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, November 30, 2009

Darkmatters WordCloud...

Darkmatters WordCloud...

Been a while since I did one of these - this one looks good - get one for yourself over at: http://www.wordle.net/.

Image reposted from http://www.wordle.net/.
Wordle: Darkmatters

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Darkmatters Review: Law Abiding Citizen

Law Abiding Citizen (18)

Dir. F. Gary Gray

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

What would you do if your wife and child were brutalized and murdered in front of you whilst you lay stabbed and potentially dying? This is the hard hitting opening gambit of Law Abiding Citizen – a thought provoking and slick revenge action effort.

So we have nice guy Clyde Shelton (an in form Gerald Butler) taking ‘biblical’ vengeance not only on the killers of his family – one of whom gets away with a minor jail term - but the whole legal system that allowed this to happen.

Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) is the successful Philadelphia prosecutor who cuts a deal with one of the killers in order to maintain his 96% conviction rate. Ten years later this doesn’t seem like quite such a good idea when Shelton sets about on a gruesome and coolly administered campaign of revenge. After making sure the killers die in horrible fashion (we’re talking Saw levels of torture at one point), it is Rice and his team who become the targets of Shelton’s rage.
Nobody is safe from assassination or menace as the self entitled ‘Law Abiding Citizen’ somehow manages to employ high powered sniper rifles, gun toting robots, car bombs and underground coffins to grisly effect – whilst all the while locked up in maximum security.

The whole city of Philadelphia is gripped with fear as Shelton's high-profile targets are taken out with extreme prejudice. Can anything or anyone stop the sociopathic slaughter of seemingly well protected member of the justice system? Butler gives a great performance, dragging you along in the wake of his heinous deeds and buying enough of your sympathy to make it some time before you realize just how far over the edge he has gone. Foxx is quality too as the man trapped by his own decisions into becoming Shelton’s number one target. You can expect lots of expositional dialogue like: “If he's in jail, it's because he wants to be in jail. He's a born tactician. 

Anybody who had anything to do with that case, he's gonna be comin' after you.”
It’s all very stupid and highly grim in places too but Law Abiding Citizen will certainly make you think. Butler is carving out a role as the new action hero to watch and whilst this won’t be remembered as one of his best, he is very watchable.

Darkmatters final rating / out of 10: ööööööö (7 – does an ok job but was hoping for more!)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 7 (moments of watchable if grisly action)

Style 7 (tightly directed location shots - nice prison setting)

Babes 4 (not really one for female eye-candy)

Comedy 6 (possibly more unintentionally funny)

Horror 7 (some torture porn elements)

Spiritual Enlightenment 0 (morally ambiguous) 

Darkmatters Review: Pirates Don't Clean Their Teeth

Pirates Don't Clean Their Teeth

by Adrian Summerson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Pirates eh? Bloodthirsty ne'er-do-wells that will cut your throat if you so much as look at them the wrong way... 

One can only imagine how bad their personal hygiene is - but now a new in depth investigation by renowned Pirate hunter Adrian Summerson has blown the lid off the seedy world of pirate dental practices as never before!

This is a fantastic new book - the kind that grips from the first page and doesn't let go until you emerge less than minty fresh from the other side of an odyssey that will take you over the edge, into pirate waters and treasure islands in the classic style of erm 'Treasure Island'!?

Pirates Don't Clean Their Teeth is brought to eye popping life thanks to the excellent illustration skills of Chris Scotcher - check the official site here: http://www.piratesdontcleantheirteeth.co.uk/# 

Plot synopsis: 

Hero 'Ben' decides to be a Pirate – and sets about a high sea’s adventure in his own

There are wild waves, elephants in trees, dragons, some cute fluffy toys and a

But most of all – there is treasure buried in the bottom of the garden.

This is a kids tale that grips like a rabid Rottweiler and is cunningly designed for interactive play. 

As a parent I was pleased to see that the book encourages your child to try some of the activities included in the story... Blood spilling, pillaging and piracy are entirely optional though - we're talking more drawing treasure maps and building boats!

"This illustration bares an uncanny likeness to the author..."

Pirates Don't Clean Their Teeth would make a fantastic Christmas present (son if you're reading this please act surprised if you get one alongside your PSPGO)!? 

I look forward to the digital version and audiobook narrated by Megan Fox!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Darkmatters review: Gravity Crash

Gravity Crash (PS3 exclusive - download from PSN)

Developed by: Just Add Water

Reviewed by Matt 'Cleric20' Adcock

Gravity Crash takes a classic ‘old school’ space shooter premise (I’m talking vintage arcade shoot 'em up gameplay) and fuses it with some stunning next generation visuals. The result is a wicked little game which sees you having to navigate open space, evil twisting tunnels, submerged underwater caverns and all manner of other hazardous environments in your trusty spaceship…

Objectives range from destroying enemy gun emplacements and baddie spaceship, collecting artefacts and power-ups and saving stranded crewmen. It’s compulsive and exciting twitch-based gameplay where a steady hand is just as important as a keen aim – there are two control methods on offer, either dual stick or ‘classic’ point n shoot. It takes a little while to master the controls, after trying both I’m going for the dual stick method but it’s lovely to have both options.

There are a good range of levels over the 30 initial planets to explore, each with varying challenges and goals, and glossed with psychedelic wireframe visuals using advanced special effects. What special effects you ask? Well try heat haze, refraction, blurs and laser blinks – the art style is highly engaging to the eyeballs and tugs on the nostalgia factor of those many many 10p’s spent in arcades in the ‘80s.

Best of all though is the fact that there is a comprehensive level editor mode – which is easy to use and intuitive. The user generated content is already stacking up nicely demonstrating the imagination of PS3 games know few bounds. In fact the PS3 is the undoubted home of user creation on consoles with Little Big Planet, ModNation Racers, Buzz Quiz Unreal Tournament III and now this…It’s also highly possible that there will be Gravity Crash downloadable content in the future which could add new features to the creation function.

"pretty colours mask cruel cosmic death"

Gravity Crash is a great game – and worthy of your attention. It might not have the edge against the even more brilliant Pixel Junk Shooter but the level creation element makes this a ‘must buy’ for space shooter fans anyway!

Darkmatters final rating / out of 10: öööööööö (8 – buy it, play it, love it)


Monday, November 23, 2009

Darkmatters Review: Twilight Saga - New Moon

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (12a)

Dir. Chris Weitz

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

ONE WORD SUMMATION: fangs-for-nothing

Prepare yourself for the swoon-em-up sequel to one of last year’s dullest yet most successful films… Yes the money making, tween girl pleasing, vampire/werewolf love triangle storms back into cinemas taking millions of dollars (biggest opening day in history to date no less!?) and fluttering the hearts of females aplenty.

At the sold out screening in Letchworth where the audience was 98% female, the last film I saw with this much oestrogen in the theatre was shopping and shagging fest ‘Sex and the City’ – alas New Moon isn’t much better.

For non Twilighters out there who haven’t read the million selling books, this is the sorry tale of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) who fell in love with pasty faced vampire-lite Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) in the first film. Here he decides to move on “to protect her” and she is devastated and mopes about for what feels like hours. But the plot dictates that she get back on with her life and hunky Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) steps in to be her surrogate man. Bella however seems to have a knack for picking the ‘wrong’ bloke as Jacob turns out to be a werewolf and he too tells her to get lost so that she doesn’t end up as his dinner… Director Chris Weitz who managed to ruin The Golden Compass does the bare minimum here – what could have been an intriguing if cheesy exploration of teen heartbreak is unforgivably lifeless – almost as if it’s blood had been drained from it.

I’m not saying New Moon is a terrible film, it’s just an okay one and it’s a shame. Of course that hasn’t / won’t stop thousands of people chomping at the bit to declare their ‘Team Edward’ or ‘Team Jacob’ allegiance… But the question of the film is - who will Bella pick?

At least there are a couple of slightly better action sequences this time, including a genuinely creepy interlude featuring ‘The Volturi’ - the closest thing vampires have to royalty. Fast rising film star poppet of the moment Dakota Fanning pops up here and is excellent as the powerful daughter of one of the vampire’s royal command – and she’ll be back in the next Twilight film ‘Eclipse’. Speaking of which Twilight 3 will be directed by David ’30 Days of Night’ Slade – who is a director I admire and someone who might just do the seemingly impossible: make the first really cool film of the Twilight Saga. We’ll find out next year!?

"Fanning isn't happy with the red-eye on her vampire holiday snaps"

Darkmatters final rating / out of 10: öööööö (6 – no worse than part one... no better really either)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 6 (if you want vampire / werewolf action try Underworld)

Style 7 (maintains the bespoke dreariness of the first film)

Babes 6 (Kristen Stewart is kooky hot, Fanning has potential in a few years)

Comedy 4 (gloomy rather than funny)

Horror 5 (not scary at all)

Spiritual Enlightenment -4 ("I don't even want my soul" gushes Bella in the hope of trading damnation for some vampire sex... women eh?)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

PlayStation®Network Video Delivery Service - The Future of Home Entertainment

PlayStation®Network Video Delivery Service for Europe
Now Available on PlayStation®3 and PSP™(PlayStation®Portable)

More than 800 movies available, to rent or to own, at the click of a button - I have witnessed the future of home entertainment... it is the PlayStation Network Video Delivery Service!!

LONDON, TODAY– 19th November 2009: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) further expanded its PlayStation® entertainment experience today with the launch of the PlayStation®Network video delivery service for Europe. Now available in France, Germany, Spain and the UK, with other countries to follow in 2010, the service allows film fans to download hundreds of movies, including the latest releases, straight to their PlayStation®3 (PS3™) and PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable).

More than 800 movies are available to rent (from £2.49) or to buy (from £6.99), many in High Definition* (HD) as well as Standard Definition (SD), from major movie studios including 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company 1, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM), Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Starz Media, Universal, and Warner Bros.

Titles available within the launch window include Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Public Enemies; Star Trek; Terminator Salvation; Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen; Bruno; Disney/Pixar’s Cars; Walt Disney Pictures’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; Crank 2; The Dark Knight; Dead Space: Downfall; Drag Me to Hell; Gran Torino; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix;Valkyrie and the obligatory tat like Angels and Demons; National Treasure and X-Men Origins: Wolverine etc...

Additional content will be added on a weekly basis.

"Grab that Hangover... pure quality entertainment!"

Content from local UK studios, Optimum Releasing, ContentFilm International and E1 Entertainment UK, will be available on the English Video Store, including the movies In the Loop and Knowing.

“The launch of the PlayStation Network video delivery service extends our entertainment offering and provides consumers with another way to access their favourite movies, whether at home or on the go,” said Andrew House, President and CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. “With the choice of content constantly expanding, including full games, bite-size downloadable “minis” games, demos and now movies too, the PlayStation Network is the gateway to a world of entertainment.”

"You want movies?... you got em!!"

At launch, there will be a special offer for existing PSN members, allowing them to receive a complimentary copy of The Da Vinci Code if they buy Angels and Demons. There will also be a special promotion to encourage new members. Anyone who registers for a PlayStation®Network account using their new PS3s between 19th & 30th November 2009 will receive a voucher to download a complimentary copy of Transformers to own2.

Located on the PlayStation®Store under the “Video Store” section, the PlayStation Network video delivery service provides consumers with an exceptional entertainment experience, adding HD and SD movies for rental or purchase, to the already comprehensive line-up of games, demos, trailers and other content.

The video delivery service will be fully integrated within the PlayStation Network, using the same log-in, wallet system and user-interface. Visitors can search for movies by name, or can browse categories such as “new releases”, “genres” and ”most popular downloads”. PS3’s progressive downloading allows viewers to start watching a film shortly after the download begins. They can also access certain games or other content on their PS3 while the download is taking place.

Consumers who choose to rent have up to 14 days to watch their movie, and, once playback is started, they have 48 hours to watch the content. Purchased movies are stored on the PS3 hard disk drive and can be accessed at home via PS3 or transferred to PSP for content on the go.

The PlayStation Network video delivery service takes prime position in a line-up of PlayStation entertainment features, alongside streaming music video with VidZone®, Catch Up TV services and free digital TV viewing with PlayTV™. With games, music, Internet, photos, communications and more, it’s yet another reason to make PS3 and PSP the heart of your entertainment world.

To find out more, visit http://videostore.uk.playstation.com/offer_listings.html.

"Little Boots - played live at the launch of the PlayStation®Network Video Delivery Service. You could say that Sony are using little boots to 'kick the ass of the Xbox 360' LOL"

* Initially HD content will only be available to rent

1 Content only available to rent or to buy in the UK and to rent in Germany at launch

2 The promotional code will be sent to eligible customers in December 2009.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Darkmatters Review: Harry Brown

Harry Brown (18)

Dir. Daniel Barber

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

ONE WORD SUMMATION: granturino-uk

If you can’t beat em – shoot em! That’s the motto of vengeful pensioner Harry Brown (an excellent Sir Michael Caine), a man driven to take drastic vigilante action when his friend is brutally murdered by a gang of feral youths.

Harry Brown is a powerful, violent and deeply shocking film - a very poignant commentary on ‘broken Britain’ where kids kill for fun and drug dealers rule lawless council estates. There has been much media discussion about the Daily Mail pleasing ‘decent man fights back against nasty wrong-un drugged up teens’ and have to admit that it certainly strikes a chord. I saw this in Luton where during the screening a fight broke out amongst the viewers – it was life imitating art in the scariest possible way.

Harry is an uncomplicated man, his life consists of simple pleasures such as playing chess with his best mate Leonard (David ‘Filch from Harry Potter’ Bradley). Harry’s wife is dying though and when he loses first her and then Leonard, he’s left with nothing but a itch to seek justice for his friend’s death.

The police don’t come across well here, first there’s the compassionate but ultimately useless DCI Frampton (Emily Mortimer). She works with the young ambitious Hickcock (Charlie Creed-Miles) whose beat is the hell hole estate Harry Brown shares with scum of the earth gangs, one of which killed Leonard. Harry however has an inner steel, and thanks to his marine training he sets about taking the law into his own hands.

"My name is... Harry Brown"

Director Daniel Barber delivers a beautifully crafted film - the crunching violence hits hard but isn’t dwelt on and is fairly integral to the plot. Caine in the lead role is fantastic, mixing a believable amount of angst, hopelessness and grit into what could become a cult classic character to rank up there with Jack Carter. The other stand out performance is from Ben Drew who follows up his similar role in Adulthood by embodying the vilest young scumbag on the block ‘Noel’ and is becoming the ‘go to guy’ for these ne’er-do-well types.

Harry Brown is without doubt the scariest film I’ve seen this year, it’s just too plausible and all the more terrifying for that. If you have the stomach for violent scenes and want a haunting view of society unravelling from both ends, pay a visit to Mr Harry Brown.

Darkmatters final rating of: ööööööööö (9 – viva la marine pensioners!)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 9 (nicely done even if hard to watch)

Style 8 (excellently grim visuals)

Babes 7 (Klariza Clayton is a hottie)

Comedy 6 (not much fun this - there is some)

Horror 8 (strong grimness in parts)

Spiritual Enlightenment 6 (will make you pray for our nation...)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The WILD THINGS are coming!!

Darkmatters is excited about the new 'Where the Wild Things Are' film...

After you've checked out the excellent trailer above - try this cool interview with the creature creators: http://www.vbs.tv/watch/where-the-wild-things-are/sonny-gerasimowicz--2!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Darkmatters Review: Jennifer's Body

Jennifer’s Body (15)

Dir. Karyn Kusama

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

ONE WORD SUMMATION: grisslybabelicious

Some girls are just bad news… But none can measure up to the sexy Jennifer (Megan ‘Transformers’ Fox) who sets a whole new standard in being evil. It’s not just that she’s brazen, self centred, slutty and manipulative bitch – Jennifer is literally ‘demonic’ in this fresh horror comedy.
Sure Jennifer is beautiful – as proven from the opening scene where the camera creeps slowly and uncomfortably close all over her body as she lies on her bed. But looks aren’t everything and Jennifer is reliant on her best friend Needy (Amanda ‘Mumma Mia’ Seyfried) for emotional support. The girl’s have been friends since childhood but their relationship is about to stretched to breaking point when scumbag indie-rock band ‘Low Shoulder’ abduct and sacrifice Jennifer to the devil… But due to some occult small print, rather than dying Jennifer is transformed into a flesh eating demon with a taste for boys.
Cue a host of messy murders, teen fumbling and a satanic showdown between the two girls as Needy has to take a stand against her man munching friend / fiend. The film crackles with humour almost as sharp as devilish Jennifer’s fangs thanks to it being written by aptly named Diablo Cody who also penned the excellent Juno. There are some cuttingly well observed moments – my pick being when the band members try to justify their evil plan by moaning “Do you know how hard it is to make it as an indie band these days? There are so many of us, and we're all so cute and it's like if you don't get on some retarded soundtrack, you're screwed, okay?” Speaking of soundtracks Jennifer’s Body boasts a very cool collection of tracks including White Lies, Little Boots and in a nice touch – the fictional Low Shoulder too.
Director Karyn Kusama certainly does a better job than on her last film – the ‘nice effects shame about the plot’ box office flop Æon Flux – but Jennifer’s Body might be a bit too grim to please everyone. The special effects actually play second fiddle here despite having a monster as the main character, that highlights the fact that there is more to this movie than cheap shocks.
My expectations were lowered when Cineworld attendant Pat told me that it “wasn’t the best effort out there” but for those seeking some dark horror comedy – it doesn’t come much better looking than Jennifer’s Body.

Darkmatters final rating of: ööööööö (7 – grows on you)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 7 (Got bite)

Style 8 (High School angst)

Babes 9 (Fox is a nuclear hottie)

Comedy 8 (some genius dark comedy)

Horror 7 (nasty in places)

Spiritual Enlightenment 4 (not much...)

"she's smokin!"

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Darkmatters Review: The Men Who Stare At Goats

The Men Who Stare At Goats (15)

Dir. Grant Heslov

Reviewed by Matt Adcock


What I’m about to share with you is highly confidential.
My name is Lyn Cassady and I’m what you might describe as a psychic spy. People also refer to me as a Jedi warrior – because of my incredible ‘mental’ abilities – because I’m strong ‘in the Force’.

This is my crazy tale (every thing is based on real events), it details what happens when earnest reporter Bob Wilton(Ewan McGregor) joined up with me to blow the lid on the top secret military training program. This secret ‘New Age’ unit was founded by Colonel Bill Django (Jeff Bridges) in order combat the Russian threat of psychic warfare… We wielded unworldly powers, some of us could ‘run through walls’, others could see the future – me? I could kills with my thoughts alone – a feat that tipped me over to the dark side when I misused my powers on an unfortunate goat…

My character of Lyn Cassady is portrayed in The Men Who Stare At Goats by that George Clooney chap, who effortlessly mixes his Ocean’s Eleven charm with his screwball comedy work from films like O Brother Where Art Thou? The result is a hilarious romp that uncovers the drug fuelled insanity that passed for one of the U.S Military’s crack(ed) battalions that swallowed massive amounts of funding and delivered, um, well a guy who could kill goats…

"You looking at me?"

Director Heslov delivers a winning experience that balances the strong wacky comedy elements and mix them in with some great dramatic moments. Most of these come in the form of the battle of wits and minds between Cassady and his nemesis Larry Hooper (an excellently sinister Kevin Spacey).

There is lots to enjoy here, McGregor is less wooden than he has been recently, Clooney is on supernova form in the lead role and Bridges revels in his nutty role which is a spiritual successor to The Big Lebowski’s ‘The Dude’.
Star Wars fans will get particular thrills from the excellent Star Wars references and in-jokes that sparkle in the script that will have you laughing out loud. This is a very different sort of military film, even the gun battle action here is of the madcap kind – including a great scene where two rival security forces end up fight each other unaware of who they are actually shooting at.

For this year’s most unique and funny war movie – you don’t need to be a Jedi Warrior to know that you should be staring at The Men Who Stare At Goats.

Darkmatters final rating of: ööööööööö (9 – it's a mess, but it's a brilliant mess)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 7 (some Jedi battles...)

Style 8 (tripping that psi-vibe)

Babes 3 (most of the characters are male - or goats)

Comedy 8 (very funny stuff)

Horror 5 (not very grim)

Spiritual Enlightenment 8 (use the Force!!)

Darkmatters Top 5 Christopher Brookmyre Books

"Ohhh - these look good, I wonder what talented individual wrote them?"
The Darkmatters Top 5 Christopher Brookmyre Novels I love reading – I’ll read pretty much anything but when given the choice, I’ll pick caustic, dark, violent fiction – preferably with a biting wit which will illicit some spontaneous laughter. To that end I’d list my current favourite authors as: Iain Banks (also as Iain M Banks) Irvine Welsh
And of course - Christopher Brookmyre Each of these guys have world views somewhat different to my own, but each can sure put together cracking, compelling and wholly absorbing fiction that has granted me many hours of pure pleasure… I’ll get round to blogging about my top 5 Banks / Welsh / Palahniuk books at some point but having just finished reading ‘Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks’ I will kick off this literary top 5 series with the man Brookmyre… I discovered Brookmyre’s cool, funny and exciting tales when I bought his debut novel just because I liked the cover - Quite Ugly One Morning - back in ’97 and have been loving his work ever since. So without any further ado – here’s my top 5 favourite Brookmyre novels to date (please note that this list does not consider A Snowball in Hell or his latest Pandaemonium as I’m ‘pleasure delaying’ the reading of those and they might well break into this top 5 five at a future date). All of these 5 I rate as ‘Classic’ status 10/10 scores…
1. One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night The official promo blurb reads:
The occasion: high school reunion. The place: an oil rig converted into a tourist resort. The outcome: carnage. Gavin is creating a unique ‘holiday experience’; every facility any tourist who hates abroad will ever want will all be available on a converted North Sea oil rig. To test the facilities he’s hosting a reunion for his old school (none of his ex-classmates can remember him, but what the heck, it’s free). He is so busy showing off that he doesn’t notice that another group have invited themselves along – a collection of terrorist mercenaries who are occasionally of more danger to themselves than to the public. And they in turn are unaware that Inspector MacGregor has got wind of their activities. Within twenty-four hours Gavin’s dream has blown to the four winds, along with a lot of other things.
Dress Casual. Bring your own bullets.
- For me this is pretty much the perfect novel, as a massive fan of Die Hard and other action movies that Brookmyre riffs here... If only they's make a film!!
2. Be My Enemy The official promo blurb reads:
F**k this for a game of soldiers… For investigative journalist Jack Parlabane, these are worrying times: it’s been almost three years since anyone tried to kill him and he fears he’s losing his touch. But then comes an assignment in the Scottish countryside that will more than make up for lost time … Ultimate Motivational Leisure offer the latest in corporate outwards bounds courses, the sort of team building exercises that Jack thinks are decidedly for bankers. The organisers, however, are keen to overturn his prejudices, while Jack is happy to have them reinforced. If nothing else, he gets a free weekend of shooting at PR people with a paintball gun. Except the longer the weekend goes on, the weirder things start to get. First someone steals the SIM cards from everybody’s mobile phones. Then, when the group accidentally stray onto army land, the army start firing back – and not with cans of Dulux. Suddenly no one can tell what’s real and what isn’t, whether this is part of the game, or if everybody is fighting for their lives …
- Another genius action heavy romp that includes the best cannibalism scene ever!
3. Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks
The official promo blurb reads:
Do you believe in ghosts? Do we really live on in some conscious form after we die, and is that form capable of communicating with the world of the living? Aye, right. That was Jack Parlabane’s stance on the matter, anyway. But this was before he found himself in the more compromising position of being not only dead himself, but worse: dead with an exclusive still to file. From his position on high, Parlabane relates the events leading up to his demise, largely concerning the efforts of charismatic psychic Gabriel Lafayette to reconcile the scientific with the spiritual by submitting to controlled laboratory tests. Parlabane is brought in as an observer, due to his capacities as both a sceptic and an expert on deception, but he soon finds his certainties crumbling and his assumptions turned upside down as he encounters phenomena for which he can deduce no rational explanation. Perhaps, in a world in which he can find himself elected rector of an esteemed Scottish university, anything truly is possible. One thing he knows for certain, however: Death is not the end – it’s the ultimate undercover assignment.
- This is a great read as Brookmyre rips into not just nutters of the occult variety but lumps in the scary fundamentalist religious ones too...
4. A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away
The official promo blurb reads:
Real Life™ blows. Just ask Raymond Ash. As a student, he and his friend Simon thought their futures would be paved with gold discs, gigs and groupies. Instead he’s found himself in his thirties, a nervous new father and an even more nervous new English teacher, facing the fact that responsibility has no escape key. Small wonder that he takes refuge living a virtual existence online. Everybody has to find their own way of coping. For some it’s affairs, for others it’s the bottle, while for his old mate Simon, it’s serial murder, mass slaughter and professional assassination. It’s a lifestyle not a million miles from those rock-star dreams: international travel, seven-figure pay cheques, adrenalin rushes and, of course, world-wide notoriety. Simon may have sucked as a lead singer, but as ‘the Black Spirit’ he’s number one with a bullet. More hits than Lennon and McCartney. A performer guaranteed to blow you away. The last thing on Ray’s troubled mind is a band reunion. For one thing, theirs wasn’t exactly an amicable split, but a slightly larger obstacle is that Simon has been dead for three years. So when Ray glimpses him walking through Glasgow Airport, he assumes he’s seeing things, until Real Life™ starts getting weirder and more violent than any computer game…
- I've played and loved many a computer game in my life, so this novel that transposes modern day action with computer game imagery and plot points made me smile for days...
5. Not the End of the World
The official promo blurb reads:
The crew of an oceanic research vessel goes missing in the Pacific along with their mini-submarine. An evangelical media star holds a rally next door to a convention in LA devoted to ‘nubile’ cinematic entertainment. The cops know there’s going to be trouble and they are not disappointed. What they didn’t foresee was the presence in their state of a Glaswegian photographer with an indecipherable accent and a strong dislike of hypocrisy or of a terrorist who seems to have access to plutonium as well as Semtex.
- Porn meets religious nuts with a large does of terrorism, crackles with wicked thoughts and reads like a blockbuster screen play...
Full list of Brookmyre's books: Quite Ugly One Morning, 1996
Country of the Blind, 1997
Not the End of the World, 1998
One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night, 1999
Boiling a Frog, 2000
A Big Boy did it and Ran Away, 2001
The Sacred Art of Stealing, 2003
Be My Enemy (Or F**k This For a Game of Soldiers), 2004
All Fun and Games until Somebody Loses an Eye, 2005
A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil, 2006
The Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks, 2007
A Snowball In Hell, 2008
Pandaemonium, 2009

Monday, November 02, 2009

Darkmatters Review: Dead Man Running

Dead Man Running (15)

Dir. Alex De Rakoff

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

ONE WORD SUMMATION: Gangsta-trippin

And it’s Rio Ferdinand, he passes to Ashley Cole... Cole passes to um, Danny Dyer and Dyer plays a lovely through ball to erm, 50 cent!? No this is not an all star football game, but rather a Brit gangster effort called ‘Dead Man Running’ (ok I lied about the ball, Cole and Ferdinand are producers for this Lock, Stock n Two Smoking Wideboys).

The plot is of the not unfamiliar ‘man owes evil loan shark lots of cash’, the loan shark - Mr. Thigo (50 ‘ Curtis Jackson’ Cent) gives the poor man – Nick (Tamer Hassan) 24hrs to pay up or lose his life. Nick doesn’t have anything like the £100k he needs so becomes in effect the titular ‘dead man running’.

Thigo wants to make an example of Nick and so makes it impossibly hard for him to raise the cash, and to add to his woes Thigo even takes Nick’s wheelchair-bound mother (a great spunky turn from Brenda Blethyn) hostage. Fiddy isn’t that bad as Thigo, although I think Rio could have probably done just as well if he’d decided to step in front of the camera rather than just producing!?

So who can Nick turn to in his desperate cash seeking plight? Why – his cockney bad boy mate, Bing (Danny Dyer) of course… Cue lots of shady behaviour including fist fighting, drug running, car nicking, assassination and dog racing to name but a few…

It all cracks along nicely – and for a welcome change it doesn’t get too grim, taking a light comic touch where others plough into torture and bloody gore. Hassan and Dyer make a good double act (as previously proved in The Business).

Monet Mazur is on hand as the eye candy girlfriend – playing a high class call girl who specialises in spanking. Director De Rakoff does a decent enough job, Dead Man Running is unlikely to become anyone’s favourite film of the year but it’s worth a watch if you like gangster thrillers.

Darkmatters final rating of: ööööööö (7 – gangster fun, if u like that sort of thing)

Darkmatters quick reference guide:

Action 7 (it's not easy raising cash in a credit crunch)

Style 7 (cool enough)

Babes 7 (spanky...)

Comedy 7 (darkly funny)

Horror 6 (violent but not gratuitous)

Spiritual Enlightenment 4 (don't be a debtor...)