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, September 29, 2014

Darkmatters Review: The Equalizer

The Equalizer (15)

Dir. Antoine Fuqua

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

"Got a problem? Odds against you? Nowhere else to turn? Call the Equalizer…”

As a boy in the ‘80s I would fervently watch Edward Woodward righting wrongs as The Equalizer on TV – and dream of several things, which included owning Jaguar and trench coat, having shady CIA connections who I could call in favours from and generally being a total badass crime busting hero by the time I reached middle age. Of those dreams only the trench coat and the age thing actually happened (unless my job at the London School of Theology is just a front to throw you off the scent).

"this is not the face of a main you want to cross"

Anyway – here we have The Equalizer / Robert McCall reinvented for the big screen in the cool, calm, charismatic form of Denzel Washington. Director Antoine ‘Training Day’ Fuqua works well with Washington – delivering an epically violent take on the lone hero can save the day well worn plotline.

"just a walk in the park"

McCall is a retired intelligence officer who believes he has put his special forces past behind him by stacking shelves in hardware store. By night he reads in a local café, wracked with insomnia, it is here he meets a young girl named Teri (Chloë Grace ‘Kick Ass’ Moretz). Teri is in all sorts of trouble, being violently pimped out by nasty Russian gangsters, so McCall decides to help her – and by ‘help’ I mean wage a ferocious one-man war on the entire Russian mafia – as you do.

There is much to enjoy as Denzel goes to work, armed with various hidden skills and the occasional power tool borrowed from his day job that enable him to serve his vengeance initially on Teri’s behalf. By the end - and after a hefty body count - he has fully taken on the role of ‘The Equalizer’ to the point where people can contact him for help via the internet.

"worth saving"

Washington did a similar vengeful role in Tony Scott’s Man on Fire and The Equalizer could be seen as soul mate film to that master class in violent retribution. The criminals ‘equalized’ are some very dodgy characters so once you get past the fact that McCall’s methods of bringing justice almost always leave a trail of dead bad guys, the stage is set for some wish fulfillment for anyone who has ever been brutalized and unable to fight back.

If you have a film viewing choice problem, if no-one else can help - call the Equalizer.

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


(4 - Denzel kicks serious ass, in fine style)

Awesomeness öööö – incredibly brutal action scenes

Laughs öö – not much funny business

Horror ööö –  grimly violence

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - fight for those who cannot

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Darkmatters Review: The Guest

The Guest (15)

Dir. Adam Wingard

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Be careful who you let in…”

Adam ‘You're Next’ Wingard reanimates the spirit of the 80's with this slick action/horror thriller that sees impossibly sexy David (Dan Stevens of 'Downton Abbey' fame) as a mysterious ex-war hero who calls at the family home of his friend who was killed in combat.

But this David might not be who he is claiming and before you can say ‘don’t trust him’ pretty soon people connected to the family are dying… Yes, The Guest (written by Simon Barrett) is an engaging mix of John Carpenter alike cheap thrills, mixed with some truly kick ass action, all held together by the superbly charismatic Stevens who seems to really relish letting rip in a very different role here.

"friend or foe?"

What makes this much better than similar ‘stranger danger’ flicks is that it gleefully fuses multiple genres – revenge-em-up, psycho thriller, Arnie-eque shooter and even Captain America style super solider adventure – just one with some serious trust issues.

The set pieces are excellent offering up crunching violence, OTT titillation and some very funny moments, all set to a cool ‘Drive’ like synth soundtrack. This is the sort of movie that made BlockBuster (RIP) so successful in the VHS heyday.

"do you want fries with that?"

The rest of the cast provides admirable cannon fodder for David to chew through. Up and coming newcomers Maika Monroe and Brendan Meyer even steal some of their scenes as the children of David’s adoptive family. Lance Reddick pops up as a shadowy secret service operative towards the end on a mission to try and take David down –which sets up a nice climactic showdown.

My friend Tom who I saw this with was smitten with a serious man crush on Stevens, whose perfectly groomed stubble and twinkly blue eyes put him very much in the Ryan Gosling mold of leading men.

"this shot is for Tom"

The Guest is the perfect combination of old-school and cutting edge which delivers a wicked fun night out.

Everything cracks along at an enjoyable pace, and the plot builds its twist up well even if it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The writer / director team of Barrett and Wingard are worth keeping a eye on – having made a superb full on horror with You’re Next and a creepy satisfying thriller with The Guest, I’m already anticipating what they might serve up next.

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


(4 - Be our guest!!)

Awesomeness ööööö – crunching 80's action horror a go go

Laughs öö – amusing in parts

Horror ööö – gets a little nasty

Babes öööö – Maika Monroe

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Trust issues can be justified

Recommended Hashtags: #TastyGuest

"Maika Monroe is going to be a star!"

Darkmatters Review: A Private Man

A Private Man 

Dirs. Paul Wade, Simon Wade

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Prepare for a trip to the edge...

What happens when loner repairman (Matthew 'Waking the Dead' Jure) lets his voyeuristic tendencies get the better of him?

Well, how about creeping madness, obsession and potential danger?

Yes - dark things are afoot (or are they?) when a seemingly innocuous elderly tenant (Paul 'Hot Fuzz' Freeman) moves into the building... Just what is in the big stage box he brings in - and even more worryingly - why has he put three locks on one of the internal door, behind which are half glimpsed movements and utter darkness?

Part David Lynch-esque nightmare, part Hitchcock-alike slow burn tension nail biter, A Private Man is a quality nerve jangling viewing experience that went down very well at the select advance screening in Hitchin.

The Wade brothers (Paul and Simon) have created a stylish, slick and disturbing new short film that firmly puts them on the map as film-makers to watch.

Everything about A Private Man just works, the cinematography is tight and often startling - creative angles and clever shots are used to eerie effect. And speaking of 'eerie' the minimal dialogue and unnerving soundscape combine to instil a creeping dread. Think a condensed mash up of feeling that were evoked by a mixture of Eraser Head, The Double and the excellent 'Freeze Frame' which showed us Lee Evans' psycho side in 2004.

A Private Man is shot through with moments of humour, some interesting moral questions and a chilling climax that will stay with you.

Matthew Jure is superb in the lead, his expressive face was made to be bathed in the bluish nano-ray light. It is a joy to witness his illicit interest in the various tenants and the he sucks the viewers in to want him to risk everything to try and find out what veteran actor Freeman is hiding.

Highly recommended, this is one to seek out.

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


(4 - a 'must see' short film)

Recommended Hashtags: #WhatsBehindTheDoor

Link: A Private Man on IMDB