DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Darkmatters Top 10 Films of 2015




Matt Adcock’s Top Ten Films of the Year

As the year ends - it's time to look back at those films that thrilled just a little more than the rest... You can disagree or debate via twitter: @Cleric20  but here are the ten which made the wall of Darkmatters fame...


10 Far From The Madding Crowd

Director Thomas Vinterberg's Far from the Madding Crowd is lush, stylish and powerfully emotive - it is also turbo charged by Mulligan's central performance. Screenwriter David Nicholls' new take on Hardy's tale of a single woman in Victorian England inheriting a farm from her uncle and dealing with the attentions of three very different suitors is a compelling adaptation. This is by far my favourite of Hardy's novels - and the only one to really send readers / viewers off with a smile on their faces, an affirmation of life in their hearts and a romantic glow in their neither regions!?

Read the Darkmatters review: HERE


9 Steve Jobs

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...

Read the Darkmatters review: HERE


8 American Ultra

I am a highly trained special agent – able to tackle any threat with little more than the objects around me. In my hands a dustpan becomes a means of decapitation, a spoon a potent murder weapon and a frying pan - a bullet deflecting trick shot bullet guidance device. But I’m not active like Borne or Bond, my name is Mike Howell (played here by Jesse Eisenberg), and I am a stoner convenience-store clerk.
Director Nima ‘Project X’ Nourizadeh brings his ‘A’ game with American Ultra – an action comedy indie and thanks to screenwriter Max ‘Chronicle’ Landis, the film crackles with enough dark comedy alongside the crunchingly violent action.

Read the Darkmatters review: HERE


7 Ant Man

Yes it’s another superhero origins tale but Ant-Man stands out because it exists in a cinematic universe where his first suggestion can be to “call the Avengers”… Here we have the really likeable and very funny Paul Rudd stepping up as Scott Lang / the new Ant-Man and he totally nails the lead role. Thanks to Rudd and some sublime writing (the credits for which include Edgar ‘Hot Fuzz’ Wright), Ant-Man is definitely the funniest Marvel film to date but it doesn’t let the humour dilute the threat, peril or epic action for a moment.

Read the Darkmatters review: HERE


6 The Martian

Strap yourself in and prepare for a truly ‘out of this world’ quality sci-fi tale that doesn't skimp on the 'sci' and yet manages to still be thrilling, funny and life affirming…
This is a superb survive-em-up blast that sees human spirit and scientific skills stretched to the limit as one man grapples with the challenge of surviving whilst millions of miles from safety. It’s wonderfully easy to get caught up in this science-based fable, packed with so much technical NASA jargon that you’ll feel like you might have got a bit smarter just from having been exposed to it.

Read the Darkmatters review: HERE


5 Sicario

“You will not survive here. You are not a wolf… and this is a land of wolves now.”

Step this way brave soul, Sicario will assault your senses with a terrifying, heavy-duty insight into the human cost of America’s war on drugs. Sicario is a kinetic overload of horrific situations and palpably dangerous action scenes which blow the doors off the dark operations being carried out – beyond the view of the regular news channels. Heavy duty crime and punishment that will stay with you long after the credits role.

Read the Darkmatters review: HERE


4 EX_MACHINA

“One day the A.I.s will look back on us the same way we look at fossil skeletons on the plains of Africa - ‘upright apes’, all set for extinction…”

EX_MACHINA or as I’d call it ‘Do Girl Androids Dream of Human Boyfriends?’ is a superb cyber-thriller from the mind of Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Dredd. It  feels like an extended sci-fi movie version of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror – which is a high compliment. This is a must see film for those who like their thrillers high tech and packing a brain (or an A.I.)!?

Read the Darkmatters review: HERE


3 Mad Max: Fury Road

The future belongs to the mad – so get ready for a wonderfully insane thrill ride. ‘Mad’ Max is back and he’s better than ever, George Miller's anti-hero hasn’t graced the screen sine 1985’s Beyond Thunderdome and whilst he’s swapped actors from Mel Gibson to Tom Hardy – this is a most welcome return. Once the action kicks off in Fury Road it absolutely does not let up – this is 120mins of outrageously over-the-top ‘car’nage, it’s incredible, exciting and breath-taking.

Read the Darkmatters review: HERE


2 Kingsman: The Secret Service

A total endorphin rush, cheeky, classy & action packed, both a reverent homage to and a street-smart update of the ‘old-school’ James Bond movies. It’s also beat the crap out of Specter - co-writers Jane Goldman and Vaughn are on top form adapting Millar’s hyper-violent, rousing story of young Gary Unwin (Taron Egerton) – known as ‘Eggsy’ to his pals - who transforms from teenage council estate petty crim to smooth Kingsman agent with the help of the erstwhile Harry Hart (Colin Firth).
Can’t wait for the sequel!

Read the Darkmatters review: HERE



1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a film I have anticipated for decades, I’m a self confessed huge Star Wars fanboy – my firstborn son is named after Luke Skywalker… Lightsaber battles have never looked so good, X-wing vs Tie Fighter dogfights are more impressive than ever and the sheer joy of seeing the Millennium Falcon fly again brought tears to my eyes.

There’s not a single reason I can give you not to go and enjoy this on the biggest screen you can find!
The Force, it’s calling to you. Just let it in.

Read the Darkmatters review: HERE

"The FORCE IS STRONG!"


Check the: Darkmatters Top Ten Films 2014

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Star Wars - The Force Awakens



Star Wars: The Force Awakens (12a)

Dir. JJ Abrams

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

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


“The Force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. My sister has it. You have that power, too.”


30 years feels like a long time – Jedi, smugglers and Princesses age, power and responsibility are passed on to new generations and new threats arise. But The Force remains…

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a film I have anticipated for decades, I’m a self confessed huge Star Wars fanboy – my firstborn son is named after Luke Skywalker and I felt the huge disturbance in The Force when the prequels threatened to sully the heritage of the original trilogy more than many.

"If you only knew the power of the Dark Side"

Which is why I’m delighted to report that The Force Awakens is without doubt a quality Star Wars sequel, which blows the prequels away. Epic, reverent and managing to recapture that original trilogy magic, this is high adventure writ large once more and a total adrenalin rush to boot.

The Force is very much with director JJ Abrams who is aided by a great cast led by smart, savvy scavenger Rey (excellent newcomer Daisy Ridley). Also worthy of credit are redemption seeking Storm Trooper Finn (John Boyega), scary but flawed new Sith on the block Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and hotshot pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).

"This might be the droid you're looking for"

Add in the massive crowd pleasing return of Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), plus Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and let the space based action transport you back to a galaxy far, far away in fine style.

The plot borrows many best bits and themes from across the series and utilises them to huge effect. Lightsaber battles have never looked so good, X-wing vs Tie Fighter dog fights are more impressive than ever and the sheer joy of seeing the Millennium Falcon fly again brought tears to my eyes.

"I feel the need, the need for speed"

There is so much to enjoy in The Force Awakens and the plot crackles along at such a breathless pace you can forgive it for some improbable moments and coincidences.

At heart once more are the personal interactions and thematic strands of broken family relations, regret, trust and honour. The Star Wars comic asides are great rather than cringe worthy, the romantic elements ring true and the excitement levels are cranked up to dangerous levels.

"Friend or foe?"

There’s not a single reason I can give you not to go and enjoy this on the biggest screen you can find!


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

ööööö

(5 - The Force, it's calling to you. Just let it in!)

Awesomeness ööööö – The Millennium Falcon, Light Sabre battles, Force powers and more!!

Laughs ööö – Some pleasing funnies which echo the original more then the prequels

Horror öö – not too nasty but plenty of peril

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - The Force is Strong once more, hallelujah!!










Sunday, December 13, 2015

Darkmatters Review: Sisters


Sisters (15)

Dir. Jason Moore

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Let’s all say a non-denominational prayer silently in our heads!”

Yes, prayer might be necessary as it takes a very brave film to go up against the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens and yet that’s exactly what Sisters – a 40-something-em-up female focus comedy drama featuring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler is doing.

"look natural!?"

Sisters comes on with a crude blast of hit and miss humour based around the two leads, each who have somehow failed to adequately grow up and now face the emotional prospect of their family home being sold.

Kate (Fey) is a beauty school drop out, more interested in partying than anything sensible - mother of spunky young Haley (Madison ‘Noah’ Davenport) but a loser in life with no job and no house.

"happy days"

Her younger Sister Maura (Poehler) has always been the sensible one, a loveless divorcee who is keen to save the planet by helping homeless people and animals rather than having any fun.

So when Kate and Maura are tasked with clearing their childhood bedroom – it leads to them deciding to throw a kick-ass party as a send off, cue their middle aged school friends turning up to party like their inner 18-year-olds always wanted to.

It’s a fun premise but Pitch Perfect director Jason Moore flounders as the very obvious and well worn clichés of the beloved family home getting torn apart by wild partying antics (which we’ve seen this done much better in films like Project X) are ticked off. The film is certainly funny in places but equally much too long at almost two hours and cursed with dull periods that really don’t work and awkward shoehorned dramatic turns that just don’t fit.

"say 'cheese'"

So sex jokes, drug use and drinking are wheeled out to amuse the viewers, some of it is funny – just watch the trailer if you want to see all the best jokes – but other bits are cringe worthy (and I’m not just talking about the music box ballerina model stuck up the bottom gross out finale)…

Sisters is very mixed bag, I laughed out loud at some of the well observed age related humour e.g. when a cop tells the sisters that they ‘don’t look at day over 25’, then shines his torch at them and changes his view to ‘a day over 35!?’ I’m also hoping that Hollywood will one day realize that you can have a comedy which isn’t rude, offensive and full of ‘very strong language’ as the 15 rating notes warn.

This probably isn’t the Christmas comedy you’re looking for...

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

öö1/2

(2.5 - Foul mouthed sisters regress!)

Awesomeness ööö – Occasional fun scenes but not enough

Laughs ööö –  funny in places

Horror öö – gross out cringe factor

Spiritual Enlightenment -öö - includes a swear word that isn't even a word!?

"buff drug dealer? yep"

Monday, December 07, 2015

Darkmatters Review: The Night Before



The Night Before (15)

Dir. Jonathan Levine

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Let’s have a toast to the douchebags!”

Christmas is upon us, so here’s a festive tale with a bit of a difference. Tis apparently the Season for a stoner comedy featuring Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie). This trio of pals have been friends since childhood and for a decade, since the untimely death of Ethan’s parents, their yearly Christmas Eve reunion has been a night of debauchery and hilarity – ‘friends rather than family’.

"Christmas jumpers gangsta style"

Things are changing for the chaps though and as the pressures of adulthood (pending parenthood, sports fame etc.) start to impact them it looks like they may never fulfil their dream of getting in to the secret ‘Nutcracka’ Ball - the Holy Grail of Christmas parties.

So with their annual tradition coming to an end, the guys decide to try and make this last ‘night before’ as memorable as possible with drinking, drugs and wild antics that may change all their lives…

"Wrecking Balls"

Director Jonathan ‘All The Boys Love Mandy Lane’ Levine’s brings some great funnies and is blessed by having three talented and game actors to carry the film. Sure not all of the film works – you can certainly feel the quality vary as the five different writers don’t all seem to be on the same page. There are some great scenes such as a ‘Big’ homage where the pals entertain shoppers with a cool Christmas rap accompanied by some nifty footwork on the giant floor piano.



At points the schmaltzy sentiment does get a bit out of hand and in others you might find yourself nodding off but when the comedy finds its groove The Night Before will have you laughing out loud at some seriously dubious and adult humour. An unforgettable cameo by James Franco, and his man parts will likely burn itself into your mind forever, liable to make you smile every time you get a text message from then on.

"FUN"

There are many Easter Egg references to classic Christmas movies, not least A Christmas Carol and a star appearance by Miley Cyrus as herself getting to sing her famous Wrecking Ball track. Michael Shannon has a returning role as the mysterious drug dealing Mr Green who seems to hold knowledge of the futures for our heroes.

"Respect"

If you’re looking for some pre-Christmas bawdy laughs, then you could do a lot worse than check The Night Before.

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

ööö

(3 - Tis the Season Dog )

Awesomeness ööö – Some good fun in parts

Laughs öööö – very funny when it hits

Horror öö – gross out rather than nasty

Spiritual Enlightenment -öö - dude, where's my moral compass?

"Interdenominational freak out"

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