DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Darkmatters Top Ten Films of 2022

 Top Ten Films 2022 

From the mind of Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

10. The Worst Person In The World

I just about remember being young, life is weird and can be hard to wrangle into meaningful shape. In The Worst Person In The World we get to meet Julie (Renate Reinsve) who is about to turn 30 but struggling to find her place in the world. This film is a cracker blend of drama and romance - shot through with pathos and comedy too. 

Director Joachim Trier gives us chance to journey with her as jobs, lovers, haircuts, and other life choices change but her decisions rarely get better. 

Empire called ita playful love letter to uncertainty, it’s far more accessible and watchable than it has any right to be.’ And they are not wrong…

9. Saloum

Shot down after fleeing a coup and extracting a drug lord from Guinea-Bissau, the legendary mercenaries known as the Bangui Hyenas -- Chaka, Rafa and Midnight -- must stash their stolen gold bounty, lay low long enough to repair and refuel their plane and escape back to Dakar, Senegal. 

Director Jean Luc Herbulot dynamically weaves supernatural mystery into this gritty crime caper that packs action, mystic thrills and a high state of tension throughout. Might the Hyenas be being set up by one of their own? When a shadow from their past catches up with them, there could be devastating consequences, threatening to unleash hell on them all.

8. The Batman

Batman get excellently reimagined by the Cloverfield/Apes/Let Me In guy who brings a sinister and impressively dark vibe to Gotham City where amongst the dubious underworld and dodgy politicians a sadistic killer begins to leave a trail of cryptic clues, and bodies...

Robert 'FFS Twilight' Pattinson dons the cowl and cloak - and despite my reservations about him actually turns out to be an ace new Batman! This film feels a lot like the original detective comic roots of the character and the aesthetic is something akin to SE7EN. Zoë Kravitz who delivers a high-quality Cat-woman and Alfred is reincarnated and under-used in the form of a superb Andy Serkis. Fantastic bat-fun! 

7. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Knives Out introduced the world to the excellent Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) who returns to try and find out what is happening in the layers in of mystery dreamed up by writer / director Rian “The Last Jedi’ Johnson.. This fresh adventure finds the intrepid detective at a lavish private estate on a Greek island, but how and why he comes to be there is only the first of many puzzles. Blanc soon meets a distinctly disparate group of friends gathering at the invitation of billionaire Miles Bron for their yearly reunion. 

As in all the best murder mysteries, each character harbours their own secrets, lies and motivations. When someone turns up dead, everyone is a suspect. This is an absolute joy and feels very much like Agatha Christie has risen from the dead!?

6. The Banshees of Inisherin 

Martin ‘In Bruges’ McDonagh makes high drama of a dissolving friendship as dull everyman Pádraic (Colin Farrell) gets ‘dumped’ by his best pal Colm (Brendan Gleeson). It’s off-the-scale awkward as Colm tells Pádraic out of the blue that he doesn’t want talk to him or drink with him ever again. It’s tactless and blunt, abrasive and soul-burning and the fallout gets worse and worse until blood is spilled and things have escalated to unfeasible ends.

Pádraic’s self-examination is fantastically played by Farrell with his guileless but not innocent character front and centre. He lives with his repressed sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon), she lives in a permanent state of exasperation at her brother’s darkness that begins to seep through. If that isn’t enough then there’s young Dominic (Barry Keoghan) who steals the show even though he doesn’t get enough screen time...

5. Red Rocket 

This vivid, real-feeling, stylish fable is as heartbreaking as it is amusing (from the excellent director Sean Baker whose last film The Florida Project was my film of the year in ’17). Red Rocket is another tour-de-force, a safari through the lives of the dirt-poor, uneducated and pretty hopeless rust-belt US underclasses. These are folks who you want to root for but who continually make terrible decisions that lead to destructive outcomes that you’ll want to weep for them. 

Simon Rex is absolutely incredible as washed-up adult movie actor ‘Mikey Saber’. Things get grim for him despite his trying to get his life back on track - including a horrible multi-vehicle pileup that impacts Mikey in more than just an allegory of his car crash of a life.

If there’s any justice in the world Mikey should be a cinematic cult icon of the future, his fast-talking hustler predator stare and easy-winning charm is wonderfully watchable. The climax leaves you breathless and broken in equal measure - what future for the star-crossed lovers Mikey and Strawberry (a fantastic Suzanna Son)?? 

4. Bones & All 

Timothée ‘Dune’ Chalamet gets munchy with Taylor Russell (who is a stunningly engaging actress). These two fine young cannibals have a taste for human flesh but are basically Bonnie and Clyde for with supernatural cravings in a world of beauty and terror.

Based on Camille DeAngelis' young-adult bestseller, the movie is a tale of first love broken by an addiction stronger than drugs. Director Luca ‘Call Me By Your Name’ Guadagnino makes this a wonderfully seductive horror, gross and bloody in places but also graceful and full of real emotion. Hanging out with these two young lovers makes for the most excellent if fiendish odyssey.

3. Kimi

Steven Soderbergh bursts back onto the cinematic landscape with KIMI - a full on suspenseful masterclass that punches you in the face with a fantastically entertaining high-tech rabbit hole of deep treachery. Angela (Zoë Kravitz) believes she’s ‘witnessed’ a murder in her role as a ‘KIMI’ operative. She has a digital clip of the crime but the big corp Amygdala (who make the KIMI product) want to cover it up at any cost.

There are a nicely eccentric cast of characters, from Mum (Robin Givens), hacker co-worker (Alex Dobrenko), creepy voyeur  (Devin Ratray), and possible boyfriend (Byron Bowers), each plays crucial roles in the tight plot. Angela being agoraphobic and possibly autistic is a great heroine - but just who can she trust?

2. Everything Everywhere All At Once

Somewhere in the multiverse, there is a film that combines insanely creative fun and action, it also delivers on heart-warming emotion and sci-fi shinanegans. That film isn’t Dr Strange and The Multiverse of Madness, that film is Everything Everywhere All At Once… 

It’s freakin joyride of rude comedy, brilliant surreality, inventive action and highly emotional life auditing. Everything Everywhere All At Once exists in the fantastical outer wilds of the imagination. If you're looking for trip into the realm of lucid dreaming and liminal spaces - this is the film you've been looking for and couldn’t be more original if it tried. Michelle Yeoh is excellent as Evelyn, a laundromat owner who might just be the universal saviour against the threat of the ‘everything bagel’ black hole.

Jamie Lee Curtis is in there too along with two film-stealing rocks with googly eyes who ‘rock’ real emotion!!

1. Top Gun Maverick

30 years after Top Gun defined a decade and made Tom Cruise an icon, he and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have brought Maverick back to the Danger Zone. It is a complete joy to rejoin Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom ‘doesn’t seem to age’ Cruise) as he grapples with his guilt for the death of his former co-pilot ‘Goose’ (Anthony Edwards). Things get spicy when Goose’s son Bradley (Miles Teller) – callsign ‘Rooster’ signs up to be part of Mav’s special group of pilots training for a secret mission. 

Packed with stupid but equally awe-inspiring fighter jet action - Top Gun Maverick has crashed straight into my all-time favourite list and is just a full-speed treat for all your emotions!!  Oh my God this is FIRE!

Honourable mentions: PREY, X, The Northman, Pearl, Barbarian, Werewolf By Night, Ambulance, Licorice Pizza, The Innocents, Hatching, Hellraiser...  

>>> Imagine a world where the earth is becoming hell?

Click below to find out in my dark sci-fi novel...


Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Violent Night vs Christmas Bloody Christmas (reviews)

Violet Night vs Christmas Bloody Christmas

Dirs. Tommy Wirkola /Joe Begos 

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Go on, you beautiful b@stards, we have work to do.” Violent Night

“The US defence department has spent over $100 trillion on the most cutting edge robot technology…” Christmas Bloody Christmas

Let’s get ready to rumble… Here we have two new ‘killer’ Christmas films that are putting the violence into the festive season… Both have strong pitches - Violent Night being Die Hard where Santa is a foul-mouthed John McClane taking on gun-packing mercenaries very violently, whilst Christmas Bloody Christmas is a Terminator / Hardware effort with a robot Santa going on a berserk axe killing spree!? Prepare for less snowballs and more body parts to be flying…

'you're on the naughty list!'

Violent Night (Wirkola) sees Kris Kringle, (David ‘Stranger Things’ Harbour) chatting to a part-time Santa in a British pub drowning his sorrows. But there are presents to deliver and when he gets to one huge mansion all is not well. The Lightstone mansion in Connecticut has been taken over by armed thieves who are intent on taking the $3million in the vault. Favoured son Jason Lightstone (Alex Hassell) and his estranged wife Linda (Alexis Louder) plus their 8-year-old daughter Trudy (Leah Brady) are caught in the crossfire.

The baddies led by a guy named Scrooge who has no qualms in killing all the security staff and threatening the family. But they hadn’t counted on Santa arriving - and having a back story of being an 11th-century hammer-wielding warrior!? Cue lots of violence as Santa goes about taking down the wronguns who are all very much on the naughty list. He’s helped a bit by Trudy getting her Home Alone vibe on and rigging up some lethally fun booby traps.

Director Tommy ‘Dead Snow’ Wirkola delivers enough comedy to make this palatable but some of the plot if fumbled and could have been tighter. Harbour is pretty great  — this role is miles from Jim Hopper - and there is enough carnage to please those looking for a violent night of fun!!

'Naughty, kill, maim, destroy'

Christmas Bloody Christmas (Joe Begos) however aims to be a new holiday horror and is mostly comprised of either sweary small-talking record store employees Tori (Riley Dandy) and Robbie (Sam Delich) but then it switches to full robo Santa rampage. The ’state of the art’ robot Father Christmas is supposed to be recalled - there are some fun background adverts that evoke Robocop and radio announcements which give the plot a lick of credibility. 

Begos made the really cool ‘veterans v drug mutants’ flick VFW and there are some great moments here when the robotic Terminator-like baddie gets wrecked but keeps coming back. Overall the gore is moderate and the fairy-light-like visuals give the film a kind of ‘70s exploitation vibe. The characters are a bit marmite, I personally found our ‘heroes’ a bit annoying but the sheer ballsy premise carries the film along just enough to make it worth a look for horror fans.

Dandy brings her best ‘final girl’ energy and is worth keeping an eye on to see what she does next. My main beef with this is that it takes a long time to get going - but when the police get involved it all kicks off in strong violent style!

Apparently, Joe Begos is planning a sci-fi horror next which could certainly be cool too. Christmas Bloody Christmas isn’t a stone-cold classic or even as fun a Violent Night but if you’re in the mood for some festive slaughter, you could do worse than check this out…

>>> Imagine a world where the earth is becoming hell?

Click below to find out in my dark sci-fi novel...


Thursday, December 08, 2022

Matt enjoys having a Burning Secret (review)

Burning Secret 


RJ Lloyd 


Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)


“Dyson lured me on, but I’ve only myself to blame. I got cocky and dropped my guard. He saw his opening and caught me good and proper with tales of easy pickings. I don’t mind admitting, it was greed that got the better of me.”


Here’s a rare treat of a book. Burning Secret is a fantastic epiphany that follows the fates of one Harry Mason (although that’s not his real name). Born one Enoch Price, the story starts with Price’s bid to escape poverty through bare-knuckle fighting amongst London’s seedy underbelly in the mid-1800s. Alas getting into serious debt to a violent and unscrupulous moneylender leaves him facing ruin and imprisonment.


What’s a man to do except high tail it to Florida, abandoning his wife and three

young daughters, a decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life. This is where he takes on the name Harry Mason and due to his irrepressible nature becomes a key part of the history of Jacksonville. His extraordinary new life leads to not only political and financial notoriety, but also getting into shootouts, covering up a murder and taking a bigamous second wife.


Burning Secret sucks you in and makes you feel Harry’s torment – the wages of his choices up the need to conceal his true identity and dubious past.

Lloyd peppers the novel with letters, newspaper clippings and the like add flavour to the world we’re visiting here and an engaging Afterword is a bonus as it gives a host of background information about the people in the book and those who were affected by the events. Note – this is worth referring to as you read as it helps give additional context.


The plot sees the seasons and years march on and Harry elected in to the Florida State House of Representatives with the prospect of becoming State Governor. He can’t help himself though and the list of things he has to hide keeps growing. As he contends with the First World War, Spanish flu pandemic and prohibition – the story crackles with historical authenticity and evokes a lively need to keep reading. 


I can heartily recommend this to anyone who loves a good book. It is one of the very tomes I will return to and read again at some future date!

Author Bio

After retiring as a senior police officer, I turned my detective skills to genealogy, tracing my family history to the 16th century. However, after 15 years of extensive research, I couldn’t track down my great-great-grandfather, Enoch Price, whose wife, Eliza, had, in living memory, helped raise my mother. It was my cousin Gillian who, after several more dead-ends, called one day to say that she had found him through a fluke encounter. Susan Sperry from California, who had recently retired, decided to explore the box of documents given to her thirty years before by hermother, which she had never opened. In the box, she found some references to her great-grandfather, Harry Mason, a wealthy hotel owner from Florida who had died in 1919.

It soon transpired that Susan’s great-grandfather, Harry Mason, was, in fact, Enoch Price. From this single thread, the extraordinary story of Harry Mason began to unravel, leading me to visit the States to meet my American cousins, and it was Susan Sperry and Kimberly Mason, direct descendants, who persuaded me to write the book.

I graduated from Warwick with a joint in Philosophy and Psychology and a Masters in Marketing

from UWE. Since leaving a thirty-year career in policing, I’ve been a non executive director with

the NHS, social housing, and other charities.

I live with my wife in Bristol, spending my time travelling, writing and producing delicious plum

jam from the trees on my award-winning allotment

Buy Burning Secret

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


(5 - Stunningly good first novel)

Battlemages Don't Clean Their Teeth

>>> Imagine a world where the earth is becoming hell?

Click below to find out in my dark sci-fi novel...



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