DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Darkmatters Review: The Greatest Showman


The Greatest Showman (PG)

Dir. Michael Gracey

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“I can't just run off and join the circus.…can I?”

Roll up, roll up, The Greatest Showman - Phineas Taylor Barnum (portrayed with absolute gusto by Hugh ‘Logan’ Jackman) is here to astound you with his sights, sounds and general feel-good charisma!

This is very much an ‘inspired by’ rather than factual story of a fool how dreams big as young poor Barnum vows to be a make success so he can give his beloved Charity (Michelle Williams) the life she deserves. With nothing but a dream and a selection of very catchy songs in his heart it might be a tall order.

gangs all here...

But you don’t get the moniker ‘The Greatest Showman’ without being able to pull together an eye-popping circus which delights the masses, unnerves the rich and provides a home for those society has deemed freaks. The show is a hit but whilst bringing in the money, the bawdy low brow spectacle doesn’t bring the social status Barnum craves so he gambles big on the gorgeous ‘Swedish Nightingale’, opera singer Jenny Lind (Rebecca ‘The Girl on the Train’ Ferguson).

What you get is an uplifting, joyous, sing-along experience that effectively utilises the winning song writing talent from La La Land and adds plenty of razzle-dazzle razzmatazz. The musical numbers are actually glorious and whilst the plot does white wash a lot of Barnum’s dodginess – it serves to make this a family-friendly romp as oppose to a treatise on the oppression and exploitation of those born different to everybody else.

feel the chemistry

The troupe of ‘unique individuals’ are great, stand out stars being bearded lady (Keala Settle), little General Tom Thumb (Sam Humphrey) and the incredible trapeze artist Anne Wheeler (Zendaya) – who steals the heart of Zac Efron’s assistant Ringmaster.

Everyone goes about the show business like their lives depend on it, and the energy is infectious. Sure those most cold-hearted out there might scoff at the surface level plot which bounces along mostly as a structure for the films song and dance numbers to hang on. But if even those who would never darken the door of a musical theatre production will find plenty to enjoy as Jackman gives Barnum real heart.

beware the beautiful nightingale

"Do their smiles look fake?" he retorts when one snarky critic confronts him saying everything about his show is fake, and by the end of the film your smile won’t be fake either…


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

öööö

(4 - Sing-em-up that brings the good feels)

Awesomeness ööö  – Packed with great song n dance numbers

Laughs ööö  – Great fun if you can stomach the cheese

Horror öö – Some bigotry and hatred (isn't there always!?)

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Life is better with a song in your heart

Monday, December 25, 2017

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle


Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (12a)

Dir. Jake Kasden

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“It’s a video game, which means we all have three lives, but if we lose them and die in the game, we die for real…”

Back in 1995 the Robin Williams starring Jumanji, about a board game that came to life, grossed a quarter of a billion dollars. So, it’s not a massive surprise to see we’ve gotten a belated sequel – this time updated so that that Jumanji has become the ultimate interactive video game…

Players ready...

When four stereotypical high-school kids discover the Jumanji console they are immediately sucked into the game's jungle, literally becoming the avatars they chose: nerdy gamer Spencer becomes a brawny adventurer Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson); football jock ‘Fridge’ loses - in his words - "the top two feet of his body" and becomes a zoologist named Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart); the hot popular girl Bethany becomes overweight middle-aged male Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black); and shy, gawky Martha becomes badass warrior Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan).

Director Jake ‘Bad Teacher’ Kasden at least seems to ‘get’ video games – I guess having Sony finance the flick might help too (there are some not so subtle PS4 game posters in Spencer’s bedroom such as the classic action adventure Uncharted etc). But you don't so much ‘play’ Jumanji as try to survive it…

Open up and say 'arghhhh'

There is much easy going fun to be had watching the kids trying out their avatar’s powers and coming to terms with getting eaten by hippos, pushed off mountains and shot by baddies only to return (at least the first time)… The body swap jokes about Bethany getting used to having male bits – e.g. peeing standing up and finding that it’s not a gun in her pocket when getting feels for someone are handled well too.

Gillan has fun playing up her having been given such a skimpy outfit “Why am I wearing half a shirt and short shorts in a jungle?” and making into a girl power statement by kicking lots of ass. Johnson and Hart have good banter chemistry and Jack Black has is just great acting up as spoilt pretty princess trapped in his body.

game time

The plot is predictable but the action-packed video game ‘levels’ are enjoyable bringing the required thrills and peril. The special effects deliver the suitable spectacle, especially when the unfriendly jungle critters get to cause serious mayhem.

For a funny, undemanding and mostly family-friendly romp, this is one video game adaptation that is worth seeing on the big screen.


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

ööö

(3 - Play to win...)

Awesomeness ööö  – Spectacular in places

Laughs ööö  – Some nice funnies

Horror öö – Peril and one seriously angry hippo!

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Team is the key 


Monday, December 18, 2017

Darkmatters Top Ten Films of 2017



Top 10 films 2017

This year has been an absolute cracker for cinema goers – with something for everyone… From high profile sequels, to masterfully created new experiences and a host of fresh ideas. Here are is Matt Adcock's picks of the bunch:


10 Get Out

A hair-raising human horror. Possibly the most startlingly vibrant and shocking cinematic opus to racial divides to date, this manages to be darkly funny without skimping on delivering a pure terror rush.

In this age of Trump when the threat of white supremacist mindsets is suddenly a horribly relevant again, Get Out sneakily tears down racist ideals and has lots of fun in the process.



9 Moonlight

The story of young black guy’s quest to find himself and what it means to be a man growing up in a tough and unaccepting world. With a heartfelt depiction of the struggles of identity, masculinity and the conditioning of bigoted society – the acting is outstanding and the cinematography just stunning.

Moonlight is beautifully shot and engagingly paced with a cool soundtrack and is directed with a quiet grace that makes this essential viewing.


8 Brigsby Bear

Brigsby Bear is a wildly unconventional breakthrough film that feels bit like last year’s excellent Hunt For The Wilderpeople in that it mainlines joy directly delivering into your mind’s pleasure cortex.

First-time Director Dave McCary has created a contagious feel-good comedy that transcends the darkness of its plot with a lust for life narrative driven by an incredible performance by Mooney.


7 The Last Jedi

Director Rian Johnson who made the excellent alternative gangster thriller Brick and the time jumping Looper feels right at home building the mythos around the Force and the Jedi, crafting a take on the Star Wars universe which is unlike any that has gone before.

This a bold and brilliant addition to the intergalactic franchise which should be witnessed on the biggest screen you can find. There is life in the Force yet…


6 Thor: Ragnarok

 A new kind of superhero buddy movie and it’s a grin inducing riot of quality laugh out loud humour, crunching super smack downs and brilliant sci-fi, feel good heroics.

Director Taika Waititi takes the Marvel Cinematic Universe and gives it a endorphin boost. Not since Deadpool has a super hero film been such fun and Thor: Ragnarok manages to pack in jaw dropping action, laugh out loud gags (both visual and dialogue) and even keeps it all almost family friendly with a 12a certificate.


5 Baby Driver

Baby Driver is a true romance tale, violent, funny and very cool, imagine Drive mixed with La La Land – so buckle up for super charged (non CGI) car chases, bank heist action and criminal capers all wrapped around a sweet boy meets girl core.

Director Edgar ‘Hot Fuzz’ Wright makes all the right moves and delivers an exciting, full throttle modern classic.


4 La La Land

A cinematic piece of musical wonder and smouldering romance which will leave you dazed and amused in the best possible way…

The cinema equivalent of a sugar rush mixed with a roller coaster which delivers quite a high and yet might also put a tear (of joy) in your eye.

Here's to the fools everywhere who dream.


3 Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is everything that fans of the original could want in a sequel. Ryan Gosling is superb in the lead role and he’s ably backed up by the rest of the cast including Harrison Ford who delivers his best performance for many years.

Packed with retina burningly cool scenes and a stunning storyline that adds pathos to the events that follow on from thirty years before. This is incredible near future neo-noir stuff. Sci-fi on the cutting edge which makes you ponder life and meaning whilst engaging your cinematic pleasure receptors.


2 Logan

Logan is a poignant glimpse into what happens when heroic mutants are aged and jaded. With their powers waning and their world view tainted – these final X-remnants come across a young new mutant Laura, also known as ‘X23’ (a star-making turn from upcoming young Dafne Keen) who brings a world of trouble to their lives.

Not your average super-movie. With Jackman on top form, Logan is a fantastic conclusion to the Wolverine trilogy which makes every other X-Men movie look weak in comparison.


1 The Florida Project

Welcome to the flip side of comfortable life, where poverty stalks every character and surviving is no mean feat – even when you live in the very shadow of Disneyland itself…

Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is a heavy duty treatise on the durability and joy of childhood, a soul-destroying expose of living on the edge and heart-breaking almost-romance that never could be.

Brutal and bleak but also engaging and wonderful in equal measure, this is a film that will enrich your life and make you thankful for everything you have.


Runners up (you really should check these out too!):

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

A Ghost Story

Logan Lucky

Hacksaw Ridge

Dunkirk

Wonder Woman

Atomic Blonde

Spiderman: Homecoming

Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2

Kong: Skull Island

War for the Planet of the Apes

Free Fire

T2: Trainspotting

A Cure for Wellness

IT

The Lego Batman Movie

Lady Macbeth

Raw

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Darkmatters Review: The Last Jedi


The Last Jedi (12a)

Dir. Rian Johnson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“We are the spark, that will light the fire that'll burn the First Order down…”

The cinematic galaxy far, far away is calling you once again. Young wannabe Jedi Rey (Daisy Ridley) is trying to convince the legendary Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to come out of self-imposed retirement. It’s a desperate time for what’s left of the Resistance led by General Leia (Carrie Fisher) who are being ruthlessly exterminated by the evil First Order under the command of Supreme Leader Snoke aided by the twisted Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

Can one old Jedi make the difference? Does Luke even care anymore? Can Rey resist the compulsive lure of the Dark Side of the Force? And will there be any redemption for Kylo after committing awful crimes? So many questions…

"space battles r us again - in fine style"

The Last Jedi picks up the story shortly after where The Force Awakens finished and sees Rey and Kylo take centre stage – they are somehow psychically linked and they tussle to try and get the other to join their side, plus we get to see them both kicking ass with lightsabers, although it’s certainly not a rerun of the last film’s duel.

Also instrumental in the plot is the long-serving fan favourite Millennium Falcon along with Chewbacca who makes some new cute Porg friends, hotshot - and hot-headed – X-wing pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) still isn’t good at taking orders and one time Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) still burns with vengeance against his former employers. Rolling droid BB8 is also back and manages to steal many scenes proving to be a real crowd pleaser and both Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill bring excellent gravitas to their roles.

"Rey of light? or on a darker path?"

Speaking of the baddies, the First Order, has bumbling ‘how does he even have a job?’ General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and the shiny-suited enforcer Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) plus some new additions.

The good news is that The Last Jedi is jammed packed both with incredible cinematic spectacle and personal drama. This is a new sort of Star Wars that mixes some very funny comic lines with many powerful dark desperate situations.

"boom'

Director Rian Johnson who made the excellent alternative gangster thriller Brick and the time jumping Looper feels right at home building the mythos around the Force and the Jedi, crafting a take on the Star Wars universe which is unlike any that has gone before.

This a bold and brilliant addition to the intergalactic franchise which should be witnessed on the biggest screen you can find. There is life in the Force yet…

"light weapon clash"

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - The Force is with The Last Jedi)

Awesomeness öööö  – Stunning scenes abound

Laughs ööö  – The funniest Star Wars yet

Horror öö – There is death and sacrifice plus menace

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - In space nobody can hear you emote

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Brigsby Bear


Brigsby Bear (15)

Dir. Dave McCary

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Remember, curiosity is an unnatural emotion!”

Get ready to grin, have your heart broken and yet have your wellbeing boosted by the star of an old-school, lo-fi, educational children’s TV show which can only be accessed on VHS tapes… Yes, Brigsby Bear is here - an evil-battling, universe-saving hero who makes up with heart and bravery what his show lacks in special effects budget…

"love at first sight"

You see the Brigsby Bear show was created for an audience of just one person - James Pope (Kyle ‘Bad Neighbours 2’ Mooney) – I won’t spoil why this is the case but just be aware that his ‘parents’ Ted (Mark ‘The Last Jedi’ Hamill) and April (Jane ‘Twin Peaks’ Adams), aren’t all they seem.

With the TV show cancelled it falls to James make the film – a quest he embarks on with the help of his friends and family who include the all-around good guy Spencer (Jorge ‘Spiderman Homecoming’ Lendeborg Jr.), and wannabe actor Detective Vogel (Greg Kinnear).

"The Force will be with you"

Brigsby Bear is a wildly unconventional breakthrough film that feels bit like last year’s excellent Hunt For The Wilderpeople in that it mainlines joy directly delivering into your central cinematic pleasure cortex.

First-time Director Dave McCary has created a contagious feel-good comedy that transcends the darkness of its plot with a lust for life narrative driven by an incredible performance by Mooney.

"Group selfie"

Kyle Mooney who is known for being a funny man on Saturday Night Live, is just exceptional in bringing a winning sweet, wide-eyed performance which could become a cinematic cult icon. James is an honest innocent whose belief that things can be ok if he just makes the Brigsby Bear movie is driven by an undeniable optimistic zeal. The filmmaking journey he goes on depicts how teamwork, faith in others and self-belief.

With near-perfect casting, great direction and an attention to detail that screams of this being a project made with passion, everything from the score through to the masses of unique Brigsby merchandise made as props adds to the enjoyment.


This is a rare treat of a film which sits happily alongside the output of Charlie Kaufman, Spike Jonze or maybe even David Lynch (if he went for a comedy)… Brigsby Bear is a modern day parable of how life needs reference points and meaning, which will make you think as much as it will make you smile – clue: a lot!!

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - Life affirming oddballness is full of win...)

Awesomeness öööö  – Excellent and heartfelt entertainment

Laughs öööö  – Very funny, but dark too

Horror öö – Adult themes but nothing too grim

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Life has a way

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Wonder


Wonder (PG)

Dir. Stephen Chbosky

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“When given the choice between being right or being kind choose kind!”

Anyone for a seasonal big budget Hollywood weep-em-up? Well here’s Wonder – the wannabe inspiring and heart-warming story of August Pullman (played by Jacob Tremblay). Born with many medical complications he had undergone more than 20 operations and his face is disfigured to the point that he spends most of his time hiding behind a toy space helmet.

"pretend we're a normal family..."

When his parents (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson) decide it’s time for him to stop being home schooled and go to his first ‘real’ school, Auggie faces his biggest challenge yet – trying to fit in with a group of judgemental fifth graders.

Will he battle through the inevitable bullying, misunderstanding and ignorance, make some friends and find his place in society? You don’t need to ‘wonder’ too hard as this is entirely predictable and horribly sentimental stuff.

"school can be cruel"

Tremblay does well in the lead role– he plays his difficult role with heart and spirit – a bright and funny kid he proves he can be a great friend to have if anyone could get past his looks.

Also suffering is Auggie's older sister Via (Izabela Vidovic) who carries her own burden – that of being mostly ignored as her parents’ lives revolve around Auggie, like he is the sun, and the rest of the family are orbiting planets.

Other key players in Auggie’s life include his new School Principal Mr. Tushman (Mandy Patinkin), the token decent hearted kid Jack Will (Noah Jupe), the spoilt bully Julian (Bryce Gheisar), and the wannabe actress blonde girl Charlotte (Elle McKinnon).

"young love"

It’s very hard to take Julia Roberts seriously alas as she does her perfect smile thing throughout, Wilson too phones in his generic funny dad performance. More believable is the excellent Daveed Diggs who brings heart to his role of Aggie’s class teacher but something rings hollow here and as it all seems a little too predictable and schmaltzy. The only cool bits are the welcome surprise Star Wars imaginary friend moments...

If you’re looking for a slick family moral movie, then Wonder delivers a surface level hit of sporadically entertaining drama but as I overheard the two people who walked out of the screening I was in say “I don’t like being so obviously being told what to think”.

Wonder means well but never grabs the heart in the way that similar themed films like Gifted managed to.

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

öö

(2 - Makes you wonder why they bothered...)

Awesomeness öö – Slick but overly glib

Laughs öö – Some mildly amusing moments

Horror ö – A bit of bullying drama

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Smile though the world fears and judges you...

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Darkmatters Review: The Battle of the Sexes


Battle of the Sexes (12a)

Dir. Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to put the ‘show’ back into chauvinist…”


As the list of horribly abusive men in positions of power being outed seems to grow daily, The Battle of the Sexes takes us back to a time when the sexual revolution was only just gaining momentum.

"this time it's war"

Opening with a discussion about why the women professional tennis players were being offered eight times less prize money for the same competition by the Lawn Tennis Association and the formation of the rival Women’s Tour. The fight equality is embodied in is women's world champion Billie Jean King (Emma ‘La La Land’ Stone who is just excellent).

We get court-side seats and behind the scenes access to hang out with Billie and the women as they bust guts to raise the visibility and standing of the women’s game. Midway through the tour, in 1973, the ex-men's-champ, hustler and self-confessed ‘chauvinist pig’ Bobby Riggs (Steve ‘The Big Short’ Carell) challenged any woman to try and beat him, offering $100,000 if they could. So the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ took place on a tennis court in front of the world’s media and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world.

"great chemistry"

The cool directing team behind ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ bring the story of this sensational point proving match to the big screen in captivating style. The intense rivalry between King and Riggs is set against the backdrop of each of them battling off-court personal situations, his marriage on the rocks due to his gambling and the fiercely private King struggling to come to terms with the impact of her own sexuality.

King’s growing relationship with Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) is a heartfelt and touching core element of the film and stands to highlight the misogynistic attitudes of Riggs and the male-dominated sports world of the time. The leads are both superb but there is also great supporting work by Bill Pullman as the slimy LTA boss and Elisabeth Shue as Rigg’s conflicted wife.

"battle lines"

The prejudices and gender discrimination were then more ingrained into the institution which is why this cultural spectacle resonated far beyond the tennis court. The resulting discussions about equality, not just in sport but across all areas of life, have to continue though as the ‘battle’ is far from over.

Fun, engaging, and thought-provoking, this Battle of the Sexes is a highly recommended cinematic experience.

"is he taking it seriously?"

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

öööö

(4 - Some battles have to be fought...)

Awesomeness öööö – Heartfelt and exciting

Laughs öö – Some fun

Horror ö – Nothing too grim

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - All created equal...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Justice League


Justice League (12a)

Dir. Zac Snyder

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Courier

“There are heroes among us. Not to make us feel smaller, but to remind us of what makes us great…”

Buckle up for another super smack-down as the heavyweight characters of the DC Comics Extended Universe – Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) assemble to form the ‘Justice League’.

"no, we're not the Avengers"

With earth deemed to be unprotected after Superman (Henry Cavill) “died” in Batman vs Superman, world killer CGI alien Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) and his army of flying insect men decide to come and forcibly take over. Obviously all that’s required to turn our planet into a murky computer generated hell are 3 ‘mother boxes’ which are hidden and protected by the Amazonians, Atlantians and erm, Humans.

Cue two hours of fast forward team building and bonding, pondering about and then trying to resurrect Superman himself in order to give us a fighting chance and some actually decent and fun banter between the various heroes.

"He's an Aqua-fan of Wonder Woman"

Director Zack Snyder crams in a lot after his BvS was accused of being overly leisurely paced – but this time just as we’re getting into an exciting action situation or an interesting conversation, things cut and rush on to something else (often some plot exposition to help viewers keep up).

Justice League is very much the DC version of Avengers – and if that sounds like your super powered cup of tea then you’ll have a blast watching this band of iconic heroes doing their thing. Wonder Woman keeps up her scene stealing form after her great solo film earlier this year but all the team have some good moments.

"evil eyes"

If you’ve had enough comic book superhero action then this won’t likely change your mind. But for long term fans (full disclosure I LOVE both Superman and Batman, ok and Wonder Woman) then there is plenty to make you grin with glee.

As a film, it is a bit of a mess – and weak points include a seriously forgettable villain who looks like he’s escaped from an Xbox rather than outer space and the jump cuts that hamper coherent plot development.

"Atlantis is real"

Somewhere in this jumble is an epic adventure that rivals anything Marvel have put on screen – as it stands though, Justice League is a great fun movie but not one that will have the Avengers losing sleep as they plan their Infinity War next year.

Be sure to check the after credit scenes too for both clues of what might come next and a super stand off that made some of the audience I saw this with cheer!

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

ööö1/2

(3.5 - All In - the directors cut?)

Awesomeness öööö – Some great scenes

Laughs ööö – Super banter

Horror öö – Limited grimness unless you hate CGI

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Salvation in teamwork?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Darkmatters Review: The Florida Project


The Florida Project (15)

Dir. Sean Baker

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“The doctor says we have asthma and we gotta eat ice-cream right away!”

Welcome to the flip side of comfortable life, where poverty stalks every character and surviving is no mean feat – even when you live in the very shadow of Disneyland itself…

Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is a heavy duty treatise on the durability and joy of childhood, a soul-destroying expose of living on the edge and heart-breaking almost-romance that never could be.

I was blown away by this film which tells the tale of six-year-old Moonee (an epic and totally winning performance from Brooklynn Prince) who lives with her young mother Hailey (an incredible breakthrough performance from Bria Vinai who was approached to play her part after the Director spotted her on Instagram).

"life is not always explainable"

We get to hang out with this small family unit over the course of a few weeks of summer as they struggle to live their lives holed up in a seedy hotel called The Magic Castle. Fortunately for the two girls the hotel is managed by Bobby (Willem Dafoe whose probably never been better than he is here). Bobby is a genuinely good soul, a compassionate white knight who makes everyone’s lives better even though his consistent and selfless acts of kindness for Hailey are largely unappreciated and rebuffed.

Moonee has a ruthlessly mischievous streak, effortlessly courting trouble and generally having a good time even in a hopeless situation. Scamming tourists for ice cream money, spitting on cars and accidentally torching a local condo with her pals – this is a childhood of hard knocks but infused with an inescapable joy and freedom which is easy to get lost in.

As the kids play, danger lurks only a heartbeat away – be it the naivety of not understanding consequences or actual predatory adult intervention. Seeing the youngsters grappling with situations they cannot fully comprehend is emotionally draining such as when Hailey must sell their iPad to pay the rent and can’t really explain why.

"motherhood isn't easy"

The relationship between the world-weary Bobby and the hot-headed Hailey is shot through with a growing tension. Caught between wanting to protect Hailey like a father and yet still potentially be the man in her life, he’s a rare good guy in a bad world. But can he save her from herself as she slips down the poverty spiral into making heart breaking, self-destructive decisions.

The Florida Project is a powerful and vibrant film that will haunt you for days after seeing it. Wise beyond her years Moonee says things like: “I can always tell when adults are about to cry” when she observes some honeymooners who have inadvertently booked into the crappy Magic Kingdom thinking it was an actual part of the Disney resort.
But when life gets too much for our young heroine, all she can do is stand a cry in a scene which will just destroy you. The ending too is one of the bravest ever committed to film – just a superb few moments of unforgettable and mesmerising cinema.

"You're only young once"

I can’t recommend The Florida Project enough – it’s brutal and bleak but also engaging and wonderful in equal measure. Can’t wait to see not just what this director does next but all of the talent involved here.

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

ööööö

(5 - Save the Hailey, Save the world...)

Awesomeness ööööö – Joyful and poignant from start to end

Laughs ööö – Lots of fun but not a comedy

Horror ööö – Real life can break you

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Where is God when you need Him?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Paddington 2


Paddington 2 (PG)

Dir. Paul King

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Aunt Lucy says to look for the goodness in everyone you meet…”

Michael Bond's furry fun loving, marmalade endorsing, orphaned little bear is back. Since his first excellent big-screen adventure, Paddington (once again voiced by Ben Whishaw) has happily settled in with the Brown family and become a popular and useful member of the local community.

"multi-purpose brushes" 

Now his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday approaches and he must find a perfect gift for her, as luck would have it, a unique pop up book of London has been found in Mr. Gruber's antique shop. The only drawback is that it costs a grand and so Paddington enters the world of work in order to save up and buy it. But when the book is stolen, it's up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief and see justice done.

The good news is that this sequel is simply superb on all levels, packed with genuine wit and winning performances from the human contingent, and blessed with a fun lite-weight plot which bounds along without ever being tiresome…

"showman and show-bear"

Baddie of the piece is the villainous Phoenix Buchanan (a wonderfully OTT performance from Hugh Grant sending himself up) - a bitter faded actor looking to launch is own one-man show on the West End. The detective subplot leads to a hair-raising finale that sees a steam-powered chase, hand-to-hand combat and an anxious life-or-death moment that had the children in the screening I caught this at squealing in delight.

Due to some miscarriage of justice, Paddington finds himself behind bars but being a cheerful young bear he has in no time befriended the dangerous criminals he’s locked up with who include Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson), T-Bone (Tom Davis) and Jimmy the Snitch (Robert Stevenson).

"High ho!"

The CGI animation is exceptional, Paddington himself is a walking, talking, wonder and other nice touches abound such as a moving scene of 2D paper cut-outs which mimic the classic ‘70s TV show).

Everything works so well, director Paul King has served up a winning treat, refreshingly free of cynical cash grab merchandising (unless you count the numerous plugs for marmalade) – effectively capturing a joyful innocence. This is a must-see for anyone who with children or those who are just young at heart.

"The Browns"

Paddington 2 really is the Empire Strikes Back of furry animated comedies – it’s un’bear’ably good family friendly fun…

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - Very tasty marmalade sandwiches all round)

Awesomeness ööö – Joyfully furry fun

Laughs öööö – Lots of good laughs to be had

Horror ö – A little tense but nothing very grim

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Looking for the good is good way to live...

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