DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Dunkirk




Dunkirk (12a)

Dir. Christopher Nolan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“You can practically see it from here… Home”

Strong hearts are required for Christopher ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’ Nolan’s homage to and reverent retelling of the desperate evacuation of the Allied forces who found themselves cut off, surrounded and hunted by the German army. With roughly 400,000 men stuck on the beaches of Dunkirk in France, under constant attack from German planes and with very limited access for ships to land and pick them up – the situation was dire.

The sheer hopelessness of the Allies' position is tangible as the viewers are thrown straight into the plight of young Tommy (excellent newcomer Fionn Whitehead). As his squad are mown down – he finds himself alone and daunted when he makes it to the beach only to find thousands of men queuing for to take their chance on a ship – most of which are picked off by enemy U-boats and aircraft before they get far…

"desperation..."

Tommy comes across private, Gibson (Aneurin Barnard), and together they try to find a way off the beach. Their story is just one of the 3 main perspectives from which the historic tale is told – the others being a small civilian boat whose crew answer the call to try and get across the channel and help to pick up the soldiers and the brave attempts of the RAF Spitfire pilots to try and keep the German planes at bay.

Told in a powerful non-chronological order, the non-linear plotting keeps you guessing at the intensity of the events unfolding before you – who (if anyone) will make it off the beach and what will be left of them physically and mentally…

"Bravey"

The film making is of the highest order, some of the cinematic shots will stay with you for the rest of your life and they are made even more powerful by an incredible score from Hans Zimmer which encompasses heartbeats, stop watches and the screech of machinery.

I had the honour of watching this a few seats away from an actual Dunkirk survivor who was in his nineties. He cried throughout the film and I can’t imagine what it must have been like to experience the fear, confusion and utter turmoil of these desperate events brought back so vividly.

It slammed home that this wasn’t a dramatic plot dreamt up to thrill audiences but rather a terrible reminder of a time when hell came to earth and thousands of men lost their lives.

"The best of the best"

No one character carries this film – sure there are Harry Styles and Tom Hardy on hand but everyone does their part in fine style – without show boating or glorifying the situation.

This is a must see cinematic event – we will not forget those who died for our freedom…

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

ööööö

(5 - A staggering, heartbreaking and noble endeavor)

Awesomeness ööööö – Fear and Heroics can be the same thing...

Laughs ö – A few jokes amongst the grimness

Horror öööö – Strong death, horror, and threat - pushes a 12a cert

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Bravery transcends humanity

Friday, July 07, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Spiderman Homecoming


Spider-Man: Homecoming (12a)

Dir. Jon Watts

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Observer

“Can't you just be a friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man?”

Spider sense tingling… Here it is then – Spider-Man is back (for the 3rd incarnation in just over 15 years) and this time Spidey follows up his scene-stealing antics in Captain America: Civil War by cementing his place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and getting to play again with the Avengers.

Everything about Spider-Man: Homecoming feels ‘right’. Tom Holland brings real heart to the role of Peter Parker, he’s young, fun and gutsy – channelling the eagerness to impress his new super pals - especially his mentor Iron Man himself (Robert Downey, Jr).

"here to help"

Being a teenage superhero isn’t easy though as we’ve learned from films such as Kick Ass, and trying to find love can make things even more complicated – so when his fellow quiz team member Liz (Laura Harrier) catches his heart it’s like watching a super powered John Hughes film…

Director Jon ‘Cop Car’ Watts does a great job of mixing plenty of exciting action with the romance and coming-of-age teenage angst backdrop. Adding Tony Stark to the mix ups the ante as the new Spider Suit comes packing A.I. and all sorts of tech enhancements.

"your mentor is watching"

Baddie of the piece this time is the Vulture (Michael Keaton) a man who feels deeply wronged by Stark Industries and who creates high-powered weapons plus his winged mech suit from alien tech left over from the battle the Avengers had with Chitauri. Keaton is excellent and makes what could have been a laughable supervillain into a fleshed-out menace who is a believable threat.

It’s a joy to watch this new wall-crawler learning to use his suit and powers, egged on by his nerdy pal Ned (a winning supporting role from Jacob Batalon). There are some jaw-dropping scenes and some excellent Easter Eggs for comic book fans to pick up – which will please long term fans and shows the writers respect their fan base.

"the Vulture strikes"

The mentor/mentee relationship between Iron Man and Spider-Man will also resonate with anyone who ever had someone look out for them, provide some wisdom and support. It gives the film an emotional core and bridges Spidey’s transition into becoming an Avenger in one fell swoop.

This is a Homecoming that everyone should witness, it looks great in IMAX and even the 3D adds effectively to the super spectacle. It’s good to have Spider-Man home in the Marvel universe!

"top of the world Ma!"

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

ööööö

(5 - Spidey blasts back in fine style)

Awesomeness ööööö – Excellent super fun and real heart

Laughs ööö – Very funny too

Horror öö – Some serious threat but nothing too grim

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Does whatever a spider can!

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