DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Darkmatters Review: FURY


Fury (15)

Dir. David Ayer

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the newspaper version of this review at: The Luton News

“Here's a Bible verse I think about sometimes. Many times. It goes: And I heard the voice of Lord saying: Whom shall I send and who will go for Us? And... I said: Here am I, send me…” 
Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan

It’s April 1945 and the Allies are making their final push into Germany pushing through unprecedented fierce resistance after Hitler declares ‘total war’ where every man, woman and child must fight to the end.

Meet battle-hardened U.S. sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt) who commands a Sherman tank nicknamed ‘FURY’ with a five-man crew: Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (Shia LaBeouf), Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia (Michael Pena), Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis (Jon Bernthal) and fresh to the battle Norman ‘Machine’ Ellison (Logan Lerman).

"tank overcrowding"

The FURY crew are dispatched alongside several other tanks on a deadly mission behind enemy lines to take and hold a key crossroads in order to try and prevent a force of 300 odd SS Nazis breaking the allied supply lines to the front.

Needless to say, things don’t go to plan and before you can say ‘last tank stand’ the heroic FURY crew find themselves impossibly out-numbered and out-gunned on all sides.

Director David ‘End of Watch’ Ayer delivers an epic valour drenched tale that will stand as a classic war movie up there with Saving Private Ryan and A Bridge Too Far. It is bit unnerving though that this director can be responsible for both this staggering master-piece and the truly terrible Arnie vehicle ‘Sabotage’ within a year of each other!?

"light em up"

FURY is an incredible, draining, thrilling and horrifying exposition of a terrible period in our history – viewed authentically through the eyes of the tank crew who we get to know and experience the full force of the emotional rollercoaster of such extreme circumstances.

Brad Pitt is excellent in the lead role, and he is superbly supported by the other four men who he shares the cramped confines of the tank with, each brings their own personality effectively to the screen. This makes us care all the more when the crew are thrown into a desperate fight to the finish.

The battle action is breathtakingly ferocious. The sight of FURY with literally every gun blazing is likely to be one that you will never forget. In fact there are many iconic scenes that elevate this far above any standard military drama.

FURY is a must see tribute to the brave men who fought and died for our freedom.

"Pitt ' furious'"

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - Ideals are peaceful. History is violent)

Awesomeness ööööö – unforgettable battle scenes and male bonding

Laughs öö – limited mirth

Horror öööö – War is hell

Babes ööö – Alicia von Rittberg makes a yummy Kraut

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Heroism changes history


Recommended Hashtags: #BattleFURY

"Alicia von Rittberg"


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (12a)

Dir. Jonathan Liebesman

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the newspaper version of this review in the Biggleswade Chronicle

“Crime, violence and fear have run rampant. Our great city is being destroyed. People want justice restored to this world. People want heroes… But heroes are not born, they're created.”

A darkness has spread across New York City. The people are scared, and with good cause… An evil supervillian named ‘Shredder’ (Tohoru Masamune) is waging a campaign of fear and intimidation using his army of soldiers called the ‘Foot Clan’.

With even the authorities at a loss as to how to protect the city, four unlikely vigilantes rise from the sewers and begin to take the fight back to Shredder and his minions. These ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ are lab grown superheroes namely Leonardo (voiced by Johnny Knoxville), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), and Raphael (Alan Ritchson) led by a ninja sensei rat called Splinter (voiced by Tony Shalhoub).

"spot the odd one out?"

So it’s game on as the Turtles team up with fearless sexy reporter April O'Neil (Megan Fox) and her clueless cameraman Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) to try and save the city and unravel Shredder's diabolical plans.

Cue some eye-popping set pieces as the Turtles bring the noise in terms of battles, chases and cracking funnies. The special effects used breathe life into these ‘heroes in a half shell’ are top notch – allowing each to have a personality and kick total ass with their various ninja weapons.

Along the way William Fictner pops up in a fairly preposterous key role which he delivers in the style of a budget Christopher Walken. Fox doesn’t have much to do except wear tight sweaters and bend over for the camera at strategic points – her contribution for female empowerment cannot be underrated. But the Turtles themselves command viewers attention throughout, moving and fighting like lean green reptilian bad asses even if their ‘brotastic’ banter feels a bit fake from time to time.

"Who you gonna call?"

There are already plans afoot for at least two more Turtle films that will continue the series – and bring back more elements of the universe such as Dimension X and Krang… And as this reboot is fast approaching $400million worldwide it, you should expect turtle power to be around for some time.

As someone carrying some nostalgia for the original TMNT movie and cartoon series, I’m please to report that there is enough fun, not too violent violence and pizza fixation to make this new ‘Michael Bay-ed’ version worth checking out.


"The human side of the team"

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

ööö

(3 - Mean green turtle fun )

Awesomeness ööö – Action packed origin tale with smooth CGI

Laughs ööö – Some well worked laughs

Horror öö – Sanitised violence a go go

Babes ööö – Fox is still smokin hot

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Heroic hearts beat in many species...


Recommended Hashtags: #TMNTver2

"Classic TMNT artwork"



Friday, October 17, 2014

Darkmatters Review: The Girl With All The Gifts


The Girl With All The Gifts

M. R. Carey (@michaelcarey191)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

'When the key turns in the door, she stops counting and opens her eyes. Sergeant comes in with his gun and points it at her.Then two of Sergeant’s people come in and tighten and buckle the straps of the chair around Melanie’s wrists and ankles. There’s also a strap for her neck; they tighten that one last of all, when her hands and feet are fastened up all the way, and they always do it from behind. The strap is designed so they never have to put their hands in front of Melanie’s face. Melanie sometimes says, “I won’t bite.” She says it as a joke, but Sergeant’s people never laugh. Sergeant did once, the first time she said it, but it was a nasty laugh. And then he said, “Like we’d ever give you the chance, sugar plum.”'

Full Disclosure: I live in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, it’s a great place with a good ambiance, nice restaurants, an arts theatre, a great church (Hitchin Christian Centre) and some cool innovative organisations like the schools work initiative PHASE.

If you don’t know where Hitchin is, it could be described as on ‘the ragged hinterland between Luton and Stevenage’ – which is exactly how it’s described in the heartrending dark near future thriller The Girl With All The Gifts by comic book writer and novelist Mike Cary (here under a new pen name M.R. Carey).

You see ‘Hotel Echo’ is one of the few remaining military outposts in a post apocalyptic existence and the base of operations where we initially meet young Melanie – the titular ‘girl’. Echo is a camp where they are conducting experiments on children. But these are not just average kids, no these children are no longer technically human.

The bad news for wider humanity is that we have been infected by a fungal like Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis – this is bad new because it turns you into a "hungry". No, not someone with the need for a cheeky Nandos, but rather one who loses their mental capacity and replaces it with a predatory need to feed on the flesh of healthy humans – thus spreading the disease spreads through blood and fluid. Making matters worse the fungal infection can also spread via spores created by the world conquering fungus.

Those plucky few surviving members of the human race either live in the massively-guarded ‘Beacon’ or have turned into “Junkers” - feral roaming Mad Max style packs ravaging what they can find on the land.



The school section of Hotel Echo is where the lovely Miss Justineau and team teach the special children – a select few hungries who have somehow kept their mental function and can communicate, think and learn – lapping up facts and fables such the Greek myths (Melanie’s favourites).

 The soldiers including Sgt Parks don’t like the special 'gifted' kids – especially as they are the ones who have to go out on sorties to capture them and bring them back to base – you see another part of the camp is a laboratory where the hungry kids are dissected by the sadistically driven scientist Caroline Caldwell – a woman driven to try and find some kind of cure or vaccine, who believes that these children hold the key.

Carey is a ‘gift’-ed author and the narrative builds up a compelling, disturbing and utterly engrossing thrill ride that is anchored with an incredible authentic heart by the impossible friendship between Melanie and Miss Justineau.

When the action moves beyond the base The Girl With All The Gifts becomes a nerve-shredding tale of survival and heartbreak. But as well as horror thrills, this really is a beautiful novel too, one that sets an iconic new high bar for characters you’ll grow to care about, backed up by some of the best zombie-alike peril and terror ever committed to the page. Violent and grim in places, poignant and tender in others The Girl With All The Gifts is a book that will stay with you and could very well tear your soul apart.


For folks like me who live near where much of the action is set, it adds amazing depth to know the roads being discussed e.g. ‘We verified a large group of hungries stationary in the Hitchin Road, close to the Airman roundabout. They were skin and bone mostly, but none of them looked too far gone to be a threat…’ 

Man it would be awesome to see this brought to the big screen!?

The Girl With All The Gifts is easily the best book of 2014, it’s a masterpiece and would make an incredible film, I can’t recommend it enough – this is a masterful ‘must read’!!

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

ööööö

(5 - Epic, 'gift-ed' storytelling brilliance)...







Sunday, October 12, 2014

Darkmatters Review: The Maze Runner


The Maze Runner (12a)

Dir. Wes Ball

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the Newspaper version of this review over at The Leighton Buzzard Observer

“I am sure by now you all must be very confused... angry, frightened. I can only assure you that everything that's happened to you... it was all done for a reason.”

Meet sixteen-year-old Thomas (Dylan ‘The Internship’ O'Brien), he’s your average cute teen – one day in the near future - for unexplained reasons he wakes up in a strange elevator with absolutely no memory of who he is…

The elevator delivers Thomas into a strange green clearing ringed with massive walls that form an intricate maze. This is a place known as ‘The Glade’ and it is led by a charismatic older teen chap named Alby (Aml ‘Kidulthood’ Ameen), who marshals a group of other boys, all stuck in the heart of this ever-changing labyrinth with dreams of escape.

"Ooh - they let a girl in!?"

That’s pretty much all you need to know plot wise – from the opening set up this is a dystopian Hunger Games alike survival challenge based on the Best Selling novel series by James Dashner.
So it’s game on to see who will survive or if any of the rag-tag bunch of boys can actually find an exit? The group include Alby’s 2nd in command Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), ‘maze runners’ Ben (Chris Sheffield) and Minho (Ki Hong Lee) and black sheep of the group Gally (Will ‘We’re The Millers’ Poulter).

The Maze itself has a dark side and no one has ever survived spending a night in its dark confines, which is why the boys have established a workable community in the Glade. Instead they dispatch ‘runners’ to probe and map the labyrinthine maze in the hope of finding a way out. Standing between the guys and any hope of escape though are a group of semi mechanical spider like monsters that are equipped with giant scorpion like stingers who patrol the maze.

"The boys"

To complicate matters further not long after Thomas’s arrival the first ever girl is delivered to the Glade and apparently she recognizes and has some link to Thomas. This girl is named Teresa (upcoming British actress Kaya ‘Moon’ Scodelario), and she brings two syringes filled with a mysterious substance. The ‘Gladers’ find out that these syringes actually carry a cure for the spider monsters (which they call Grievers).

There's much running about, some fighting and teenage angst dialogue in a vaguely Lord of the Flies kinda way. Even with a 'Piggy' substitute in the chubby form of Chuck (Blake Cooper), who lets face it... will be lucky to see the end credits roll...

The Maze Runner delivers some pretty ‘a-maze-ing’ solid teen-friendly future thrills, which are worth checking out and if you like it you’ll be delighted to know that the sequel is already in production.


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

ööö1/2 

(3.5 - like temple run but for real)

Awesomeness ööö – Good action and seemless CGI

Laughs öö – Some lite relief

Horror ööö – The Grievers are bit grim

Babes ööö – Scodelario is lovely

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Testing survival instincts


Recommended Hashtags: #RUN

"Kaya Scodelario"




Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Gone Girl


Gone Girl (18)

Dir. David Fincher

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the newspaper version of this review at The Luton News
- other Darkmatters David Fincher Movie reviews: Zodiac (which was quoted by The Guardian),
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

" As you all know, my wife, Amy Elliot Dunn, disappeared three days ago. I had nothing to do with the disappearance of my wife. I have nothing to hide…”

Prepare for a scorching crime thriller that cuts through lies and pretense to the unsavoury secrets at the heart of a very modern marriage. Directed by David ‘Se7en’ Fincher, Gone Girl has been written for the screen by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the best selling novel and it’s awesomely dark.

"worried partner or killer?"

The plot revolves around Nick Dunne (Ben ‘new Batman’ Affleck) who on the day of his 5th Wedding Anniversary reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund ‘Jack Reacher’ Pike), has gone missing. But things quickly start to look dodgy for Nick as clues come to light that paint him as not just a potential suspect – but the main one.

Under pressure from the police and growing media frenzy, Nick's portrait of a blissful relationship begins to crumble. Soon his deceits and slightly unexpected behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne actually kill his wife?

"she's over there - hiding in the bath!"

Affleck and Pike deliver fascinatingly watchable performances that demand your attention for the whole of the two and half hour running time. The plot (which it would be a crime to spoil for you) jumps back and forth with clever flashbacks and truly unnerving twists; your allegiance will be cleverly manipulated several times before the credits role. There are some strong supporting roles from Neil Patrick Harris as Amy’s deranged, seriously wealthy first boyfriend, the lovely Emily ‘Blurred Lines’ Ratajkowski and Tyler ‘Alex Cross’ Perry as Nick’s hot-shot lawyer.

Fincher is a master filmmaker and Gone Girl is a classy addition to his cannon of work. Everything is meticulously presented, and a superb sense of unease and creeping dread drips from the screen. The 18 rating is due mostly to one incredibly lurid and violent scene which brought gasps of shock from the audience I caught this with, but overall this is such an incredible ‘did-he-do-it-or-not-em-up?’ that even squeamish crime lovers should put this on their ‘must see’ list.

"happier times"

If you’re married, Gone Girl may well make you look at your partner in a very different way… The questions of just ‘how do you know what someone else is thinking, planning, scheming?’ will echo around your head after witnessing this twisted tale.

Are you living with a sociopath?

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

ööööö 

(5 - Expertly constructed thrill ride)

Awesomeness ööööö – Gripping and mesmerising

Laughs öö – Couple of funny moments

Horror öööö – 'that scene' will stay with you...

Babes öööö – Rosamund Pike is still lovely plus Emily ‘Blurred Lines’ Ratajkowski

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Till death us do part?


Recommended Hashtags: #TrustYourPartner?

"what is she actually thinking?"

"Emily ‘Blurred Lines’ Ratajkowski's former 'acting'"


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