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, March 27, 2017

Dakrmatters Review: Life

Life (15)

Dir. Daniel Espinosa

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Calvin's trying to find a way through the airlocks!”


In space no-one can here you say ‘this is a bit of radical reboot of the Eddie Murphy / Martin Lawrence comedy of the same name…’ But that’s because this a new ‘Life’, a gloop-em-up sci-fi horror thriller detailing mankind’s first contact with an alien lifeform rather than a prison farce.

We get to join the crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as they managed to dock with a space probe returning from Mars. On board the capsule is ‘Calvin’ – a microbe which is the first proof of extra-terrestrial life – does the little alien come in peace? Hhhmmm – not so much…

Is this Venom?

The alien organism (superbly brought to life with cutting edge CGI) is like nothing humans have ever encountered before – having the capacity to be ‘muscle, brain and eye’ all at the same time. Oh, and it’s not a spoiler for anyone who has seen the trailer to let you know that it isn’t very friendly either.

This might sound a little like Ridley Scott’s Alien just not so far in the future – and it is - so you’ll know what to expect. The beastie grows and gets hostile – the crew panic and realise they are trapped aboard the ISS with a rapidly-growing threat, which they really don’t want to let get to earth.

It's a scream

Speaking of the crew, they are a likeable bunch made up of: Dr. David Jordan (Jake ‘Nocturnal Animals’ Gyllenhaal), Dr. Miranda North (Rebecca ‘Girl on the Train’ Ferguson), Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare), Sho Kendo (Hiroyuki ‘Sunshine’ Sanada), Katerina Golovkina (Olga Dihovichnaya) and Rory Adams (Ryan ‘Deadpool’ Reynolds).

Cue lots of running, screaming and dying with at least one really unforgettable death and a decent array of scares along for the ride. Director Daniel ‘Safe House’ Espinosa has crafted an exciting space survival flick that might not be very original but certainly delivers on the sci-fi thrills. Be warned though that my wife is still unsettled by the sheer intensity of the horrible bits!?

Deadpool in space...

If this is a parallel to the classic ‘Alien’, I’d be excited to see a follow up ‘Aliens’ equivalent where we try and take the fight to these lifeforms, although the potential Alien vs Life vs Predator might not be the way forward.

Fans of sci-fi should sign up immediately for this adventure, it’s a full-throttle nail biting thrill ride which delivers a frightfully fun night out.

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


(3.5 - Gripping space survival)

Awesomeness öööö – Strong tension and survive-em-up thrills

Laughs öö – A few funnies to begin with (Thanks Ryan)

Horror öööö – Gets grim and gloopy

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - God's creatures aren't all nice...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Get Out

Get Out (15)

Dir. Jordan Peele

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

 “Fair skin was in favour for the last couple of thousand years. Now the pendulum has swung back. Black is in fashion!?”

Get ready for Get Out, the first great comic horror thriller of 2017 – a startlingly vibrant and shocking cinematic opus to racial divides which doesn’t skimp on pure terror.

"look into my eyes"

Meet Chris (Daniel ‘Sicario’ Kaluuya) a young guy in love. He goes to meet the parents of his girlfriend, Rose (Allison ‘Girls’ Williams), despite being nervous that they might not welcome him due to his being black and Rose white. She assures him that all will be well because her dad, Dean (Bradley ‘The Cabin In The Woods’ Whitford), ‘would have voted for Obama for a third term if he could have’…

What she fails to mention is that her family actually have some very unusual and upsetting views on race relations. Chris it seems will get to experience these family values first hand after Rose’s mother Missy (Catherine ‘Being John Malkovich’ Keener) hypnotizes him in order to help him stop smoking. Don’t worry too much about the plot, this is a film that builds up slowly with a tangible sense of voodoo menace which ratchets up the tension until it finally all explodes in bloody violence.

"happy families?"

With Get Out, first time director Jordan Peele, creates a quality addition to the horror genre – one that is both a biting social satire and a freaky shock fest which pays off big time by the climax. In this age of Trump when the threat of white supremacist mindsets is suddenly a horribly relevant again, Get Out sneakily tears down racist ideals and has lots of fun in the process. Peele’s debut really marks him out as a director to watch.

The audience I caught this with were screaming one moment and cheering the next, this is a film that is worth catching on a big screen as witnessing and being part of the communal suspense build up throughout is a lot of fun.

"it's a scream"

All the cast go about the grisly business with conviction, Chris’s friend Officer Rod Williams (Lil Rel Howery) brings welcome comic relief as a TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agent, whilst Rose's creepy brother (Caleb Landry Jones) is all barely restrained hatred.

Highly recommended viewing - Get Out is a film destined to be a cult classic and one that you’ll be discussing long after the credits roll.

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


(4 - Excellent horror comic thrills)

Awesomeness öööö – Quality filmmaking shines through

Laughs ööö – Tension releases throughout

Horror öööö – Very gruesome at points

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - All men are created equal?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Kong Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island (12a)

Dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“This planet doesn't belong to us. Ancient species owned this earth long before mankind. I spent 30 years trying to prove the truth: monsters exist…”

The one true king of the monsters is back – bigger and better than ever. Kong: Skull Island is an atmospheric apocalyptic romp that knocks the monkey business out of Peter Jackson’s 2005 effort (Darkmatters Review).

"Easy does it"

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts bring Skull Island to full living breathing cinematic life and from the impressive opening manages to keep the action rocking along without short-changing any of the characters. The humans range from Samuel L. Jackson’s hard war-bitten Packard who vows to take Kong down, through to Brie Larson’s plucky photo-journalist Mason Weaver who wins the huge ape’s heart – these are characters worth spending time with and ones that we get to care about. Which makes it tough in places because Skull Island is a place of death so maybe don’t get too attached to anyone…

"That's a serious monkey"

Tom ‘High-Rise’ Hiddleston stands out as adventurer Conrad (and not just for his British accent), John ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ Goodman gives good value as scientist Bill Randa but it’s John C Reilly who brings some welcome comic relief and savvy observations – having been stuck on the island for 30+ years…

"This is where you RUN"

Then there’s the monsters and boy, this is where Kong: Skull Island really shines. Upping the ick and gore factor to a pleasing degree (probably pushing the limits of a 12a rating), the various humans – especially the soldiers accompanying the expedition get taken out in all sorts of grisly ways. The CGI menagerie includes mutant tree topping spiders, limb tearing pterodactyls and monstrous water buffalos but it’s the skull crawlers who are the main danger. Part lizard, part alien, part skull – all threat - they are the stuff of nightmares and when Kong fights them it's a monster battle royale that makes even the Kong vs Tyrannosaurs fights of yore look weak.

"and death came with them"

This is Kong’s film though and he’s superbly realised – massive and heroic in a way that we haven’t seen him before, the scene where he first encounters the helicopters invading his home is one of the best action sequences ever committed to film.

Many critics have been sniffy about Vogt-Roberts’ new take on Kong but for me, this is the daddy of all monster movies. Pure hairy excitement, lavishly and stylishly shot, backed with a killer ‘70s soundtrack – this is a super fun monkey-em-up that will leave you grinning and demands a sequel!

"Girl power"

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


(4 - Kong-gratulations the King is BACK!!)

Awesomeness ööööö – Monster sized set pieces

Laughs ööö – Some funnies

Horror ööö – Bit grim in places

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Monkey Gods have love of humans..?

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Logan

Logan (15)

Dir. James Mangold

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long.”

The angry claw-handed Wolverine is back for one possibly final epic big screen outing, older, more damaged and suffering from his lifetime of violence. We’ve come a long way since Hugh Jackman made the role his own seventeen years ago and yet Logan manages to be the best, most brutal and altogether most meaningful X-Men movie to date.

"Road trips"

In the near future mutants are an endangered species. All that’s left of the mighty X-Men are Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier who at 90 is finding his super brain succumbing to degenerative disease and classified as a weapon of mass destruction. Logan is a broken mutant himself, addicted to liquor and drugs just to get by. He and Stephen Merchant’s waning Caliban are trying to protect Professor X from the nefarious military authorities who are hunting them.

"Anger issues"

Logan is a poignant glimpse into what happens when heroic mutants are aged and jaded. With their powers waning and their world view tainted – these final X-remenants come across a young new mutant Laura, also known as ‘X23’ (a star-making turn from upcoming young Dafne Keen) who brings a world of trouble to their lives.

Director James ‘Knight & Day’ Mangold manages to slip his 12a rating limitations which have made him previously neuter the inherent violence that the character of Wolverine is all about. Logan however is a hard 15 with seriously grim violence, adult themes and mucho swearing – so if you’re thinking of checking this, you need to be prepared.

"Part man, part C3PO"

The bad guys of the piece are headed up by nasty mechanically handed Donald Pierce (Boyd ‘Gone Girl’ Holbrook) who works for evil Dr Rice (Richard E. ‘Hudson Hawk’ Grant). They want Laura ‘off the board’ as she’s escaped from a new mutant experiment programme – but they’ll have to go through Logan to get to her.

Cue some of the best super action you’ll ever witness. The sight of kinda father / daughter Wolverine and X23 taking on an army of gun packing baddies together is the stuff comic book fans have only dreamt of up until now. Laura is the most lethal big screen 11-year-old since Kick Ass’s Hit Girl and she acts up a storm, reminiscent of young Natalie Portman in Leon. Patrick Stewart is excellent too but Jackman is just incredible and this is his best performance as Wolverine.

"Let the right mutant in"

Not your average super-movie, Logan is a fantastic conclusion to the Wolverine trilogy and makes every other X-Men movie look weak in comparison.

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


(5 - The Wolverine is finally boss...)

Awesomeness ööööö – This is X-rated action fun

Laughs öö –  Not a bag of laughs

Horror öööö – Heavy duty violence

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Some kind of family values