DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Friday, February 16, 2018

Darkmatters Review: Black Panther


Black Panther (12a)

Dir. Ryan Coogler

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“I have seen gods fly. I have seen men build weapons that I couldn't even imagine. I have seen aliens drop from the sky. But I have never seen anything like this.”


Here we go then with another Marvel super-em-up which follows on from Captain America: Civil War, and it’s a rip-roaring challenge to those who think they might be getting a bit bored of these comic book movies.

The plot sees Black Panther / King T'Challa (Chadwick ‘Gods of Egypt’ Boseman) returning to his homeland Wakanda to be their new leader after his father’s assassination. Things are a little tense though as there are some who would challenge his right to rule and question his stance on the country’s advanced technology and weaponry.

"blending in"

What follows is a dazzling cinematic romp packed with action, humour and strong messaging about racism, injustice and the hunger for revenge. Much has been made of the fact that most of the cast is black but the truth is that the film is so strong it never feels forced.

When the outcast mercenary Erik Killmonger (Michael B ‘Creed’ Jordan) challenges T’Challa’s throne with a view to take and use Wakanda’s technological might to liberate and arm racially oppressed African Americans around the globe – it takes the film into areas of questioning not just revolutionary rhetoric and the responsibilities of leadership.

"challenger"

T’Challa can sure kick ass in a fight but he is a well-rounded character who behind the mask is a sensitive guy wanting to do what’s right not just for his people but for the wider world too.

Director Ryan Coogler gives the film a real beating heart, doesn’t allow the strong racial elements to overwhelm the plotting and manages to inject vital new lifeblood into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

"don't mess with her"

This is a film that empowers its female characters – to the point that they often take centre stage and outshine the men. T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) is the Wakandan tech scientist who designs Black Panther’s awesome weaponry and gadgets. Angela Bassett brings maternal wisdom as T’Challa’s mother Ramonda and Nakia (Lupita ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Nyong’o) is every bit a match for the Black Panther as a strong-willed agent and potential love interest.

"does whatever a panther can, erm"

Black Panther is a triumph, a great addition to the ongoing cinematic antics of the Avengers and an all-round crowd pleaser – a new King has been crowned.

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

öööö

(4 - Move over Lion King)

Awesomeness öööö  – Super stuff all round

Laughs öööö  – Plenty of nice laughs

Horror öö –  Not too nasty, comic book violence

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - A true heart is worthy of a King

Friday, February 09, 2018

Darkmatters Review: The Shape of Water



The Shape of Water (15)

Dir. Guillermo del Toro

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“If I told you about her, what would I say? That they lived happily ever after?”

Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have? Ever felt that special spark arc between you and someone completely unexpected or from so left field that it doesn’t even feel real until you’re in the moment and head-over-heels? But have you ever developed feelings for, erm, a fish person?

"don't tap the glass"

Meet Elisa Esposito (Sally ‘Mary Brown in Paddington’ Hawkins), a mute janitor working at a top-secret government research institution. Her life is one of simple pleasures such as watching TV with her older neighbour Giles (Richard ‘Bone Tomahawk’ Jenkins), boiling eggs or taking baths.

Her days are monotonous but Elisa keeps her spirits up, helped by her one friend at work Zelda Fuller (Octavia ‘The Shack’ Spencer). Everything changes when a strange cross between man and fish creature from South-America is captured and brought to the laboratory to be studied. This Amphibian Man (Doug ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ Jones) seems to be sad so Elisa begins to secretly feed eggs, play him music and the two begin an unlikely friendship…

Of course, the path of interspecies love never does run straight (this isn’t a Beauty & The Beast scenario) but there is certainly a ‘boo-hiss’ baddie. Sadistic security guard Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) takes pleasure in torturing the creature who bites off two fingers of his fingers in return… Thus making Strickland vow to destroy it.

"boo, hiss"

So the scene is set for a dark otherworldly romance, a tale short through with strangeness and joy, heartbreak, violence and danger. The performances are excellent, the writing, directing and visuals all work together to make a really unique cinematic experience.

Director Guillermo del Toro is great at creating weird and wonderful stories and The Shape of Water certainly deserves all the awards buzz it is getting.

"Not your average movie date"

It seems that kindred relationships can come in all shapes, sizes, creeds, genders and even include fish people… The Shape of Water will make you want to fall in love whatever the barriers, costs or danger – and for that reason it’s a great film of choice for Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Falling for someone (anyone) can be an unnerving and difficult experience – most of us fortunately won’t have a blood thirsty sadist chasing you and trying to kill the one you love like happens in the film. But it is always a balancing act of making yourself vulnerable and not wanting to get hurt – especially if the one you’ve lost your heart to doesn’t necessarily return the feelings or moves on to someone else.

The Shape of Water is a great film to discuss because of it raises the issues of love being more than skin deep, of loving someone who society says you really shouldn’t and of asking what is worth risking to find your soul mate.

There’s definitely something fishy about this romantic dark fantasy – it’s that it doesn’t hold back on any level so there is nudity, violence and peril to go along with the warm and fuzzy stuff. A lot like life then!?

"it started with a boiled egg"

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

ööööö

(5 - Love 'scales' any height)

Awesomeness öööö  – Superb, heart in mouth moments for all sorts of reasons

Laughs ööö  – Some darkly humorous bits

Horror ööö –  A bit gruesome in places but not too grim

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Might make you look at your fish n chips in a new light...

"dream a little"

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Darkmatters Review: Phantom Thread


Phantom Thread

Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)


“It's comforting to think the dead are watching over the living. I don't find that spooky at all...”

When does a relationship become obsession? Welcome to the glamourous 1950s where in post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) run a successful fashion house.

The distinct style of ‘The House of Woodcock’ attracts women from royalty and movie stars, to socialites and dames. Woodcock himself is a dashing, charming and charismatic confirmed bachelor, until that is he crosses paths with a young, strong-willed woman named Alma (Vicky Krieps), who he simply cannot resist.

High style

As Woodcock falls more and more under Alma’s spell, she becomes his muse and lover but he is not ready for the disruption to his carefully tailored life that this all-consuming love brings.

Phantom Thread is an intimate, delicate, and a beautifully crafted film, which is very much in the thought-provoking, unnerving vein of director Paul Thomas ‘The Master’ Anderson’s work.

Day-Lewis in what is possibly his final performance delivers a magnificent embodiment of the tortured Woodcock who simply does not know how to deal with the strength of emotion he feels for Alma. As she proves herself to be his match, her manipulation of him even takes on a sinister element that ups the fascination of their interplay.

Check me out...

Krieps and Manville are both great in their supporting roles too, bringing sharp female contrast to Day-Lewis’ obsessive and overbearing central character. Krieps, in particular, revels in the glamorous dressing up, being loved and using her own beguiling attraction to get what she longs for.

The central affair between the dressmaker and his muse is a truly intense romance to behold, but that doesn’t necessarily make Phantom Thread a good date movie. There are some disturbing elements along with breathless moments of pure expression.

Faux royal

This is very much a film to let wash over you as the lavish cinematography and style evokes cinematic master-works like that of Stanley Kubrick. The plot takes a leisurely pace, letting the twisting knots of the characters’ lives weave together in a way that feels almost like a beautiful dress being created in front of you.

In the end, Anderson has made yet another transcendental and sublime work of art. Not one for action fans but a must-see for those who savour a deeper cinematic engagement. Go and get entwined in the threads of this phantom movie.

NYE

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

öööö

(4 - Sumptuous romance and darkness)

Awesomeness öööö  – Staggering interplay and style

Laughs öö  – Limited dark mirth

Horror öö –  Some icky

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Passion can disrupt the heart

Monday, January 29, 2018

Darkmatters Review: Downsizing


Downsizing (15)

Dir. Alexander Payne

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Get up and open your eyes. This small world is filled with things to see...”

Downsizing or ‘Honey I shrunk the fun concept into a campaigning “dramedy”’ as it’s more accurate title would be, is an odd film and hard to put in a genre. The trailer makes it looks like comedic social satire with dark edges but the actual film is a preachy meditation on the dangers of we humans not being nice to each other or our planet.

small but centre of attention!?

The inventive plot revolves around the potentially world saving scientific gimmic that allows humans to be shrunk in size to about 4” and live their lives in tiny communities which massively reduce the drain on the planetary resources. The selling point for ‘going small’ is that you get way more for your money as huge mansions, jewellery and other luxuries are relatively cheap on a micro level so even those on moderate incomes can live like little millionaires.

Paul Safranek (Matt ‘The Martian’ Damon) is your average guy, unsatisfied with life and struggling to pay for a new home so he and his wife agree to the take the downsizing plunge. We get to follow Paul’s odyssey as he comes to terms with humanitarian issues along with personal ones.

no hair allowed

By chance, he meets political dissident Ngoc (Hong ‘Inherent Vice’ Chau) and through her learns some big life lessons. The two actors certainly share some great chemistry throughout which drives the film, even when the moralising message threatens to bog down the plot.

Director Alexander ‘Sideways’ Payne) has created a film that if you can give it a chance will provoke you to think hard about the world we live in, society in general and your part in it all. It doesn’t always work and the climax feels slapped on unnecessarily but it is always welcome to see filmmakers taking risks with ‘out there’ ideas.

tiny first class...

One less subplot features Paul’s dodgy neighbour Dusan (Christoph Waltz), and his slimy pal Konrad (Udo Kier) who live like kings thanks to their illicit import business, it feels like padding and sits uneasily with the wider story arc.

Overall though Downsizing is an emotionally charged sci-fi satire which starts with a crowd-pleasing half hour that would have been a great Black Mirror episode but then morphs into a much more solemn tragedy cum romance.

There are some small pleasures to had but it requires investment!

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

ööö

(3 - It's not the size that matters)

Awesomeness ööö  – Some creative scenes

Laughs öö  – The funnies dry up after a while

Horror öö –  Slightly icky but nothing too grim

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - LET'S SAVE EACH OTHER!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Darkmatters Review: The Post


The Post (12a)

Dir. Steven Spielberg

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“The press exists to serve the governed, not the governors…”

Before being involved in reporting the Watergate scandal which brought President Nixon down, The Washington Post newspaper had already found itself in the firing line of the White House.

The Post revolves around how American military analyst, Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys), uncovered the murky facts behind the US government's deceptions about the futility of the Vietnam War. And rather than keeping it all to himself, he made copies of the top-secret documents which were leaked first to the New York Times and then later The Washington Post – changing the course of history.

tough day at the office

Meryl Streep plays Washington Post owner, Kay Graham, whose editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) discovers that the New York Times has scooped them once again with an explosive expose on the leaked papers. In a bold move to try and gain ground on their rival, Bradlee sets out to track down Ellsberg himself, find out the details and publish them.

The situation is complicated when by the Federal Court take out a restraining order against the New York Times that could get them all indicted for Contempt and sent to jail if they publish too. It falls to Graham to make the call on whether to publish or not with pretty much everything at stake.

working breakfast

This is a fantastic love letter to the journalist era of 1970’s America and Spielberg really nails the period details with the cars, clothes, music and general feel. The plot takes time to build up Graham's backstory, from her personal strength following her husband’s death, through to her links with key government officials like Robert McNamara, mastermind of the Vietnam War.

The cast are uniformly excellent and the writing crackles with intelligence, there is much to ponder and chew over long after viewing. The Post is a celebration of the search for truth and the cost of the freedom of the press, an ode to an era before the internet, when newspapers formed an integral part of the social fabric.

Gov secrets travel first class

At heart The Post is also a tale of the courage of a woman who had been told that she wasn't as good as a man for the job she held, a timely message that resonates just as much now, maybe more so.

This is a film that everyone should see, it informs, inspires and ignites the deep held human spirit for the value of exposing the truth. Recommended.

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

öööö

(4 - Freedom is essential)

Awesomeness öööö  – The climax is a nerve shred

Laughs öö  – A few funnies

Horror ö –  Tense but not grim

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Standing for whats right



Thursday, January 11, 2018

Interview with Dreamchaser Scott Elliot about Scott and Sid


Darkmatters Interview, Matt Adcock puts questions to Scott Elliott – one half of the cool new British filmmaking team whose first film ‘Scott and Sid’ hits screens in March 2018.

Here's the trailer:




Looks good huh? The story behind the film is inspirational too - the two friends raised £1 million to fund their debut film, navigated the distance from dream to reality, never letting themselves succumb to an ordinary path through life. A tale about friendship and coming-of-age, the film offers an insight into the pairs’ dreamchaser philosophy and inspires their audience to be more than normal. Chasing their dreams comes at a cost, but one meeting could change their lives.

Co-creators Elliott and Sadowskyj, said: “Having wanted to make a film since we were teenagers, the fact that we are on the brink of releasing a story based on our lives is incredible.

“The buzz around our upcoming film has been electrifying and many people, including our cast and crew, have already become enthused by our shared philosophy,” they added.

Scott in Bali writing up the questions (Exclusive Pics)

MATT: Hey – so how much is Scott and Sid autobiographical?

SCOTT: It’s a little bit of fact and fiction. Some areas of the story are pulled back otherwise the film would have gone in a different direction, a darker direction. And some elements of the story are more polarised for story purposes or to push a feeling or create a plot point.

MATT: What films have inspired you?

SCOTT: You know, I’m obsessed with films I watch at least two a day, a couple of my favourites today...

Chinatown, Forrest Gump, Godfather, Terminator 2

MATT: I’m a youth worker as well as film reviewer – am interested in your insights into troubled teens like those our ‘heroes’ are?

SCOTT: You know, I made the film for a mixture of people and one group was troubled teens. I couldn’t read or write till around 12 and wasn’t the best, I believe if I didn’t dreamchase I would be in prison now.


MATT: Is this tale one that will inspire those who come from dysfunctional backgrounds to be more than they might believe?

SCOTT: It’s not just for people with dysfunctional backgrounds, working 9-5 for 40 years in a job you hate earning money for things you don’t really want or don’t give a fuck about is pretty dysfunctional, don’t you think?

MATT: I love the concept of ‘Dreamchasing’ – is that something you live by?

SCOTT: Since 15 me and Sid have lived as dreamchasers, it’s been the saviour of us both and brought great memories experiences and opportunities! Meeting Sid and writing our first list was a turning point in my life.


MATT: So how likely am I to be calling Scott and Sid the new Trainspotting?

SCOTT: Trainspotting is one of a kind! It’s a genre in itself, I think Scott and Sid is the same. To compare them is like comparing an apple and a cup of coffee, they are both around the same size but that’s it!

"Scott and Sid is like an inspiring cup of coffee"

MATT: And so which films are you most looking forward to this year?

SCOTT: In all honesty, I’m that wrapped up in Scott and Sid and our next project and don’t have a clue what’s coming out! What do you think I should look out for?

FYI, Scott, I’d say: ‘Red Sparrow, Ready Player One and Sicario 2: Soldado as a quick top three to check’

MATT: Thanks for your time and finally what are your future plans in terms of filmmaking?

SCOTT: We have some big plans!!


Be sure to check back for a full review of Scott and Sid... In the mean time check the official site here: www.scottandsid.com

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri




Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (15)

Dir. Martin McDonagh

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the extended CVM version of this review: CVM BLOG

“You know, if you hadn't stopped coming to church, you'd have a little more understanding of people's feelings...”

Not much can prepare you for this brutally dark comic drama from Academy Award nominee Martin ‘In Bruges’ McDonagh. The harrowing story is set some months after the horrific rape and murder of a young woman called Angela Hayes (Kathryn Newton). The police have made no progress in finding a suspect so Angela’s mother Mildred (Academy Award winner – and surely potentially in line for another for her stunning performance here - Frances McDormand) commissions three billboard signs leading into her town with a controversial message calling out William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), the town's revered chief of police.

The Three Billboards

What follows is a battle of wills between Mildred and Ebbing's law enforcement, with the townsfolk’s emotions running high. As anger, bigotry and violence come to the surface, the lives of everyone are impacted.

Joining Mildred on her heartfelt quest for justice is a wildly unpredictable ride, one moment you’ll be rocked by the gut-churning raw grief and recriminations, the next marvelling at some wonderful laugh-out-loud dialogue. It’s a killer combo of superb acting and incredible cinematography that elevates Three Billboards to a classic status.

"Woman on a mission"

McDormand gives a master class in how loss and grief can embitter the human soul, this is an insight into the long uneasy road towards finding any sort of peace. The mix of dark and comedic tones is a tricky balancing act but director McDonagh nails it without sacrificing either element.

The entire cast are excellent but the stand out supporting role is Sam Rockwell as Dixon, a flawed, racist cop whose volatile, childish behaviour is a danger to everyone around him. Rockwell takes his unlikable character on a tremendous arc of development, which will challenge you about how everyone should have a chance at redemption. Woody Harrelson, Peter Dinklage, John Hawk and Caleb Landry Jones are also great though.

"Family business"

Ultimately the central message is that even deeply wounded people can find a reason to live, a purpose and to not only transcend themselves, but walk a path to redemption.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a masterpiece – a film that will scorch your soul and challenge you but also leave you thinking through how you approach those around you and just maybe make you a better person as a result.

"Emergency"

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

ööööö

(5 - Everyone has their demons)

Awesomeness ööööö  – Just jaw dropping

Laughs öööö  – Really funny but really dark

Horror ööö –  Some grim violence in places

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Redemption is possible




Sunday, January 07, 2018

Darkmatters Review: Hostiles


Hostiles (15)

Dir. Scott Cooper

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read this review over at Luton News

“Sometimes I envy the finality of death. The certainty. And I have to drive those thoughts away when I wake.”

Heavy duty hatred, redemption and everything in between are here in post civil war frontier America where Captain Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale), a troubled soldier is given a thankless mission which will change his life…

"don't mess"
After a lifetime of killing and fighting the native Americans, he is ordered to escort one of his sworn enemies, Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and his family back to his homeland in Montana because he’s dying of cancer.

Hostiles tells the tale of the party’s journey – the fraught relationship between Blocker and his captive is the main focus but there are many encounters along the way. They are hunted by bloodthirsty Comanches, given an untrustworthy US prisoner to take with them in the shifty form of Sgt. Charles Wills (Ben Foster) and find a broken widow whose family has been massacred.

"Not a friend"

Rosamund Pike's Mrs. Quaid is a fantastic study in grief and grit, she clings to Blocker as her protector and their uneasy relationship is both touching and shot through with vulnerability. The acting is excellent throughout and the storytelling gives each character space to develop and through their interactions and challenges to the point that when the body count rises you really care who makes it.

As a ‘Western’ Hostiles is incredibly relevant in dealing with the darkness in men’s hearts and is a fascinating study of how hatred and prejudice can be grappled with and maybe even eventually overcome. Seeing the actions of those who think their cause is righteous can lead to suffering for those they meet, whilst ugliness and beauty, courage and redemption permeate the battles and struggles that each face.

"Time to die"

The cinematography by Masanobu Takayanagi is superb and emotive, capturing the intensity of the situations and delivering some truly awe-inspiring landscapes and vistas. Hostiles is a film that will move you and touch your soul.

Director Scott ‘Black Mass’ Cooper serves up plenty to of troubles for the characters to deal with – even those who have a faith – as Blocker says at one point "God’s been blind to what's been going on here for a long time."

"Mean and Moustached"

You don’t need to be a Western fan to find much to enjoy in Hostiles, it’s bleak and brutal for sure but also offers a glimpse of a possible tonic as we struggle with the injustice and hatred which still haunts our world today.

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - No redemption without sacrifice)

Awesomeness öööö  – Staggering scenes that will haunt you

Laughs ö  – A few light moments but mostly bleak

Horror öööö –  Harsh violence and terror abound

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Let go of hate if you want to live

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Darkmatters Review: The Greatest Showman


The Greatest Showman (PG)

Dir. Michael Gracey

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“I can't just run off and join the circus.…can I?”

Roll up, roll up, The Greatest Showman - Phineas Taylor Barnum (portrayed with absolute gusto by Hugh ‘Logan’ Jackman) is here to astound you with his sights, sounds and general feel-good charisma!

This is very much an ‘inspired by’ rather than factual story of a fool how dreams big as young poor Barnum vows to be a make success so he can give his beloved Charity (Michelle Williams) the life she deserves. With nothing but a dream and a selection of very catchy songs in his heart it might be a tall order.

gangs all here...

But you don’t get the moniker ‘The Greatest Showman’ without being able to pull together an eye-popping circus which delights the masses, unnerves the rich and provides a home for those society has deemed freaks. The show is a hit but whilst bringing in the money, the bawdy low brow spectacle doesn’t bring the social status Barnum craves so he gambles big on the gorgeous ‘Swedish Nightingale’, opera singer Jenny Lind (Rebecca ‘The Girl on the Train’ Ferguson).

What you get is an uplifting, joyous, sing-along experience that effectively utilises the winning song writing talent from La La Land and adds plenty of razzle-dazzle razzmatazz. The musical numbers are actually glorious and whilst the plot does white wash a lot of Barnum’s dodginess – it serves to make this a family-friendly romp as oppose to a treatise on the oppression and exploitation of those born different to everybody else.

feel the chemistry

The troupe of ‘unique individuals’ are great, stand out stars being bearded lady (Keala Settle), little General Tom Thumb (Sam Humphrey) and the incredible trapeze artist Anne Wheeler (Zendaya) – who steals the heart of Zac Efron’s assistant Ringmaster.

Everyone goes about the show business like their lives depend on it, and the energy is infectious. Sure those most cold-hearted out there might scoff at the surface level plot which bounces along mostly as a structure for the films song and dance numbers to hang on. But if even those who would never darken the door of a musical theatre production will find plenty to enjoy as Jackman gives Barnum real heart.

beware the beautiful nightingale

"Do their smiles look fake?" he retorts when one snarky critic confronts him saying everything about his show is fake, and by the end of the film your smile won’t be fake either…


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

öööö

(4 - Sing-em-up that brings the good feels)

Awesomeness ööö  – Packed with great song n dance numbers

Laughs ööö  – Great fun if you can stomach the cheese

Horror öö – Some bigotry and hatred (isn't there always!?)

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Life is better with a song in your heart

Monday, December 25, 2017

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle


Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (12a)

Dir. Jake Kasden

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“It’s a video game, which means we all have three lives, but if we lose them and die in the game, we die for real…”

Back in 1995 the Robin Williams starring Jumanji, about a board game that came to life, grossed a quarter of a billion dollars. So, it’s not a massive surprise to see we’ve gotten a belated sequel – this time updated so that that Jumanji has become the ultimate interactive video game…

Players ready...

When four stereotypical high-school kids discover the Jumanji console they are immediately sucked into the game's jungle, literally becoming the avatars they chose: nerdy gamer Spencer becomes a brawny adventurer Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson); football jock ‘Fridge’ loses - in his words - "the top two feet of his body" and becomes a zoologist named Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart); the hot popular girl Bethany becomes overweight middle-aged male Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black); and shy, gawky Martha becomes badass warrior Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan).

Director Jake ‘Bad Teacher’ Kasden at least seems to ‘get’ video games – I guess having Sony finance the flick might help too (there are some not so subtle PS4 game posters in Spencer’s bedroom such as the classic action adventure Uncharted etc). But you don't so much ‘play’ Jumanji as try to survive it…

Open up and say 'arghhhh'

There is much easy going fun to be had watching the kids trying out their avatar’s powers and coming to terms with getting eaten by hippos, pushed off mountains and shot by baddies only to return (at least the first time)… The body swap jokes about Bethany getting used to having male bits – e.g. peeing standing up and finding that it’s not a gun in her pocket when getting feels for someone are handled well too.

Gillan has fun playing up her having been given such a skimpy outfit “Why am I wearing half a shirt and short shorts in a jungle?” and making into a girl power statement by kicking lots of ass. Johnson and Hart have good banter chemistry and Jack Black has is just great acting up as spoilt pretty princess trapped in his body.

game time

The plot is predictable but the action-packed video game ‘levels’ are enjoyable bringing the required thrills and peril. The special effects deliver the suitable spectacle, especially when the unfriendly jungle critters get to cause serious mayhem.

For a funny, undemanding and mostly family-friendly romp, this is one video game adaptation that is worth seeing on the big screen.


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

ööö

(3 - Play to win...)

Awesomeness ööö  – Spectacular in places

Laughs ööö  – Some nice funnies

Horror öö – Peril and one seriously angry hippo!

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Team is the key 


Monday, December 18, 2017

Darkmatters Top Ten Films of 2017



Top 10 films 2017

This year has been an absolute cracker for cinema goers – with something for everyone… From high profile sequels, to masterfully created new experiences and a host of fresh ideas. Here are is Matt Adcock's picks of the bunch:


10 Get Out

A hair-raising human horror. Possibly the most startlingly vibrant and shocking cinematic opus to racial divides to date, this manages to be darkly funny without skimping on delivering a pure terror rush.

In this age of Trump when the threat of white supremacist mindsets is suddenly a horribly relevant again, Get Out sneakily tears down racist ideals and has lots of fun in the process.



9 Moonlight

The story of young black guy’s quest to find himself and what it means to be a man growing up in a tough and unaccepting world. With a heartfelt depiction of the struggles of identity, masculinity and the conditioning of bigoted society – the acting is outstanding and the cinematography just stunning.

Moonlight is beautifully shot and engagingly paced with a cool soundtrack and is directed with a quiet grace that makes this essential viewing.


8 Brigsby Bear

Brigsby Bear is a wildly unconventional breakthrough film that feels bit like last year’s excellent Hunt For The Wilderpeople in that it mainlines joy directly delivering into your mind’s pleasure cortex.

First-time Director Dave McCary has created a contagious feel-good comedy that transcends the darkness of its plot with a lust for life narrative driven by an incredible performance by Mooney.


7 The Last Jedi

Director Rian Johnson who made the excellent alternative gangster thriller Brick and the time jumping Looper feels right at home building the mythos around the Force and the Jedi, crafting a take on the Star Wars universe which is unlike any that has gone before.

This a bold and brilliant addition to the intergalactic franchise which should be witnessed on the biggest screen you can find. There is life in the Force yet…


6 Thor: Ragnarok

 A new kind of superhero buddy movie and it’s a grin inducing riot of quality laugh out loud humour, crunching super smack downs and brilliant sci-fi, feel good heroics.

Director Taika Waititi takes the Marvel Cinematic Universe and gives it a endorphin boost. Not since Deadpool has a super hero film been such fun and Thor: Ragnarok manages to pack in jaw dropping action, laugh out loud gags (both visual and dialogue) and even keeps it all almost family friendly with a 12a certificate.


5 Baby Driver

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.

Director Edgar ‘Hot Fuzz’ Wright makes all the right moves and delivers an exciting, full throttle modern classic.


4 La La Land

A cinematic piece of musical wonder and smouldering romance which will leave you dazed and amused in the best possible way…

The cinema equivalent of a sugar rush mixed with a roller coaster which delivers quite a high and yet might also put a tear (of joy) in your eye.

Here's to the fools everywhere who dream.


3 Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is everything that fans of the original could want in a sequel. Ryan Gosling is superb in the lead role and he’s ably backed up by the rest of the cast including Harrison Ford who delivers his best performance for many years.

Packed with retina burningly cool scenes and a stunning storyline that adds pathos to the events that follow on from thirty years before. This is incredible near future neo-noir stuff. Sci-fi on the cutting edge which makes you ponder life and meaning whilst engaging your cinematic pleasure receptors.


2 Logan

Logan is a poignant glimpse into what happens when heroic mutants are aged and jaded. With their powers waning and their world view tainted – these final X-remnants come across a young new mutant Laura, also known as ‘X23’ (a star-making turn from upcoming young Dafne Keen) who brings a world of trouble to their lives.

Not your average super-movie. With Jackman on top form, Logan is a fantastic conclusion to the Wolverine trilogy which makes every other X-Men movie look weak in comparison.


1 The Florida Project

Welcome to the flip side of comfortable life, where poverty stalks every character and surviving is no mean feat – even when you live in the very shadow of Disneyland itself…

Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is a heavy duty treatise on the durability and joy of childhood, a soul-destroying expose of living on the edge and heart-breaking almost-romance that never could be.

Brutal and bleak but also engaging and wonderful in equal measure, this is a film that will enrich your life and make you thankful for everything you have.


Runners up (you really should check these out too!):

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

A Ghost Story

Logan Lucky

Hacksaw Ridge

Dunkirk

Wonder Woman

Atomic Blonde

Spiderman: Homecoming

Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2

Kong: Skull Island

War for the Planet of the Apes

Free Fire

T2: Trainspotting

A Cure for Wellness

IT

The Lego Batman Movie

Lady Macbeth

Raw

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