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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Darkmatter’s Top Ten Films 2019


Matt’s Top Ten Films 2019







10. Le Mans ‘66

The amazing true(ish) story of the slick Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and his rough-but-decent driver pal Ken Miles (Christian Bale). These men’s mission is to create a car for Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) capable of besting Ferrari’s legendary vehicles in 1966’s 24-hour Le Mans. Bromances don’t come much better…



9. Destroyer

Kidman is on scenery-chewing form, undergoing a physically incredible transformation to show the horrific state she’s in after years of alcohol abuse. Her present-day looks contrast sharply with flashbacks to when she was a bright-eyed, beautiful young cop sent undercover to infiltrate a dangerous gang of bank robbers. This is bleak, brilliant filmmaking that will tear your soul apart.




8. The Favourite

Watching these two leading ladies locked in a battle of wits, with the Queen’s favour the prize, is diabolical fun that pulls no punches. It’s not just the loyalties of the Court that are switched and played with as events take dubious twists – viewers too are in for an emotional rollercoaster ride. The Favourite is a film that might well live up to its name…



7. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino is back with his 9th film – spinning the tall tale of what might have happened ‘Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood’. This is a love letter to 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as fading TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his long-time stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. Highly watchable stuff!



6. The Irishman

Netflix have bet big on The Irishman, the story of lifetime mobster Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro showing he is still a freaking acting legend). Based on the memoir ‘I Heard You Paint Houses’ compiled by investigator Charles Brandt – the title alludes to how the walls change colour when someone is shot ‘painting’ the walls with their blood. This Irishman is excellent and shows that the old boys can sometimes still school the youngsters in the cinematic art. Well played Netflix in making this happen!



5. Joker

“Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?” asks Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), of his counsellor, after being attacked and beaten in the street by a gang of youths.  What follows is a heart-breaking odyssey into madness and violence that traces the birth of Gotham’s clown prince of chaos – Joker. What we have here is the full-throttle descent of a misunderstood man who has no positive reference points. Joker is a timely instant classic - put on a happy face!!



4. Glass

Glass feels like a spiritual odyssey that tackles the mystery of what it is to be human as much as it is a thinking person’s comic book tale. It is gorgeously shot and cleverly ties in the previous films to leave audiences broken and challenged. A cracking cinematic achievement, Glass is the antidote for anyone who is suffering from super-hero burnout.



3. A Good Woman is Hard to Find

The standout finale to this year’s FrightFest – and one of the only films to have a 100% ‘Fresh’ Rotten Tomatoes rating. This is the brutal tale of Sarah (Sarah Bolger) a recently widowed young mother. Her son Ben has been an elective mute since the day he witnessed his father being knifed to death on their estate. Police have done nothing to catch the killer, but never underestimate the power of a good woman…



2. Booksmart

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. 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. Funniest film of the year by a mile.



1. Avengers: Endgame

Payoff is exactly what this delivers - for a supremely satisfying, total adrenaline rush of superhero adventure – there is simply nothing to match Avengers: Endgame. 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.


Read my Top Films of 2018 here




Thursday, December 05, 2019

Matt Paints Houses with The Irishman


The Irishman (18)

Dir Martin Scorsese

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Would you like to be a part of this, Frank? Would you like to be a part of this history?”

Netflix have bet big on The Irishman, the story of lifetime mobster Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro showing he is still a freaking acting legend). Based on the memoir ‘I Heard You Paint Houses’ compiled by investigator Charles Brandt – the title alludes to how the walls change colour when someone is shot ‘painting’ the walls with their blood.

The Irishman is a truly epic tale which covers the time period of the 1940s right through to the early 2000s. Director Scorsese takes us on this trip of how Sheeran rose from a low-level hood to become the right-hand man of Union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).

'that infamous unimpressed look...'

If this sounds a bit like the narrative style of Goodfellas or Casino - Scorsese’s two other told-in-retrospect gangster films – that’s because it is, and it works superbly making this feel like the third in his mobster classic series. For me The Irishman is also the most likeable of the three and it’s certainly the longest coming in at a riveting three-and-a-half-hour runtime.

Throughout the compelling sharing of events, there is very much the sense that we’re witnessing a sugar-coated version of what went down. Sheeran might not be a completely trustworthy narrator, glossing over the dark fallout from the copious violence but not shying away from it.

Scorsese might be pushing 80 but he’s still a master of this medium and here his use of de-aging many cast members with digital technology works really well in giving those sections of the film a hazy ‘idealistic’ feel.

'street violence'

The cast are truly another level with De Niro and Pacino on top form but Joe Pesci (as Russell Bufalino) and Harvey Keitel (as don Angelo Bruno) standing out but ably supported by great supporting cast that includes Anna Paquin as Sheeran’s disapproving daughter Peggy and Jack Huston as Robert ‘Bobby’ Kennedy trying to take down organized crime.

This Irishman is one of the best films of the year and shows that the old boys can sometimes still school the youngsters in the cinematic art. Well played Netflix in making this happen!

'can't touch me'

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

ööööö

(5 - Quality Old School Gangster-em-up)

Awesomeness ööööö – Some unforgettable scenes and compulsive viewing throughout

Laughs ööö – Some nice dark humour

Horror öööö – Graphic violence

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - What is a man's life worth?



Want some more madness? 
Check out COMPLETE DARKNESS which delivers near future nightmares...


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