DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Black Mass


Black Mass (15)

Dir. Scott Cooper

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“It's not what you do, it's when and where you do it, and who you do it to or with. If nobody sees it, it didn't happen.”

How far should the authorities go in order to take down powerful criminal networks like the Mafia?

Well Black Mass, based on the 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill tells the truly disturbing tale of boundaries well and truly crossed.

"not a guy you want to cross"

The plot involves infamous crime lord James "Whitey" Bulger (an astonishing turn from Johnny Depp), his Statesman brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch) and FBI Agent John Connolly (Joel ‘The Gift’ Edgerton) who all grew up together on the mean streets of South Boston.

Beginning in the 1970s an uneasy alliance is concocted which saw Whitey tipping off the FBI via Connolly about rival criminal activity in return for protection from the authorities and freedom to do pretty much whatever the hell he wanted. It would make a scary fiction but it’s even more terrifying to think that something along these lines actually happened.

"a very cagey meal..."

Connolly is portrayed as a good guy trapped between his friendship with Irish Mob Boss Whitey and his duty to the FBI. Billy is the respectable face of the family whose influential position is also endangered by Whitey’s out-of-control bad deeds. Then there’s Whitey himself - he is a compulsive negative force of nature which destroys or tarnishes everything he comes into contact with.

As Boston's Italian Mafia get taken down - Whitey more than makes up for that with murders, dealing drug, racketeering, kidnapping or as the new Prosecutor Fred Wyshak (Corey ‘Ant Man’ Stoll) says ‘he seems to be behind every crime in the state’…

"shady"

Director Scott Cooper brings the ‘70s to the big screen in fine style and gives Depp license to go ‘all out’ and chill the audience to the bone and he absolutely delivers. Depp plays Whitey as a fearless, coolly calculated predator who you cross at your peril. This is a timely reminder of just what an incredible actor Depp can be when given decent material to work with.

As a Christian I’m not in the general practice of encouraging people to enjoy a ‘Black Mass’ but if you’re in the mood for a sublime crime-em-up this should be top of your to see list. It would be criminal to miss it!



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

öööö

(4 - Putting the fear back into the criminal genre )

Awesomeness öööö – Scary and brilliant in equal measure

Laughs öö – occasional black mirth

Horror ööö – gets nasty and wince inducing in places

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - who will save us when the law won't?



Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 2 Review


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay pt2 (12a)

Dir. Francis Lawrence

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Introducing Katniss Everdeen. A small-town girl from District 12 who survived the Games and turned a nation of slaves into an army!”

The end of the games is upon us and this time it’s war. The heroic ‘Mockingjay’ herself Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer ‘soon to be in X-Men Apocalypse’ Lawrence) leads the charge to try and take down evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland). But her small band of resistance fighters who include love interest options - the troubled Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and the dashing Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) will have to fight every step of the way.

"Didn't get the 'wear white' memo"

Things get messy though as Snow has rigged the Capitol with booby traps that turns the final assault into a twisted echo of the original Hunger Games. This really ups the excitement factor though as the team face flame throwers, heavy auto-guns, tidal waves of oil and hidden mines, it’s compelling stuff. You don’t have to have read Suzanne Collins’s best selling novel to realize that there may well be casualties on both sides before we get to the conclusion.

The stand out scene for me was a breath taking chase through the sewers where Katniss and her young soldiers are pursued by vicious ‘mutts’ - kind of cross between fast running zombies and the aliens from the Alien films. Indeed, the scenes of the heroes standing in water filled tunnels desperately firing their weapons at the cunning, seemingly unstoppable creatures will resonate with fans of the sci-fi classic Aliens.

"white baddies?"

If the odds weren’t bad enough for any sort of happy ending, Julianne Moore’s rebel leader Alma Coin begins to seem worryingly like another dictator in waiting. Is Katniss unwittingly trying to remove one despot only to empower a new tyrant? War, it seems, war never changes.

Mockingjay part 2 is without doubt the best of the Hunger Games films since the plucky original but it fails to be the absolute classic it could have been due to the money grabbing ‘split it into two films just to maximize profits’ trend that we have Harry Potter to thank for starting.

"may the odds... etc"

If you’ve seen any of the wave of dystopian-future-em-ups then this rousing finale sees off challenges by the Divergent and Maze Runner wannabes and claims the prize as the best of the genre. Only time will tell if a new contender arises, but for now go and enjoy the games and may the odds be ever in your favour!

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

öööö

(4 - Fortune favours the brave )

Awesomeness öööö – strong action scenes especially pleasing

Laughs öö – limited mirth

Horror ööö – grim in places and scary too

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - hold fast

"that mockingjay / angel wing thing never gets tired"




Monday, November 16, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Steve Jobs


Steve Jobs (15)

Dir. Danny Boyle

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)


With apologies to Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting script:


“Choose Life. Choose a career. Choose an industry changing vision. Choose good health, but low self esteem and childhood adoption insecurity. Choose mortgage repayments for a woman who may be the mother to your daughter that you claim isn’t yours. Choose a series of awkward run in with your colleagues. Choose having very few friends. Choose world changing Apple products. Choose Steve Jobs...”

Steve Jobs is a remarkable movie about an incredibly driven man. You don’t have to be a fan of Apple iPods, iMacs, iPhones or iPads (although to declare an interest here, I am), to appreciate what an impact his company has had on society’s tech habits.

"Genius, Billionaire, Philanthropist, Playboy or Bond Villain?"

Director Danny ‘Trainspotting’ Boyle injects energy and real conviction to this tale of Jobs’ life. Rather than going for a whole life biopic, Steve Jobs highlights three key time points, each backstage at major product launches. This format works really well and we start in 1984 when Jobs (Michael ‘The Counselor’ Fassbender) faces the world to introduce the revolutionary Macintosh.

Things are complicated by the arrival minutes before the launch of Chrisann Brennan (Katherine ‘Inherent Vice’ Waterston) who wants him to support her after a paternity suit that finds him 94.1% likely that he is the dad of her daughter Lisa. This parental drama and his ensuing relationship with young Lisa (played by different actresses at each time point) forms a strong counter narrative to the high tech / high pressure launch paranoia.

"The Mac iFamily didn't really work for Jobs" 

In 1998 we join Jobs and his team who include his right hand woman Joanna Huffman (Kate Winslet on top form) - the power behind the throne - at the launch of his problematic non Apple ‘NeXT’ computer. The final section takes place in1998 when the tech world witnesses the seismic shift that was the iMac.

Fassbender is incredible as the man whose driven tech vision changed the way so many of us communicate and consume media. But he’s ably supported by the rest of the cast and it’s the human interaction that gives this flashy tech film a strong beating heart. The strained relationship Jobs was purported to have with key other Apple players including Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg), John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) and Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) make compulsive viewing.

"Launch time"

Steve Jobs was undoubtedly a maverick and fascinating character, this extremely engaging insight into just what made him tick is highly recommended viewing.

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - getting a 'hit' can be murder... )

Awesomeness öööö – stunning filmmaking that grips hard

Laughs ööö – very amusing in a narcissistic way

Horror öö – Emotionally tough in places

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - changing the world takes conviction

"Older but still at odds"



Sunday, November 08, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Kill Your Friends


Kill Your Friends (18)

Dir. Owen Harris

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“So here’s what I do. I listen to music - singers, bands, songwriters - and decide which ones stand a good chance of commercial success…. Sounds easy?”

Hello Britain - it seems we have our own rival to Patrick Bateman, the infamous American Psycho. Meet Steven Stelfox (Nicholas ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Hoult) an Artist & Repertoire
(A&R) man whose job is to pick the next big music thing, he’s also a truly detestable, misogynistic, immoral scumbag who is more than prepared to kill his co-workers or indeed his friends.

"smooth but dangerous"

It’s the 1990’s and Britpop groups like Blur and Oasis are setting the pace whilst the public are still actually buying albums by Menswear and Gene too. Stelfox has ambition to take his boss’s job as Head of A&R but his colleague Waters (James ‘Into The Woods’ Corden) is more likely to get the post due to his seniority.

Oh dear.

Yes the credits have barely rolled when the Waters is left for dead having been slipped an insane amount of drugs. From then on Kill Your Friends becomes a deeply twisted take on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment - just with more swearing, sex, greed and drugs, all to a killer ‘90s soundtrack which has to be the best of any film this year.

"Hard at work"

Hoult pulls off the confidently evil lead role with aplomb and he’s backed up by a fun cast of varying ability. D.C. Woodham (Edward ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ Hogg) is the long arm of the law which threatens Stelfox but this copper is an unfulfilled musician himself. Also caught in this bleakly dark comedy music-and-murder-em-up are rival, and more successful scout Parker Hall (Tom Riley), plus Stelfox’s scheming assistant Rebecca (Georgia King).

Kill Your Friends is a full-throttle bad taste big screen adaption of John Niven’s biting exploration of the music industry which pulls no punches and is hilariously wrong and violent. As the plot tightens like a noose around Stelfox’s foul-mouthed Britpop Psycho, his serious mental health issues start to leave a bloody body count. Which is awkward as you’ll be highly amused despite the carnage.

"The dubious pop talent"

This film really isn’t for the faint of heart or easily offended but if you want to stare into the moral abyss, laughing as you go, and reminiscing over some quality tunes, Kill Your Friends is more (to use an Irvine Welsh measure of excellence) Trainspotting than Ecstasy, which is good news for psycho lovers everywhere.

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

ööö1/2

(3.5 - getting a 'hit' can be murder... )

Awesomeness ööö – touch darkness and it touches you back

Laughs öööö – deeply funny but oh so wrong

Horror öööö – gets very nasty in places

Spiritual Enlightenment -ööö - kill your morals


Thursday, November 05, 2015

Just Cause 3 Preview


Just Cause 3 Preview

Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“We can't wait

To burn it to the ground…”  Linkin Park

It feels good to welcome back Rico Rodriguez – a regime change specialist extraordinaire with a grapple, an attitude, and a huge arsenal of destructive possibilities which will be unleashed on the PlayStation 4 in December.

"one man can make the difference"

Just Cause 3 is a game that we've have been anticipating ever since finishing 2010's Just Cause 2, so it was with a sense of palpable excitement that we made our way to Square Enix HQ to play through a chunk of the next instalment. We were not disappointed.

"I drove a car off a freeway on top of a train while it was on fire. Not the car, *I* was on fire."

The first thing that hits you when you fire up Just Cause 3's open world of Medici is that it looks really good – graphically this is a huge leap forward from the last generation. Rodriguez's fictional homeland is a veritable Mediterranean paradise – albeit one with a deeply rotten underbelly. Lurking at the heart of this idyllic collection of islands is a brutal wannabe dictator, General Di Ravello, who has taken over the 400 square miles of sun drenched terrain and rules it with an iron fist.

But not for long...

Read the whole preview at the awesome: PushSquare

Read my top ten PushSquare reviews...

PlanetSide 2

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist

Magicka 2

JackBox Party Pack 2

Toto Temple Deluxe

Heroes of Loot

Pumped BMX+

Dynamite Fishing World Games

Curses n Chaos

Commander Cherry's Puzzled Journey





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