DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Read my novel: Complete Darkness

Listen to the PODCAST I co-host: Hosts in the Shell

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Dark Knight review 'heavy duty Batman joy'

The Dark Knight (12a)

Dir. Christopher Nolan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Some men aren't looking for anything logical. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” And the world of Batman burns in blazing style thanks to an incredible reimagining of The Joker in The Dark Knight. Director Christopher ‘The Prestige’ Nolan follows up 2005’s excellent Batman Begins with a powerhouse epic based on the iconic comic book hero’s greatest challenge.
The Dark Knight sees Batman having brought his own brand of extreme justice to the mean streets of Gotham, he’s tamed the mob and put real fear into the hearts of the underworld. But just as Harvey Dent the new crusading District Attorney (Aaron Eckhart) is appointed and looks to cement a crime free future, the criminal elements are about to be galvanised by a psychotic madman / criminal genius named The Joker (Heath Ledger).

"you will believe too..."

So the stakes are raised for Batman / Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) – how do you fight an enemy with an irrational lust for chaos? Welcome to a world without rules where the gloves are off and no one is safe. This is bleak, dark material, a million miles away from the camp knockabout of Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin, and so much the better for it. The Dark Knight is grim, violent and unsettling in places (certainly not a family movie) but equally wildly exciting and thought provoking too. Who’d have thought that a comic book tale could deliver potentially the best film of 2008? I have to note Ledger’s performance as The Joker as it is the stuff of legend, he even blows Jack Nicholson’s performance from Tim Burton’s Batman away and he will be very sadly missed.Are there any weaknesses in this fantastically assembled masterpiece? Well, if you want to be picky it is a bit long but that’s not really much of a grumble. My only real disappointment was that Maggie Gyllenhaal's Rachel 'didn’t quite work as well as Katie Holmes' (never thought I’d be writing that).
Her only memorable moment comes when she lands a kick in the Joker’s privates – he quips:
“A little fight in ya. I like that!”
But is immediately upstaged by Batman who appears and adds:
"Then you're going to love me…”
delivered whilst punching him full in the face!?

DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM (all ratings out of maximum 10 but '-' is bad whereas '+' is good):

Endorphin Stimulation: ööööööööö (9)
+ The Dark Knight delivers...

Tasty Action: ööööööööö (9)
+ Batman has never rocked so hard

Gratuitous Babeness: ööööö (5)
+ Gyllenhaal is cute but not stunning

Mind Blight / Boredom: ööööö (5)
+ Not much padding but could have been a bit sharper

Comedic Value: öööööö (6)
+ Some nice dark humour

Arbitrary final rating: öööööööööö (10)
Kapow… this is an altogether awesome film, see it as soon as you can (and it looks absolutely stunning in IMAX too).

Liable to make you:
"fall for the big black bat"

DM Poster Quote:
“cross the line..."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

WALL -E review 'space the final funtier'


Dir. Andrew Stanton

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Buckle up for an adventure beyond the ordinar-E… Pixar have done it again – creating yet another marvellous digital piece of entertainment that packs a real sucker punch message about what we’re doing to the planet.
Star of the show is WALL – E, a cute cleaner / recycler-bot who has spent 700 years trying his best to clean up planet earth which we have utterly devastated through big brand consumerism and our fully disposable culture. All the humans have jumped ship into space on a luxury star cruise liner where their every need is taken care of – even to the point that no-one even needs to leave their floating chairs. Back home, WALL – E has gotten a little eccentric after his years of solitude, his only pal is a cockroach and he spends his evening watching an ancient video of ‘Hello Dolly’ - so its not a total surprise that he’s a few bolts short of his set. One day his world is literally shattered when sleek sexy ipod-alike super robot named EVE arrives on a secret mission, WALL – E is totally smitten and believes that the companion of his dreams has been delivered. But the course of true robot love doesn’t run smooth and there’s real fun to be had on this interplanetary tale that might just see our robotic heroes saving the world en route to a happy ever after.
Andrew ‘Finding Nemo’ Stanton writes and directs with eye popping visual flair and delivers a plot that beats with an authentic human heart underneath the shiny metal surface. There are quality film references and thought-provoking elements which set this apart from most kiddie focused animated flicks. In fact I’d call WALL – E a modern day classic; a faintly disturbing future vision / morality tale dressed up in super fusion CGI eye candy.
Pixar’s reputation for quality is well earned and I can see WALL – E finding a place in many people’s hearts as a new icon of great cinema. Striking just the right balance between indulgent technological marvels and gripping entertainment, I witnessed this with my two sons (11 and 8) who both thoroughly enjoyed it too. WALL – E will take you to the final ‘fun’tier…
It seems that after 700 years of doing what he was built for – WALL -E's finally discovered what he's meant for – and that is to entertain the entire family not just this summer but for years to come.

DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM (all ratings out of maximum 10 but '-' is bad whereas '+' is good):

Endorphin Stimulation: ööööööööö (9)
+ Fun and frothybut not substantial

Tasty Action: öööööööö (8)
+ Pixar deliver the goods at several points

Gratuitous Babeness: öööö (4)
+ Depends largely on how you feel about Apple equipment...

Mind Blight / Boredom: öööööööö (8)
+ Jaw dropping animated joy will keep you hooked

Comedic Value: öööööö (6)
+ Not a laugh riot but some real fun to be had

Arbitrary final rating: ööööööööö (9)
Really quite wondeful stuff - worth seeing twice at least!

Liable to make you:
"stroke your ipod"

DM Poster Quote:
“a hero will be found... among the ruins of our planet"

Additional Info…

Best line:

Captain (Jeff Garlin): “This is called farming! You kids are gonna grow all sorts of things! Vegetable plants, pizza plants... it's good to be home!”

If you like WALL – E you’ll probably also like: Short Circuit, Star Wars, Finding Nemo…

You might like to know: WALL – E stands for ‘Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth-class’

And look out for: the sound WALL-E makes when he is fully charged by the sun is the same "boot up" sound that most of Apple's Macintosh computers have made since circa 1996.
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Friday, July 18, 2008

Mamma Mia! - the 'take a chance on me' review

Mamma Mia! (PG)

Dir. Phyllida Lloyd

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Isn’t that just typical, you’re a young bride-to-be trying to find your real father and suddenly through the ‘magic’ of Abba three show up at once… This is the premise for Mamma Mia! the big screen version of the hit musical stage show from top British theatre director, Phyllida Lloyd.

You see twenty years ago, Meryl Streep’s Donna went for a spot of sun, sea and romance on a Greek island, but after a knock back from her chosen man (Pierce Brosnan’s Sam) she got busy with two other fellas – Harry (Colin Firth) and Bill (Stellan Skarsgard). Now the chickens have come home to roost because even though nobody knows for sure which is the resulting child Sophie’s (Amanda Seyfried) real dad – thanks to a quick peruse of her mum's diary - she manages to invite all three potential fathers to her wedding… But to quote the classic line from Highlander – "there can be only one"… and so the stage is set for a sing-along romantic comedy that plays the stage show against a lush Mediterranean picture postcard backdrop.

How you feel about Mamma Mia will depend on your love for Abba, this isn’t your average musical with a ‘burst into song’ moment at strategic intervals, this is a full on disco karaoke overdose of 70’s pop, dance routines and slapstick episodes often featuring Julie Walters falling over.

Some people will love the resulting over the top camp overdose, which drips Greek cheese from every orifice; others are likely to run screaming in panic from the cinema. It’s certainly an experience and although not strictly my ‘cup of tea’ I must confess that the movie has energy and is a lot more fun than Sex In The City. Colin Firth manages to stake his Alpha Male claim as the suitors playfully tussle for the heart of Donna – the ex Mr Darcy even stealing some of the scenes at the end.
Meryl Streep does an amazing job as the reformed wild child, rediscovering her relationship with Sam and getting to know her daughter again in the way that can only happen on screen.

As they say "The Winner Takes It All" and the winner here is undoubtedly the film studio, laughing all the way to the bank as the wider audience the cinema gives the show brings in the “Money Money Money”.

DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM (all ratings out of maximum 10 but '-' is bad whereas '+' is good):

Endorphin Stimulation: ööööö (5)
+ Fun and frothybut not substantial

Tasty Action: ööööö (5)
+ Camp dance moves ahoy!

Gratuitous Babeness: öööööö (6)
+ Amanda Seyfried you would, Meryl Streep maybe not so much...

Mind Blight / Boredom: öööööööö (8)
- This will drag like a broken leg if you don't like ABBA

Comedic Value: öööööö (6)
+ Yep watching people fall over is funny - music or not...

Arbitrary final rating: ööööö (5)
If you liked the stage show add two more stars.

Liable to make you:
"into a dancing queen..."

DM Poster Quote:
“You have been warned!"

Monday, July 07, 2008

Much Ado About Lauren - the 'summer comedy smash hit from Luton' review

Much Ado About Lauren (12a)

Dir. Dave Jenkins

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

It’s a timeless tale – boy next door meets and falls for pretty girl, pretty girl likes sporty floppy haired hunk better, but enough about my younger life – this is also the plot for Luton’s first blockbuster big screen epic… Okay so the plot isn’t a million miles away from a million other movies but Much Ado About Lauren, isn’t like those other movies. This Bedfordshire odyssey hails from the unique brand of filmmaking that can be readily identified as a ‘Wade Bros production’ – yes they of the weird and wonderful short You Tube hit film franchise The Woods. Here thanks to a witty script (by Dave ‘yeah I also directed this’ Jenkins), spirited performances from a talented young cast and a massive dose of feel good magic, Much Ado About Lauren comes out swinging as this year’s surprise summer teen comedy hit.

At the sold out Cineworld charity premiere this week Much Ado About Lauren punched way above its zero budget in terms of entertainment, delivering some classic scenes of mirth infused with real teen pathos as it charted the story of love’s often rocky path through a modern high school. Shot on location in and around Luton the film stars the widely tipped future Hollywood leading man Simon Wade (think Daniel Day Lewis but blonder and younger) as the unlucky in love Greg. But just as school playwright Greg finds shapely new girl Lauren (Abi-Louise Murray) to be the answer to his youthful fantasies, she only has eyes for the meat-headed school rugby captain.

What’s a young chap to do? Especially when he has a cute but completely demented stalker fan (pure over the top comic class from Sophia Guinchard) tracking his every move… Add to the mix a show stealing turn by elder sibling Tom Wade as his on screen slacker brother ‘Lenny’ – deserving of his own spin off road trip movie surely and even older Wade brother Paul as a compromised drama teacher, stir in some goofy friends and splice with heart warming antics… Before you can say the words ‘cult comedy classic’ you’ll be laughing, crying and singing along to the catchy soundtrack – probably all at the same time. The cast all give 110%, the cinematography is crisp and the special effects budget well used (there wasn’t one)…

All in all Much Ado About Lauren is a roaring success that bodes very well for future flicks from Jenkins and / The Wade Bros. Luton can stand up and be proud of this fine slice of school yard heartbreak comedy – the world should take note!

DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM (all ratings out of maximum 10 but '-' is bad whereas '+' is good):

Endorphin Stimulation: ööööööö (7)
+ Quality writing and production all round

Tasty Action: öööööööö (8)
+ Eye watering set pieces are great!

Gratuitous Babeness: öööööööö (8)
+ Special mention to Gillian Van Der Merwe whose ‘babeblicious’ cameo is awesome

Mind Blight / Boredom: ööö (3)
- Zips along without a dull moment

Comedic Value: öööööööööö (9)
+ Side splittingly funny in places

Arbitrary final rating: ööööööööö (9)
Respect is due to the Wade Bros!!

Liable to make you:
"Wish you back in high school"

DM Poster Quote:
“Nothing can prepare you for the ultimate adventure... love"

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Hancock - the 'he's good but he's no Adcock' review

Hancock (12a)

Dir. Peter Berg

Reviewed by Matt Hancock

Hancock (originally going to be titled ‘Adcock’ but changed due to legal reasons) tells the tale of an immortal being that walks amongst us. Stronger, faster and invulnerable to damage Hancock is a true superhero but he’s also fully human in that he has issues with self-esteem and interfacing with the public…
Will Smith plays this flawed protector whose subversive ‘just don’t care’ tendencies mean that when he saves the day, there’s usually a multimillion dollar amount of collateral damage that goes along with it.
Hancock has been miss-sold as a comedy Hancock by the superb trailer which showboats some the best scenes such as the hero casually tossing a massive beached whale back into the ocean (inadvertently destroying a luxury yacht in the process) or chasing down a car full of gun toting crooks but wrecking most of the freeway.
What you actually get is a funky superhero relationship drama, which begins with some killer funnies and develops into a darker origins tale. Can the controversial antihero be reformed and made into a loved public champion – a seemingly chance encounter with a PR professional Ray (Jason Bateman) might just be the chance he needs… But what’s with the secretly guarded looks that Ray’s wife Mary (Charlize Theron) is giving Hancock? And why should the ultimate man of steel be such a cantankerous misery guts when he could potentially be loved and worshiped as the people’s champion? There’s just enough mystery to keep you playing along when the comedy dries up and standard super hero action takes over.
But I must say that those coming to see a ‘Super Bad Boys’ will find themselves scratching their heads and leaving vowing never to trust a film trailer again.
Smith is excellent however whether snarling at friends and foes to begin with, handling the adult natured slap stick of shoving one convicts head up another’s backside or rising to his noble calling and saving a policewoman injured and pinned down by automatic gunfire happy bank robbers.
The tone of the film is certainly uneven but there was a lot of love for Hancock in the screening I was in – one viewer even shouting out words of encouragement when the hero finds himself in mortal peril. A point to note though is that this isn’t a very kid friendly vehicle with profanity and adult natured scenes throughout.
If looking for a hot new comedy I also saw the premier of Luton’s finest Wade Brothers first big screen movie ‘Much Ado About Lauren’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leZ8sAmbipA – it’s an awesome effort, so click here and track down where you might be able to get a copy!

DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM (all ratings out of maximum 10 but '-' is bad whereas '+' is good):

Endorphin Stimulation: ööööööö (8)
+ Nice ideas that will please super hero fans more than action comedy junkies...

Tasty Action: öööööööö (8)
+ Some truly memorable set pieces.

Gratuitous Babeness: öööööööö (8)
+ Theron is a hottie, no doubt in my mind

Mind Blight / Boredom: ööööö (5)
- Not the film many will be expecting from the cool trailer

Comedic Value: öööööööööö (9)
+ Very funny in places but a comedy overall

Arbitrary final rating: öööööööö (8)
Big Willie does superhero crisis in style

Liable to make you:
"wonder if you're wife is actually a superhero..."

DM Poster Quote:
“We've been sent a new saviour - but he's bit of a boozer alas"

"When Hancock lets one rip, the taxpayer picks up the bill..."
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Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Dark Knight...

"Oh baby... JOKER is my favourite bad guy!!"

"I couldn't be more excited about this... IMAX anyone!?"

gotta love this dialogue...

Bank Manager:
"The criminals in this town used to believe in things. Honor. Respect. Look at you! What do you believe in? What do you believe in!?"

The Joker:
"I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you... stranger."

Click through here to the infamous FILMSTALKER and watch 5 wonderful minutes of what just might be my film of the year!!
LINK: http://www.filmstalker.co.uk/archives/2008/07/the_dark_knight_five_minutes_o.html