DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Monday, August 26, 2013

Darkmatters Review: Elysium


Elysium (15)

Dir. Neill 'District 9' & 'CHAPPiE' Blomkamp

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

- Read another version of this review in The Luton News

The near future wants a word with you. 


"luxury living in space..."

In the year 2154, the wealthy will have mostly left earth to live on Elysium - a man-made super space station - in complete luxury while the rest of the population starve on a ruined Earth.

But even though things are incredibly bleak down here, there may just be one man who can make a difference. One man who will fight for the abandoned people of earth and maybe, just maybe change the balance of power forever…

Step forward Max (Matt Damon) – he’s a bit of loose cannon, has a long criminal record specialising in GTA but he’s also an idealist, and he’s in love which could be a dangerous combination.

"shades of Mad Max? Oh yeah..."

One day Max is working away in the factory where advance combat / security cyborgs are created when he accidentally gets locked into a decontamination chamber and given a lethal dose of radiation. Now the clock is ticking as he has five days to live. Five days to try and make good on his childhood promise to his beloved Frey (Alice ‘Predators’ Braga) that he will get her to Elysium.

From this moment onwards the film is all about Max’s mission – he gets tooled up with a mech-like exoskeleton and promised a ticket to Elysium if he can kidnap a corporate bigwig and download the guy’s brain info.

Easy right? Well whilst getting the brain of the target John Carlyle (William Fichtner) only means taking down his robot bodyguards – it seems that what he his hid in his noggin is of upmost importance to Elysium security enforcer Delacourt (Jodie Foster). She’s not a people person. In fact she shoots down innocent transport shuttles full of families just for trying to get to Elysium. And she has a secret weapon in the nasty form of a super soldier named Kruger, yes like Freddy. Sharlto Copley has masses of fun as this kick ass villain (Copley was the hero in Director Blomkamp’s last film District 9).

"The Bruce Willis haircut is big in the future"

Cue gunfights, desperate plans and a fantastic showdown between Max and an equally exoskeleton enhanced Kruger which has to be one of the best climatic big screen one-on-one battles this year.

It’s nice to see cutting edge special effects used sparingly and to really enhance and improve this off world tale – boosting the viewing experience.

Elysium is a smart, gritty sci-fi movie that delivers a decent thrill ride and carries a good moral message at heart too. Recommended.

"preach"

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

öööö

(4 - fight for the future)...

Awesomeness öööö – some stunning scenes

Laughs ö – not very funny

Horror ööö – some gim moments

Babes ööö – Braga is hot

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – humanity needs a saviour



Friday, August 16, 2013

Darkmatters Review: Kick Ass 2


Kick Ass 2 (15)

Dir. Jeff Wadlow

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“You don't have to be a bad-ass to be a superhero. You just have to be brave.”

When KICK ASS burst onto the cinema scene in 2010, Mark Millar kinetically blew the doors off the whole comic book genre - and it was something wonderful...

Yes KICK ASS was ultra violent and OTT sweary but got up the nose of The Daily Mail and to readers of comics it was the freshest, most exhilarating ride for years. Now here comes Kick Ass 2 - again based on the Mark Millar/John Romita Jr cutting edge comic books but this time helmed by Jeff 'Never Back Down' Wadlow.

"new allies"

This is a true 'The Empire Strikes Back' to the original's 'A New Hope' - we find Dave Lizewski /Kick-Ass (Aaron 'Savages' Taylor-Johnson) a conflicted soul. Having brought down the big crime boss at the end of the first film, he's now buffed and ready for more crime fighting but in need of a partner or team. Luckily Kick Ass's antics have inspired a whole raft of wannabe super-heroes and he is soon invited to join Justice Forever a rag-tag bunch of crime fighters led by born-again Christian Colonel Colonel Stars And Stripes (a great turn from Jim 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' Carrey).


"new challenges"

But every hero needs a nemesis and Kick Ass has his in the shape of Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) whose dad Kick Ass killed. Styling himself as the world's first real supervillian (even though his only 'power' is his warped mind and tons of cash) he adopts the censor baiting name The Motherf%£;*£;#;^r – and raises an evil army to exact revenge.

"try outs..."

Meanwhile Mindy Macready / Hit Girl (Chloë 'soon to be the new Carrie' Grace Moretz) has sworn to give up her vigilante ways and try to fit in at high school - a fun subplot which sees her rubbing up against bitchy babe Brooke (the upcoming Claudia Lee). Cue cheerleading, dates and Mean Girls-alike teen strife - all of which are all alien to Hit Girl.

"try and enjoy it - otherwise 'what's the point?'"

Incredibly KickAss 2 manages to bring the various elements together in a joyfully profane and crunchingly violent super-sequel that had the audience I saw it with cheering out loud. Whilst it might not be as fresh as the first film, Kick Ass 2 brings megaton comic book thrills and beats you to within an inch of your life with them...

Prepared to feel the Kick Ass shock and awe all over again.

"guess who's back"

There are some fantastic homages too including the aforementioned Mean Girls but also classics like Ferris Bueller and a ton of Superhero flicks as you'd expect. There is a genius, subversive, sick and funny mind at work here be warned: Kick Ass 2 isn't for the faint of heart!!

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

ööööö

(5 - Kicking Ass has never been as fun)...

Awesomeness ööööö – whoop-out-loud scenes of comic book thrills

Laughs öööö – very funny too (if incredibly 'wrong')

Horror ööö – some nasty violence / threat

Babes öööö – Claudia Lee vs Lindy Booth vs Chloë Grace Moretz

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – fight of justice?


Soundtrack:

Highlight for me - Glasvegas!!
Lowlight JJJJJ Jessie JJJ J

1. Yeah Yeah - James Flannigan 2. Nobody Move - Hanni El Khatib 3. Carry You - Union J 4. No Strings - Eg White, Chlöe Howl 5. Pussy Drop - Lemon 6. Dance - Danko Jones 7. A Minha Menina - The Bees 8. Bust Out Brigade - The Go! Team 9. When The Saints Go Marching In - St. Snot 10. Euphoria, Take My Hand - Glasvegas 11. Korobeiniki - Ozma 12. Danger - Marco Polo & Torae 13. Motherquake - DJ Fresh VS Diplo feat. Dominique Young Unique 14. Hero - Jessie J

Extended gallery (some pics thanks to 'HeartAttack')

"girl fight"

"it's going to kick off"

"Hit Girl brushes up OK"

"new girlfriend material?"

"bring it"

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Darkmatters Review: Only God Forgives


Only God Forgives (18)

Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn 

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

"He's a very dangerous boy."

Come with me to Bangkok for an overdose of stylish vengeance - helmed by the awesome Nicolas Winding Refn who directed DRIVE (one of my all time fav films)...

Meet Billy (Tom 'Cleanskin' Burke) he's the eldest brother in a nasty crime family - and before the viewer has even had chance to get their heads around the incredible cinematography of the film - all blood reds, neon yellows and oppressive darkness, Billy has brutally murdered a young girl.

So the 'extreme' button is pressed right from the start and Only God Forgives never lets up... Billy is caught in the act and yet rather than arrest him, the police investigator named Chang (Vithaya 'Hang Over II' Pansringarm) — let's the dead girl's father take out his wrath on Billy...

Let's just say that it doesn't end well for Billy!?

"Gosling - so very very watchable!"

The rest of the film deals with the shockwaves and reprisals that stem from this opening double murder - it is an inticrate study in guilt, revenge and power, but with the plots speed set to 'absolutely minimum' and a thoughful creeping, invading sense of deep levels of cause and effect that govern the human psych...

'Star' of the film is Ryan 'Drive'  Gosling who plays Julian (Billy's younger brother) - he is a fascinating character even though he gets to utter only about 20 lines in the whole film. Head of the supremely disfunctional family is Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas) who delivers a fantastic turn as the evil matriach who seems to draw pleasure in humiliating Julian.

Also of note is Julian's semi love interest Mai (Yayaying Rhatha Phongam) - who is a prostitute he visit regularly for indeterminable acts.

"FIGHT"

Much of Only God Forgives is actually a kind of surreal dream state which put me in mind of David Lynch's Twin Peaks - there are many scenes where you won't know if what you're seeing is actually happening or if it's all in Julian's mind... This intense use of symbolism and mystical subconscious probing will almost certainly alienate many viewers - but if you're up for some deep delving, thought provoking imagery - step this way as there is nothing else like this out there!!

A word of caution though, if you're in any way squeamish about swearing, sex, drugs or brutal violence, Only God Forgives isn't the film for you. This is one of the most harrowingly violent tales ever writ to the screen.

The avenging character of Chang - who weilds a mean short sword (which he seems able to pull as if by magic from his back) is an instant icon - is he an angel of death?

"chop chop"

And as cinematic experiences go, Only God Forgives is so unique that it will sear into your mind and likely stay there for some time after...

"Think the dress might actually look better on Gosling!"

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

ööööö

(5 - Time to meet the devil!)...

Awesomeness öööö – crunching, brutal and eeirly epic

Laughs öö – darkest possible smiles

Horror ööööö – incredibly strong violence

Babes öööö – Yayaying Rhatha Phongam is yummy

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – Does only God forgive?

"Hi mum!"


Only Tom forgives...

The awesome Tom Wade checked this film with me - his one line thoughts were as follows...

"Ryan Gosling stared directly into my soul... And then punched it till there was nothing left!"

Check out more of his thoughts on:  CULTURE SLAP

Darkmatters Review: Alan Partridge Alpha Papa




Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (15)

Dir. Declan Lowney

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (read another version of this review over at The Bucks Herald)

This message comes to you from the home of international broadcasting and world famous nerve centre for all things ‘chat’ – yes - North Norfolk Digital…

I’m Alan Partridge “Aha!!” and this is my trusty Sidekick Simon (Tim Key) – today we’ll be asking the important questions such as which is the worse kind of mongers - iron? fish? or war? And for all my fans out there I’m delighted to let you know that I’ll be appearing at your local cinema this week.

Yes Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is the long awaited big screen debut of Norfolk’s one-man chatshow machine and this is his most desperate hour. His beloved radio station has been taken over by corporate giants Glendale Media who plan to rebrand the North Norfolk Digital as ‘Shape FM - The way you want it to be’.

"in this scene you need to look at the reflection in his glasses!"

With cost cutting high on the priority the new board decide that either Alan or the equally uncool DJ Pat Farrell (Colm ‘Gene Hunt in the US version of Life on Mars’ Meaney) must go - Alan wastes no time in telling them to “Just sack Pat!”

Alas after being given 30 minutes to clear his desk, Pat goes on a violent gun rampage at the radio station where he kidnaps a number of the staff and to make matters worse – he’ll only negotiate with the police through Alan.

So the scene is set for massive misadventure on a scale that only the sensible jumper-wearing hero can deal with. And the good news is that it’s an absolute blast of Alan-esq comedy as he bumbles his way through a life and death situation (which might just bag him the prized breakfast show – if he can survive).

"someone call The Sweeney?"

Packed with laugh out loud moments and a genuinely witty script that jams in cutting social jibes such as when he advises Simon “Never criticise Muslims. Only ever Christians, and maybe the Jews a little bit.” You’ll be busy spotting the visual gags as well as cringing at Partridge’s selfish foolishness.

The action cracks along to a startling climax, which along the way sees Alan making a trouserless appearance on national TV news and the excellent Felicity Montagu back as Alan’s long-suffering assistant Lynn who herself becoming a media sensation.

"Inspector tragic..."

British TV comedy doesn’t always work on as a cinematic experience but Steve Coogan’s greatest creation is on top form here and there’s plenty to relish for long-term fans as well as newcomers to the whole Alan Partridge phenomena.


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

öööö

(4 - Aha and ha ha)...

Awesomeness öööö – cringing in the best possible way

Laughs öööö – yes - very funny!!

Horror öö – some siege violence

Babes ö – not really

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – let's all ask those 'big questions'!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Darkmatters Review: The Heat


The Heat (15)

Dir. Paul Feig

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Watch out boys, there’s a new cop buddy team on the block – they’re armed, sassy and they’re all female…

Meet FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock), she’s a super cop who has closed more cases than any of her colleagues. Single minded and determined – Ashburn plays it straight but finds it hard to get along with her team as they all resent her for being so darn good.

Everything changes when she has to team up with foul-mouthed street detective Shannon Mullins (Melissa ‘Bridesmaids’ McCarthy) when tasked with identifying and taking down a mysterious drug lord.

The Heat certainly lives up to it’s name, resurrecting the classic cop partnership formula and blowing the doors off with a hot blast of funnies – which when they work are absolutely hilarious – and even when they miss the film still rolls along on the strength on the two lead characters and satisfies on all counts.

"on my three count..."

Bullock has a lot of fun straight facing it with line like: “That’s how we do it on the streets. Word!” to which McCarthy replies: “Don’t do slang. It’s like watching a nun make out. It’s uncomfortable.” There is a joyful interplay between this odd couple and director Paul ‘also Bridesmaids’ Feig lets them riff off each other to great comic effect.

There are some obligatory gross out moments too including an eye-watering emergency tracheotomy conducted by Agent Ashburn – with her copying what she saw on a TV programme the night before.

The female focus is used well – poking fun at the “gentler” sex such as when the pair dangle a crim over a balcony Luther style but haven’t the muscles to hold him so they end up dropping him…

"not the Michael Mann version"

There is a core of female ‘girl power’ which should make this a movie that will go down well with action / comedy lover of both genders. In a summer packed with many macho blockbusters it is refreshing to have The Heat offering a counter balance.

The plot certainly won’t win any awards but all it has to do is serve up opportunities for McCarthy to go OTT with her vulgar, maverick idea of police work – which is just what she does.

I laughed loud and long and suspect you will too if you take this case – even if the British Summertime might wane, The Heat is hot enough to keep you toasty.

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

ööö

(3 - hot stuff)...

Awesomeness öööö – the funnies are very good

Laughs öööö – as above

Horror öö – bit bloody in places

Babes öö – only averagely 'hot'

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – the painted nails of the law?



"not beauty and the beast..."

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