DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Read my novel: Complete Darkness

Listen to the PODCAST I co-host: Hosts in the Shell

Monday, July 29, 2013

Darkmatters Review: The Wolverine

The Wolverine (12a)

Dir. James Mangold

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (read the newspaper version of this review HERE)

Say hello once more to everyone’s favourite hairy / metal clawed and most cinematically prolific X-Man - Logan – also known as ‘Wolverine’ (played again for the 6th time here by Hugh ‘Les Misérables’ Jackman). The Wolverine is the second spin off movie about the animalistic hero and it works as a semi-sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand (from 2006).

"sword vs claws"

Here we find Logan bearded and dishevelled, wandering the back woods, wracked with guilt over the death of Jean Grey / Phoenix (Famke Janssen), who he had to kill when she turned to the dark side. She haunts his dreams, dressed in skimpy underwear, asking when he’s going to die and ‘join her’ – but that's the one thing he can’t do thanks to his regeneration power.

When he meets a mysterious Japanese sword woman named Yukio (Rila Fukushima), Logan is re-introduced into society and finds a will to live in the Far East after meeting Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), a soldier whose life he saved when the U.S. bombed Nagasaki.

Director James ‘Knight & Day’ Mangold handles the slim plot well and adds sufficient quality action set pieces to keep X-Fans happy. Wolverine has his work cut out when he has his powers diminished by nasty mutant Viper (Svetlana ‘Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy’ Khodchenkova), who wants to reunite him with Jean Grey forcefully.

"beware the charms of the Viper"

Other perils include Yakuza mobsters, vengeful Ninjas and a showdown with a giant robotic Samurai suit of armour made of the same ‘unbreakable’ Adamantium metal as Wolverine’s claws.

There are plenty of things to make you go ‘SNIKT’ in appreciation but nothing likely to really linger long in the mind – 2013 has already seen such a wealth of high spectacle blockbusters, it’s hard for The Wolverine to stand out.

What is incredible is Hugh Jackman’s physical build, he looks every bit as buff now (at a sprightly 44) as he did when he first played the part in the first X-Men in 2000, and he spends a lot of the film topless to prove it!?

"product placement - PS4 style machines"

At one point Yashida tells Logan “Eternity can be a curse. The losses you have had to suffer... a man can run out of things to care for, lose his purpose,” but thanks to a killer after the credits end scene that whets the appetite for next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past – it looks like there is plenty of life in the X-Men franchise yet!

"cool character artwork"

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


(3.5 - enough SNIKT to satisfy)...

Awesomeness öööö – great fights

Laughs öö –  couple of funnies

Horror öö – slightly disturbing at times

Babes ööö – Svetlana Khodchenkova vs Rila Fukushima

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – your humanity is worth fighting for

"Jackman's arms are insane"

Darkmatters Review: The Frozen Ground

The Frozen Ground (15) 

Dir. Scott Walker

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

"When the hunter becomes the hunted..." 

Or more importantly - when a film poster rocks a quote like: "At last a suspense/Thriller to rival Se7en"- you should take note.
My mind did a slight flip when I realised that The Frozen Ground was the movie they were talking about... Because this is the thriller produced by 50 Cent...

"I don't think this one is going to pull through"

My preparation for The Frozen ground included a delicious Korean BBQ and a bottle of Jinro Soju - then aided by my pal John - I faced the horror that is Nicolas Cage in a serious role.

The Frozen Ground is based on the real-life 1980s Alaskan hunt for serial killer Robert Hansen. Hansen stalked and murdered between 17 and 21 young women, kidnapping them and taking them out to the Alaskan wilderness where he shot and buried them for kicks. Here we at least get an interesting, confident nutjob baddie in the form of John Cusack playing against type as Hansen (all twitchy uncomfortableness) and Vanessa Hudgens is a whore - never thought I'd be writing that in a film review but hey... She's the one working girl who managed to escape from Hansen.

"Cage doesn his fist in mouth thing (again)"

First time writer/director Scott Walker goes for a moody tone and uses the Alaskan setting to great effect. He is saddles with Cage who as Halcombe at one point says: “I’m the wrong guy to be getting in the middle of this!" To be honest it's hard not to agree with him as this case would have been more exciting if we'd had a more maverick detective like BBC's LUTHER tracking Hansen.

"That's some great Hudgens acting!"

Cage is seemingly set to 'slo-mo acting mode' - his pudgy face writ large with a "what the hell's going on?" expression throughout... The fact that Walker keeps things moving along and comes out with a decent thriller is nothing short of a miracle.

"I'm Agent Smith"

Hudgens actuall does a good job but her character is a bit too disposable to warrant much real emotion. What keeps you hooked is the sheer horror that all this nastiness actually happened.

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


(3 - worth checking but no 'Se7en')...

Awesomeness ööö – some strong scenes (mostly the ones without Cage)

Laughs öö –  Cage's acting is unintentionally funny

Horror öööö – yes grim in places

Babes ööö – Hudgens dances

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – just because he seems like a nice guy doesn't mean he's not a monster

"OK Vanessa - we get it you're all grown up, now get dressed..."

Monday, July 22, 2013

Darkmatters Review: The World's End

The World’s End (15)

Dir. Edgar Wright

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“We're going to see this through to the bitter end. Or... lager end“

It really is the end folks – the final part of the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, three British comedy films that have redefined cinema.

The fun started back in 2004 with Shaun of the Dead - which featured a red strawberry Cornetto, representing the zombie infused blood and gore.

Then came 2007’s Hot Fuzz (Darkmatters Review) that had a blue original Cornetto - a nod to the police elements in the plot.

Now we come to The World’s End which has a green mint choc-chip flavour Cornetto wrapper prominent in one scene – acknowledging the alien / sci-fi elements.

But does this much-loved trilogy go out with a bang or a whimper?

"Like a British Reservoir Dogs?"

Meet Gary King (Simon Pegg) known as "The King" back in the day by the residents of sleepy Newton Haven, his hometown. Gary is a man haunted by his failure to complete ‘The Golden Mile’, an infamous pub-crawl involving 12 pubs – finishing at "The World's End".

So he cajoles his group of school pals back together who include wimpy Peter (Eddie Marsan), sensible Oliver / ‘O-Man’ due to the satanic birthmark on his forehead (Martin Freeman), his love rival Steven (Paddy Considine) and best mate Andrew (Nick Frost).

But when the gang reach Newton Haven things get a little freaky…

"Andrew 'Hulks out'"

You don’t need to know too much about the plot, just be assured that The World’s End is a rampantly funny, road trip blast that delivers all the buddy movie banter you could possibly wish for.

What makes this an extra bit special though is that there is a real beating heart beneath the action which sees the pals trying to make sense of their lives whilst fighting off alien robot clones who have come to change earth.

"Drink responsibly!"

Director Edgar ‘Scott Pilgrim’ Wright knows how to tap the nostalgia vein and packs in some great one liners about life, some truths about growing up, plus a killer soundtrack that includes The Sisters of Mercy, Blur, Primal Scream and The Stone Roses.

Love interest comes in the shapely form of Oliver's sexy sister, Sam (Rosamund Pike), who both Gary and Steven fancy. There is much to enjoy here including a wonderfully over the top school disco scene set in a nightclub pub called "The Mermaid" (which is actually Letchworth Garden City’s Broadway Cinema transformed).

"Call the Fuzz"

If you’ve ever been to Letchworth or Welwyn Garden City then you may well recognise many of the places of ‘Newton Haven’ – which adds to the fun for locals of these parts - it was great to see so many of the pubs I've visited and places I've been up on screen...

There are some fun cameos too, one the gangs old teachersGuy Shepherd is played with gusto by Pierce 'James Bond' Brosan and Nicholas 'Nathan Barley' Burns pops up with Reece 'League of Gentlemen' Shearsmith to added comic effect.

"This one speaks for itself"

The World’s End is a great ending to a classic trilogy, it might not be the very best of the three but it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

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


(4.5 - A welcome finish to a classic trilogy)...

Awesomeness öööö – an unmissable pub crawl

Laughs öööö –  lots of quality laughs

Horror öö – not too nasty - 15 is more due to swearing

Babes ööö – Rosamund Pike is still foxy pushing 40

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – you don't have to be drunk to save the planet?


Here's the official website link

"Rosamund Pike - looks great"

Monday, July 15, 2013

Darkmatters Review: Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim (12a)

Dir. Guillermo del Toro

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Today at the edge of our hope, at the end of our time. We have chosen to believe in each other! Today we face the monsters that are at our door, today we are cancelling the apocalypse!”

Be afraid - in the near future, giant monsters known as ‘Kaijus’ rise from a portal / breach beneath the Pacific Ocean and start to decimate our cities – killing millions… In order to combat these Godzilla-like monsters, we humans create a new type of weapon: massive, piloted battle robots called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are bound in a neural link which lets them share the mental strain which would otherwise overwhelm a single human mind.

"think Transformers - but cooler"

The Jaeger program under the command of Stacker Pentecost (Idris ‘Luther’ Elba) looks like might just work as we take the fight to the monsters – redressing the balance of power but as new Kaiju begin to adapt and we start losing Jaegers at an alarming rate, earth’s leaders decide to divert funding into building "Wall of Life" to try and keep the monsters at bay.

Director Guillermo ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ del Toro takes on Michael ‘Transformers’ Bay at his own game here and comes away victorious with a totally epic, big budget blockbuster that sees some of the best special effects ever committed to screen used to bring the action to edge-of-your-seat life. There were moments when I couldn’t help watching my 12-year-old son’s reaction to the on screen fights – he was wide-eyed and completely captivated to the point where he as was making punching motions urging on the heroic Jaegers. “That was awesome” he told afterwards and I have to agree!?

"Gypsy Danger - sounds like a warning about travellers but is actually a cool mech"

The brave Jaeger pilots include Raleigh Becket (Charlie ‘Byker Grove’ Hunnam) – a washed-up former pilot called out of retirement by the Pan Pacific Defense Corps, he has to team up with Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) – who was rescued from the Kaju that killed her parents as a young girl. There are also a Russian team and a hotshot Australian team (who are obviously better at giant mech piloting than playing cricket!?)…

"co-pilot of choice"

Some of the scenes are wonderful homages to anime and classic Japanese monster or mech films from ages past - there is a real respect for the material and an infectious sense of joy at work behind this movie.

With the complete annihilation of the human race at stake, the few final Jaegers are marshalled in a daring attempt to get a nuclear warhead into the breach and stop the Kaijus once and for all. And you’ll be cheering them all the way as Pacific Rim delivers a megaton thrill-ride that demands your attention on the big screen!

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


(4.5 - Go big or go extinct)...

Awesomeness öööö – this is Transformers with real emotional resonance!

Laughs öö –  a few laughs

Horror öö – The Kaijus are a bit Cthulhu

Babes ööö – Rinko Kikuchi is cute

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – stand firm in the face of monsters!

"Rinko Kikuchi - could kick your butt"

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The Summer of PSVITA Shooters!

Summer Stress Relief - with lots of guns in your pocket (PSVITA)

Reviews by Matt Adcock

Whilst we wait for the almighty PS4 (which will give you unlimited reasons to fire up the PSVITA and play all the lovely new games remotely and was recently picked by speedy Usain Bolt as the next gen console of choice: http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/122175-usain-bolt-on-ps4-vs-xbox-one-ps4-i-m-a-ps-fan ) - there are some great new downloadable shooters now available to keep you playing through the summer...

Hotline Miami 

Fresh from massive accolades on the PC, this fresh blast of destructive murder-em-up is now on the PSVita (and a cross buy bonus you get PS3 version too).

Imagine A more frantic, arcade style Grand Theft Auto (like the original top down 16bit graphic look) and boost it with a compulsive gameplay that will have you hooked for hours... The controls on Vita/PS3 work a treat - I'm a sucker for twin stick shooters - so unless untold levels of pixelated bloodshed upsets you, and the plotline does question an interesting 'are you serial killer or hero' line - Hotline Miami is the very definition of 'must play'...

"Hotline Miami 2 already in production"

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
ööööö - hand held shoot / stealth perfection

Velocity Ultra 

Old school vertical space shooting is given a new lease of life on the PSVITA - jump aboard your 'Quarp' Jet which comes packing a nice range of weapons and a superb teleport ability.

Battle through 50 levels, racing against the clock whist picking up survivors and generally laying down some impressive firepower. Much like in Hotline Miami, beating a level sees you graded on your performance, and hence given an unlimited incentive to try and do it again - just better!

"space travel in your hands"

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
öööö - incredible space shooting fun

OMG HD Zombies!

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Play out your own World War Z - destroying Zombie games with a sniper rifle and watching the insane chain reaction of explosions that results. OMG HD Zombies is a superb blend of puzzle and action.

There are lots of levels of Zombies to take out across Redfield City - different zombies have various ways of dying - some explode, others run and wail, some will have their brains shoot out and hit others - it's a tactically wonderful challenge that demands repeat plays!

"super stylish minimal visuals"

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
ööööö - best zombie destruction you can buy

Total Recoil

 If you ever played the Arcade Machine classic 'Heavy Barrel' (man I spent SO much time on that as a kid) you'll have some idea of what Total Recoil brings to the PSVITA. Armed to the teeth, you're a soldier on an oil rig / jungle / airfield full of baddies - collecting coin and weapons and destroying explosive barrels and the waves of enemies. The levels are nicely devised, perfect short bursts of carnage, ending in a boss battle... There is a lot of upgrading to be done - so completing all the objectives is important - and grinding previously-played levels is a key way to improve. You can use the coins to buy new weapons and upgrade them. There are even Call of Duty killstreak rewards with air strike or turrets to swing the battle in your favour. Total Recoil is an absolute blast, it's fun, looks good and delivers on all counts.

"destroy it all!"

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
öööö - epic twin stick battle carnage 

"don't forget the Wip3out either..."

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Darkmatters Review: Now You See Me

Now You See Me (12a)

Dir. Louis Leterrier

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“First rule of magic: always be the smartest person in the room.”

What if four street magicians – each with their own set of skills came together to form a ‘super group’ called The Four Horsemen -performing jaw-dropping impossible crimes as part of their show? And rather than keeping the money for themselves – they rain it down on the audience, becoming very very popular in the process!

The team are: Hotshot rising star J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), his former assistant turned escape artist Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), con artist Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), and mentalist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson). They each get a mysterious invitation from a multi-millionaire insurance guru Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) who offers to bankroll the Horsemen on a national series of high-profile gigs.

"the new UK bondage diving team practice session?"

Up against them are a joint FBI and Interpol team headed up by Agents Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent) plus professional magic debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman).

But with the Horsemen seemingly able to pull off incredible feats of teleportation, mind control and other unfeasible acts – is this just a clever use of power of deception – or are there more arcane forces at work?

"4 amazing magicians. 3 impossible heists. 1 billion dollars. This is no illusion."

The magic is the main star of this show – thanks in no small amount to the wonder of CGI special effects, these guys can pull of tricks that would make Derren Brown and Dynamo jealous… Director Louis ‘The Transporter’ Leterrier delivers a fast paced and fun magical spin on the heist-em-up and he adds some cool more traditional action scenes including a nail biting car chase to the mix.

"look at the size of my bubbles"

Quite why the four magicians are prepared to risk everything by committing such audacious crimes in the full gaze of the public eye is at the crux of the film. Could it be that a fabled secret society of magicians called "The Eye" are somehow involved – and how does the death of magician 18 years ago fit into the crimes being carried out?

Now You See Me works for a wide range of audiences too – I took my sons aged 12 and 16 who were both impressed with the razzle-dazzle / sleight of hand on show. It might not go down in the cinematic annuals as a classic but if you want a disposable whiz-bang big scale magic show / crime caper – catch it before it disappears from your local cinema…

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


(4 - Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see)...

Awesomeness öööö – big screen magic delivers

Laughs ööö –  some comic touches

Horror ö – more tense than grim

Babes ööö – Fisher is still hot

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – don't believe everything you see

"Isla magician assistant"

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Darkmatters Review: The Internship

The Internship (12a)

Dir. Shawn Levy

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

"We’re looking at some sort of mental “Hunger Games” against a bunch of genius kids for just a handful of jobs."

It's tough out there trying to find good job at the moment – and harder still if you’re not a hotshot young graduate… So meet Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) old school salesmen whose careers have been cut short by the fact that ‘everyone buys online’. In a bid to prove they are not obsolete, they defy the odds by talking their way into a coveted internship at high tech Google HQ…

Can these ex ‘Wedding Crashers’ cut through the battalion of brilliant college students and bag the job against some of the most elite, tech-savvy young geniuses?

"big brother is watching"

Director Shawn Levy brings a lot of funnies to this warm-hearted buddy comedy which takes place mostly inside Google's Silicon Valley headquarters – and which serves as a pretty awesome advert for the company in the process!?

Vaughn and Wilson deliver convincing chemistry as the pair of lifelong pals and their rapport is infectious, plus the material really works in their favour as the film charts the divide between Billy and Nick and their younger teammates.

Interested in an internship at Google – here’s a few questions to try (just answer yes or no):

Having a drink with you boss?

Taking food home from work?

Dating a co-worker?

If you answer ‘yes’ (as Billy and Nick do) to any of the questions – you might not have the ‘Googliness’ which the company is looking for. But maybe the older guys are exactly what Google need to combat the rampant uptightness?

"Yes they play 'real life' Quidditch!"

Packed with 80’s film references and a solid work ethic ethos – The Internship is a rare gem of a comedy that is really funny and doesn’t have to swear or be overly crude all the time…

This is an Internship you really should apply for!

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


(4 - Nothing ruins a party like the end of the world!)...

Awesomeness öööö – funny and joyful scenes abound

Laughs öööö –  good times

Horror ö – not too nasty

Babes ööö – Byrne as the teacher who pole dances is just wow

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö – generations can resource each other


Enter the Darkmatters competition here

Check The Internship facebook page here

Rose Byrne

Monday, July 01, 2013

Darkmatters The Internship - COMPETITION

Darkmatters The INTERNSHIP competition...

Matt Adcock wants to help you find work - or at least win cool stuff!?

"this could be yours!"

How to enter: simply email cleric20@outlook.com with your perfect Internship - winners will be drawn at the editor's discretion on 12 July!!

Mini table tennis sets, USB sticks (Rubick's Cube style), Internship bags and t-shirts to be won!!

Better answers = more goodies!!

Be sure to check the Darkmatters review of The Internship too... HERE

" We’re looking at some sort of mental “Hunger Games” against 
 a bunch of genius kids for just a handful of jobs."