DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

Read my novel: Complete Darkness

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Darkmatters Review: Gravity Rush

Gravity Rush (PS VITA exclusive)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Every once in a while a game comes along that changes everything…

Gravity Rush is such a game.

Finally Sony have a truly groundbreaking, original title to showcase their wonder hand held VITA – and Gravity Rush delivers big time. This game is a creative work of art – where a girl named Kat finds she has fantastic powers, can influence gravity itself and must use it to save her world.

"sideways is the new up"

Set in an uber cool steampunk city that stretches into the clouds - airships circle, people bustle around trying to ignore the freaky energy portal that looms over the city threatening to bring destruction to all… Kat (and her pet cat) is tasked with saving the day by leaping into the sky, bursting forward onto whatever wall / roof / vehicle she can see. It’s a gaming ‘rush’ that brings a new and glorious way to move around – it is fast to pick up and so satisfying that you can happily spend hours just blasting around the city not even taking on any of the story or side missions.

Kat’s skills can be upgraded by collecting crystals which are all round the city, gravity manipulation is just one of Kat’s powers, she can kick ass in combat and buff her health and other stats too, It’s a nice and very intuitive level up mechanism which gives the game a good RPG feel.

"rival girl - with her crow"

Supposedly inspired by the Xbox 360 game ‘Crackdown’ Gravity Rush manages to trump that game even though it’s a hand held – but this is a new breed of hand held game, one that nothing on the 3DS or PSP has ever come close to achieving. Graphically Gravity Rush hits like a fully fledged anime film – gorgeous, eye-popping and jaw dropping, this is a game that you’ll want to show non VITA owning pals just to see the looks of disbelief on their faces.

Battling spirits, collecting items, beating challenges and working through the main story missions is great on the go. You can tackle them in bite-sized chunks but the whole game delivers c20hours of fun and there is already downloadable content on the way from Japan.

"Fan art inspiration"

The combat is great – especially as you build up Kat’s powers so you can use gravity to attack by throwing boxes, barrels and rocks at opponents. Boss battles are challenging and there are many customization options. I have to admit to being utterly blown away by this game, it’s the only VITA game to get a look in since the highly addictive Disgaea 3 launched.

Take Crackdown, amp up the gravity defying antics to the point where you could be playing Pilotwings – mix in some cool combat from the likes of Infamous and collecting from Mario games… Gravity Rush is an instant classic and a must buy for fans of quality games – this is a game you absolutely need to experience!!

"Steampunk FTW"

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


5 – The Ultimate hand-held RUSH!!

"Kat plus cat"

PS3 Sorcery Magic: Recreated in Real Life...

OOoohhh and Aaahhhh

Matt Adcock

To celebrate the release of Sorcery™ for PlayStation 3, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and TV scientist Steve Mould have created a series of films investigating 'The Science Behind the Magic', that recreate magical spells from the game through scientific experiments...

Sounds wacky but is actually a lot of fun (as is the game - Darkmatters review soon!) 

Next up - wonder if he can recreate some of the awesome magic from Diablo III (Darkmatters review soon!)

Random link - Rachel Cook - magical in 11:14:

Darkmatters Review: Men In Black 3

Men In Black 3 (PG)

Dir. Barry Sonnenfeld

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“I am getting too old for this. I can only imagine how YOU feel.”

Yep the Men In Black are back, back to save the world from the alien scum who would seek to dominate us and turn humans into their slaves… But their not getting any younger, oh wait, actually one of them – Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is, as here we get two of our favourite surly Agent K’s. The other K – from 1969 - is played by Josh Brolin in a cracking turn where he really channels the voice and characteristics of Jones.

The plot sees a ruthless alien criminal named Boris The Animal (Jemaine Clement) escaping from our maximum-security jail (on the moon) and jumping back in time to kill Agent K in 1969. This alters the timeline, changing the Agency and placing the Earth in danger. Only Agent J (Will Smith) can save us and so he must travel back in time to 1969 to before the murder and work with the young Agent K to save him, the Agency, the Earth.

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost 4 years since Will Smith graced the screen - he's back on good from here as Agent J, charming and witty as ever. His rapport with both Agent Ks is great and carries the fairly obvious plot. Directly Barry “Wild Wild West’ Sonnenfeld get’s his mojo back after the forgettable Men In Black 2 and delivers a good time with part 3.

"this is a gorgeous scene, that will stay with you"

The alien special effects are suitably incredible and pretty revolting in places – there are some good jump moments too (my youngest son James actually leapt of his seat at one point). Being a Sony film there are several product placements such as Agent J obviously playing his PS3 and a kid enjoying the new Sony Move game ‘Sorcery’ but there is enough good stuff crammed into the running time to make this a fun film to catch on the big screen.

There are some great in-jokes such as Andy Warhol turning out to be an undercover MIB agent and some meaningful moments like a peek into just why the Agent K / Agent J relationship is so strong.

Men In Black 3 puts the franchise back on track after the lackluster part 2, it feels like a good way to end the series (although let’s face it, if they make enough cash there will likely be a part 4 unless they use a neutralizer on the production team).

"MIB in action"

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

ööö - solid alien popping comedy thrills

3 – back, just in time to save our future (and the franchise)

Awesomeness ööö – couple of memorable scenes

Laughs ööö – delivers some laughs!

Horror öö – icky aliens in places / jump shocks

Babes öö – Emma Thompson isn't getting any younger (Alice Eve plays her younger self)

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – save the day, whatever the cost...

"Alice Eve - looks good"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Darkmatters Review: The Dictator

The Dictator (15)

Dir. Larry Charles

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Aladeen my friends – welcome to the nation state of Wadiya, I am you benevolent Dictator Admiral General Aladeen, and it is I who keep everything Aladeen in this great place.

The Dictator (Sacha Baron Cohen) breaks from the mockumentary style of the hilariously provocative Borat and the amusingly offensive Brüno – and delivers a slick fish out of water romantic comedy that hits with a powerful political subtext.

Starting in the fictitious North African country Wadiya where General Aladeen rules with an infantile mind and an iron fist. He is Indulged with his every wish – including sexual liaisons with nearly every high profile female (and some males) on the planet. But even obscene affluence can’t prevent him having to travel to the USA in order to appease the United Nations who are sniffing around his rogue nuclear weapons programme.

"off with his head!"

In the land of the free the General falls from power after being left for dead and usurped by a dim body double backed by a traitorous Official Tamir (Ben Kingsley). Then to make matters worse he meets his love match in an eco-warrior feminist named Zoey (Anna Faris), who owns an over the top green shop staffed by comically stereosocial misfits and oppressed foreigners.

How will the idiot Dictator survive? Can he possibly get his position back and prevent the plans for Wadiya to be made into a free democracy? The new proposed political constitution for the country though is simply a front for oil sales - hhhmm, that’s a bit far fetched right? Surely no countries are being manipulated by force or politics to part with their natural resources…

Baron Cohen brings a ton of weapons grade cultural critique comedy, including unforgettable scene such as the mother of all misunderstandings during a helicopter tour where a white American couple think Aladeen is planning his own 911 attack.

"promo shot for the film - tough gig"

The Dictator is as wildly un-politically correct as we’ve come to expect from Cohen and completely sexist too (e.g. Zoey is mercilessly referred to as a hairy little hobbit boy due to her unshaved armpits and lack of boobs). There are also many unnecessary gross out moments too but overall despite the odd misstep the quality laughs come thick and fast enough – and pack enough political barb – to make this a worthy addition to Cohen’s cannon of films and the new benchmark for comedies in 2012.

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

öööö - Totally Aladeen, if you don't Aladeen this film you are Aladeen!!

4 – dissenting opinions and voices on this film will be hushed up!

Awesomeness öööö – unforgettable comedy scenes

Laughs öööö – an unauthorised non government sanctioned laugh riot

Horror ööö – decapitated head played for laughs!? yep!

Babes ööö – bieng Aladeen has its benefits!

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – Aladeen wills it...

"Anna Faris - looking for a good time!?"

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Darkmatters Review: The Raid

The Raid (18)

Dir. Gareth Evans

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“We did not come here to do good…”

Caution: This film contains unhealthy levels of AWESOME

Deep in the heart of Jakarta’s slums lies an impenetrable safe house for the world’s most dangerous killers and gangsters.

Until now, the run-down urban apartment block has been considered untouchable to even the bravest of police. But cloaked under the cover of pre-dawn darkness, an elite SWAT team is tasked with raiding the safe house in order to take down the notorious drug lord that runs it – with extreme prejudice…

"death is close..."

Hard as nails and flexible as an Olympic Gymnast - Iko Uwais stars as Rama, a member of the SWAT team, who quickly sees the apartment block turn into a mass police grave as the tooled up criminals demonstrate just why no rival gang has ever survived trying to assault the building. The block is such a festering hive of scum and villainy - sanctuary to killers, gangs, rapists and thieves seeking accommodation in the one place they know they cannot be touched by the law.

So that’s the plot of The Raid, and the simple premised is perfect as the backdrop to some of the most frantic, brutal battle action and violence ever to hit the screen. Think Die Hard only with crunching martial arts fights that stand alongside anything you’ve ever seen – the thrill inducing, breathless mix of action is pulse pounding adrenalin heaven for fans of films like Hard Boiled or Ong Bak or indeed the Die Hard films.

"this way for the Britain's Got Talent - armed rehearsals"

Everything just ‘works’ really well here – the grimy visual look adds to the squalid feel of the battleground, whilst the jump cut camerawork cracks a visual punch harder than the fists and feet that connect with the combatant’s bodies. The Raid borders on action perfection throughout and deserves to be entered into the all time hall of action movie fame.

If you’ve ever enjoyed a goodies vs baddies film and can stomach some serious gunplay and righteous beatings then you should make The Raid the next film you see.

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

ööööö - Five Star Ass Kicking Fun!

5 – blows other action films away in style

Awesomeness ööööö – unforgettable action violence

Laughs öö – not really a laugh riot

Horror öööö – nasty in places, lots of 'ooh that's got to hurt' moments

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – somethings are worth fighting for

"the Call of Duty training paid off in the field"

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Darkmatters Review: Piranha 3DD

Piranha 3DD (18) 

 Dir. John Gulager

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (a version of this review also available at The Luton News)

One, two, three four five, once I caught a fish alive.

Six, seven, eight nine ten, then I ARRRGggghhhh the little fish are biting me!!

If you ventured to see Piranha 3D (the remake of Joe Dante’s 1978 horror comedy) then you’ll probably recall that the mean little fishes attacked loads of good looking bathers on a Spring Break at Lake Victoria…

Now it seems that the toothy menace have swarmed through underground lakes and pipes to arrive at a tacky water park called ‘The Big Wet’ where bathing suits are optional... Cue more bloodthirsty piranha on human munchings – all in rather pointless 3D again.

Say what you like about Piranha 3D but it was a well-made and generally fun horror chomp-em-up which boasted a great cast and a highly gratuitous naked cameo from Kelly Brook. It also inspired a half decent knock off Shark Night 3D which was basically Jaws in the everglades.

Piranha 3DD isn’t blessed with anything like the budget of the last film and it really shows – there are copious ‘filler’ shots of murky underwater weeds gently wafting in the undercurrent for goodness sake – these really weaken the overall experience and don’t even serve to highlight the limited horror action as this also feels paired down from before.

"my what big teeth you have..."

Director John Gulager was responsible for the cult horror classic Feast but he’s all at sea with this sequel, which is cheap, nasty and fails to satisfy. The best thing about Piranha 3DD is a well judged cameo by David Hasselhoff who plays himself and gets the best lines including the worryingly accurate ‘Welcome to rock bottom!’ which could have been an ad-lib.

The slight plot sees the build up to the low rent fish attack on the water park as an excuse to shoehorn in some sporadic strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, bad language and drug use. You feel sorry for the cast who include the gorgeous Katrina Bowden, not because they’re characters are likely to get eaten but that this poor film will forever be on their CVs…

"this waterpark brings people and fishes together"

Piranha 3DD is seriously tacky and is unlikely to please anyone. It simply doesn’t do enough to satisfy fans of the first film and certainly won’t win any new followers. I can’t recommend this on any level but if you really must see it be sure to lower your expectations suitably.

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

ö - the words 'oh dear' spring to mind but extra star for having The Hoff in it

2 – one of the worst films of 2012 (so far)

Awesomeness öö – lame effort fumbles the franchise

Laughs öö – unintentional bad acting, couple of funnies with The Hoff

Horror öööö – some serious gore but not as well done as original

Babes öööö – Bowden is absolutely gorgeous (as always)!

Spiritual Enlightenment 0 – absolutely none

"why am I in this film again?"

"Katrina Bowden - looking good in FHM too"

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Darkmatters Review - American Pie: Reunion

American Pie: Reunion (15)

Dir. Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Were we just as obnoxious as these kids back in the day?”

“Not us, our generation, we were more mature.”

So who’s up for another slice of American Pie? Sure it’s slightly over the ‘best before’ date but hey it’s been 13 years since the original film.

For those who haven’t partied with the lovable loser Jim (Jason Biggs), nice but dim Oz (Chris Klein), enigmatic mum-seducing Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), average bloke Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), and maverick party guy Stifler (Seann William Scott) – the gang are reunited for their 13 yr high school reunion.

So what has life brought for the gang? Well Jim is still married to Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) and they have a little boy but are finding that parenthood is killing their sex lives and it’s taking a toll on their relationship.

Oz has made it as a big shot sportscaster with a supermodel girlfriend Mia (the super hot Katrina Bowden), Finch has been ‘finding himself’ by globetrotting and Kevin is a stay at home husband.

But one of the guys hasn’t changed at all – yes Stifler – he’s working as a temp and still causing offense everywhere he goes. He’s also still the funniest thing in American Pie universe by a mile.

American Pie: Reunion is a massively nostalgic flick that refers to the 1999 antics again and again, which is OK for a while but gets a little one note after a bit. Having said that, if you loved the original then this will certainly please you as it is every bit as crude, filthy and sporadically funny as before.

The level of nudity, swearing and sexual references have been upped considerably – which made the Church Leader I saw this with very uncomfortable… But if you’re a fan of such things then you’ll almost certainly laugh out loud a few times thanks to the funnies provided by the Harold & Kumar team who direct here.

Stifler steals every scene he’s in with his unhinged sexist fratboy charisma, when he’s not pooing in someone’s beer cooler he’s flirting with every female with a pulse. The others are really just supporting cast but they all seem to be having a blast and it’s hard not to get carried along for the ride.

It’s not big or very clever but as I said, if you’ve seen the other American Pie films then you kind of owe it to yourself to see how it all ends (although if this makes enough cash they’ll probably make more!?).

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


3 – Take a mark off if you've not seen the original(s)

Awesomeness öö – nothing spectacular

Laughs öööö – rude and silly but funny too

Horror öö – Stifler gets into some dubious stuff

Babes ööööö – Bowden is absolutely gorgeous but there are other hotties too!

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – growing up can suck but is worth it?

The AP crew... as they were!?

Katrina Bowden - all good from behind...