DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Alien Covenant

Alien Covenant (15)

Dir. Ridley Scott

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“ Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair.”

In space, no-one can hear you sigh.

Alien Covenant is the 5th film in the classic sci-fi horror series and its events follow 10 years after the ill-fated Prometheus mission whose crew ran into hostile xenomorphs (as well as lots of ponderous semi-religious hokum).

"the final frontier"

This time we join plucky Ripley wannabe Daniels (Katherine ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’ Waterston) awakened many years early - Passengers style - from her hyper-sleep when the Covenant is hit by a solar flare. With the lives of the 2,000 colonists on board in jeopardy there is no time to at least be grateful that it’s a life endangering spaceship crisis rather than a creepy planned space date by Chris Pratt.

The crew who include Captain Oram (Billy ‘The Flash’ Crudup), Pilot Tennessee (Billy ‘Watchmen’ McBride), Sergeant Lope (Demián ‘The Nun’ Nájera), Sergeant Hallett (Nathaniel ‘Rush’ Dean) and synthetic Walter (Michael Fassbender) bicker and then decide to stop off and investigate a nearby ‘earth like’ planet rather than continue to their original long haul destination.

"I'm back!"

From then on it’s kinda Aliens business as usual as the crew discovers that the planet is home to the a range of acid blood, face hugging, people eating nasties. Director Ridley Scott amps up the action quotient and effectively throws in many alien series nods (they mostly come at night, the gestation cycle varies on the importance of the character, the crew must use unorthodox methods to try and battle the slimy foes) but there is very little that feels ‘new’.

It all looks cinematically stunning and the aliens look great, plus there are some very nasty deaths and inventively mean situations engineered. The main problem though is that the plot can’t help but become another ‘lets’ get off this planet’ escape-em-up and we’ve seen this before.

Waterston and Fassbender are both good, Fassbinder in particular gives his all and carries the movie through some dubious plot points that feel unnecessary. The rest of the crew are pretty interchangeable alien fodder though and don't even get any memorable lines.

"This time its war"

If this was the first Alien film released it would score better but it stands in the shadow of the original Alien (and Aliens) both of which are truly excellent, and doesn’t even have the distinct ‘feel’ of the other entries. So Covenant delivers a good but not great addition to a series which really needs a world-class revival next time or the series risks drifting off into space losing viewers in the process…

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


(3 - A near miss, good but not great)

Awesomeness ööö – A few (but not enough) quality scenes

Laughs öö –  Some banter but not really a 'fun' film

Horror öööö – Gets very icky and grim in places

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Mankind might be better off alone 

Review - King Arthur: The Legend of The Sword

King Arthur: The Legend of The Sword (12a)

Dir.  Guy Ritchie

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

 “I am here now because of you. You killed my family. You sharpened the blade. You created me.”

Cor-blimey if it isn’t that geezer King Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) – he’s a right royal sort, got a pretty nifty sword and a posse of pals… Yes, here’s the latest big-screen reboot of the Arthurian myth, from none other than Guy ‘Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels’ Ritchie.

"I'm the born King"

Kicking off with a handy flashback which shows nasty Uncle Vortigern (Jude ‘Spy’ Law) betray Arthur’s noble father - King Uther Pendragon (Eric ‘Lone Survivor’ Bana) - and orphan the poor young noble. Arthur is condemned to being brought up as a nobody in a brothel to escape his vicious usurper Uncle but thanks to a Rocky-like training montage with martial artist trainer George (Tom ‘Kick Ass 2’ Wu) he’s soon all grown up and adept at kicking butt.

Cue a tale of swords ‘n banter as the ‘true born King’ Arthur finds Excalibur, vows to avenge his family and possibly claim the throne for himself… Arthur is helped in his quest by one of his Father’s knights - Sir Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou), a beautiful mage (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey), plus his posse of Sir William "Goosefat Bill" (Aiden Gillen), Sir Tristan “Wet Stick” (Kingsley Ben-Adir), plus Backlack (Neil Maskell) and his son Blue (Bleu Landau). Can this rag tag bunch of rebels overthrow Vortigern’s evil empire and free the land from oppression?

"A 'mage'-ing"

So is this ‘Legend of the Sword’ actually any good? Ritchie brings his trademark quick cut narrative which he uses in his Sherlock films – its born out most effectively where Arthur talks through an entire negotiation in advance - rendering the actual plot development unnecessary. It’s quirky and unfortunately doesn’t fit well in the medieval setting – much better however are the brutal fight and battle scenes. When Arthur wields Excalibur, time slows down and bad guys die – end of…

There has a definite feel of being an origins tale – designed to kick off a franchise, it takes the much loved and multi-faceted legend, mixes up the mythos, playing fast and loose with it and delivers something entirely new. Jude Law is the weakest element (yes even with a David Beckham cameo) but Hunnam carries the film with his likeable charisma so all is not lost.

"Jude - do that 'boo hiss' face yeah"

This new King Arthur certainly won’t please purists and is no classic but for those looking for a creative, exciting, fantasy action romp there is much to enjoy.

"end of level boss"

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


(2.5 - Hit n Myth reworking...)

Awesomeness öööö – Great fights and Ritchie elements

Laughs öö –  Occasional mirth

Horror öö – Some violence and scares

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - True faith isn't a birthright

"On the head!"

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Darkmatters Guardians of the Galaxy Vol . 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (12a)

Director: James Gunn

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“There are two types of beings in the universe: those who dance, and those who do not.”

Buckle up sci-fi fans as Marvel’s loveable, universe saving heroes are back, bringing with them an 'Awesome Mixtape #2' which sets the light-hearted tone wonderfully for this full-scale galactic adventure.

"supremely arrogant beings"

The team led by Peter ‘Star Lord’ Quill (Chris “Jurassic World’ Pratt), backed up by the hot green skinned love interest Gamora (Zoe Saldana), genetically enhance raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and the impossibly cute ‘Baby’ Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) – a sentient tree. But this time it is violent maniac Drax (WCW’s Dave Batista) who gets many of the best comic lines.

Director James Gunn returns and is right at home straight from the grin-inducing opening credits battle which sees the Guardians taking on huge space octopus creature to the sounds of ELO’s ‘Mr Blue Sky’. All the while the little Groot dances around the battlefield lost in the melody and it’s so joyful that you’ll probably wish you could rewind it straight away and watch it again.

"heavy weapons"

The plot sees the Guardians in a scrape after a job the for proud Sovereign race goes pear-shaped when Rocket helps himself to the bounty they were paid to protect. Being pursued across the galaxy they cross paths with Quill's estranged father Ego (Kurt Russell) who invites Quill, Gamora and Drax, to his home, while Rocket and Groot to repair the ship and guard Gamora’s dangerous sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) who they have captured...

Also on hand are blue skinned Ravager Yondu (Michael Rooker) who is desperate to win back favour of the Ravager high commander Stakar Ogord (a fun cameo from Sylvester Stallone which may even lead to a Ravager spin off movie).

"pals in mayhem"

Everyone goes about the madcap business with great heart and the action comes thick and fast. The winning combination of adventure and humour makes for a fantastic cinematic experience and bodes well for when the Guardians team up with the Avengers in the near future.

The Guardians of the Galaxy are fast becoming an iconic element of the Marvel cinematic universe – and Vol.2 is a big screen joy to behold. This is a sci-fi series to rival even Star Wars and it’s great to know that they will be back for more (as promised in the end credits). Speaking of which there are multiple extra scenes after the film so don’t rush off.

"seat of pants"

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


(4 - Highly recommended intergalactic viewing!)

Awesomeness öööö – Superb set pieces and incredible opening credits

Laughs öööö –  Really funny throughout

Horror ö – Not very grim

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Paternal instincts aren't always godly

Monday, May 08, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Sleepless

Sleepless (15)

Dir. Baran bo Odar

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“He knows the players, he knows their methods”

Dirty cops, stolen drugs and kidnapping are the order of the day for ‘Sleepless’ – a flashy but dim remake of the 2011 French thriller ‘Nuit Blanche / Sleepless Night’.

Meet Vincent Downs (Jamie ‘soon to be in Baby Driver’ Foxx) an estranged family man and tough Las Vegas cop, who's partner Sean Cass (T.I.) just might be crooked. When the duo are tipped off about a huge drug stash being moved they decide to steal the $8million package and get rich quickly.

"met his match?"

Cue violent death and recriminations as the cops take down the drug runners and assign themselves to the case in order to cover their tracks. Things just aren’t that easy though and get worse for Downs when it turns out the drugs he stole belong to dangerous crime family, the Novaks, who promptly kidnap his son Thomas (Octavius Johnson) and demand that he returns them for his son’s life.

Another complication is that Internal Affairs are sniffing around the pair – and the determined Jennifer Bryant (Michelle ‘Source Code’ Monaghan) wants to takes Downs erm, down after he lies to her. Also on the scene is Down’s nurse wife Dena (Gabrielle ‘Bad Boys 2’ Union) who thinks (rightly) that he’s not being straight about the whereabouts of their son…

"obligatory cool car"

As the night ticks on the tension ramps up and other players become involved including Casino boss Stanley Rubino (Dermot Mulroney), Bryant's partner, Doug Dennison (David Harbour) and the ruthless Robert Novak (Scott McNairy) who is liable to kill everyone to get his drugs.

Director Baran bo ‘The Silence’ Odar does an ok job with what feels a lot like a throwback to the fast moving 90s cop thrillers of Bruce Willis or Arnie. Alas there are some pretty massive plot holes and acts of stupid coincidence that undermine what would otherwise be a solid B movie.

"Did someone call for Bad Boys?"

The action kicks along nicely, the violence is pretty brutal and James Foxx holds it all together with a great lead performance. The cinematography is straight from the text book crime-em-up catalogue as used by films like Collateral or Run All Night, everything works well and but Sleepless won’t be remembered as a classic.

For a fun, disposable dose of dirty cop thrills, Sleepless delivers an hour and half of cool looking action.

"rent a crim"

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


(2.5 - Cops n thrills but nothing you'll remember for long...)

Awesomeness ööö – Occasionally delivers something cool

Laughs öö –  Some fun but not much

Horror öö – Real threat and implied torture

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Over your head is a bad place to be...

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Fast and Furious 8

Fast and Furious 8 (12a)

Dir. F. Gary Gray

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“What's it gonna be? You're gonna close your eyes on world war 3 or you're gonna saddle up and save the entire damn world.”

The Fast and Furious vehicular mayhem-em-up is back and shows no signs of slowing down. Following the ever escalating adventure of the ‘family’ of car racers / thieves / international heroes this time we have Dom (Vin ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Diesel) and Letty (Michelle ‘soon to be seen in Alita: Battle Angel’  Rodriguez) on their honeymoon when a mysterious woman seduces Dom back into the world of crime he’s tried so hard to escape.

"things get a little our of hand"

The seductive baddie is Cipher (Charlize ‘Mad Max’ Theron) a criminal mastermind and cyber-terrorist who makes Dom turn against his fam and thus we get a battle royale as the former pals must work against each other.

Is it as loud, stupid and fun as the previous entries? Oh yes and there’s more action, bigger set pieces and ridiculous dialogue – the Fast & Furious franchise has become something cinematically joyous to behold but dumb as you like.

"the traffic is killer"

You must know by now if this is your adrenalin pumping cup of tea or whether the whole clichéd crash-bang-wallop will leave you screaming in pain. Fans will lap up the insanity and those just looking for a no-brain cinema trip are well served but anyone in search of a meaningful plot, acting or semblance of sense should move along.

The plot (if you can call it that – stretches to over 2 and half hours) sees Dom having to work with previous mortal enemy Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) and DSS agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). Along the way there are hacking of self-driving cars, tanks on ice, a car vs submarine showdown – yes this really is going to be hard to top for sheer ballsy auto-action.

"street racing makes a brief appearance"

It is all filmed in flashy style and director F. Gary ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Gray keeps it ticking along but it does start to feel like they might have gone as far as they can on this franchise’s ride. Especially missed here is Paul Walker – who helped hold the previous films together – his untimely death is always in the back of the mind when the car crashes are non-stop.

So there you have it the ‘Fate of The Furious’ as the film is called in the US is decided with a lot of explosions, banter, general macho posturing and a Helen Mirren cameo. Buckle up if you’re gonna take this trip – you’ll need to rest your eyeballs afterwards!

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


(3 - Fast and Furious but lacking anything meaningful)

Awesomeness ööö – OTT fun in places and some cool set pieces

Laughs ööö –  Funny in places

Horror öö – Slapstick violence and auto carnage mostly

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Gasoline isn't actually a god...

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Ghost In The Shell

Ghost In The Shell (15)

Dir. Rupert Sanders

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“We cling to memories as if they define us, but they don't. What we do is what defines us.”

In the near future, Major Motoko Kusanagi (Scarlett ‘Avengers’ Johansson) is the first of her kind – a cyber-enhanced human mind housed in an automaton weapon system ‘shell’.

Designed to be the perfect counter-terrorist weapon, Major is tasked with taking down the world's most dangerous criminals as part of Section 9, backed up by humans – many of whom also have some augmented cybernetic enhancements. She’s good at her job too – able to cloak in invisibility and kill without mercy.

"we can rebuild her..."

Major is, however, experiencing hallucinations or glitches in her reality – are they somehow related to her human past before she was ‘saved’ and put into her Robocop-esque body? Bothered by how little she remembers about her past and exposed to possible malware after diving into a hacked robot – it becomes clear that things aren’t quite what they seem.

This film is based on the internationally acclaimed Japanese Manga, "The Ghost in the Shell” and director Rupert ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ Sanders brings the fantastical Blade Runner-alike world to vibrant life. There are some jaw-dropping visuals on display backed up with some kick-ass action set pieces. Ironically though, despite the best efforts of Johansson, "Beat" Takeshi Kitano (as her boss) and Pilou Asbæk as Batou, her partner in Section 9 – the film fails to really feel like it has a soul within its impressive machine tooled body.

"it's in the eyes"

There is much to enjoy though and for sheer style over substance Ghost In The Shell is a triumph of future gazing, creating a world that looks scarily possible soon. The concept of uploading human consciousness is one that has been explored in many sci-fi films and is surely a holy grail that science is grappling with behind closed doors.

Much has been made of the change in making the character of Major be played by a white actress rather than an Asian one, but within the huge budget multi-cultural landscape Johansson throws her all into the part and delivers an iconic performance.

"she means business"

Alas baddie Kuze (Michael Pitt), a cyber-terrorist who might know more about Major’s past then she thinks, doesn’t command sufficient threat and the neatly tied up plot feels a little lite-weight.

Ghost In The Shell is for sci-fi fans – switch off brain, sit back and prepare to be dazzled.

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


(3 -A visual but hollow feast)

Awesomeness öööö – Stylish and cool, exciting and brilliant

Laughs öö –  Ltd mirth

Horror ööö – Violence gets grim at points

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Souls are worth fighting for...

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Free Fire

Free Fire (15)

Dir. Ben Wheatley

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“We’d like to leave with our money, and I’m sure that you boys would like to leave with the weapons.”

From the twisted mind of Ben ‘High-Rise’ Wheatley comes a new action comedy thriller set in 1970s Boston. Featuring one of the longest and most intense fire-fights ever to grace the screen, Free Fire is a kind of British Reservoir Dogs, packing quips and character shifts along with death and carnage.

tooled up

Meet wanna gangster hardmen Bernie (Enzo ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Cilenti) and Stevo (Sam ‘Pride & Prejudice & Zombies’ Riley). Worse the wear from the night before, Stevo especially isn’t on top form but they are on duty for Frank (Michael ‘Black Mirror’ Smiley) and Chris (Cillian ‘Batman Begins’ Murphy) who are buying weapons for the unnamed Irish terrorist cause.

On the other side of the deal are the dangerous Ord (Armie ‘Nocturnal Animals’ Hammer) and Arms Dealer Vernon (Sharlto ‘District 9’ Copley) along with their thugs.

With itchy trigger fingers on both sides, distrust, unexpected prior bad blood between some of the muscle and some party crashers – things get very tense, very quickly.

Caught in the middle is Justine (Brie ‘Kong: Skull Island’ Larson) who actually brokered the meeting in a nicely deserted warehouse for the two groups. Who can be trusted and who will survive when the bullets start to fly is anyone’s guess.

a rose amoungst bullets

The warehouse itself is shot with all sorts of interesting lighting and the cinematography is dialed up to max with jump cuts that actually work rather than confusing the viewer about who is shooting who. The soundtrack is ace too both in terms of crackling gunfire and cool ‘70s music.

Free Fire is an absolute riot of gunplay, banter and double-crossing fun. The full-on shootout is magnificently handled with all characters getting moments to shine and the frantic action will live long in the memory. The carnage is broken up by lighthearted moments which add to the experience, like when one of gang shouts “I’ve forgotten which side I’m on” mid fight.

fight for your right to party

Wheatley is a superb director, it wouldn’t be unfair to call him a British Tarantino – Free Fire is another quality output and feels like the work of a filmmaker who is at the top of their game.

For a pure cinematic adrenalin rush of violence and fun, Free Fire hits the target, delivering a feel good flip on a classic crime tale.

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


(4 - Shoot-em-ups don't come much better)

Awesomeness öööö – Stylish and cool, exciting and brilliant

Laughs ööö –  Lots of cracking quips

Horror ööö – Death and disfigurement a go go

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - The law of the gun...

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

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