DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Terminator Genisys


Terminator Genisys (12a)

Dir. Alan Taylor

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“I'm not a man, not a machine... I'm more!”

In the future, sentient machines will attempt to wipe out all humans. Mankind however rallies around a brilliant leader named John Connor (Jason Clarke) and get to the point of destroying the machine control system called Skynet, thus ending the war. But the sneaky machines send a terminator back in time to kill John's mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), before she can have John, thus pre-emptively taking the win for the machines before the fighting even begins. Stop me if this sounds at all familiar…

Terminator Genisys attempts a hard reboot of the franchise, which really hasn’t been great since Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Director Alan ‘Thor: The Dark World’ Taylor uses some novel ideas in order to try and breathe new life into the decaying exoskeleton of the Terminator films and initially it pays off.

"best action scene..."

First up Genisys reuses not just the characters but also the actual locations, lines, scenes and pretty much everything cool about the first two Terminator films and for about 20 minutes it works! Fans will get a sweet nostalgic buzz seeing Arnie retracing his steps – only to be met with a few surprise twists, but after this promising start Genisys manages to go spectacularly wrong.

The plot disappears into mumbo jumbo, the actors – especially Jai Courtney who plays the new Kyle Reese, the brave freedom fighter sent back to protect Sarah Connor, seem to be intent on showing us just how much better the originals were in the same roles. Then the action kicks into CGI meltdown leaving viewers in a state of ‘meh’ as their eyeballs are assaulted with limited thrill scenes of 12a friendly moderate violence.

"how did they pay you for this Arnie?"

Alas Terminator Genisys feels like a huge waste of time and effort by all concerned – it’s a shame because I’m a big fan of the Terminator concept and it pains me to see even the stoic Arnie struggling to recapture the coolness of his most iconic role.

So apart from the opening reworking of the original, is there anything of merit here? Well the special effects are top notch in places, and the machines in the future world where they have taken control look great – but these scenes are few and far between.

"not looking very bad ass"

It really doesn’t help that anyone who has seen the trailer will already know the big ‘surprise’ plot twist. And whilst the direction isn’t terrible, the writers of this ill thought through nonsense need to be terminated ASAP.


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

öö

(2 - Hasta La Vista Terminator…)

Awesomeness ööö – moments of joyous nostalgic joy at the start

Laughs öö – tries too hard to be funny but fails

Horror öö –  moderate violence only

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - don't sully original greatness

Recommended Hashtags: #AnUnexpectedErrorOccurred

"the death of a franchise?"



Monday, June 29, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Knock Knock


Knock Knock (18)

Dir. Eli Roth

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Sex ‘n violence…”

“Sex ‘n violence who?”

“Sex ‘n violence and nail biting tension!”

Meet Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves), he’s a happily married architect who has it all… Nice house, talented wife, two cute kids and decent job. But Evan’s world is about to be turned upside down when two beautiful young girls, arrive on his doorstep late one night, drenched, and in need of using a phone due to their being lost.

"Ah poor lost girls in need of help..?"

Evan’s wife Karen (Ignacia Allamand), has taken the kids away to their beach house and he’s a nice guy so he agrees to help the stranded young women who go by the names ‘Genesis’ (Lorenza Izzo – Director Eli Roth’s wife) and ‘Bel’ (Ana de Armas).

Knock Knock is an unashamedly old-fashioned exploitation flick that jumps in with a seedy seduction scenario, which then sets up a horrific aftermath of escalating repercussions.

"All work an no play make Keanu a dull boy"

Director Eli ‘Hostel’ Roth has form for effectively nasty cinematic tales and Knock Knock cranks up some very uncomfortable ‘what if’ situations both for Evan and the viewers. If you’re easily offended or freaked out this really isn’t the film for you, as it gets pretty full on with steamy sex and grim violence.

Keanu makes for an interestingly tormented protagonist, a man who can’t resist what he refers to as ‘free pizza delivered to his door’ but gets much much more than he bargained for.

"you like my Joker make up?"

The grisly scenario that unfolds certainly builds up some edge-of-your-seat tension that will probably be differently received by males and female viewers. Throw in nifty use of social media for maximum cultural relevance and whilst the premise for the film might look like a sexed up riff on home invasion horrors like Funny Games, there is much to make you think about here.

The sexy / scary duo of Genesis and Bel are potentially iconic new cinematic horror threats – it will be interesting to see if audiences make this viable for a potential sequel. It’s a testament to the skill of the actresses to be able to switch from coy and innocent to brutal and psychotic in seconds.

"let's play a game..."

Knock Knock is a frightening, wild thrill ride – which if you have the stomach for it’s justifiably ‘18 rated’ action will leave you breathless and disturbed in equal measure. Modern horror hasn’t felt this fresh for a while.

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

ööö1/2

(3.5 - Be careful out there
)

Awesomeness öööö – some unforgettable moments

Laughs öö – darkly funny in places

Horror öööö – tense and violent

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - just say 'no'

Recommended Hashtags: #KnockShock

Monday, June 22, 2015

Darkmatters Review: The Reaper


The Reaper 

Dir. Luke Mordue (@morduepictures)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

"Every breath you take... 
                                            leads to me..."

Buckle up for a powerful short film experience - Luke Mordue's The Reaper is a cunning mash up of home invasion horror and thought provoking theological meaning of life contemplation!?

That's a combo I never thought I'd see brought to the screen but Mordue seems to be on a cinematic mission to mess with people's heads and fortunately, he's got a great eye for what makes film watchable - backed up by some good performances by Jamie 'soon to be in Essex Boys: Law of Survival' Hawes as unfortunate home owner Josh and Dana Smit who plays probably the best looking screen representation of The Grim Reaper to date...

"staring death in the face"

The Reaper is a disorientating punch to the guts, starting as a fairly standard burglar-em-up before moving the metaphysical goalposts and becoming a 'Tree of Life'-lite reflection on human existence and the hereafter.

Nice work all round - I'd recommend you check out The Reaper (prepare for some harsh language) but it's worth sticking with it to get the theologically challenging conclusion.

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

öööö 

(4 - tasty, brain frazzling fun)

Watch The Reaper:



"nice promo"





Sunday, June 21, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Mr Holmes


Mr. Holmes (PG)

Dir. Bill Condon

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“I've decided to write the story down; as it was. Get it right, before I die…”

The name’s Holmes, Sherlock Holmes and I’m the greatest detective to have ever lived. This new film tells the tale of my twilight years, a document to the human frame’s mortality, a chance for me to look back on my life. But there is something deeply disturbing me, something I cannot let rest despite being officially retired – I need to find a way to close my one unsolved case, a 50-year old one involving the disappearance of a particularly beautiful but unstable woman…

"at your service..."

My story here (based on the novel ‘A Slight Trick of the Mind’) is set in 1947. That handsome devil Ian McKellen plays me, lovely job he does too, catches my honourable character, my incredible deductive mind and wicked sense of humour, and yes, even my fragility as I realise I’m not quite the man I used to be.

Mr Holmes is an engaging slow-burning cinematic mystery that mixes the fictional biographic details with the heartrending pathos of a great man in decline. Director Bill “Gods and Monsters’ Condon handles the material sensitively and has a strong cast all giving good performances including Laura Linney as Holmes’ stalwart housekeeper Mrs Munro and young Milo Parker as he bright son Roger.

"hey wait up Gandalf!"

There’s little ‘action’ to speak of but there is joy is in watching Holmes trying to piece together the fragments of the case that he failed to solve, all the while trying to stave off the creeping effects of dementia. Roger Allam brings a compassionate air to the doctor treating Holmes – his instruction for Holmes to keep a diary and add dots where he can’t remember details is a device that will stay with you long afterwards.

"mysterious"

Fans of Sherlock are well served with some nice cameos including a superb fiction within fiction matinee show of Sherlock Holmes that has Nicholas Rowe star as the main man. There’s fun too in seeing the outrage Dr. Watson's juicy fictitious portrayals of Holmes’ life provoke in the old man who sets about trying to rectify the situation with his truthful account.


Mr Holmes is a quality piece of filmmaking that will give you much to ponder – if you’re looking for an engaging mystery, then it’s elementary that this should be on your ‘to see list’.

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

ööö1/2

(3.5 - After a lifetime of detective work, there's one mystery left to solve: his own
)

Awesomeness ööö – more deductions than action

Laughs öö – some fun but not a comedy!?

Horror öö –  creeping loss of self is scary

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - great minds carry great responsibility

Recommended Hashtags: #Elementary

"classy production!"

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Push Square is the FUTURE

"The future of PlayStation..."

Wow what an E3!?!

Sony blew the doors off with The Last Guardian, FF VII Remake, Horizon and more... Read all about every announcement of note over at the awesome PushSquare.


Plus more reviews from Matt Adcock (@Cleric20) coming soon...

My latest writing outlet is the rather awesome PushSquare - which is the place for all things PlayStation. Will be reviewing games over there and to kick off I took Magicka 2 for a spin...


"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 

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

Darkmatters Review: Jurassic World


Jurassic World (12a)

Dir. Colin Trevorrow

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“You just went and made a new dinosaur? Probably not a good idea…”

Can it really be twenty-two years since the events of Jurassic Park, which saw Isla Nublar become an all-you-can-eat human buffet for genetically reborn dinosaurs?

It is and yet it seems that we really haven’t learnt any lessons as the infamous park has been reopened as a fully functioning dinosaur stocked ‘Jurassic World’.

"open up and say 'arrghghgh'"

Thousands of people now flock to marvel at the dino-attractions but in order to add an additional ‘wow factor’ the scientists have created a new, cooler, bigger monster – the Indominus Rex. Before you can say ‘are you sure you want to make a creature that is smarter, stronger and more vicious than any other on the planet?’ it’s already escaped and is putting it’s various animal DNA boosts to work by killing everything that it meets.

The main human potential on the menu are likeable young brothers, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins), who have been sent off on their own to enjoy the Jurassic World – because their aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), is the park operations manager.

"feeding time"

When things go ‘ape’ (or should I say ‘dino’?) in the park, it’s fortunate for everyone that Indiana Jones-alike Grady (Chris Pratt), is on hand to try and save the day. That’s all you need to know really, oh that and the fact that the action scenes are bigger, the dinosaurs look and move better than ever and there are some superb Easter Eggs for those who have watched the original Jurassic Park.

Jurassic World is a great fun thrill ride that brings sustained threat and some quite nasty deaths along with scares, which might be a bit too much for younger viewers. The effects are jaw droppingly impressive, and the new big bad guy Indominus Rex is an iconic creature (a huge improvement on Jurassic Park III’s Spinosaurus ).

"Aliens refs abound"

There are some really nice nods to other classic monster franchises such as Predator, Aliens, Godzilla etc. Chris Pratt is excellent and his sizzling charisma helps propel the action along much like he did with Guardians of the Galaxy. Bryce Dallas Howard is also decent as the female lead – who manages to be more than just a love interest and the kids are nice enough for you to actually not want them to get eaten for once.

"Velociraptor fun"

Monster sized fun-packed cinematic thrills don’t come much better!

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - 
Indominus amounts of excitement!)

Awesomeness ööööö – tasty dino-action

Laughs ööö – some fun

Horror öö –  deaths n dino-violence

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - 65million years of waiting breeds resentment

Recommended Hashtags: #RUN

"Chris Pratt - would make a great Drake in Uncharted film!?"

Read version of this review with added 'thinking material' over at: CVM

Monday, June 08, 2015

Darkmatters Review: SPY


SPY (15)

Dir. Paul Feig

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“We need someone to find the bomb without being detected but it can't be any of you. We need someone invisible...”

Action comedy SPY sees the CIA in a bit of sticky situation… The Agency must track down a rogue nuclear weapon and their top agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) has accidently killed baddie Tihomir Boyanov (Raad Rawi) who was the only person in the world who knew where it is…

"New Bond?"

To make matters worse the identities of Fine and all the top CIA agents have been blown by Boyanov’s daughter, Rayna (Rose Byrne) and she just might be the last chance to find the nuke.

This is the James Bond-esque plot for SPY but as well as ramping up some slick espionage thrills, director Paul ‘Bridesmaids’ Feig blows the doors off with a riot of laughs that make this a real feel good flick.

"Crimes a go go"

Key to the laughs is leading lady Melissa McCarthy who lets rip as unassuming analyst Susan Cooper who is give her big chance to go undercover to attempt to find Rayna, locate the nuclear weapon and save the day.

Susan might not look fit enough for field action, and indeed her unflattering undercover identities such as cat loving spinster don’t help – but she’s actually a loaded weapon who will do anything to crack the mission.

"CIA's finest"

Not letting a lack of field experience or having a highly stung fellow analyst Nancy (Miranda Hart) as a best friend, hold her back, Cooper cracks skulls and funnies in a blur of effective big screen mayhem. Supported along the way by a superb cast that includes a brilliantly sleazy Peter Serafinowicz as Aldo and an OTT scene stealing Jason Statham as indestructible and foul-mouthed Agent Rick Ford.

The action is crunching and apes Bond in a Kingsman: The Secret Service kinda way, but the real joy here are the funnies which will have you laughing out loud until you can’t breathe or think straight.

"smooth"

Fieg knows how to get the best out of McCarthy and she in turn delivers over and above – even if you weren’t a fan up to now, she owns this film and you’ll be a hard-nosed scrooge indeed to not be amused here.

Sure it’s sweary and at times the jokes will offend, but SPY is also genuinely funny and exciting.

This is a spy-em-up treat for all those who have ever wanted to see Miss Moneypenny outshine Bond himself.


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


öööö 

(4 - I SPY an action comedy treat!!
)

Awesomeness öööö – tasty action and crazy funnies

Laughs öööö – very funny stuff

Horror öö –  slapstick violence

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - underdogs can shine

Recommended Hashtags: #ISpyEspionage

"glam baddie"


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Darkmatters Review: San Andreas


San Andreas (12a)

Dir. Brad Peyton

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“This is *not* a normal day!”

What can survive when everything around you is torn apart? And when I say ‘torn apart’ I mean it in vivid, jaw dropping CGI big screen high definition insanity!?

Well, on the strength of San Andreas only The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) – here playing hotshot rescue-chopper pilot Ray, and the nuclear family as a concept worth risking everything for…

"hero rescue pilot at your service"

Ray’s family consists of his lovely, estranged, but still sort of in love him, wife Emma (Carla Gugino – who is the same age as me but has aged so much better), plus smoking hot 20-something daughter Blake (Alexandra ‘True Detective’ Daddario). You see, the underlying message of Brad Peyton’s disaster-em-up is basically ‘good looking people should always be saved’ but if you’re a bit average, hhhhmmmm don’t rate your chances.

On the Richter scale of ‘what are these people doing in such an obvious B-movie?’ Paul Giamatti registers a huge spike as Laurence - a doom saying seismologist whose every line after the devastation kicks off could have been ‘told you so’… Also along for the mass peril ride is Daniel Riddick (Ioan Gruffud), an architect who had designs on Ray’s wife and has made a super new high-rise tower – cue audience cries of ‘ooh wonder if that will come down in the quake?’…

"Fight Club-esq end of days"

And there’s a tiny cameo for pop princess Kylie Minogue who actually doesn’t last long despite not being ugly, but she’s obviously killed off because she’s not a very nice person!? Plus there are a couple of 'nice but dim' Brits who tag along making us English people look bad...

So if you want to ‘enjoy’ San Andreas (I use the word enjoy under advice from my lawyer that it might be misleading) you really need to disengage your brain and let the genuinely impressive destruction wash over you like the massive tsunami cause by the after shocks.

"There goes the neighbourhood"

Props must go to the special effects people as they really do bring some serious end of days mayhem to the screen in fine style, it’s just a shame the uniformly corny acting, duff dialogue and predicable plot do all they can to distract from the spectacle.

It does get extremely far fetched, with many very close shaves for the plucky family. I was a little disappointed in fact not to have them go all out and include a scene where The Rock had to punch the fault line back into place to save the day.

"Worth saving"

In the end San Andreas works as a by-the-numbers disaster movie, it won’t be anyone’s favourite film of the year but that’s not the ‘fault’ of the makers.

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

ööö 

(3 - Boom, shake the room...
)

Awesomeness ööö – moments of incredible destruction eye candy

Laughs öö – limited funnies

Horror ööö – bloodless but lots of people die

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - family are all that matter

Recommended Hashtags: #WhatHappensNext


Monday, May 25, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Tomorrowland - A World Beyond


Tomorrowland: A World Beyond (12a)

Dir. Brad Bird

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (tweet me at @Cleric20)

“Do you ever wonder what would happen if all the great thinkers came together to actually change the world for the better? And the results were, well, miracles?”

Prepare to rekindle your cinematic sense of awe, engage your inner innocent wide-eyed wonder and unshackle your mind from the limits you operate within every day…

"Future style"

Take a trip to Tomorrowland: A World Beyond – Disney’s big budget retro-feel sci-fi-em-up - and you’ll be transported to somewhere very special.

Your host for this fantastical adventure is plucky teenager Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) who becomes caught up in a dangerous mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space – a place called "Tomorrowland."

"pick your hero"

Casey’s not alone in this quest – as grumpy Frank Walker (George Clooney), who was once a child genius inventor, becomes her initially reluctant partner in crime on their quest to save the future. And they're joined by cute robotic companion Athena (Raffey Cassidy) - who might just hold the key to all our futures.

Oh there’s so much going on here – killer robots, geek friendly shops packed with Star Wars memorabilia, a doomsday device counting down to the end of us and a surprising not-entirely-kiddie-friendly body count.

"one touch and you're there..."

If you’re prepared to let the freewheeling story and stunning CGI stimulate your pleasure receptors Tomorrowland will whisk you away and leave plenty behind for you to think about afterwards. You could say this is like ‘Interstellar’ but a bit easier to get your head around!?

The threat of human society collapsing into a cynical dystopia unfortunately really does not feel that far fetched. As baddie of the piece is Nix (Hugh Laurie), an understated rather than ‘boo-hiss’ overlord of Tomorrowland is stifling the creativity out of the place – which is amusing in itself when you consider the film was originally based on a generic Disney theme park area!?

"Future architecture!"

Clooney is on good form, refreshing in not bringing his usual dazzling charismatic persona but rather a less sympathetic and yet still likeable lead. He gets some great lines – like ‘when I was a kid, the future was different’…His rapport with Robertson is winning too – and she is the real star of the film, this is definitely her breakthrough role and I’m tipping her for big things ahead.

Director Brad ‘The Incredibles’ Bird invites you to Tomorrowland: A World Beyond, it’s a place every man, woman and child should visit as soon as possible, just be sure to bring your imagination!!

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

öööö 

(4 - The future isn't what it used to be
)

Awesomeness öööö – exciting, thought provoking stuff

Laughs ööö – fun in places

Horror öö – not too grim but some violence

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - don't stop dreaming

Recommended Hashtags: #Beyond

"which is human?"

Friday, May 15, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Mad Max Fury Road


Mad Max: Fury Road (15)

Dir. George Miller

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“My name is Max. My world is reduced to a single instinct: Survive. As the world fell it was hard to know who was more crazy. Me... Or everyone else.”

The future belongs to the mad – so get ready for a wonderfully insane thrill ride.

"there goes his no claims bonus"

‘Mad’ Max is back baby and he’s better than ever, George Miller's anti-hero hasn’t graced the screen sine 1985’s Beyond Thunderdome and whilst he’s swapped actors from Mel Gibson to Tom Hardy – this is a most welcome return!

Sometimes it can he hard to kick start a franchise after 30 years but Fury Road feels fresh and energised, this is without doubt a nitros charged immediate cult classic.

"meaningful looks"

Hardy is superb as the broken Road Warrior who is haunted by the loss of his family – his aim is to simply survive but that’s easier said than done in a violent future where gangs rule the scorched wastelands and water is precious commodity.

The apocalyptic stark desert landscape looks incredible, you can almost taste the dust and feel the intense heat but it’s the vehicles that are the real stars here. From the iconic ‘battle rig’ tanker which fans of the series will see as an evolution of the one from Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior through to Max’s Ford Falcon XB Coupe, V8 351 which is also updated.

"insanity"

Max might be mad but he’s a man of action and few words, adept at surviving in the violent chaos. His path crosses with the strong willed Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) who is trying to save a bunch of rather lovely ‘breeders’ – the future term for fertile women apparently – who include British actress Rosie ‘Transformers’ Huntington-Whiteley rejoicing in the name The Splendid Angharad.

"Theron is bad ass"

With something to fight for Max and his unwilling sidekick Nux (Nicholas Hoult) go up against the crazed warlord Immortan Joe (Hugh ‘Toecutter from the original Mad Max’ keays-Byrne)

As soon as the action kicks off in Fury Road it absolutely does not let up – this is 120mins of outrageously over-the-top ‘car’nage, it’s incredible, exciting and breath-taking. Those who have played the hit PlayStation game of mass car destruction ‘Twisted Metal,’ will have some idea of what to expect.

"baddie"

If the future really does belong to the mad – Mad Max Fury Road is a great introduction to it. Highly recommended viewing.

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

öööö1/2 

(4.5 - exhausting, cool, apocalyptic epic!
)

Awesomeness ööööö – glorious destruction has never been so cool

Laughs ööö – grim slapstick comedy in places

Horror öööö – very violent, authentic 'n crunchin

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - madness is no escape

Recommended Hashtags: #FutureMadness

"wreckage"

"future chastity!?"


Tweet this...