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

Monday, June 27, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Independence Day Resurgence

Independence Day: Resurgence (12a)

Dir. Roland Emmerich

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review over at: The Luton News

“Today, you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation.”

If you can remember 1996, there’s a good chance you saw and enjoyed Independence Day – with it’s iconic destruction of earth’s best loved landmarks, cheesy B-Movie plot and exciting ‘humans fight back’ narrative. So there’s a weight of expectation on this belated follow up…

"not just totems"

Welcome to earth where we’ve spent the last 20 years utilising the advanced alien tech our nasty intergalactic enemies left behind, just in case they decide to come back. Yes we’ve got nifty anti-grav helicopters, stashes of alien laser rifles and a massive space canon built on the moon. This time we’ll be ready to fight.

Alas it seems that the aliens haven’t been idle either – and when their inevitable resurgent assault comes, it’s bigger than we could possibly repel. Yes, it’s big screen extinction level events a go-go again, and Director Emmerich is a master of eye popping devastation.

"There goes the planet"

This time there’s a mysterious second alien race to contend with, plus a good looking new cohort of hotshot Earth Space Defense (ESD) fighter pilots who include obligatory maverick Jake Morrison (Liam ‘Hunger Games’ Hemsworth), Dylan Dubrow-Hiler (Jessie Usher) – the son of sadly not returning because of death Steven Hiller (Will Smith). There are some female representatives this time too in form of Chinese pilot Rain Lao (Angelababy) and Patricia Whitmore (Maika Monroe) who is Jake’s love interest and skilled pilot too.

Waving the flag for the survivors of the first film are scientist David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) plus former President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) and alien specialist Dr. Brakish Okun (Brent Spiner).

"Perturbed heroes"

Independence Day: Resurgence isn’t big on character development or anything other than human vs alien visually incredible thrills and it packs some planetary sized plot holes. But the good news is that there are plenty of bigger scale threats to go round. How about a 3,000 mile enemy mothership complete with a new alien queen on the block who chases a school bus full of teens? Yep!

Is it as good as the first one? No, not really, but this is decent fun summer blockbusting fare. The only way to really appreciate this is to switch off your brain, kick back and let the slick dogfighting action and human bravery in the face of impossible odds light up your endorphin receptors.

"The kids are in peril!"

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


(3.5 - They're back and it's stupid summer sci-fi fun time)...

Awesomeness öööö – Exciting space monster action is ON

Laughs öö – Limited but occasional laughs to be had

Horror öö – Nothing too grim but very tense in places

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – Humanity fights for each other!

"Alien Queen 2.0"

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Trailer for The Girl With All The Gifts!!


Very excited to announce that the first trailer for The Girl With All The Gifts (a near future heartbreaking tale of action, horror and humanity) is now live!

Darkmatters' own Matt Adcock (@Cleric20) is one of the Hungries...

See if you can spot him!?

The film hits the UK on 09 September...

"Matt in 'Hungry' mode"

Read Matt's interview with the book's author / fellow 'Hungry' extra - M. R. Carey

Interview Link

Friday, June 17, 2016

Darkmatters Review: The Conjuring 2

The Conjuring 2 (15)

Dir. James Wan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Read the newspaper version of this review over at: The Bucks Herald

“How does it feel living in a haunted house?”

Just when you thought it was safe to venture to the cinema, The Conjuring comes back with a full force spook-em-up and puts the heebie-jeebies in you… If you saw the original then you’ll know the drill – this is another ‘based on actual events’ case of the supernatural being tackled by real life husband and wife ghost busters Ed (Patrick ‘Watchmen’ Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera ‘Source Code’ Farmiga).

"The power of Christ compels you"

The Conjuring 2 tells the well reported (and already filmed in different guises) case of the Hodgson family of North London where a Poltergeist infested their home back in 1977. Known as ‘The Enfield Haunting’ – it seemed that a malevolent spirit began especially tormenting 11-year-old Janet Hodgson (Madison ‘Joy” Wolfe) and her mother Peggy (Frances ‘A.I.’ O'Connor).

The ‘facts’ of the case are that an angry ghost of former resident who died on the property in Green Street returned to try and drive the family out of their council house. But whilst the evidence of paranormal activity seems beyond question, some dismiss it as a collective delusion, or the work of a devious and disturbed child. But what if it was all actually the work of a demon manifesting in different forms for some higher dark plan?

"Hi - I'd like 2 tickets for the Marilyn Manson concert please?"

This is certainly not a film for the faint of heart as the fright factor is set to ‘high’. Effective jump scares aplenty keep you on the edge of your seat thanks to the slick directing of James ‘The Fast & Furious 7’ Wan. What might make you raise an eyebrow though is to see that The Conjuring 2 was written by Christian screenwriters Chad and Carey Hills.

The Church here is depicted as the only force strong enough to tackle such evil incarnate and it’s almost enough to make you want to pitch up to your local place of worship just to be on the safe side. The Warrens have nothing to battle the forces of darkness without their trusty crucifixes and bibles.

"Uncle William doesn't play nice"

Opening with a quick trip to another famous haunting – The Amityville Horror, this is a decent addition to what looks like becoming a franchise thanks to the the strong box office opening of this second entry.

The Conjuring 2 packs some great special effects, really strong ideas and is nicely real-feeling acting. The '70s attention to detail is wonderful too - and will resonate with any Brits who lived through that time when it was socially acceptable to drive an Austin Allegro and rock huge mutton chop sideburns!

This a kind of spooky magic that is worth checking on the big screen, just maybe don’t go alone and have your vicar on speed dial just in case!?

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


(3.5 - Spooky whether fact or fiction )...

Awesomeness öööö – You'll potentially scream and definitely feel uncomfortable

Laughs öö – A little comedy banter

Horror ööö –  Violent threat and strong horror moments

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – The name of Jesus has power!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Darkmatters Review: The Boss

The Boss (15)

Dir. Ben Falcone

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“I am the wealthiest in America. How wealthy am I? I came down on a golden phoenix!”

Here we have a film about a loud, lewd and loathsome American, no, it’s not a new Donald Trump biography, this is an unpleasant ‘comedy’ about Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy). Darnell is a self-made business success story, running several companies and crushing all who oppose her – with no time for others thanks to her painful foster-home childhood where she was rejected by many families.

"all mouth"

‘The Boss’ however falls from grace due to some insider trading, and loses everything. After surviving some white collar jail time, she's forced to rely on the kindness of her one-time loyal assistant Claire (Kristen Bell) who puts her up on the couch. Claire's savvy young daughter Rachel (Ella Anderson), warms to Darnell – which feels a bit forced as she’s so very hateable – but it’s a necessary plot point. Even though she traumatizes the little girl by showing her The Texas Chainsaw Massacre whilst babysitting (the clips of that horror flick are the best bits in this film alas).

From then on the film switches to a terrible entrepreneur-em-up as Darnell starts her own version of Girl Guides in order to sell Claire’s brownies and make mucho money. Cue unfunny and cringe-worthy scene after scene of McCarthy hamming it up and the rest of the cast looking a bit aghast.

"punching little girls in the street"

The Boss had the potential to be feel good laugh-out-loud comedy but it fails in every area. The limited ‘comedy’ moments are either inappropriate for a film where most of the cast are girls under 12, or just not funny – special shame should go to Peter ‘Game of Thrones’ Dinklage who plays Renault (a business rival – not the car). In a climactic scene that literally beggars belief Darnell and Renault engage in an unfunny sword fight, which alas does not end with the Game of Thrones levels of death or violence…

Nothing seems to work very well, the jokes flop or raise groans, the slapstick violence and mugging to the camera is amusing in small doses but it gets tired very quickly. What’s worse is that McCarthy is a talented actress who gives it her all but the character she’s playing, the plot of the film and the dialogue actively work against her leaving The Boss to be one of the most dismal cinematic experiences of the year so far.

"Be afraid..."

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


(2 - you're fired!)...

Awesomeness öö – Nothing very awesome to report here

Laughs öö – Not nearly enough for a 'comedy'

Horror öö – Boredom is your enemy

Spiritual Enlightenment -öö – Nasty people should be given another chance?

"oh dear"

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Darkmatters Review: The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys (15)

Dir. Shane Black

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Look on the bright side. Nobody got hurt…”

Meet The Nice Guys, a couple of private detectives who are not afraid to take the law into their own hands. Licensed P.I. Holland March (Ryan ‘Drive’ Gosling) is a single father investigating the mysterious death of famous adult film actress ‘Misty Mountains’ (Murielle ‘The Duff’ Telio) in 1977 Los Angeles. He is forced to team up with Jackson Healey (Russell ‘Gladiator’ Crowe) – an old school tough guy who hurts people for money – when it becomes apparent that they are both involved in the same case, and both in danger.

Together they and Holland’s wise beyond her years daughter Holly (teenage rising star Angourie Rice) follow the trail of a Misty look alike named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) who has vanished. Before you can say ‘this is going to end in tears’ there are bodies piling up, because it turns out, the mob also looking for Amelia and an experimental film she shot called How Do You Like My Car, Big Boy?

Cue a winning mix of slapstick violence, laugh out loud comedy and memorable dialogue as the Nice Guys realize that they might be in over their heads. Director Shane ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ Black brings out the best of his AAA lead stars, who have excellent buddy chemistry as they tackle deranged goons, unstoppable hit men and a possible high reaching government conspiracy.

"On the case"

The Nice Guys is a filthy, funny and exciting detective-em-up that makes for hugely entertaining cinema viewing. The crackling dialogue and banter between Crowe and Gosling is just delicious to behold and young Rice is a marvel, holding her own and indeed stealing many scenes, she’s certainly a talent to keep an eye on.

The seventies setting is a retro blast with the coolest cars of the decade, the wild hedonistic Hollywood parties of LA - complete with mermaids and copious drugs. This isn’t a film for prudes or those averse to cuss words as the seedy underbelly of tinsel town is writ large. The crunching violence and heavy duty gunplay makes this more Lethal Weapon than Sherlock when it comes to crime solving double acts.

"Never mind the authentic '70s posters"

By the time the end credits roll it is sad to say farewell to these likeable Nice Guys and I’m already hoping we’ll see them in action again before too long!

"Father and daughter team"

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


(4 - They're not that nice, but they are FUN )...

Awesomeness öööö – Super strong buddy detective noir comedy fun

Laughs öööö – Excellent comedy banter

Horror ööö –  Gets a bit violent in places

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – trust your pals

Friday, June 03, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Love & Friendship

Love & Friendship (U)

Dir. Whit Stillman

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Alas! (exclaimed I) how am I to avoid those evils I shall never be exposed to?”

Meet the gorgeous and flirtatious Lady Susan Vernon (Kate 'Underworld' Beckinsale), a Jane Austen heroine unlike any before her... Highly skilled in the ways of men, Lady Susan - who shares her name with the unfinished novella on which this movie is based - is on a mission to find both her and her daughter Frederica (Morfydd 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' Clark), eligible husbands, packing fortunes preferably.

"Ladies about town"

But being a widow, Lady Susan is obliged to rely on the kindness of friends and family (however distant), he life has become a whirl of visits and stays with those in her social circle. But she has a roving eye and isn't afraid of using her charms to ingratiate herself with other women's husbands, especially the rather dashing Lord Manwaring (Lochlann 'Vikings' O'Mearáin) - much to the ailment of Lady Lucy Manwaring (Jenn 'Brooklyn' Murray).

"check my Austen bouffant"

So the scene is set for a spicy romance-em-up which packs a biting sense of humour and a cool satire underneath the well observed social manners and incredible costumes. Much praise must go to Whit Stillman who directs with flair and has made a film which is a total romantically charged joy, full of wicked charm!!

Lady Susan is a force of nature and Beckinsale plays her perfectly, there is however another character who even out shines her - stealing every scene they are in... Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sir James Martin (Tom 'soon to be seen in David Brent: Life On The Road' Bennett), a clueless bit rich, nice but dim conversation stopper who is inflicted with a kind of idiot tourette's. My lovely wife and I laughed loud and long at his antics which are just superb comic relief.


Other characters include Susan's sister-in-law, Catherine (Emma Greenwell) who is the one person that isn't so easily taken in by the master manipulator, her brother-in-law, Charles (Justin Vernon) and the handsome Reginald de Courcy (Xavier Samuel), whom Lady Susan seduces and has longer term designs on.

Lady Susan's one true friend is the American Alicia Johnson (Chloë Sevigny) - together they scheme as to how sad it is that Alicia's older husband Mr Johnson (Stephen Fry) hasn't died yet!? It is a revelation into the mind of Jane Austen and it makes you wonder if Love & Friendship isn't perhaps the best adaptation of work to date?

"Always time for tea"

I can't recommend Love & Friendship enough. It's a perfect date movie, a master class in romanic shenanigans and jolly good time all rolled into one. As Lady Susan might say: “it would be offensive to us both” if you were to miss it!

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


(5 - Opportunistic, shrewd, cunning, unprincipled and brilliant)...

Awesomeness öööö – A good time to be had by all

Laughs öööö – Lots of real funnies, nothing offensive either

Horror ö – Totally safe

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – alls well that ends well