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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Darkmatters Top 5 Casino Scenes in Movies

Darkmatters Top 5 Casino Scenes in Movies

Casinos have featured in very many movies throughout cinematic history.

Here is our pick of five of the best.


The movie 21 comes first in our list not so much because it is a great movie, in fact it is not one, but because it is very informative and if you enjoy gambling then you will surely find it compelling. It is crammed with intriguing casino scenes that show a group of card counters beat the casinos at blackjack, something that we all enjoy.


The Martin Scorsese directed movie Casino starring Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci is also very interesting in that it is based on real life events from the days when the mob controlled the Las Vegas casinos, but in contrast to 21 it is also a great movie, and probably the greatest movie of its genre ever made. Pick any casino scene – they are all done to perfection.

Casino Royale

Casino Royale is typical James Bond and reasonably entertaining. Daniel Craig makes a reasonable Bond, but he needs to improve his poker. Anybody can win with the best possible hand, and that is what he did in the climactic scene when he was heads up with the film’s bête noir. Casino scenes in Bond do have a special charm and have certainly left their mark on the gambling world – even online casinos like http://www.ipadcasino.co.nz are trying to get in on a bit of Bond’s success by introducing slots games based around his legacy, namely ‘Agent Jane Blonde’.

Rain Man

Raymond Babbitt (Rain Man) is an autistic savant and the perfect character for Dustin Hoffman’s special form of method acting. Tom Cruise as his brother Charlie is also well cast as the somewhat exploitive manipulator. Charlie discovers Raymond’s remarkable card counting skills and whisks him off to Las Vegas and some hands of highly successful and lucrative blackjack.

Indecent Proposal

Admittedly not the greatest movie, but the casino scene in which Demi Moore kisses the dice before throwing them is worth watching. The movie was a huge box office success grossing over $265 million, which is more than many people win in casinos!?

Let us know your top Casino movie scenes - oh and while you're thinking - because it's a super-hero blowout this year...

How about Taylor Swift as Supergirl?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Darkmatters Review: Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 (12a)

Dir. Shane Black

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Hi, I'm Tony Stark. I build neat stuff, got a great girl, occasionally save the world. So why can't I sleep?”

Yes the wisecracking, heavy metal suited superhero Iron Man is back – fresh from helping his fellow ‘Avengers’ thwart an all out alien invasion. Life should be good for brilliant industrialist Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) but he’s wracked with anxiety attacks as a result of his near death world saving exploits…

To make matters worse, a massive new threat has emerged in the form of an uber terrorist called The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) who apparently has no limit in his bloodthirsty campaign to ‘teach America a lesson…’

Iron Man 3 has a lot to live up to after the billion dollar success of The Avengers, this is the first of Marvel Studio’s Phase Two of hero films that will lead up to the second super team collaboration (the others will be Captain America: Winter Soldier and Thor: The Dark World).

So can the slick armoured Iron Man still deliver on his own terms?

In a word ‘yes’!!
"down but not out?"

New director to the series Shane ‘Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang’ Black takes over with much gusto and delivers a film that succeeds as an amazingly entertaining spectacle – with all the explosions, death defying acrobatics and jaw dropping action you could wish for. Black is a dab hand at comedy too and Downey has the lead role nailed in getting the right mix of funnies / trauma / heroics…

Everything works really well, as well as the truly menacing villains – The Mandarin is backed up by mad scientist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), there are some nice new allies too, none better than a young kid named Harley (Ty Simpkins), who gets his geeky dreams fulfilled by being able to help Iron Man in his hour of need.

"you will know fear..."

The cast includes returning roles for Stark’s love interest Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and James Rhodes / War Machine (Don Cheadle) but it is Kingsley however who steals the show – obviously relishing his role almost as much as Downey does his.

Iron Man 3 brings the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion – it’s best not to know too much about the plot as there are some great swerves that will keep you glued to the screen for the 2 hr+ running time.

"pick a suit!?"

The blockbuster season for 2013 has just blasted off in fine style!

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

öööö1/2 - Iron Man delivers the goods big time!

4.5 – Quality thrills, spills and grins all round!!

Awesomeness öööö – action overload balanced with heart

Laughs ööö – some laugh out loud funnies

Horror öö  – a little grim in places

Babes ööö – Potts looks good

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - I am Iron Man...

"Pepper Pots getting hot..."

Monday, April 22, 2013

Darkmatters Review: Olympus Has Fallen

Olympus Has Fallen (15)

Dir. Antoine Fuqua

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

"As a nation, we are never stronger than when tested!”

When America faces the ultimate horrific scenario of the White House being overrun by terrorists who manage to take the President (Aaron Eckhart) hostage – there’s only one man who they can call upon to fight back. Unfortunately Detective John McClane is busy so it falls to former secret service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) to try and save the day against impossible odds.

"Boom goes the White House"

Yes Olympus Has Fallen really does feel like Die Hard: In The White House but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Directed by Antoine ‘Training Day’ Fuqua this is 2013’s first stupidly gung-ho all action blast-em-up which goes so far over the top that it virtually becomes an international incident in its own right.

Special operative Banning wouldn’t have been the President’s first choice as he was on duty when his wife - First Lady Margaret Asher (Ashley Judd) – died in a horrific accident. But when he spots from his office across the way that the very White House is being stormed by heavily armed North Korean dissidents, he doesn’t hesitate to run straight in there all guns blazing.

"Synchronised death"

Hats off to the script writers as they seem to relish the chance to wrack up an eye-watering body count that sees just about every single agent tasked with the defence of the White House end up dead. There is a tangible blood-lust, coupled with a great sense of threat, but it’ balanced with a grim sense of humour and a good central effort from Butler who brings some of his Spartan hardness from 300 to the weaponised mayhem here.

In the screening I saw of this, one viewer was actively shouting at the screen throughout – he seemed to think that the characters might be real and somehow respond to his prompts. The reaction of the other viewers was slightly less vocal but Olympus Has Fallen certainly elicited a lot of gasps of things like “Ooh, that’s got to hurt!”

Yes it’s almost entirely preposterous from the second a heavily armed attack plane manages to fly directly to the White House and destroy pretty much every defence that the Americans have to offer. It’s time to buckle up and enjoy the adrenalin fuelled ride.

If you’re a fan of John Woo’s early shoot-em-ups or the Die Hard movies, and are happy to suspend your disbelief in a serious way – you should definitely check Olympus Has Fallen.

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

ööö1/2 - Action thrills that deliver  

3.5 – Everything works well, an almost classic

Awesomeness öööö – action is nicely done

Laughs ööö – some good funnies

Horror ööö  – bit grim in places

Babes öö – not a babe-em-up

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - the American way

"Radha Mitchell - delivers good legs"

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Darkmatters Review: Oblivion

Oblivion (12a)

Dir. Joseph Kosinski

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (this review also available in the Biggleswade Chronicle)

“Is it possible to miss a place you've never been? To mourn a time you never lived?”

My name is Jack Harper, known as Tech 49, I’m one of the last humans on earth - 60 years ago, we were attacked and although we won the war, it destroyed half the planet in the process. Everything feels odd here in the ruins of our civilisation, everyone's been evacuated to Titan, a habitable moon of Saturn, now nothing human remains. I’m here with my communications partner Victoria (Andrea ‘Welcome to the Punch’ Riseborough), we are tasked with keeping the weaponised drones repaired so that they can protect the massive water harvesting energy converters which are draining the last of earth’s resources.

We have to be ever vigilant because there are remnants of scavenger creatures in the wastes that continue to attack our facilities….

"home in the clouds"

Oblivion is an ambitious and intelligent large-scale sci-fi flick that packs seriously visually spectacular effects. Cruise does his patented smooth hero stuff in the lead role, although he is often upstaged by the incredible CGI effects that depict a believably devastated wasteland and the high tech drones etc. If you’ve played PS3 games like ‘Fallout’ you’ll relish the post-apocalyptic world brought to the screen here. The drones too are iconic creations – each has a formidable four gun set up and one red eye which is very ‘Hal-9000’.

Co-written, produced and directed by Joseph “Tron Legacy’ Kosinski, this is based on his unpublished graphic novel and that is perhaps the main weakness of the film in that it is light on actual plot for a 2 hour plus experience (although not short on plot holes).

"hey bud, I'm on your side"

The supporting cast all work well and include Morgan Freeman, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones and ex-Bond girl Olga Kurylenko. But this is Cruise’s movie and he adds another grand cinematic role to his impressive roster.

I saw Oblivion with my esteemed fellow critic Tom Wade who wasn’t as enamored with it – but then I get the impression that he has some issues with Cruise he said: “There’s only so far up yourself you can go… until you get to Tom Cruise!”

For me though, l Oblivion delivers an above average slice of thought provoking sci-fi nonsense, it sets the bar for the raft of sci-fi films this year which include Elysium, Star Trek: Into Darkness and After Earth and is definitely worth a watch.
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:

öööö - Earth is a memory worth fighting for (on the big screen)

4 – Sci-fi that delivers

Awesomeness öööö – iconic drones, great wasteland

Laughs ö – limited mirth

Horror öö  – not too dark

Babes ööö – Cruise gets 2 for price of one

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - the truth will set you free

Andrea Riseborough

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Darkmatters Review: Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers (18)

Dir. Harmony Korine

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“…God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

As a Christian, I have to admit to being surprised but not altogether freaked out when Spring Breakers opened with a passage from the bible - 1 Corinthians 10 v13 – as above. But this is a good indication that there may be more going on in this movie rather than the surface level reaction of it being an exploitative ‘babes n gangstas go wild’ adventure.

This is the tale of young Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine), and Faith (Selena Gomez) – four best friends with differing worldviews but one thing in common - they all live together in a college dorm and are too poor to go and party on Spring Break.

"Don't try this at home..."

Faith is the ‘good girl’ of the bunch, a Christian who is encouraged to pray for her wilder friends and it seems with good reason because the other 3 girls decide to raise the funds for their trip by robbing a diner – using fake guns.

Initially the crime seem to pay off as the four pals get to experience the crazed hedonistic pleasures of Spring Break, where the young congregate to drink and party hard. Things go a bit wrong when they are all arrested at a drug fuelled party but at their sentencing rapper "Alien" (James ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ Franco) pays their bail and promises them the thrill and excitement of his underworld dealings.

"prize for least clothes worn in a film in 2013 goes to..."

But Alien has a nemesis in the form of gangster Archie (Gucci Mane) who was once his best friend but who now sees Alien as a threat to his crime empire. And when one of the girls gets shot in the arm, all bets are off as to how far they will go to experience a spring break they will never forget…

Director Harmony Korine is a controversial figure – he wrote the film Kids back in ’95 which caused a lot of outrage. In Spring Breakers he delivers a crazed, hyper-stylized glimpse into the depths of the human soul and the vacuous, dangerously subversive nature of living the so-called ‘American Dream’.

Despite it’s biblical start, this film is packed with swearing, nudity and a very violent climax, Spring Breakers is definitely not for the faint of heart or easily offended but it still manages to be a compelling, iconic modern day cinematic fable that deserves attention.

"murderous distraction"

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

öööö - Wish you weren't here?

4 – Strong, OTT stuff

Awesomeness öööö – sunshine, style, sexiness and cold blood

Laughs öö – not much but a few funny bits

Horror ööö  – quite grim

Babes ööööö – an over abundance

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - look beneath the surface

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Darkmatters Review: Defiance

Defiance (PS3)

Developed by Trion Worlds

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

"Is that a Firefly in you pocket? Or are you just pleased to see a new Sci-fi / Western hybrid hit the gaming and TV viewing worlds?"

Defiance is something potentially very very cool. It's a game (PS3, PC, 360) but it's also a TV show... And the two are linked!?

I've not seen the TV show (it hits UK on the 16th April) but the good people over at io9 have seen first three episodes of Syfy's biggest gamble to date, the half-futuristic neo-Western, half-MMO game Defiance. Was it worth the risk? Can Syfy resurrect the sci-Western without stepping in a big pile of "Firefly did it better?" Read their first impressions here: IO9 Defiance Show Review

Shooting stuff in videogames is fun - call it any way you'd like - and Defiance brings a myriad bounty of weapons, armor, and special abilities that in true MMO style evolve with experience...

"ugly - but about to die!"

Yes that means you can make a custom character - to play as either human or alien (there are 4 choices to begin with), modifying your look to become a unique citizen of the Defiance world.

Fight to survive in a consistently evolving environment with promised regular content updates and dynamic events. Play on your own, or join tens of thousands of simultaneous live players in a futuristic San Francisco Bay Area that’s a fully-realized open world...

Trion Worlds' Defiance the game is set in a scorched future post apocalyptic Earth. You are a Vault Hunter, oops sorry I mean Ark Hunter who somehow makes it through the intro starship crash in a pod.

"Brrrrmmm!! quad biking is the future"

Anyway, Ark Hunters have been brought along with the military to try and find and salvage 'Arktech' - the advanced tech and use it to try and rebuild Earth. So far, so Borderlands or Rage or many other games but Defiance is fresh because it brings the MMO with guns to consoles and it looks and plays superbly on the PS3!

So step this way for some serious Player versus Environment (PvE) fun. Defiance offers a large amount of content straigh off the disc missions to do with tracking down other survivors from the crash, helping the military who are immediately under attack (due to them being seen as invaders) -basically a tasty sized open world to explore, grind out some leveling, notch up some side missions, challenges (with leaderboards) and generally the opportunity to shoot a hell of a lot of stuff... Defiance is great with a co-op buddy too, especially as there are some maps and missions created just for co-op.

Having said that, you can happily play Defiance solo and never engage with those around you - although having allies doing the same mission as you can be a great help when there are a mean bunch of supermutant enemies on the prowl.

"multiplayer gets frantic but is rock solid on PlayStation Network"

The RPG element of game is all about ticking off goals in order to get xp and credits so you can get better weapons and EGO powers / perks (this game's magic-esq enhancements). You can choose one major EGO power to begin with such as cloaking / overdrive fire power / rush speed burst etc - which allows you to pick a style of play. Sure you can respec afterwards for a cost, but this variety could well lead to wanting to play through with different spec characters.

It's yet to be seens how the link between game and TV show will work but I have tried the Player versus Player (PvP) option called 'Shadow War' where players fight to claim control of territory, and this is satisfyingly large scale because as more people join the battle, the larger the area of combat becomes. A lovely touch is being able to use vehicles too - which are up there with games like Starhawk or Battlefield in terms of altering the balance of power if you become adept at drving them.

So after only a few days of play, I can say that Defiance is potentially the best MMO I've experienced - hats off to the team behind this... I'll see you online I'm Cleric20.

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

ööööö - Defies expectations to be a best game of 2013 contender!!

5 – MMO shooters have never been this slick or satisfying!

"The driving in Defiance is a bit MotorStorm - hence the pic"

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Darkmatters Review: TRANCE


Dir. Danny Boyle

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

You are feeling warm, secure and totally at ease...

Everything is going your way, this is a good day, a day when you might want to experience a quality thought provoking thriller...

When you finish reading this review, you will think about going to see TRANCE, and chances are that if you do go and see it, you will enjoy it very much!

So far, so good - but how far do you trust your current perception of 'reality'?

Do you know for sure that you're doing things of your own free will?

What made you decide to read this review?

Are you sure you haven't been hypnotised and that you are acting out the 'suggestions' planted in your mind?

"look into my eyes..."

Welcome to the world of TRANCE. Danny 'Trainspotting' Boyle's new mind bending heist-em-up which tells that tale of young Simon (James 'Welcome To The Punch' McAvoy), a fine art auctioneer, teams up with a criminal gang to steal a Goya painting worth upwards of £25million.

Simon is ideally placed for this inside job as he is trained in what to do if any attempt is made to steal a high value object during auction - his is the duty to bag the painting and get it to the quick drop time delay vault.

"be careful who you trust"

But the heist doesn't go exactly to plan and after suffering a blow to the head during the heist Simon awakens to discover he has no memory of where he hid the painting. This isn't great news for the heavy duty crims he is in partnership with and they decide to try and 'help' him remember by pulling out his finger nails..

But neither physical threats and actual torture can get Simon to talk, so the gang’s leader Frank (Vincent Cassel) hires hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario 'Sin City' Dawson) to delve into the darkest recesses of Simon’s psyche.

As Elizabeth begins to unravel Simon’s broken subconscious, the lines between truth, suggestion, and deceit begin to blur.

"you will post this picture on twitter..."

This is just the tip of an Inception sized iceberg where plotlines melt and timelines jump, before long the rug will have been pulled from beneath you several times but never in an arbitary way,

TRANCE works really well on many levels. It packs action, sex, violence, art, hypnosis, betrayal, love, greed and trust into its twisted hyper-real production.

Boyle directs with flair and the cast deliver, especially McAvoy who is great in the lead role. Prepare for a freaky thrill ride that grips to the bitter end.

This is one to see and discuss with your friends...

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

öööö - get inside the mind of a criminal

4 – Boyle delivers a fine thriller

Awesomeness öööö – nothing is what it seems

Laughs öö – a couple of funny moments

Horror ööö  – gets a little nasty in places

Babes ööö – Dawson goes shaved full frontal

Spiritual Enlightenment ö - suggestable?

"pretty as a picture"

Monday, April 01, 2013

Darkmatters Review: St George Blood And Martyrs

St George Blood And Martyrs

Akin Akinsiku and Joe Sparrow

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Is there history coded in the famous legend of St George and the Dragon?

Did you know that in around 300AD when the Roman empire was busy persecuting Christians in some areas whilst adopting their faith in others and at some point there was a serious shift in perceptions... As they said in Mad Max - one man can make a difference!?

St George was potentially that man and in this cool street art / Manga style graphic novel the Patron Saint of England is imagined as a Roman career soldier who converted to Christianity and who changed the course of history as a result...

"Akinsiku style"

If you've read The Manga Bible by the awesome SIKU you'll be pleased to know that the art talent runs in the family as St George Blood And Martyrs is by his brother Akinsiku...

The artwork is fresh, stylish and compelling - and the collected tales, myth and legend are mixed well so that you come away actually having a better idea of how the fabled St George got his place in history.

This is an inspiring book, which should be picked up by those who like thier information delivered in graphic novel format.

But what about all that dragon stuff? Well, according to the 'Golden Legend', the narrative episode of Saint George and the Dragon took place in a place he called "Silene", in Libya; the Golden Legend is the first to place this legend in Libya as a sufficiently exotic locale, where a dragon might be found. In the tenth-century Georgian narrative, the place is the fictional city of Lasia, and it is the godless Emperor who is Selinus.

The town had a pond, as large as a lake, where a plague-bearing dragon dwelled that envenomed all the countryside. To appease the dragon, the people of Silene used to feed it two sheep every day, and when the sheep failed, they fed it their children, chosen by lottery. It happened that the lot fell on the king's daughter, who is in some versions of the story called Sadra. The king, distraught with grief, told the people they could have all his gold and silver and half of his kingdom if his daughter were spared; the people refused. The daughter was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon.

Saint George by chance rode past the lake. The princess, trembling, sought to send him away, but George vowed to remain. The dragon reared out of the lake while they were conversing. Saint George fortified himself with the Sign of the Cross, charged it on horseback with his lance, and gave it a grievous wound. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle, and he put it around the dragon's neck. When she did so, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash.

The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene, where it terrified the people at its approach. But Saint George called out to them, saying that if they consented to become Christians and be baptised, he would slay the dragon before them. The king and the people of Silene converted to Christianity, George slew the dragon, and the body was carted out of the city on four ox-carts. "Fifteen thousand men baptized, without women and children." On the site where the dragon died, the king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint George, and from its altar a spring arose whose waters cured all disease...

Yeah - believe what you want of that but it's a great story (whatever the origins)!

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

öööö - The blood of the Saint runs wild here

4 - Recommended!