DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Monday, July 23, 2012

Darkmatters Review: CleanSkin


Cleanskin (15)

Dir. Hadi Hajaig

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

See your friends, your neighbours, your work colleagues – can you trust them, really? What if they have been ‘turned’ or ‘radicalized’ and are even now plotting to commit atrocities against your nation…

Welcome to a Daily Mail readers dream movie - Cleanskin – a film that stokes the fires of racial antagonism, pitching Muslim fanatics against hard-as-nails underground British Special Forces. The result is a surprisingly awesome action thriller that brings a bit of Bourne style action to the clichéd war on terrorism in the UK.

Director Hajaig is definitely one to watch – this is his follow up to the thoroughly fun and watchable occult thriller Puritan from 2005 (DM review here). So it’s been a while but the good news is the Cleanskin brings everything you might be looking for in a wham-bam action packed Brit thriller.

"you have the right to remain dead"

The plot see devout but unsatisfied Muslim Ash (Abhin Galeya) – his life changes when he meets scumbag fundamentalist nutjob Nabil (Peter Polycarpou) who turns Ash into a walking extremist time-bomb. Will he see sense and come to his senses or will Brit agent Ewan Keane (Sean Bean) have to blow his radical brains out?

Whilst the action is decent and regular, there is a great supporting turn from the absolutely gorgeous (and saucily named Tuppence Middleton – no relation). She’s a great counter balance to the macho action – and her pneumatic breast should be up for ‘best supporting actresses awards!?).

Charlotte Rampling is also on hand to add some gravitas to the proceedings as a high ranking operative who is pulling the strings behind the scenes. Everything works well and the decent script / acting / action scenes work together to deliver a compelling viewing experience.

"could be anyone..."

The look and feel of the film is gritty and pleasing. Everyone goes about the nasty business with serious with determination and for once there are no weak links. The only downside is that there are such limited special features – you might watch the trailers once but you’re unlikely to return to them again.

Props to Hajaig for trying such a contemporary and vital topic and pulling it off successfully, rather than falling into the pit of B-movie crassness.

Cleanskin is a film that might have slipped under your radar (like a radicalized enemy of the State) but you’d be a fool not to track it down because it isn’t often that such a quality Brit action thriller gets made.

"classy support"


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

öööö1/2

4.5 – Fight fire with fire...


"Worth more than Tuppence (Middleton)"

Friday, July 20, 2012

Darkmatters Review: The Dark Knight Rises


The Dark Knight Rises (12)

Dir. Christopher Nolan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Oh boy, you are in for a show tonight, son…” 

 It’s here, the final part of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy – the culmination of an epic tale that has seen Batman rebooted in gritty, dark and satisfyingly adult style.

The story picks up eight years after The Dark Knight, the Joker is a distant bad memory, Harvey ‘Two Face’ Dent has been hailed as a hero - martyred at the hands of the Batman, who has not been seen since.

Gotham is prosperous and virtually free of violent crime – but a storm is coming and it doesn’t take long before the city is on its knees in the face of a new enemy called Bane (Tom Hardy) who is intent on destroying it entirely.

"meow"

The Dark Knight Rises begins with a bang - a superb daring mid-air kidnapping of a nuclear physicist Dr. Leonid Pavel (Alon Abutbul). It seems that Bane is planning to some megaton payback on the citizens of Gotham – and it would appear that there is no one to stop him with the Dark Knight in self-imposed retirement.

Step forward super sexy, scene stealing, new Catwoman, Selina Kyle (Anna Hathaway) who is involved in some shady business with dodgy businessman John Daggett. The repercussions of Kyles actions have devastating repercussions for Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale on top form). Throw into the mix some devious subplots and mix well for almost three hours of edge-of-your-seat enjoyment of a delicious dark kind.

"air superiority"

Indeed, things look so bleak when Bane makes his move on the city that it just might be too much even for the valiant Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight Rises does something I didn’t think possible after the last film – it raises the stakes to even higher, spine tingling new heights. The cinematography is just jaw dropping, especially in IMAX and the set pieces bring some truly unforgettable action scenes.

"beware Bane"

There is sheer joy in seeing Batman take to the sky in his new plaything ‘The Bat’ or streak through the city on his awesome Batpod Motorbike. And even as the odds against him grow, the plot deftly brings in elements such as brave cop John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), which offer tantalising glimpses of hope.

As a director, Nolan is at the very top of his game here and he delivers a worthy, darker rival to wham-bam action fun of The Avengers. 2012 is proving to be a vintage year for superhero flicks and The Dark Knight Rises is potentially film of the year.


Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters: ööööö – RISE!!

5 – stunning conclusion that leaves you satisfies and yet wanting more!

Awesomeness ööööö – jaw dropping throughout

Laughs öö – some limited grim humour

Horror ööö – nasty in parts but not extremely horrible

Babes ööööö – one new Catwoman to rule them all

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö – heroes require sacrifice


"new Catwoman"


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World


Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (15)

Dir. Lorene Scafaria

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Imagine what might have happened if the team in the Bruce Willis starrer Armageddon had failed to blow up the earth bound killer asteroid? In song terms it would be less ‘I don’t want to miss a thing’ and more ‘Help (I need somebody)’

I think that if asked which female they’d like to spend their last couple of weeks with Keira Knightley would probably make a lot of guy’s top 10 lists – when I got to interview her she was fun and savvy as well as sexy!? So when faced with asteroid related complete destruction, loveable loser-in-love Dodge (Steve Carell) doesn’t complain too much when he finds himself on a road trip with kooky potential last chance love interest Penny (Knightley).

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a odd mixture of romantic comedy and end-of-the-world-weep-em-up from Lorene ‘Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist’ Scafaria. The film raises lots of ‘what would you do with your last few weeks?’ questions and has some fun showing various reactions to the oncoming extinction level event. Most of the big laughs come from things like the deteriorating news coverage, which sees presenters swearing straight-faced to camera.

"people do strange things when the world is ending..."

Dodge and Penny make for a nice enough odd couple with just enough chemistry to let viewers overlook their age / attractiveness levels / lifestyle differences and knuckle down for an acceptably amusing end of days romp. The duo’s travels see them run into many weird and wacky characters which include Penny’s needy ex-boyfriend, a depressed loner who mistakes Dodge for a hit-man he has ordered to kill him and a restaurant called ‘Friendsy's’ where the staff are keen to see out their last days in an orgy of hedonism. There are moments of peril as rioting, looting and raping gangs rampage through the fast unraveling urban areas but overall the film isn’t trying to delve too deep into the dark heart of human nature.

The script and plotting are fine if not ground breaking, the cast are all good – even if Carell gives me the inadvertent creeps when he’s not playing funny roles. Keira is gorgeous as ever – and less annoying than you might think as a free spirited goodtime girl.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is by no means a classic but it does offer a different take on the both the apocalypse and your average by-the-numbers rom-com.


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

ööö – It's not the end of the world (oh wait, it is!) 

3 – less melancholy than Melancholia  

Awesomeness ööö – interesting but not jaw dropping

Laughs ööö – you'll laugh but not all the way through

Horror öö – slightly grim in places

Babes ööö – Yep you still would (see your days out with Keira)

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – is love all you need?

"would she be your 'end of days' partner of choice?"

Darkmatters Review: Coriolanus


Coriolanus (15)

Dir. Ralph Fiennes

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Friends, Romans, Countrymen – lend me your, erm, high caliber weaponry and battlefield body armour… Yes this is a seriously blood splattered adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tale which marks Ralph Fiennes’ directorial debut. The film rocks a star-studded c`st and some brilliant battle scenes that looks for all the world as if they’re from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare!?

Fiennes plays Caius Martius Coriolanus, Rome’s most courageous general. His downfall comes after the people’s fury grows as he publicly expresses scorn for their suffering. The people of Rome are hungry and riots are widespread. War and Mayhem ensues.

It doesn’t matter what PULP sang – the common people of Rome are hungry – never has the social inequality between themselves and the wealthy ruling classes been so apparent. Riots are widespread and the people’s fury rapidly becomes focussed on the Republic’s most courageous general, Martius.

But, Rome is also at war with the Volsces, a neighbouring state whose guerrilla-style army is led by Martius’s sworn enemy, Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler). Following the latest, brazen Volscian taunt, Martius and his comrade-at-arms Titus Lartius (Dragan Micanovic) are called to a council of war by their commanding officer, General Cominius (John Kani). Rome must retaliate. Martius’s outstanding courage and leadership on the field of battle secures the Volscian city of Corioles for Rome. It is a crushing defeat for the Volscians and, in honour of his victory, Martius is awarded the title ‘Coriolanus’, meaning conqueror of Corioles.

"Only need 24 more XP to level up!"

The anger of the Roman people has now subsided and Coriolanus has become a hero. With his recent triumph, Coriolanus’s politically ambitious mother Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave) joyfully anticipates her son being elected to the powerful Senate position of Consul. Influential Roman Senator, and Coriolanus’s political mentor, Menenius (Brian Cox) encourages him. Always in the background, Coriolanus’s gentle and loving wife, Virgilia (Jessica Chastain), worries for her husband’s continued safety.

To become Consul, Coriolanus knows he must first secure the people’s support and at first he is loath to engage in the necessary glad-handing. He sees it as hypocritical and an affront to his personal honour code. Under pressure, he finally relents but, not a natural politician, he handles his canvassing without the required good grace and arouses ill feeling in his audience. His past public declarations have already established him as a threat to the people in the minds of their representatives, the Tribunes. And now the conspiratorial Tribunes, Brutus (Paul Jesson) and Sicinius (James Nesbitt) take full advantage of Coriolanus’s rapid fall from public favour to persuade voters to refuse him the office he seeks. The Tribunes campaign is further supported by an underground group of left-wing rebels, led by Cassius (Ashraf Barhom) and Tamora (Lubna Azabal), who also speak out against Coriolanus’s election. Their combined arguments work and he is defeated.

Coriolanus is enraged and his verbal retaliation leads to further public rioting. Disgraced, the Senate banishes him from Rome. Now stateless and seeking revenge for Rome’s ingratitude and treachery, Coriolanus journeys to the city of Antium, the Volscian capital and home to his enemy, Tullus Aufidius. With nothing to lose, he seeks out his old adversary and boldly offers him a choice. Aufidius can either take Coriolanus’s life or accept his help in defeating Rome. Confronted by his greatest enemy, Aufidius must decide whether to finally destroy his rival or join forces with him in battle…

This is the most action-packed Shakespeare depiction for some time and it really blows the doors off in terms of gritty battle action.

Coriolanus is a wonderful bloody, but timeless, tale of war and revenge… Add it to your DVD collection and feel smug in the fact that you’ve got a Shakespeare flick in your collection (one that kicks ass!).

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

öööö


4 – Shakespeare + Automatic weaponry = win!

"Lubna Azabal"

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Darkmatters Review: The Amazing Spiderman


The Amazing Spiderman (12)

Dir. Marc Webb

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

As the saying goes…

‘With great special effects and budget come great responsibility…’

So altogether now - Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can – and now he’s back with an all new take on the origin story of how young nerdy Peter Parker (Andrew ‘Social Network’ Garfield), gets arachnid flavoured super powers.

It’s not easy being a New York high schooler whose parents have abandoned him, with only his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) to call family. Then to make matters worse he gets bitten by a bio-engineered spider – but along with a painful bite mark, Parker gets super agility, strength and wall-crawling abilities so it’s not all bad.

Cue a revamped Spiderman, complete with new spider suit, mechanical web shooters, a sharper sense of humour, and a new baddie to defeat – in the shape of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) who becomes a mutated giant Lizard.

"new guy in the suit - makes it look good"

Everything about this reboot works really well. Garfield is excellent in the lead role and he is ably supported by a decent script, jaw dropping CGI effects and new improved hottie love interest in the shapely form of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). There is some real on screen chemistry between two – which apparently spilled over into real world romance off set too.

The Amazing Spiderman channels a stronger vibe of conflicted adolescence when the responsibility of super powers are added to the mix, like Kick Ass or Chronicle did so well.

Spidey still rocks some great action moves and the joy of watching his web slingling / swinging antics is stronger than ever. Garfield makes the role his own – his sarcastic wisecracks are especially welcome and make this Spiderman more like the original comic book one.

"new girlfriend - what big eyes you have!"

My sons bought right into the new version and were impressed by the package overall, especially when the New York blue-collar workers use their cranes to give Spiderman a boost in his final battle. If you want to nit pick you could say that the Lizard vs Spidey smackdown feels a little bit ‘by the numbers’ but that would be petty as these numbers are megaton ones…

It looks like adding the word ‘Amazing’ to the title wasn’t too much of a brag – and more like an honest appraisal!? Here’s to some further amazing Spiderman adventures before too long!

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

öööö – quality super thrills

4 – does whatever a super enhanced spider can

Awesomeness öööö – spider sense tingling

Laughs ööö – witty and funny

Horror öö – a bit ‘jumpy’ but not too grim

Babes ööö – Stone is yummy

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – teen angst a go go


Try some CULTURE SLAP review HERE

"Emma Stone - looking good in GQ"

Friday, July 06, 2012

PS VITA Running Left 4 Dead & Skyrim


Left 4 Dead and SKYRIM - playable on the PS VITA! 


Skyrim looks like a work in progress but the possibilities are awesome...

Matt Adcock sees the future in the palm of your hand...


Left 4 Dead looks slick!!
 

Playing excellent PC games on Sony's incredible hand-held - yes please!!

This just in from GameFanatics: With Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) recently acquired cloud gaming service Gaikai. Gaikai is known for offering the best old and new games streaming on their site. I’m sure most of you are wondering where the correlation comes in between Sony and Gaikai and this rumor of bringing PlayStation (PSX), and PlayStation 2 (PS2) games to the PlayStation 3 (PS3).

The rumor goes like this. Sony plans on creating a type of “Multiverse” similar to that of the PlayStationStore (PS Store) where all of their popular gaming titles of old, will be available to stream to yourPlayStation 3. These titles will also be downloadable for a fee, but no details have emerged yet regarding the pricing system or exactly what titles will be on this “Multiverse” first.

(source: http://thegamefanatics.com/2012/07/05/ps1-ps2-games-coming-ps3-streaming-service/ )

"Emma Stone - thinking about playing L4D on her VITA"

Monday, July 02, 2012

Darkmatters Review: Killer Joe


Killer Joe (18)

Dir. William Friedkin

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Love. Lust. Loyalty. Treachery. Innocence. Profanity. Greed. Revenge. Family... Just another day in the Deep South!?

When 22-year-old smalltime trailer-trash drug dealer Chris (Emile Hirsch) finds himself in debt to a very nasty drug lord, he hatches a desperate plan to try and cash in on his mother’s $50,000 life insurance policy.

Of course it isn’t quite a simple as it sounds and the contracted hit-man ‘Killer’ Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey playing brilliantly against his nice-guy type), might just tear the dysfunctional family apart when he takes a sinister liking Chris’s sister Dottie (Juno Temple).

"Joe stands up for his young 'retainer' "

Joe is the creepiest, craziest, crooked cop to hit the screen in some time – highly charismatic and entirely morally dubious, he demands Dottie as a ‘retainer’ for his services until Chris can pay him from the insurance payout.

The film is based on a provocative black comedy play by Tracy Letts, and director William ‘The Exorcist’ Friedkin doesn’t hold back in bringing the shockingly twisted plot to throbbing gothic noir cinematic life.

Killer Joe is a deep-fried red-neck-em-up that explores the thin line between good and evil and exposes the possibility of evil in all of us. And just when the tension is a boiling point it unloads a metaphysical shotgun blast of misogynistic bad-taste, which is likely to challenge even the most open-minded viewer. I don’t want to spoil anything for you but let’s just say that it might be a while before you order a KFC again…

"trailer trash?"

But if you’re a fan of crackling, messed up neo-noir thrillers like The Killer Inside Me or Blood Simple then Killer Joe will be right up your hard-boiled street. And whilst ‘Joe’ doesn’t have the same expansive scope – due to it originally being a play – it adds a deep vein of very dark comedy that is likely to have you laughing when you’re not recoiling in shock.

All whole the cast go about the sordid business with gusto – McConaughey is fantastic as the slimy titular character and he is matched all the way by a gutsy Lolita-ish performance from Temple. Some of the best lines though come from Chris’s dim-witted father Ansel (Thomas Haden-Church) – pick of the bunch being when ask if he was aware of his wife’s plan to rip him off. He replies “I’m never aware!”

Killer Joe is a hard film to completely recommend as it goes to very ‘wrong’ places but it will certainly make you think.

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

ööö1/2 - Finger lickin good!?

31/2 – darkness is only a heartbeat away

Awesomeness ööö – sleazy does it

Laughs ööö – darkly funny

Horror ööö – bloody, brutal and sickening in places

Babes öööö – Temple is yummy

Spiritual Enlightenment -öö – salvation is far from these people



Try the CULTURE SLAP review here

"Juno next up in Little Birds"

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