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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Darkmatters Review: The Crazies

The Crazies (15)

Dir. Breck Eisner

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Welcome to Ogden Marsh, USA, the friendliest place on earth – it’s very possible that you’ll never leave…
The people here really want to play with you – they want to play with their garden forks, shotguns, power tools and combine harvesters, because there’s something in the water that is spreading psychotic madness through the populace.

I think Britney Spears inadvertently summed up this new horror remake rather well when she sang “You drive me crazy, I just can’t sleep…” The Crazies you see is the type of film that gets under your skin with a downright terrifying premise and here even improves on George A. Romero's 1973 original version.

"Britney isn't actually in The Crazies"

Things start off with some of the townsfolk acting strange and before you can say ‘run for the hills - they’ve all gone crazy’ the killing starts in earnest… Hero of the piece is Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant), who along with his loyal deputy Russell (Joe Anderson) are suddenly knee deep in bizarre deaths and unbridled murderous madness sweeps through their town. The cause of all the killing is that a secret military biological weapon has been leaked into the town’s water supply. Cue a military crackdown on the town which involves extreme prejudice and a shoot first, burn the bodies next and ask questions finally.

Director Eisner pushes all the right horror buttons with this slick, nasty thrill ride that delivers big time chills and plenty of nail biting genre excitement. The small band of heroes include David and his wife Judy (Radha Mitchell), the town’s coroner, Russell the deputy and token cutie Becca Darling (Danielle Panabaker). The film tracks the desperate plight of this bunch as they battle to survive not only the insane intentions of their crazy friends and neighbours but also the extermination happy military.

"Do you feel lucky?"

Everyday places become sinister death traps – one stand out scene in the town’s car wash is enough to put you off ever using one again. The tension is kept nicely tight throughout and although there may be one too many ‘crucial save at last minute’ scene, the haunting ending will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.

The crazies is the best horror film of 2010 so far, recommended for anyone who wants some shock thrills but be advised - you might never look at your neighbours in quite the same way again…


The few crazies that somehow survive the military crackdown, band together with Ant and Dec to form a children's light entertainment troop.

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 crazy neighbours out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 8 / Style 7 / Babes 6 / Comedy 5 / Horror 8 / Spiritual Enlightenment -2

"they want to play with you..."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Heavy Rain - How Far Would You Go?

Heavy Rain hits Europe today - and the forecast is 'serious excitement'...

Preview by Matt Adcock

I've been playing Heavy Rain for about a day now and will upload review after this weekend but in the mean time here is a cool short documentary film inspired by the launch this genre breaking PlayStation 3 title...

Directed by the acclaimed filmmaker Neil LaBute, the seven minute short was filmed in London, LA & Paris and asks leading luminaries, ‘How far would you go to save someone you love?’

Respondents to the question include: Nic Roeg, Hanif Kureishi, Nicholas Hoult, Samuel L Jackson, Stephen Frears, Peter Bogdanovich, Jean Marc Barr, Chris Weitz & Ben Chaplin. It's an excellent watch / intro to some of the themes explored in the game.

'How Far Would You Go?' short film inspired by PlayStation 3 title HEAVY RAIN from David Farrer on Vimeo.

How far would you go? Heavy Rain is a great way of finding out... I've been fascinated at how the 'game' makes you react to different situations - both everyday and extreme.

The characters are brought to life in stunning detail with potentially best graphics yet seen - the words 'interactive movie' are the closest description to this amazing experience.

Read more here: www.heavyrain.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Playstation 3 going to exclusively KICK-ASS

Playstation 3 going to exclusively KICK-ASS in April

Preview by Matt Adcock

This just in… Comic book fans who fancy being ‘Kick-Ass’ (Darkmatters film of the year) won’t have to dress up in wetsuits…

Guys / gals who fancy donning a superhero costume can now look forward to kicking ass / getting your ass kicked exclusively on the PS3.

You won’t need to have superpowers to download KICK-ASS the game from the Playstation Network – you’ll be able to take your own brand of crime fighting to the streets in multiplayer team ups from the comfort of you own home.

Here’s what’s coming:

• 3 playable characters (Kick-Ass, Big Daddy and Hit Girl)
• 8 missions with multiple environments, bosses and mini-bosses
• Facebook integration and Facebook missions – sounds fun
• ‘Frantic superhero action’
• Environment Interaction and Finishing moves
• Multiplayer Local Co-op
• Sub-missions and mini-games

Available on the - PS3 (PSN) also iPhone & iTouch for portable gamers
but not Xbox 360 or Wii - let's hope it kicks more ass than the Watchmen game!


Click here for the official game site

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Darkmatters: KICK-ASS Review

"this is potentially the best movie of 2010"

Kick-Ass (15)

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“With no power, comes no responsibility…”.

Prepare for something different, something that kicks the ass of action films and exceeds the expectations of even the biggest comic book geek’s super powered wet dreams.

Kick-Ass is a fantastic new breed of superhero movie, a twisted, action packed megaton of wanton comic violence quite unlike anything you’ve seen. Created by Mark Millar, author of the excellent ‘Wanted’ and directed by arguably the hottest British director of the moment Matthew ‘Layer Cake and Stardust’ Vaughn – Kick-Ass sets the new benchmark for awesomeness.

This is the story of young Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), he’s your average high school kid whose only super power is being invisible to girls, especially the class hottie Katie Deauxma (a suitably sexy Lyndsy Fonseca).

But thanks to his love of comic books, Dave harbours a secret desire to be a superhero. So despite not having any powers, skills or training, one day he buys himself a wetsuit online and sets out to fight crime as ‘Kick-Ass’. Alas Dave isn’t very tough and his first encounter with some thugs sees him getting beaten to within an inch of his life, stabbed and hospitalised for 6 months!?

Seems that you can’t keep a good nerd down though and after having his nerve endings dulled and metal plates put in his body - which Dave says ‘makes me look like Wolverine’ he hits the street again. What follows is an orgy of destruction as Kick-Ass becomes an unlikely internet phenomenon, inspiring others to put on capes and fight crime such as the enigmatic ‘Red Mist’ (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).

Amongst these wannabe heroes emerge two serious caped vigilantes – the Batman like ‘Big Daddy’ (a pleasingly “not crap” Nicolas Cage) and unquestionably the star of the whole movie ‘Hit Girl’ (Chloe Moretz). Hit Girl is an unbelievable character, foul mouthed, brutally violent, cuttingly funny, cute as you could ask and erm, only eleven years old… A cinematic icon has been born and she’ll rock your world.

Moretz is going to be a huge star, she brings a pitch perfect performance to the role that will antagonise Daily Mail readers and delight comic book fans in equal measure. Cage too deserves praise for out Batman-ing The Dark Knight by playing Big Daddy with the cool camp vocal stylings of Adam West.

Kick-Ass is basically a perfect storm of adrenaline pumping action, heart rending emotion and sneeringly dark comedy. Hats, tights and capes off to Vaughn for bringing such a wild and wonderful tale to the big screen without compromise. Any film that fuses comic and film references as good as to have ‘The Spirit 3’ playing in the cinema is going to become the new favourite of many a generation of superhero fans.

I have seen the future of comic book movies (and potentially the best film of 2010)… and it is Kick-Ass. I’ll leave you with my favourite quote from the ass kicking Hit Girl who responds to Dave when he asks:

“How do I get in touch with you?”

She retorts:

“Just contact the mayor, he has a special signal that shines in the sky… it's in the shape of a giant cock!”


Kick-Ass and Hit Girl stumble through a dimensional hole and find themselves face to face with various 'real' superheroes such as Spiderman, the X-Men, Superman etc - and they join up to form a super superhero team beyond any yet imagined.

Darkmatters rating: öööööööööö (10 ass kicks out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 10 (yep - it really is that good) / Style 9 / Babes 8 / Comedy 8 / Horror 7 / Spiritual Enlightenment 12

Join the Facebook group
"with no power, comes no responsibility..."
Buy the graphic novel
"gangland bosses brutally slaughtered by a foul mouthed 11 year old... the Daily Mail are not happy..."

Read up on the film
"Nic Cage redeems his 'years of rubbish' by out Batman-ing the Dark Knight"

Get ready to KICK ASS!
"Red Mist, nice car"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Crazy Horse, Paris With Dita Von Teese

Crazy Horse, Paris with Dita Von Teese (15)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Sometimes it can be hard reviewing DVDs… With Crazy Horse Paris with Dita Von Teese – it was very hard…

…to strike the right balance between objective, impartial critical appreciation of the show.

The ‘Crazy Horse’ cabaret has been a Parisian night hotspot since 1951. The cabaret is known for celebrating the beauty, personality and pure talent of its female dancers. Since opening, the Crazy Horse has captivated the imagination of more than six million spectators, including many celebrities, with its stunning sexy shows…

I must warn you that this DVD is probably not to everyone’s tastes, especially if you find the sight of the naked female form disagreeable… You see this is a recording from February 2009, when Dita Von Teese, one of the best known international striptease ‘artists’ struts her stuff in three of sensual numbers.

There are many boobies on display here – from the moment the lights go up and the crazy horse house girls dressed as bearskin soldiers march across the stage, it is boobs a go go.

Dita’s numbers are more languid and sensuous affairs, there is real art her strip teases, they certainly don’t feel overly sleazy – more glamorous and erm ‘artistic’.

So if you’re of the mind to have one of the world’s sexiest ladies strip for you in the privacy of your own home… Crazy Horse, Paris with Dita Von Teese is a DVD you might just want to pick up.

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 bouncing assets out of 10)

"Dita Von Teese"

Darkmatters Review: The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones (12a)

Dir. Peter Jackson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“My name is Salmon, like the fish. First name, Susie. I was fourteen years old when I was murdered on December 6th, 1973. I wasn't gone. I was alive in my own perfect world. But in my heart, I knew it wasn't perfect. My murderer still haunted me...”

Welcome to the freaky premise of The Lovely Bones, the big screen adaptation of Alice Sebold’s best selling novel. It is the unhappy tale of Susie Salmon (Saoirse ‘Atonement’ Ronan) who meets a grisly end at the hands of her normal looking neighbour who is actually a scary serial killer - George Harvey (Stanley Tucci).

We get to join young Susie in the run up to her death and continue to journey with her in the afterlife where she looks down on the lives of those near to her. Director Peter ‘Lord of the Rings’ Jackson throws lots of ideas at the screen but doesn’t seem to know quite how to make them all fit in this strange story which deals with horrific child murder. The choice to paint the tale in bright primary colours smother a shallow ‘feel good’ gloss over the whole proceedings feels a bit wrong. But it is still quite a compelling watch, the weird limbo Susie goes to after her murder is a mesmerising chaotic kaleidoscope of fantasy landscapes that mirror the real world.
"Seeing the light... in the afterlife"

Speaking if the real world – the main protagonists are Susie’s parents Jack (Mark Wahlberg) and Abigail (Rachel Weisz) who fit their roles and her younger sister Lindsey (Rose McIver) who steals the second half of the film. Seeing the family implode as a result of Susie’s death should be more painful than it is here, everything is just too sugar coated – perhaps because they kept the movie aimed at wider audience with the lower age certificate?

The Lovely Bones is interesting film, it looks good and has an engaging plot but ultimately isn’t very satisfying. For every flash of excellence such as Tucci’s skin crawling turn as the killer, there are equally weak or annoying elements such as the awful Grandma Lynn character (Susan Sarandon acting more over the top than ever before).

What could have been a powerful and moving tale of death, loss and vengeance, is hamstrung by wimping out on the horror and not following through on anything like a fulfilling ending.

"Saoirse Ronan - a star to watch!"


In the 'unrated' extended edition we get to see the alternative afterlife of the killer... where he is tormented by the girls he has murdered - in freakish punishments that makes his crimes pale into insignificance

Darkmatters rating: öööööö (6 spooky dead girls out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 6 / Style 7 / Babes 6 / Comedy 6 / Horror 6 / Spiritual Enlightenment 5

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Darkmatters Review: The Wolfman

The Wolfman (15)

Dir. Joe Johnston

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

It is said that “even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright...”

Things certainly get a bit hairy at the cinema when The Wolfman bounds back onto big screen in this lavish remaking of the 1941 ‘classic’ tale of horror. Here we have hairy Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro), a leading actor who returns to his ancestral home when his brother goes missing. Upon being reunited with his hairy father (Anthony Hopkins) Talbot learns that his brother’s body has been found ripped to pieces by either a wild animal or a maniac. Whilst out in search of the attacker, he too is bitten by the monster but Talbot survives and is nursed back to health by his brother's widow, Gwen (Emily Blunt).

Director Joe ‘The Rocketeer’ Johnson goes all out for sumptuous gothic look and feel – so prepare to see no end of eerie mists and shots of racing clouds in front of moon. It is alas a case of style over substance as the creaky plot brings nothing much new to the werewolf genre which is finally getting a little long in the tooth in the face of the vampire onslaught which shows no sign of abating.

The special effects of the painful looking transformation scenes are probably the most eye-popping man to wolf conversions since the famous American Werewolf in London and use a pleasing mixture of make up seamlessly fused with CGI trickery. You’ll wince as bones crack, fingers stretch into claws and hair – so very much hair - bursts out of every pore. All this effort though is undone when you behold the final wolfman beast as he looks almost as unconvincing as the 1941 version.

The action scenes that looked so promising in the trailer are mostly bland affairs alas. Limbs are torn off frequently and the body count invariably rises with every full moon but what should be horrifically chilling and disturbing comes across after the first couple of attacks as ‘seen one CGI decapitation – seen em all’.

Police inspector Abberline (Hugo Weaving) is the man tasked with bringing the beast to justice, which might be easier said than done with the prospect of more than one lycanthrope howling into the night sky.

The door is left well and truly open for a hairy sequel too but on the strength of this effort, we can only hope that fangs sharpen up if it gets the green light.


The Wolfman is transported by a gypsy curse to a deathmatch where he has to face off against all the werewolves from films such as American Werewolf, The Howling, Wolf, The Company of Wolves, Wolfen and Twilight etc - until only one remains... Wolfman goes down like a pussy in the first round to a sub standard CGI werewolf from Underworld!?

Darkmatters rating: ööööö (5 gothic full moons out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 6 / Style 8 / Babes 6 / Comedy 5 / Horror 6 / Spiritual Enlightenment 4

Darkmatters Review: MAG Massive Action Game

MAG: Massive Action Game (PS3)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

It is now 2026: The Post WW3 political climate forces the world's superpowers to turn to Private Military Corporations. The three largest PMCs are locked in a ‘Shadow War’ to control the global, paramilitary contract market. It is time to enlist and enter the world of MAG.

Sony have been working hard to wrest the ‘shooter’ crown from the Xbox360 whose Halo and Gears of War games (along with the multiplatform Call of Duty / Modern Warfare series) have set the pace for online multiplayer killing. In 2009 however the battle was well and truly entered with the awesome Killzone 2 following the decent Resistance 2, Socom and the excellently playable Warhawk as PS3 exclusive shooters of merit.

Now 2010 sees the stakes raised higher with MAG – Massive Action Game which does something that impressive – allows 256 players to fight in one seamless large scale battle, online, at the same time… It’s enough to make Xbox owners cry into their now pitifully small skirmishes by comparison…

Read my full review here

Monday, February 15, 2010

Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope PS3

Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope – International Version (PS3)

Square Enix

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Welcome to the year A.D. 2087.

In the aftermath of World War III, Earth has been ravaged and the population decimated by the highly toxic, nuclear fallout rich, environment. We certainly made a good job of screwing up our world…

"well done humans... there goes the planet!?"

So the countries that survived band together to find a solution for mankind, their solution is to form the ‘Greater Unified Nations’ and seek a new beginning - in space. And Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope – International Version is the resulting adventure games that lets you chart the future of humanity by packing a huge sword and using it on the many and various alien creatures you’ll meet as you boldly go where no man has gone before.

I say ‘man’ but step forward ‘Edge Maverick’ (obviously the love child of a brainstorming session where all the participants had seen Top Gun way too many times and kept repeating lines like: “Maverick, I’ve lost the Edge!” etc etc) – he’s the ‘edgy’ and ‘maverick’ hero of the piece. He’s a classic blond haired teen rebel from the vaults of Square Enix – as seen in many a Final Fantasy!?
Also on hand in order to offer that winning combination of cute / sexy/ kick ass girlfriend material wearing leather hot pants is Edge’s childhood friend ‘Reimi Saionji’. She’s a manga pin up girl who shoots a bow and has the camera pan over her pert buttocks whenever she wins a battle (what were the makers thinking!?). These two are soon joined by ‘Faize’, he’s a space elf / Eldar who comes on board as your party’s first magic wielder.
"Edge by name, edgy by nature"

As is the way in these games, your party continues to grow so you can utilize various skills from allies that include Bacchus D-79 (a self created cyborg),Meracle (a teenage cat-girl) and another female Lymle (she’s only 15) in your intergalactic butt kicking adventure.
You get a funky spaceship too – ‘The Calnus’ which allows you to whizz back and forth to and from various planets.
Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope is a great adventure game and draws heavily from the Final Fantasy series (both made by Squre-Enix). It was first released on the Xbox 360 but suffered from long loading times, having to swap discs between missions and some glitches… But even with all that it still went on to become the biggest selling Xbox 360 game in Japan!

"she shoots, she scores"

Square have thankfully addressed the Xbox issues with the PS3-exclusive International version which is head and shoulders better than the 360’s version.

What’s so good about Star Ocean4? Well it has a fantastic ‘active battle system’ that lets you chain both magic and physical attacks. Your attack options can also be upgraded in a similar way to White Knight Chronicles – more on that when we get the PAL version. This coupled with the cool graphics and fun plotline will see you right for many hours of happy adventuring!

Overall Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope – International Version is a life eating, highly addictive adventure that every PS3 owning adventurer should pick up. Certainly enough to keep you going until the megaton Final Fantasy XIII hits (and it’s essential PS3 exclusive companion game Final Fantasy XIII Versus).

Nice to see the PS3 being used to make Xbox360 games better – don’t settle for the gimped Xbox version, Star Ocean shines much brighter on the PS3!!

Darkmatters rating: ööööööööö (9 quality combat RPG veterans out of 10)

Useful links:


Buy it!?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Astro Boy

Astro Boy (PG)

Dir. David Bowers

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s Astro Boy!!

But wait, is that a couple of machines guns sticking out of his butt?

Meet Toby (voiced by Freddie Highmore), a Metro City kid who loves technology and who bothers his father - leading robotic scientist Dr. Tenma (Nicolas Cage) - into letting him witness the latest battle robot demonstration. Things go terribly wrong and Toby is killed by the robot powered by a new unstable energy ‘Red Core’.

Wracked with guilt Tenma builds a replacement robot son incorporating the polar opposite energy ‘Blue Core’ which gives the new ‘Toby’amazing Iron Man like powers. But a robot cannot take the place of a real boy and he is banished to the scrapheap old world that exists below the idyllic future metropolis of Metro City.

Thus ‘Astro Boy’ finds his identity by helping the discarded and defunct robots he meets and learns to use his amazing abilities for good. The desolate scorched Earth filled with junk is very reminiscent of world of Disney’s ‘WALL-E’ and the film similarities don’t end there. In a great homage to ‘Gladiator’ there is a fantastic heavy metal death-match where Astro Boy is pitted against various metal killing machines in an arena, only to have both his ass kicking and his ‘noble champion’ circuits tested.

Astro gets support from some new human friends too – led by Cora (Kristen Bell) who finds it hard to accept him when she learns that he’s not a ‘real boy’… There are some supporting characters too like ‘Trash Can’ who is robo dog and the Robot Revolutionary Front, who include a walking fridge.

Heavyweight vocal talent is deployed even in the minor roles including Donald Sutherland and Bill Nighy. It is this and the genuinely engaging plot that kept both my sons rapt. They had only one complaint though which was that the final additional baddie felt ‘tacked on – just to set up a sequel’ – but it’s a sequel they’d still like to see!?

Overall, the film works thanks largely to its dazzling graphic and loving nod the character’s Japanese Manga roots. Astro Boy is a rollercoaster ride that has enough action, humour and political comment to keep both kids and adults amused. This is a great all round crowd pleaser – go Astro!!

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:

öööö (4/5 machine guns out the butt)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 4 / Style 4 / Babes 2 / Comedy 3 / Horror 2 / Spiritual Enlightenment 3

"plasma weaponry... always come in 'handy'"

Monday, February 01, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Edge of Darkness

Edge of Darkness (15)

Dir. Martin Campbell

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

‘He’s a cop, they killed his daughter… now he’s out for revenge’, yes Mel Gibson is back in Lethal Weapon mode after many years off, but can he still cut it?

Erm, well, here he is back on screen for the first time since 2002's ‘Signs’, Gibson plays Thomas Craven, a man driven to the ‘Edge of Darkness’ when the death of his daughter leads him into a shadowy and dangerous world of corporate corruption and political conspiracy.

Director Martin ‘Casino Royale’ Campbell takes the plot of the powerful 1985 BBC British miniseries which he also directed and transposes the action to the USA. Unfortunately it seems that lots of the tension and compelling edge of the seat action has been lost somewhere over the Atlantic. Perhaps the viewing public has lost the nuclear paranoia that gripped most of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain back in the 1980’s.

Gibson’s not-so-lethal grandad / loner cop isn’t a hero that you can easily root for – he lays on the hangdog grieving and moody countenance like his life depends on it but he doesn’t engage enough when he gets to bring the sporadic payback. The grief element is particularly badly handled – relying on warm fuzzy ghostly visions of Craven’s daughter (Bojana Novakovic) which sit uneasily with the corporate espionage plot.

“Cor blimey governor” Ray Winstone pops up as an unlikely English hitman / fixer whose loyalties are not clear and whose decisions about who to shoot are also fuzzy. At no point did I ever feel moved or thrilled, which can’t be a good thing for a ‘thriller’ – if mild boredom was what they were aiming for however, then Edge of Darkness hits the spot.

It is also hard to fully buy into the main eco-crusading message of the film when the only really exciting action moment is when Mel shoots a baddie in a car speeding towards him, causing it to plunge into (and no doubt pollute) a tranquil lake.

By the end you’ll have seen a nicely directed and competently acted tale, but that doesn’t really matter when you’re delighted to see the end credits so that you can go home. If anything, Edge of Darkness shows that Casino Royale was a rare blimp of greatness on the roadmap for mediocrity that Campbell seems determined to inflict on moviegoers. If you have to see this, it can certainly wait for DVD.


In a controversial move Craven takes a break from tracking down his daughters killers because he is told by God to warn the world that there might be a Lethal Weapon 5.

Darkmatters rating: ööööö (5 mildly mad maxes of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 5 / Style 6 / Babes 6 / Comedy 4 / Horror 4 / Spiritual Enlightenment 4