DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Hitman Agent 47

Hitman: Agent 47

Dir. Aleksander Bach

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“We determine who we are by what we do.”

Oh dear. The super stylish and unstoppable assassination machine Agent 47 is back – which if it were on a PS4 would be a good thing, on the big screen, not so much. This is the second big-screen adaptation of the kill-em-up Hitman game series and the bad news is that it just isn’t as good as the fun but forgettable first effort from 2007. (Darkmatters Review)

"The car is the star..."

In Hitman: Agent 47, the bald bad ass elite assassin is up against a small army of easily disposed shock troopers led by John Smith (Zachary ‘Spock from Star Trek’ Quinto). Smith is a terrible bad guy, coming across as a sort of Doofus low rent cross between a terminator and Jason Borne. In pretty much every scene he spouts stupid expository dialogue in case I presume anyone had fallen asleep or has been checking their phone waiting for the next action scene.

"Stick to Spock yeah?"

Ok so the look and feel is slick and all the requisite Hitman iconography is in place – including barcode on back of head, the dual .45 hand guns, blood red tie, cool gadgets etc and 47’s female team mate when Katia (Hannah Ware) looks the part. Alas however Hitman: Agent 47 is a complete exercise of style over substance, and not just substance but acting, coherent plot or any emotional involvement.

This film makes the new Fantastic Four (Darkmatters Review) feel deep and meaningful and although there are some reasonably tasty action scenes, it isn’t enough to lift the staleness that clings to every moment when someone isn’t getting shot or Agent 47 isn’t burning rubber in his flash red Audi RS7.

"Agent 47 tries to tackle the film critics"

The blah blah plot is about a mega-corporation that plans to unlock the secret of Agent 47's past to create an army of killers whose powers surpass even his own… Will they succeed or might Agent 47 somehow win out?

If you’re a huge fan of the Hitman games and you can overlook the basic acting on display then at least there are a few impressively choreographed set pieces – but debut director Bach is all about the making things look cool, at the expense of everything else.

"Furious eyes"

It even attempts to set up a sequel with a semi cliff hanging ending, I’d be surprised if it makes enough cash to warrant that though...

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


(2.5 - Not a big ‘hit’ – man...

Awesomeness ööö – moments of tasty action but not enough

Laughs öö – only the bad acting

Horror ööö – mildly grim in places

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - humans don't need upgrades

Recommended Hashtags: #HitMe


Hitman The Game

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Inside Out

Inside Out (U)

Dirs. Pete Docter & Ronnie Del Carmen

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life's problems.”

You ever wonder what’s going on inside people’s heads, even your own? Well the dream weavers at Pixar have blown the doors off the inner workings of the psyche with Inside Out. And it turns out that how we react to things is down to a group of emotions who control our responses.

"The Team"

This bunch of living ‘emotions’ are: the ultra positive Joy (Amy Poehler), the perma nervous Fear (Bill Hader), the always Hulk angry Anger (Lewis Black), the too cool for anything Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and negative black hole of Sadness (Phyllis Smith).

Directors Pete ‘Up’ Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen have a great time showing the interplay of the emotions as they struggle with the reactory impulses of dealing with what life has to throw at 11-year-old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias). We get a potted life-so-far update and then are thrown into the trauma, excitement and stress of young Riley having to move towns, schools and houses due to her dad getting a new job.

"family time"

The thing is – every experience Riley has be it positive or negative is stored in her mind as memories - depicted here as translucent orbs of varying colour e.g. blue = sad, yellow = joyful etc. The childhood Riley has lived has been a pretty joyful one and there are banks of glowing golden orbs to show for it, backed up by some core memories that are her personality anchors. These include family, friendship, hockey and madcap-ness…

Disaster strikes the Riley’s pre-teen existences when a core memory accident transports both Joy and Sadness out of the control room and into the wider expanse of Riley's brain. Leaving the inadequate B team of Anger, Fear and Disgust at the helm – which is a superb analogy for the onset of ‘teenage’ behaviour…


It would be wrong to go through too much more of the engaging and genuinely moving plot – but rest assured the heroic battle of Joy and Sadness's quest through Riley's mind is inventive and fun to watch. Side characters such as Riley's fast fading imaginary friend BingBong (Richard Kind) who has a dream rocket powered by songs are well used devices. The creativity at work by the Pixar team such as having a ‘Train of Thought’ depicted as an actual train that moves through Riley’s brain is superb. My favourite area was the dream production factory which is shown as a TV like studio where the dreams are scripted and acted out when Riley goes to sleep.

Inside Out is a great film which will move and engage you – even if the slightly trite ‘Joy and Sadness are just as important as each other’ messaging is laid on thick.

"treasure your memories"

This is pretty much a must see for anyone in possession of a brain – and I’m sure viewing Inside Out will help stock up some golden globes of joyful memories for you’re memory vault!

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


(4.5 - Those voices in your head... They're real!)

Awesomeness ö ö ö ö – inventive, creative head trip!

Laughs ö ö ö  – some good funnies

Horror ö  –  one slightly sinister clown scene

Spiritual Enlightenment ö ö ö ö - strong emotional core requires balance

LINKAGE: Disney Official Page

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Darkmatters Review: The Bad Education Movie

The Bad Education Movie (15)

Dir. Elliot Hegarty (@eltel88)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Pain is temporary… being an absolute bad-ass lasts forever!”

Brace yourselves for this summer’s most wildly inappropriate comedy. The Bad Education Movie is this year’s Inbetweeners – as British comedian Jack Whitehall takes the hit TV series to the big screen.

"look our Cornwall"

If you’ve seen Bad Education the show, you’ll know the deal - Alfie Wickers (Whitehall), possibly the most inept teacher ever, takes his class of misfits on a school trip nobody will ever forget.

Before the opening credits have even rolled Wickers can be seen causing serious affront to Hasidic Jews in Amsterdam (his crepe spiked with magic mushrooms by his class). He absconds with a waxwork of Anne Frank from her museum and takes her to an inopportune new resting place in a canal after a failed E.T. bike flight stunt.

"do not feed the teacher"

Yes The Bad Education Movie is quite offensive and puerile – meting out lewd schoolboy humour with numerous sex references – but it is (much like the TV show) also extremely funny when it works.

We re-join Wickers and Class K who include inappropriately sexy Chantelle (Nikki Runeckles) sporting t-shirts like ‘pupil with benefits’, Jing (Kae Alexander) the brainy one, Joe (Ethan Lawrence) the large kid with gentle nature, hard nut Mitchell (Charlie Wernham), the fabulously camp Stephen (Layton Williams) plus wheelchair user "Rem Dogg" (Jack Binstead) as their GCSE results approach.

"ain't no party like a Cornish pub party"

One last field trip is planned and with Las Vegas turned down on budgetary reasons Cornwall is the new destination. Cornwall will very likely never be the same again…

Whitehall is totally at home as Wickers and it’s joyfully winch inducing to see him readily humiliated at every turn – his testicles could actually get best supporting actor nods they are on screen so often. Comic misadventure is the order of the day despite Joe’s officious mum (Joanna Scanlan) inviting herself along bringing wearable tech to record any slip-ups by Alfie.

"nice Hot Fuzz swan reference / action"

Things get completely out of hand after a tattoo mix up sees Wickers inadvertent involvement in a terrorist plot leading to an epic climax involving riot police, Interpol, angry tooled up Cornishmen and a fencing duel.

Director Hegarty manages to make a decent fist of it aided by cameos from Harry Enfield, Mathew Horne and Iain ‘Game of Thrones’ Glen but as a film its no classic. Taken however as an extended episode of the show The Bad Education Movie is a hilarious send off for the gang. And as Chantelle tells Wickers: “You taught us things we weren’t never not going to learn nowhere else!”

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


(4 - Best. School. Trip. Ever!?)

Awesomeness ö ö ö ö – comedy mayhem that will make you laugh out loud

Laughs ö ö ö ö ö  – bangers

Horror ö ö –  male nudity and comedy violence ahoy

Spiritual Enlightenment ö ö - limited but some anti bullying messages in there

LINKAGE: Bad Education Quotes

Monday, August 17, 2015

Darkmatters Review: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (12a)

Dir. Guy Ritchie (@realguyritchie)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the Newspaper version of this review over at: The Luton News

“For a special agent, you're not having a very special day, are you?”

Who do you turn to when a rogue nuclear warhead looks like falling in to the wrong hands? Bond? Borne? Maybe but when it’s the ‘60s and Austin Powers is nowhere to be found you’ll want to try Napoleon Solo (Henry ‘Man of Steel’ Cavill), the man from: United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.

"delivers big time on the cool"

With his big screen makeover of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Guy Ritchie takes a break from his Sherlock Holmes films and delivers a slick, stylish and hugely enjoyable take on the spy genre. Everything about this production sizzles with cool – largely thanks to the perfect casting of the smooth U.S. thief turned spy in Cavill and his unwilling KGB operative partner Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer). The way these two bounce off each other is splendid to behold.

"everybody be cool"

And whilst this might be described as a rip-roaring ‘boys own’ adventure – the women of the piece are great too. Alicia Vikander follows up her superb lead in Ex Machina with a movie stealing turn as Gabby Teller, a woman whose father is a Nazi scientist working for the U.S. government but now missing. Plus there’s an impressive shapely baddie at work in the form of Elizabeth Debicki who you might have spotted in The Great Gatsby.

"this saving the world stuff can be tough"

The plot cracks along without sagging, aided by a sparkling script that holds a good balance of being genuinely funny but never letting the spy antics lose their menacing edge. It is entirely refreshing to see a film that packs credible peril, action and even the obligatory ‘hero gets tortured’ scenes without being overly nasty or foul mouthed (which is quite something when remembering Ritchie’s early work such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’)!

"retro car chase a go go"

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a film that you can watch with your parents and you teens and it should please across the board. The action set pieces are handled brilliantly. There’s a joy in seeing the archaic 1960’s cars, weapons and out-dated tech bringing such pulse pounding thrills – great for those who remember that time and for a new generation.

"Bond who?"

Throw dodgy uncle Rudi (Sylvester Groth) and proper English Spymaster Waverly ( Hugh Grant – really not having to stretch his skills) and you’ve all the ingredients for a feel good spy-em-up of the highest order.

Here’s hoping that the well set up sequel gets made soon!

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


(4 - Saving the world never goes out of style)

Awesomeness ö ö ö ö – slick action and smooth dialogue

Laughs ö ö ö  – brings some good mirth

Horror ö ö –  mostly wide age suitability, occasional violence

Spiritual Enlightenment ö ö ö - smooth skills can append moral vacuum

"beautiful baddie"


Twiter: @ManFromUNCLE

Facebook: facebook.com/manfromuncleUK

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four (12a)

Dir. Josh Trank (@joshuatrank)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

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

“With every new discovery, there is risk, there is sacrifice... and there are consequences.”

Nothing can really prepare you for this cinematic master class of adrenalin pumping, endorphin frazzling superhero smack down. That’s because Fantastic Four never quite achieves any of those accolades. Hotshot young director Josh ‘Chronicle’ Trank takes on the oddity of Marvel’s ‘other’ mutant superhero group – and delivers a darker, mostly enjoyable origins tale which is a far cry from Tim Story’s lightweight comic book fluff version of 10 years ago.

(For reference - Darkmatters review: Fantastic Four
and: Fantastic Four Rise of Silver Surfer)

"change is coming"

There’s not much love to be found for this revamp of the Fantastic Four out there, in fact there has been a palpable negative vibe from the most media outlets and internet opinion spinners throughout the whole production but there is definitely something worth checking here for sci-fi fans.

This is the tale of Reed Richards (Miles Teller) and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) two schoolmates who work together to create a working backyard matter-transferring prototype – i.e. a teleportation device. Snapped up to work for Professor Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) at the high tech Baxter Foundation, where they meet the clever cutie Sue Storm (Kate Mara), her adoptive street racing brother Johnny Storm (Michael B Jordan) and the awkwardly named Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell).

"Reed going to stretch more than just his mind"

Oddly for a superhero flick, the highlights on offer here are mostly to found in the first 45 minutes before any powers are evident. The build up to how these young people’s lives will be devastated by a trip to another dimension and the body changing fallout that creates ‘Mr Fantastic’, ‘The Human Torch’, ‘Invisible Woman’, ‘The Thing’ and ‘Dr Doom’ demonstrates Trank’s ability as a director.

"got a light?"

The cast are great but there are at least some cinematically, erm, “fantastic” shots and glimpses of what could have been incredible when the super action kicks off. What is tragic though is that all the great foundation laying is given no meaningful payoff with an unsatisfyingly glib, blink-and-you-miss-it climax.

"we're DOOOMED"

Dr Doom is an over powered baddie who deserves a film with a higher age certificate in which to really let rip. As it is his head exploding evil exploits are liable to disturb younger viewers – as will the freakish transformations of the good looking leads into their stretchy, stony and fiery alter egos. Only Mara keeps her base humanity with her more standard invisibility / force field power.

So not as fantastic as hoped but interesting.

"clobberin time"

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


(3 - Beyond darkness... beyond fear, but still muddled)

Awesomeness ööö – weirdly is the build up over action scenes

Laughs ö – lacking the fun

Horror öö –  some body horror

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - power, gift or nightmare?

Friday, August 07, 2015

Push Square is the FUTURE

"The future of PlayStation..."

If life leaves you wondering which PlayStation 4 game to buy - you should really check the excellent PushSquare...

The bonus is that there are reviews from Darkmatters Editor Matt Adcock (@Cleric20) on their tip top gaming site!?

Yes check PushSquare - for all things PlayStation.

Here are some quick links for Matt's reviews for you:

"War never changes – it just gets bigger"

PlanetSide 2 is a staggering achievement that feels right at home on the PS4. For a fun, engaging battle-'em-up that doesn't cost a penny, it delivers potentially unlimited hours of adrenaline pumping excitement.

"It's a co-op kinda magic"

Magicka 2, much like the PC hit Magicka before it, is a magic-'em-up which plays out in cartoony environments from a Diablo-esque isometric viewpoint. As the name suggests, it's all about magic(ka) and it packs a fun, surprisingly deep spell casting system that will see you conjuring up all manner of devastation.

Read my full review: www.pushsquare.com/reviews/ps4/magicka_2 

"It's time to d-d-d-d-d-d-d-duel, again"

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist... The worldwide phenomenon known as Yu-Gi-Oh! hits the PS4, read is Legacy of the Duelist is the best version of game to date yet?

Read my full review: www.pushsquare.com/reviews/ps4/yu-gi-oh_legacy_of_the_duelist

"buy this lovely PS Sweatshirt at gear.playstation.com"

Friday, July 31, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (12a)

Dir. Christopher McQuarrie

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Let me guess. Presumed dead?”
“… tonight, I just made it official!”

If the thrilling Mission Impossible films have shown us anything, it’s that Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is a veritable trouble magnet. From being set up and hunted in the first film, to having to fight terrorists packing bio weaponry in part 2, a weapon dealing mastermind in part 3 and more terrorists, this time with nuclear launch codes in Ghost Protocol.

"riding his luck"

Well, the bad news for Hunt and his IMF (Impossible Missions Force) pals is that the day very much needs saving again as new baddie Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) has created a ‘Rogue Nation’ which calls itself The Syndicate.

The Syndicate might be bad news for the world but it’s great news for cinema action lovers as Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation blasts straight in to a turbo charged adventure that crackles with exciting, jaw dropping set pieces. The stand out scenes for me included seeing Cruise at 53 clinging to the outside of plane as it takes off and an incredible car / motorbike chase / battle. Everything is slickly produced and beautifully shot too.

"girl power, but can you trust her?"

Cruise is still incredible in the lead role, delivering audacious fight scenes, high speed chases, death defying stunts and more than a little cool agent swagger. The IMF core team of Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner all give good support and each get a few moments to shine.

Female empowerment comes in the shapely form of Rebecca Ferguson who plays Ilsa Faust – a syndicate agent who just might hold the key to helping Hunt.
There are some excellent cameos too such as a fun turn as the British Prime Minister by Tom Hollander and a return to the spy games for Alec Baldwin.

"you'll believe BMWs can fly"

Rogue Nation feels right at home as a wining continuation of the Mission Impossible franchise and stands as both an over-the-top summer blockbuster action overload and a great piece of entertainment.

The iconic Mission Impossible theme is effectively used throughout (much like the Bond music in the Brit super spy films) and there is refreshingly limited use of CGI special effects – in a summer where we’ve had an overdose of fake effects in Terminator Genisys etc.

Director Christopher ‘Jack Reacher’ McQuarrie has got form of effectively working with Cruise and here he sets you a mission you should definitely accept.

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


(4 - another strong Mission for Cruise)

Awesomeness öööö – incredible action scenes

Laughs ööö – some real fun

Horror öö –  not overly grim violence

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - self belief is powerful

Caution: BMW placement overload, in what must be the most far-fetched element of any of the Mission Impossible films to date - bear with me as I know you will find this hard to believe -  but there are multiple scenes of BMWs being driven where the driver ISN'T either drug dealer or a total w&º¶er... come on Hollywood, you can only push things so far... :)

Darkmatters review of: Mission Impossible III

"don't mess with Faust"

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Darkmatters Interview: Michael Carey - author of 'The Girl With All The Gifts'

Matt Adcock meets Michael Carey

She Who Brings Gifts is the Darkmatters tip as one of the films of 2016 you will need to see...

This is for two reasons:

Firstly, it's based on the excellent novel by M. R. Carey (@michaelcarey191) 'The Girl With All The Gifts'

Secondly, Darkmatters Editor Matt Adcock (@Cleric20) is in the film as one of the 'Hungries'

"Matt Adcock with Michael Carey on set of She Who Brings Gifts"

MA: What was the initial inspiration for The Girl With All The Gifts?

MRC: Both the novel and the movie grew out of a short story, Iphigenia in Aulis.

I’d been invited to contribute to an anthology of dark fantasy and horror edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni Kelner. It was the latest in an annual series of themed anthologies. Every year they would come up with a very innocent, seemingly harmless topic and ask authors to produce a dark riff on it. Previous books had centred on home improvements and family holidays. In this instance the theme was school days.

But having said I’d write a piece for the book, I couldn’t come up with any good ideas. The deadline was getting closer and all I had in my head were bad Harry Potter rip-offs.

Then I woke up one morning with the idea of Melanie in my mind. There was no story, to start with – there was just the image of this little girl sitting in a classroom, writing an essay about what she was going to do when she grew up. Only she was never going to grow up because she was already dead and didn’t know it.

Everything flowed very smoothly from that first image. I wrote the short story in the space of four days, and sent it in. Charlaine and Toni were very happy with it. It was nominated for an Edgar Allen Poe award and for the Derringer short fiction prize. I sat back for a while and basked in the glory.

But I kept going back to the story in my mind. I knew there was more to Melanie than that, and more to her world than that. So I pitched it both to Little Brown as a novel and to Golden Arrow as a movie. And to my amazement they both said yes!

"Fantastic novel - read the Darkmatters Review"

MA: Where did the idea to set Hotel Echo at Henlow come from? And use the Hitchin area?

MRC: All the settings in the book are places where I’ve lived or worked. Camille Gatin, the producer on the movie, was highly amused when she found this out. She called me up one day and said “You basically set the zombie apocalypse in your back yard…”

And it does sound a little weird when you put it like that. But it was a habit I got into back when I was writing the Felix Castor novels. I had an idea, on the basis of no evidence at all, that if you’re writing speculative fiction – sci-fi or fantasy or horror – it’s crucial to get the real world stuff right as far as you can. Then when the fantastic elements come in the audience are more likely to accept them.

Having said that, I was chewed out at an event in Waterstones Piccadilly one time by a Stevenage resident who felt I’d got the geography of that town profoundly wrong. You can’t please all the people…

"shot from She Who Brings Gifts"

MA: How do you feel about the name change for the film version?

MRC: I follow the logic. There have been a LOT of movies in the past few years that use the word girl very prominently in their titles. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels lead the pack, but we’ve also had girls leaping through time, girls on trains, gone girls and so on. The aim was to distance ourselves from existing properties and franchises.

I do love the alliteration of the book’s title, though – and the fact that it keeps up a certain ambiguity about those gifts. Are they qualities that Melanie possesses, or presents she’s offering to us? There’s a subtle difference there that might inform how you respond to the ending of the story.

"Gemma Arterton as Helen Justineau"

What are your thoughts on the casting of the main characters?

MRC: I’m in ecstasy! I guess if you went through the entire roster of actors living and dead you might be able to come up with a stronger cast, but you’d really have to work at it.

I had the privilege of watching a lot of the filming, and it’s hard to describe the pleasure of watching your dialogue spoken by such gifted people. The chemistry between the five core characters was perfect, and enthralling. There was no relationship that didn’t work, that didn’t convince.

Glenn Close as Caroline Caldwell is detached and chilling when she deals with the children on the base but also passionate, intelligent, convinced of the urgent necessity of what she’s doing. So convinced that she almost convinces us. Paddy Considine is a care-worn Sergeant Parks who genuinely looks out for the soldiers he commands, and whose changing feelings about Melanie are mesmeric to watch. Gemma Arterton as Helen Justineau is an inch away from breaking right from the start of the story, but always finds the strength within herself to keep faith with the little girl who depends on her. Fisayo Akinade as Gallagher is well-meaning, brave, and heart-breakingly gentle underneath his veneer of stolid manliness. And Sennia as Melanie manages to combine innocence and ruthless determination in a way that’s utterly plausible.

So yeah, I’m happy!

MA: Any plans for another book in the 'Girl WATG' universe?

MRC: Conversations have been had. Are being had. There’s certainly room for another novel in there, although I doubt very much that it would be a sequel. The ending of the original novel – and of the movie – changes the situation so drastically that a sequel wouldn’t even be in the same genre.

But I’m curious about things like how the Breakdown occurred, and what (apart from the obvious) happened to the crew of the Rosalind Franklin…

MA: Will there be a graphic novel / comic adaptation?

Again, I’ve talked about it. I would love to see what an artist like Mike Perkins (who did the adaptation of The Stand for Marvel comics) would make of a graphic version of Girl. But we’re not likely to make any decisions about that until the movie comes out. One adaptation at a time!

MA: What are your favourite zombie / horror films or TV shows?

MRC: I’m a big fan of the George Romero movies, especially Land Of the Dead, where the anti-capitalist satire of some of the earlier movies was ramped up to a theoretical maximum. How do you suppose he pitched that? “This is a movie about the real estate business after the zombie apocalypse…”

I also loved Zombieland (Darkmatters Review) and Warm Bodies  (Darkmatters Review) – both really original and entertaining hijackings of the genre tropes.

And Sarah Pinborough’s novel The Death House, which came out this year, was amazing. Very, very affecting.

"Matt 'Hungry' Adcock"

MA: Thanks so much for your time - anything else you'd like to add?

MRC: My next novel, FELLSIDE, is coming out in April 2016. It’s a ghost story set in a women’s prison.

Also coming up next year are two comic book projects: Rowans Ruin, for BOOM Studios, and Highest House, for Editions Glenat. That last one is going to come out in French first, but an English language edition will be available later in the year.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Southpaw

Southpaw (15)

Dir. Antoine Fuqua

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (follow me: @Cleric20)

“Billy Hope knows how to take a punch, but he also drops bombs.”

Ladies and Gentlemen: I give you the heavyweight cinematic prize-fight of the year! From the mind of Kurt ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Sutter and directed by Antoine ‘Training Day’ Fuqua – please put your hands together for the incredibly beefed up Jake ‘Nightcrawler’ Gyllenhaal who stars as Billy Hope, also known as “Southpaw”!!

"carnage embodied"

Aiming to take the undisputed boxing film title from the likes of The Fighter, Raging Bull and um Rocky, Southpaw follows the gut wrenching story of Hope – a champion prize fighter who hits rock bottom, sacrificing everything to his quest to be the best. Fuqua’s film goes full drama-em-up detailing how he must somehow find redemption and maybe a way to rebuild his life as well as his fighting career.

It sure is a long and emotionally draining journey that deals not just with the boxing training and fights but with the associated fallout of anger, damaging parenthood, wrecked relationships and ultimately a father's love for his child. Dismissed by some for its fairly predictable ‘featherweight’ plot, it is the cast who excel and make Southpaw something really worth checking. Gyllenhaal in the lead and Forest Whitaker as his trainer Tick Wills are excellent, Hope’s wife Maureen is given real heart by Rachel McAdams and his daughter Leila is a played by potential star in the making Oona Laurence. It all comes together well and delivers a slick upper cut of emotional cinematic entertainment.
"marriage made in heaven"

Even if you’re not a boxing fan, I’d say Southpaw is worth seeing due to the incredible cinematography alone. Everything is shot with a great eye for detail and the real life elements are just as watchable even if not as adrenalin pumping as the fights which come alive through the use of some clever first person viewpoints, really puttin you in the ring. This technique would make a superb PlayStation 4 game.


Sure the rags-to-redemption plot has been well served in many guises before, but Gyllenhaal really nails it as a vessel of aggressive, nitrous fuel righteous revenge. Backed up by the quality production values and solid casting which even generates a weirdly likeable roguish role for Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson.

Southpaw is a triumph and can take its place amongst the great boxing films with honour.

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


(4 - not a 'paw' effort - this is a contender…)

Awesomeness öööö – some unforgettable fight action scenes

Laughs öö – not very much fun

Horror ööö –  bloody violence obligatory!

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - fight for your family...

"star making turn from young Oona Laurence"

Tweet this...