DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Darkmatters Review: The Guest


The Guest (15)

Dir. Adam Wingard

Reviewed by Matt Adcock


“Be careful who you let in…”

Adam ‘You're Next’ Wingard reanimates the spirit of the 80's with this slick action/horror thriller that sees impossibly sexy David (Dan Stevens of 'Downton Abbey' fame) as a mysterious ex-war hero who calls at the family home of his friend who was killed in combat.

But this David might not be who he is claiming and before you can say ‘don’t trust him’ pretty soon people connected to the family are dying… Yes, The Guest (written by Simon Barrett) is an engaging mix of John Carpenter alike cheap thrills, mixed with some truly kick ass action, all held together by the superbly charismatic Stevens who seems to really relish letting rip in a very different role here.

"friend or foe?"

What makes this much better than similar ‘stranger danger’ flicks is that it gleefully fuses multiple genres – revenge-em-up, psycho thriller, Arnie-eque shooter and even Captain America style super solider adventure – just one with some serious trust issues.

The set pieces are excellent offering up crunching violence, OTT titillation and some very funny moments, all set to a cool ‘Drive’ like synth soundtrack. This is the sort of movie that made BlockBuster (RIP) so successful in the VHS heyday.

"do you want fries with that?"

The rest of the cast provides admirable cannon fodder for David to chew through. Up and coming newcomers Maika Monroe and Brendan Meyer even steal some of their scenes as the children of David’s adoptive family. Lance Reddick pops up as a shadowy secret service operative towards the end on a mission to try and take David down –which sets up a nice climactic showdown.

My friend Tom who I saw this with was smitten with a serious man crush on Stevens, whose perfectly groomed stubble and twinkly blue eyes put him very much in the Ryan Gosling mold of leading men.

"this shot is for Tom"

The Guest is the perfect combination of old-school and cutting edge which delivers a wicked fun night out.

Everything cracks along at an enjoyable pace, and the plot builds its twist up well even if it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The writer / director team of Barrett and Wingard are worth keeping a eye on – having made a superb full on horror with You’re Next and a creepy satisfying thriller with The Guest, I’m already anticipating what they might serve up next.

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

öööö 

(4 - Be our guest!!)

Awesomeness ööööö – crunching 80's action horror a go go

Laughs öö – amusing in parts

Horror ööö – gets a little nasty

Babes öööö – Maika Monroe

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Trust issues can be justified


Recommended Hashtags: #TastyGuest

"Maika Monroe is going to be a star!"





Darkmatters Review: A Private Man


A Private Man 

Dirs. Paul Wade, Simon Wade

Reviewed by Matt Adcock


Prepare for a trip to the edge...

What happens when loner repairman (Matthew 'Waking the Dead' Jure) lets his voyeuristic tendencies get the better of him?

Well, how about creeping madness, obsession and potential danger?

Yes - dark things are afoot (or are they?) when a seemingly innocuous elderly tenant (Paul 'Hot Fuzz' Freeman) moves into the building... Just what is in the big stage box he brings in - and even more worryingly - why has he put three locks on one of the internal door, behind which are half glimpsed movements and utter darkness?

Part David Lynch-esque nightmare, part Hitchcock-alike slow burn tension nail biter, A Private Man is a quality nerve jangling viewing experience that went down very well at the select advance screening in Hitchin.

The Wade brothers (Paul and Simon) have created a stylish, slick and disturbing new short film that firmly puts them on the map as film-makers to watch.

Everything about A Private Man just works, the cinematography is tight and often startling - creative angles and clever shots are used to eerie effect. And speaking of 'eerie' the minimal dialogue and unnerving soundscape combine to instil a creeping dread. Think a condensed mash up of feeling that were evoked by a mixture of Eraser Head, The Double and the excellent 'Freeze Frame' which showed us Lee Evans' psycho side in 2004.

A Private Man is shot through with moments of humour, some interesting moral questions and a chilling climax that will stay with you.

Matthew Jure is superb in the lead, his expressive face was made to be bathed in the bluish nano-ray light. It is a joy to witness his illicit interest in the various tenants and the he sucks the viewers in to want him to risk everything to try and find out what veteran actor Freeman is hiding.

Highly recommended, this is one to seek out.

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

öööö 

(4 - a 'must see' short film)



Recommended Hashtags: #WhatsBehindTheDoor

Link: A Private Man on IMDB

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Guardians of the Galaxy


Guardians of the Galaxy (12a)

Dir. James Gunn

Reviewed by Matt ‘Star-Lord’ Adcock

“I come from Earth, a planet of outlaws. My name is Peter Quill. There's one other name you may know me by. ‘Star-Lord’.”

Prepare to be blown away by the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’!! Yes Marvel Comics’ new fantasy sci-fi feel good summer smash hits the screen from relative obscurity to go toe-to-toe with The Avengers as the best super hero team the world has ever seen…

"meet the team!"

The Guardians are: Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), an eccentric wisecracking maverick with more than little ‘Han Solo’ about him, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), is a walking female weapon with slinky looks, green skin and a host of deadly martial arts skills. The team’s comedy double act are bounty hunting genetically enhance raccoon Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and his muscle Groot (Vin Diesel) who is in fact a walking sentient tree. Finally there’s Drax (WCW’s Dave Batista) who is a violent rogue looking to avenge the death of his family.

Director James ‘Super’ Gunn should be applauded for taking a risk on this lesser known and slightly outlandish comic book tale. He delivers over and above the expectations – confidently using a huge budget and quality actors like Glen Close and Benicio Del Toro in cameo roles.

"wanted - at a cinema near you!"

The action is crunching and satisfying but not overly gruesome, the special effects are jaw dropping (especially in IMAX 3D) and the script crackles with well-observed humour (the Kevin Bacon references are especially hilarious if you’re of an age to remember his Footloose days). There is excellent chemistry between the characters that all seem to be having a great time delivering the sci-fi action film of the year.

The plot revolves around an ‘Infinity Stone’ - a source of unstoppable power – which is craved by evil alien warlord Ronan (Lee Pace) who plans to wipe the central planet of cosmos. He’s in league with major league Marvel baddie Thanos (Josh Brolin) – who popped up in the after credit scene of The Avengers / which also paves the way for a possible superhero team up of epic proportions…

"Nice spaceship"

But back to Guardians, this is just an insanely fun and highly entertaining two-hours which every comic book fan on the planet needs to see. It’s really rare that a film lives up to the hype but Guardians of the Galaxy sets new standards for superhero-em-up adventures – and is destined for immediate cult-classic status.


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

ööööö 

(5 - Don’t deny yourself this incredible cinematic super treat!)

Awesomeness ööööö – some many jaw-dropping moments

Laughs öööö – very funny, very well judged

Horror öö – not too nasty

Babes öööö – green girlfriend anyone?

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - some things are worth fighting for


Recommended Hashtags: #You'reWelcome

"so scoundrels like you come here often?"

"Karen Gillan - gives good baldy baddie"



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Darkmatters Review: The Purge Anarchy


The Purge: Anarchy (15)

Dir. James DeMonaco

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

"Traffic is building rapidly downtown…we advise you to get off the streets as quickly as possible. It'll soon be a war out there."

Imagine 2023 - crime is almost non-existent, homelessness and unemployment are below 5% and people value their very lives… This is the near future of The Purge: Anarchy, where thanks to an annual 12 hour period of sanctioned lawlessness – the poor are preyed upon, the defenceless are wiped out and the psychotic get to unleash and sate their bloodlust.

"your purge mates..."

The barbaric Purge initiative was introduced by the ruling party called ‘The New Founding Fathers’ – and despite the sheer utterly immorality of authorising mass murder, it seems to be getting results. But there are some who are planning to fight back and before the end of the night things may well be rather different.

This follows up last year’s The Purge taking the story to the streets rather than staying in the confines of a household – and the payoff is a wilder, nastier kinetic night of madness. We get to experience the macabre events through the eyes of a small bunch of people who find themselves on the streets and vulnerable due to various reasons.

"not a nice night for a walk"

Eva (Carmen Ejogo) is a poor waitress, trying to look after her sick father Rico (John Beasley) and teenage daughter Cali (Zoe Soul). Meanwhile Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez) are an average couple on the verge of breaking up when their car breaks down leaving them stranded miles from their home, being tracked by a masked group of weapon toting thugs.
Finally meet Leo (Frank Grillo), he’s a man driven to violence who is packing a small arsenal and who seems to be on a mission of his own.

When this random group cross paths, all their lives will change as the Purge night is one that few trapped outside survive. Step forward for murder, mayhem and tension on a whole new scale. Oh and throw in the fact that the government may actually have their own kill teams on the streets targeting poor districts and you get a Hunger Games element to the mix.

"somebody call Mad Max?"

Writer / Director James DeMonaco certainly builds on the mythos he created with the original film and expands the twisted concept in all directions. Taking the carnage outside gives the heightened sense of ‘what would you do?’ especially as not everyone will potentially get to meet a tooled up hero such as Leo (who pretty much steals the whole movie with his Mad Max-esq lead role).

There are likely to be more Purges to come…

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

öööö

(4 - Recommended for sickos!)

Awesomeness öööö – exciting and tense moments aplenty

Laughs öö – dark humour present but not much

Horror ööö – nasty in places

Babes öö – limited

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - inner bloodlust (nature or nuture?)


Recommended Hashtags: #AnAmericanTradition

"The NFFA are watching"


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (12a)

Dir. Matt Reeves

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

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

“Apes, together, strong!”

Sci-Fi classics really aren’t what they used to be… Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the latest to get the Hollywood re-envisioning as a follow up to the excellent 'Rise of the Planet of Apes.'

Director Matt ‘Let Me In’ Reeves brings his AAA game to this sequel, which sees the story pick up ten years after lab boosted intelligent simians slipped the shackles of their human oppressors and escaped in the woodlands near San Francisco.

"we come in peace..."

Whilst the super-monkeys led by Caesar (Andy Serkis) were building an impressive treetop homestead, we humans have been having a bad time of it… Simian flu has wiped out many of us and those who survived have turned to a lawless ramble fighting over dwindling resources. So 'Dawn' takes us into an ape-pocalyptic future where the balance of power has shifted – and details what happens when the human remnant of San Francisco accidentally run into monkey territory – cue a knife edge potential for all out ape / human war…

The first thing that hits you when watching ‘Dawn’ is that the CGI effects have moved on to a whole new level. These monkeys are absolutely works of art – the real craftsmanship on display that uses painstaking motion-capture is something you really have to see on the biggest screen you can find. And I’m not a fan of 3D movies generally, but this one works a treat, giving impressive depth to the visuals and never trying the ‘oh watch out it’s coming out the screen’ cheap shots.

"last chance to be pals"

‘Dawn’ pulls you in to the horribly escalating conflict, then delivers a full on visceral showdown – where the victor is uncertain and the battle footage deeply unsettling. There is a beating heart of emotion that makes you really relate to characters on both sides of the conflict. I’d never have thought I’d be moved watching two apes interact…

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a master-class on how to recreate a film series, improving on every single element of the source material. We can finally put the memory of Tim Burton’s messy attempt away and revel in what is a new simian master race of sci-fi entertainment.

The acting, special effects and storytelling result in an astonishing cinematic achievement.

"horses on the apes side..."


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

öööö1/2 

(4.5 - Superior monkey business all round!)

Awesomeness öööö – some many jaw-dropping moments

Laughs ööö – funny where you want it

Horror ööö – gritty conflict

Babes öö – hairy girlfriend anyone?

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - apes longing for souls?


Recommended Hashtags: #LastChanceForPeace

"Keri Russell - a survivor"


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Darkmatters Review: BoyHood


BoyHood (15)

Dir. Richard Linklater

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the Newspaper version of this review at the: Hemel Gazette

“What’s the point of it all?”

Boyhood is something unique. A film that takes the everyday experiences of growing up and tracks one young man over 12 years, shooting scenes from each of his years from age 6 to 18. It’s an incredible feat of cinematography that will resonate with every parent on the planet and invoke memories of their childhood for every male.

Director Richard ‘Before Midnight’ Linklater uses four core actors led by the titular ‘boy’ Mason (Ellar ‘Fast Food Nation’ Coltrane), Mason’s Mom (Patricia ‘True Romance’ Arquette), Mason’s estranged Dad (Ethan ‘The Purge’ Hawke) and Mason’s sister Samantha (Lorelei ‘actual daughter of the director’ Linklater).

"we've all done it"

It’s a long film at almost three hours, but instead of dulling your senses like the overblown Transformers: Age of Extinction, BoyHood feels like an inside peek into a life worth investing some time in to see how it turns out.

Covering some harsh realities of life for many – including an abusive stepdad, a father who simply isn’t able to commit to his family, another stepdad that never quite bonds with Mason – be prepared for a heartrending experience. The way each of the father figures in Mason’s young life lets him down in one way or another is painful to watch – and leaves you intensely rooting for the young man.

Charting Mason’s school life is caught in super condensed snapshots – dealing with the widely experienced clichés of homework, crushes on female classmates, run-ins with bullies etc but somehow they don’t feel overly contrived.

"happy moments"

As the teenage years kick in we get ringside seats as Mason experiments with drugs, struggles with peer pressure and dabbles in first love as well as finding a passion for photography. There are often hints of danger and threat as Mason’s young naivety makes parents watching cringe, but the plot never gets too dark to bear.

There are some interesting interactions with religious step-grandparents (who buy Mason a shotgun and a bible for his 15th birthday) although this feels a bit tacked on.

Arquette and Hawke are consistently excellent and Coltrane gives a memorable lead performance.

Distilled adolescence in the form of a road trips and family dinners, birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent - there is just so much to BoyHood – laughs, pain, romance and grief which you’ll get to empathize with and probably leave reminiscing over.

"kids eh?"


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

ööööö 

(5 - superb cinematic, heartfelt, lifetime impact which will stay with you)

Awesomeness ööö – the climactic fight is a winner

Laughs ööö – some great fun in places

Horror öö – tense but never too grim

Babes öö – girlfriends!?

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - be a good parent!!


Recommended Hashtags: #AboutABoy


Monday, July 07, 2014

Darkmatters Review Transformers: Age Of Extinction


Transformers: Age Of Extinction (12a)

Dir. Michael Bay

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“There are innumerable mysteries to the universe. But who we are, is not one of them. That answer lies inside us. I am Optimus Prime…”

Age of Extinction is an adventure sixty-five million years in the making – and one that feels almost that long to watch… I’m sure that the shady aliens referred to only as the "Creators" had little idea just what they were unleashing when the used special ‘Seeds’ to alter Earth with their transformable metal.
Years after the epic Battle of Chicago (detailed in Transformers: Dark of the Moon) which saw the heroic Autobots led by Optimus Prme (voiced by Peter Cullen) fighting to save us from the evil Decepticons.

"bring the Dinobots..."

Now the transformers of all shapes and sizes are all in hiding – being hunted by the government due to having been deemed a threat to the planet. One day plucky inventor Cade Yeager (Mark ‘2 Guns’ Wahlberg) obtains an old truck to strip it for parts but it’s not just any old truck… It’s actually Optimus Prime!?

"classic look for Bumblebee"

Cade repairs the boss Autobot but unwittingly ends up becoming a target for a shady government kill team backed up by a terminator like Transformer bounty hunter called Lockdown (voiced by Mark ‘Black Sails’ Ryan). The few remaining Autobots, namely: Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, and Crosshairs band together to try and thwart Lockdown and fight the renewed threat of man-made transformers led by Galvatron – who is harbours the personality of Megatron.

"robotic knight"

The plot always takes a back seat to the action in Transformers films but Age of Extinction is the weakest and most laborious yet. Alas the action is pretty lackluster too for the most part, only really redeemed (for transformer fans at least) by the climax that sees Dinobots thrown into the chaotic mix. It’s hard not to be impressed by the sight of Optimus riding in to battle on the back of metallic fire breathing dragon – gigantic sword in hand.

Director Bay though seems to have lost some of the love he has previously shown for his spectacular robotic heroes. Sure they still look superb and the occasionally even draw gasps as the special effects kick in with things we’ve never seen on screen before.

"Nicola Peltz - all American girl"

The Transformers franchise shows no sign of slowing down – and Age of Extinction delivers some heavy metal action thrills but let’s hope that part 5 amends for this overblown familiarity on screen here.

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

ööö 

(3 - This is not war, it's extinction)

Awesomeness öööö – the climactic fight is a winner

Laughs öö – mildly amusing in parts

Horror ö – not grim really

Babes öööö– Nicola Peltz sizzles as Tessa Yeage

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - some metal guys are still on our side


Recommended Hashtags: #NotExtinctButAlmost

"Michael Bay - continues to empower women in this film"


Monday, June 30, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Chef


Chef (15)

Dir. Jon Favreau

Cast: Jon Favreau, Emjay Anthony, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Sofía Vergara, Robert Downey Jr., Oliver Platt, Dustin Hoffman

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the Newspaper version of this review over at: The Gazette

"I get to touch people's lives with what I do and I love it and I want to share this with you."

On the menu today…

Starter:

Decent anticipation for a new, lower budget and more personal movie from the hotshot director Jon ‘Iron Man’ Favreau. Tasty trailer that whets appetite but looks like it might be a little over-sentimental. The thought of seeing jaw-dropping food prepared in high definition on the big screen is enough to make anyone hungry.

"inter generational cooking!"

Main Course:

Chef sees acclaimed chef Carl Casper (Jon ‘Swingers’ Favreau) unfulfilled cooking for meanie restaurant boss Riva (Dustin Hoffman). He’s also struggling to be any sort of father to his young son Percy (Emjay Anthony) after being divorced by his gorgeous now ex-wife, Inez (Sofía ‘Machete Kills’ Vergara). Speaking of gorgeous there is also Scarlett Johansson on hand as a foxy wine waitress.

- When Casper falls fouls of top food critic, Ramsey Michel (Oliver ‘Fargo TV Series’ Platt) his meltdown shouting match goes viral on social media – and wrecks his job prospects.

- Fate sees the Chef flown off to Miami with his wife and son – and handed the chance to rebuild his cooking career by Inez’s other ex-husband (Robert ‘The Avengers’ Downey Jr.) in the shape of a run down food truck.

- Casper’s new mobile food service – making superb Cuban sandwiches and yucca fries – aided by his former soux-chef (John Leguizamo) and his son is an instant hit.

"kitchen fun"

Dessert:

It’s great fun watching Casper get his life back on track – the themes of being inspired by what you love doing and the importance of the father / son bonding shine through in heartfelt style. Favreau eats up the screen and seems to be really enjoying being both behind and in front of the camera.

- The script might be a little heavy on swearing but is genuinely funny and the cinematography encompasses some of the tastiest looking food ever to grace the screen.
- There are additional messages of reconciliation and redemption might be more than some hardhearted types can take but I was moved, inspired and motivated to be a better father to my boys as a direct result of seeing this.

- Overall Chef is a excellent, feel good comedy that works on many levels, just be sure not to go on an empty stomach as you could well be drooling long before the credits roll.

"Johansson eats seductively"


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

öööö1/2 

(4.5 - superb food n fatherhood viewing treat )

Awesomeness öööö – gourmet relationship lessons

Laughs öööö – very funny in places

Horror ö – nothing but some swearing to disturb too much

Babes öööö – Johansson and Vergara are hot

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - father's love is strong


Recommended Hashtags: #TastyChef

"Sofía Vergara - all smiles"



Monday, June 23, 2014

Darkmatters Review: 3 Days To Kill


3 Days To Kill (12a)

Dir. McG

Cast: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen, Richard Sammel,

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the Newspaper version of this review at: The Advertiser & Review

"My job is to hunt terrorists. 


I don't negotiate. 

Within three days, I will find you. 

You can start counting."


Meet Ethan Renner (Kevin ‘Man of Steel’ Costner), a grizzled, aging CIA hit man who is one of the best out there. The black ops and ‘wet work’ for his country has however taken its toll on his family life though – his estranged wife Christine (Connie Gladiator’ Nielsen) has virtually given up on him and his teenage daughter Zooey (Hailee ‘Enders Game’ Steinfeld) can no longer bring herself to call him ‘dad’.

What’s a man to do? Well, when diagnosed with terminal brain cancer Renner decides to put the killing behind him and try to make up with his family. Alas ultra vixen CIA operative Vivi Delay (Amber ‘All The Boys Love Mandy Lane’ Heard), has other ideas and tempts him to take a final assignment – to kill an arms dealing scumbag known as ‘The Wolf’ in exchange for an experimental drug that might just extend his life…


That’s all you need to know about the plot – as even before the opening credits, 3 Days To Kill has delivered a superb gun fight, some nasty kills and a botched ‘happy birthday’ phone call. And the action doesn’t really let up thanks to this coming from the team behind Taken and being written by Luc ‘Leon: The Professional’ Besson.

"Amber Heard - not a nun"

Director Mc ‘Terminator Salvation’ G isn’t known for being a classy director but he surprises here – this is his first non Hollywood flick – and manages to blend the disparate elements of family drama and brutal torture and killing effectively. The glue that holds the car chasing, beating and shooting together with the adjusting to help a teen daughter with her social life is a sharp vein of dark humour.

Costner is good value in the lead (the dangerous father figure suits him even more than it did Neeson in Taken). The bad guys include a rent-a-psycho albino (Tómas Lemarquis) and of course The Wolf (Richard ‘Casino Royale’ Samuel) – along with many disposable henchmen which it is fun watching Costner stylishly dispatch.

"say goodbye"

Then of course there is Amber Heard who sizzles every time she’s on screen and Steinfeld who gives good teenage angst.

"Mother / daughter time"

3 Days To Kill delivers a fun, action packed cinematic thrill ride – perfect Friday night material.

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

öööö 

(4 - not to be 'TAKEN' for granted!?)

Awesomeness öööö – tasty action set pieces a go go

Laughs ööö – lots of mirth (not all if it works)

Horror öö – little bit grim for a 12a

Babes ööööö – AMBER HEARD!

Spiritual Enlightenment ö - dubious morals


Recommended Hashtags: #3DayToThrill

"Miss Heard does brunette too"




Saturday, June 14, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Devil's Knot


Devil’s Knot (15)

Dir. Atom Egoyan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“This crime is unthinkable. What if they did it?"
"What if they didn't?"

Sometimes true events can be every bit as disturbing and harrowing as the most vile fictional creations. Devil’s Knot takes us back to the afternoon of May 5, 1993, when three eight-year-old boys (Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore) went missing from the area around their homes in West Memphis, Arkansas. Despite a frantic search, no trace of them was found until the next day when the beaten and bound bodies of the three were found in a nearby wooded riverside known as ‘Devil’s Den’.

The shockwaves quickly spread through the deeply religious community and small police department were convinced from the start that the murders were the work of a satanic cult - due to the violent and apparent sexual natures of the crime.

"nice local lads..."

Local teenagers Damien Echols (chillingly played by James Hamrick), Jason Baldwin (Seth Meriwether), and Jessie Misskelley Jr. (Kristopher Higgins) were arrested – mostly due to the fact that they looked ‘different’ being into heavy metal and wearing black. Misskelley, initially confessed after hours of police interrogation but then retracted and contradicted his account.

Director Atom ‘Chloe’ Egoyan delivers a searing and highly unsettling fictional take on the murder trial of the teenagers who became known as the ‘West Memphis Three.’ The plot is incredible and highly damning of the investigating officers, judicial system and pretty much everyone connected to the case – my eldest son who I saw this with was shocked both by the crime and then by the utter miscarriage of justice that followed.

"Firth on the case"

Do not go to see Devil’s Knot looking for entertainment – even though it boasts Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon in lead roles. This is a dark but reverent re-tread of the events which really do not need to be elaborated upon as they shock when just presented (there have been several well received documentaries about this case under the title: Paradise Lost 1-3).

Devil’s Knot will leave you reeling, if you’re a fan of true crime films or TV shows this should be one to check out. Egoyan does well to not pander to those looking for a gory voyeuristic kick. The police dept’s prejudice and blinkered approach to seeing the ‘satanic’ youths pay for their unspeakable crimes – whilst potentially allowing the actual murder(s) to roam free is hard to take.

"family time"

Certainly not for everyone, but Devil’s Knot is worth investigating – it is deeply thought provoking stuff!

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

ööö1/2 

(3.5 - strange and disturbing and true!!)

Awesomeness ööö – shock and awe at the police procedure

Laughs ö – not fun at all

Horror ööö – grim actual events are hard to forget

Babes öö – Witherspoon is a yummy mummy

Spiritual Enlightenment ö - soul torment in so many ways


Recommended Hashtags: #DevilsKnotJust

"nice to see Reese in a more serious role"

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Grace of Monaco


Grace of Monaco (PG)

Dir. Olivier Dahan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the Newspaper version of this review: The Gazette

“When I married Prince Rainier, I married the man and not what he represented or what he was. I fell in love with him without giving a thought to anything else.”

One has to wonder quite what Director Olivier ‘La Vie En Rose’ Dahan was aiming for with Grace of Monaco… What he’s made is a flashy, shallow, royal-em-up that oozes melodrama but lacks any sort of empathy – mostly because every character feels like they are being played by cardboard cut out puppets.

The plot follows Grace Kelly (Nicole Kidman) as she tries to get to grips with moving from being a Hollywood megastar to becoming the Princess of Monaco. It seems that marrying into Royalty isn’t necessarily a fairytale come true as her Prince ‘Charming’ Rainer (Tim Roth) turns out to be an over critical, bossy nightmare to live with. And to make matters worse – Charles de Gaulle (André Penvern) is determined to crush Monaco’s tax-haven status and forcibly restore it to being part of France…

"Looking good isn't enough..."

Turns out that Grace might just be the only hope of the small nation state’s survival but with foes on every side including some within her own Court, she is going to have to pull of the ‘greatest role of her life’ in order to save the day. Alas this fictionalized account – although based on true events – completely fumbles the political intrigue, instead turning the whole plot into a glitzy dumbed down bore-athon.

Kidman is at least mildly worth watching, she exudes a brittle beauty that radiates from the screen but nobody else seems to want to be in the film, Tim Roth is especially poor as Rainier who is often inadvertently funny. But there seems to have been a bad outbreak of ‘over-acting-fever’ which strikes down all the supporting cast at various points including Roger Ashton-Griffiths who brings a highly unconvincing Alfred Hitchcock to the screen.

"Check out my buns!"

Only Father Francis Tucker (Frank Langella) comes away with any real credit, his priest who helps ‘Gracie’ learn to be the Princess she must be if Monaco is to have an independent future.

Grace of Monaco isn’t a film that you’ll enjoy if you’re looking for a decent biopic, an intelligent political thriller or a deep insight into Grace Kelly’s struggles. If however you can let the overall poor production values wash over you and just appreciate the lavish costumes – book your tickets today…

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

ö1/2 

(1.5 - nice frocks, shame about the film)

Awesomeness ö – limited to none

Laughs öö – unintentionally funny in places

Horror öö – the over-acting is scary

Babes ööö – Nicole is still yummy

Spiritual Enlightenment ö - you need a priest to succeed?


Recommended Hashtags: #PoorGracie

"Princess stunner"


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