DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Jason Bourne


Jason Bourne (12a)

Dir. Paul Greengrass

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

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

“The next bullet's in your head!”

So Matt Damon’s back, yes he’s ‘Bourne again’ for a fourth espionage-em-up as rogue super-spy, Jason erm Bourne. The good news is that just by being in this entry to the franchise, Damon makes this better than the weak spin off The Bourne Legacy which proved that Jeremy Renner should really stick to Avengers films.

"Jason was hoping for a 4 star review"

Also back is director Paul ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ Greengrass and he certainly knows how to make an impressive action scene or two. In fact the two main action set pieces in Jason Bourne are both jaw dropping works of high tension. The first is set against a violent protest rally in Greece and sees Bourne meeting up with fellow secret government program Treadstone agent Nicky Parsons (Julia ‘Dexter’ Stiles) – only to be pursued and shot at by the seemingly unstoppable ‘Asset’ (Vincent ‘Dobermann’ Cassel). In the second scene Bourne is still being pursued and shot at by the Asset but now in Las Vegas and the result is like a carmaggedon scene out of The Fast & Furious.

In between these two bookend action sections there is an awful lot of Bourne walking about looking puzzled and perplexed plus plenty of discussion amongst the CIA top brass who include Tommy Lee-Jones about ‘what are we going to do about Bourne?’. The plan the CIA go with is to let agent Heather Lee (the awesome Alicia ‘Ex Machina’ Vikander) try and bring Bourne back in. The back up plan is to have him killed. The thing is both of those are pretty tall orders due to the fact that Jason Bourne is a one man killing machine – a kind of ‘man with no name’ for the 21st Century.

"Trouble from above"

Jason Bourne packs some great cinematography and a killer soundtrack which both help make up for the fact that in places it gets a bit dull and confusing. Fans of the original trilogy will enjoy seeing Bourne kicking ass again but there’s little here that feels very innovative or new. Sure the plot has a social media wrestling with government interference strand but even that is all a bit ‘Mr Robot’-lite. Otherwise it’s high tech hacking, getting chased, fighting and escaping again in between the tedious bouts of explanatory dialogue – basically Bourne business as usual.

Pick a date with Jason Bourne and you’ll be mostly entertained, just don’t expect him to call back (although if this makes enough cash it probably wont be the last we see of him).

"He's behind you..."

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

ööö

(3 - you still know his name)...

Awesomeness öööö – Gets seriously awesome but doesn't sustain it

Laughs öö – A few laughs but not many

Horror öö – Fairly lite on the torture n scares

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Who are you anyway?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Darkmatter Review: Star Trek Beyond


Star Trek: Beyond (12a)

Dir. Justin Lin

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Captain's Log, Stardate 2263.2. Today is our 966th day in deep space - A little under three years into our five-year mission. The more time we spend out here, the harder it is to tell where one day ends and the next one begins.”


"If you only knew the power of the dark side..."

Star Trek is back – you know the ‘other’ sci-fi franchise that has never been quite as cool as Star Wars but which has legions of devoted fans… Well, following in the intrepid footsteps of Director J.J. Abrams who reinvigorated the Trek cinematic universe before turning to the dark side and jumping spaceship to make The Force Awakens, comes Justin ‘Fast & Furious’ Lin.

And Star Trek: Beyond is everything a Trekkie could wish for! Nice nods to the original TV series abound – the opening scene in particular could be a HD reworking of one where Captain James T. Kirk (Chris ‘Smokin Aces’ Pine) is set upon by furry little space critters. The good news keep coming though in that Beyond feels very much part of the new Star Trek cannon – helped by having returning key cast members such as Spock (Zachary Quint), Bones (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin RIP).

"groovy 3 some"

The scale of threat in this sequel has been suitably ramped up – with a new baddie Krall (Idris ‘Luther’ Elba) intent on mass extermination of human kind. Also new the party this time is butt kickin female alien Jaylah (Sofia ‘Kingsman’ Boutella) who pretty much steals the entire movie with her broken English phrases and kinetically exciting fighting skills. With the Enterprise out gunned and the crew dispersed, this is probably the most intense Star Trek film to date. A friend saw this in 4DX and told me he felt like he’d been ‘beaten up’ by the end, so be warned,

With top notch special effects, nail biting tension and some great humorous touches, this is sci-fi that can be enjoyed by pretty much everyone (it may be a little scary in parts for younger children, but there was an 8-yr-old at the screening I was in and he left telling his folks that it was ‘awesome’,

"Kirk gets fast and furious"

The Star Trek franchise shows no sign of slowing down and indeed is now giving the Star Wars films a run for their money. You should definitely ‘boldly go’ and see this as soon as your teleporter can beam you to your local cinema!

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

öööö

(4 - Boldly go to see this!!)...

Awesomeness öööö – Great set pieces and good throughout

Laughs ööö – Enough for a sci-fi to feel good

Horror öö – More tense than scary but occasional disturbing scene

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - It's a big universe out there!





Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Ghostbusters


Ghostbusters (12a)

Dir. Paul Fieg

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the Observer newspaper version of Matt's review: The Leighton Observer

"It just makes me feel so warm and tingly inside!" – “That's probably the radiation."

You know the drill: If there’s something strange, in the neighbourhood, who ya gonna call? Well, now there’s a new ghost busting team – a fractious bunch of women who have the smarts and the science to take down any and all supernatural presences, but the big question is ‘can they re-engergise this classic film franchise?’

"ready for action"

Meet professor Erin Gilbert (Kristen ‘The Martian’ Wiig) a scientist desperately trying to distance herself from her wacky earlier days when she and her friend Abby Yates (Melissa ‘The Boss’ McCarthy) wrote a book claiming ghosts are real. The two are reunited when a ghost terrorizes a local historic mansion (which they catch on film) and so with Abby's oddball scientific assistant, Jillian Holtzmann (Kate ‘Sisters’ McKinnon), they decide to start a ‘Department of the Metaphysical Examination’.

As more and more things start to go ‘bump in the night’, another plucky wannabe ghost buster joins the team in the form of sassy underground worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) who witnesses a distressing manifestation on the tracks near her station. Throw in a dofus receptionist in the shapely form of Kevin (Chris ‘Thor’ Hemsworth) and stand well back as the bustin kicks into gear.

"Boo!"

Alas just when the film has built up a solid base from which to let rip – the actual ghost busting sections of the film are some of the weakest. So it’s ‘nice effects – shame about the plot’ but to some extent the film gets by on a few funny moments and the sheer energy of the main cast.

The plot is a sort of rerun of the 1984 classic just with the coolest bits (Sigorny Weaver’s Zuul) removed – New York is about to be overrun with ghosts thanks to the nefarious work of bad guy Rowan North (Neil ‘Veep’ Casey). There are some good set pieces but no real memorable lines, the female cast tackle the listless script however all proton guns blazing and it’s never dull, just an entirely predictable and not as fun as could have been. Parents should note that it does get a bit scary at times too.

"Oogie Boogie style"

The after credits scene sets up a teaser that, should this make enough money, see the girls come back for some more bustin antics and I hope they do because there is potential here to build a better sequel.

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

ööö

(3 - Bustin makes me feel good, but not enough)...

Awesomeness ööö – Good in places

Laughs ööö – Some but not enough

Horror ööö – Actually scary at times

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – Science vs ghosts is a close call




Darkmatters Review: The Neon Demon


The Neon Demon (18)

Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives etc)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

"You know what my mother used to call me? 

Dangerous. 

'You're a dangerous girl'. 

She was right. I am dangerous."

"All that glitters..."

Meet young aspiring model Jesse (Elle 'Somewhere' Fanning) moves to Los Angeles, her youthful natural good looks and vitality immediately mark her out to a group of beauty-obsessed models who look incredible but are utterly evil on the inside...

Nicolas 'Drive' Winding Refn is fast becoming the new 'go-to' for strange, violent and highly creative movies. Films that will make you think, challenge, excite and disturb you all at the same time... Think David Lynch crossed with David 'Gone Girl' Fincher - another wild card director who is tearing up the rule book.

"Feel the voodoo vibe"

Refn's catalogue of films have crossed genres and styles but all have been excellent in their own way. Bronson was a crunching true life based prison tale, Valhalla Rising was a brutal Viking saga, Drive in 2011 was his masterpiece of cool crime romance and yes, nasty violence again... Then came the super charged samurai cop nightmare Only God Forgives - his most divisive movie until now...

Now we have The Neon Demon - an arcane treaty on beauty, innocence, horror and perception - a twistedly brilliant stomach churning power trip that gets inside your mind and wrecks it.

"mean and moody"

Fanning is incredible in an instantly iconic role. But she's not alone, as Jena Malone is amazing as Ruby - a seemingly good hearted make up artist and friend? who introduces Jesse to Gigi (Bella Heathcote) and Sarah (Abbey Lee). All the female cast are outstanding, and boy are they made to work hard with the freakish material on offer here...

Speaking of freaks Keanu Reeves is on hand to give a very creepy and turn which sees him very much playing against his well worn 'good guy' persona.

"Motel Hell owner..."

But it's Malone who has the worst of it... There's one scene that she has which is possibly the must unsettling and downright grim for many years but she gamely goes about it all with aplomb. The Neon Demon is a tough but brilliant watch. If you've a strong stomach and want a glitzy shallow spotlight on the dark nature that lurks just below the surface tension of our human condition...

"Friend or Foe?"

This is a film that will leave you in pieces.

It will be fascinating to see where Refn goes from here but it's bound to be a wild ride!

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

öööö

(4 - Beauty isn't everything it's the only thing)...

Awesomeness öööö – stunning overall feel and spectacle

Laughs öö – Acidly amusing in places

Horror ööööö – CAUTION - very sick and violent in places

Spiritual Enlightenment -öööö – Everything is rotten at core

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Visiting a Grand Kingdom on PS4


Grand Kingdom 

PS4

Reviewed over at Push Square by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

I love me some tactical battle gaming and so it was with much joy that I was asked to review Grand Kingdom by the PlayStation dudes at Push Square.

"meet the team"

This is a strong tactical title that will ignite your inner sellsword. Some minor difficulty spikes can't upset the entertaining strategy action being served up here, and with tons of content on offer, this is a game that you could potentially still be playing this time next year.  


"fire when ready"

Rocking an art style reminiscent of films like Howl's Moving Castle or games like 
Ni no Kuni - this is a great game to pick up and sink lots of time into this summer!

Read the whole review at PUSH SQUARE

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

öööö

(4 - A heavenly kingdom)...



Friday, July 08, 2016

Darkmatters Review: The Legend of Tarzan


The Legend of Tarzan (12a)

Dir. David Yates

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the Observer version of Matt's review: The Leighton Observer

"He is no normal man. He was thought to be an evil spirit, a ghost in the trees.”

Edgar Rice Burroughs' fabled 'Lord of the Apes' is back on the big screen in David ‘Harry Potter’ Yates’ take on The Legend of Tarzan. We’re treated to a sumptuous visual spectacle, populated with gorgeous actors and staggering wildlife effects which plays out like a feel good superhero movie.

The latest incarnation of the Englishman raised by apes is Alexander ‘True Blood’ Skarsgård - rocking the best muscles since Captain America. We see some of his background through flashbacks - the death of his parents, his ‘adoption’ by the female ape Kala and his first encounter with his future mate the impossibly attractive Jane Potter (Margot ’Suicide Squad' Robbie).

"fashionable heroes"

The monkey business on hand is packed with lovely little details - Tarzan's hands have been changed by years of running on all fours, utilising Skarsgård’s natural English as a second language feels just right, his interaction with the animals is intimate and mostly believable.

Bad guy of the piece is Léon Rom (Christoph ’Spectre' Waltz), who carries a spider silk rosary that doubles as an evil choking weapon, he gives good 'boo hiss’ villainy as a devious envoy to the Congo. You see Rom is seeking to deliver Tarzan to a vicious tribal leader Mbonga (Djimon Hounsou) whose son he killed, and who is willing to pay in huge diamonds for Tarzan. Along the way Rom’s catalogue of dastardly doings includes capturing Jane, shooting apes, murdering Tarzan’s tribal friends and opening the doors to widespread slavery – not a nice guy.

"going ape"

Robbie is great as Jane, she makes her a strong character, every bit a match for Tarzan and much more than just a very pretty face. She gets some killer lines too, I especially liked her railing against being seen as a damsel in distress and her rapport with the local tribespeople is genuinely touching. Also on the scene is American ambassador George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson), who proves to be a useful sidekick for Tarzan and at who delivers one superb laugh out loud comic moment.

Enter this jungle for brutal fights, a jaw dropping stampede and some memorable set pieces. This Legend of Tarzan is a great escapist romp which does justice to the much loved King of the Swingers.

"mates for life"

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

öööö

(4 - Quality monkey business)...

Awesomeness öööö – Tasty action, stunning spectacle

Laughs öö – One very funny moment!

Horror öö – Not too grim but slightly scary / violent in places

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – Human Nature.

"Gonna do that Tarzan workout!?"

"Jane"



Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie


Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (15)

Dir. Mandie Fletcher

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read The Telegraph version of this review: Northamptonshire Telegraph

“I'm being trollied on twitter...”

It's official, sweetie darling, the much beloved British slightly past their best women behaving badly have hit the big screen, hit it hard. Yes, taking no prisoners and striking a comedy blow for aging PR people everywhere Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) are still oozing glitz and glamor, living the high life they are so accustomed to. But all is not well in their world of shopping, drinking and generally being ‘fabulous’ across London's trendiest hot-spots.

Eddie’s PR business is on the slide, mostly due to her not having a clue as to how to adapt to the new social media world of Instagram and Twitter, where even her best celebs clients – Baby Spice and Lulu, can self promote at the click of an iPhone.

"still got it?"

In search of a holy grail AAA level fashion celeb in the shapely form of Kate Moss the tragic duo crash an uber fashionable launch party. In true Ab-Fab style, everything goes pear-shaped though when they inadvertently set off a media storm so huge that they have to flee the country, relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi.

It’s a fun premise which milks plenty of laughs from seeing the glam women having to adapt to a penniless life on the run in the glamorous playground of the super-rich - the French Riviera. Might this be an unforeseen blessing in disguise?

Joanna Lumley is the main deal here – rescuing what could have easily been a damp squib of a spin off from the classic TV series with a superb performance, most of the best lines and a movie stealing self Botox-em-up moment.

"Kate - classy as ever!"

The expected cameo list is long and reasonably distinguished – Tinie Tempah, Abbey Clancy, Graham Norton rub up against the fashion world’s glitterati of Jean-Paul Gaultier, Stella McCartney, Alexa Chung and Perez Hilton. If these bit parts dilute the comedy hit rate somewhat, the sterling efforts of June Whitfield as Mother and the long suffering Julia Sawalha as Saffron compensate nicely.

Also popping up to grab funny moments are Rebel ‘Bridesmaids’ Wilson and Robert Webb – and it is the sheer energy of all concerned that makes what amounts to an extended episode of the TV show into a worthwhile cinematic comedy effort.

"Norton cameo alert"

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie certainly isn’t a classic but it is a good fun potential swan song for the iconic characters and a must see for all you darlings who’ve enjoyed the small screen story so far!

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

ööö

(3 - Age will not weary them)...

Awesomeness ööö – Still a good time to be had

Laughs ööö – Some but not enough overall

Horror öö – Beware older women in tight clothing

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – Sweeties for all



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