DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Friday, December 19, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Exodus God and Kings

Exodus: Gods and Kings (12a)

Dir. Ridley Scott

Cast: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, Maria Valverde, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Isaac Andrews

Reviewed by Matt 'Believer' Adcock

“The Hebrews have been slaves to Egypt for over 400 years. They have not forgotten their homeland or their God…

…and He has not forgotten them.”

"are we too late for the Battle of the Five armies?"

First things first. Biblical epics these days just don't come any bigger or more epic than Ridley Scott's full-blooded Exodus-em-up. Bringing the well-worn Old Testament Sunday school favourite of Moses and Pharaoh, the 10 plagues, the infamous crossing of the Red Sea and the creation of the Ten Commandments to the big screen in lavish style and with eye-popping special effects.

Prepared to be challenged, disturbed even, as Moses (Christian Bale) wrestles with the mind of God, shoulders the fate of an entire nation and struggles with the rivalry of his powerful stepbrother Ramses (Joel Edgerton).

Director Scott is no newcomer to the historical epic with Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven on his C.V. but with Exodus he gets to go ‘full bible’ for the first time, but this is a heart-pounding massive scale retelling.

"things are going to get very wet..."

So saddle up for violent, intense desert army battles that will make your jaw drop as chariots crash, limbs are severed and lives lost, then feel the grim oppressive slavery of the Hebrews in their bondage to Egypt. This high drama and spectacle is set against the very personal brotherly tale as Moses and Ramses clash.

God is controversially depicted as a young boy referred to as ‘Malak’ (played by 11 year old Isaac Andrews), who only begins to appear to Moses after he suffers a nasty blow to the head – so his state of mind is called into question, much like Noah in Darren Aronofsky’s movie. Sure there is a burning bush on the side too – which might appease some biblical purists but it does seem that Ridley Scott wants to keep a handy ‘it was all in his head’ get out clause in case anyone claim that he’s actually found God for himself.

Malak acts in a petulant and unpredictable manner – which is in keeping with some people’s take on the Lord of the Old Testament’s jealous, vengeful nature. But He is the God who works through miraculous plagues to deliver His people – who are led by a council of elders that includes Nun (Ben Kingsley).

"I'm Batman"

Bale often employs his Batman persona to bring out Moses’ inner freedom fighter – the obligatory training montage of his guerrilla army feels old school, but does help prevent the film lagging too much and the plot cracks along from one stunning set piece to the next.

Moses finds his love interest in shepherdess wife Zipporah (Maria Valverde) who is instrumental in helping him find the God of the Hebrews. Other characters on hand (but under used) include Aaron (Andrew Barclay Tarbet), who is mostly just there to back up whatever Moses says and Joshua (Aaron Paul) who doesn’t get a single memorable moment.

It’s the plagues though that steal the show and for the first few at least the Egyptian advisors manage to explain semi-scientifically: the Nile ‘turns to blood’ when it is stirred up by a host of flesh hungry crocodiles, the water being bad means the frogs leave the river, they die and rot creating thousands of flies who bite leaving boils… The freak weather hailstones is harder to explain and as for the darkness / Passover angel of death – there just aren’t answers. God’s wrath is certainly writ large and the pain caused on the hardhearted Ramses is tangible.

"tell me Moses, do you really not like my eyeliner?"

Overall Exodus: Gods and Kings is a staggering film, full of epic scenes which deserve to be seen on the biggest screen you can find.

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


(4.5 - The power of God hits the big screen - hard)...

Awesomeness öööö – Chariots, plagues, tsunamis and redemption writ large

Laughs öö – Not really funny unless you pretend Bale is still Batman

Horror ööö – Some violence and a disturbing plague (last one in particular)

Babes ööö – Maria Valverde has wonderful eyes

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö – God is there to be wrestled with!?

Hashtag: #OneTrueGod

Extra thinking material...

At one point God challenges Moses saying: “You don’t always agree with me?” and he responds by saying that he wants no part in endorsing the further plagues but God continues to amp up the destruction anyway. It is fascinating to be reminded that God wants to dialogue with man, even if we are conflicted in our responses to Him. Filmmaker Scott, who is a self-professed agnostic, has managed to create a film that will cause many people to think again about God. And potentially challenge us all to look more deeply into the story of Moses and the Exodus.

Bonus - Exodus resources available:

If you’re of a Christian  interested in getting some free resources about the film – you should check: http://www.damaris.org.uk/exodus where the cool team at Damaris have created various media, notes and tools that you can access.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Darkmatters Top 10 Films of 2014

Top films of 2014

This year has been decent for cinematic viewing - and here are the (in my view) the ten best films to grace the big screen - so from 10 to 1 here they are... (also read on below for the amazing Tom Wade's alternative top 10 with additional 'just outside films too' !?)

10. Exodus: Gods and Kings
Biblical epics don't come any bigger or more epic than Ridley Scott's Exodus-em-up. Big screen plagues will disturb and make you think about the mind of God, heart-pounding massive scale chariot battles will make your jaw drop and Batman Bale as Moses shows you that the Almighty can work through dangerously unhinged individuals... Even out 'bibles' the spectacular Noah by a margin.

9. The Double
"I don't know how to be myself. It's like I'm permanently outside myself. Like, like you could push your hands straight through me if you wanted to. And I can see the type of man I want to be versus the type of man I actually am and I know that I'm doing it but I'm incapable of what needs to be done..." Richard Ayoade brings a playful edge to Fyodor Dostoevsky's brilliantly brain melting mystery.

8.  The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson unleashes the madcap adventures of Gustave H, legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. So mental, so funny and utterly beguiling, this is a marmite flick but I was in a state of over-excitement throughout!

7. The Wolf of Wall Street
A dirty, frantic and crazed epic from Martin Scorsese, which brings laugh-out-loud black comedy of the darkest kind along with an overdose of seriously dubious morals. This isn’t as nasty as Goodfellas or Casino but it does form the final part of his loosely theme linked trilogy. Highly entertaining and exquisitely made, boasting a AAA cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio on dazzling form as Jordan Belfort.

6. Chef
Reconciliation and redemption expressed through the art of food moved, inspired and motivated me to be a better father to my boys as a direct result of seeing this. Overall Chef is a excellent, feel good comedy that works on many levels, just be sure not to go on an empty stomach as you could well be drooling long before the credits roll.

5. Her
Director Spike ‘Being John Malkovich’ Jonze delivers something truly amazing with ‘Her’ – downloading the top 8 matches for you:
- a unnervingly powerful drama
- a laugh-out-loud comedy
- a make you cry tragedy
- a spiritually charged exploration of humanity
- a techno-future cyber sci-fi
- a haunting exploration of loneliness
- a delve into the inner workings of relationships
- a love letter to love itself…

4. NightCrawler
Nothing can adequately prepare you for the dark heart that throbs throughout this film. Not for the faint of heart, there are disturbing scenes and violence and adult themes throughout but if looking for a powerful thriller that will blow you away, there isn’t anything else out there like this. I can honestly say that the climactic 20 minutes of Nightcrawler are potentially the tensest I’ve experienced, I left the cinema with sweaty palms and a grin on my face.

3. Interstellar 
The real ‘stars’ of the show are the stars themselves, well, stars, planets, space vistas and black hole event horizons. The visuals conjured up here are some of the most impressive ever to hit the big screen – and should be seen at the largest (IMAX if possible) cinema you can find. Plus props to my favourite character – TARS (voiced by Bill Irwin) - a marine robot who packs lots of handy functions and a gleefully sarcastic humour setting. It is TARS that comes out with lots of the film’s best lines.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy
“I come from Earth, a planet of outlaws. My name is Peter Quill. There's one other name you may know me by. ‘Star-Lord’.” An insanely fun and highly entertaining two-hours which every comic book fan on the planet needs to see. It’s really rare that a film lives up to the hype but Guardians of the Galaxy sets new standards for superhero-em-up adventures – and is destined for immediate cult-classic status.

1. Boyhood
Distilled adolescence in the form of a road trips and family dinners, birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent - there is just so much to BoyHood – laughs, pain, romance and grief which you’ll get to empathize with and probably leave reminiscing over. Boyhood is something unique. A film that takes the everyday experiences of growing up and tracks one young man over 12 years, shooting scenes from each of his years from age 6 to 18. It’s an incredible feat of cinematography that will resonate with every parent on the planet and invoke memories of their childhood for every male.

Now read the eloquent and mostly awesome thoughts of @THINKWADE - who will hopefully be writing a bit more for Darkmatters in 2015! I endorse these 'films just outside both top tens':

The Edge of Tomorrow:
For some reason people pretend not to like Tom Cruise films - which is silly as he rarely makes a bad film. Edge of tomorrow is a great Groundhog Day style action film with some superb set pieces, laugh out loud moments and a terrific performance from Emily Blunt.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:
A sequel better than the original reboot? Amazing CGI with Oscar worthy Ape performances? Sweet.

Big monster stomps on a city and fights monsters. And there's characters you care about. Surprises all around.

X-Men Days of Future Past
An X-Man film that attempts to pretend a whole host of other X-Men films didn't ever happen. It largely succeeds - but what it most admirable is its sheer ambition.

The Raid 2
The Raid was awesome. The Raid 2 is more awesome. Yes some of the lengthy plot isn't welcome - but there's a whole host of fighting like you've never seen before. Like a lot of fighting.

Under The Skin
Scarlett Johansson delivers a creepy, unnerving performance that will leave you questioning what it is to be human for a long time afterwards.

The Guest
Trashy, blunt, formulaic - but those blue eyes are just too captivating to ignore.

May well restore your faith in God, loose your faith in people and then reverse that belief several times.

The Lego Movie
This proved that everything can be awesome.


10: 22 Jump Street
This shouldn't be appearing on a top ten list surely? But when it comes to best films, why ignore one that left you holding your sides due to so much laughter? Plus it has the best end of credits sequence - possibly ever.

9: Next Goal Wins
The only time I've ever shouted out in a cinema was during this film. A superb documentary following the worst football team in the world. I'm not ashamed to admit I shed a tear.

8: What we do in the Shadows
Flight of the Conchords looses the music but gains vampires. Deliriously daft and unbelievably amusing. This is what vampires needed to be cool again.

7: Nightcrawler
A terrific study into the modern ethics of broadcasting. Tense, brutal and unforgettable.

6: Interstellar
No film comes close to match the sheer visual feast that Interstellar creates. I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about the ending, but when witnessed in iMax it is eye-poppingly stunning. Nolan has ambition like no other. Plus the soundtrack is organ-tastic.

5: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson manages to turn Ralph Fiennes into a comedy genius. The usual Anderson quirk is on full force and continues his near faultless record of celebration worthy films.

4: Gone Girl
A film that you'll enjoy if you've read the book due to the knowledge of what's coming and one that you'll enjoy if you haven't read the book due to more plot and character twists than a double jointed Twister enthusiast. Nearly everyone involved is on a career high - well played Mr Fincher.

3: Guardians of the Galaxy
A film that everyone knows shouldn't work (a largely unknown Marvel comic - a talking raccoon, a walking tree, a WWE wrestler etc) but it's also unashamedly the most fun film of the year.

2: Her
Scarlett Johansson delivers another creepy, unnerving performance that will leave you questioning what it is to be human for a long time afterwards. Her is a breathtaking exploration of human emotion, artificial intelligence and what it means to be lonely and in love. A fantastically beautiful bleak vision of the future.

1: Boyhood
Who on earth would have the mad idea to film a group of people over 12 years, watching a boy grow up - but not make it a documentary - and instead create largely improvised, largely uneventful (in the Hollywood scale of eventful) moments with a group of normal people? Thankfully Richard Linklaker did and his creation is unlike anything that cinema has seen before and probably unlike anything we'll see again. The brilliance lies in drawing us in and making us reflect on our own childhood along the way - a stunning piece of art on what it means to grow up - and by far the best film of the year.

Read Darkmatters Top 10 Films of 2013 (also has Tom's top 15)

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (12a)

Dir. Peter Jackson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“You have but one question to answer: How shall this day end?”

The end of the beginning is here… Prepare for fiery death, sumptuous fantasy lore and high drama as Peter ‘Lord of The Rings’ Jackson brings his last Tolkien-em-up to the big screen.

"It's WAR!"

"Yep - the orcs are here to party"

"Elves win 'shinest armour' contest (again)"

It’s been a lavish big budget and reasonably satisfying ride – kicking off with the lightweight ‘An Unexpected Journey’ and following up with last year’s Dragon-tastic ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ – here we have the conclusion which packs a handy plot synopsis in its title as the ‘Battle of the Five Armies’ takes centre stage.

Kicking off straight away from the end of the last film we get to see the fearsome dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) bring hot destruction to the poor people of Lake Town. But no sooner has the (plot spoiler) big lizard been vanquished by strapping heroic Bard (Luke Evans) – then all kinds of chaos breaks out as the lust for his now ownerless dragon hoard of gold attracts many interested parties. First up the dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), the humans with Bard as their main man, the fabulous elves under the command of Thranduil (Lee Pace) and lets not forget to mention the dastardly orcs who have the grievous Azog who comes to wipe out all the rest…

OK that’s four armies right there, so throw in some air support eagles led by wizardy Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy) and we’re game on for over an hour of impressive CGI total carnage.

"Hey - we're the stars!"

Also caught up in the violent melee are obviously titular hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman – who really nails this role here), fan favourite Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan) foxy battle elf Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) – who is in forbidden love with one of the dwarves!? Plus Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Saruman (Christopher Lee) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) – it’s like a huge LOTR pre-party!

Everything crackles with nerdy Tolkien attention to detail, the orcs are nastier than ever, the fights more violent and the peril ramped up as high as it can be (cos as this is prequel land we know whose definitely gonna make it).

Sadly ‘Battle’ still suffers from the same shallowness that has haunted all the Hobbit films when compared to the masterful ‘actual’ Lord of The Rings trilogy. But there is a ton to love here and if you’ve taken the hobbit journey so far – you’ll need to see it through to the satisfying end!

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


(4 - maybe not 'defining' but certainly 'worth seeing' chapter)...

Awesomeness öööö – Fantasy battles don't come much bigger (or better)

Laughs öö – Less funnies

Horror ööö – Slightly nastier orcs / more violence

Babes ööö – Evangeline Lilly looks great in elf ears

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – the road goes on forever but has to end...

Hashtag: #FiveArmiesAteMyHobbit

"My what large ears you have..."

Read Darkmatters review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Read Darkmatters review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Monday, December 08, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Get Santa

Get Santa (U)

Dir. Christopher Smith

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the Newspaper version of this review: The Berkhamsted Gazette

We have breaking news that just days before Christmas there are several reindeer running loose through the streets of London.

Reports are not entirely clear but it seems that Santa Himself (Jim Broadbent) may have crash-landed in the capitol city while test-driving his new sleigh – and has potentially been arrested – which could be very bad news for the children of the world getting presents this year…

This is the fun scenario of Get Santa (not in any way a festive sequel to Get Carter) from British director Christopher ‘Severance’ Smith. Get Santa sees young Tom (newcomer Kit Connor) excited to have his father Steve (Rafe Spall) released from prison where he’s been serving time for being a getaway driver. Santa has picked this broken family to help him get back to Lapland and save Christmas but can Steve and Tom break him out of jail, find his reindeer and get the magic sleigh running again?

"not cliched or anything!"

Director Smith has a track record for making genuinely creepy horror films such as Black Death. Severance, and Triangle so it is a bit of a departure for him to be creating a family friendly ‘feel-good-em-up’. He’s aided by having Ridley Scott on production duties (obviously a Seasonal side project to his new biblical epic Exodus).

Get Santa manages to tick the boxes of being a fun Christmas comedy that is actually funny, and not too slushily sentimental. The biggest laughs for me came from seeing Santa trying to adapt to life on the inside, acting tough with his beard and hair in cornrows. The kids in the showing that I checked this out however were in fits of giggles when the reindeer use loud farts to communicate with the heroes and seeing Santa use a reindeer ‘poo’ gun to disable police cars in a madcap car chase.

"not to be confused with dance sensation 'Moose Loose'"

There’s a real ‘British’ feel to the whole thing and for once that doesn’t mean ‘cheap’ or ‘not up to Hollywood standards’. The cast which includes Stephen Graham, Warwick Davies and Jodie Whittaker all work hard and keep the action moving nicely – the film keeps a good balance of slapstick throw away humour and heartfelt life lessons about father / son bonding.

Get Santa is a decent bet for some Christmas cinematic fun, it may not be remembered as a classic but is you channel your Festive Spirit this will keep the whole family amused.

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


(3 - Ho ho ho, Santa fun for all)

Awesomeness ööö – Prison scenes are mirthingly great

Laughs öööö – Laugh you tinkly bells off

Horror ö – very limited nastiness

Babes öö – Jodie Whittaker makes a great wife!

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - engage your Christmas good cheer

Recommended Hashtags: #SantaBanter

"Get Santa Cast"

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Darkmatters Review: The Hunger Games Mockingjay pt1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (12a)

Dir. Francis Lawrence

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the newspaper version of this review at: The Luton News

As the hit ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’ by Lorde from the soundtrack says “This is the start, of how it all ends…” and it’s fitting because Mockingjay Part 1 is exactly that, the first part of the conclusion to the massively popular teen friendly near future dystopia-em-up…

Picking up immediately after The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, we join the plucky heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) who in the aftermath of the 75th Games has been whisked away to District 13 by the anti Capitol rebels led by Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and President Coin (Julianne Moore).

"The Mockingjay"

But rebellion doesn't come easy, especially as Katniss’ childhood friend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) was left behind, captured and is being used by evil Capitol President Snow (Donald Sutherland) to spread moral sapping propaganda messages.

What’s a girl to do? Well Katniss takes on being the rebels’ symbol of resistance – the Mockingjay – and inspire those sworn to take down the corrupt Capitol regime in planning just how they might fight for freedom for all the Districts.

As the Capitol begin to up the ante by blanket bombing District 13, the rebels strike back by knocking out one of the main hydro-electricity dams which disrupts power to their anti air defences and allows for a potential daring mission led by Katniss’ romantic interest Gale (Liam Hemsworth). As Katniss says: “I have a message for President Snow: If we burn, you burn with us!”

"Don't say 'Stormtroopers'"

So Mockingjay moves the action beyond the original Hunger Games, and replaces the life & death arena struggles with grittier bigger picture all out civil war. Having not read the books I was pleasantly surprised because I wasn’t looking forward to any more ‘games’ and was wondering where author Suzanne Collins’ was going to take the action.

With kick ass special effects, several nail-biting set pieces and an overall ramp up of tension, Mockingjay delivers not just an interesting political element but also a rousing human spirit adventure which is well worth checking out for fans of the books and sci-fi movie lovers too.

As this is only ‘Part 1’ the end of Mockingjay is left hanging meaning that viewers will have to come back and find out how it all ends.

"boo hiss"

And to pass the time it is well worth checking the soundtrack album which as well as Lorde has new tracks by Chvrches and Chemical Brothers.

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


(3.5 - Holding pattern till pt 2)

Awesomeness ööö – The rescue mission is the stand out scene

Laughs öö – not much

Horror öö – Capitol aren't friendly

Babes ööö – Lawrence wears good armour

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - values or propaganda?

Recommended Hashtags: #FireIsBrightInDarkness

"worth checking!"

"Mockingjay premier"

Darkmatters Review: The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game (12a)

Dir. Morten Tyldum

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”

Welcome to a powerful biopic of code breaking maths genius Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) – an incredible unsung war hero whose single-minded dedication to breaking the German Enigma code was a defining element of the Allied victory in World War 2.

"Boffins might just save us all!"

The Imitation Game dramatizes the ground-breaking work of Turing and his team which includes Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode), John Cairncross (Allen Leech) and Peter Hilton (Matthew Beard) at Bletchley Park. The plot is fleshed out with flashbacks to his awkward formative school days at Sherborn – young Turning played by Jack Bannon and his tragic final years after the war where he was the focus of a Police investigation.

Cumberbatch is absolutely superb in the lead role, and he is ably backed up Keira Knightley who plays Joan Clarke – Turing’s one time fiancé who also worked at Bletchley. There is a delicious warm chemistry between the two equally awkward logic lovers, which encompasses Turing’s sexuality and the issues that brings to his life. Also on hand are MI6 Major Stewart Menzies (Mark Strong) and Commander Alastair Denniston (Charles Dance) who play good cop / bad cop in regard to Turing’s expensive plans to build a machine that just might crack the Nazi code.

"Failure will lead to doom"

It’s not easy being a cryptanalyst though and Cumberbatch (who really should be getting an Oscar nod for his work here) captures the alienation of his existence in a believable and moving way. Credit must go to Director Morten Tyldum too though who keeps passages that could have been stilted - such as when the team wait for any sign that Turing’s machine might actually work - into a nail-biting race against time. Adding footage of Nazi bombing runs and battle progress across Europe helps highlight the urgency and human cost of the code-cracking mission and brings the achievement made into sharp focus.

I took my dear old mum to see this and she was impressed – this is a film that works across generations and is much better than the similarly themed Enigma from 2001.
The Imitation Game cracks along at a pleasing pace and delivers a quality tribute to Turing whose incredible legacy is one that has benefited the whole world.

"Stiff upper lips ahoy"

Go and check it out, history like this is worth investigating.

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


(4 - Worthy wartime thriller, that thrills!)

Awesomeness ööö – make code cracking, cracking at points

Laughs öö – limited mirth

Horror öö – Nazis are not nice

Babes ööö – Keira!

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Bravery beyond personal cost!

Recommended Hashtags: #TuringFTW

"saviour material"

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Interstellar

Interstellar (12a)

Dir. Christopher Nolan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.”

In the near future, things are going to get a bit grim for us humans on planet earth… We face an apocalypse of starvation thanks to the combined threats of crop blight and massive dust storms, which are robbing us of renewable agriculture and a viable future.

"day tripping"

Our last chance is to reach to the stars – to find a new planet that can support life and then somehow get us there – it’s a big ask. But step forward widower Cooper (Matthew ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ McConaughey) NASA test pilot and engineer turned farmer who is trying to make a living with his small family.

Cooper lives with his father-in-law Donald (John Lithgow), son Tom (Timothée Chalamet) and young daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) —who he calls "Murph." There is also the possibility that their farmhouse is haunted by a ‘ghost’, which seems to be trying to communicate them somehow through gravitational pull.

Don’t worry too much about the plot though; Director Christopher ‘Inception’ Nolan and his brother Jonathan who co-writes here go large on the sci-fi mind bending metaphysics. Sure there’s Gravity-alike space peril and a pulse pounding race against time but Interstellar goes above (literally) and beyond in all directions.

"He's behind you"

In fact Nolan boldly goes where filmmakers like Ridley Scott, Stanley Kubrick and James Cameron have gone before, bringing his own genius to the final frontier. Aided and abetted by having a ‘stellar’ cast which includes not just great work by McConaughey but also Matt Damon, Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine.

The human elements are core to the story but the real ‘stars’ of the show are the stars themselves, well, stars, planets, space vistas and black hole event horizons. The visuals conjured up here are some of the most impressive ever to hit the big screen – and should be seen at the largest (IMAX if possible) cinema you can find.

Oh and it wouldn’t be right not to mention my favourite character – TARS (voiced by Bill Irwin) - a marine robot who packs lots of handy functions and a gleefully sarcastic humour setting. It is TARS that comes out with lots of the film’s best lines and many references to other sci-fi films including 2001’s HAL 9000.

"great view"

Interstellar really deserves repeated viewings, remember, mankind's next step will be our greatest.

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


(5 - In space no-one can hear your jaw drop!)

Awesomeness ööööö – incredible sci-fi epic-ness

Laughs öööö – TARS is a stand up comic genius

Horror öö – mind stretching but not too grim

Babes ööö – Anne Hathaway looks good even with helmet hair

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - are we alone?

Recommended Hashtags: #ItsFullOfStars

"Space Cadet Anne Hathaway"

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler (15)

Dir. Dan Gilroy

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the Luton News version of this review: The Luton News

“My motto is, 'if you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy a ticket.'"

Hello there, I’m Nightcrawler, Lou (Jake Gyllenhaal) – no not the blue skinned teleporting X-man – but a freelance crime journalist. I’m the guy who gets to crime scenes and films as soon as possible after getting tipped off by my police scanner. If I can tape the gory details with my camcorder there’s a good chance I can sell them on to a TV news station.

"messy work"

Yes my methods are frowned upon by many people – I mean if you’re dying from a car crash or mugging attack, I'm sure the last thing you’ll want to see is my standing over you filming your final moments but everyone loves inside scoops on crimes and accidents don’t they?

At the moment I'm in a bit of a pickle, I hit the mother lode when I got to a home invasion-murder scene before the police. I even managed to capture footage of killers leaving the scene… so my life could be in danger but then again, I possibly might just be a hero here and bag the best ever ‘live crime footage’ into the bargain!?

Nightcrawler is the stunning debut film by Director Dan Gilroy and he has created an impressive pulse pounding terror ride that feels like a cross between American Psycho, Drive and Broadcast News. Gyllenhaal is just incredible in the lead role, a walking overdose of unhinged energy, manic determination and charismatic vigour.

"Psycho face"

Watching Lou get ever closer to the very crimes he is recording is truly unnerving and when the line between observer and participant begins to be crossed, all bets are off.

The rest of the cast that include Bill Paxton as a rival crime journalist, Riz Ahmed as Lou’s long suffering employee and Rene Russo as the TV broadcaster who buys Lou’s footage are all on top form too.

Nothing can adequately prepare you for the dark heart that throbs throughout this film. Not for the faint of heart, there are disturbing scenes and violence and adult themes throughout but if looking for a powerful thriller that will blow you away, there isn’t anything else out there like this.

"tools of the trade"

I can honestly say that the climactic 20 minutes of Nightcrawler are potentially the tensest I’ve experienced, I left the cinema with sweaty palms and a grin on my face.

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


(5 - The City Shines Brightest at Night)

Awesomeness ööööö – scary and compulsive, must see thrills

Laughs öööö – deranged dark humour

Horror öööö – nasty and gory in places

Babes ööö – Russo is still hot

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - the human soul can be a place of darkness

Recommended Hashtags: #NightcrawlerDarker

Russo in her 'iconic' days

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Darkmatters Review: FURY

Fury (15)

Dir. David Ayer

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the newspaper version of this review at: The Luton News

“Here's a Bible verse I think about sometimes. Many times. It goes: And I heard the voice of Lord saying: Whom shall I send and who will go for Us? And... I said: Here am I, send me…” 
Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan

It’s April 1945 and the Allies are making their final push into Germany pushing through unprecedented fierce resistance after Hitler declares ‘total war’ where every man, woman and child must fight to the end.

Meet battle-hardened U.S. sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt) who commands a Sherman tank nicknamed ‘FURY’ with a five-man crew: Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia (Michael Pena), Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis (Jon Bernthal) and fresh to the battle Norman ‘Machine’ Ellison (Logan Lerman).

"tank overcrowding"

The FURY crew are dispatched alongside several other tanks on a deadly mission behind enemy lines to take and hold a key crossroads in order to try and prevent a force of 300 odd SS Nazis breaking the allied supply lines to the front.

Needless to say, things don’t go to plan and before you can say ‘last tank stand’ the heroic FURY crew find themselves impossibly out-numbered and out-gunned on all sides.

Director David ‘End of Watch’ Ayer delivers an epic valour drenched tale that will stand as a classic war movie up there with Saving Private Ryan and A Bridge Too Far. It is bit unnerving though that this director can be responsible for both this staggering master-piece and the truly terrible Arnie vehicle ‘Sabotage’ within a year of each other!?

"light em up"

FURY is an incredible, draining, thrilling and horrifying exposition of a terrible period in our history – viewed authentically through the eyes of the tank crew who we get to know and experience the full force of the emotional rollercoaster of such extreme circumstances.

Brad Pitt is excellent in the lead role, and he is superbly supported by the other four men who he shares the cramped confines of the tank with, each brings their own personality effectively to the screen. This makes us care all the more when the crew are thrown into a desperate fight to the finish.

The battle action is breathtakingly ferocious. The sight of FURY with literally every gun blazing is likely to be one that you will never forget. In fact there are many iconic scenes that elevate this far above any standard military drama.

FURY is a must see tribute to the brave men who fought and died for our freedom.

"Pitt ' furious'"

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


(4.5 - Ideals are peaceful. History is violent)

Awesomeness ööööö – unforgettable battle scenes and male bonding

Laughs öö – limited mirth

Horror öööö – War is hell

Babes ööö – Alicia von Rittberg makes a yummy Kraut

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Heroism changes history

Recommended Hashtags: #BattleFURY

"Alicia von Rittberg"

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