DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Darkmatters Review: Green Lantern



Green Lantern (12a)

Dir. Martin Campbell

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power... Green Lantern's light!”

Thank you for you interest in the position of ‘Green Lantern’, I am sending you additional information about what the role entails but have to inform you that we have made an initial offer to another candidate ‘Hal Jordan’.

Being a Green Lantern means that you are chosen to wield a power ring that can generate a variety of effects, sustained purely by the ring wearer's imagination and strength of will. Anything you can think of can be made real using a the ring’s incredible ‘hard light construct’ ability. Of course the greater the user's willpower, the more effective the ring.

Now for the first time since records began a human has been chosen to be a Green Lantern.

Hal Jordan (played by Ryan Reynolds) is your average smug all American test pilot who lives his life by the seat of his pants. His life is changed beyond belief then a dying alien crashes to earth and chooses him to take over as the new Green Lantern. Before you can say ‘that’s not very likely’ he’s packing a crazy looking CGI bodysuit and being trained in the art of battling intergalactic enemies with his power ring.

D.C. Comics are hoping that Green Lantern can become a new superhero franchise and have thrown a massive budget at this effort. Alas the result isn’t quite the ‘Dark Knight’ sized block buster that I guess they were banking on – because while Green Lantern is a fun sci-fi superhero romp, it is also extremely forgettable.

Director Martin ‘Casino Royale’ Campbell brings a workmanlike result to the big screen – packed with dazzling special effects but hampered by a confusing sci-fi mythos and slightly stupid plot.

Reynolds is fine (my wife certainly appreciated his CGI enhanced buttocks) but even with a game supporting cast including a scenery chewing Peter Sarsgaard who becomes a freaky nemesis for the Green Lantern there just aren’t quite enough thrills to go round.

There is potential for a hinted at sequel to build on this origin tale – but that all depends on box office returns. So check it if you want to enjoy another quick hero fix because Green Lantern is pretty much on a par with Marvel’s Thor but just don’t expect to be blown away.

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

ööö

(3 - super effects, not so super overall)...

Awesomeness ööö – couple of decent set pieces

Laughs öö – some funnies

Horror ööö – some grim bits for a '12'

Babes ööö – Blake Lively is hot

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – step up and save your planet!

"Blake Lively provides the sizzle..."




Darkmatters Review: Kung Fu Panda 2



Kung Fu Panda 2 (PG)

Dir. Jennifer Yuh

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

The wise Soothsayer say: “Your story may not have such a happy beginning, but that doesn't make you who you are. it is the rest of your story, who you choose to be... So, who are you, Panda?”

If you saw the original Kung Fu Panda you’ll know that it was a great slab of quality computer animated that packed in exciting adventure, likeable characters and genuine funnies. Now the oversized ‘Dragon Warrior’ panda Po (Jack Black) is back and this time he must face down the evil Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) who was responsible for the murder of his parents.

The good news is that Kung Fu Panda 2 delivers everything you want in a sequel – the cast of high-end celebrity voice talent step up and work to bring their characters to stunning CGI life. Director Jennifer Yuh is clearly on a mission to make sure that the quality control is kept to ‘max’ – the plot is well thought out and delves into the back story of the legendary warrior whilst also moving it forward. My youngest son James loved every moment of it – proclaiming it to be “even better than the first one.”

Lord Shen makes a worthy adversary as a metal-feathered peacock who has mastered the destructive art of making cannons and plans to use them to take of all of China. It falls to Po and his ‘Furious Five’ pals to try and save the country – and kung fu which is under threat from the new weapons of mass destruction.

There is a sub plot involving the need to find inner peace, only through which can victory be achieved – which is easier said than done when the whole country is looking to you to save them. The writers manage to keep it bouncing along at a good pace and don’t labour the messaging in the way that Disney and co tend to.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is a great family friendly film that rivals the likes of PIXAR in delivering a nicely balanced experience which can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Po is on his way to becoming an animated movie icon with his loveable brand of lunacy. You might not love Jack Black but here he channels just the right level of stupidity and heart in order to win the hearts and minds of viewers.

Get some more Kung Fu in your life.

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

ööö1/2

(3.5 - big laughs, big action - all good)...

Awesomeness ööö – even Jack Black can't screw up this one

Laughs öööö – Funny delivered to your eyeballs

Horror ö – only nasty if you have a fear of peacocks

Babes ö – nope, move along

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – find your inner peace if you want to kick ass!


inFAMOUS 2: The Fame Strips

inFAMOUS 2 – ‘The Fame Strips’


‘The power is yours, how you use it is up to you!’

inFAMOUS 2 is kicking super ass on PS3s around the world - with the electric power Cole back in the second chapter of this best selling ‘comicesque’ franchise... Once again the gameplay is unique in giving game-players the chance to shape the game by the choices they make; be it good or bad, every decision has a consequence.

No-one knows the pros and cons of being famous or inFAMOUS more than those in the fickle world of celebrity (musicians, footballers, models, actors and general guys/gals about town).

To celebrate the launch of the new title inFAMOUS 2, PlayStation 3 is behind a unique collaboration between Howard Marks (Mr Nice) and the Godfather of British comics Pat Mills (creator of 2000AD and key writer on Judge Dredd who currently writes graphic novels for Repeat Offenders Ltd, as well as having worked with both DC and Marvel).

The fantasy comic strips, which bring together seven of the world’s freshest comic artists, explore what would happen if some of the world’s favourite celebrities were integrated into the fantasy inFAMOUS world alongside characters of New Marais, allowing them to hold superpowers and the choice to change the world for better or worse.

Pat Mills says “The moral issues that the game brings up are very much the preserve of comic books, and always have been. That and the super powers of the game characters have something of the classic spirit of comic books about them. This project has been a really fun way to play with the morality of the celebrity culture we are so obsessed with. Perhaps most exciting for me has been working with this slate of talented young comic books artist that we are all going to be seeing a lot more of”.

Speaking on the artistic exploration & collaboration Fame & Morality Editor Howard Marks commented “I'm a comic book fan - and I'm no stranger to moral ambiguity - so my involvement in this project is a no-brainer. I'm also really enjoying seeing the best emerging comic book talent doing their thing! Kapow!”

The celebrities were chosen by inFAMOUS fans, celebrity commentators and bloggers for their impact on celebrity culture over the course of the last year.

The seven fantasy strips can be viewed at www.InFamousthefame.com and explore the central theme of comics and much of the gaming world - morality and the choices we make around it. Check them out and see if you can work out who has the power!

inFAMOUS 2: The Fame Strips

click to read!


here's an overview of what the strips have for your viewing pleasure:

Beyonce - Bootylicious Trouble – ‘It’s tough being part of the world’s most influential celebrity couple especially when your famous friends continue to show you up’: illustrated by Barnaby Richards – contributor to cult comics anthology Sturgeon White Moss; Barnaby has worked with Paul Smith and has works featured in a whole host of newspapers – his graphic novel ‘ the Funeral’ has just been published.

Cheryl - Bad Hair Day – ‘We all get them but when you’re in the public eye they are just that bit meaner!’: illustrated by Ellen Lindner; Ellen has published numerous stories in both the UK & US including her own graphic novel Undertow. She is also editor to the ongoing anthology ‘ Whores of Mensa’.

Gary & Friends - ‘Nearly Naughty’ – ‘Temptations of the flesh feature heavily in everyone’s lives - to grab or not to grab that’s always the question!’: COMING SOON!

Justin - ‘ Animal Saviour’ - ‘The UK public are animal crazy what better way to raise your profile than with some pet loving!’: illustrated by Luke Pearson; Luke’s work has appeared in seminal comic book anthology ‘Nobrow’ alongside work for a range of magazines.

Pippa - ‘ Empire Building’ - ‘Sibling jealousy can make you do strange things!’; illustrated by Kate Brown; winner of the prestigious Art Foundation prize, Kate has recently published her graphic novel SelfMadeHero.

Gaga – ‘Down with the kids’ – ‘When is too far too far?’: illustrated by JAKe is one of the UK’s leading illustrators having worked with the likes of Fatboy Slim, the Prodigy and Star Wars. His recent projects include illustrating The Mighty Book of Boosh

Lindsay – ‘Reformed Character’ - ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes but do we ever really change?’: illustrated by Fay Dalton; Fay recently won the Pickled Ink’s Pickled Award and is creating a huge buzz with her very naughty strip ‘Party Girls’ looking at the lives of footballers wives and special friends.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Darkmatters Review: X-Men First Class



X-Men First Class (12a)

Dir. Matthew Vaughn

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

2011’s cinematic summer is shaping up to be ‘super’ saturated with a host of high profile superhero films. Here we have X-Men First Class which will soon be joined by Captain American and Green Lantern, plus Thor is still in cinemas. So should comic book fans be smiling or are they getting milked by studios who are just churning out easy cash making wins? I have to declare an interest here – I’m a big superhero fan (yep that was me dressed as Kick Ass this weekend at my 40th B’day fancy dress party!? - see below). So I’m looking forward to seeing just how many super themed films people have an appetite for.


"Kick Ass - faster than a speeding bullet... to see the real pics check my facebook gallery

X-Men First Class is the obligatory prequel to the existing X-Men films telling the tale of how before Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time.


"Matt and Mike at play..."

Yes, before they were archenemies, these two powerful mutants were close friends, working together, with others of their kind (some familiar, some new), to stop the threat of all out nuclear war. It’s a fun premise and Matthew ‘Kick Ass’ Vaughn handles the fusion of real world situation namely the Cuban Missile Crisis - with the fantasy elements of super powered mutants getting into the heart of the action - with finesse.  

X-Men First Class is not your standard stupid popcorn superhero movie. This is film that will engage your brain just as much as it dazzles the eyes with impressive action set pieces. There are plenty of fan pleasing moments such as finding out how the X-Men got their names and some excellent cameos which I won’t spoil for you. The writers have obviously worked hard to retrofit this prequel so that it makes sense in relation to the existing films – and yet also leaves the door open for more prequel follow ups.

Knowing how the Professor X / Magneto situation will develop in the future doesn’t distract from the sheer joy of seeing just why a rift opens between them - which will begin the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-Men.

The special effects are superb – and of the unfamiliar mutants on the block underwear clad Emma Frost (January Jones), Azazel (Jason Flemyng) and Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) all stand out.

X-Men First Class lives up to it’s name as quality super entertainment. A hero flick recommended not just for comic book fans.   

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - First Class by name and by nature)...

Awesomeness öö
öö – When the X-Men let rip with their powers it all kicks off!

Laughs ööö – Funny in places

Horror öö – Nothing too grim - could have kick more ass as a '15'

Babes öö
ö – Emma Frost is the eye candy - see below

Spiritual Enlightenment ö
ööö – Human nature is divided


"who needs a outfit when you've got underwear?"

here's what the film critics think overall:

Monday, June 06, 2011

Darkmatters Review: The Hangover pt II


The Hangover part II (15)

Director: Todd Philips

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Two years ago, many men laughed until they cried as The Hangover set a terrifying new benchmark for stag night insanity. Sensitive souls yet to tie the knot (and their girlfriends) – looked on it horror at just what debauched antics men can get up to in the name of fun... Either way The Hangover’s Wolfpack of guys made big bucks and so as sure as night follows day, here comes Hangover II.

Plot wise, this is pretty much more of the same from the first installment, it’s not fresh and it is pretty predictable but that still doesn’t stop it being funny. And, as is par for a sequel, the set pieces are more messed up and played for higher shock value. So if you’re going to take this heady trip to Bangkok, get ready for even more crude and controversial drug, sex, nudity and eye-wateringly violent humour.

"what just happened?"

This time the Wolfpack – smooth Phil (Bradley Cooper), wimpy Stu (Ed Helms), sensible Doug (Justin Bartha) and crazy Alan (Zach Galifianakis) are geared up for Stu’s forthcoming Thai wedding. Even though he protests that he doesn’t want a bachelor's party, before you can say ‘who drugged the campfire marshmallows?’ the guys are waking up in the aftermath of a very very wrong night on the town.

"It's happened again!" is the disgruntled cry and thus the chase is on to try and work out exactly why Stu has woken up with a Mike Tyson tribal facial tattoo, they have a chain-smoking, willy nibbling monkey in a denim jacket in their hotel room and Stu’s soon to be brother in law - 16-year-old genius Teddy (Mason Lee), is AWOL is missing, apart from his detached finger.

Also back for seconds is Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) — you might remember him as the naked Asian guy who leapt out and attacked the guys in part 1. He’s now pals with Alan and serves no real purpose apart from getting the gang into some more contrived dodgy scrapes. Paul Giamatti does a cameo complete with some good one liners but overall Director Todd Philips is on comedy autopilot and doesn’t push his material in the direction of ‘hilarious’ nearly often enough.

The Hangover part 2 is no classic but if you’re after a no brain dose of crude fun, there are just about enough funny moments to make this worth a look.

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

ööö

(3 - still funny, and wrong but not fresh now)...

Awesomeness ööö – Certain scenes are great (e.g. monkey nibbling willy)

Laughs öööö – Funny stuff ahoy

Horror öö – Not too much unless you freak seeing men's tackle

Babes öö – Ladyboys aren't my cup of tea

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – Spirituality through friendship?


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