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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Monday, November 26, 2012

Darkmatters Review: End of Watch

End of Watch (15)

Dir. David Ayer

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

“I am the police, and I'm here to arrest you. You've broken the law. I did not write the law. I may disagree with the law but I will enforce it. By law I am unable to walk away. I am a consequence. I am the unpaid bill. I am fate with a badge and a gun.“

Lock and load for David ‘Street Kings and Harsh Times’ Ayer's powerful found-footage cop-drama-em-up. End of Watch is an awesomely kinetic free flowing tale of two likeable cops who get marked for death when they inadvertently tick off a powerful / evil drug cartel who have started operating on their L.A. beat.

"You have the right to remain dead..."

The filmmakers use a variety of handheld, shaky lapel attached and cc tv style cameras to bring an uncompromising fictional insight into the day-to-day life of hot-shot cops Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña).

End of Watch brings some superb gritty action but balances it with a ton of good-natured banter and joking around between the two leads which makes you care about them – especially when the plot puts them right in harm's way. The sweary dialogue may be crude and not to everyone’s taste but it feels refreshingly ‘real’.

The hand-held footage genre has already been used really effectively in the excellent ‘Chronicle’ but was annoyingly rubbish in ‘Paranormal Activity 4’ this year. End of Watch comes in on the positive side – taking you right ‘into’ the dangerous street level action.

"Christmas bonus from the LAPD"

The performances of Gyllenhal and Peña are absolutely fantastic, creating a believable and likeable police buddy partnership – it feels all the more authentic due to the two having spent time with actual LAPD officers. Love interests are on hand in the form of Anna Kendrick and Natalie Martinez, who give the film an even stronger emotional core. Viewing End of Watch is like hanging out with two best pals whose friendship is forged in the heat of battle and constant threat of danger into a strong genuine bond.

The obligatory bad guys are a small army of tattooed scumbag foot soldiers led by Big Evil (Maurice Compte) – playing against type as he was a Police Officer in the TV Cop drama Southland. The fact that the baddies have cameras as well allows for an awesome ambush scene shot from both viewpoints.

Grim, funny and altogether exciting, be careful out there and be sure to check End of Watch!

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

ööööö – Best cop thriller for a long time!

5 – A cult classic in the making 

Awesomeness ööööö – everything works really well

Laughs öööö – very funny in places

Horror ööö – some nasty moments

Babes ööö – Anna Kendrick and Natalie Martinez

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - brothers to the end


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Darkmatters Review: The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn - Part 2

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (12a)

Dir. Bill Condon

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“I thought we would be safe forever. But "forever" isn't as long as I'd hoped.”

Here it is then – the ‘epic’ end to the Twilight Saga. The supernatural film series that has limped along in highly unconvincing fashion, pleasing many girls and alienating many guys along the way.

Fans of Team Jacob and / or Team Edward finally get to see how it ends for pouty and now red-eyed Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), her sparkly skin oddball vampire hubby Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), and bad boy, often-shirtless wolfy Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner),

"just your average vampire family"

Is it any good? Well despite an unpromisingly miserable and criminally dull Part 1, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 actually manages to be the ‘least bad’ of the whole franchise. I asked my son’s girlfriend Aimee – who is a self confessed fan of Twilight for a female reaction to the film… She said: “It was fantastic, just brilliant!” - a friend's daughter Rebekah Middleditch was also keen to make sure a female voice got heard in this review - so she says:  "I thought that the film is great because it is so full of surprises. I love the bit where Bella and Edward move into their new house because it’s so romantic and it’s such a sweet moment. I love Twilight it’s such a fun young movie and they are all great actors, it’s a shame that it is now over."

Hhhmmm - so I guess it doesn’t really matter what I say!?

Anyway, the plot revolves around Bella’s new half human / half vampire baby Renesmee whose existence is apparently a crime to the vampire overseeing council The Voluturi. The only hope for a happy ending seems to be for the lead trio to assemble a team of witnesses from around the world who can vouch that the young offspring won’t herald the end of vampire-kind.

Cue a weird bunch of blood suckers (each with handy X-Men like powers) getting together to try and convince the Volturi not to massacre the baby and our teen heroes.

The heroic X-Factor finalists lined up...

Along the way we also get to witness Bella learning to use her new super strength, speed and erm, sense of smell… Now married she and Edward are morally free to spend most of the time in bed together too making super powered love to each other.

All this is bit hard on her poor human dad (Billy Burke) for whom she has to ‘pretend’ to still be human too. Wolf boy Jacob adds to the tension by ‘imprinting’ on the baby girl “Nessie" – whose accelerated growth rate means that she can become a viable love interest for him by the end of the film… Doesn’t make it feel right though.

Fans of the books might also be in for a shock as a wholesale plot diversion sees the Cullens, their friendly werewolves and witness pals having a mass brawl with the baddie Volturi who themselves have special powered vamps such as Jane (Dakota Fanning) who can hurt people with her mind. It’s a bold move and by far the most exciting ten minutes of all five films!

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

ööö – a quality historical thrill ride worth taking

3 – better than Breaking Dawn Part 1 (DM Review

Awesomeness ööö – the fight is at least worth a look

Laughs öö – couple of smirks to be had

Horror ööö – weedy for a 'horror film'

Babes ööö – Kristen looks better undead!

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - true love waits (forever)

"a rare non angst-ridden Stewart"

Darkmatters Review: ARGO

Argo (15)

Dir. Ben Affleck

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

‘The movie was fake. The mission was real.’

Welcome back to 1979, things are a tad tense in Iran where the American embassy is being stormed by enraged supporters of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Most of the unlucky American staff are taken hostage, but six plucky souls manage to escape and find shelter in the official residence of the Canadian ambassador.

But with the hostile crowd hunting for them and diplomatic relations strained beyond breaking point, a daring rescue mission must be devised by the CIA. With odds described as being ‘worse than many suicide missions we ran in the war’, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck, who also directs) comes up with a crazy plan – to create a phony Canadian sci-fi film which would require some locations shots in Iran.

"the game of 'bag on head surprise' wasn't fun..." 

The plan would see Mendez fly into Iran, meet up with the target exiled Americans and then fly out with them pretending to be his Canadian film crew. To help the plan have any chance of looking ‘real’, some Hollywood bigwigs are drafted in. And so one of the world’s most exciting escapes is attempted – and it’s all true!

I’m sure that Argo plays a little fast and loose with the facts of the situation but there is no denying that the tale is well staged and brilliantly acted and directed by Affleck. It’s probably not going to win many friends in the Muslim world as it clearly depicts the CIA and Yanks as the good guys and the Iranian people as a whole as mostly fanatical Muslims, baying for Yankee blood. The cast are superb throughout, Alan Arkin and John Goodman are great comedy value as the Hollywood fake film team and the period detail feels spot on – the moustaches are especially impressive.

"A brilliant thriller? I'll drink to that!"

Where Argo really shines though, is in the sheer edge-of-the-seat tension that it ramps up, this is a high quality white-knuckle thrill ride. You don’t need to have been around during the 1970s and 1980s to appreciate Argo but for those who were too young to fully understand what was going on, this is an eye-opening glimpse of a powder keg international situation. As anti-Iranian sentiment in the United States is worryingly high at the moment – there is potentially the possibility that another ‘Argo’ style plan is happening even as we speak.

Are those Disney/Star Wars announcements actually the start of a massive CIA cover operation?

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

öööö1/2 – a quality historical thrill ride worth taking

4.5 – Affleck does it again! 

Awesomeness öööö – very high levels of tension

Laughs ööö – Ar go F.... = comedy classic line

Horror ööö – nasty in places but not too grim

Babes öö – Nerdy analyst look a go go

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö true human spirit (and maybe God on your side?)

Alternate review? Try Cultureslap!!

Kerry Bishé

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Darkmatters Review: Silent Hill: Revelation 3D

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (15)

Dir. Michael J. Bassett

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Welcome to back to Silent Hill, a place formed by the twisted psyche of those who have suffered unimaginable horrors, an alternate dimension ruled by demonic forces…

If that sounds like the sort of place you fancy spending some time then Silent Hills Revelation 3D, the second movie based on the classic PlayStation game series, delivers an eye-popping 90 mins of frightful fun. Just don’t expect any sense of a coherent plot, set your cheesy dialogue filter to ‘on’ and sit back and let the lavishly grim visuals sweep over you.

"this is where you normally press 'x' to duck'

The Silent Hill series won gamers over by its use of disturbing symbolism and psychological dream-state horror visual flair. The problem when it comes to bringing this to the big screen is that it a very different medium – and a very different experience to watch characters being chased by freaky monsters rather then have them actually (virtually) chasing you!?

For those who have never experienced Silent Hill either in game or film form up until now – this is a story where metaphors of the madness and fragileness of sanity abound, pretty deep stuff. Alas Silent Hill: Revelation 3D – which tries to shoehorn most of the third game into the sequel plot to the first film – ends up as an exercise of ‘flash visuals, shame about the film’.

"what's it all about?"

Basically Sharon (who has now renamed herself Heather and is played by Adelaide Clemens) was saved from Silent Hill by her mother (who didn’t make it out)… Her dad (Sean Bean) is doing all he can to hide her from the monsters in Silent Hill but before you can say ‘cash in’ she’s back in the netherworld with Red Pyramid (a giant sword wielding muscled executioner with a pyramid shaped helmet) and demonic pals.

Silent Hill once again brings some seriously grisly shocks and mind bendingly grim creatures to the screen – even making decent use of the 3D for some visual flourishes - which is all well and good for horror fans and those who loved the games. But unfortunately, this follow up just doesn’t match the first one or the games in any respect other than giving more screen time to the fan favourite Pyramid Head (he even pops up after the end credits).

So this second cinematic trip to Silent Hill yields diminishing returns, this is a film that would feel more at home on DVD.

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

ööscary visuals but little more

2 – weak but Red Pyramid is a character than deserves his own film

Awesomeness ööö – There is one awesome climactic fight  

Laughs ö – Not funny

Horror öööö – Gruesome in places

Babes öö – Clemens looks just like the videogame character

Spiritual Enlightenment ö Limited darkness

Darkmatters Review of SILENT HILL

"Adelaide Clemens - nice smile"