to having had to ‘act’ out various scenes for the viewing pleasure of my dear Ma… As a teenager and beyond this enforced Austen ‘experience’ is what I blame for my rebellion and subsequent love of zombie movies. The brain dead, mumbled trash dialogue being a soothing antidote to the years of freakish upper class female swooning and love of balls (the kind where you dance)…

Imagine then my conflicting emotion when I stumbled upon this oddity: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (P&P&Z).

Bewitched and confused in equal measure I could not resist reading this tome which takes 85% of the Austen original text and infuses it with bone-crunching zombie gore and ninja action. The author Seth Grahame-Smith claimed to have created something a bit special i.e. “a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read

Surely this was just a stupid, shameless cash in… but then I heard that film studios were queuing up for the film rights? Maybe, just maybe this was actually the book that would redeem by childhood, put everything into context and allow me to take off my Darcy breeches that I had worn for the last 20 years?

Here’s what you need to know:

Britain is in the grip of a zombie like plague where the dead ‘unfortunates’ come back to life and terrorise the living (and eat their brains when they can). In this alternative age we see the feisty Elizabeth Bennet as a Chinese trained warrior who delights in tackling zombies with katana swords and her trusty Brown Bess musket. So far, so much just like the original…Then of course the dashing Mr Darcy enters her life along with the bad boy Mr Wickham, the arrogant Lady Catherine and all the others from the book. Emotions are wrought, pride and prejudice are exhibited and love eventually wins through – just with copious beheadings, intestine ripping, brain munching interludes…

P&P&Z is a fun idea and it almost works, I can see the film being a smash hit if handled in a Shaun of the Dead / Zombieland style. Jane Austen purists will no doubt hate it… I’m getting a copy for my mother for Christmas!

Darkmatters final rating of: ööööööö (7 – Enjoyable for what it is – bring on the film!!)

"Emily Browning would make a good Zombie slaying Elizabeth Bennet!"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Darkmatters Review: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (12a)

Dir. Terry Gilliam

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

ONE WORD SUMMATION: Imaginariaussus

Dare you step in the crazed ‘Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’ – if so you’ll witness wonders from the deepest Monty Python addled recesses of fantasy. Be careful though, don’t come expecting a plot that you can grasp easily or for that matter a sequel to Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium.

This is the sublimely fantastical tale of the ancient Dr Parnassus (Christopher ‘voice of the old guy in UP’ Plummer) who is the main feature of a strange travelling show or ‘imaginarium’ if you will. This creaking old school fairground attraction includes a mirror which allows people to pass into the mind of the Doctor and find possible redemption. Assisted by an oddball crew of the vertically challenged Percy (Verne ‘Mini Me from Austen Powers’ Troyer) and whimsical helper Anton (Andrew Garfield) who has the hots for the Doctor’s 15 year old daughter Valentina (Lily Cole). All the cast deliver the goods and hold their own even when the film is gate crashed by some serious Hollywood heavyweights – see below. Cole is particularly good, proving that she’s not just a pretty face.

It seems that Parnassus has entered into a terrible deal with the Devil Himself (an effectively satanic Tom Waits), which sees the Doctor gaining immortality but at the cost of having to hand over his daughter to Beelzebub on her 16th birthday.

"Lily Cole... yummy!"

With three days to go before Valentina’s fateful birthday, the crew find a possible saviour in the handsome shape of Tony (Heath ‘Dark Knight’ Ledger). This will unfortunately be remembered for the film that Heath Ledger died whilst filming and director Gilliam drafts in Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell to each play the part of ‘Tony’ in various freaky fantasy sequences that work really well. I doubt that many directors could have salvaged the film in quite such an imaginative way.

The visuals of both the grimy modern day London and the garish outlands of the Doctor’s imagination are realised with eye-popping style. My only complaint was that the tone is very uneven at times veering from gallows humour to twee.

So, if you’re a fan of Gilliam’s epic storytelling and mind boggling imaginative films such as Brazil or The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, then you’ll be right at home here. Sure the plotting is ramshackle and sometimes it is all in danger of disappearing up its own ‘Parnassus’ – but there are still wondrously improbable joys to behold here for those willing to take the head-trip.

Darkmatters final rating of: öööööööö (8 - freak um love story fantasy)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 7 (flights of fantasy a go go)

Style 8 (amazing mind altering stuff)

Babes 7 (Lily Cole is hot)

Comedy 7 (some funny moments)

Horror 6 (Not dark enough really)

Spiritual Enlightenment 8 (redemption)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves = Awesome

UPDATE: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has hit the UK...

The free multiplayer Beta was fantastic, but the single player campaign is one of the best I've ever experienced... This is what Indy IV should have been - highly polished, jaw dropping visuals and superb game play.

Do the words 'Must Buy' mean anything to you?

I'll see you online:


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Darkmatters Review: Zombieland

Zombieland (15)

Dir. Ruben Fleischer

Reviewed by Matt Adcock


Welcome to Zombieland – a near future USA where pretty much everyone has been turned into crazed flesh eating zombies by a strange ‘mad cow derivative’ virus. There are a few souls who did not succumb to zombiedom but these unfortunates now find themselves on the menu and in need of a strict list of rules if they are to survive.

Average Joe college boy Columbus (Jesse ‘The Squid and the Whale’ Eisenberg) is ahead of the game having already compiled his list, the highlights of which are:

#1: Cardio – be sure you can outrun zombies!
#2: Beware of Bathrooms – don’t get eaten with your trousers down.
#3: Seatbelts – if you have to crash you car to shake off zombies, be prepared.
#4: Double Tap – make sure every zombie you put down is dead – that extra shot to the head helps!
and my favourite:
#32 Enjoy the little things – like Twinkies before their best before date…

"are you getting the subliminal message about nuts?"

Right from the effectively grisly opening credit montage of zombie attacks set to Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" this is a US rom-zom-com which comes across like a spiritual big budget follow up to Shawn of the Dead. And just like Shawn, here we have witty dialogue backed up with a likeable cast whose well being you’ll actually care about. This is a rare immediate cult classic that delivers on every level.

Zombieland goes hard for the action vein thanks to Woody Harrelson as wanton zombie slayer ‘Tallahassee’ who gets to wield an impressive number of weapons while trying to track down a Twinkie. The violence is well balanced with some fantastic comedy moments – including the year’s best cameo from one of the Ghostbusters. Director Fleischer doesn’t try to do anything other than entertain; throwing in audacious set pieces that had the audience I caught this with cheering out loud. One such scene has super hot babe of the moment Amber Heard seeking refuge from our nerdy hero Columbus’s arms – only to transform into the best looking zombie you’re likely to see and try and eat him.

"don't let her go down on you!"

The romantic interest comes in the shapely form of Emma Stone’s Wichita, a sassy scam artist who is looking out for her little sister ‘Little Rock’ (Abigail ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ Breslin). So can Columbus ‘nut up’ and get the girl in the face of this zombie apocalypse? You’ll have a riot finding out – Zombieland is highly recommended nonsense, bring on a sequel!

Out of a possible 5 you have to go with:

Darkmatters final rating of: öööö (4 - nut up or shut up... this rocks hard!

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 5 (top notch!)

Style 3 (Like a classy zombie graphic novel come to life)

Babes 4 (Amber Heard + Emma Stone are great!)

Comedy 4 (very funny - Bill Murray especially)

Horror 4 (some satisfyingly grim mutilations)

Spiritual Enlightenment 3 (everyone should have a code of rules to live by)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Darkmatters Review: The Invention of Lying

The Invention of Lying (12a)

Dir. Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock


Imagine a world where nobody can lie – not even to create fiction or do any promotional spin. So, in keeping with the spirit of this alternative reality, here’s my fully honest review of the weak and slightly boring new ‘comedy’ film from Ricky Gervais.

The Invention of Lying takes the interesting ‘tell the brutal truth at all times’ idea and has some fun with it for a while. The characters in the film don’t so much have to tell the truth, but seem to have a Tourette’s Syndrome that makes them blurt out whatever they are thinking. For example everyone who meets our hero, Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais), tells him to his face that they think he’s a “fat loser”. At the start of the film even Mark has to abide by the severe honesty convention and so we join him on an amusingly disastrous date with the lovely Anna McDoogles (Jennifer ‘Juno’ Garner).

Things take a dramatic change however when after being sacked Mark is about to be evicted. When in the bank his brain has a misfire and allows him to tell the first lie ever – telling the bank clerk that he has more money in his account than is the case.
Getting away with this he uses his new found skill of deception to seduce women, gain fame and amass a fortune. The one thing he cannot do however is convince Anna who fears having his "chubby, snub-nosed kids", to love him.

"Hey chubby loser, I'm way out of your league!!"

Among his webs of lies Mark tells his dying mother who is scared to go into ‘eternal nothingness’ that there is a heaven where everything is fantastic. Overheard by medical staff this sets in motion the concept of religion and soon the whole world wants to know about the afterlife and what ‘The man in the sky who controls everything’ (who only speaks to Mark) wants us to do. The film falters slightly at this point and it feels that committed atheist Gervais is searching his heart, outlining his issues with God in this very public forum, I hope it helps him find some sort of spiritual peace. The Invention of Lying's aspirations, might be to jump on the Richard Dawkins train of anti-belief but the film can’t quite bring itself to depict faith as being anything other than a beneficial force for mankind overall.

What really torpedoes The Invention of Lying though is that the comedy dries up as in so many formula and under par rom-coms, and that alas is the whole truth!

Darkmatters final rating out of 10: öööö (4 – annoying when it should have been cool & witty)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 5 (not much)

Style 5 (feels a lot like Ghost Town did last year)

Babes 7 (Garner is still yummy)

Comedy 8 (biting and very funny but it runs out too soon)

Horror 3 (not much unless you fear chubby losers)

Spiritual Enlightenment 6 (Made me happy to be a believer)

Darkmatters Review: Colin McRae: DiRT 2

Colin McRae: DiRT 2

Reviewed by Matt ‘Colin McRae’ Adcock

Brrrrrmmmm – that’s the sound of me burning around a gorgeously detailed rally track, mud spraying from the back of my 1995 Subaru Impreza WRX STi. I’m racing seven other players online with a rock solid frame rate and wonderfully responsive car controls.
Marvel as I close in on the leader, it’s the last lap and he’s taken one of the final corners a little wide. Without hesitating I floor it and slam into the same corner in a four wheel sideways skid. The front of my Subaru catches the back bumper of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, spinning him around wildly, allowing me to speed past and win – the howls of his frustration ringing in my Bluetooth headset…

DiRT 2 is a fantastic game; I have no hesitation in saying that it is currently the peak of virtual off-road driving fun (sure I love both the Motorstorm games but DiRT 2 trumps em)…

"jaws hit the floor - bone crunching jumps are par for the course!"

I’ve always slightly harboured a desire to be a rally driver, up until the day that my wife bought me some time in a real rally car with a pro-instructor who taught me how to powerslide – but also opened my eyes to just how easy it would be to die when tearing through a tree lined course at 150mph!? So I’m happy to stick with a virtual representation of the sport and have played all the Colin McRae games, Sega Rally games, WRC games etc… The first DiRT was good but DiRT 2 is something else…

Massively comprehensive in the range of tracks, cars and modes, superbly playable even for off-road noobs and polished to exquisite levels of presentation, this is one of those rare games that come along once in blue moon and deliver on all fronts. There are even voice responses from the main Rally drivers of the day including Ken Block (whiny) and Dave Mirra (brusk) which adds to the fun when you ‘accidentally’ slam one of them over a cliff edge…
Online this is as addictive as a rally car shaped crack pipe, gratifying and loaded with that ‘one more go’ factor. There are some nicely balanced Trophies to collect – the lure of the elusive but attainable Platinum keeps pulling you back.

If you’ve ever wanted to drive fast off road – this should be the next game you buy… As Tyler Durden might say “It doesn’t get better than this… Good to the last drop!”

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Check this superb advert...

Am loving the Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Beta... and can't wait for the whole game!!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Darkmatters Review: Surrogates

Surrogates (12)

Dir. Jonathan Mostow

Reviewed by Matt Adcock


What do you get if you take a cool graphic novel, add Bruce Willis and let the director of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines loose with it? Well, ‘Surrogates’ it seems…

Oh dear…

I don’t know what happened but Surrogates which had everything going for it to be a smash action sci-fi with an interesting subtext about humanity, terrorism and what it is to really ‘live’ – turns out to be steamingly average adaptation that lacks drive and action.

"this is how it should have looked!"

It all kicks off with a murder the first one for years thanks to the use of ‘Surrogates’ – full life size robots that fulfil every human need (whilst we slob out in our homes controlling them with our minds). The FBI are soon on the case with agents Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) and Peters (Radha Mitchell) who stumble over a plot involving a new Surrogate busting weapon that could spell the end for everyone using a surrogate – i.e. most of us.

The plot is weak - a very watered down sanitized version of the original source material by Robert Venditti… You know you’re in trouble when the cliff hanger ending is focussed around somebody having to type a key on a keyboard to save the day… very poor!

"What could go wrong? Try watching the film..."

Issues such as how do you have a relationship when you’re partner insists on using a Surrogate – as Greer’s wife Maggie (Rosamund Pike) – are fumbled and even the nice nods and references don’t ease the gnawing pain that this could and should have been so much better…
"looks like she needs new batteries"

Darkmatters final rating of: öööööö (6 – two of those marks are because I love Brucie)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 6 (needed a bit more really)

Style 7 (B-movie in big budget guise?)

Babes 6 (Rosamund Pike is very watchable)

Comedy 5 (laughable acting in places)

Horror 6 (some disturbing elements – the most being ‘why is Bruce Willis in this mediocre movie?)

Spiritual Enlightenment 5 (life through a Surrogate isn’t real life)