DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Darkmatters Review: T2 Trainspotting


T2  Trainspotting (18)

Dir: Danny Boyle

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review in: The Harborough Mail

“You’re a tourist in your own youth…”

Choose life. Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares. Choose looking up old flames, wishing you'd done it all differently and choose watching history repeat itself… Choose being challenged and engaged by an incredible sequel to one of the coolest films of all time.

"it's a state of mind"

Here we are then, after 20 years Director Danny ‘Steve Jobs’ Boyle brings Irvine Welsh’s druggie scallywags back to the big screen in this powerful sequel based loosely on the novel Porno. Much has changed - Mark ‘Rent-boy’ Renton (Ewan McGregor) has escaped the drugs ironically living in Amsterdam – but nagging regrets about ripping off his friends sees him return to the only place he can ever really call home.

Waiting for him are his old ‘pals’ - lifetime loser Spud (Ewen Bremner), Simon / ‘Sick Boy’ (Jonny Lee Miller), and furious psycho Begbie (Robert Carlyle). Also there is Diane (Kelly Macdonald) Renton’s ‘one that got away’ and a host of sorrow, loss, joy, vengeance, hatred, friendship, love, longing, fear, regret, heroin, self-destruction, oh, and mortal danger…

"new plans"

New to the troubled goings on is Veronika (the excellent Anjela Nedyalkova), she’s Simon’s girlfriend / partner in a criminal activity but she immediately catches Renton’s eye which could put strain on their already fraught relationship.

While T2 can’t hope to match the iconic freshness of the original, it certainly brings a fascinating take on a full on cinematic mid-life nostalgia. Perhaps it’s because I’m the same age as Renton but his seeking for meaning and redemption is one that I can see resonating with many who pause to take stock of their lives. Just what have you achieved? Who really loves you and who do you really care about? What is there left for you going forward?

"party times"

Boyle does a great job of delivering both a reality check for sentimental fans of the original and a cool account of the further chaos that follows these characters around like restless malevolent shadows. The cinematography is excellent, there’s a pumping new soundtrack which includes the awesome ‘Silk’ by Wolf Alice and some great vibrant jumbled visuals that keep this very much in the vein of the first film.

We’re all addicts of some sort, so be addicted - just be addicted to something better. Choose the ones you love. Choose your future. Choose life. Choose T2 Trainspotting.

"old flames"



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

ööööö

(5 - Choose catching up with the trainspotters 20 yrs later)...

Awesomeness ööööö – A new lust for life

Laughs ööö – Very funny in places

Horror öööö – Grim in parts with violence and drugs

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Choosing life isn't always easy

Friday, January 27, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Hacksaw Ridge



Hacksaw Ridge (15)

Dir: Mel Gibson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the CVM Blog version of this review: CVM BLOG

 “What you did on that ridge is nothing short of a miracle…”

War is absolute hell but occasionally there are still angels to found – even on the battlefield and this ‘based on true events’ film shines the spotlight on one unlikely such hero who stood by his Christian faith and made an incredible difference as a result.

"under fire"

Hacksaw Ridge is the astonishing story of Desmond T. Doss (Andrew ‘Amazing Spider Man’ Garfield) – a Seventh Day Adventist who became the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Military Medal of Honour. He achieved this feat on the front line of the battle of Okinawa – which was a desperate attempt by the US to take the tactically important ridge despite the Japanese being dug in to defend it - whilst refusing to carry a weapon or attack the enemy. Doss served as a field medic and his willingness to stay behind and try to save those injured when his battalion was overrun saw him single-handedly save the lives of over 75 of his comrades.

"comrades"

Director Mel Gibson begins the film with Doss’s early life in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains where his embittered war veteran father Tom Doss (Hugo ‘The Matrix’ Weaving) is quick to anger and often whips him and his brother with his belt. We get to know young Doss and journey with him as he awkwardly woos hottie nurse Dorothy (Teresa ‘Triple 9’ Palmer), and finds a better use for his belt in saving an injured man’s leg with by using it as a tourniquet after a car accident.

When the Second World War involves America, Doss signs up for military training but his faith based refusal to wield a weapon brings him into the firing line of Vince Vaughn’s task master sergeant as well as barracks bullyboys including Lucky Ford (Gibson’s son Milo).
Eventually facing a Court-martial for his objections, Doss fights for the right to enter combat only with his medical kit.

"sweetheart"

The final half of the film is an inferno of visceral war sequences – be prepared for some of the most brutal, harrowing and probably accurately grim scenes every committed to screen. The battle scenes are up there with Saving Private Ryan in their brutality and excellent depiction of just how random, awful and desperate man to man combat is.

Doss’s improbable bravery in the face of sheer horror is very well handled, Garfield is superb in the lead role and the despite Gibson laying on the faith angle hard it never weakens the film, unlike in many films that try to depict faith in a positive way and end up as almost unwatchable sermons-in-disguise. Hacksaw Ridge is an emotionally charged and intensely intimate study of one man’s struggle to make a difference and the huge impact it had. It’s is also an epic and unforgettable film that deserves to be seen.

"brothers"


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

ööööö

(5 - You don’t have to go to war to be a hero, it’s all about how you live your life.)...

Awesomeness ööööö – Memorable for so many reasons

Laughs öö – A few funnies

Horror öööö – Extremely gory and grim in places

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - True faith against all odds

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Split


Split (15)

Dir. M. Night Shyamalan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review in the: Buckingham Advertiser

“He's done awful things to people and he'll do awful things to you…” 

No not Director M. ‘Sixth Sense’ Shyamalan – although his recent cinematic output has been pretty painful but rather this quote refers to Kevin Wendell Crumb (James ‘Filth’ McAvoy). Kevin, you see, isn’t the only person in his body as he suffers from a dissociative identity disorder meaning that there are effectively 23 people time sharing him. Some of his personalities are borderline ‘normal’ but many are much much more messed up…

"hanging with the kids"

When three girls are kidnapped by Kevin – in his creepy bookish Dennis personality they get to meet a range of alter-egos who include uptight English sounding Patricia, Kanye loving child Hedwig and a host of others. Worse of all whilst Dennis isn’t ‘allowed’ to hurt the girls there is a secret 24th personality deemed only “The Beast” who certainly wants to…

"feel the fear"

The captives - Casey (Anya ‘The VVitch’ Taylor-Joy), Marcia (Jessica ‘Honeytrap’ Sula) and Clare (Haley Lu ‘Edge of Seventeen’ Richardson) are good as a bunch of friends making mostly dumb decisions whilst facing a nightmare situation. But McAvoy is on fire here fully throwing himself into the freakish role and delivering a truly mesmerising and engrossing horror baddie as a result.

"all girls together?"

Split certainly won’t win any awards for its depiction of mental illness as anything other than a killer plot twist / X-Men like mutation freak-em-up but if you can get over the seriously non-PC premise there is a hair-raising thriller on offer here that will get inside your head and mess with it. For fans of films such as Michael Mann’s ‘Manhunter’ or De Palma’s ‘Raising Cain’, Split is a must-see nail-biter. The tension ramps up as the hostages make increasingly desperate attempts to reason with at least one of the personalities holding them and the film doesn't cop out on a suitably grim ending.

"echoes of Taxi Driver"

Shyamalan has always had a great affinity with his bad guys – and with Kevin Crumb he gets to show the different facets of a monster by literally displaying its many faces. This is the closest of his films to the excellent ‘Unbreakable’ and seeing as it exists in the same Shyamalan universe it even leaves the way open to a joint sequel...

"the therapy might not be working"

Not for the faint of heart or those campaigning for people with multiple personalities to be taken seriously – Split will very likely, erm, ‘split’ audiences as you will need to seriously suspend your disbelief to allow this horror hokum to fully engage.

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

ööö1/2

(3.5 - Split the difference and soak up the atmosphere)...

Awesomeness ööö – Freaky and tense with a fantastic tease ending

Laughs öö – Occasional dark mirth to be had

Horror öööö – Puts its people through some very unpleasant situations

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - True self should take the light




Saturday, January 14, 2017

Darkmatters Review: La La Land


La La Land 12a

Dir: Damien Chazelle

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read Matt's Telegraph review: HERE

“You could just write your own rules. You know, write something that's as interesting as you are.”

Welcome to a La La Land, no that’s not my stuttering, this is a cinematic place of musical wonder and smoldering romance which will leave you dazed and amused in the best possible way…

Love is very much in the air for La La Land as it has already bagged 7 Golden Globes, a host of Bafta nominations and will likely get some Oscar love too. The thing is, this isn’t one of those ‘all hype and no trousers’ flicks, oh no, this is a singing, dancing odyssey to dreamers everywhere and a bittersweet celebration of the power of love!

a fool who dreams

At heart it’s a simple story of struggling musician - Sebastian (Ryan ‘Drive’ Gosling), who meets aspiring actress - Mia (Emma ‘Birdman’ Stone), set against the handy backdrop of gigs, parties, auditions and clubs. Can Sebastian’s jazz piano skills set the world on fire, and perhaps more importantly – can his tunes win the heart of the actress who has the skills but not the breaks to dazzle tinsel town?

feel the joy

Director Damien ‘Whiplash’ Chazelle packs the film not just with infectiously catchy songs, heart warming dance numbers and savvy observations but also finds time to look at the trials and tribulations of star-crossed lovers everywhere. What La La Land does best is to grip your heart and make you yearn to see true love win the day. This is 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.

written (and danced) in the stars

Also on hand for some able support are Finn ‘The Big Short’ Wittrock as Greg – Seb’s love rival and singer / song writer John Legend as Keith, one of Seb’s high school classmates / bandmates. But it is the main duo who rightly steal the show here – and they really sparkle with infectious chemistry and gleeful dance moves. Gosling proves that he is super versatile and looks gorgeous doing so, whilst Stone is right at home as a classic screen heroine and rocks some fantastic costumes. Plus massive props to the makers for featuring the ‘80s-tastic ‘I Ran (So Far Away)’ by A Flock of Seagulls.

sparkle in the eyes

Everything about La La Land is pure class and it deserves the heaps of praise it is getting. If ever a movie could single-handedly re-launch the big screen musical this is the one.

Here's to the fools everywhere who dream – my advice is to go and join them in the cinema as soon as you can!

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

ööööö

(5 - An infectiously gorgeous charming good time)...

Awesomeness öööö – Eye-popping scenes and great style throughout

Laughs ööö – Some good funnies but not a comedy

Horror ö – Nothing unless you can't stand jazz

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - that's the power of love...


Monday, January 02, 2017

Darkmatters Review: A Monster Calls


A Monster Calls (12a)

Dir. J.A. Bayona

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“The story begins with a boy, too old to be a kid, too young to be a man. A boy who called a monster…”

A Monster Calls kicks off 2017 with a powerful and emotional tale of wisdom which deals with life. Seen through the eyes of young Conor (Lewis ‘Pan’ MacDougall), his existence is one of misery as cruel and unfathomable events threaten to break him, drive him mad with the feeling of helplessness. Stuck in a small UK village where his mother (Felicity ‘Rogue One’ Jones) is ill and not getting better, his father (Toby ‘Warcraft’ Kebbell) has left them for a new life in America and the only attention he gets at school is regular beatings from his bully classmates.

evening - nice night for a walk...

Conor is tired all the time, his sleep every night broken by a nightmare where his mother is swallowed up by an earthquake and he isn’t strong enough to save her. What’s a lad to do with only his imagination and his strict grandmother (Sigourney ‘Chappie’ Weaver) looking out for him.

Then one night an incredible, huge ‘Lord of the Rings Ent-like’ tree monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) comes to visit and challenges him to hear three tales before facing his own difficult truth.

troubling times

A Monster Calls is a visual marvel – channeling the art style from the bestselling novel about love, loss and hope from the double Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness. The tale might deal in tough life situations but it uses fantasy to deliver deep wisdom and a strong life lesson for all ages about how: ‘There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.’

life is tough

The monster’s tales challenge Conor’s thinking and provide a ton of talking points for you to consider or discuss afterwards. Faith, truth and the power of stories which are described as ‘wild creatures’ are depicted in a watercolour world that is wonderful to behold.

some monsters walk in human form

A Monster Calls is an astonishing and highly impactful film super charged with an emotional core that deserves a wide audience. You’ll be moved, challenged and maybe shed a tear or two. This is a great alternative to the wham bang action spectacles out there and a monster tale which is a wild tale indeed and will engage on many levels. Pan's Labyrinth is the nearest kin to this - freaky in such a good way!!

Vital viewing!

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

öööö

(4 - Monstrous adventure and life-affirming wisdom )...

Awesomeness öööö – Some jaw dropping scenes

Laughs öö – Limited mirth, occasional dark humour

Horror öö – Slightly scary and disturbing nightmare / adult themes

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - power is within




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