DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Friday, April 26, 2019

Matt reviews Avengers: Endgame



Avengers: Endgame (12a)

Dir. Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: COURIER


“We lost. All of us. We lost friends. We lost family. We lost a part of ourselves. This is the fight of our lives…”

Here is it then – the climactic finale of the first realm of Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Endgame is a direct sequel to Avengers: Infinity War and it comes packing a huge amount of emotional baggage, in the last film we saw the mighty Avengers humbled and life across the universe decimated when the mad titan Thanos (Josh Brolin) ‘won’.

Now we see the fallout, there is deep grief and much reflection as the surviving heroes Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and friends including their powerful new pal Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) try to rally and find a way to fight back. I’m absolutely not going to share key plot points – all you need to know is that the Avengers want to live up to their name – as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) says “that’s what we are right – the Avengers – we strike back.”

"teaming up"

With so many of the heroes lost to Thanos in the last film and morale at an all-time low the Avengers certainly have an almost impossible task on hand. It’s impressive that the directors Anthony and Joe Russo don’t let the magnitude of the job daunt them and manage to craft a tale that is both reverent to all that has gone before and a rousing conclusion that will please fans both old and new.

At three hours, the runtime might be butt-numbing, but it’s certainly never dull. The winning interplay of the heroes and a cleverly worked renewed threat mean that Endgame delivers both some excellent fun moments (Thor playing Fortnite!?) and the crunching action scenes that scale intimate duels and epically huge final showdown with a deft touch. As in the last film, there is resonance and cost to choices made and a great insight into the psychological damage that ‘losing’ did to earth’s mightiest heroes.

"back for more"

It’s impressive just how natural the special effects feel now – this might have cost millions to make but you won’t see more eye-popping spectacle anytime soon. And as it looks like it might reap over $1billion in the opening weekend Disney’s money men will be seeing it as an investment paying off.

Payoff is exactly what this delivers - for a supremely satisfying, total adrenaline rush of superhero adventure – there is simply nothing to match Avengers: Endgame – see it on the biggest screen you can find!

"new allies"


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

ööööö

(5 - Avenging the fallen in epic style...)

Awesomeness ööööö – Unforgettable scenes

Laughs öööö – Really funny (yes Korg steals his scenes again)

Horror ööö – Comic book violence, and some trauma

Spiritual Enlightenment ööööö - Rousing, spiritually charged superheroic joy!!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Matt goes to Hell(boy) Review



Hellboy (15)

Dir. Neil Marshall

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)


“Why do you fight for those who hate and fear you?”

Here’s another half-backed reboot of a decent franchise which sullies the memory of the original two (can it really be 15 years since Guillermo del Toro first directed Ron Perlman in the lead?). So Mike Mignola’s graphic novel hero Hellboy – a demon who fights for the good of mankind is back on the big screen, but alas as mentioned this is not a glorious return.

Despite the ton of negative reviews, this film is soaking up, I was holding out some hope that Director Neil ‘Dog Soldiers’ Marshall’s effort might be at least a fun addition to the comic book sci-fi / hero genre. I was wrong. If there is a circle of hell set aside for terrible filmmakers, Marshall could well have bought himself a one-way ticket there for this scrappy, badly edited and altogether bungled embarrassment.

'big red in the house'

The plot sees Hellboy’s employer - the B.P.R.D. (an international non-governmental agency, who fight evil) - trying to halt Nimue, a witch who delights in the title ‘the Blood Queen’ (played with generic baddie style by Milla Jovovich). Nimue was last thwarted by King Arthur himself but is now plotting to come back from the dead and unleash a plague on mankind. Hellboy (David ‘Stranger Things’ Harbour) is dispatched to the UK to help stop her. He’s joined by a young seer named Sasha (Alice Monaghan) who speaks annoying ‘street’ like a wannabe grime artist and British special forces Major Ben Daimo (Daniel Dae Kim) who can transform into a very dodgy CGI cat creature.

The story jumps about throwing random enemies into the mix including giants running wild in the forests of England, a wrestling vampire and a weird and unnecessary visit to another dimension visiting the chicken-legged house where an evil called Baba Yaga resides. By the time the Arthur myth is dug up so that Hellboy has to find Merlin to help him too – most people will past caring – in fact several walked out of the screening I was in.

'London has gone to hell'


The fun elements of the original films have been traded in for excessive amounts of CGI gore – pretty much every character has to die in slo-mo explosions of blood – and the dialogue is butt cringingly ridiculous.

Harbour is probably the best thing about the film in the lead role but this demonic hero is given so little to work with that everything feels like a waste of time.

Hellboy is a terrible waste of time and effort.

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

ö1/2

(1.5 - Straight to hell...)

Awesomeness ö – S

Laughs öö – Some mirth

Horror ööö – Goryviolence

Spiritual Enlightenment -ö - Diabolical!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Matt feels the Cold Pursuit


Cold Pursuit (15)

Dir. Hans Petter Moland

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“When you drive the same road day after day, it’s easy to think about the road not taken. I was lucky, I picked a good road early and I stayed on it.”

What happens when you push a quiet, decent family man too far? Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) is a hard-working snow-plough driver who keeps the roads of his home town resort open. But no sooner is he awarded the "Citizen of the Year" life when his life is turned upside down by the murder of his son.

Now with nothing to lose, he goes all out for answers and violent vengeance. Uses his hunting skills and sense of outrage he sets out to dismantle the local drug cartel single-handed. Nels' actions ignite a turf war between a manically unpredictable gangster known as Viking (Tom Bateman) and a rival gang boss - the Native Indian 'White Bull' (Tom Jackson).

caution: trees

Cue a fun snowy Fargo-esque revenge-em-up which gives Neeson the chance to channel his ‘Taken’ persona and put it to better use than the recent cash in action efforts he’s been making. Cold Pursuit is actually a minor classic re-spin of the one man can make a difference plot, the writing is crisp and genuinely funny, the action builds up nicely and the characters each get their own title cards when they die. And lots of people die as the body-count rises throughout and then explodes in a fantastic climactic shootout that is captured in one superb rolling, erm, ‘shot’.

The action cracks along at an engaging pace, and director Moland gets a brilliant, darkly comic performance from Neeson – if you enjoyed ‘In Bruges’ you’ll find plenty to love here. This isn’t a film for the squeamish however as it gets grisly in places and Bateman gives a terrifyingly psychotic turn as Viking.

The chilly snowbound setting keeps it all feeling nicely claustrophobic and whilst you don’t need PhD in cinematic studies to guess the ending – it’s smart and funny enough to put a smile on your face.

meet my little friend...

All the cast put in good performances – the fact that most of them have code names like Speedo, Wingman and Mustang just adds to the madcap nature of it all. The writers manage to cram a rich mix of heartbreak, same-sex relationship drama and macho gangster posturing as well as racist conflict with the  American Indians.

For fans of Coen Brothers output and/or Taken style justice action Cold Pursuit is a great Friday night flick that should find a cult following. Worth seeking out.


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


ööö1/2

(3.5 - Effective brutal revenge thrills on ice...)

Awesomeness ööö – Some memorable scenes

Laughs ööö – The laughs populate the script

Horror ööö – Strong violence

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Some things are worth fighting for!


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Dead is Bleaker: Pet Sematary Review


Pet Sematary (15)

Dir. Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Sometimes, dead is better.…”

Prepare for a whole different tale of resurrection arriving just in time for Easter. This remake / reimagining of the ‘80s Stephen King novel (and film) updates the dark tale of grief, horror and tragedy with effective scares and some excellent new ideas. Fans of the original will be right at home in this ominous retelling of the eerie power of reanimation that lurks in the New England Forests.

Big city surgeon, Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) moves his family - wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz), eight-year-old daughter Ellie (a fantastic turn from Jeté Laurence) and young Gage (shared between Hugo Lavoie and Lucas Lavoie) - to rural Maine in hope of a quiet life. But it turns out that in the extensive woods of their new home there is a ‘Pet Sematary’ where the town’s folk bury their animals. There is also a cursed other burial ground marked out by the native tribes as a place of danger years before, a place that is rumoured to give life back to the dead, at a cost.

cool cat...

As both Louis and Rachel start to be plagued with terrifying visions, there is a growing sense that the place is having an unnatural effect on their family. When they lose their beloved cat ‘Church’ (short for Churchill) to a hit and run, their neighbour Jud (John Lithgow) suggests that it doesn’t have to be the last they see of the kitty. But things that return from the burial ground are not what they once were - and the reanimated Church is mean and dangerous.

You can imagine how the story goes when one of the children is also killed… This harrowing plot is handled in a more gung-ho way by the new directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer who worked on the Scream TV series. Jump scares and a remix of some key plot points including more bleak ending mean that this version has enough new surprises to please those who liked the source material.

weird kids...

There is some really effective camerawork and haunting use of the wilderness setting that is shot through with effectively eerie notes of something primaeval that lurks in the woods. From the beginning, this is a family on the brink of damnation, manipulated by forces beyond their reckoning.

Pet Sematary delivers a great scary experience for those who can handle the disturbing subject matter. But is not for the faint of heart.

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

öööö

(4 - Sometimes Dead is Bleaker but it's a wild ride!)

Awesomeness öööö – Stong cinematic horror

Laughs ö – Not very funny

Horror öööö – Beware, this is grim and harrowing in places

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Here kitty kitty...


intergenerational horror...

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