DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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


Monday, February 17, 2020

Date night with Emma (review)

Emma. (U)

Dir. Autumn de Wilde

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“She always declares that she will never marry. 
Which of course means just nothing at all…”

Brush up your cinematic manners – here’s Jane Austen's much-loved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending - reimagined for our savvier age. “Handsome, clever, and rich” says the tag line and that’s exactly what Emma Woodhouse (Anya ‘The VVitch’ Taylor Joy) is… She’s a restless young high society singleton queen bee without rival, playing matchmaker to all around her but seemingly without thought of her own romantic needs.

Austen’s novel is a glittering satire of social class and a treatise on the pain of growing up, de Wilde’s film version is slick and entertaining adaptation – which does enough to differentiate it from
the Gwyneth Paltrow starring 1996 version. The fairly slight plot sees Emma adventuring through her maze of misguided matches and romantic missteps who include her dearest friend Harriet Smith (Mia ‘Suspiria’ Goth) whose lower station in life means she becomes a bit of plaything for our titular heroine.

'such fun...'

Bill Nighy and Miranda Hart are in hand for additional comic effect – him with a peculiar obsession of catching a chill from drafts, and her with what I like to call ye-olde-Miranda banter. The dashing Mr Knightley (Johnny ‘Beast’ Flynn) who gets to provide a glimpse of cheeky buttocks fulfils the passionate suitor – right under Emma’s nose - think John Hughes movie plot.

There is much to enjoy as the course of true love runs slightly errant through a series of social engagements, balls and afternoon teas. It does change tone at times which can make the film feel like a mashup between a stage musical and a Victorian (or should I say Regency) farce. The cinematic landscapes and gorgeous stately homes are lavishly shot and almost every frame is a marvel to behold which is much credit to the production team who borrow the best elements of the many films and tv
adaptations that have gone before.

'just friends?'

As the main character, Austen’s Emma is a spoiled, headstrong, and self-satisfied meddler but Tayor Joy manages to make her human and even evoke empathy. I have to confess to being a huge Jane Austen fan – I’d read all of her novels even before I got to high school so I’m an easy target for big screen, big-budget adaptations of her work.

Having said that, Emma is a lovely date movie and an all-round winner for some good looking and witty entertainment.

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


(3.5 - Fun and romantic update of a classic)

Awesomeness öööö – Both the leads are on God-tier form

Laughs ööö – Some funnies, was actually hoping for more!?

Horror ö – Very little to disturb apart from social mores

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Don't play cupid

Click this image for darker romantic comedy!!

– Read what other people are saying about COMPLETE DARKNESS (here)

Monday, February 03, 2020

Beguiled by The Lighthouse (review)

The Lighthouse (15)

Dir. Robert Eggers

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Hark Triton, hark! Bellow, bid our father the Sea King rise from the depths full foul in his fury…”

Seafarer beware the beguiling light of The Lighthouse – this new tale of sinister goings-on, superstition and madness from Director Rober ‘The VVitch’ Eggers is salty fare.
Telling the tale of two Lighthouse keepers or ‘wickies’ who both have dark secrets. Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) is a broken former lumberjack, whilst the grizzled experienced keeper Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) seems to be unnaturally possessive of the upper light chamber... This mismatched duo must man the lighthouse on a strange grey islet off the coast of late-19th-century New England, but all might not be so straight forward as the last assistant wickie killed himself citing influence from bad omens and enchantments.

'secrets and lies'

Folk tales work when the set-up is simple, but the underbelly is deep, packed with creeping dread, unnatural events and sights and sounds that will unnerve you. The Lighthouse is a brilliant but very odd film, presented in black and white on 35mm – immediately evoking David Lynch’s 1977 cult classic Eraserhead. The similarities don’t end there as both films take the viewer on a sensory assault, where at times you don’t even really know quite what’s going on…

Both Pattinson and Dafoe are incredible – bringing their absolute A-game to the party and making the film crackle with energy arcing between them. There is an initial animosity between them as Winslow disregards stern warnings from Wake about seemingly trivial matters such as the seagulls (who are said to carry the souls of drowned sailors). But they make it work initially until after a confrontation with one of the seabirds the wind turns, and the island is enclosed in a storm.
This is no gentle character study - there are scenes of violence, much rum language and if you’ve ever wanted a see a mermaid’s lady parts then there’s interspecies sex that makes The Shape of Water looks tame.

'beware the siren'

As the two men’s trust breaks down (just what are those tentacles glimpsed in the light chamber?) and the relief fails to turn up, so their tour of duty is extended indefinitely the atmosphere begins to boil as wildly as the tempestuous seas around the island.

“Boredom makes men into villains” Wake declares at one point and as sanity slips away the line between fantasy and reality ruptures with dark consequences.

Available on Netflix soon if you can find in the cinema – this is awesome, crazed viewing.

'a hallowed beam?'

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


(5 - Sensory overload of a most salty kind)

Awesomeness öööö – Both the leads are on God-tier form

Laughs ööö – Dark and dirty humour (lots of farts)

Horror öööö– Dread and unnerving events plus violence

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - In the mouth of madness

Click this image for darkness!!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Encounters With Darkness • Special Guest Matt Adcock

Really enjoyed talking with the excellent Ashley Greathouse
 - we discussed all sort of topics around inspiration, 
darkness, writing and wacky church names that end up as demonic entities...

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Fear the Parasite - review

Parasite (15)

Dir. Bong Joon Ho

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“You know what kind of plan never fails? No plan. No plan at all. You know why? Because life cannot be planned.”

What would you do to provide for your family? If you were poor, out of work and low on options - might you be tempted to take advantage of those who seemingly have everything?
Kim Ki-taek (Song Kang Ho), has lots of problems - his family are down on their luck - living together in a rancid semi-basement, scrounging wifi from his upstairs neighbours and doing menial jobs whilst passers-by urinate into their home from the street.

The family his wife, Chung-sook cynical twentysomething daughter, Ki-jung, and his c son, Ki-woo are fed up until one day fate intervenes in their lives. A lucky break sees a lucrative business proposition open way for an insidious money-making scam. Ki-woo is invited by his college attending pal to take over as the English tutor for the teenage daughter Da-hye (Jung Ziso) of the affluent Park family.

In the South Korean class system - recommendations of workers are far more important that job adverts and so the Kim family begin to integrate themselves into the lives of an upper-class Parks, taking on more and more positions in the lavish household. The only problem in their plan is the housekeeper Moon-gwang (Lee Jung Eun) who knows the secrets of the house and isn’t going to let her position of trust in the family go without a fight. 
What follows is a dark, biting satire on social-economic disparities in South Korean which plays as an edgy comedy-drama that ventures into horror territory towards the end. Director Bong ‘Snow Piercer’ Joon Ho meticulously manipulates viewers with tonal shifts and razor sharply written dialogue.

Will the cunning Kims get the upper hand on the rich Parks? Can the housekeeper protect the family from these ‘parasites’ whilst trying to hold on to her own dark secrets? It’s an absolute blast finding out as the tension amps up to painful levels.

The futuristic house where the majority of the film takes place is almost like a character itself – the layout is used much like in Hereditary to set up some nightmare situations and to keep viewers on their toes.

You’ll laugh, you’ll wince and you might even scream when the crunchingly violent ending plays out. Parasite is likely to stay with you for a long time after the credits roll.

Seek out this masterpiece and prepare for a wild ride.

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


(5 - Stunning dramatic thrill ride)

Awesomeness öööö – Cracking scenes throughout

Laughs ööö – Very amusing stuff

Horror ööö – Does get violent

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Comfort at what cost?

Want some more madness? 
Check out COMPLETE DARKNESS which delivers near future nightmares...

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Matt is a Bad Boy (for life)... Review

Bad Boys for Life (15)

Dir. Adil & Bilall

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Do you want your legacy to be muscle shirts and body counts?”

The infamous Bad Boys are back in town some 25 years since Bad Boys hit the cinema. Much has changed since then but this 3rd outing is kinda awesome in that it brings the wise-cracking, whiz-bang buddy cop formula up-to-date and makes it feel fresh again for whole new audience.

The 'boys' are back...

Of course, that’s not entirely true, as a huge fan of the original I’m sensing that the record breaking box-office of this threequel is largely due to many other like me who have been waiting to see Mike
(Will Smith) and Marcus (Martin Lawrence) hit the streets again.

What’s different this time? Well, there’s no Michael Bay at the helm so whilst the action still kicks ass, it isn’t quite as hyperkinetic and over-the-top as before. That’s not a criticism but merely a nod to how the two leads have aged and somehow got better with it despite not being as buff as they once were (I can relate).

Bad Boys for Life brings back the winning cocktail of fast cars, hot women, guns – lots of guns, explosions and laugh-out-loud banter – pretty much everything that was great about the other films.
The new Belgian director team of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah are known for their streetwise, racially focused crime films and they slot right in here. The plot sees Mike and Marcus forced to contend with growing old and somewhat obsolete.

'multi tasking'

But when Mike is shot by Armando (Jacob Scipio), whose drug kingpin father he killed and whose mother, Isabel (Kate del Castillo), he got imprisoned – the reality of their perilous situation bites them.

Watching middle-aged dudes deal with such trauma and coping in wildly differing ways - Marcus walking away from his life of violence, while Mike seeks brutal revenge for his wounded sense of masculinity - is compelling stuff. Assigned the help of the tech-driven Advanced Miami Metro Operations (AMMO), led by Mike's ex-girlfriend Rita (Paola Nunez) – a new breed of drone wielding police team who are a fun addition to the old-school run and gun style of the Bad Boys.


Can Marcus reclaim his virility by waging a war against the powerful enemies he finds himself up against? Will Marcus keep his faith and vow a peaceful life – when as Mike tells him at one point:
‘God gave you that machine gun’?

It’s a blast to watch them ‘Ride together, die together’ – I’m hoping this isn’t quite the last we see of the iconic duo.

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


(4 - Huge fun backed up with quality action)

Awesomeness öööö – They do what they do best

Laughs öööö – Really funny

Horror ööö – Not too nasty, some violence (obviously)

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Friends hold to a creed

Want some more madness? 
Check out COMPLETE DARKNESS which delivers near future nightmares...

Sunday, January 12, 2020

1917 - War is hell but sure looks incredible review

1917 (15)

Dir. Sam Mendes

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“They're walking into a trap. Your orders are to deliver a message calling off tomorrow mornings attack, if you fail, it will be a massacre…”

War is hell – and Sam ‘Skyfall’ Mendes certainly brings the full horror of World War 1 to the big screen in a truly cinematographic feast for the eyes. 1917 tells a tale he was passed on by his grandfather of two young soldiers on a vital mission to deliver a message that could possibly save thousands of allied troops.

What is truly stunning is that this exciting and devastating drama was filmed and edited as if it was one long take, with the camera tracking Lance Corporal’s Blake (Dean-Charles ‘Game of Thrones’ Chapman) and Schofield (George ‘Captain Fantastic’ MacKay), as they undertake a perilous gambit behind enemy lines.

"Full metal panic"

The cinematography is staggering and whilst it is undoubtedly a harrowing tale, there is much to appreciate visually thanks to Roger ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Deakins' work. The mix of fear and adrenaline is visceral viewing as the camera travels a few inches above the dirt advancing with our two leads. Danger is everywhere and life is cheap as every enemy encounter is potentially fatal. 1917 doesn’t play like an action adventure, this is grittier and more savage, and all the more engaging for it.

It’s easy to see why 1917 took home two Golden Globes as it is without a doubt a technical masterpiece, giving us another glimpse at the horror and brutality of war – shot through with the cost of service and sacrifice. What the troops had to endure in the trenches is grimly writ large, even the other soldiers are a mix of shell-shocked and dispirited. The battle set pieces feel scarily realistic, this film will keep you on the edge of your seat to the heart-breaking conclusion.

"Brothers in arms"

The cast are excellent, including quality support from the likes of Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Strong who bring gravitas to their small but key parts. The two leads are superbly believable in their desperate mission that will push them beyond what most could endure.
Mendes demonstrates a rare gift for being able to demonstrate how bravery is not a substitute for vulnerability but rather the ability to overcome fear and push forward anyway.

1917 might just be one of the best war movies of all time and an incredible piece of filmmaking that should be witnessed on the largest screen you can find.

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


(5 - Stunning vision of hell through a new lense)

Awesomeness ööööö – Powerful and heart-pounding throughout

Laughs öö – Darkly funny in places

Horror öööö – Nasty injuries throughout, plus death and peril

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Honour in mission

Want some more madness? 
Check out COMPLETE DARKNESS which delivers near future nightmares...

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Achtung Jojo Rabbit Review

Jojo Rabbit (12a)

Dir. Taika Waititi

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“You're not a Nazi, Jojo. You're a ten-year-old kid who likes dressing up in a funny uniform…”

World War II really wasn’t a laughing matter but Taika ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’ Waititi somehow manages to deliver a superbly funny WW2 satire that tells the tale of lonely Hitler Youth enthusiast Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis). Jojo lives with his wildly independent single mother (Scarlett Johansson) in Germany as the end of the war approaches – and he is aghast to find out his mum is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic.

"if you're Nazi and you know it - jump"

Jojo has a secret, an idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler himself no less (played by Waititi) – who stokes the young lad’s ideological indoctrination.

This comic Nazi-em-up might sound like being in poor taste but it goes full-throttle hilarious from the off and you’ll be caught up in the infectious madness before you know it. The premise is liable to make viewers uncomfortable as it makes fun of the horrific fascism, but the clever writing is spot on and makes lots of really good points about the horror of war.

"fabulous to the end"

Jojo earns his ‘Rabbit’ nickname due his unwillingness to kill a captured rabbit in front of his Hitler Youth troop. His gentle nature exposed gives an insight into how he is caught up in something that he can’t fully understand. The relationship between Roman Griffin Davis and Thomasin McKenzie is what gives the film such resonance. Real warmth and chemistry from their polar opposite positions leads to many wonderful comedic scenes. Johansson is great too and her ‘live free’ mentality is core to the message that we should all try to act on the right side of humanity – whatever the cost.

"wartime pals"

Waititi’s comic opus has echoes of Wes Anderson, Mel Brooks and Charlie Chaplin but also creates something entirely new and brilliant. His dedication to this project (he wrote and directed – as well as starring) is backed up by some superb cinematography and a great soundtrack.

"dinner banter"

All the cast go about the madness with gusto and quality supporting roles from Rockwell and Rebel Wilson are hilariously over the top. Special mention should go to newcomer Archie Yates who plays Jojo’s pal Yorkie as he gets some movie stealing scenes in his determination to be a good little Nazi.

Jojo Rabbit feels like a very timely film shining an important light on such a horrific time in human history and finding heartfelt humour in it.

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


(5 - Best Nazi-em-up ever!)

Awesomeness ööööö – Audacious and brilliant scenes abound

Laughs ööööö – Really funny, will break you!

Horror ööö – Some grimness

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Where would you stand?

Want some more madness? 
Check out COMPLETE DARKNESS which delivers near future nightmares...

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Darkmatter’s Top Ten Films 2019

Matt’s Top Ten Films 2019

10. Le Mans ‘66

The amazing true(ish) story of the slick Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and his rough-but-decent driver pal Ken Miles (Christian Bale). These men’s mission is to create a car for Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) capable of besting Ferrari’s legendary vehicles in 1966’s 24-hour Le Mans. Bromances don’t come much better…

9. Destroyer

Kidman is on scenery-chewing form, undergoing a physically incredible transformation to show the horrific state she’s in after years of alcohol abuse. Her present-day looks contrast sharply with flashbacks to when she was a bright-eyed, beautiful young cop sent undercover to infiltrate a dangerous gang of bank robbers. This is bleak, brilliant filmmaking that will tear your soul apart.

8. The Favourite

Watching these two leading ladies locked in a battle of wits, with the Queen’s favour the prize, is diabolical fun that pulls no punches. It’s not just the loyalties of the Court that are switched and played with as events take dubious twists – viewers too are in for an emotional rollercoaster ride. The Favourite is a film that might well live up to its name…

7. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino is back with his 9th film – spinning the tall tale of what might have happened ‘Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood’. This is a love letter to 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as fading TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his long-time stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. Highly watchable stuff!

6. The Irishman

Netflix have bet big on The Irishman, the story of lifetime mobster Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro showing he is still a freaking acting legend). Based on the memoir ‘I Heard You Paint Houses’ compiled by investigator Charles Brandt – the title alludes to how the walls change colour when someone is shot ‘painting’ the walls with their blood. This Irishman is excellent and shows that the old boys can sometimes still school the youngsters in the cinematic art. Well played Netflix in making this happen!

5. Joker

“Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?” asks Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), of his counsellor, after being attacked and beaten in the street by a gang of youths.  What follows is a heart-breaking odyssey into madness and violence that traces the birth of Gotham’s clown prince of chaos – Joker. What we have here is the full-throttle descent of a misunderstood man who has no positive reference points. Joker is a timely instant classic - put on a happy face!!

4. Glass

Glass feels like a spiritual odyssey that tackles the mystery of what it is to be human as much as it is a thinking person’s comic book tale. It is gorgeously shot and cleverly ties in the previous films to leave audiences broken and challenged. A cracking cinematic achievement, Glass is the antidote for anyone who is suffering from super-hero burnout.

3. A Good Woman is Hard to Find

The standout finale to this year’s FrightFest – and one of the only films to have a 100% ‘Fresh’ Rotten Tomatoes rating. This is the brutal tale of Sarah (Sarah Bolger) a recently widowed young mother. Her son Ben has been an elective mute since the day he witnessed his father being knifed to death on their estate. Police have done nothing to catch the killer, but never underestimate the power of a good woman…

2. Booksmart

Booksmart is super sharply written and innovative – blessed with a fantastic cast who include a winning turn as uber driving school principal (Jason Sudeikis), plus Will Forte and Lisa Kudrow as Amy’s super-Christian, gay-supportive parents and Gigi (Billie Lourd) – an unhinged Heathers / Mean Girls type. You can almost smell the adolescence and feel the heartbreak as Wilde delivers so many superb cinematic experiences – all backed up with a killer soundtrack. Funniest film of the year by a mile.

1. Avengers: Endgame

Payoff is exactly what this delivers - for a supremely satisfying, total adrenaline rush of superhero adventure – there is simply nothing to match Avengers: Endgame. At three hours, the runtime might be butt-numbing, but it’s certainly never dull. The winning interplay of the heroes and a cleverly worked renewed threat mean that Endgame delivers both some excellent fun moments (Thor playing Fortnite!?) and the crunching action scenes that scale intimate duels and epically huge final showdown with a deft touch.

Read my Top Films of 2018 here

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Matt Paints Houses with The Irishman

The Irishman (18)

Dir Martin Scorsese

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Would you like to be a part of this, Frank? Would you like to be a part of this history?”

Netflix have bet big on The Irishman, the story of lifetime mobster Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro showing he is still a freaking acting legend). Based on the memoir ‘I Heard You Paint Houses’ compiled by investigator Charles Brandt – the title alludes to how the walls change colour when someone is shot ‘painting’ the walls with their blood.

The Irishman is a truly epic tale which covers the time period of the 1940s right through to the early 2000s. Director Scorsese takes us on this trip of how Sheeran rose from a low-level hood to become the right-hand man of Union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).

'that infamous unimpressed look...'

If this sounds a bit like the narrative style of Goodfellas or Casino - Scorsese’s two other told-in-retrospect gangster films – that’s because it is, and it works superbly making this feel like the third in his mobster classic series. For me The Irishman is also the most likeable of the three and it’s certainly the longest coming in at a riveting three-and-a-half-hour runtime.

Throughout the compelling sharing of events, there is very much the sense that we’re witnessing a sugar-coated version of what went down. Sheeran might not be a completely trustworthy narrator, glossing over the dark fallout from the copious violence but not shying away from it.

Scorsese might be pushing 80 but he’s still a master of this medium and here his use of de-aging many cast members with digital technology works really well in giving those sections of the film a hazy ‘idealistic’ feel.

'street violence'

The cast are truly another level with De Niro and Pacino on top form but Joe Pesci (as Russell Bufalino) and Harvey Keitel (as don Angelo Bruno) standing out but ably supported by great supporting cast that includes Anna Paquin as Sheeran’s disapproving daughter Peggy and Jack Huston as Robert ‘Bobby’ Kennedy trying to take down organized crime.

This Irishman is one of the best films of the year and shows that the old boys can sometimes still school the youngsters in the cinematic art. Well played Netflix in making this happen!

'can't touch me'

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


(5 - Quality Old School Gangster-em-up)

Awesomeness ööööö – Some unforgettable scenes and compulsive viewing throughout

Laughs ööö – Some nice dark humour

Horror öööö – Graphic violence

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - What is a man's life worth?

Want some more madness? 
Check out COMPLETE DARKNESS which delivers near future nightmares...

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