DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Read my novel: Complete Darkness

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Darkmatters Review: Looper

Looper (15)

Dir. Rian Johnson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“I work as a specialized assassin, in an outfit called the Loopers. When my organization from the future wants someone to die, they zap them back to me and I eliminate the target from the future. The only rule is: never let your target escape... even if your target is you…”

What would you do to save a life? How far would you go to change future history? Say for example you could take out an evil murdering crime lord when he was still a kid – before he’d even had chance to rise to power? These are the kind of moral questions that sharp, slick sci-fi thriller Looper brings to the party. Moral questions and guns, lots of guns!

"thanks EMPIRE for this great pic"

Meet Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), he’s a Looper, a hit-man who kills those beamed back to him from the future. Life is good with a typical day seeing him off a mark in the morning, then grab some steak and eggs at his favourite diner before going out on the town in a lavish clubbing life which would make many Premiership Footballers look tame in comparison.

But then his fellow Loopers start to find their future selves coming back as targets – it looks like someone in tomorrow wants them all dead. And sure enough Joe’s older self (Bruce Willis) arrives but is somehow ready for Joe and manages to overpower him – setting off a manhunt where both of them are the targets… You see Abe (Jeff Daniels) the Boss of the Loopers doesn’t take kindly to any targets escaping and the punishment is death for Looper and target.

So why has future Joe been sent back? Can he possibly be the key to taking down the ‘Rainmaker’ – a telekinetic uber powerful crime lord who has taken complete control of the future. How far will he go in his terminator inspired preventive strike (the Rainmaker is only about 7 years old at this point)…Which, if either, Joe can survive?

“This time travel crap, just fries your brain like a egg... “

"some of the Looper ladies"

Possible mother of the future Rainmaker is Sara (the lovely Emily Blunt) – she and Joe (current time) just might fall for each other too – which is likely to add a wrinkle to the already complex plot.

Everything comes together in a superb slice of sci-fi action that brings whoops of appreciation from the audience and effortlessly delivers cult cool iconic status. It’s been a long time since Bruce Willis kicked this much ass – this is a ‘must see’ movie!

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

ööööö – Haunted and hunted by the future in fine style!

5 – packs in dangerous levels of awesomeness

Awesomeness ööööö – superb scenes that will stay with you

Laughs öö – Limited but some dark funnies

Horror ööö – kids get killed, this isn't soft sci-fi

Babes öööö – Blunt is hot, plus quite bit of random nudity

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – moral compass is spinning

"Emily Blunt looks the part"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Darkmatters Review: Savages

Savages (15)

Dir. Oliver Stone

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Just because I'm telling you this story... doesn't mean I'm alive at the end of it.”

Oliver Stone blasts back onto the big screen with a brutal, visceral and beautiful tale of drugs, violence and relationships in the form of ‘Savages’. Step out of the UK autumn drizzle and into a sun-drenched world of drug lords, Santa Muerte masks, grim beheadings and heavy-duty gunplay, all underpinned with a kinky relationship love triangle…

"trick or treat!?"

Savages tells the tale of attractive young beach bum weed-heads O (Blake Lively), Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch). These three sexy as hell youngsters share a bed, run their own weed growing / selling business and enjoy the good life… But everything changes - they get in way over their heads when a very nasty drug cartel makes them an offer (which they can’t really refuse) to take over their operation.

O is the siren nymph who shares her two lovers - Ben is the gentle, Zen one who knows the 'erb and uses his funds to help save African children. Chon however is the hard Navy SEAL who is prepared to be the 1% violent enforcement, which their dubious business requires when people decide not to pay for their product.

"decisions decisions"

When the evil Baja cartel lead by Elena Sanchez (Salma Hayek) – who has a penchant for head removal of anyone who crosses her - move in and want a cut of their business, the trio decide to cash in their ill gotten gains and run. But the Baja enforcer is a seriously nasty piece of work named Lado, played by Benicio del Toro, who won’t let them go and so kidnaps O.

Throw John Travolta's corrupt DEA agent into the mix and things get messy…

There are some excellent action scenes, the stand out of which sees Chon get some of his army pals in to help them take down a Baja drugs money drop – complete with IEDs, rocket launchers and copious amounts of gunfire.

Another unforgettable scene see Ben and Chon’s sweaty highway trip to try and deliver a van loaded 300 pounds of grass against the clock but desperately trying to avoid the cops...

Savages tries to show the situation from both sides of the story but you can’t help but root for the good looking trio of ‘heroes’ – they do look absolutely amazing. In fact if you can stand the serious violence, the eye candy (both male and female) is off the scale hot.

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

öööö – it's a savage world...

4 – Good job Mr Stone, more like this please!

Awesomeness öööö – the tense, sweaty action is great

Laughs öö Travolta adds some comic relief!?

Horror öööö – very violent in places

Babes öööö – Lively MMmmmmmm!

Spiritual Enlightenment ö – just say 'no' whatever the cost?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Darkmatters Review: The Sweeney

The Sweeney (15)

Dir. Nick Love

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“We’re The Sweeney, we do the things that you can only dream about…”

Who do you turn to when armed criminals start murdering innocent people in broad daylight on the streets of London, turning over private banks and jewelers at will and generally flaunting the law? The Metropolitan Police Flying Squad or ‘Sweeney’ – as in ‘Sweeney Todd’ rhyming slang - that’s who.

"Jaguar vs Ford Focus ST (driven by The Sweeney)

The Sweeney, led by Jack Regan (Ray Winstone), backed up by George Carter (Ben ‘Plan B’ Drew) don’t play by the rules. Beating up criminals, hunting them down with extreme prejudice and generally taking any excuse to fire up their modded Ford Focus and recklessly speed about. As Carter says at one point ‘you have to act like a criminal, to catch a criminal’…

Director Nick ‘Football Factory’ Love has a knack for bringing over-the-top violence, swearing and macho posturing to the big screen and so this update of the classic ‘70s British cop-em-up fits like a glove.

I can just about remember seeing the original Sweeney (played by John Thaw and Dennis Waterman) they used to burn around in a Ford Granada and beating up criminals. Not a great deal has changed in this big screen modern day version.

"stop or we'll shoot... actually, we'll probably shoot anyway!"

It seems that Allen (Paul Anderson) a high level criminal is on the loose and wanted for a daring armed robbery during which an innocent shopper was executed. The Sweeney are soon on his case but all is not as first appears… Throw into the mix an uptight boss of the department (Damian ‘Homeland’ Lewis), and an angry internal investigator (Steven Mackintosh), who wants to shut The Sweeney down and mix until it all goes off big style!?

The plot bends over backwards to accommodate pretty much every cop drama cliché ever seen – including some lovely nods to other films such as Scum (one of Winstone’s first films). The females in the cast, who include the lovely Hayley Atwell, are mostly there for decoration and emotional plot points. But none of this stops The Sweeney being a brilliant burst of crunching action fun.

"Winstone giving Plan B his 'honest' feedback on the new album"

Winstone plays his take on Jack Regan a lot like a more violent Life on Mars’ Gene Hunt while Drew convinces as a chav thug turned good (if you saw in Harry Brown, then you’ll know what to expect).

The Sweeney is stylishly filmed and packs both the best opening sequence of any film this year and an awesome high caliber weapon shootout across Trafalgar Square, which is seriously exciting.

Don’t mug yourself off – go and see The Sweeney!!

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

ööööö – bring the noise...

5 – would be ahem 'criminal' to miss it!

Awesomeness öööö – tasty action and shoot-em-up high jinks

Laughs ööö – some laughs

Horror öööö – kinda violent and over the top

Babes ööö – Atwell is hot

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – be good or the law will beat the living c**p out of you...

"Hayley swears not to be carrying any concealed weapons..."

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Darkmatters Review: DREDD 3D

DREDD 3D (18)

Dir. Pete Travis

“Rookie, you ready?”

“You look ready!”

800 million people living in the ruin of the old world. Only one thing fighting for order in the chaos, the men and women of the Hall of Justice. Feared and renowned the Judges are the thin blue line – they are the law, empowered to deliver the sentence on criminals on the spot – and often the sentence is ‘death’.

DREDD 3D sees 2000AD’s Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) ripped straight from the comic’s pages and given his second big screen outing, after the lackluster ‘90s Stallone effort. Director Pete Travis’s new grittier and darker version sees Dredd partnered with a rookie psychic Judge named Anderson (Olivia Thirlby). Together they face a nightmare in the form of a 200-floor mega-block, which is controlled by a ruthless, and psychotic crime lord named Ma-Ma (Lena Headey).

"pray the Jehovah's Witnesses never become Judges!?"

When a triple murder investigation leads the dynamic duo of Judges into a dangerous drug bust, Ma-Ma locks the entire block down and set her army of criminals the task of wiping them out before they can dig too deep into her drug operation. The drug in question is a new one called SLO-MO, which slows down the users perception of time so each second seems to last an age. So it’s two Judges verses hundreds of seriously tooled up criminals in a fight to the death, and that’s it pretty much for plot, if it sounds a bit like the excellent ‘The Raid’ from earlier this year, fear not, DREDD brings enough dark sci-fi-ness to the party to make it a fine companion piece rather than any ‘me-too’ effort.

The ultra-violent carnage that ensues is of the seriously gory and highly graphic kind. The filmmakers, who include Luton’s finest Steve Worsley on assistant editing duties, bring the action to eye-watering life, making fine use of the 3D too in the process.

"nice hair - essential for law enforcement"

DREDD 3D is an action packed thrill ride that doesn’t pull its punches. At times you even feel slightly sorry for the heavily armed gang members as DREDD cuts swathes through them with his various types of ammo which include incendiary, high explosive and hot-head (which lights up a perps head like a lantern at one point).

Urban brings a great emotionless grizzled menace to the lead role and he’s ably backed up by Thirlby who gives the film a little humanity (and who looks great in her Judge armour). Urban keeps fans on side by not taking off his helmet throughout, and Heady delivers a nicely evil turn as Ma-Ma.

Everything works in fine, brutal style, making DREDD 3D a highly recommended night out for sci-fi fans with strong stomachs everywhere!!

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

öööö1/2 – Judgment is here...

4.5 – Ma-Ma is not the law; I am the law.

Awesomeness öööö – crunching shootouts are jaw dropping

Laughs ö – you might laugh at the sheer OTT ultra violence

Horror öööö – brutal, gory and grim in places

Babes öö – Thirlby is kind of hot in uniform

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – obey the law...

"Anderson - alternative outfit!"

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Darkmatters Review: Total Recall 2012

Total Recall (12a)

Dir. Len Wiseman

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“The past is a construct of the mind. It blinds us. It fools us into believing it. But the heart wants to live in the present…”

Get ready for a surprise… Here’s Hollywood strip-mining another ‘classic’ film – this one – a new ‘interpretation’ of Philip K Dick's short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. The ‘90s version had the winning team of bloodbath specialist director Paul Verhoeven and lumbering action hero specialist Arnie. The new version has Underworld and Die Hard director Len Wiseman and leading man Colin Farrell… Darkmatters review if original Total Recall here.

"Quaid plays the PS4"

Plot wise, instead of there being a conflict between Martian colonists and Earth’s powerful baddies, Wiseman tries for a fight between the good old United Federation of Britain (UFB) and a sleazy underworld known as the ‘Colony’ – formed by the remains of Australia. The rest of the world is inhabitable thanks to a world wide chemical war but the two livable areas are at least connected by a huge travel shaft that runs through the core of the planet and is known as ‘The Fall’.

Looks wise Total Recall 2012 owes quite a lot to Blade Runner – all rainy high-rise slums connected by floating car superhighways and various walkways. Farrell plays Doug Quaid, a humble Colony-dwelling assembly-line worker (making future police robots) but he has dreams of being a superspy. Alas that’s not likely to happen unless he visits Rekall - a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led. The procedure goes haywire though and Quaid finds himself on the run, fighting the powers and trying to stop a full-scale invasion of the Colony, using the very robots he’s been making for years.

"no time for bum-dancing"

Everything in this new Recall has been given a smart lick of quality CGI special effect coating and the females of the piece come in the shapely forms of Doug’s gorgeous wife (Kate Beckinsale) and sexy resistance fighter Melina (Jessica Biel).

The action rocks along at a good pace and there are several impressive scenes that are worth the price of admission. Alas the new version feels slightly soulless and machine tooled to be just another summer blockbuster rather than any sort of classic.

For fans of the original there are at least some nice nods and winks which include an update of the 3 boobied lady “you’ll wish you had three hands” and a lovely sequence which apes the Arnie disguised as a woman going through security system – only to nicely wrong-foot the viewer.

This is a trip worth taking but it will make you recall how good the original was!

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

ööö1/2 – The future isn't what it used to be...

3.5 – recall this but don't expect too much

Awesomeness ööö – some good chases and shootouts

Laughs öö – amusing in parts

Horror öö – some slightly brutal fights

Babes ööö – B&B Beckinsale and Biel

Spiritual Enlightenment öö – that Rekall will mess with your mind

"more boobies the better?"