DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Darkmatters Review: Lockout


Lockout (15)

Dir. James Mather & Stephen St. Leger

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Don't get me wrong. It's a dream vacation. I mean, I load up. I go into space. I get inside the maximum-security nuthouse. Save the President's daughter, if she's not dead already. Get past all the psychos who've just woken up. I'm thrilled that you would think of me.”

In the near future a guy named Snow (Guy Pearce) – you know, a tough heroic type – well he gets locked up for a crime he didn't commit after a heavy duty fight in a hotel over a mysterious briefcase. Well it’s not good news for Snow because maximum security prison now means a space prison called MS-1 and he’s down for a thirty-year stint in cryogenic stasis. But wouldn’t you know it… MS-1 gets overrun by the scumbag inmates – just as the president's sexy daughter, Emilie (Emily Grace) is visiting on a humanitarian mission. So it’s down to Snow to either go in and save her or do his time inside.
"think Begbie in space..."

Snow is a great antihero, which Pearce brings to larger than life chain-smoking, wiseass cracking, buffed to the max glory. He’s like a modern day Arnie killing baddies and making funnies in equal measure.

Look out for the excellent 'voice activated grenades' which are used to brilliant comic effect...

The directors James Mather & Stephen St. Leger are the geniuses behind my all time favourite short film ‘Prey Alone’ (Darkmatters Review here) which they made themselves – including the jaw dropping special effects. The CGI in Lockout isn’t the highest spec but it’s hard not to get caught up in the sheer excitement of a white-knuckle future bike chase / shootout which packs insane video game styling.

Pearce is superb in a very different role to his normal higher brow stuff and the script penned with help from Luc Besson is top notch B movie fun. He’s up against the 500 angry convicts led by evil Alex (Vincent Regan) and his totally psycho brother Hydell (Joseph Gilgun).

"I do NOT look like Ben Affleck"

The violent mayhem that ensues is of the running, gunning and shoot-em-up kind – with obligatory funnies that just keep hitting the mark such as when Emilie proves she can lay down convincing amounts of suppressing automatic gun fire, Snow quips “I didn’t have you down as a Democrat.”

If you're in the mood for a fast paced, superior thrill ride that comes with all the sci-fi trimmings - even including a brief spaceship fighter assault on the prison which has echoes of the attack on the Death Star - step this way!

"the new nose operated keyboard wasn't catching on"

Lockout is a fantastic fun sci-fi action thriller that ticks all the boxes. It feels like the best of the old school b-movie romps updated for the 2012. Highly recommended!!


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

öööö1/2

4.5 – Takes no prisoners...

"Maggie Grace"

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Darkmatters Review: A Touch Of Cloth



A Touch of Cloth – The First Case (15)

Initial reactions by Matt Adcock

Charlie Brooker - genius media chewer / creator of Nathan Barley, Dead Set, and Black Mirror has ripped up the murder mystery genre with his latest: A Touch of Cloth. Playing as a feature-length crime drama spoof-em-up, in the vein of Airplane or Naked Gun – ‘Cloth’ stars John Hannah and Suranne Jones as wonderfully dysfunctional police partners.

"good cop / bad cop"

The plot sees driven cop Jack Cloth (Hannah) trying to get by in a Max Payne kind of existence – he’s turned to alcohol in order to deal with the death of his wife (who he sees in ghostly visions). In a moment of excellence – of which there are many - his backstory is told in a series of newspaper cuttings which he has framed on his wall. Enter Anne Oldman (Jones) as his new partner whose warrant card describes her as "100% Tits and Ambition."

"I don't think he's going to make it..."

Together the pair investigate a series of increasingly grisly murders and find themselves on the trail of a devious killer. As you do. If you’re a detective. The case leads Cloth and Oldman from leafy forests to sinister lock-ups, from the luxury home of an arrogant TV chef to the cold dissection rooms of vampish forensic pathologist, packing in as many jokes as humanly possible along the way.

Double entendres mix it up with razor sharp one liners, killer visual gags and laugh out loud moments – A Touch of Cloth isn’t just a meta-spoof of every recent crime show, it forges a fantastic new reality and blows the bloody doors off.

More like this please Sky 1…

The DVD is out 03 September and more episodes plus a feature film length one are in production!!

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

ööööö

5 – Cloth is coming to wipe away crime - in fine style!!


"Suranne Jones - has a lot of front!"

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Darkmatters Review: Keith Lemon The Film


Keith Lemon: The Film (15)

Dir. Paul Angunawela

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Ooosh – if you’re looking for a bang tidy night out at the cinema, you’re cordially invited to lose all inhibitions, drop any semblance of taste or decency and let Mr Keith Lemon (businessman of the year ’93) set about you with his own brand of crude comic craziness...

Up until now Keith Lemon (Leigh Francis) has been a small screen alternative comedy phenomena with Bo’ Selecta, Celebrity Juice and Keith Lemon’s Lemonaid. Lemon is famed for his sexist Yorkshire ways, he sports a “strawberry blonde” mullet and ginger moustache.

Now unleashed on the big screen in Keith Lemon: The Film by Writer / Director Paul Angunawela, the pervy Lemon might just have bitten off a bit more than he can comfortably chew.

"do you come here often?"

This is the charmless tale of how Lemon went from struggling loser salesman to overnight billionaire sensation thanks to his un-P.A.T. tested ‘Lemon Phone’. Without a meaningful plot to run with, the film lurches from one comedy set piece to another, sure, some are very funny, most of them are very rude and the whole proceeding is propped up by a mass of celebrity cameos from the likes of Verne Troyer, David Hasselhoff, Tinchy Stryder, Gino D'Acampo, Chris Moyles, Phillip Schofield and Rizzle Kicks to name but a few.

Keith Lemon: The Film does have one major selling point thought and it shameless uses it all the way through – Kelly Brook in her underwear… Brook proves that she’s game for a laugh as she lampoons herself and flashes her curvy body for the camera and Lemon to slobber over. Laura Aikman does her best to compete as Lemon’s pregnant girlfriend Rosie, who gets kidnapped by ‘Evil’ Steve (also played by Francis).

This is the very definition of a ‘hit and miss’ film, there are parts that are brain-damagingly rubbish and altogether cringy but there are also some (if not enough) quality laugh-so-much-you’ll-hernia sections which offer redemption for Lemon fans.

"yes Miss Brook - you've got the part!"

Bodily function gags abound and no area of sexual crassness is left undisturbed – at times the sheer amount of celebs on screen makes it feel like you’ve wandered inadvertently into a VIP Green Room sexually charged drinking session.

Keith Lemon: The Film should not be approached by the squeamish or easily offended, as you’ll likely leave the cinema traumatized, but for those who are devotees of Francis’s madcap OTT sex-comedy, there is probably enough here to satisfy until the threatened sequel!?

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

ööö – One for Lemon lovers only

3 – cheesy does it

Awesomeness ööö – laughing and cringing in equal parts

Laughs öööö – will smash your laughter back doors in

Horror öö – bodily fluids / male nudity bit not be everyone's cup of tea

Babes öööö – Brook is wow!

Spiritual Enlightenment -öö – likely to degrade your mind...

"Kelly shows her acting talents"

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Darkmatters Review: Total Recall


Total Recall (18) - Blu-ray

Dir. Paul Verhoeven

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, Ronny Cox, Marshall Bell, Mel Johnson Jr

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Q: What is it that is exactly the same about every single vacation you have ever taken?

A: You…

22 years ago director Paul Verhoeven's blew a mega-budget on making a full-on funky sci-fi action blockbuster – based on a Philip K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale."

Schwarzenegger was at the height of his ass-kicking powers and this tale saw him discover that his entire life had been ‘invented’ to keep him from meddling in a dastardly scheme for planetary domination on Mars.

"surprise"

The pleasingly mind-bending plot was backed up with some Oscar-winning special effects and great OTT violent action scenes, which saw Arnold, work his wooden magic as a believably clueless hero Douglas Quaid construction worker. Director Paul ‘Robocop’ Verhoeven loves a bit of gratuitous bloodshed and he makes 2084 a time of utter carnage…

The plot sees Doug haunted by a recurring dream of the red planet. He goes to Rekall – a company who sell implanted but when he tries to buy a memory of Mars something goes wrong. He finds out that he is actually a top secret agent fighting against an evil Mars administrator Cohaagen (Ronny Cox).

"I'm not actually your wife"

The action is cracking stuff and it holds up well after all these years. The new Colin Farrell starring remake will have to its work cut out to top the sheer energy and balls out thrills here.

The special effects now look a bit quaint but there are some that bring a massive smile to the face when you immediately remember the classic bits such as the infamous 3 boobed woman and the fake large “get ready for a surprise” head that Arnie wears at one point.

This release of Total Recall is packed with great extras too – pick of the bunch is the restoration comparison featurette, which shows up just how amazing the Blu-ray visuals are. All the features are worth a watch for fans though but the film just looks so flippin amazing this is a triple A Blu beast!

"Arnie hears about the remake..."

Total Recall is a quality sci-fi blast of a movie. The words ‘classic’ and ‘all time great’ are ones that belong to this film and this disc is the best version yet to pick up!

Darkmatters review of Total Recall 2012 here

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

öööö

4 – the ride of your life ('90s style)


"The '90s vision of what the Wii would be..."

Darkmatters Review: The Bourne Legacy


The Bourne Legacy (12a)

Dir. Tony Gilroy

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg…”

The Bourne films have to date been a pleasing mix of crunching hand-to-hand action, chases and general other spy-em-up thrills. So here we are with part 4 – and a new lead character in Jeremy ‘Hawkeye from Avengers’ Renner’s Aaron Cross (Cross by name and by nature) – who takes over from Matt Damon’s iconic Jason Bourne.

Why is Aaron so erm, cross? Well he’s part of the super spy programme which is being ‘burnt to the ground’ by the CIA under orders from Retired Col. Eric Byer, USAF (Ed Norton) because of some probing investigators.

Cue clichéd if visceral and white-knuckle scenes of tension build up as Cross tries to evade his former bosses and travels around the world in a bid to make his super enhanced powers permanent. There is lots of dialogue and many confusing plotlines converging including some nods and mentions of Jason Bourne, who is apparently still running about in the US even if we never get to see him this time.

"do you feel lucky?"

Tony Gilroy who takes over director's duties from Paul Greengrass tries to keep the plot moving along at a frenetic pace but simply doesn’t have enough action scenes to make that happen. Gilroy does his best but for every bit of exciting gunplay or fisticuffs we get two dull office scenes, where Norton and co. talk tactics and generally worry about which agents are still active etc.

The Bourne Legacy does at least ‘feel’ like a Bourne movie albeit a minor one. Renner, who was great in The Hurt Locker, is a fine leading agent, bringing enough charisma tinged with humour and the requisite swagger to make a believable human walking weapon. He’s a nice contrast to the fairly straight-laced Jason Bourne. Rachel Weisz looks good at 42 and brings some love interest as brainy Dr. Marta Shearing – the only woman in the world who can get Cross to his necessary medications.

It’s a shame that The Bourne Legacy isn’t at least half an hour shorter because it is never a good sign when you find your mind wandering due to what seems like endless tech and espionage babble from suited bores. The one stand out scene is when an ‘even more super spy’ is dispatched to take out Cross and a massive chase tears across Manila.

"oohh Betty, I'm in a bit of pickle"

So the franchise is semi successfully ‘Bourne again’ and without so much exposition a part 5 might even deliver some better thrills!?

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

ööö1/2 – Bourne again in style but could be tighter

3.5 – super spies are endangered species

Awesomeness ööö – some quality fights, and one great chase

Laughs ö – not much mirth

Horror ööö – bit bloody / violent in places

Babes ööö – Weisz is still hot

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – brain enhancements are for life

"Rachel Weisz - has a good front"


Monday, August 13, 2012

Darkmatters Review: License to Drive


License to Drive (12)

Dir. Greg Beeman

Starring: Corey Feldman, Corey Haim, Carol Kane, Heather Graham

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“An innocent girl, a harmless drive. What could possibly go wrong?”

Ah the 80's when big hair and cute face were surefire tickets to superstardom. Take the young Corey Feldman who was hot property coming off the back of Gremlins, The Goonies and Lost Boys (which is where his unofficial acting partnership with the other Corey – Haim kicked off).

License To Drive, one of only a few films that actually stars both Corey Haim and Corey Feldman (see Lost Boys and Dream a Little Dream as other examples). This however is on of those films that sit in the mind as an almost perfect 80's teen comedy. I saw this back in the day when I was a teen and remembered License to Drive as a fun and moderately outrageous coming-of-age comedy. But most of all I remember Mercedes Lane (Heather Graham) – she was the definitive 18 year old hottie / template for prospective girlfriends to measure up to...


"Les gets lucky"

So as License to Drive hits DVD again, how does it hold up to the fond watching memories? Pretty good actually, no of course this isn’t a classic – it tells the hackneyed story of sixteen year-old Les Anderson (Haim) who fails his driver's license test but risks everything by taking out his grandfather's classic Cadillac in order to impress Mercedes – the hottest girl in school.

"ice cream eating '80s style"

Debut Director Greg Beeman, who had worked on TV show The Wonder Years manages to do a good job with his pretty teen camera fodder. Sure it’s dated now but there is something to admire in the what passed for stylish surface level gloss which the ‘80s was all about. License to Drive also scores marks for being the ‘anti Grease’ in actually casting fifteen to eighteen year olds rather than aging 30 somethings pretending to be teens.

"There goes the no claims bonus"

Corey Feldman steals most of his scenes as the pal with 'a plan.' The main plot follows the incident packed night of the date, Heather Graham doesn’t have to do too much except look cute and act drunk – the crazy antics include police roadblocks, many Cadillac damage freak outs, some militant nutjobs, angry drag racers and a script that includes non PC lines such as “You spasticated idiot!” Ah the ‘80s!?

License To Drive on DVD delivers a perfect package of ‘80s teen fun, quite what todays’ youth will make of it is anybody’s guess but for those who witnessed those heady days, when I tap the dashboard, you should make an emergency stop and buy this!!

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

öööö

4 – passes the '80s comedy road license test

"smooth..?"

"Graham does '80s teen required magazine reading"




Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (PG) 

 Dir. David Bowers

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

It’s not easy being a pre-teen it seems but it can be funny… 

The full awkwardness of the kid / teen frontier is the source material for Jeff Kinney's best-selling series of tweenage novels on which this film is based. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books have been read and loved by my two boys and the films (this is the 3rd one) have been likeable enough fun packed inoffensive comedies.

The ‘wimpy kid’ in question is Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) – a young chap with summer vacation plans, chiefly these include playing video games every day and getting the lovely Holly Hills (Peyton List) to be his girlfriend. But his dad, Frank (Steve Zahn), has other ideas that include a possible work placement, outdoor sports and a camping trip with a oddball boyscout troop.

Greg’s summer seems to be saved when his best friend Rowley Jefferson (Robert Capron) takes him to his country club where he can swim, relax and enjoy the facilities – which allows him to escape his work placement. An added bonus is that Holly is a junior tennis coach at the Club so he may just have chance to impress her and find young love…

"easy dog days of summer..."

Of course things do not go smoothly and various mishaps befall Greg such as accidentally skinny dipping in the pool when his trunk snag on a diving board. He also doesn’t realize that the waiter service smoothies actually run up a bill on his friend's family's tab.

There are some really funny moments, pick of the bunch are when Greg’s inadvertent 911 call sees his best pal’s dad getting assaulted by police officers, and his older brother’s disastrous gig at the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ party of Holly’s older sister.

The young cast are good value, Gordon has made the lead role his own and the returning characters from the other two films all add some nice touches – this is one series of films that has maintained a good standard thanks to having the book series to follow rather than adding spurious cash-in sequels.

"the girls vs the boys"

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is a fun summer holiday all age crowd pleaser. It will make you laugh out loud and also offer a modicum of insight into the struggles of growing up. Makes a nice change to see a film that doesn’t have to gross out the audience in the name of comedy. Recommended.

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

ööö1/2 – Non offensive quality pre-teen fun

3.5 – escaping childhood today on a screen near you

Awesomeness ööö – laughs and morality balanced well

Laughs ööö – lots of mirth

Horror ö – very little unless you find older kids scary

Babes ööö – Peyton might be a babe one day

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – some good life lessons


Sunday, August 05, 2012

Darkmatters Review: Ted


Ted (15)

Dir. Seth MacFarlane

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“No matter how big a splash you make in this world whether you're Corey Feldman, Frankie Muniz, Justin Bieber or a talking teddy bear, eventually, nobody cares…”

That’s the censored version of the opening to Ted, the wacky story of a how 35-year-old John (Mark Wahlberg), lives with his odd best friend –Ted (Seth MacFarlane) a furry teddy bear which has been magically brought to life. You see Ted is a foul-mouthed comedy from the makers of adult orientated cartoon show Family Guy – which is both a plus in the fact that it is very funny, buy also a minus (if offended by swears, rudeness, crudeness, drug-use and infantile stupidity).

OK so that’s the acceptability / potential outrage warning out of the way – if you’re still reading then I’m guessing that you’re interested to see how a film about a grown man and a magically ‘alive’ degenerate teddy works. Ted by the way is a work of CGI genius creation – probably the best interaction of real and animated characters to date.

"Ted and 'friends'"

Ted subscribes to the ‘throw lots of potential funnies at the screen and hope that at least some of them work’ school of film making – and the fact is that many of the funnies are really really funny. Not at all subtle, and mostly off the scale offensive to many but when Ted hits the mark with savvy pop culture references e.g. when Ted gets ripped in half he looks down at himself and says “ I look like the robot from Aliens!?” genuine laugh out loud scenes it is at times the funniest film of the year.

Anyone who can remember the ‘80s and especially those watched Flash Gordon get serious fan service here – even with ‘Flash’ himself Sam J. Jones making a brilliant cameo. The rapid-fire easy crowd-pleasing gags keep the film rolling along and for every couple that don’t hit their mark there is the occasional flash-bang direct hit which had the audience in stitches.

"cute sometimes"

Plot wise Ted is a bit weak, McFarlane's story sees John having to weigh up his juvenile waster partying with Ted and the fact that it is incompatible with his long term girlfriend Lori (the lovely Mila Kunis) if he ever wants to settle down. Cue male angst of the ‘having to finally grow up’ kind – which to be fair Wahlberg’s perpetually worried expression fits incredibly well.

Ted is a furry subversive blast of very bad taste humour – only you know if that appeals - but it delivers on all counts!

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


öööö – Funny restricTED material ahoy


4 – eat my furry little friend's mirth

Awesomeness ööö – some unforgettable scenes

Laughs öööö – lots of belly (bad taste) laughs

Horror öö – some grimness but nothing too scary

Babes ööö – Kunis is yummy

Spiritual Enlightenment ö – none

Alternative opinion from THE GUARDIAN here

"Mila Kunis - worth ditching a bear for?"

"yummy"


Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Darkmatters Review: The Lorax


The Lorax (U)

Dir. Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not.”

The Doctor will see you now – yes Dr. Seuss is in residence at your local cinema in order to dispense some zany eco sense through this charming and fun big screen version of the children’s tale.

Boosted by having the director Chris ‘Despicable Me’ Renaud on board, The Lorax rocks along with a winning mix of laugh out loud funnies, quality CGI animation and some AAA hot star power voicework. It certainly helps the marketing to have Zac Efron in the lead as young hero Ted, backed up by the likes of Taylor Swift as Audrey and of course the magical Lorax (Danny DeVito).

"I get serious furballs"

For those who haven’t read this tale – it takes place in a colourful but vacuous artificial walled city called Thneed-Ville, where everything is artificial and even the air is a commodity. In the heart of this fake metropolis young Ted is in love with local hottie Audrey. He’ll do anything to win her affections so when she says that she yearns to have a ‘real tree’ (all the trees have been chopped down and replaced with plastic ones), Ted embarks on an adventure to try and bring her one.

The only person who knows what happened to the trees is rumoured to be the ‘Once-ler’, a strange hermit of the wasteland beyond the city walls. He is the one who tells the tale of The Lorax – an orange furry critter tasked with being the guardian of the forest. Ted’s drive to please Audrey inspires him to risk everything and go against the greedy Mayor of Thneed-Ville, O'Hare (a delicious boo-hiss baddie turn from Rob Riggle) in trying to bring back real trees…

"hey dude, I'm like totally Zac Efron innit"

The Lorax works better than I thought it would – packed with bonkers humour, lots of which comes from Ted’s Grandma (Betty White) and some hum dinger musical numbers, pick of the bunch probably the Once-ler's (Ed Helms) "How Bad Can I Be?"

If you’ve a hankering for a tale that will actually make you stop and think but deliver it in a light and highly enjoyable animated fable for all the family, then The Lorax is the film for you. A worthy candy cane treat for kids who are a bit too young to appreciate the dark thrills of The Dark Knight Rises.

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


ööö1/2 – go green via furry orange intervention!


3.5 – fun and charming and good for the soul

Awesomeness ööö – funky scenes, funky songs

Laughs ööö – some good laughs

Horror ö – nothing very scary or grim

Babes öö – Swift sounds sexy - see below

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö – don't wreck the planet guys

"Taylor Swift"

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