DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

Darkmatters Review: X-Men Apocalypse


X-Men: Apocalypse (12a)

Dir. Bryan Singer

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Does it ever wake you in the middle of the night? The feeling that one day, they'll come for you? And your children?”

Since the dawn of civilization, we have had those walk among us who have incredible ‘beyond human’ powers. These mutants stem from an ancient godlike entity who could transfer his consciousness from body to body, assimilating the powers of those he takes over. His name is Apocalypse (Oscar ‘The Force Awakens’ Isaac), the first and most powerful mutant of Marvel's X-Men universe.

"Oscar Isaac has a word with his agent"

Virtually immortal and invincible, Apocalypse is awakened after thousands of years and immediately embarks on wiping out humanity. Only Raven / Mystique (Jennifer ‘Hunger Games’ Lawrence), Professor X (James ‘Filth’ McAvoy) and a team of young, inexperienced X-Men stand in his way.

Sounds good right? X-Men: Apocalypse is a return to the franchise of original director Bryan ‘The Usual Suspects’ Singer, it boasts a fantastic cast and serious budget, it is also the worst X-Men film to date. The plot is a horrible mess, which feels lightweight, muddled and overlong – it makes Batman v Superman look like the greatest superhero flick ever made in comparison.

"New X-team"

It’s hard to watch such a revered franchise making such a huge misstep as a big fan of the X-Men films. The biggest (of many) problems is bad guy Apocalypse himself, he’s a poorly realised villain who looks like he’s wandered onto set from a cheap Power Rangers show. Isaac is a superb actor but he’s totally hamstrung here by a terrible script and incomprehensible motivations. He’s over powered too but his powers come and go – one minute he can wipe out a room of enemies with a single look but when facing the X-Men he obliges each with an unmemorable one-on-one battle.

"Let's dance"

Then there are Apocalypse’s four disciples, made up of Magneto (the excellent Michael ‘Steve Jobs’ Fassbender who looks bored throughout), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn) and Angel (Ben ‘EastEnders’ Hardy). Their purpose is hard to fathom other than being there for forced and wasted fights against the X-Men, it gets to the point where you start to feel bad for them as they obviously don’t want to be there.

 The only bright spot was seeing Quicksilver (Evan ‘Kick-Ass’ Peters) reprising his speedy antics but even this isn’t as fresh or as jaw dropping as in Days of Future Past. I don’t where the X-Men go from here but it would be tragic if Apocalypse was their last hurrah…

"Can I go home yet?"

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

öö

(2 - Days of mediocrity present)...

Awesomeness öö – Limited bursts of actual 'super' action

Laughs öö – Amusing in places but not enough

Horror öö – Bit grim for a 12a in places

Spiritual Enlightenment -öö – false gods ahoy

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Green Room


Green Room (18)

Dir. Jeremy Saulnier

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)


“We're not keeping you here, you're just staying.”


Prepare for a heavy duty dose of menace and bloodshed as Jeremy ‘Blue Ruin’ Saulnier unleashes potentially the best horror / thriller of the year. This is a full blooded, 18 rated, primal scream of the highest order.

"guns and bands"

Meet ‘The Ain’t Rights’ – a standard U.S. 4 piece punk band who are struggling to make ends meet, due in part to their reluctance to embrace social media. Pat (Anton ‘Star Trek’ Yelchin) is lead guitar, plus there are bassist Sam (Alia Shawkat), drummer Reece (Joe Cole) and Tiger (Callum Turner) on vocals – none of them are particularly happy when they take a gig at an isolated backwoods club run by neo-nazi skinheads. Turns out they’re right to be worried…

"Boo!"

Things go very bad, very quickly after their set on stage sees them witnessing a murder and suddenly find themselves fighting for their lives as the devious club owner Darcy Banker (Patrick Stewart) orders his men to ensure none of the band escape alive.

The cinematography is excellent throughout, with a tangible dread built up effectively through the kind of voodoo sense of threat which echoes Assault on Precinct 13 mixed with the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

"get away any way you can"

Speaking of massacres, Green Room really doesn’t hold back with the body count or violent carnage. By making the bad guys unredeemable fascists it means that viewers are able to get behind the desperate actions the heroes have to go to in order to try and survive. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart though as the savagery on offer includes attack dogs, machetes, guns, knives and even fire extinguishers!?

The cast are convincing and goods value – pick of the bunch is probably plucky hostage Amber (Imogen ‘Need for Speed’ Poots), who inspires a climactic situation that will stay with you for some time after the credits roll. The Nazis are suitably nasty too, even the slightly reluctant Gabe (Macon Blair – who is a long term collaborator with Saulnier) has to fall in line with the execution plans.

"Fight to the finish"

Director Saulnier is definitely one to watch – after Blue Ruin and Green Room, will be interesting to see if his next film has a colour in the title, and on the showing here it is likely to be blood red.

Those looking for a jolt of hair raising violent excitement, Green Room is a brutal, brilliant and thrilling descent into hell.

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

öööö

(4 - Grim but good)...

Awesomeness öööö – The tension builds to harrowing levels

Laughs öö – Some dark humour

Horror ööööö – Very strong violence and gruesome death

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – survival at what cost?




Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Bad Neighbours 2


Bad Neighbours 2 (15)

Dir. Nicholas Stoller

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

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

“Let’s do what parents do best, stop young people from having fun!”

Here we have perhaps the least needed sequel of the year. Bad Neighbours was a gross out blast of funny students vs grown ups neighbourly warfare, so Hollywood decided to reprise the exact same formula, literally the same jokes just replacing the hard partying boys with – wait for it – hard partying girls…

"the shirts are off..."

So this time we have homeowners and struggling parents Mac (Seth ‘The Night Before’ Rogen) and his wife Kelly (Rose ‘Spy’ Bryne) finding themselves up against a radical new college sorority of girls who have decided to move in to the old ‘Frat House’ next door. The timing couldn’t be worse as the couple are trying to sell their property to jumpy new buyers…

Also on hand is Teddy Sanders (Zac Effron) – the leader of the Frat House in the original film who this time gets caught up in both sides of the raucous escalating pranks and consequences.

Cue sex jokes, drug jokes, cussing and inappropriate behaviour, most of which feels a bit like a ‘not quite as good’ rerun of the original. Yes, you’ll laugh in a few places but Bad Neighbours 2 is wearyingly lazy and neither as shockingly gross or as genuinely funny as the original which is a shame for fans.

"girl power"

Kudos to the writer / director Stoller for trying to at least injecting some female empowerment and anti misogynistic messaging (perhaps trying to add some balance to the first film’s narrative). The sorority girls led by Shelby (Chloe Grace ‘Kick Ass’ Moretz) with her pals Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein) call out the 'rapey’ culture frat parties and try to create a space for girls to be able to party how they want – without having to dress sexy for the boys.

Alas this good intentioned messaging isn’t followed through with enough conviction so it ends up feeling like a bit of a gimmick. The comedy is also diluted by the sombre sub plots about Teddy, who has struggled to adjust to adult life after college and the strain on his friendship with Delta Psi bro Pete (Dave Franco) who wants to move on with his life after coming out of the closet.

"evil lurks amongst them"

Overall Bad Neighbours 2 is an adequate low-brow comedy option, a limper follow up which really doesn’t warrant any further Neighbourly sequels.

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

öö

(2 - averagely average gross out comedy effort)

Awesomeness öö – less laughs than req'd

Laughs ööö – see above

Horror öö – some not for the squeamish scenes

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - party after life?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Captain America Civil War


Captain America: Civil War (12a)

Dir. Anthony & Joe Russo

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“You know what's about to happen. Do you really wanna punch your way out of this?”

Here it is then – the second super smack-down of the year following the darker, slightly incoherent but epic Batman v Superman. Disney’s Avengers get their turn to beat each other up in a slick movie which is easily the best Captain America film to date, but might feel a little neutered for fans of the Mark Millar comic book it’s loosely based on.

"The heavy metal fans"

The plot sees an incident involving the Avengers causing yet future collateral damage in a foreign country and shrugging it off with a sheepish ‘sorry’. But a mixture of fear and condemnation from the public raises the political pressure to put some form of accountability on the super team.

This splits the Avengers as Steve ‘Captain America’ Rogers (Chris Evans) doesn’t want to sign up to new rules and would rather protect his brainwashed baddie pal Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) from justice. Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) however is all for a new level of government oversight and accountability in the face of the whole Ultron affair which he is still feeling the guilt over.

"Winter is coming"

The Russo brothers who directed The Winter Soldier and who will get their chance to ‘go big’ with the next full scale Avengers film ‘Infinity War parts 1 & 2’ do a great job of character development. Effortlessly bringing in new faces which include the movie stealing Spiderman (Tom Holland), the cool and funny Scott ‘Ant Man’ Lang who has a new trick up his sleeve and the noble Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). Plus there are the returning Avengers who each get some quality screen time – on team Cap we have Falcon, Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye, on team Iron Man it’s Vision, War Machine and Black Widow. Hulk and Thor are MIA.

"Best thing in the film? yep!"

There are great supporting cameos from Community’s Jim Rash and Fargo’s Martin Freeman too – as well as the obligatory Stan Lee moment.

Civil War is at heart quite a personal film, with less actual threat level which you can view as both a good and bad thing. The fights and chases are great but there’s never a feeling that anyone’s really in mortal peril – good news for those wanting to enjoy spectacular super action with young people in tow.

"Quick - do the iconic scene!"

Exciting and funny, this is a super treat for the senses which gives great fan service without upping the ante too far. Normally war is hell but this one is a blast!

"Civil 'Skirmish' doesn't have the same ring to it"

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

ööööö

(5 - Pick a side and leave grinning)...

Awesomeness öööö – Rocks some great set pieces and hits some real highs

Laughs öööö – Nicely observed funnies (thanks Spiderman n Antman in particular)

Horror öö –  action violence and threat but nothing too grim

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö – take a stand


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Bastille Day



Bastille Day (15)

Dir. James Watkins

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Release the Hashtag...”

Meet Sean Briar (Idris ‘Luther’ Elba) – a maverick CIA Agent described as “reckless and irresponsible” in his official assessment. When a bomb is stolen and kills innocent people on the streets of Paris, Briar goes off the deep end punching, shooting and generally cutting a swathe of destruction across the city in order to stop the criminals behind it.

Unwillingly aided by desperate pickpocket Michael Mason (Richard ‘Game of Thrones’ Madden) the scene is set for a buddy action race against the clock to foil a daring violent heist.

"buddy cops go go go"

Alas it’s just not very good. Director James ‘Eden Lake’ Watkins throws ideas at the screen like his life depends on it but even with Elba going ‘full Die Hard’ this can’t rise above the level of generic ho-hum. Whilst hardly high art, this is the sort of film that Luc Besson does with brutal style, and so it’s dispiriting that Watkins’ effort feels like a cheap knock off.

British actress Kelly ‘True Detective’ Reilly gives a good account of herself but is under used, unfortunately the other supporting cast are pretty dismal and that includes the laughable main bad guy who comes across like an out-of-shape French Robert Downey Jr.

To be fair not all the action scenes are poor and there is one exciting rooftop chase which wouldn’t look out of place in a bigger budget action film, there are also elements of cinematography by Tim ‘Snatch’ Maurice-Jones that work but gaping plot holes and a frankly shoddy ‘climax’ make this one Bastille Day that won’t be celebrated by many.

"viva la hastag"

At least Elba isn’t the problem (well, not until he starts singing and rapping over the end credits which is beyond cringe) – it’s everything else that lets the side down.

It massively undoes any tension when you can’t help but smirk at the ‘edgy’ subtitles which repeatedly show the hashtags used by the baddies to stir up public violence and disorder. The writers should take a long hard look at themselves after making Elba and co try and keep straight faces in the face of this lazy plot device. In this day and age such shoddy, lazy writing shouldn’t be tolerated.

This isn’t a terminal headshot for Elba’s action film credentials but it is certainly a film you don’t need to waste your time on.

"boom"

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

öö

(2 - Not so much ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité’, more ‘l'action moyenne médiocre’…)

Awesomeness öö – Couple of good scenes

Laughs öö – Laughable in places

Horror öö – Not very grim

Spiritual Enlightenment -ööö - Fear the hashtag

Monday, April 18, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Eye In The Sky


Eye In The Sky (15)

Dir. Gavin Hood

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Gazette

“Never tell a soldier that he does not know the cost of war.”

Hey, terrorists – we’re watching you… You can’t see it but as well as the satellites tracking you, cruising overhead is most likely a Predator: medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system piloted by ace U.S. Top Gunners. Closer to your base there are most likely covert remote control spy cameras too, some look like birds, others like beetles. Yes, there’s almost nowhere to hide…

Watching the feeds from these various pieces of high tech kit are military officers from around the world, one is Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen ‘Trumbo’ Mirren), based at RAF Northwood - just around the corner from LST where I work - a top secret drone operation controller.

"say cheese - wherever you are"

Tasked with trying to capture dangerous Al-Shabaab terrorists in Kenya, Powell has tracked several high level targets to a possible rendezvous / suicide bomber preparation base. As the suspects include both radicalized British and U.S. citizens, the tracking team is made up of American drone pilot Steve Watts (Aaron ‘Triple 9’ Paul) aided by his A1C (Phoebe Fox), the Brits in Northwood and native operatives on the ground in Kenya.

When Powell discovers the targets are planning an imminent suicide bombing, the mission escalates from a ‘capture’ to a ‘kill’ right under the noses of the watching MPs and General Frank Bensen (Alan ‘Die Hard’ Rickman).

"high stakes Skype"

As the seconds tick by, the tension mounts and then just as the strike order is about to be given a young Innocent girl enters the kill zone triggering a crisis of morality amongst those watching. Could this girl cause an international dispute, reaching the highest levels of US and British government? What value do we put on one life’s worth?

Director Gavin ‘Enders Game’ Hood handles this flashpoint collateral-damage-em-up with an effective grip. The key players in the both Government and Military, who have to make the agonizing decisions as to whether the ‘cost’ of innocent lives are worth the ‘win’ of taking out those committed to carrying out acts of violence against many more are well handled.

"Working from home!?"

This is nail biting stuff (literally, the woman beside me in the cinema was audibly chewing on hers throughout) and despite the moral dilemma at the heart of the plot it keeps you entertained. Kudos must go to the late great Alan Rickman for giving a fine final performance here too.

Keep an Eye out for this military grade thriller that will leave you with much to ponder.

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

ööö1/2

(3.5 - Welcome to the new front line! )

Awesomeness öööö – Heart in mouth scenes

Laughs ö – Little to smile about

Horror ööö – Limited by hard hitting war death

Spiritual Enlightenment -ööö - How many deaths for greater good!?

"RIP - Alan Rickman, you were a legend!"


Monday, April 11, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Hardcore Henry


Hardcore Henry (18)

Dir. Ilya Naishuller

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Gazette

“Fight back! You're capable of more than you think.”

So you wake up in a high tech lab, with no memory, seemingly resurrected from the dead and given cybernetic ‘Robocop’ like limbs … You’re greeted by a beautiful blonde who introduces herself as ‘Estelle’ (Haley ‘The Equalizer’ Bennett), who says she is your wife. Before you can fully comprehend what is going on, or even get your voice module connected, the lab is stormed by a maniac named Akan (Danila Kozlovsky) who has psychic powers and leads an army of heavily armed mercenaries.

"The road wars"

Akan kidnaps Estelle and leaves Henry for dead (again) and thus the scene is set for a what is probably the most violent cinematic action adventure of all time…

Can super-soldier Henry overcome insane odds, rescue Estelle and find out the truth about who he really is? It’s great fun finding out as long as you have the stomach for seriously gory death and destruction – all presented from a unique first person viewpoint. The ‘witnessing the plot entirely from Henry’s viewpoint’ might make some unsettled due to the vertigo inducing kinetic action but it creates a film that feels very much like a big screen mix of Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty – with a huge body-count.

"Your wife - worthy of rescuing by any means necessary"

Hardcore Henry is the most insane carnage-em-up to grace the screen since The Raid. Director Ilya Naishuller is obviously a fan of over the top action and he packs the film with every sort of death imaginable. It feels at times like a homage to the cheesy violent action of Arnie’s ‘80s movies like Commando, it even packs a good deal of darkly comic one liners.

Henry’s only ally in his quest is a mysterious agent named Jimmy (Sharlto ‘District 9’ Copley) who seems to have the ability to jump for body to body. Jimmy is a great sidekick, with his British soldier body / personality the pick of the bunch – dropping lines that are equally offensive and funny – certainly got the biggest reaction from the crowd I caught this with. So strap in for a totally insane blast of bad taste violence, swearing and hyperactive eyeball straining action.

"Baddies with low life expectancy!"

Hardcore Henry certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, in fact there are reports of many people walking out of screenings in the U.S. but as long as you know what you’re getting in to this like a turbo charged shot of pure adrenalin to the heart. Enter at your own risk!

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

öööö

(4 - Mad, bad and dangerous all over)

Awesomeness öööö – Insane adrenalin pumpung action scenes

Laughs ööö – Laughing out loud at the sheer wrongness

Horror öööö – Very brutal violence - gory and in-your-face

Spiritual Enlightenment -ö - Violence in and of itself

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Darkmatters shares Star Wars ROGUE ONE trailer


ROGUE ONE (A Star Wars Story) TRAILER...

Matt Adcock (@Cleric20) is feeling The Force again...



Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is the first film in the new series of standalone Star Wars movies from Lucasfilm. It tells the story of how a group of unlikely heroes unite to undertake a daring and seemingly impossible mission to steal the plans for the Death Star...

Darkmatters already love Star Wars...

Read the Darkmatters review of The Force Awakens: Here

Watch the fan made Darth Maul short film: Here

Here's what happened last time Matt went to see a Star Wars film at the cinema...


Film fan from Hitchin dresses as a Sith for Stars Wars: The Force Awakens midnight premiere at Stevenage Cineworld


Read the story: The Hitchin Comet

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Eddie The Eagle


Eddie The Eagle (PG)

Dir. Dexter Fletcher

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review at: The Hemel Gazette

“I've been kicked off every team before I even got a chance to prove myself.”

Here we are then, a tale of courage, of death defying daring-do and erm, well, true British ‘heroic failure’. Inspired by true events, Eddie the Eagle (directed by Dexter ‘Wild Bill’ Fletcher) is a feel-good story about Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron ‘Kingsman’ Egerton), a lifelong loser who became an Olympic athlete.

"Is it a bird? Is it a plane?"

Despite the superb Marv production team that includes Matthew ‘Kick-Ass’ Vaughan, I didn’t have high hopes for this tribute to the unlikely but courageous British ski-jumper who never stopped believing in himself. I shouldn’t have doubted – Eddie The Eagle is an absolute blast of underdog-makes-good euphoria inducing fun.

I remember being a bit confused by Eddie’s ski jumping effort when I followed his infamously average progress live on TV back in 1988. It was a mixture of pride that we had a Brit stepping up to take on the frankly terrifying, incredibly dangerous sporting challenge, and of embarrassment that he simply wasn’t very good at it. This film strikes a great balance of showing the hard preparatory work (cue Rocky-esque training montage), the adrenalin pumping climax and yet doesn’t over glamorize the fact that Eddie still came last!?

"Don't stop believing!"

Egerton is charismatic and does an excellent job bringing the geeky Eddie to life – showing immense range after his super cool Kingsman Agent turn last year and eating up the screen, making Eddie a very likeable British Champion. Also on hand to lend some A-list cred is Hugh Jackman who plays his reluctant coach Bronson Peary, and a strong cameo from Christopher Walken too.

The ski-jumping ‘action’ is superbly shot and pulse racing, plus the film scores major points for a cracking ‘80s soundtrack. There is a palpably sense of joy that flows through the movie and it’s hard to resist. Everyone looks like they’re having a good time - the supporting cast include stereotypical foreign ski-jumpers, a snooty British Olympic Committee and Eddie’s working class parents.

"Winner at heart"

There are plenty of laughs to be had here too – and whilst Eddie is definitely a figure of fun, the vibe is more that we get to laugh along with him rather than just at Eddie’s seemingly overpowering hopelessness at sport.

Eddie The Eagle is a lovely movie worthy of seeing on the big screen!

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

öööö

(4 - British Olympians FTW!)

Awesomeness öööö – You'll almost believe man can fly!

Laughs öööö – Lots of funnies

Horror ö – Very little to worry about

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Dream it, do it

Darkmatters Review: Dirt Rally


Dirt Rally (PS4)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

With apologies to Carly Rae Jepsen:  I really rally rally rally rally rally like you…



"Ah the Lancia Delta (used to own a non rally variant of this great car!)

Dirt Rally is a beast – a beautiful, brilliant and breath-taking beast that will humble you, drive you mad and leave you grinning like an idiot once you master it’s brutally tough driving challenges. Think Bloodborne but with cars and you’ll understand about the punishing pleasures awaiting those brave enough to strap in and tackle what can only be adequately described as ‘the ultimate console rally experience’.

"Fire up the Quattro!"


Developed by driving game specialists Codemasters, Dirt Rally ditches much of the glamour trappings and novelty tack ons of recent racing games and gets back to thrilling high speed basics.
Get a corner wrong here and there’s no ‘rewind time’ function to save you from the vehicle damage and lost seconds that will see you slip down the leaderboard with your stage time in ruins.

"Things go 'VROOOM'"

Packing a burning overall ‘one more go factor’ as you strive to shave seconds off a stage you’ve been grappling with in a new car and what you have here is pretty much a glimpse of rally heaven. Speaking of which if there is such a place as rally heaven, the legend that was Colin McRae RIP is almost certainly up there playing Dirt Rally on his PS4!

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

ööööö


(5 - Total Rally Joy - and pain but it hurts so good!)...

READ MY FULL DIRT RALLY REVIEW OVER AT THE AWESOME: PUSHSQUARE 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice


Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (12a)

Dir. Zack Synder

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

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

"You don't owe this world a thing - you never did..."


Here it is then, the greatest gladiator match in the history of the world: Son of Krypton (Henry Cavill) versus The Dark Knight (Ben Affleck).

"God vs Man, day vs night..."

Seeing these two titans of comic book history come to blows on the big screen has been the fantasy of fans ever since Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novel ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ pitched them in battle way back in 1986. Now Zack ‘Man of Steel’ Synder has made it happen.

The plot sees Superman viewed with fear and mistrust by many since his city wrecking take down of General Zod which caused serious collateral damage. Bruce Wayne can only see Supes as a danger to society and fears what will happen should the powerful red caped alien be left ungoverned. He decides to stop Superman and gears up in some kick ass new Bat-armour to do the job. But just when it looks like the fight is over a new bigger threat emerges along with a movie stealing Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). From then on all bets are off as to where we end up.

"The graphic novel that inspired B v S"

Dawn of Justice certainly takes its sweet time building up to the title fight, revisiting Batman’s childhood trauma, some dark and scary ‘what if’ dream sequences and a ground zero re-viewing of the Zod / Superman battle. Some might want things to move along a bit quicker, or grumble as the coherence occasionally flounders, but I found it a sheer joy to get to spend so much time with the two icons.

All the cast are on good form, Affleck’s older, more grizzled Batman is great plus Jeremy Irons is quality as his butler Alfred. Cavill is an earnest Superman who is fond of a tortured look of consternation when not shooting lasers out of his eyes, whilst Gadot is absolutely superb as Wonder Woman, not letting her skimpy armour detract from her fierce, feisty Amazon warrior credibility.

"the new superhero trinity"

Jesse Eisenberg brings a fascinating new Lex Luthor and there’s good supporting work from Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Holly Hunter as Senator Finch and Laurence Fishburne’s news mogul Perry White.

The writers have lots to pack in – setting up the DC super team of Justice League, yep with The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg too. That they manage to deliver some meaty philosophical elements as well as a dose of unmatched and utterly jaw dropping super action spectacle should be applauded.

"A woman apart"

Maybe a little grim for youngsters and slow burning in parts but comic book fans the world over should embrace the epicness Batman V Superman delivers - the gauntlet has been thrown down for Marvel’s Civil War.

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

öööö

(4 - This Super Dark Knight Kicks Ass)...

Awesomeness öööö – packed with both endorphin rush action and thoughtful scenes

Laughs öö – occasional mirth

Horror öö – heavy duty action violence and threat

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö – still packing that Christ imagery

"messiah?"


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Darkmatters: High-Rise


High-Rise (15)

Dir. Ben Wheatley

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Northampton Chronicle


“You just sit there... and think about what you've done…”


The future isn’t what it used to be. Thanks to Ben ‘Kill List’ Wheatley we have High-Rise – the big screen version of JG Ballard’s ‘70s freak out novel that charts the complete breakdown of a community who live in a high-tech tower block.

"The mind is multiple"

Meet architect Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons). Royal symbolically lives in the Penthouse of the utopian living block he designed where the floor structure is ‘the higher you live the richer / better’. Things get shaken up when Doctor Robert Laing (Tom ‘Thor’ Hiddleston) moves into an apartment on one of the upper middle floors but is happy to befriend those both above and below him. Laing finds a society of divided loyalties, class injustices and dangerously fragmented tribes. With tangible tension and unhinged madness in the air, there will certainly be ultra-violence before the credits roll.

The denizens of the High-Rise are a fantastical bunch including sexy single mum Charlotte Melville (Sienna Miller), sinister oddball Nathan Steele (Reece Shearsmith), dangerous ‘Begbie-alike’ Richard Wilder (Luke Evans) and his good natured pregnant wife Helen (Elisabeth Moss).

"Dance time"

High-Rise boasts jaw-dropping cinematography, everything reeks of a sinister future chic as only could have been imagined in the ‘70s, it’s similar to that of ‘A Clockwork Orange’. The sprawling car park at the foot of the tower is filled with Triumph Stags, the inner décor is avant-garde to the max and the fashions include icy cool business wear, funky print dresses and Blur-esque track suits.

As the ‘Lord of the Flies’ tribal differences turn from insanity to violence, there is an infectious escalation of frenzied scheming which the plot can’t quite keep up with. When a full bloodied class war breaks out between the lower and upper floors, all bets are off as to who will survive and whether or not the Penthouse will be able to keep themselves in white wine.

"Keeley Hawes"

Hiddleston is incredible in the lead role – fully embracing the weird and wonderful casual savagery with a restrained cool that can’t hurt his possible audition to be a future Bond. Wheatley is on top directorial form, obviously relishing having a bigger budget to play with, combining the feel of Ballard’s novel with his own freakish imagination.

High-Rise is a fabulous dystopian psychological breakdown writ large on screen, it makes The Hunger Games seem like light comedies. It won’t be for everyone, those of a squeamish nature should certainly not apply, but for anyone up for a fully wild adventure – this is ‘High’ly recommended viewing.

"Clothes optional"

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

öööö

(4 - Welcome to the high life...)

Awesomeness öööö – Freaky fun going up in the world

Laughs ööö – Very dark mirth at play

Horror öööö – Disturbing English 'Mad Max' alike violence

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Class / War



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