DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Friday, March 25, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice


Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (12a)

Dir. Zack Synder

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

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

"You don't owe this world a thing - you never did..."


Here it is then, the greatest gladiator match in the history of the world: Son of Krypton (Henry Cavill) versus The Dark Knight (Ben Affleck).

"God vs Man, day vs night..."

Seeing these two titans of comic book history come to blows on the big screen has been the fantasy of fans ever since Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novel ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ pitched them in battle way back in 1986. Now Zack ‘Man of Steel’ Synder has made it happen.

The plot sees Superman viewed with fear and mistrust by many since his city wrecking take down of General Zod which caused serious collateral damage. Bruce Wayne can only see Supes as a danger to society and fears what will happen should the powerful red caped alien be left ungoverned. He decides to stop Superman and gears up in some kick ass new Bat-armour to do the job. But just when it looks like the fight is over a new bigger threat emerges along with a movie stealing Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). From then on all bets are off as to where we end up.

"The graphic novel that inspired B v S"

Dawn of Justice certainly takes its sweet time building up to the title fight, revisiting Batman’s childhood trauma, some dark and scary ‘what if’ dream sequences and a ground zero re-viewing of the Zod / Superman battle. Some might want things to move along a bit quicker, or grumble as the coherence occasionally flounders, but I found it a sheer joy to get to spend so much time with the two icons.

All the cast are on good form, Affleck’s older, more grizzled Batman is great plus Jeremy Irons is quality as his butler Alfred. Cavill is an earnest Superman who is fond of a tortured look of consternation when not shooting lasers out of his eyes, whilst Gadot is absolutely superb as Wonder Woman, not letting her skimpy armour detract from her fierce, feisty Amazon warrior credibility.

"the new superhero trinity"

Jesse Eisenberg brings a fascinating new Lex Luthor and there’s good supporting work from Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Holly Hunter as Senator Finch and Laurence Fishburne’s news mogul Perry White.

The writers have lots to pack in – setting up the DC super team of Justice League, yep with The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg too. That they manage to deliver some meaty philosophical elements as well as a dose of unmatched and utterly jaw dropping super action spectacle should be applauded.

"A woman apart"

Maybe a little grim for youngsters and slow burning in parts but comic book fans the world over should embrace the epicness Batman V Superman delivers - the gauntlet has been thrown down for Marvel’s Civil War.

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

öööö

(4 - This Super Dark Knight Kicks Ass)...

Awesomeness öööö – packed with both endorphin rush action and thoughtful scenes

Laughs öö – occasional mirth

Horror öö – heavy duty action violence and threat

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö – still packing that Christ imagery

"messiah?"


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Darkmatters: High-Rise


High-Rise (15)

Dir. Ben Wheatley

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Northampton Chronicle


“You just sit there... and think about what you've done…”


The future isn’t what it used to be. Thanks to Ben ‘Kill List’ Wheatley we have High-Rise – the big screen version of JG Ballard’s ‘70s freak out novel that charts the complete breakdown of a community who live in a high-tech tower block.

"The mind is multiple"

Meet architect Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons). Royal symbolically lives in the Penthouse of the utopian living block he designed where the floor structure is ‘the higher you live the richer / better’. Things get shaken up when Doctor Robert Laing (Tom ‘Thor’ Hiddleston) moves into an apartment on one of the upper middle floors but is happy to befriend those both above and below him. Laing finds a society of divided loyalties, class injustices and dangerously fragmented tribes. With tangible tension and unhinged madness in the air, there will certainly be ultra-violence before the credits roll.

The denizens of the High-Rise are a fantastical bunch including sexy single mum Charlotte Melville (Sienna Miller), sinister oddball Nathan Steele (Reece Shearsmith), dangerous ‘Begbie-alike’ Richard Wilder (Luke Evans) and his good natured pregnant wife Helen (Elisabeth Moss).

"Dance time"

High-Rise boasts jaw-dropping cinematography, everything reeks of a sinister future chic as only could have been imagined in the ‘70s, it’s similar to that of ‘A Clockwork Orange’. The sprawling car park at the foot of the tower is filled with Triumph Stags, the inner décor is avant-garde to the max and the fashions include icy cool business wear, funky print dresses and Blur-esque track suits.

As the ‘Lord of the Flies’ tribal differences turn from insanity to violence, there is an infectious escalation of frenzied scheming which the plot can’t quite keep up with. When a full bloodied class war breaks out between the lower and upper floors, all bets are off as to who will survive and whether or not the Penthouse will be able to keep themselves in white wine.

"Keeley Hawes"

Hiddleston is incredible in the lead role – fully embracing the weird and wonderful casual savagery with a restrained cool that can’t hurt his possible audition to be a future Bond. Wheatley is on top directorial form, obviously relishing having a bigger budget to play with, combining the feel of Ballard’s novel with his own freakish imagination.

High-Rise is a fabulous dystopian psychological breakdown writ large on screen, it makes The Hunger Games seem like light comedies. It won’t be for everyone, those of a squeamish nature should certainly not apply, but for anyone up for a fully wild adventure – this is ‘High’ly recommended viewing.

"Clothes optional"

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

öööö

(4 - Welcome to the high life...)

Awesomeness öööö – Freaky fun going up in the world

Laughs ööö – Very dark mirth at play

Horror öööö – Disturbing English 'Mad Max' alike violence

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Class / War



Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Darkmatters welcomes: Darth Maul Apprentice Star Wars Fan-Film


DARTH MAUL: APPRENTICE

Reaction by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

The Force is very much with T7 Production who bring Star Wars fans something a bit cool...
Step up Ben Schamma - the new face of Star Wars uber baddie Darth Maul who gets to kick copious Jedi butt in this pre-prequel fan film.

Using some nifty lightsaber effects and decent fight choreography (handled by Vi-Dan Trantice) this funky insight into Maul's pre-Episode One life hit the web last Saturday, and has been seen over 1.2 million times (and counting) on YouTube.

Darkmatt Rating: öööö (Very cool)

If you haven't seen it yet, take a few minutes out of your day and enjoy it below...



In the mood for another cool short film? Check PREY ALONE which is superb... 


Sunday, March 06, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Hail, Caesar


Hail, Caesar (12a)

Dir. Joel and Ethan Coen

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review at: The Gazette

“Squint against the grandeur!”

Gird your cinematic loins. Prepare for a mind-bending day in the life of ‘50s Hollywood Studio Exec fighting to maintain a semblance of order in the midst of a madcap volley of problems, the sort that only the genius minds of the Coen Brothers could unleash.

"Capitol Studios Fixer Extraordinary"

Hail, Caesar could be described as a part sequel to the Coen’s Barton Fink (same fictional studio at the heart of the action), or even a sibling screwball comedy to their classic kidnap caper The Big Lebowski. More than anything though, this glorious tribute to the heyday of elaborate musical flicks is stuffed to the brim with pure Coen references and quirks. For some that will mean scratched heads and a sense of ‘what have I just seen?’ – for others, Hail, Caesar will delight with a life affirming crackle of manic energy backed up with a deep spiritual charge.

We join Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) who works for Capitol Pictures, he’s having a trying day as his leading man Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) has suddenly disappeared. Meanwhile B-movie rodeo cowboy star Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) gets seriously out of his depth when asked to make the jump into high class drama for picky director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes).

"Pure class"

Add into the mix scandal courting pin-up leading lady DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) as a grumpy synchronized swimming mermaid with man problems. And there’s cheeky tap dancing comedy star Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum) who might just be caught up in a sinister communist movement known only as ‘The Future’.

All bets are off when scandal seeking journalist sisters Thora Thacker and Thessaly Thacker (both played by Tilda Swinton) start to pry into the studio’s dirty laundry. Can Mannix survive in the face of such pressure

The Coens are basically having a high old time with this homage-em-up which doesn’t confirm to any standard plotting. There is plenty of fun on offer but it’s mixed up with savvy political comment and a vein of spirituality, the likes of which is rarely found so blatantly presented on the big screen. The climactic speech by Clooney as a Roman Centurion facing the dying Jesus on the cross even makes this into a fascinating ‘Passion Play’ of sorts and makes it perfect Easter watching!

"Which way to Rome?"

Fans of the Coen brothers should make seeing Hail, Caesar top of their ‘to do’ lists – whilst those looking for more standard cinema comedy should see this with an especially open mind.

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

öööö

(4 - Lights. Camera. Abduction.)

Awesomeness öööö – Joy that goes soul deep!

Laughs öööö – Great fun

Horror ö – Very little grimness

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Life affirming stuff!

"Wonder Woman!?"

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