DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Atomic Blonde



Atomic Blonde (15)

Dir. David Leitch

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Observer

“I chose this life, and someday it’s going to get me killed. But not today…”

In the mood for some stylish violent spy action?

Good, you’ve come to the right place…

It’s 1989, just before the end of the Cold War and the Berlin Wall coming down. Top MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Theron) must use her expert killing skills to recover a leaked list of operatives which could wipe out most of the agents in the field.

Based on a graphic novel called ‘The Coldest City’, Director David ‘John Wick’ Leitch brings some of the most brutal and exciting spy-em-up action for years to the big screen and Theron is an absolute force of nature kick ass in fine style.

'Kicking ass'

Fuelled by a fast paced twisty plot which sees a Russian killer trying to sell the list of agents whilst both East and West try to recover it for themselves – by eliminating anyone in the way. Lorraine – who is the Atomic Blonde of the title – teams up with British Station Chief David Percival (James ‘Split’ McAvoy) in order to find out who stole the list and killed her friend in the process. However the two do not know if they can actually trust each other which makes for a dangerous game.

Also on hand is foxy French agent Delphine Lasalle (Sofia ‘Kingsman’ Boutella) who takes a bit of shine to Lorraine but again – despite the two becoming lovers - can anyone actually be trusted in the Cold War paranoia?

'Making friends'

Quality support is also on hand from John Goodman and Toby Jones who are the US and UK debriefing team tasked with finding out exactly what happened in Berlin and just why the body count is so large…

Everything about Atomic Blonde is super stylish, and the ‘80s music soundtrack is just superb – from the second New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ kicks in at the start through to use of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Depeche Mode with one of my all time favs ‘Behind the Wheel’.

'Truth or lies?'

If you want to quibble you could complain about the bad language or the amount of time the females spend in their underwear but overall this is a very strong new potential action franchise.

The action is frenetic and crunching – think John Wick at his best but female and every bit as cool… Theron has created a girl power action icon in Atomic Blonde – let’s hope there is a sequel!

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

ööööö

(5 - Tasty action violence spy thrills - delivered in style)

Awesomeness ööööö – Some incredible action

Laughs ööö – Darkly comic

Horror ööö – Gets bit grim in places and lots of death

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Blondes do have souls

Darkmatters Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets


Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (12a)

Dir. Luc Besson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: BOSTON HERALD

“After centuries of peace and prosperity, an unknown force wants to destroy all we have created…”

This summer’s latest big space based adventure is brought to us by director Luc ‘The Fifth Element’ Besson, who has made some classic films like ‘Leon: The Professional’ but also some pretty terrible efforts such as ‘Lucy’.

'City of blinding lights / 1000 planets'

Based on a French comic book series set in the 28th century, the plot sees hotshot heroes Major Valerian (Dane ‘Chronicle’ DeHaan) and Sergeant Laureline (Cara ‘Suicide Squad’ Delevingne) as a team of special operatives charged with maintaining order throughout the human territories of the galaxy.

When the Galactic Minister of Defense send the two on a mission to the city (of a thousand planets) called Alpha - an ever-expanding metropolis where species from all over the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge and live together – a dangerous mystery unfolds…

'Shape shifting'

If you like your sci-fi of the eye-popping, wildly creative kind then Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets will blow you away. There are so many ideas hitting the screen and such a diversity of alien culture, all brought to vivid life through some of this year’s best special effect that you’ll likely be overwhelmed. Think Star Wars prequels but more exciting and richer in imagination.

'Your designated heroes'

If you like your plots ordered and your acting decent though then you may be left wanting as this is a film that rolls along on a wild rollercoaster of cool set pieces loosely tied together by some dodgy narrative. DeHaan and Delevingne look good but their banter feels a bit forced and despite rocking some kick ass space armour, they are unlikely to become cult icons.

So, Valerian and Laureline race around getting into fights and risking everything to try and identify the dark plan which threatens not just Alpha, but the future of the universe. Along the way there is mixed support from Clive Owen as ‘Commander Arun Filitt’ and Ethan Hawke as ‘Jolly the Pimp’ but the most memorable performance comes from pop star Rihanna as ‘Bubble. Yes, it seems that an alien who can transform into anything chooses to make a living as a Rihanna pole dancing tribute circa her Umbrella look – and why wouldn’t they?

'R and R in VR'

Overall Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets delivers a good time for those looking for some out of this world entertainment. And if you enjoy it there are several sequels being planned already!?

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

öööö

(4 - In space, no-one can hear your jaw drop)

Awesomeness öööö – Strong set pieces and crazy imagination at play

Laughs ööö – Some laughs and comic relief

Horror öö – Not too nasty but some violence

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Galactic heroes required

Monday, July 24, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Dunkirk




Dunkirk (12a)

Dir. Christopher Nolan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“You can practically see it from here… Home”

Strong hearts are required for Christopher ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’ Nolan’s homage to and reverent retelling of the desperate evacuation of the Allied forces who found themselves cut off, surrounded and hunted by the German army. With roughly 400,000 men stuck on the beaches of Dunkirk in France, under constant attack from German planes and with very limited access for ships to land and pick them up – the situation was dire.

The sheer hopelessness of the Allies' position is tangible as the viewers are thrown straight into the plight of young Tommy (excellent newcomer Fionn Whitehead). As his squad are mown down – he finds himself alone and daunted when he makes it to the beach only to find thousands of men queuing for to take their chance on a ship – most of which are picked off by enemy U-boats and aircraft before they get far…

"desperation..."

Tommy comes across private, Gibson (Aneurin Barnard), and together they try to find a way off the beach. Their story is just one of the 3 main perspectives from which the historic tale is told – the others being a small civilian boat whose crew answer the call to try and get across the channel and help to pick up the soldiers and the brave attempts of the RAF Spitfire pilots to try and keep the German planes at bay.

Told in a powerful non-chronological order, the non-linear plotting keeps you guessing at the intensity of the events unfolding before you – who (if anyone) will make it off the beach and what will be left of them physically and mentally…

"Bravey"

The film making is of the highest order, some of the cinematic shots will stay with you for the rest of your life and they are made even more powerful by an incredible score from Hans Zimmer which encompasses heartbeats, stop watches and the screech of machinery.

I had the honour of watching this a few seats away from an actual Dunkirk survivor who was in his nineties. He cried throughout the film and I can’t imagine what it must have been like to experience the fear, confusion and utter turmoil of these desperate events brought back so vividly.

It slammed home that this wasn’t a dramatic plot dreamt up to thrill audiences but rather a terrible reminder of a time when hell came to earth and thousands of men lost their lives.

"The best of the best"

No one character carries this film – sure there are Harry Styles and Tom Hardy on hand but everyone does their part in fine style – without show boating or glorifying the situation.

This is a must see cinematic event – we will not forget those who died for our freedom…

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

ööööö

(5 - A staggering, heartbreaking and noble endeavor)

Awesomeness ööööö – Fear and Heroics can be the same thing...

Laughs ö – A few jokes amongst the grimness

Horror öööö – Strong death, horror, and threat - pushes a 12a cert

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Bravery transcends humanity

Friday, July 07, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Spiderman Homecoming


Spider-Man: Homecoming (12a)

Dir. Jon Watts

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Observer

“Can't you just be a friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man?”

Spider sense tingling… Here it is then – Spider-Man is back (for the 3rd incarnation in just over 15 years) and this time Spidey follows up his scene-stealing antics in Captain America: Civil War by cementing his place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and getting to play again with the Avengers.

Everything about Spider-Man: Homecoming feels ‘right’. Tom Holland brings real heart to the role of Peter Parker, he’s young, fun and gutsy – channelling the eagerness to impress his new super pals - especially his mentor Iron Man himself (Robert Downey, Jr).

"here to help"

Being a teenage superhero isn’t easy though as we’ve learned from films such as Kick Ass, and trying to find love can make things even more complicated – so when his fellow quiz team member Liz (Laura Harrier) catches his heart it’s like watching a super powered John Hughes film…

Director Jon ‘Cop Car’ Watts does a great job of mixing plenty of exciting action with the romance and coming-of-age teenage angst backdrop. Adding Tony Stark to the mix ups the ante as the new Spider Suit comes packing A.I. and all sorts of tech enhancements.

"your mentor is watching"

Baddie of the piece this time is the Vulture (Michael Keaton) a man who feels deeply wronged by Stark Industries and who creates high-powered weapons plus his winged mech suit from alien tech left over from the battle the Avengers had with Chitauri. Keaton is excellent and makes what could have been a laughable supervillain into a fleshed-out menace who is a believable threat.

It’s a joy to watch this new wall-crawler learning to use his suit and powers, egged on by his nerdy pal Ned (a winning supporting role from Jacob Batalon). There are some jaw-dropping scenes and some excellent Easter Eggs for comic book fans to pick up – which will please long term fans and shows the writers respect their fan base.

"the Vulture strikes"

The mentor/mentee relationship between Iron Man and Spider-Man will also resonate with anyone who ever had someone look out for them, provide some wisdom and support. It gives the film an emotional core and bridges Spidey’s transition into becoming an Avenger in one fell swoop.

This is a Homecoming that everyone should witness, it looks great in IMAX and even the 3D adds effectively to the super spectacle. It’s good to have Spider-Man home in the Marvel universe!

"top of the world Ma!"

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

ööööö

(5 - Spidey blasts back in fine style)

Awesomeness ööööö – Excellent super fun and real heart

Laughs ööö – Very funny too

Horror öö – Some serious threat but nothing too grim

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Does whatever a spider can!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Baby Driver


Baby Driver (15)

Dir. Edgar Wright

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: HERE

“I don't think I need to give you the speech about what would happen if you say no, how I could break your legs and kill everyone you love because you already know that, don't you?”

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines and prepare for a wholly original new take on the well worn (and loved) heist getaway driver thriller – with added music soundtrack to every scene.

"They call, I go"

Baby Driver is a true romance tale, violent, funny and very cool, imagine Drive mixed with La La Land – so buckle up for super charged (non CGI) car chases, bank heist action and criminal capers all wrapped around a sweet boy meets girl core.

Meet Baby (Ansel ‘Carrie’ Elgort) – a simple young chap who has tinnitus so has to constantly listen to music on an old school iPod after an accident as a child – which also orphaned him. He has incredible driving skills though which he is coerced to use for dangerous crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey), in order to pay off a debt but his dreams of escape are heightened when he falls for innocent kindred spirit Debora (Lily James).

"High speed anitcs"

Along the way Baby crosses paths with various criminal elements who include the unhinged Bats (Jamie Foxx) who tends to shoot first and leaves a trail of dead in his wake, the ice cold psycho Buddy (Jon Hamm) and his foxy girlfriend / partner in crime Darling (Elza González).

When not driving Baby lives with and cares for his almost blind adoptive guardian and diligently saves his meagre cut of the ill gotten gains that Doc allows him to keep. But getting out of his criminal life wont be easy (or safe) and so it transpires as the plot accelerates to a violent, crunching showdown.

"Like a Twin Peaks diner"

All the cast do a great job, making the cracking dialogue pop and bring their characters to fully formed life. The cars are supremely cool and threaten to steal the show but Elgort is the stand out star here – delivering an iconic performance that should open the door for more leading man roles. Oh and the soundtrack is absolutely killer too.

Director Edgar ‘Hot Fuzz’ Wright makes all the right moves and delivers an exciting, fast-paced modern classic which immediately stands alongside the greats of the genre like Bullet, The Driver and Drive.

"No-one gets away clean"

Baby Driver is a full throttle endorphin rush that really should be seen on the big screen. Highly recommended!

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

ööööö

(5 - High octane musical heist thrills )

Awesomeness öööö – Some unforgettable scenes

Laughs ööö – Not a comedy but funny in places

Horror ööö – Nasty in places

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Strangely heroic souls FTW

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Transformers The Last Knight



Transformers: The Last Knight (12a)

Dir. Michael Bay

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“It has been said throughout the ages, that there can be no victory, without sacrifice.”

Humankind – we are in danger… We are at war with the Transformers and the main metal champion who fought our corner - Optimus Prime - is AWOL. It seems that the key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth – doesn’t sound very hopeful does it?

Here it is then Michael Bay’s latest full metal assault on cinema goers – a technical marvel, blessed with some jaw-dropping special effects, a decent enough cast including Anthony Hopkins and Mark Wahlberg and a killer script, wait, scratch that last one. The Last Knight isn’t so much a coherent film, rather an extended collection of almost random and pretty incomprehensible scenes thrown together.

"sword play"

Kicking off in 484 AD, during the Dark Ages of England, King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) leads his knights into battle which they are in danger of losing until good ol wizard, Merlin (Stanley Tucci) gets an alien staff from the Knights of Cybertron who then transform into a three-headed dragon, Dragonstorm, and win the day for Arthur. This is probably the highlight of the film and as a stand alone short film would be have been fine.

The Transformers history lesson continues with things like the cool yellow Autobot Bumblebee fighting for the Allies in World War II… It really feels like anyone on the production team who had an idea just threw it in there…

"the BBQ got a bit out of hand"

So it’s little surprise the main action is around the staff Merlin used at the beginning – both the Autobots and baddie Deceptacons want it and the humans need the good guys to secure it of we’re all doomed.

Female empowerment are two words I never thought I’d write in a review of Michael Bay movie but the main heroines being young mechanic Izabella (Isabela Moner) and Merlin’s last descendant Viviane (Laura Haddock), who at least is an Oxford Professor do their best in this tidal wave of testosterone and gasoline but end up being token females anyway.

On the plus side there are some kick ass robo battles including pitting some formal allies against each other and Bay can shoot a decent car chase even if the huge amounts of collateral damage feel a bit misjudged in the current climate of terrorist activity.

"Romance Bay Style"

For a full on burst of visual overstimulation Transformers: The Last Knight delivers but for anyone looking for decent film this will be a long dark ‘knight’ of the soul…

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

öö

(2 -Weakest Transformer yet)

Awesomeness öö – Occasional burst of cool robo action but not enough

Laughs ööö –You'll laugh but not 'at' rather than 'with'

Horror öö – Mildly scary

Spiritual Enlightenment -ööö - brain draining, soul killing

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Gifted


Gifted (12a)

Dir.  Marc Webb

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

 “He's a good person. He wanted me before I was smart.”

Mary (Mckenna Grace) is a special young girl, she might actually be a genius but her life isn’t easy. Adopted by her good hearted uncle Frank (Chris Evans) after her mother took her own life. Mary and Frank survive in run down accommodation along with their one eyed cat ‘Frank’ and friendly neighbor / landlady Roberta (Octavia Spencer). Life is good and they are happy together, until that is Mary starts school and is immediately identified as ‘gifted’.

Things get complicated when the school’s Headmistress alerts Frank's formidable British mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) who plans to send Mary away to a special school where her gifts can be explored fully. Also on the scene is Mary's teacher, Bonnie (Jenny Slate), who becomes romantically involved with Frank in the midst of his court battle to try and keep Mary.

"Caution - this film might make you want a daughter"

Gifted could have been a mushily sentimental parent-em-up but in the capable hands of Director Marc ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Webb the film fizzes with wit and fun as well as anguish and tension. The central relationship between Frank and Mary has winning real chemistry, Evans’ nonchalant wounded but sexy single surrogate dad is made more believable by Grace’s superb performance that balances precociousness with cutting insight and real heart. These are characters you can’t help but care about.

The payoff is in the custody battle where Evelyn does all she can to discredit Frank and force Mary into being the child prodigy that her own troubled daughter was. It’s moving stuff and is liable to keep you on the edge of your seat as Mary’s future hangs in the balance. The difficult issues of suicide, child welfare and single parenting are all noted but not dwelled upon – keeping the core of the film on Mary’s situation.

"tough times"

Along the way there are great moments as Frank and Mary ponder things like ‘is there a God’ whilst playing on a beach or take a speed boat out for a ‘test ride’ on Mary’s insistence – taking Frank the cat along for the trip. The gentle pace never sags and the ending packs a satisfying punch.

Gifted is a joyful film to watch, nicely shot and acted, and a welcome change of pace for viewers as the summer action blockbusters line up in the coming weeks.
Treat yourself to some gifted viewing!

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

öööö

(4 - Excellent feels for family )

Awesomeness ööö – Individual scenes shine but it all works

Laughs ööö – Some nice funnies

Horror ö – Emotionally traumatic in places

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Family isn't negotiable

Monday, June 12, 2017

Darkmatters Review: The Mummy


The Mummy (15)

Dir Alex Kurtzman

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters.”

All hail the new Dark Universe which launches with The Mummy – Universal Studio’s ambitious reboot of their classic monsters who will end up rubbing shoulders in one big shared cinematic crossover. Sounds exciting huh?

"Feel my sandy wrath"

Erm, alas you might want to lower your expectations based on The Mummy which sees recognisance expert soldier Nick Morton (Tom 'Edge of Tomorrow' Cruise), a guy who is partial to hunting for some illicit treasure whilst running and gunning around Iraq. Nick finds himself caught up in the plans of the ‘ultimate evil’ after he inadvertently reawakens nasty Egyptian princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) thanks to calling in a drone strike that reveals her tomb / prison.

The action kicks off with some nice set pieces but because you have Cruise in the lead role it does all feel a bit ‘sub-Mission Impossible’ and even ‘haven’t we seen this stuff before?’

"Cor blimey guv - I'm a scallywag"

It gets worse however once the writers start shoehorning in characters such as Dr. Jekyll / Mr Hyde (Russell Crowe) who couldn’t be less scary if he tried. The transformation between Jekyll and Hyde comes across more like a straight-laced scientist morphing into cockney-tastic Danny Dyer… There was laughter in the screening I was at and it wasn’t because of any of the limp jokes made but due to the sheer preposterousness of the plot.

Sofia Boutella however does all she can as the main baddie – and she looks the part thanks to the big budget effects - but even in her world destroying Mummy guise she never feels like a threat that can’t be beaten because it’s Tom Cruise up against her.

"The shuffling remains of the Dark Universe"

It’s tragic that a film with so much talent and budget can only deliver such average entertainment at best. The fact is that this feels poorly written and poorly thought through - or designed by a squabbling committee of execs - means that the end product lurches about from one unfeasible plot point to the next without making sense.

Also along the dispiriting ride are Jake Johnson who plays Nick’s soldier buddy Chris and Annabelle Wallis as Egyptologist Jenny Halsey who serves as an ex-love interest for Nick.

"You'll believe man (and woman) can fly"

To enjoy this new Mummy you’ll need to either be brave enough to overcome disappointment or just very easily pleased. They just don’t make em like they used to…

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

öö

(2 - I want my Mummy: to be better than this)

Awesomeness ööö – Occasional bursts of competence

Laughs öö –  Funny for the wrong reasons

Horror öö – Slightly nasty but not very scary

Spiritual Enlightenment 0 - Nothing to see here...

Friday, June 02, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Wonder Woman


Wonder Woman (12a)

Dir.  Patty Jenkins

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

 “I will fight, for those who cannot fight for themselves...”

Since a boy watching Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman on TV back in the ‘70s I’ve had a bit of a thing for Diana Prince – Princess of Themyscira. As a character Wonder Woman is both a potent symbol of female empowerment and a total babe… This big screen origins tale keeps both these elements in dynamic tension and in doing so manages to deliver a rip-roaring comic book adventure that kicks serious amounts of ass – proving that Diana is going to be a seriously valuable member of Justice League later this year.

"she's a wonder"

Hailing from an all-female Amazonian island, daughter of god Zeus, Diana (Gal Gadot) is the chosen one whose idyllic is disrupted when Allied spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands in the ocean before her very eyes. Upon discovering her first ever man, and reeling from his tales of the Great War against Germany, she steps up to try and save the world from the nefarious General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his evil scientist Isabel Maru – known as ‘Doctor Poison’ (Elena Anaya) who plan to win World War I with their new gas weaponry.

Gadol is superb in the lead role, her battle ready statuesque looks mixed with real heart and winning chemistry with Pine makes for compelling viewing. Diana is given a lot of chance to play havoc with the restrictions of being a woman in a ‘man’s world’, emasculating men who try and box her in and showing them what true valor looks like.

Director Patty Jenkins does a great job and brings some of the best superhero action scenes ever to the screen. The movie-stealing, iconic shot of Diana boldly advancing on the enemy lines through no man’s land under a hail of gunfire is a scene that deserves instant cult classic status.

"taking no prisoners"

The supporting cast includes David Thewlis as Ares, the baddie half-brother of Diana, Robin Wright as battle hardened Antiope - Diana's aunt and Lucy Davis as Etta Candy, Steve's secretary who gets most of the laughs.

The plot does include really emotional moments of the brutality of war which may disturb younger viewers but Wonder Woman is a positive film that will inspire females of all ages to stand up for themselves.

Wonder Woman fully lives up to her name – and delivers a must see for big screen adventure with wide appeal. Highly recommended!

"Kick butt and looks good doing it"


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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - Justice is back on track thanks to WW)

Awesomeness öööö – Awesome action and plenty of joy

Laughs ööö –  Good fun throughout

Horror öö – Comic book violence but some war horror

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Daughter of a god is here to save us!

"my original '70s WW"

Monday, May 29, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge



Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge (12a)

Dir Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“ The dead have taken command of the sea. They're searching for a girl, a Pearl, and a Sparrow!”

Yo-ho, yo-ho a pirate’s life for cinema viewers again – for the 5th time!?

Yes that loveable rascal Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is back and this time finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing on him even more strongly than in his previous sea-faring scrapes. It seems that a crew of deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), have escaped from the Devil's Triangle… Now every pirate at sea is a marked man and it’s not long before the pirate terminating baddies start to close in on Jack – aided by another of enemy Captain Barbossa (Geoffery Rush).

"ghost pirates ahoy"

What’s a rum sozzled pirate to do but try and find a mythical, all powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas… So the race is on to try and find the legendary Trident of Poseidon. That’s pretty much the plot.

Along the way Captain Jack teams up with Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), - son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) who is still languishing on the cursed Flying Dutchman and cool 'girl power' Carina Smith (Kaya Scodelario), a pretty astrologist and horologist who, due to her intelligence that scares the men around her is deemed to be a witch.

"she's no witch"

This new Pirates movie could have been a cash in but it's pleasing for fans to find that there has at least been some effort put in to make it tie up lots of loose plot points from the franchise so far… It works a lot better than the last instalment which I’ve already forgotten but there’s nothing here except for a superb opening bank heist that’ll be regarded as classic scenes in the Pirates world.

I caught this is 4DX and the sensations of being literally sprayed with waves, rolled in my seat on the high seas and blown by the gusts of storm winds really added to the fun. Without that extra stimulation it might all feel a little flat however. Also Depp’s Captain Jack has become a parody of himself – his perma-drunk status and unfunny jokes aren’t as fun as they used to be…

"zombie sharks are cool"

The good news is that series newcomer Scodelario stands out and steals all her scenes – she’s a much more believable heroine than the still lovely Keira Knightley (who pops up at one point for old times sake). Also really strong – but under used is Bardem who seems to be building a catalogue of iconic film villains.

"pocket sized pirate ships..."


All aboard for lightweight piratey fun then…

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

ööö

(3 - Decent in parts but no classic)

Awesomeness ööö – Almost gets awesome at times

Laughs öö –  The mirth is very hit and miss

Horror ööö – A bit scary and grim in places

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Limited

Monday, May 22, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Alien Covenant



Alien Covenant (15)

Dir. Ridley Scott

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“ Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair.”

In space, no-one can hear you sigh.

Alien Covenant is the 5th film in the classic sci-fi horror series and its events follow 10 years after the ill-fated Prometheus mission whose crew ran into hostile xenomorphs (as well as lots of ponderous semi-religious hokum).

"the final frontier"

This time we join plucky Ripley wannabe Daniels (Katherine ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’ Waterston) awakened many years early - Passengers style - from her hyper-sleep when the Covenant is hit by a solar flare. With the lives of the 2,000 colonists on board in jeopardy there is no time to at least be grateful that it’s a life endangering spaceship crisis rather than a creepy planned space date by Chris Pratt.

The crew who include Captain Oram (Billy ‘The Flash’ Crudup), Pilot Tennessee (Billy ‘Watchmen’ McBride), Sergeant Lope (Demián ‘The Nun’ Nájera), Sergeant Hallett (Nathaniel ‘Rush’ Dean) and synthetic Walter (Michael Fassbender) bicker and then decide to stop off and investigate a nearby ‘earth like’ planet rather than continue to their original long haul destination.

"I'm back!"

From then on it’s kinda Aliens business as usual as the crew discovers that the planet is home to the a range of acid blood, face hugging, people eating nasties. Director Ridley Scott amps up the action quotient and effectively throws in many alien series nods (they mostly come at night, the gestation cycle varies on the importance of the character, the crew must use unorthodox methods to try and battle the slimy foes) but there is very little that feels ‘new’.

It all looks cinematically stunning and the aliens look great, plus there are some very nasty deaths and inventively mean situations engineered. The main problem though is that the plot can’t help but become another ‘lets’ get off this planet’ escape-em-up and we’ve seen this before.

Waterston and Fassbender are both good, Fassbinder in particular gives his all and carries the movie through some dubious plot points that feel unnecessary. The rest of the crew are pretty interchangeable alien fodder though and don't even get any memorable lines.

"This time its war"

If this was the first Alien film released it would score better but it stands in the shadow of the original Alien (and Aliens) both of which are truly excellent, and doesn’t even have the distinct ‘feel’ of the other entries. So Covenant delivers a good but not great addition to a series which really needs a world-class revival next time or the series risks drifting off into space losing viewers in the process…

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

ööö

(3 - A near miss, good but not great)

Awesomeness ööö – A few (but not enough) quality scenes

Laughs öö –  Some banter but not really a 'fun' film

Horror öööö – Gets very icky and grim in places

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Mankind might be better off alone 

Review - King Arthur: The Legend of The Sword




King Arthur: The Legend of The Sword (12a)

Dir.  Guy Ritchie

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

 “I am here now because of you. You killed my family. You sharpened the blade. You created me.”

Cor-blimey if it isn’t that geezer King Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) – he’s a right royal sort, got a pretty nifty sword and a posse of pals… Yes, here’s the latest big-screen reboot of the Arthurian myth, from none other than Guy ‘Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels’ Ritchie.

"I'm the born King"

Kicking off with a handy flashback which shows nasty Uncle Vortigern (Jude ‘Spy’ Law) betray Arthur’s noble father - King Uther Pendragon (Eric ‘Lone Survivor’ Bana) - and orphan the poor young noble. Arthur is condemned to being brought up as a nobody in a brothel to escape his vicious usurper Uncle but thanks to a Rocky-like training montage with martial artist trainer George (Tom ‘Kick Ass 2’ Wu) he’s soon all grown up and adept at kicking butt.

Cue a tale of swords ‘n banter as the ‘true born King’ Arthur finds Excalibur, vows to avenge his family and possibly claim the throne for himself… Arthur is helped in his quest by one of his Father’s knights - Sir Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou), a beautiful mage (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey), plus his posse of Sir William "Goosefat Bill" (Aiden Gillen), Sir Tristan “Wet Stick” (Kingsley Ben-Adir), plus Backlack (Neil Maskell) and his son Blue (Bleu Landau). Can this rag tag bunch of rebels overthrow Vortigern’s evil empire and free the land from oppression?

"A 'mage'-ing"

So is this ‘Legend of the Sword’ actually any good? Ritchie brings his trademark quick cut narrative which he uses in his Sherlock films – its born out most effectively where Arthur talks through an entire negotiation in advance - rendering the actual plot development unnecessary. It’s quirky and unfortunately doesn’t fit well in the medieval setting – much better however are the brutal fight and battle scenes. When Arthur wields Excalibur, time slows down and bad guys die – end of…

There has a definite feel of being an origins tale – designed to kick off a franchise, it takes the much loved and multi-faceted legend, mixes up the mythos, playing fast and loose with it and delivers something entirely new. Jude Law is the weakest element (yes even with a David Beckham cameo) but Hunnam carries the film with his likeable charisma so all is not lost.

"Jude - do that 'boo hiss' face yeah"

This new King Arthur certainly won’t please purists and is no classic but for those looking for a creative, exciting, fantasy action romp there is much to enjoy.

"end of level boss"

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

öö1/2

(2.5 - Hit n Myth reworking...)

Awesomeness öööö – Great fights and Ritchie elements

Laughs öö –  Occasional mirth

Horror öö – Some violence and scares

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - True faith isn't a birthright

"On the head!"

Tweet this...