DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Is this just fantasy? or is it Bohemian Rhapsody (review)?



Bohemian Rhapsody (12a)

Dir. Bryan Singer

Reviewed by Matt (@Cleric20) Adcock

“It’s a kinda magic...”

All we hear is radio ga ga, and it’s incredible, as this cinematic celebration of the hugely influential band Queen bursts with authentic feeling energy. Packed with their music and showing the rise of their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami ‘Mr. Robot’ Malek).

Born just a poor boy, from a poor family Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. Director Bryan ‘Man of Steel’ Singer does an impressive job of tracing the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound.

"The greatest showman"

Is this the real world? Queen tore up the rock-and-roll rulebook and went on to reach world-wide unparalleled success. The film details how Freddie, embattled by dubious influences, pursues the money and ego of solo career, embraces and hedonistic lifestyle and pays a heavy price – which is bold to not just gloss over some of the darker times of his life.

And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end - sums up the feeling when Freddie and his band-mates Brian May (Gwilym ‘Fresh Meat’ Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben ‘Only The Brave’ Hardy), and John Deacon (Joseph ‘The Social Network’ Mazzello) reunite for the unforgettable Live Aid performance which forms a glorious climax to the film. The cinematography is stunning and the mass euphoria induced by Freddie’s crowd charming exploits on stage is captured with pumping energy has the feel of a live gig.

"Champions of the world"

I want to break free, Bohemian Rhapsody is a powerhouse musical experience, showing Queen rightly cementing a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day. Even if you somehow never counted yourself as a fan, this really is two hours of your time well spent allowing a peek behind the curtain into the life of one of music's biggest legends.

"Love of my life"

You've broken my heart and now you leave me… The confusion and heart-break Mercury goes through with his sexuality and his marriage to Mary Austin (Lucy ‘Sing Street’ Boyton) is handled with sensitivity even though his eventual relationship with Jim Hutton (Aaron McCusker) feels a little tacked on.

Forever is our today - Bohemian Rhapsody is a gorgeous testament to a unique talent. Worth experiencing in IMAX if possible, this is a kinda magic that will rock you!

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

öööö

(4 - The show must go on - in style)

Awesomeness öööö – Heavy Queen nostalgia, Live Aid is a show stopper!

Laughs ööö – Funny in places

Horror öö –  Tragic and heartbreaking too



Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Born to entertain?


Monday, October 15, 2018

First Man - Darkmatters Review



First Man (12a)

Dir. Damien Chazelle

Reviewed by Matt (@Cleric20) Adcock

“That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

It’s slightly hard to believe that we managed to send men to the moon in the 1960s… With limited yet revolutionary tech, the space race between the USA and the USSR was at boiling point. After the determined Soviets had beaten the United States to nearly every new breakthrough, the US goes ‘all in’ on the first manned mission to the moon.

"nervous tension"

First Man is the tale of astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan ‘Drive’ Gosling) who history tells was the first to set foot on the lunar surface. His life and the challenges he faces are what director Damien ‘La La Land’ Chazelle shines a thoughtful and insightful light on. Gosling is on incredible form showing the man behind the spacesuit as he has to deal with tragic personal loss whilst going through the punishing and draining NASA training.

Back home his wife Janet (Claire ‘Girl in the Spider’s Web’ Foy) frets every time Armstrong has to take part in the training flights and exercises – and with good reason because several astronauts died in the preparations. Foy is a good foil to Gosling as their family dynamic is pushed to breaking point – both deliver excellent performances.

"oooops"

The brave (or unhinged depending on how you look at it) decision Armstrong made to agree to captain the mission moon landing attempt, knowing full well that he may well not come back alive will live in infamy.

From the nail-biting Top Gun adrenalin rush of the opening atmosphere busting altitude test flight through to the epic, inspiring and breath-taking climactic moon landing, First Man is an intelligent and thought-provoking film.

The cinematography is staggering too, mixing handheld intimate, shaky shots with jaw-dropping CGI and the fact it’s shot on lower resolution stock for a much more authentic, almost ‘archive’ feel. Unsurprisingly it’s the space scenes that burn themselves into your mind’s eye – giving the film a mesmerising quality.

"home support"

The sound is an integral effective element too – hearing the rattle of the nuts and bolts of the quickly assembled craft popping and straining under the huge pressure of the space travel adds immensely to the tension.

First Man delivers deep human drama, along with staggering human achievement – this is a treat for the senses which deserves to the witnessed on the biggest screen you can find. Boldly go…

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - Spectacular and heartfelt drama that is literally out of this world)

Awesomeness öööö – Inspiring, nerve-shredding and eye-popping scenes

Laughs öö – Limited funny business

Horror öö –  Loss and nervous tension

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Desire to serve humankind



Monday, August 06, 2018

Ant Matt meets The Wasp (review)


Ant-Man and the Wasp (12a)

Dir. Peyton Reed

Reviewed by Matt (@Cleric20) Adcock

“Nothing can prepare you for what's coming.”

They say it’s not the size that matters but this sequel is a medium sized follow up that brings some light-hearted super fun in the wake of the epic Infinity War. Don’t come here for ‘what happens next to the Avengers’ though as the events occur at about the same time as the huge battle against Thanos (although that is never actually acknowledged unless you stay for the after the credit scene).

The big addition here is the Wasp (Evangeline “The Hurt Locker’ Lilly) who steals the show as the newest mini super-hero on the block. The Wasp packs an upgraded suit with wings and blasters – at one point Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) asks the suit creator Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) ‘So I take it you didn't have that tech available for me?’ to which he gets the reply ‘No, I did’…

"perfect partners"

Director Peyton Reed aims to keep the comedy knockabout feel from the first film and this is helped through Scott's efforts to avoid breaking his house arrest FBI curfew imposed on him after the events of Civil War. Alas, the writing whilst funny does miss even the remnants of Edgar Wright’s input to the first film and although amusing there is little that feels iconic.

Everything bounces along in fine style though packing in a new threat from a quantum shifting / walk-through-walls ‘ghost’ (Hannah ‘Ready Player One’ John-Kamen) which adds a fun dynamic to some of the fight scenes.

"new threats"

The main plot thread sees Hank’s desperate mission to attempt to save his wife from the trippy quantum realm. This is handled well as it’s pretty ‘out there’ kind of stuff for a mainstream Marvel action-comedy.

The set pieces mostly involve the size changing Ant-Man not having full control of his experimental new suit and they are often played for laughs. Watching Scott grow and shrink at the most inopportune times is comedy gold. One stand out scene sees him stuck at dwarf sized whilst attempting to steal something from his daughters’ school.

'mini teamwork'

Paul Rudd is so likeable that he helps carry the feel-good factor of the film and he’s helped by the return of bumbling thief-turned businessman Luis (Michael Peña) who has a blast – especially in a funny ‘truth serum’ scene.

Overall Ant-Man and the Wasp is a perfect throwaway fun summer superhero romp which will make you smile and engage you with its medium-sized action….

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

ööö1/2

(3.5 - Fun super action for all sizes)

Awesomeness öööö – Some great action set pieces

Laughs öööö – Lots of funnies

Horror öö –  Nothing too grim but some violence

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Teamwork FTW


Friday, August 03, 2018

Matt commits an Apostasy review


Apostasy (PG)

Dir. Daniel Kokotajlo

Reviewed by Matt (@Cleric20) Adcock

“Throw your burden on Jehovah and he will sustain you.”


All along the Watchtower – the faithful gather in Kingdom Halls striving to do the will of their maker. In this hard-hitting drama from ex-Jehovah’s Witness Daniel Kokotailo lifts the lid on what happens when real life situations fall outside those prescribed as ‘acceptable’ by their religion.

"Acceptable R n R"

Does an almighty God really want to see people struggle and be ‘disfellowshipped — the Jehovah’s Witness’ equivalent of excommunication - for not adhering to what seems to be arbitrary small print of not attending meetings or a point of disagreement with the leadership? What if a family member makes poor life decisions? Should they be cut off and treated like a stranger? How does a devout mother deal with being forbidden from supporting her wayward offspring?

If you don’t know much about Jehovah’s Witnesses this film gives an insiders insight – they don’t celebrate birthdays, also off the menu are Easter or Christmas which they view as ‘pagan’, oh and feminism is frowned upon as it is almost entirely controlled by male elders. There are currently some 8 million JWs worldwide with close to 130,000 in the UK and they are convinced that the world as we know it will end in ‘this generation’.

"Powerful emotions"

Director Kokotailo in an interview with The Guardian talked about some of the unrest that follows when a prophecy gives a date they believe Armageddon will occur doesn’t pan out - there was a big one in 1975 when people were so convinced that they sold their houses. He said ‘When we joined, they’d removed it [deleted it from the record] so we had no idea it had even happened.’

Apostasy is a fascinating study in dogmatic belief and the fallout it can bring when the teachings start to bear little consideration for the needs and lives of those who follow the faith or those they live alongside. The plot focuses on working mother Ivanna (Siobhan ‘Downton Abbey’ Finneran) who is a firm Witness, she faithfully attends the meetings at her local Kingdom Hall along with her daughters Luisa (Sacha Parkinson) and Alex (Molly Wright).

"We're sorry - you didn't get the job this time"

Things begin to get strained when older daughter Luisa, starts questioning the strict rules about choosing meetings over her college lectures, hanging out with non-Witness – and not being keen to do her duty standing offering Watchtower magazines to strangers on the street.

Younger daughter Alex is much more on message, enthusiastically evangelising her friends, learning Urdu to help reach out to the local non-English speaking community and willingly entertaining the notion of being paired off with an older and deeply uncool JW elder when he takes a shine to her. And this despite having had a blood transfusion at birth for her anaemia which is a ‘sin’ to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

"Inside the Kingdom Hall"

The family drama plotline is framed against talk of how Armageddon is imminent, and that things might be difficult not but soon all will be well when the ‘New System’ comes heralding a heaven on earth for those who have secured their place through works. At one point a big deal is made of how the meetings must be attended and duties fulfilled because ‘God’s love is conditional and must be earnt’…

It comes to a head when Luisa gets serious about a boy outside the faith and ending up pregnant. This leads to a brutal disfellowshipping where she is no longer allowed to mix with the JWs or have anything other than minimal contact with her family.

With Ivanna in a painful position – the rules dictate she can have only minimal contact with her distraught daughter – it’s a compelling build up to a ‘will she / won’t she’ do the right thing by her daughter climax…

"Heavy tensions"

The film is really well made with exceptionally real and raw performances from the three female leads. And whilst it is glumly shot and feels at points like a real-life documentary it also employs haunting and unnerving cinematic shots at the same time.

The writers might expose a lot of what appears to be negative about the JWs but Apostasy takes care to be somewhat balanced and doesn’t mock Jehovah's Witness beliefs. Rather it leaves the viewer to make up their own mind about the faith.

The powerful underlying message, however, is that any form of fundamentalism which removes an individual’s free will to care for those deemed ‘lesser’ or ‘sinful’ doesn’t feel much like the service of a loving God.

It seems that the road to hell truly can be paved with good intentions and build collateral damage along the way…

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

öööö

(4 - Powerful and heartbreaking - this needs to be 'witness'ed)

Awesomeness öööö – The inner struggles of a devout person writ large

Laughs öö – Limited mirth at points

Horror ööö –  Quitely harrowing

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Is God love?

Friday, July 27, 2018

Matt goes on a Mission Impossible: Fallout



Mission Impossible: Fallout (12a)

Dir. Christopher McQuarrie

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“The end you've always feared is coming. And the blood will be on your hands. The fallout of all your good intentions…”

Here we go then for the sixth instalment of the Mission Impossible franchise which has banked almost $3billion so far. And the good news is that director McQuarrie (who helmed the last MI film too) smashes it here and delivers possibly the strongest Mission yet.

"easy rider"

Following on from the events of Rogue Nation, we find Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise – who I am strongly starting to suspect is lying about his age because he is just incredible for ‘56’) and his team up to their necks in strife. It seems that a botched mission leaves nuclear materials about to fall into the hands of an evil genius looking to bring suffering to the world. So the fearless IMF agents who include Simon Pegg’s comedy sidekick Benji and Ving Rhames’ Luther must face try to track down and acquire the warhead before millions die.

Along on the mission, at the insistence of the CIA, is agent August Walker (Henry ‘Man of Steel Cavill) – a one-man wrecking machine who oozes threat. Then there is also disavowed MI6 operative Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) who returns with a personal objective that could put her in conflict with Hunt.

"argument over the paper towels in the men's room got a bit out of hand"

From the second the pre-credits action starts this movie grips and thrills in equal measure – the stunts and set pieces are jaw-dropping and the adrenalin rush that it takes you on is liable to leave you exhausted after this 147 mins ride.

Boasting possibly not only one of the best car chases ever but also the best helicopter action sequence and a crunching fight in a men’s bathroom that must push the 12a rating. It’s high praise though the director manages to deliver such high octane and ‘just brutal enough’ thrills without having to resort to graphic violence.

"helicopter hi-jinks"

Everything is machine tooled and slick and refreshingly free of shoddy CGI. The chemistry is enhanced with a richness and intensity that comes from the characterisations, if you’ve been following the film series you’ll already be invested in many of these folks so the jeopardy feels real.

Fallout is the film of the franchise that stands as an almost perfect state-of-the-art espionage masterpiece – out ‘Bond-ing’ James Bond and kicking Bourne into touch.
Action blockbusters really don’t come much better than this!!

"this is going to hurt"

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

ööööö

(5 - High octane Impossible Mission creep that needs to be witnessed!)

Awesomeness ööööö – Off-the-scale-cool action scenes

Laughs ööö – Pegg brings quality fun

Horror öö –  crunching but not overly violence

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - one life is still worth saving



Darkmatters review of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation




Monday, July 23, 2018

Matt Checks in to Hotel Artemis


Hotel Artemis (15)

Dir. Drew Pearce

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)


“Work with what you got, not what you hope for…”

Welcome to the near future and things have got a little bleak. Water has been privatised which means only the well-off can afford drinking water. Cue riots that threaten to encompass the whole of this dystopian Los Angeles as angry, thirsty people air their anger by wrecking everything. Taking advantage of the distraction the riot provides, a four-man crew, led by brothers Waikiki (Sterling K Brow) and Honolulu (Brian Tyree Henry), try to rob a bank.

"first aid kits at the ready"

Things go wrong, and the brothers end up in need of medical attention – luckily there is Hotel Artemis – a secret hospital that exists to patch up bad guys. Run by The Nurse (Jodie Foster who is on incredible form here) backed up by muscle-with-a-heart Everest (Dave Bautista).

So far so mildly interesting but writer/director Drew Pearce (who wrote Iron Man 3) ups the ante by adding a weird and wonderful mix of wounded criminals to the mix. Also in the Artemis is unlikeable arms dealer Acapulco (Charlie Day) and Nice (Sofia Boutella) an unstoppable assassin.

"Nice by name, naughty by nature"

Tensions arise between the guests and it transpires one of them is there with the express intent to break the first rule of the hotel: ‘no killing the other guests’. It all builds up nicely to when owner of the Artemis - who glories in the nickname ‘The Wolf King’ (Jeff Goldblum) requires urgent treatment himself and arrives with a small army of goons.

The ambience of the film is very John Wick and the hotel itself is an incredible place designed by Ramsey Avery who makes the cyberpunk art deco hotel virtually a character in its own right.

"what big eyes you have Wolf King"

Star of this show is two-time Oscar winner Jodie Foster who is the emotional beating heart of the film. Eschewing the action, The Nurse is rather a troubled woman almost crippled by anxiety and guilt – it’s an incredible performance which you might not expect in an action/thriller like this.

When the violence kicks off it is strong and satisfying with one absolutely jaw-dropping scene involving Boutella’s Nice who surely deserves her own spin-off film (or a cameo crossover with a certain Mr Wick perhaps?).

"boo"

Director Pierce delivers a fun and thoughtful thriller/caper that invests in its characters rather than non-stop action and is stronger as a result.

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

öööö

(4 - Heavy duty think-em-up with super stylish visuals)

Awesomeness öööö  – Rocks some iconic scenes

Laughs öö  – Small doses of dark humour

Horror ööö – Gets violent

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Honour among thieves? Who's have thought?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Darkmatters Review: Hereditary





Hereditary (15)

Dir. Ari Aster

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

“You didn't kill her. She isn't gone...”

Kiss goodbye to your nerves, Hereditary is the new horror movie on the block that brings classy and truly unsettling viewing back with a bang. This might only be rated 15 but do not underestimate the sheer evil contained and the mind-bending freakery it unleashed.

"Not a feel good experience"

Refreshingly well-acted – the entire cast are terrific - but Toni Collette absolutely owns this slow burning spook-em-up which rarely resorts to jump scares. First time director Ari Aster ratchets up the tension and paranoia, taking mental illness and mixing it with the paranormal occult world.

This isn’t a film for the faint heart – decapitations, human sacrifice and horrific mutilations are weaved into a grieve laden tale of a dysfunctional family that is being torn apart by forces beyond their control.

By the time the end credits roll it’s likely you won’t even know quite how you actually feel about the film. It’s certainly really well made, the cinematography is gorgeous even when the subject matter is grim. What sets Hereditary apart from the quick jump standard horror efforts is the voodoo like creeping dread that it builds up. The scenery plays a part – in almost every shot there are things half seen, like the woods that surround the family home the shadows look sinister, the dark corners of the rooms hide possible specters. Even the strong gross out moments which are likely to burn into your mind are handled well.


As the plot get more grim, the subtlety starts to slip and so by the end we’re in full on Rosemary’s Baby 2.0 territory. Sure Hereditary references many other horror movies such as The Exorcist, Lake Mungo and The Last Exorcism but it does manage to carve out its own niche.

Everything is machine tooled to unnerve, even the architecture is purposefully ‘wrong’ – which reminded me somewhat of The Shining. There is a haunting score and an effectively upsetting use of sounds such as a once innocent clicking of the tongue.

Circling around troubled mother Annie (Collette) are her family who include long suffering husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), Eldest son Peter (Alex Wolff), young daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) and recently deceased grandma Ellen who doesn’t seem to want to rest in peace.


As a Christian I found the occult theology interesting in it’s anti-religious messaging, the plot of Hereditary fully encompasses spiritualism and doesn’t seem interested in providing a force of good to balance the scales.

Hereditary is a remarkable debut horror film from an obviously talented director but it might just be too disturbing for many.

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

öööö

(4 - Stunningly evil masterclass in horrror)

Awesomeness öööö  – Deep set chills

Laughs öö  – A little dark humour

Horror ööööö – Very grim and upsetting

Spiritual Enlightenment NONE - Negatives vibes only

Friday, June 01, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story


Solo: A Star Wars Story (12a)

Dir. Ron Howard

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)


“Never tell me the odds…”


I was going to start this review with a pun but I thought about it and just couldn’t bring myself to stoop Solo…

*dust weeds tumble past*


"Inter-species bromance"

So – here it is then, another spin-off prequel from the Star Wars universe. Telling the tale of young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), years before the scruffy nerf-herder / smuggler helped a young Jedi and the rebellion take on the Empire.

After a troubled gestation, with directors changing and rumours of on-set dissatisfaction – the result is actually a fun heist romp, albeit a lesser ‘Star Wars’ film.

The Disney approved team certainly work hard to tick all the fanboy requirements… Ever wondered why Han shot first in A New Hope? Did he really make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs? How did he meet his furry pal Chewbacca? All these and more are answered which helps make up for the fact that there’s no real peril due to it not being a spoiler to know that Han doesn’t die in this one!?

"someone call for baddies?"

Star of the film though is the young Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) who is superb in channelling the cheeky swagger that Billy Dee Williams rocked in The Empire Strikes Back. There are some fin new characters on hand too such as Han’s childhood sweetheart, Qi'Ra (Emilia ‘Game of Thrones’ Clarke), shady leader of a thief gang Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his crew who include four armed alien Rio (Jon Favreau), and tough gal Val (Thandie Newton).

The big baddies here though are the crime syndicate Crimson Dawn whose boss is Dryden Vos (a nicely creepy turn from Paul Bettany). Along the way there are some exciting heists but very little actual plot so it leaves you feeling a little short changed and wondering why it played it all so safe.


"She'll make mark 2 past lightspeed" 


The special effects are up to scratch which is a bonus, especially cool is Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s L3-37 robot co-pilot who hangs out with Lando. She brings both humour and a fun spin on feminist rights transposed to droids – who she battles to free from oppression.

In the end the Solo should please Star Wars aficionados – and I count myself in that group as I sleep with a model of the Millennium Falcon on my bedside table and called my firstborn son Luke so every night I can say 'LUKE, I AM YOUR FATHER' – but it doesn’t do much for the next ‘main’ entry in the franchise.... so let's see where they go next with the whole spin off thing.

"A new form of girl power"

Overall though about his own film Han himself might be tempted to say: “I have an good feeling about this.”

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

ööö1/2

(3.5 - Star Wars'y fun that ticks the boxes)

Awesomeness öööö  – Gets good in places

Laughs ööö  – Intergalactic mirth

Horror öö – Not too grim

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Be careful of who you trust

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Darkmatters Review: Avengers Infinity War



Avengers: Infinity War (12a)

Dir. Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“ Fun isn't something one considers when balancing the universe. But this...
... does put a smile on my face.”                                                                        THANOS

Nothing can fully prepare you for this most epic of superhero showdowns. Over ten years Marvel have brought the Avengers and their allies from their comic books to impressive big screen life. Infinity War though, is the first time pretty much all of them have been together and even throws the Guardians of the Galaxy into the action too.

"I'm bringing the party to you"

We’ve seen the heroic Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and friends protecting the world before but they’ve never faced a threat as huge as this. You see there’s an unstoppable mad titan named Thanos who is collecting six ‘Infinity Stones’ - artefacts of unimaginable power – with the plan to kill half of all beings in the universe.

Plot wise you don’t need to know much more, except that everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment - the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.

"Avengers and pals assemble"

Thanos (Josh Brolin) is potentially the first all CGI baddie to really have a soul, he’s an incredible creation evoking fear and grudging admiration for his sheer iron will. Our heroes are in disarray after the costly their civil war, so with the Avengers scattered it falls to Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to convince Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) to join the fight. It is a lot of fun to see the various alpha males bantering with each other – a highlight is watching Star Lord (Chris Pratt) get all defensive when his ship is gate-crashed by Thor (Chris Hemsworth).

As the various groups divide to take on various perilous quests in a bid to try and stop Thanos and his minions – the huge arcing narrative holds together by the scale of the common threat. From the first scene, there are no guarantees as to who will survive – so be prepared to swallow hard as it does get emotional.

"It's war"

Directors Anthony and Joe Russo craft the huge action scenes with a deft touch, each fight has resonance and cost – this is by far the most satisfying super hero film for years. The special effects are simply jaw-dropping (which you’d expect from the massive budget and resources Disney can throw at such a huge project) but this sets the bar very high for anything following.

For once you can believe the hype, Avengers: Infinity War is an epic cinematic event not to be missed!!

"even dastardly baddies do some parenting"


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

ööööö

(5 - Infinite fun and quality next level super action)

Awesomeness ööööö  – The awesome is strong in this one

Laughs öööö  – Lots of quality funnies

Horror öö – Death and destruction but not gratuitous

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - We don't trade lives

"Thanos Smash"



Saturday, March 24, 2018

Darkmatters Review: Ready Player One


Ready Player One (12a)

Dir. Steven Spielberg

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“In 2045 there’s nowhere left to go, nowhere, except The Oasis…”

In the year 2045, the real world has become such a harsh place that most of humanity choose to spend their time in a virtual reality called ‘Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation’ or OASIS.

"Wade is online"

Socially awkward teenage Wade Watts (Tye ‘Cyclops from X-Men’ Sheridan) only truly feels alive is when he jacks into the OASIS – where he is known as his avatar ‘Parzival’.

When eccentric tech whizz James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who created the OASIS dies, he leaves a legacy challenge – all his immense fortune and total control of the OASIS will pass to the winner of a three-part video game contest designed to find a truly worthy heir. Cue a battle royale between the gamers of the world and the sinister IOI corporation for control.
"see that A-Team van, and Christine from Steven King?"

Based on the geek-tastic novel by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One see Steven Spielberg set a high score for video game / film crossover movies. It’s a total joy watching such a wealth of references collide in one film. From the moment Parzival jumps into the Back To The Future DeLorean in order to race against Lara Croft driving the A-Team van, Batman in his classic series Batmobile and the enigmatically cool Art3mis (Olivia ‘Bates Motel’ Cooke) riding Kaneda's motorbike from Akria, anyone with even a passing love of films will break into a smile...

There are just too many to list, with blink and you’ll miss them visual ‘Easter Eggs’ in virtually every scene. I loved the extended The Shining sequence from the book too (which might scare / go over the head of younger viewers) as Parzival and his ‘High Five’ crew must battle through the horrors of The Overlook Hotel to win one of the contest levels.

"Gamers unite - and fight!"

I don’t think there have ever been so many 80's pop culture references packed into a movie – from the soundtrack that uses classics like Van Halen’s ‘Jump’ and New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’, through to quoting dialogue from John Hughes films and more… This is a film that demands repeat watching in order to appreciate everything going on.

The nerd-em-up story moves at breakneck speed and the climactic showdown is the stuff of legend, liable to discussed for years to come. The scene stealing star of the film is a superb cameo by the Iron Giant which should make people want to revisit the excellent Brad Bird film from 1999.



With unmatched use of CGI to create something truly incredible, Ready Player One will scorch your endorphin sensors as pop-culture eats itself in a most delicious way. Essential viewing.

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

ööööö

(5 - Reality isn't what it used to be!)

Awesomeness ööööö  – Will potentially blow minds

Laughs öööö  – Some good laughs

Horror ööö –  Liable to scare in places

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Who are you online?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Darkmatters Review: Tomb Raider


Tomb Raider (12a)

Dir. Roar Uthaug

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“If you’re listening to this then I must be dead. I found something, a tomb called the Mother of Death…”

Ready Viewer One for an origin story of how the iconic video games character Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) develops a taste for saving the world. We join her as a fiercely independent young woman who refuses to believe her eccentric adventurer father Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West) is dead, even though he’s been missing for seven years.

When the Croft company’s Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas), persuades Lara to come in and sign her right to her massive inheritance – she is gifted a Japanese puzzle box from her father. And before you can say ‘this might be some kind of clue that will lead to a sub-Indiana Jones adventure tomb raiding’, that’s exactly what transpires.

"driftwood challenge"

Having a series of video games to crib from gives the filmmakers a blueprint to make a stunning, pulse pounding cinematic experience. Alas Director Roar Uthaug makes this new version of this videogame-em-up adventure as safe and by-the-numbers as possible which makes for a strangely dull viewing experience. Vikander looks the part but she’s never fully believable when the ass kicking begins. The plot is horrifically predictable and everyone else in the movie suffers from ‘expendable extra’ syndrome.

Mathias Vogel (Walter Goggins) is the villain of the piece – a megalomaniac mercenary archaeologist - leading an expedition to find the ominous Mother of Death tomb for the sinister Trinity organization.

"rent a baddie"

In the blink of a pixelated eye, Lara embraces her role as killer of bad guys like she’d been doing it all her life, taking down tooled up, highly-trained mercs with a handily found bow n arrows. Nothing can stop this woman on a mission – handily picking up an immediately loyal sidekick Lu Ren ( Daniel Wu) whose boat and services she hires to get her to the deeply generic jungle adventure that awaits.

Everything ticks along in a fairly inoffensive manner – daring escape / mystery reunion / raiding of tomb complete with all manner of deadly traps… It’s hard to put your finger on quite why it all isn’t more exciting but as one film goer I overheard on the way out said: “I think I’d rather had stayed at home and played the game on my PS4” – I think I have to agree.

"hot shot"

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

öö1/2

(2.5 - No high scores here…)

Awesomeness ööö  – Some video game levels work

Laughs öö  – Limited humour (best laugh is after the credits)

Horror ööö –  Some violent deaths n stuff

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Saving the world shouldn't be dull


Tweet this...