DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Brightburn brings the superbaddie fun

Brightburn (15)

Dir. David Yarovesky

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Maybe there is something wrong with Brandon. He may look like us. He's not like us…”

What if Superman crash-landed on earth and instead of wanting to help us, decided that he was going to kill us? That’s the excellent alt-superman concept behind David Yarovesky’s Brightburn where we get a preteen Zod who means us harm.

"maybe put him back before bad things happen?"

It starts off in a reverential homage to the man of steel. Small town wannabe parents Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle Breyer (David Denman) can’t get pregnant but find a crashed comet, take in the baby and raise him as their own on their farm etc. But when puberty begins to kick in young ‘Brandon’ (Jackson A. Dunn – who played a young Antman in Avengers Endgame) increasingly becomes a homicidal monster and there is very little we puny humans can do to stop him…

"He's not here to save us"

They is so much to enjoy here for super-fans that want something nastily different from the glut of superhero flicks that populate the big screen currently. Brightburn goes all out in bringing horror elements to the mix –the grisly deaths will likely stay with you after the credits roll, especially a brutally enforced car crash.

Working with a tiny budget, Director Yarovesky, aided by James ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Gunn whips up a great creepy atmosphere. The special effects are used sparingly but deliver some excellent thrills. This is an origin story that really works – mixing schlocky kills, a creeping eeriness of tone and a lot of fun into something refreshing and cool.

"you can run but you can't hide"

The cast go about the business with gusto, props to newcomer Emmie Hunter who plays Brandon’s unfortunate schoolgirl crush Caitlyn (it’s never wise to reject the loner kid at school). Brightburn also doesn’t wimp out on racking up a slasher style body count and Brandon’s home-made mask / cape costume is an instantly iconic look.

Strong imagery and cinematography help elevate this essentially indie flick to stand alongside other great antihero films such as the excellent ‘Chronicle’ or Gunn’s own ‘Super’. It has a darkly comic underbelly that will go down well with anyone who is over all the super-smug self-righteous superheroes.

Brightburn isn’t perfect but it deserves to be a cult classic and for once the hinted sequel would be absolutely welcome, especially if the filmmakers could get their hands on a bigger budget to embrace the potential mayhem.

An innovatively grim addition to the superhero cinematic roster and one that deserves a wide audience!

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


(4 - Evil Has Found Its Superhero)

Awesomeness öööö – Super death scenes are a riot

Laughs ööö – Lots of dark humour

Horror öööö – Scary and grim in places

Spiritual Enlightenment ö - Not all aliens are friendly...

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Matt gets Booksmart (review)

Booksmart (15)

Dir. Olivia Wilde

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Amy: We'll probably just do a Korean face-mask.
Her mum: I don't need to know all the words.”

High school comedies don’t often make girls their main characters but Olivia Wilde’s feature directorial debut, Booksmart, is basically Superbad with girls and all the better for it.

This is the tale of best friends Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) who were those serious scholarly school girls you remember – you know – the ones who didn’t party and got great grades. But at the end of their senior year, when they realise that their hard-partying pals have mostly got into the same good colleges as them – they decide to taste a little of the forbidden debauched fun by throwing caution to the wind and finding the biggest party they can find.

'don't do drugs kids'

So, before Graduation Day dawns these ‘booksmart’ pals find themselves on a ‘Before Midnight’ odyssey where danger, romance and crazy situations lurk around every turn. Boosted by some very smart writing that feels very authentic (as a parent of a teenager), the film packs in a ton of coming-of-age tropes and is an absolute joy to watch!

Director Olivia ‘Tron Legacy’ Wilde goes all out including many unforgettably funny scenes including a genius animated feminist-friendly sequence where the pals are transformed into Barbie dolls and spend some drug-fuelled time admiring and discussing their new sex-organ-less but shapely bodies.

Booksmart is super sharply written and innovative – blessed with a fantastic cast who include a winning turn as uber driving school principal (Jason Sudeikis), plus Will Forte and Lisa Kudrow as Amy’s super-Christian, gay-supportive parents and Gigi (Billie Lourd) – an unhinged Heathers / Mean Girls type.

'schools out'

Sure, sex jokes and crudities abound but they land with self-aware and self-referential contexts and are often subverted such as in Molly Gordon who plays a girl nicknamed ‘Triple A’ because she’s rumoured to have given ‘roadside assistance’ to three guys but has more to her story than the gossip allows.

The acting is top notch, the mostly young cast are great and likely destined for big futures. You can almost smell the adolescence and feel the heartbreak as Wilde delivers so many superb cinematic experiences – all backed up with a killer soundtrack.

'dude - we're dolls!'

Booksmart is a must see movie for anyone who works with young people or even was a young person once!?

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


(5 - Excellent, hilarious and heartwarming, being young eh?)

Awesomeness öööö - Heavy duty partying FTW

Laughs ööööö – Awesome funny, if you don't laugh you're probably dead!

Horror öö – Drugs n drinking in excess

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Friendship can be everything

Monday, June 03, 2019

Reviewzilla: Godzilla King of the Monsters

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (12a)

Dir. Michael Dougherty

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Sometimes I think this is Godzilla's world. We just live in it.”

The God-Lizard kaiju himself is back on the big screen and he’s here to kick-ass. Godzilla: King of the Monsters brings more monster on monster combat than anyone might ever need – these giant beasties look great and smash everything in their path. Fans of wanton wreckage are certainly in for a treat as literally there’s more city destruction in this film that all of the Transformers have managed to date.

Yep, if it’s monster mayhem you want, sign straight up. But, and it’s a Godzilla sized ‘but’ – the plot, human elements, script and general storyline are so weak it undermines the action.
Director Michael ‘Trick r Treat’ Dougherty doesn’t have to worry about origins so if free to jump in with a crazy selection of Godzilla’s greatest monster friends and enemies and crash them together as much as possible. There is an effective sense of scale at play (although plot holes such as ‘how does Godzilla wade through miles deep oceans alongside boats, looking like the waves only come up to his substantial belly?’ undo some of the good work).

'subtle religious imagery'

The movie tries to have a beating heart core around a broken family: parents Mark and Emma Russell (Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga) who both have connections to the shady monster tracking agency Monarch. Emma’s made a device known as ‘Orca’ which can send out sound waves recognisable to the monster and that makes her a target for anyone looking to, oh I don’t know… make them attack civilisation!?

Mark, however, travels the world photographing wildlife – but is drawn into the monster action when their daughter Madison (Millie ‘Stranger Things’ Bobby Brown), is kidnapped along with Emma by enviro-nut ecoterrorist Alan Jonah (Charles Dance).

'humans assemble'

Enough about the plot – all you really need to know is that the big ‘Titan’ monsters (including lumbering references to a certain King Kong but he’s not allowed out to play this time) destroy stuff, fight each other and destroy some more. The special effects are great – ‘King’ Ghidorah a three-headed alternate alpha seems to be pulling the strings. For an example of the script when the scientists say ‘Ghidorah’ for the first time one of the other cast members mugs to the camera asking ‘gonorrhoea?’ – boom boom!?


This kaiju-em-up is big on monsters but weak overall.

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


(2 - all is destroyed including the script)

Awesomeness ööö – Monster destruction 100

Laughs öö – Misses the mirth mark

Horror öö – Collateral damage is worst way to go...

Spiritual Enlightenment ö - 'God'zilla is a cruel deity