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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Cracks

Cracks (15)

Dir. Jordan Scott

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Cracks is a 1930’s set schoolgirl bitch-em-up which takes place in a remote all-girl boarding school. Eva Green is Miss G, alpha female teacher who is idolised by her favourite bunch of pupils – Di (Juno Temple), Poppy (Imogen Poots), Fuzzy (Clemmie Dugdale), who form the heart of her diving team. All is jolly hockey sticks for the girls as they clique together and talk about school, boys, Miss G’s lovers etc… Then one day a rich Spanish aristocrat saunters into their lives in the shapely form of Fiamma (Maria Valverde). Her arrival is like pink swimsuited hand-grenade that ‘cracks’ the group and turns Miss G’s head.

"Maria Valverde - wears a good swimsuit"

Shot in a dreamy crisp visual style that bodes well for director Scott’s film career (with a dad like Ridley Scott you can’t be that surprised I guess), there is a wonderful look about the film which sucks you in and stays with you long after the credits roll. The atmosphere is charged with erotic sighing, so when Miss G and Fiamma get some extra curricular activities going – there is hysteria and violence not far behind.

"sunbathing club was a popular option..."

Overall Cracks does what it sets out to do – balancing the midnight feasts, boarding school bullying and the climactic ‘Lord of the Flies’ elements well. Eva Green leads the cast well and sizzles as Miss G but Valverde is excellent too – and is set to become an iconic cinema babe, oozing bewitching sexuality from every pore.

Darkmatters rating: ööööööö (7 naughty schoolgirls out of 10) 

why not buy Cracks here?

"Maria Valverde - set to be a big screen babe"

You can see more of Valverde in these films:

Monday, March 29, 2010

April Foolishness with the PlayStation®Network Video Delivery Service

April Foolishness with the PlayStation®Network Video Delivery Service

Tickle your funny bone this April Fool's with the PlayStation®Network Video Delivery Service and Sony Computer Entertainment (SCEE)'s comical April Foolishness Sale.

With films for as little as £5.99, customers will be able to download the comedy classics direct to their PlayStation®3 (PS3 ) and PlayStation®Portable (PSP ) games console for viewing at home or on the go, you'd be a fool not to!

Here are just some of the hilarious titles on offer:

· Nacho Libra

· Jackass Number Two

· Napoleon Dynamite

· Shaun of the Dead

· American Pie Presents Band Camp

· The Royal Tennenbaums

· Mad Money

Visit http://videostore.uk.playstation.com/  for more information about the PlayStation®Network Video Delivery Service.

Jacques d'Azur missing!!

Cannes overlord is missing.

by Matt Adcock

It is with a heavy heart that we have to report that Jacques d'Azur is

missing - presumed 'up to his neck in mischief'. It seems that the

swathe French film director / some time actor / master tennis player /

lord of the red carpet was last seen over a week ago.

Jacques' wealthy family is offering a large reward for the mysterious

king of Cannes. If the unthinkable has happened and d'Azur is lost to

us, a search must be carried out for someone to fill in for him at the

2010 Cannes Film Festival?

Please check http://www.stellaartois.com/  and or www.facebook.com/JacquesdAzur

and report back if you find any clues as to Jacques' whereabouts.

Check this video:

All thanks be to Stella Artois 4%...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Darkmatters Review: The Bounty Hunter

The Bounty Hunter (12a)

Dir. Andy Tennant

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

My name is Milo Boyd, I’m a bounty hunter and this week I got my dream job… tracking down my bail-jumping ex-wife - hotshot reporter Nicole Hurly. What’s not to love about being paid to forcefully take the woman who broke my heart to jail…
That’s what I call job satisfaction!!

Yes ‘The Bounty Hunter’ tells the hackneyed tale of how Milo (Gerard Butler) and Nicole (Jennifer Aniston) are reunited in unlikely circumstances after breaking up – he’s down on his luck whilst she is trail blazing in her journalistic career.

Director Andy Tennant somehow manages to take a potentially amusing scenario and make film so terribly mediocre that it sets the new benchmark for 2010. After the ok first few minutes the novelty of watching the two leads bicker wears off leaving the whole movie to lumber through a boredom inducing, unexciting and generally slapdash generic romantic-comedy-thriller set up.

I’ve never been a fan of Aniston – can she ever play anything other than Rachel in Friends? – so seeing her getting roughed up by Butler did provide some short term amusement. But the limp ‘action’ scenes coupled with face poundingly dim ‘romantic comedy’ elements become very dull, very fast.

Don’t just take my word for this though, I bumped into my friend Jeremy who had picked the film for his Birthday night out with his wife. He told me afterwards that he dosed off “at least four times” whilst watching – a damning indictment indeed.

Words can’t really describe how weak The Bounty Hunter is, Butler seems to be on autopilot all the while, his ready charm and hangdog charisma having gone AWOL. He’s still the best thing about the film – the low point being Jason Sudeikis's toe curling role as Stewart, a supposedly ‘comic’ colleague whose only good contribution is getting captured and tortured by the film’s lightweight bad guys.

The ‘exciting’ climax turns out to be a lame and brief gunfight which seems like very little payoff for having sat through almost two hours of soggy sludge.

This is the sort of film that gives cinema a bad name, and it stands out as a cash in that is trading on the names of the stars. Perhaps if you’re a massive fan of Butler and / or Aniston you might be prepared to tolerate The Bounty Hunter but your expectations should be set to low.


Butler goes insane beats Aniston to a bloody pulp and shacks up with her much hotter younger sister played by Ellen Page – everyone goes home happy!

Darkmatters rating: öööö (4 weak rom-com-efforts out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 5 / Style 5 / Babes 5 / Comedy 4 / Horror 6 (Aniston’s wrinkles are getting bad) / Spiritual Enlightenment -2

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Green Zone

Green Zone (15)

Dir. Paul Greengrass

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

The team behind the Jason Bourne films - British director Paul Greengrass and action front man Matt Damon – reunite to bring the frenetic, run-and-gun breathlessness of their winning ‘one man against the odds’ energy to the Green Zone.

Welcome to Iraq c2003 where the US military is engaged in the desperate hunt for Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). Chief Warrant Officer Miller (Damon) is leading a team of special forces, securing and searching sites that a secret intelligence source has identified as being where the WMDs are hidden. But each time an objective is searched the team come up empty handed – is the intel actually wrong? Is there actually a massive conspiracy behind the whole Iraq invasion? Is this fictional tale just a little bit too plausible and near the truth of the situation?

Chief Miller is a one man military force of nature, a lone wolf who as fearless in his mission to uncover the truth as he is brave when facing down snipers and the bodyguards of Iraqi ‘high value targets’. As he gets ever closer to tracking down the reasons for the lack of WMDs Miller starts to go ‘off reservation’ and has shady operatives assigned to stop him before he exposes that the whole war could be based on a lie.

Green Zone pushes the simple ‘who is lying’ plotline but sucks you in by ramping up the tension and bringing the ‘Bourne’ style kinetic action to the Iraqi badlands. From the powerful ‘shock and awe’ opening scenes of the war’s first night, through the many heart pounding action set pieces and tense chases, Green Zone matches the excellent ‘The Hurt Locker’ blow for blow in terms of big screen pay off. There is a tangible sense of danger dripping from the screen at all times and Damon delivers an effective main performance which anchors the film and drags the viewer along in his wake.

I can’t see this going down very well in the U.S. but I found it refreshing to see a war movie fiction that takes what so many have been thinking (that there never were any WMDs in Iraq) and uses it to frame an exciting and effective thriller.

The editing in Green Zone is particularly strong and praise must go to Luton’s finest Steven Worsley who worked as one of the Assistant Editors on the film.

If you’re in the mood for an exciting and visually striking war thriller, report for duty in the Green Zone.

Chief Miller gets transferred to Afghanistan and proceeds to blow the lid off the reason why we still haven't found Bin Laden...

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 gut pounding, bullet ridden chases out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 8 / Style 7 / Babes 4 / Comedy 5 / Horror 6 / Spiritual Enlightenment 4

"Matt Damon - like a real life Modern Warfare 2 character"

Real Men are the future

"The name's D'Azur... Jacques D'Azur"

Real Men are the future

Matt Adcock

Back in the olden days - it was easy to separate the men from the boys.
The 'Real Men' (RM) were those Vikings who between their quota of raping and pillaging were to be found crowded around a table playing 'Hnefatafl' working on their slaughtering tactics whilst off their drinking mead.

History is littered with the tales of men who took to the field of combat for kicks and honour, who completed jousting tournaments, fought to the death as gladiators or took up the more modern alternatives of say football, motor racing or boxing. Just conjuring the names of gaming / sporting renown is akin to evoking a channel of pure testosterone: Pele - for football, Tiger Woods - Golf (and indeed any sort of birdies), Michael Jordan - Basketball, Michael Schumacher - FI, Jacques D'Azur - Tennis, Muhammad Ali - Boxing, Dolph GB - God of War III. These are the names of real men.

As Real Men continue to evolve and refine themselves so that they are not just legends on the field of sporting / gaming combat, many have managed to reach jet-setting 'Lothario' status - and their achievements are being immortalized on the big screen by faces like Willis, Clooney and Pitt. These days you are more likely to see more Real Men on the red carpet of Cannes than in any government office - as demonstrated by Jacques' red-carpet entrance one year where he claimed a new record for entrepreneurial autograph-signing, topping 10,000 in one night- quite the heart-throb!

Technology is allowing Real Men to stamp their authority world wide through the new gaming choice of champions - The PS3. Be it online death-matching in Modern Warfare 2 or taking on the very gods themselves in God of War 3, that Real Men are gamers is beyond dispute - it is in the blood of brave souls to compete, it marks them out from the Quiche Eaters of the world.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland (PG)

Dir. Tim Burton

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Tim Burton, the very lord of gothic fantasy films, has found his potentially ideal source material in Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll’s already crazed world of unchecked madness is here turbo boosted in 3D by Burton’s unhinged imagination with dazzling, eye popping results.

Bringing his regular collaborators Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter to this CGI heavy tea party proves to be a masterful stroke as their Mad Hatter and Red Queen are new iconic cinematic performances that will endure.

The plot is cleverly worked to be a sequel of sorts to the original Wonderland, taking many elements from Carroll’s own sequel ‘Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There’ but mixes in some ‘revisiting’ of Wonderland’s finest set pieces.

It’s been 13 years since Alice (Mia ‘next year’s new Jane Eyre’ Wasikowska) now 19, first fell down the rabbit hole and found herself in the freaky world of "Underland".  When she is taken to a society garden party where it is engineered that she must accept a marriage proposal from stuffy Lord Hamish (Leo Bill), Alice spots the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen) and flees. The rabbit hole beckons and from then on we join her on a phantasmagorical journey that reunites her with classic characters such as the ‘Tweedles’ (both played by Matt Lucas), the Dormouse (Barbara Windsor) and the scene stealing Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry). Depp even manages to infuse his Mad Hatter with some spirit of Captain Jack when he gets to swing a sword in the final battle.
"Battle hatter"

Central to the plot is a prophetic scroll which depicts Alice slaying the fearful Jabberwocky (Christopher Lee). Can she find the legendary sword, recover her lost ‘muchness’ and battle the beastie in order to save Underland from the grip of the Red Queen? I had a lot of fun finding out – and it seems from the packed screenings plus massive worldwide opening box office gross that a lot of people are keen on taking the trip too.
"You ain't seen me, right?"

This new interpretation certainly delivers on spectacle even if the 3D feels a bit unnecessary in such an amazingly rendered fantasy world. It may feel a bit overly ‘family friendly’ by Tim Burton standards but my youngest son found the Jabberwocky scary enough to pass muster. If you’re planning to visit Wonderland, set your expectations to ‘lavish but shallow’ and maybe try to think of a couple of impossible things before breakfast – just to be on the safe side.   
Alice takes to sea and becomes a pirate queen with Captain Jack, sorry Mad Hatter...

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 mad hats out of 10)

Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 6 / Style 9 / Babes 6 / Comedy 6 / Horror 6 / Spiritual Enlightenment 2

Monday, March 08, 2010

Darkmatters: God of war 3

"I spy Kratos..."

God of War 3 (PS3 Exclusive)

by Matt Adcock

Brutal Greek mythology is about to get a lot more bloody, that's bloody brilliant of course...

God of War III is only days away now and allows players to take on the climatic role of the ex-Spartan warrior, Kratos, as he scales through the intimidating heights of Mt. Olympus and the dark depths of Hell to seek revenge on those who have betrayed him. 

Armed with double-chained blades, and an array of new weapons and magic for this iteration of the trilogy, Kratos must take on mythology’s darkest creatures while solving intricate puzzles throughout his merciless quest to destroy Olympus.

March the 19th sees the game hit the UK... 

The reviews go live any minute and are coming in around the 10/10 variety!

Finally, check out this rather lovely GOW3 exclusive PS3 machine:

"Mmmmmmm... very nice"

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Darkmatters Review: The Interceptor / Zapreshchennaya realnost

The Interceptor (15)

Directed By: Konstantin Maximov

Reviewed By: Matt Adcock

Step this way if you’re a fan of the heavy duty action / mystical thrillers such as the excellent Nightwatch and Daywatch from Russia (made by the same team behind this) or maybe The Matrix – which has inspired so many films to up their ‘OMG action’ moments.

The Interceptor is another spectacular fusion of a fantasy parallel world where a mystic brotherhood balance the forces of good and evil and the real world where Russian Special Forces operative Matvey (Igor Petrenko) is double crossed and left for dead by his weapon dealing ‘partner’.

The original name ‘Zapreshchennaya realnost’ translates to something like ‘Forbidden Reality’ and it is into this shady mixture of our world and the spiritual realm that sees an antichrist-alike state minister wielding demonic powers in his rise to power.

The plot is taken from a novel by sci-fi writer Vasiliy Golovachev and tells a story of a new psychotronic weapon. In a Rambo style, Matvey is believed to be dead so he takes the opportunity to drop out, take a new identity and live in peace somewhere far away. His idyll is shattered though when he is forced to return to near future Moscow because a bunch of baddies, who count among them his former partner, plan to use the psychic-powered weapon to take control over the country.

Director Maximov lavishes stylish action sequences upon the viewer at regular intervals – he certainly has a knack for blowing stuff up in jaw dropping, heart racing style. The mystical elements are also brought to eye-popping life as freaky black tentacles burst out of the lead enemy, celestial bodies warp in and out of the action tracking the balance of power and the psychotronic weapon is something that really needs to be seen in action.
"WTF is going on here? Answers on a postcard..."

You might struggle if you don’t appreciate subtitled films but The Interceptor has plenty to recommend it – even if you just sit back and let the amazing visuals sweep over you. The DVD transfer is deliciously crisp and does justice to the expensive special effects.

Sure we’ve seen the battle between forces of darkness and light led by destined 'Chosen One' before many times, But not in quite such startling effects as here – this is the first in a planned trilogy, let’s hope that they keep up the standard and deliver equally kick ass parts 2 and 3!

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 crunching Russian mystical action scenes out of 10)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Darkmatters Oscar Nominations / Winner Predictions in association with vouchercodes.co.uk

Darkmatters Oscar Nominations  / Winner Prediction in association with vouchercodes.co.uk

By Matt Adcock

So it's that time of the year - big awards season.

I don't normally do the whole prediction thing but this year the good people at vouchercodes.co.uk  are running a competition which pits the world's greatest film critics against each other in a deathmatch of 'best predictor takes all'...

Here then are the entries from the Darkmatters corner (assisted by the Tdog):

  • Best Film: The Hurt Locker
  • Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow
  • Best Actor: Colin Firth
  • Best Actress: Sandra Bullock
  • Best Suporting Actor: Christoph Waltz
  • Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique
  • Best Foreign Language Film: A Prophet 
  • Best Animated Feature: Up
  • Best Original Screenplay: The Hurt Locker
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air
  • Best Visual Effects: Avatar
  • Best Original Score: Up
  • Best Cinematography: Avatar
  • Best Film Editing: The Hurt Locker
  • Best Original Song: Down in New Orleans, "Princess and the Frog"
  • Best Documentary Feature: The Cove
  • Best Animated Short Film: A Matter of Loaf and Death
  • Best Art Direction: Avatar
  • Best Costume Design: Nine
  • Best Sound Editing: Avatar
  • Best Sound Mixing: Avatar

Check how well we do on the funky 'Oscar Competitions' page - will Mark Kermode by chomping humble pie for picking AVATAR as best movie? 

Only time will tell...

Here's a word from the sponsors: Watch more Films for Less

Don’t forget to check out our Lovefilm Discount Codes, Amazon Promotional Codes and deals to get the latest and biggest movies of the last year for less. Want to watch the Oscars live? Don’t forget to check out the huge savings available with our Sky Offer Codes and deals to get the best price on a Sky subscription.

Darkmatters Review: Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain (PS3 exclusive)

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Developed by Quantic Dream

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Just How Far Will You Go To Save Someone You Love?
Prepare for a ‘game’ like none before – Heavy Rain is better described as an ‘experience’ – a mind trip directly into the plot of a gripping psychological thriller… You are the main characters, your actions shape the how the plot develops, you will get to choose how to react to the innumerable twists and turns, where your choices and actions result in dramatic consequences.
Imagine David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and David Fincher’s Seven merged and mingled with CSI trappings, all wrapped up in a dark noir coating spanning four days of mystery and suspense… Thanks to David Cage at Quantic Dream you don’t have to imagine this… you can be the lead part(s) of it.
The central premise is the massive manhunt for a murderer known only as the ‘Origami Killer’ - named after his macabre calling card of leaving behind folded paper shapes at crime scenes (very nice Blade Runner reference). The killer has a penchant for killing boys aged 9 – 13, drowning them in rainwater after holding them for a few days… You come in playing four characters, each following their own leads and with their own motives, must take part in a desperate attempt to prevent the killer from claiming a new victim.
Norman Jayden is an FBI agent, who looks like Fox Mulder from the X-Files and packs a very tasty future CSI tech pair of virtual glasses and a glove – ARI (Added Reality Interface) - these allow him / you to identify blood traces, scents and other clues. They also allow for a virtual office redesign or game of catch that nobody else can see… It is very very cool and gives the game a slight sci-fi edge – there’s nothing quite like sitting going over your clues whilst in a virtual seabed!?
Then there’s gruff but decent private investigator Scott Shelby who gets some of the more exciting early encounters such as fist fights whilst he searches for clues about the Origami Killer.
"Madison Page - Heavy Rain's pin up girl"
Sex object of the plot is Madison Paige, a reporter who isn’t adverse to stripping off (highly integral to the plot!?) but it isn’t immediately clear how she is involved in this story. From her opening scene where ‘you’ sleep in you underwear as the camera slowly pans over your body – it’s clear that Paige is a mesmerising, miraculous graphical depiction of the female form. The nudity can ramp up too but rather than schoolboy titillation, playing Paige’s character actually gives you an empowering insight into what it might be like to be a hot babe, faced with an intruder whilst just wearing you skimpies… It actually makes you feel vulnerable and is very effective – especially if you manage to land a virtual kick in the balls to your attacker.
The ‘main’ character though is Ethan Mars, a guy push over the edge when he loses one of his two sons to a car accident – whilst he was looking after him. Broken by the guilt of his son's death and prone to having dreams where he has origami in his hands, Ethan is thrust centre stage when his other son Shaun becomes the killers latest abductee. The clock is ticking as with the other murders the boys have died 4 days after being taken… Can you take Ethan on a journey of redemption?
Can you find and stop the killer in time?
"Dark and mysterious... just like the game"
As a father of two boys (aged 9 and 12) the plot of Heavy Rain hit me hard – what would I do to save my son? How far would I go? Never before have I been so emotionally caught up in a game, the plotting of which is an awesome rollercoaster of emotional highs (playing with you sons) and soul crushing lows (I won’t spoil these!!)…
In fact I’m not going to go into the plot any further as a lot of the joy of Heavy Rain is being surprised as event overtake you – but be assured that it is a bold a exciting story that deserves to be witnessed by any thriller fan. It would make a superb film too and there are rumours that it might just happen.
Graphically Heavy Rain is amazing, setting new standards of blurring film and game worlds. The dialogue is top stuff too such as agents sporting lines to each other such as “a gun isn’t always the answer… but it often helps!” I have to mention the powerful and emotive music too, which really adds to the scenes as they play out. On all levels Heavy Rain delivers over and above pretty much any other game out there and it sets the PS3 apart from competitor consoles and even the PC which have nothing to compete with this…
"Twin Peaks 3??"
Developer Quantic Dream made the excellent Fahrenheit a few years ago – and they have built on that solid foundation to create a bona fide masterpiece.  Releasing Heavy Rain is undoubtedly risky in a world dominated by play it safe sequels and million first person shooters but this is a game that changes everything and hopefully the opening weeks sales of over half a million copies will inspire others to engage in making grown up games for gamers who want to be challenged.
Finally a quick word on the controls – context sensitive and quick time responses make up the most part and they are very nicely designed. You can choose how adept you are with a dualshock and the game will simply or make the controls more complex accordingly. It works better than I expected with the right stick your ‘interact’ mechanic and the R2 + left stick to move and look around. The way the controls adapt from opening doors, embracing your kids, shooting guns and beating the crap out of people flow seamlessly, it’s very impressive stuff.
If you manage to find a collector’s edition of Heavy Rain you’ll also get ‘The Taxidermist’ – a preface to the main game which gives you some extra Madison Paige action as she investigates the Origami Killer’s trail. This is nice bonus and will hopefully be available to download from the Playstation Store before too long. Here’s hoping for more DLC!!
Darkmatters rating: öööööööööö (10 delicious dark thrillers out of 10)

The hour is nigh – everything depends on you and your actions. Heavy Rain is a ‘must buy’ game. 

Until you’ve experienced this – you’ll not have experienced true gaming nirvana. Highly Recommended!!

Read more here: www.heavyrain.com

Read about the cool short film inspried by Heavy Rain: here