DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Monday, October 16, 2017

Darkmatters Review: The Ritual


The Ritual (15)

Dir. David Bruckner

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“It wasn’t your fault, mate…”

This is the unhappy tale of what happens following the untimely death of a nice guy called Rob (Paul Reid) whose pal, Luke (Rafe Spall), hid rather than stepped up to try and save him. Ridden with guilt Luke joins his other friends - Hutch (Robert James-Collier), Phil (Arsher Ali) and Dom (Sam Troughton) on a hike in Sweden in memory of Rob. But it’s not long before the group is being hunted through the forest wilderness by something terrifying and the body count starts to rise.

"not a happy shopper"

The Ritual is an effective survival horror which takes tropes from films such as The Blair Witch Project and The Wicker Man, mixes them up with some nasty Nordic mythology. The acting is surprisingly strong for a horror and the build-up works really well. Each of the friends has their own demons but together they are a good bunch of guys who bring some quality believable banter and plenty of laughs before they start to come apart (literally in some cases). Having real empathy with the protagonists makes you care about them when things start to get bad – and the nerve-shredding slow burn build up is expertly handled.

"what could go wrong?"

Director David Bruckner has a great eye for visuals and some of the Swedish landscape cinematography is just stunning. The friends I saw this with were suitably freaked out as the group stumble upon sinister warning signs after taking an ill-advised shortcut through a creepy forest.

When the running and screaming starts it delivers a fascinatingly twisted scenario and the plot shifts from a tense stalk n jump horror to full-on crazy Nordic ‘pagan-em-up’. It’s a shame that the ending – however unsettling feels a bit rushed and silly after the excellent work that has gone before.

"slightly sinister"

Even as the friends find themselves in a horrific life or death situation the chemistry and group dynamics hold firm elevating what could have been a very average horror effort to something that is really worth checking, as long as you have the stomach for grisly goings-on.

The ‘big bad’ in the film is something that hasn’t been seen on film before either which is a plus, but the trim running time means that there isn’t enough bridge from the hidden killer to the ‘well that’s just freaky’ monster mash.

"shock and awe"


If you go down to the woods today, you’ll be both scared and entertained but might not make it out alive…

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

ööö1/2

(3.5 - Beware the woods at night... scary stuff)

Awesomeness öööö – Some very effective chills on offer

Laughs ööö – Nice lads banter

Horror öööö – Icky and grim

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Would you die for a friend?


Friday, October 06, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Blade Runner 2049



Blade Runner 2049 (15)

Dir. Denis Villeneuve

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the less Voight-Kampff test version of this review which is published in the newspapers: HERE

“I was told you’re special. Your story isn’t over yet. There is still a page left. ”

Welcome, thank you for coming. Please look up and to the left while I examine your eyes. Now answer these questions, please answer quickly as reaction time is a factor…

You're watching TV. Suddenly you realise there's a wasp crawling on your arm. What do you do?

OK, you’re now watching the sequel to one of the most iconic and groundbreaking sci-fi films of all time. It’s incredible near future neo-noir stuff, heartbreaking and thrilling in equal measure. Denis ‘Sicario’ Villeneuve, the director, has packed it with retina burningly cool scenes and a stunning storyline that adds pathos to the events that follow on from thirty years before.

"she wants you"

This is the tale of a new Blade Runner on the block, LAPD Officer K (Ryan ‘Drive’ Gosling). K’s job is to hunt down surviving dangerous old model replicants (robots who look and act human) and when off duty he lives with his virtual girlfriend Joi (Ana ‘Knock Knock’ de Armas). After he has a run in with a rogue replicant K unearths a long-buried secret that he is intimately connected to and could plunge what's left of society into chaos.

Wanted by villainous tycoon Niander Wallace (Jared ‘Suicide Squad’ Leto) and hunted by the seemingly unstoppable replicant enforcer Luv (Sylvia Hoeks), K must find the original Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has been missing for 30 years and who might hold the key to the mystery.

"ask questions later"

Blade Runner 2049 is everything that fans of the original could want in a sequel. Gosling is superb in the lead role and he’s ably backed up by the rest of the cast including Ford who delivers his best performance for many years.

The cinematography is eye-popping too, taking the incredible dystopian near future visuals of the first film and expanding them. The gadgets, vehicles and even the iconic skyscraper-sized adverts all add to the feel that the action takes place in very much the same Blade Runner universe.

At almost 3 hours this is a veritable feast for sci-fi lovers but despite the bum-numbing length it doesn’t drag. The storyline is poignant and moving, raising big questions about what it means to be human and what the value of life (even virtual life) is.

"she looks real enough..."

Blade Runner 2049 is an instant classic and possible film of the year. Make it your mission to hunt it down but be sure to have watched the original first.

"not so subliminal messaging"


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

ööööö

(5 - Wake up - time to die happy)

Awesomeness ööööö – Incredible, unforgettable scenes

Laughs öö – some sly humour

Horror ööö – gets violent in places

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - are we human? or are we dancer?


Monday, October 02, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Flatliners


Flatliners (15)

Dir. Niels Arden Oplev

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Observer

“You Haven't Lived Until You've Died…”

What happens when a bunch of medical students get obsessed by what lies beyond the confines of this mortal life? Well, in Flatliners (a remake of exactly the same film from 1990) they embark on a risky experiment - stopping their hearts for short periods to ‘die’ and then be resuscitated in order that they can actually experience the afterlife and live to tell the tale. What on earth could go wrong?


"do you like my head gear?"

First to defy death is Courtney (Ellen ‘Juno’ Page) – she’s obsessed with finding out if there is life after death due to the fact that she accidentally caused the death of her young sister. Then there’s Jamie (James ‘Grantchester’ Norton) who plays a womanising cad trying to get by doing the absolute minimum work. Also on this near-death ride is Marlo (Nina ‘The Vampire Diaries’ Dobrev) who is hiding a past fatal mistake and goody goody Sophia (Kiersey ‘Bad Neighbours 2’ Clemons) complete with an overly controlling mother.

Then there’s the more sensible Ray (Diego Luna) who refuses to go under and experience death but is happy to help with the procedure for his friends. Of course, death doesn’t like being tinkered with and the meddling students start to get all sorts of demonic hallucinations – that just might actually kill them!?

"at least it looks like the cast had fun on set"

Oh, there is an obligatory cameo - Kiefer Sutherland from the ‘90s version - who plays one of the medical professors but even he seems a bit bemused to be there. So slowly but surely the lurking dread tries to build up but it all feels a bit forced.

Once the film shifts gear from pseudoscience thriller into limp horror-wannabe, it’s all weak jump scares and unexpected loud noises. Have the sins of the past found a doorway through the near death and come to settle scores? What are the chances that every single one of the students has a sinister secret too huh?

Ala, the film starts to desperately drag despite the competent cinematography and great cast – especially Page who is just awesomely wasted in this role. Director Opley seems determined to slavishly make his version almost but not quite as good as the original (apart from the special effects).

"it's DOA alas"

Some lines shouldn’t be crossed and unfortunately, the line for tickets to see this new Flatliners is one of them.

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

öö1/2

(2.5 - Life after death shouldn't be this dull...)

Awesomeness öö – not much alas

Laughs ö – very few

Horror öö – not scary enough

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - some lines shouldn't be crossed

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Kingsman - The Golden Circle


Kingsman: The Golden Circle (15)

Dir. Matthew Vaughn

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Guardian

“My name is Poppy Adams, CEO of the Golden Circle. We engage in an aggressive business strategy… our world leaders have let us all down, so we are coming out of the shadows and taking over. And to make sure no one gets in our way... Kingsman is crumpets – as in ‘toast’ but more British!””

Here it is then, the kick ass sequel to the stylish hyperkinetic action spy-em-up Kingsman: The Secret Service. Leaping from the mind of comic book genius Mark Millar, the oh-so-British super spies are back to save the world and look very dapper whilst they do.

"anything Bond can do..."

From the jaw dropping opening – a full on action car chase through the streets of London at night - through to the insanely ultraviolent and suitably over the top climactic showdown, this is an action flick that really delivers.

Back - and now a fully-fledged Kingsman agent - is likeable teen chav turned gentleman spy Eggsy (Taron ‘Legend’ Egerton), when he’s ambushed by the robotic armed former Kingsman wannabe Charlie (Edward Holcroft) things go very wrong for the Kingsman organisation.

"to absent friends"

With their headquarters destroyed and the world held hostage by new big baddie Poppy Adams (the excellent Julianne Moore), whose HR selection process is to make her team kill, then eat, one of their friends, the remaining Kingsman agents call on their US counterparts the ‘Statesman’.

So we have Kingsman Quartermaster Merlin (Mark Strong), and if you’ve seen a poster or trailer it’s not a spoiler to let you know that the superb Harry (Colin Firth) is also back.

The Statesman agents who are named after drinks include lasso wielding Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), bad boy Tequila (Channing Tatum), weapons specialist Ginger Ale (Halle Berry) and boss Champagne (Jeff Bridges). These new heroes are fun addition and open the door to more international collaborative action in the future.

"action time"

Also in the mix is Eggsy’s Royal girlfriend Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström) and her potential love rival Clara (Poppy Delevingne) who gets a questionably tasteless Glastonbury Festival scene. And then there’s Sir Elton John who plays himself and manages to be an absolute boss, stealing all his scenes.

Sure, if you’re easily offended by bad language, macho bravado or crunching violence, this isn’t the film for you. But for a balls out, feel good adrenalin overload The Golden Circle out ‘Bond’s’ James Bond at his own game and is more fun than all the Bourne films put together. The Kingsman franchise is the new golden (circle) standard for action spy adventures and sets the bar for all future efforts.

"official Statesman skipping rope"

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - All Hail the Kingsman...)

Awesomeness ööööö – Insane and jaw dropping action set pieces

Laughs öööö – Laugh out loud funnies

Horror ööö – Gets grim in places and violent throughout

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - For Queen and Country

Read Matt's review of the first Kingsman: HERE

Darkmatters Review: The Hitman’s Bodyguard


The Hitman’s Bodyguard (15)

Dir. Patrick Hughes

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: Buckingham & Winslow Advertiser

“Go with God! This man's killed over 150 people...”

Generic buddy action comedies don't often come with such a strong cast – and The Hitman’s Bodyguard brings some A-game likeable heroes with Ryan ‘Deadpool’ Reynolds (who is the titular bodyguard) and Samuel L. ‘Kong: Skull Island’ Jackson (as the hitman)…

Alas that is all Patrick ‘Expendables 3’ Hughes has going for him as despite the fun foul-mouthed banter of the two leads, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is just not a great film in any way.

So we have Michael Bryce (Reynolds), a once AAA rated security provider to the rich and powerful. His career gets nuked when he loses a high-profile client and is consigned to looking after coked out lawyers such as Seifert (a fun but brief cameo from Richard E. Grant).

Meanwhile evil President of Belarus, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary ‘Child 44’ Oldman) is busy committing genocide and killing off all witnesses who might testify against him. Except that is for ultra hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson), who has dirt on Dukhovich and thus needs to be protected en-route to give evidence at The Hague, from Manchester in the UK.


Cue some mildly entertaining but ‘seen it all before’ assassination attempts, car chases and lots of banter. One of the problems is the low rent setting for the first major action scene. The streets of Coventry are just really hard to make look cool even when you have a small army of tooled up mercs trying to kill Kincaid. It looks for all the world like one of them might pop in a Tesco Express and grab a sandwich mid battle…

"not a test drive"

As the predictable plot ticks along, there are love interests on hand in the form of Bryce’s ex-lover Amelia (the excellent Elodie ‘Elektra from Netflix’s Dare Devil’ Yung), a C.I.A. agent who blackmails him into protecting Kincaid in the first place. Speaking of whom, Kincaid’s wife Sonia (Salma ‘Savages’ Hayek) is locked up and is being used to persuade him to testify in order for her to be released.

"never cross the streams"

There is one funny flashback of how Mr and Mrs Kincaid met but otherwise it's a case of lazy swearing rather than actually funny lines. Couple this with action which wouldn’t look out of place in a bargain bin DVD and this is massive missed opportunity.


The Hitman’s Bodyguard is averagely entertaining, it’s not rubbish but it could and with the cast it has, should, have been so much better!

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

öö1/2

(2.5 - Average fun and action that should have been better)

Awesomeness ööö – Occasional passable action banter

Laughs ööö – Tries hard for funnies and sometimes works

Horror ööö – Bit nasty torture scene seems unnecessary

Spiritual Enlightenment ö - Coerced friendship still counts?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Atomic Blonde



Atomic Blonde (15)

Dir. David Leitch

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Observer

“I chose this life, and someday it’s going to get me killed. But not today…”

In the mood for some stylish violent spy action?

Good, you’ve come to the right place…

It’s 1989, just before the end of the Cold War and the Berlin Wall coming down. Top MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Theron) must use her expert killing skills to recover a leaked list of operatives which could wipe out most of the agents in the field.

Based on a graphic novel called ‘The Coldest City’, Director David ‘John Wick’ Leitch brings some of the most brutal and exciting spy-em-up action for years to the big screen and Theron is an absolute force of nature kick ass in fine style.

'Kicking ass'

Fuelled by a fast paced twisty plot which sees a Russian killer trying to sell the list of agents whilst both East and West try to recover it for themselves – by eliminating anyone in the way. Lorraine – who is the Atomic Blonde of the title – teams up with British Station Chief David Percival (James ‘Split’ McAvoy) in order to find out who stole the list and killed her friend in the process. However the two do not know if they can actually trust each other which makes for a dangerous game.

Also on hand is foxy French agent Delphine Lasalle (Sofia ‘Kingsman’ Boutella) who takes a bit of shine to Lorraine but again – despite the two becoming lovers - can anyone actually be trusted in the Cold War paranoia?

'Making friends'

Quality support is also on hand from John Goodman and Toby Jones who are the US and UK debriefing team tasked with finding out exactly what happened in Berlin and just why the body count is so large…

Everything about Atomic Blonde is super stylish, and the ‘80s music soundtrack is just superb – from the second New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ kicks in at the start through to use of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Depeche Mode with one of my all time favs ‘Behind the Wheel’.

'Truth or lies?'

If you want to quibble you could complain about the bad language or the amount of time the females spend in their underwear but overall this is a very strong new potential action franchise.

The action is frenetic and crunching – think John Wick at his best but female and every bit as cool… Theron has created a girl power action icon in Atomic Blonde – let’s hope there is a sequel!

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

ööööö

(5 - Tasty action violence spy thrills - delivered in style)

Awesomeness ööööö – Some incredible action

Laughs ööö – Darkly comic

Horror ööö – Gets bit grim in places and lots of death

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Blondes do have souls

Darkmatters Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets


Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (12a)

Dir. Luc Besson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: BOSTON HERALD

“After centuries of peace and prosperity, an unknown force wants to destroy all we have created…”

This summer’s latest big space based adventure is brought to us by director Luc ‘The Fifth Element’ Besson, who has made some classic films like ‘Leon: The Professional’ but also some pretty terrible efforts such as ‘Lucy’.

'City of blinding lights / 1000 planets'

Based on a French comic book series set in the 28th century, the plot sees hotshot heroes Major Valerian (Dane ‘Chronicle’ DeHaan) and Sergeant Laureline (Cara ‘Suicide Squad’ Delevingne) as a team of special operatives charged with maintaining order throughout the human territories of the galaxy.

When the Galactic Minister of Defense send the two on a mission to the city (of a thousand planets) called Alpha - an ever-expanding metropolis where species from all over the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge and live together – a dangerous mystery unfolds…

'Shape shifting'

If you like your sci-fi of the eye-popping, wildly creative kind then Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets will blow you away. There are so many ideas hitting the screen and such a diversity of alien culture, all brought to vivid life through some of this year’s best special effect that you’ll likely be overwhelmed. Think Star Wars prequels but more exciting and richer in imagination.

'Your designated heroes'

If you like your plots ordered and your acting decent though then you may be left wanting as this is a film that rolls along on a wild rollercoaster of cool set pieces loosely tied together by some dodgy narrative. DeHaan and Delevingne look good but their banter feels a bit forced and despite rocking some kick ass space armour, they are unlikely to become cult icons.

So, Valerian and Laureline race around getting into fights and risking everything to try and identify the dark plan which threatens not just Alpha, but the future of the universe. Along the way there is mixed support from Clive Owen as ‘Commander Arun Filitt’ and Ethan Hawke as ‘Jolly the Pimp’ but the most memorable performance comes from pop star Rihanna as ‘Bubble. Yes, it seems that an alien who can transform into anything chooses to make a living as a Rihanna pole dancing tribute circa her Umbrella look – and why wouldn’t they?

'R and R in VR'

Overall Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets delivers a good time for those looking for some out of this world entertainment. And if you enjoy it there are several sequels being planned already!?

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

öööö

(4 - In space, no-one can hear your jaw drop)

Awesomeness öööö – Strong set pieces and crazy imagination at play

Laughs ööö – Some laughs and comic relief

Horror öö – Not too nasty but some violence

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Galactic heroes required

Monday, July 24, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Dunkirk




Dunkirk (12a)

Dir. Christopher Nolan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“You can practically see it from here… Home”

Strong hearts are required for Christopher ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’ Nolan’s homage to and reverent retelling of the desperate evacuation of the Allied forces who found themselves cut off, surrounded and hunted by the German army. With roughly 400,000 men stuck on the beaches of Dunkirk in France, under constant attack from German planes and with very limited access for ships to land and pick them up – the situation was dire.

The sheer hopelessness of the Allies' position is tangible as the viewers are thrown straight into the plight of young Tommy (excellent newcomer Fionn Whitehead). As his squad are mown down – he finds himself alone and daunted when he makes it to the beach only to find thousands of men queuing for to take their chance on a ship – most of which are picked off by enemy U-boats and aircraft before they get far…

"desperation..."

Tommy comes across private, Gibson (Aneurin Barnard), and together they try to find a way off the beach. Their story is just one of the 3 main perspectives from which the historic tale is told – the others being a small civilian boat whose crew answer the call to try and get across the channel and help to pick up the soldiers and the brave attempts of the RAF Spitfire pilots to try and keep the German planes at bay.

Told in a powerful non-chronological order, the non-linear plotting keeps you guessing at the intensity of the events unfolding before you – who (if anyone) will make it off the beach and what will be left of them physically and mentally…

"Bravey"

The film making is of the highest order, some of the cinematic shots will stay with you for the rest of your life and they are made even more powerful by an incredible score from Hans Zimmer which encompasses heartbeats, stop watches and the screech of machinery.

I had the honour of watching this a few seats away from an actual Dunkirk survivor who was in his nineties. He cried throughout the film and I can’t imagine what it must have been like to experience the fear, confusion and utter turmoil of these desperate events brought back so vividly.

It slammed home that this wasn’t a dramatic plot dreamt up to thrill audiences but rather a terrible reminder of a time when hell came to earth and thousands of men lost their lives.

"The best of the best"

No one character carries this film – sure there are Harry Styles and Tom Hardy on hand but everyone does their part in fine style – without show boating or glorifying the situation.

This is a must see cinematic event – we will not forget those who died for our freedom…

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

ööööö

(5 - A staggering, heartbreaking and noble endeavor)

Awesomeness ööööö – Fear and Heroics can be the same thing...

Laughs ö – A few jokes amongst the grimness

Horror öööö – Strong death, horror, and threat - pushes a 12a cert

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Bravery transcends humanity

Friday, July 07, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Spiderman Homecoming


Spider-Man: Homecoming (12a)

Dir. Jon Watts

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Observer

“Can't you just be a friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man?”

Spider sense tingling… Here it is then – Spider-Man is back (for the 3rd incarnation in just over 15 years) and this time Spidey follows up his scene-stealing antics in Captain America: Civil War by cementing his place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and getting to play again with the Avengers.

Everything about Spider-Man: Homecoming feels ‘right’. Tom Holland brings real heart to the role of Peter Parker, he’s young, fun and gutsy – channelling the eagerness to impress his new super pals - especially his mentor Iron Man himself (Robert Downey, Jr).

"here to help"

Being a teenage superhero isn’t easy though as we’ve learned from films such as Kick Ass, and trying to find love can make things even more complicated – so when his fellow quiz team member Liz (Laura Harrier) catches his heart it’s like watching a super powered John Hughes film…

Director Jon ‘Cop Car’ Watts does a great job of mixing plenty of exciting action with the romance and coming-of-age teenage angst backdrop. Adding Tony Stark to the mix ups the ante as the new Spider Suit comes packing A.I. and all sorts of tech enhancements.

"your mentor is watching"

Baddie of the piece this time is the Vulture (Michael Keaton) a man who feels deeply wronged by Stark Industries and who creates high-powered weapons plus his winged mech suit from alien tech left over from the battle the Avengers had with Chitauri. Keaton is excellent and makes what could have been a laughable supervillain into a fleshed-out menace who is a believable threat.

It’s a joy to watch this new wall-crawler learning to use his suit and powers, egged on by his nerdy pal Ned (a winning supporting role from Jacob Batalon). There are some jaw-dropping scenes and some excellent Easter Eggs for comic book fans to pick up – which will please long term fans and shows the writers respect their fan base.

"the Vulture strikes"

The mentor/mentee relationship between Iron Man and Spider-Man will also resonate with anyone who ever had someone look out for them, provide some wisdom and support. It gives the film an emotional core and bridges Spidey’s transition into becoming an Avenger in one fell swoop.

This is a Homecoming that everyone should witness, it looks great in IMAX and even the 3D adds effectively to the super spectacle. It’s good to have Spider-Man home in the Marvel universe!

"top of the world Ma!"

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

ööööö

(5 - Spidey blasts back in fine style)

Awesomeness ööööö – Excellent super fun and real heart

Laughs ööö – Very funny too

Horror öö – Some serious threat but nothing too grim

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Does whatever a spider can!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Baby Driver


Baby Driver (15)

Dir. Edgar Wright

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: HERE

“I don't think I need to give you the speech about what would happen if you say no, how I could break your legs and kill everyone you love because you already know that, don't you?”

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines and prepare for a wholly original new take on the well worn (and loved) heist getaway driver thriller – with added music soundtrack to every scene.

"They call, I go"

Baby Driver is a true romance tale, violent, funny and very cool, imagine Drive mixed with La La Land – so buckle up for super charged (non CGI) car chases, bank heist action and criminal capers all wrapped around a sweet boy meets girl core.

Meet Baby (Ansel ‘Carrie’ Elgort) – a simple young chap who has tinnitus so has to constantly listen to music on an old school iPod after an accident as a child – which also orphaned him. He has incredible driving skills though which he is coerced to use for dangerous crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey), in order to pay off a debt but his dreams of escape are heightened when he falls for innocent kindred spirit Debora (Lily James).

"High speed anitcs"

Along the way Baby crosses paths with various criminal elements who include the unhinged Bats (Jamie Foxx) who tends to shoot first and leaves a trail of dead in his wake, the ice cold psycho Buddy (Jon Hamm) and his foxy girlfriend / partner in crime Darling (Elza González).

When not driving Baby lives with and cares for his almost blind adoptive guardian and diligently saves his meagre cut of the ill gotten gains that Doc allows him to keep. But getting out of his criminal life wont be easy (or safe) and so it transpires as the plot accelerates to a violent, crunching showdown.

"Like a Twin Peaks diner"

All the cast do a great job, making the cracking dialogue pop and bring their characters to fully formed life. The cars are supremely cool and threaten to steal the show but Elgort is the stand out star here – delivering an iconic performance that should open the door for more leading man roles. Oh and the soundtrack is absolutely killer too.

Director Edgar ‘Hot Fuzz’ Wright makes all the right moves and delivers an exciting, fast-paced modern classic which immediately stands alongside the greats of the genre like Bullet, The Driver and Drive.

"No-one gets away clean"

Baby Driver is a full throttle endorphin rush that really should be seen on the big screen. Highly recommended!

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

ööööö

(5 - High octane musical heist thrills )

Awesomeness öööö – Some unforgettable scenes

Laughs ööö – Not a comedy but funny in places

Horror ööö – Nasty in places

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Strangely heroic souls FTW

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Transformers The Last Knight



Transformers: The Last Knight (12a)

Dir. Michael Bay

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“It has been said throughout the ages, that there can be no victory, without sacrifice.”

Humankind – we are in danger… We are at war with the Transformers and the main metal champion who fought our corner - Optimus Prime - is AWOL. It seems that the key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth – doesn’t sound very hopeful does it?

Here it is then Michael Bay’s latest full metal assault on cinema goers – a technical marvel, blessed with some jaw-dropping special effects, a decent enough cast including Anthony Hopkins and Mark Wahlberg and a killer script, wait, scratch that last one. The Last Knight isn’t so much a coherent film, rather an extended collection of almost random and pretty incomprehensible scenes thrown together.

"sword play"

Kicking off in 484 AD, during the Dark Ages of England, King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) leads his knights into battle which they are in danger of losing until good ol wizard, Merlin (Stanley Tucci) gets an alien staff from the Knights of Cybertron who then transform into a three-headed dragon, Dragonstorm, and win the day for Arthur. This is probably the highlight of the film and as a stand alone short film would be have been fine.

The Transformers history lesson continues with things like the cool yellow Autobot Bumblebee fighting for the Allies in World War II… It really feels like anyone on the production team who had an idea just threw it in there…

"the BBQ got a bit out of hand"

So it’s little surprise the main action is around the staff Merlin used at the beginning – both the Autobots and baddie Deceptacons want it and the humans need the good guys to secure it of we’re all doomed.

Female empowerment are two words I never thought I’d write in a review of Michael Bay movie but the main heroines being young mechanic Izabella (Isabela Moner) and Merlin’s last descendant Viviane (Laura Haddock), who at least is an Oxford Professor do their best in this tidal wave of testosterone and gasoline but end up being token females anyway.

On the plus side there are some kick ass robo battles including pitting some formal allies against each other and Bay can shoot a decent car chase even if the huge amounts of collateral damage feel a bit misjudged in the current climate of terrorist activity.

"Romance Bay Style"

For a full on burst of visual overstimulation Transformers: The Last Knight delivers but for anyone looking for decent film this will be a long dark ‘knight’ of the soul…

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

öö

(2 -Weakest Transformer yet)

Awesomeness öö – Occasional burst of cool robo action but not enough

Laughs ööö –You'll laugh but not 'at' rather than 'with'

Horror öö – Mildly scary

Spiritual Enlightenment -ööö - brain draining, soul killing

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