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, June 30, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Chef

Chef (15)

Dir. Jon Favreau

Cast: Jon Favreau, Emjay Anthony, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Sofía Vergara, Robert Downey Jr., Oliver Platt, Dustin Hoffman

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the Newspaper version of this review over at: The Gazette

"I get to touch people's lives with what I do and I love it and I want to share this with you."

On the menu today…


Decent anticipation for a new, lower budget and more personal movie from the hotshot director Jon ‘Iron Man’ Favreau. Tasty trailer that whets appetite but looks like it might be a little over-sentimental. The thought of seeing jaw-dropping food prepared in high definition on the big screen is enough to make anyone hungry.

"inter generational cooking!"

Main Course:

Chef sees acclaimed chef Carl Casper (Jon ‘Swingers’ Favreau) unfulfilled cooking for meanie restaurant boss Riva (Dustin Hoffman). He’s also struggling to be any sort of father to his young son Percy (Emjay Anthony) after being divorced by his gorgeous now ex-wife, Inez (Sofía ‘Machete Kills’ Vergara). Speaking of gorgeous there is also Scarlett Johansson on hand as a foxy wine waitress.

- When Casper falls fouls of top food critic, Ramsey Michel (Oliver ‘Fargo TV Series’ Platt) his meltdown shouting match goes viral on social media – and wrecks his job prospects.

- Fate sees the Chef flown off to Miami with his wife and son – and handed the chance to rebuild his cooking career by Inez’s other ex-husband (Robert ‘The Avengers’ Downey Jr.) in the shape of a run down food truck.

- Casper’s new mobile food service – making superb Cuban sandwiches and yucca fries – aided by his former soux-chef (John Leguizamo) and his son is an instant hit.

"kitchen fun"


It’s great fun watching Casper get his life back on track – the themes of being inspired by what you love doing and the importance of the father / son bonding shine through in heartfelt style. Favreau eats up the screen and seems to be really enjoying being both behind and in front of the camera.

- The script might be a little heavy on swearing but is genuinely funny and the cinematography encompasses some of the tastiest looking food ever to grace the screen.
- There are additional messages of reconciliation and redemption might be more than some hardhearted types can take but I was moved, inspired and motivated to be a better father to my boys as a direct result of seeing this.

- Overall Chef is a excellent, feel good comedy that works on many levels, just be sure not to go on an empty stomach as you could well be drooling long before the credits roll.

"Johansson eats seductively"

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


(4.5 - superb food n fatherhood viewing treat )

Awesomeness öööö – gourmet relationship lessons

Laughs öööö – very funny in places

Horror ö – nothing but some swearing to disturb too much

Babes öööö – Johansson and Vergara are hot

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - father's love is strong

Recommended Hashtags: #TastyChef

"Sofía Vergara - all smiles"

Monday, June 23, 2014

Darkmatters Review: 3 Days To Kill

3 Days To Kill (12a)

Dir. McG

Cast: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen, Richard Sammel,

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the Newspaper version of this review at: The Advertiser & Review

"My job is to hunt terrorists. 

I don't negotiate. 

Within three days, I will find you. 

You can start counting."

Meet Ethan Renner (Kevin ‘Man of Steel’ Costner), a grizzled, aging CIA hit man who is one of the best out there. The black ops and ‘wet work’ for his country has however taken its toll on his family life though – his estranged wife Christine (Connie Gladiator’ Nielsen) has virtually given up on him and his teenage daughter Zooey (Hailee ‘Enders Game’ Steinfeld) can no longer bring herself to call him ‘dad’.

What’s a man to do? Well, when diagnosed with terminal brain cancer Renner decides to put the killing behind him and try to make up with his family. Alas ultra vixen CIA operative Vivi Delay (Amber ‘All The Boys Love Mandy Lane’ Heard), has other ideas and tempts him to take a final assignment – to kill an arms dealing scumbag known as ‘The Wolf’ in exchange for an experimental drug that might just extend his life…

That’s all you need to know about the plot – as even before the opening credits, 3 Days To Kill has delivered a superb gun fight, some nasty kills and a botched ‘happy birthday’ phone call. And the action doesn’t really let up thanks to this coming from the team behind Taken and being written by Luc ‘Leon: The Professional’ Besson.

"Amber Heard - not a nun"

Director Mc ‘Terminator Salvation’ G isn’t known for being a classy director but he surprises here – this is his first non Hollywood flick – and manages to blend the disparate elements of family drama and brutal torture and killing effectively. The glue that holds the car chasing, beating and shooting together with the adjusting to help a teen daughter with her social life is a sharp vein of dark humour.

Costner is good value in the lead (the dangerous father figure suits him even more than it did Neeson in Taken). The bad guys include a rent-a-psycho albino (Tómas Lemarquis) and of course The Wolf (Richard ‘Casino Royale’ Samuel) – along with many disposable henchmen which it is fun watching Costner stylishly dispatch.

"say goodbye"

Then of course there is Amber Heard who sizzles every time she’s on screen and Steinfeld who gives good teenage angst.

"Mother / daughter time"

3 Days To Kill delivers a fun, action packed cinematic thrill ride – perfect Friday night material.

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


(4 - not to be 'TAKEN' for granted!?)

Awesomeness öööö – tasty action set pieces a go go

Laughs ööö – lots of mirth (not all if it works)

Horror öö – little bit grim for a 12a

Babes ööööö – AMBER HEARD!

Spiritual Enlightenment ö - dubious morals

Recommended Hashtags: #3DayToThrill

"Miss Heard does brunette too"

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Devil's Knot

Devil’s Knot (15)

Dir. Atom Egoyan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“This crime is unthinkable. What if they did it?"
"What if they didn't?"

Sometimes true events can be every bit as disturbing and harrowing as the most vile fictional creations. Devil’s Knot takes us back to the afternoon of May 5, 1993, when three eight-year-old boys (Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore) went missing from the area around their homes in West Memphis, Arkansas. Despite a frantic search, no trace of them was found until the next day when the beaten and bound bodies of the three were found in a nearby wooded riverside known as ‘Devil’s Den’.

The shockwaves quickly spread through the deeply religious community and small police department were convinced from the start that the murders were the work of a satanic cult - due to the violent and apparent sexual natures of the crime.

"nice local lads..."

Local teenagers Damien Echols (chillingly played by James Hamrick), Jason Baldwin (Seth Meriwether), and Jessie Misskelley Jr. (Kristopher Higgins) were arrested – mostly due to the fact that they looked ‘different’ being into heavy metal and wearing black. Misskelley, initially confessed after hours of police interrogation but then retracted and contradicted his account.

Director Atom ‘Chloe’ Egoyan delivers a searing and highly unsettling fictional take on the murder trial of the teenagers who became known as the ‘West Memphis Three.’ The plot is incredible and highly damning of the investigating officers, judicial system and pretty much everyone connected to the case – my eldest son who I saw this with was shocked both by the crime and then by the utter miscarriage of justice that followed.

"Firth on the case"

Do not go to see Devil’s Knot looking for entertainment – even though it boasts Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon in lead roles. This is a dark but reverent re-tread of the events which really do not need to be elaborated upon as they shock when just presented (there have been several well received documentaries about this case under the title: Paradise Lost 1-3).

Devil’s Knot will leave you reeling, if you’re a fan of true crime films or TV shows this should be one to check out. Egoyan does well to not pander to those looking for a gory voyeuristic kick. The police dept’s prejudice and blinkered approach to seeing the ‘satanic’ youths pay for their unspeakable crimes – whilst potentially allowing the actual murder(s) to roam free is hard to take.

"family time"

Certainly not for everyone, but Devil’s Knot is worth investigating – it is deeply thought provoking stuff!

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


(3.5 - strange and disturbing and true!!)

Awesomeness ööö – shock and awe at the police procedure

Laughs ö – not fun at all

Horror ööö – grim actual events are hard to forget

Babes öö – Witherspoon is a yummy mummy

Spiritual Enlightenment ö - soul torment in so many ways

Recommended Hashtags: #DevilsKnotJust

"nice to see Reese in a more serious role"

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Grace of Monaco

Grace of Monaco (PG)

Dir. Olivier Dahan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the Newspaper version of this review: The Gazette

“When I married Prince Rainier, I married the man and not what he represented or what he was. I fell in love with him without giving a thought to anything else.”

One has to wonder quite what Director Olivier ‘La Vie En Rose’ Dahan was aiming for with Grace of Monaco… What he’s made is a flashy, shallow, royal-em-up that oozes melodrama but lacks any sort of empathy – mostly because every character feels like they are being played by cardboard cut out puppets.

The plot follows Grace Kelly (Nicole Kidman) as she tries to get to grips with moving from being a Hollywood megastar to becoming the Princess of Monaco. It seems that marrying into Royalty isn’t necessarily a fairytale come true as her Prince ‘Charming’ Rainer (Tim Roth) turns out to be an over critical, bossy nightmare to live with. And to make matters worse – Charles de Gaulle (André Penvern) is determined to crush Monaco’s tax-haven status and forcibly restore it to being part of France…

"Looking good isn't enough..."

Turns out that Grace might just be the only hope of the small nation state’s survival but with foes on every side including some within her own Court, she is going to have to pull of the ‘greatest role of her life’ in order to save the day. Alas this fictionalized account – although based on true events – completely fumbles the political intrigue, instead turning the whole plot into a glitzy dumbed down bore-athon.

Kidman is at least mildly worth watching, she exudes a brittle beauty that radiates from the screen but nobody else seems to want to be in the film, Tim Roth is especially poor as Rainier who is often inadvertently funny. But there seems to have been a bad outbreak of ‘over-acting-fever’ which strikes down all the supporting cast at various points including Roger Ashton-Griffiths who brings a highly unconvincing Alfred Hitchcock to the screen.

"Check out my buns!"

Only Father Francis Tucker (Frank Langella) comes away with any real credit, his priest who helps ‘Gracie’ learn to be the Princess she must be if Monaco is to have an independent future.

Grace of Monaco isn’t a film that you’ll enjoy if you’re looking for a decent biopic, an intelligent political thriller or a deep insight into Grace Kelly’s struggles. If however you can let the overall poor production values wash over you and just appreciate the lavish costumes – book your tickets today…

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


(1.5 - nice frocks, shame about the film)

Awesomeness ö – limited to none

Laughs öö – unintentionally funny in places

Horror öö – the over-acting is scary

Babes ööö – Nicole is still yummy

Spiritual Enlightenment ö - you need a priest to succeed?

Recommended Hashtags: #PoorGracie

"Princess stunner"

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Darkmatters Review: Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow (12a)

Dir. Doug Liman

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

"Come find me when you wake up!"

Prepare for a dazzling adrenalin overload of an alien invasion movie. Based on the Japanese novel "All You Need Is Kill" by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Edge of Tomorrow is this year’s hot sci-fi ticket.

Featuring hotshot but cowardly military PR specialist Major Bill Cage (Tom Cruise delivering over and above the call of duty) – a spin doctor who can certainly ‘sell’ the war but who really isn’t keen in actually getting thrown into the action.

"this is war!!"

But that’s exactly what happens when he tries to weasel his way out of covering the fighting live from the front line. Rather than getting to record the events, Cage is shipped off with a bunch of cannon fodder losers called J-Squad to actually take part in a massive counter strike against the aliens who have taken over mainland Europe.

It’s no spoiler to tell you that Cage gets himself killed within minutes of hitting the ground in a massive Saving Private Ryan-esq beach landing but for some reason he finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop-forcing him to live out the same brutal 24hrs of combat over and over.

"battle angel"

This is where it gets really interesting… What if you could fight a battle again...and again – each time learning better how to engage your ferocious adversaries, building your fighting skills and helping those around you possibly stand a chance?

Legendary Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily ‘Looper’ Blunt) who is known as ‘The Full Metal Bitch’ takes Cage under her exoskeleton-ed wings to try and find a way to take the fight to the aliens, and through repeated training and battle encounters get closer to defeating the enemy.

Edge of Tomorrow is a superb high concept sci-fi thrill ride that delivers mass alien vs mech infantry carnage with stunning special effects. Once you get your head around the genius Aliens and Starship Troopers meets Groundhog Day plot – all you need to do is sit back and let the heavy duty action mixed with dark humour light up your cinematic pleasure receptors.

"reliving the carnage..."

There is much to enjoy from the supporting cast too who include Bill ‘Aliens’ Paxton as Farrell - a hard as nails Staff Sergeant and Brendan ‘In Bruges’ Gleeson as British General Brigham who is directing the war effort from London.

What are you waiting for?

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


(5 - Live. Die. Repeat (watch) the sci-fi film of the year…)

Awesomeness ööööö – jaw dropping battle scenes

Laughs öööö – very funny

Horror öö – not too nasty

Babes ööö – Blunt is a kick ass hottie

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - fight for the future

Recommended Hashtags: #LIVEDIEREPEATWATCH

"bad ass"