DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Brigsby Bear


Brigsby Bear (15)

Dir. Dave McCary

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Remember, curiosity is an unnatural emotion!”

Get ready to grin, have your heart broken and yet have your wellbeing boosted by the star of an old-school, lo-fi, educational children’s TV show which can only be accessed on VHS tapes… Yes, Brigsby Bear is here - an evil-battling, universe-saving hero who makes up with heart and bravery what his show lacks in special effects budget…

"love at first sight"

You see the Brigsby Bear show was created for an audience of just one person - James Pope (Kyle ‘Bad Neighbours 2’ Mooney) – I won’t spoil why this is the case but just be aware that his ‘parents’ Ted (Mark ‘The Last Jedi’ Hamill) and April (Jane ‘Twin Peaks’ Adams), aren’t all they seem.

With the TV show cancelled it falls to James make the film – a quest he embarks on with the help of his friends and family who include the all-around good guy Spencer (Jorge ‘Spiderman Homecoming’ Lendeborg Jr.), and wannabe actor Detective Vogel (Greg Kinnear).

"The Force will be with you"

Brigsby Bear is a wildly unconventional breakthrough film that feels bit like last year’s excellent Hunt For The Wilderpeople in that it mainlines joy directly delivering into your central cinematic pleasure cortex.

First-time Director Dave McCary has created a contagious feel-good comedy that transcends the darkness of its plot with a lust for life narrative driven by an incredible performance by Mooney.

"Group selfie"

Kyle Mooney who is known for being a funny man on Saturday Night Live, is just exceptional in bringing a winning sweet, wide-eyed performance which could become a cinematic cult icon. James is an honest innocent whose belief that things can be ok if he just makes the Brigsby Bear movie is driven by an undeniable optimistic zeal. The filmmaking journey he goes on depicts how teamwork, faith in others and self-belief.

With near-perfect casting, great direction and an attention to detail that screams of this being a project made with passion, everything from the score through to the masses of unique Brigsby merchandise made as props adds to the enjoyment.


This is a rare treat of a film which sits happily alongside the output of Charlie Kaufman, Spike Jonze or maybe even David Lynch (if he went for a comedy)… Brigsby Bear is a modern day parable of how life needs reference points and meaning, which will make you think as much as it will make you smile – clue: a lot!!

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - Makes you wonder why they bothered...)

Awesomeness öööö  – Excellent and heartfelt entertainment

Laughs öööö  – Very funny, but dark too

Horror öö – Adult themes but nothing too grim

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Life has a way

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Wonder


Wonder (PG)

Dir. Stephen Chbosky

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“When given the choice between being right or being kind choose kind!”

Anyone for a seasonal big budget Hollywood weep-em-up? Well here’s Wonder – the wannabe inspiring and heart-warming story of August Pullman (played by Jacob Tremblay). Born with many medical complications he had undergone more than 20 operations and his face is disfigured to the point that he spends most of his time hiding behind a toy space helmet.

"pretend we're a normal family..."

When his parents (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson) decide it’s time for him to stop being home schooled and go to his first ‘real’ school, Auggie faces his biggest challenge yet – trying to fit in with a group of judgemental fifth graders.

Will he battle through the inevitable bullying, misunderstanding and ignorance, make some friends and find his place in society? You don’t need to ‘wonder’ too hard as this is entirely predictable and horribly sentimental stuff.

"school can be cruel"

Tremblay does well in the lead role– he plays his difficult role with heart and spirit – a bright and funny kid he proves he can be a great friend to have if anyone could get past his looks.

Also suffering is Auggie's older sister Via (Izabela Vidovic) who carries her own burden – that of being mostly ignored as her parents’ lives revolve around Auggie, like he is the sun, and the rest of the family are orbiting planets.

Other key players in Auggie’s life include his new School Principal Mr. Tushman (Mandy Patinkin), the token decent hearted kid Jack Will (Noah Jupe), the spoilt bully Julian (Bryce Gheisar), and the wannabe actress blonde girl Charlotte (Elle McKinnon).

"young love"

It’s very hard to take Julia Roberts seriously alas as she does her perfect smile thing throughout, Wilson too phones in his generic funny dad performance. More believable is the excellent Daveed Diggs who brings heart to his role of Aggie’s class teacher but something rings hollow here and as it all seems a little too predictable and schmaltzy. The only cool bits are the welcome surprise Star Wars imaginary friend moments...

If you’re looking for a slick family moral movie, then Wonder delivers a surface level hit of sporadically entertaining drama but as I overheard the two people who walked out of the screening I was in say “I don’t like being so obviously being told what to think”.

Wonder means well but never grabs the heart in the way that similar themed films like Gifted managed to.

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

öö

(2 - Makes you wonder why they bothered...)

Awesomeness öö – Slick but overly glib

Laughs öö – Some mildly amusing moments

Horror ö – A bit of bullying drama

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Smile though the world fears and judges you...

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Darkmatters Review: The Battle of the Sexes


Battle of the Sexes (12a)

Dir. Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to put the ‘show’ back into chauvinist…”


As the list of horribly abusive men in positions of power being outed seems to grow daily, The Battle of the Sexes takes us back to a time when the sexual revolution was only just gaining momentum.

"this time it's war"

Opening with a discussion about why the women professional tennis players were being offered eight times less prize money for the same competition by the Lawn Tennis Association and the formation of the rival Women’s Tour. The fight equality is embodied in is women's world champion Billie Jean King (Emma ‘La La Land’ Stone who is just excellent).

We get court-side seats and behind the scenes access to hang out with Billie and the women as they bust guts to raise the visibility and standing of the women’s game. Midway through the tour, in 1973, the ex-men's-champ, hustler and self-confessed ‘chauvinist pig’ Bobby Riggs (Steve ‘The Big Short’ Carell) challenged any woman to try and beat him, offering $100,000 if they could. So the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ took place on a tennis court in front of the world’s media and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world.

"great chemistry"

The cool directing team behind ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ bring the story of this sensational point proving match to the big screen in captivating style. The intense rivalry between King and Riggs is set against the backdrop of each of them battling off-court personal situations, his marriage on the rocks due to his gambling and the fiercely private King struggling to come to terms with the impact of her own sexuality.

King’s growing relationship with Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) is a heartfelt and touching core element of the film and stands to highlight the misogynistic attitudes of Riggs and the male-dominated sports world of the time. The leads are both superb but there is also great supporting work by Bill Pullman as the slimy LTA boss and Elisabeth Shue as Rigg’s conflicted wife.

"battle lines"

The prejudices and gender discrimination were then more ingrained into the institution which is why this cultural spectacle resonated far beyond the tennis court. The resulting discussions about equality, not just in sport but across all areas of life, have to continue though as the ‘battle’ is far from over.

Fun, engaging, and thought-provoking, this Battle of the Sexes is a highly recommended cinematic experience.

"is he taking it seriously?"

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

öööö

(4 - Some battles have to be fought...)

Awesomeness öööö – Heartfelt and exciting

Laughs öö – Some fun

Horror ö – Nothing too grim

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - All created equal...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Justice League


Justice League (12a)

Dir. Zac Snyder

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“There are heroes among us. Not to make us feel smaller, but to remind us of what makes us great…”

Buckle up for another super smack-down as the heavyweight characters of the DC Comics Extended Universe – Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) assemble to form the ‘Justice League’.

"no, we're not the Avengers"

With earth deemed to be unprotected after Superman (Henry Cavill) “died” in Batman vs Superman, world killer CGI alien Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) and his army of flying insect men decide to come and forcibly take over. Obviously all that’s required to turn our planet into a murky computer generated hell are 3 ‘mother boxes’ which are hidden and protected by the Amazonians, Atlantians and erm, Humans.

Cue two hours of fast forward team building and bonding, pondering about and then trying to resurrect Superman himself in order to give us a fighting chance and some actually decent and fun banter between the various heroes.

"He's an Aqua-fan of Wonder Woman"

Director Zack Snyder crams in a lot after his BvS was accused of being overly leisurely paced – but this time just as we’re getting into an exciting action situation or an interesting conversation, things cut and rush on to something else (often some plot exposition to help viewers keep up).

Justice League is very much the DC version of Avengers – and if that sounds like your super powered cup of tea then you’ll have a blast watching this band of iconic heroes doing their thing. Wonder Woman keeps up her scene stealing form after her great solo film earlier this year but all the team have some good moments.

"evil eyes"

If you’ve had enough comic book superhero action then this won’t likely change your mind. But for long term fans (full disclosure I LOVE both Superman and Batman, ok and Wonder Woman) then there is plenty to make you grin with glee.

As a film, it is a bit of a mess – and weak points include a seriously forgettable villain who looks like he’s escaped from an Xbox rather than outer space and the jump cuts that hamper coherent plot development.

"Atlantis is real"

Somewhere in this jumble is an epic adventure that rivals anything Marvel have put on screen – as it stands though, Justice League is a great fun movie but not one that will have the Avengers losing sleep as they plan their Infinity War next year.

Be sure to check the after credit scenes too for both clues of what might come next and a super stand off that made some of the audience I saw this with cheer!

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

ööö1/2

(3.5 - All In - the directors cut?)

Awesomeness öööö – Some great scenes

Laughs ööö – Super banter

Horror öö – Limited grimness unless you hate CGI

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Salvation in teamwork?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Darkmatters Review: The Florida Project


The Florida Project (15)

Dir. Sean Baker

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“The doctor says we have asthma and we gotta eat ice-cream right away!”

Welcome to the flip side of comfortable life, where poverty stalks every character and surviving is no mean feat – even when you live in the very shadow of Disneyland itself…

Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is a heavy duty treatise on the durability and joy of childhood, a soul-destroying expose of living on the edge and heart-breaking almost-romance that never could be.

I was blown away by this film which tells the tale of six-year-old Moonee (an epic and totally winning performance from Brooklynn Prince) who lives with her young mother Hailey (an incredible breakthrough performance from Bria Vinai who was approached to play her part after the Director spotted her on Instagram).

"life is not always explainable"

We get to hang out with this small family unit over the course of a few weeks of summer as they struggle to live their lives holed up in a seedy hotel called The Magic Castle. Fortunately for the two girls the hotel is managed by Bobby (Willem Dafoe whose probably never been better than he is here). Bobby is a genuinely good soul, a compassionate white knight who makes everyone’s lives better even though his consistent and selfless acts of kindness for Hailey are largely unappreciated and rebuffed.

Moonee has a ruthlessly mischievous streak, effortlessly courting trouble and generally having a good time even in a hopeless situation. Scamming tourists for ice cream money, spitting on cars and accidentally torching a local condo with her pals – this is a childhood of hard knocks but infused with an inescapable joy and freedom which is easy to get lost in.

As the kids play, danger lurks only a heartbeat away – be it the naivety of not understanding consequences or actual predatory adult intervention. Seeing the youngsters grappling with situations they cannot fully comprehend is emotionally draining such as when Hailey must sell their iPad to pay the rent and can’t really explain why.

"motherhood isn't easy"

The relationship between the world-weary Bobby and the hot-headed Hailey is shot through with a growing tension. Caught between wanting to protect Hailey like a father and yet still potentially be the man in her life, he’s a rare good guy in a bad world. But can he save her from herself as she slips down the poverty spiral into making heart breaking, self-destructive decisions.

The Florida Project is a powerful and vibrant film that will haunt you for days after seeing it. Wise beyond her years Moonee says things like: “I can always tell when adults are about to cry” when she observes some honeymooners who have inadvertently booked into the crappy Magic Kingdom thinking it was an actual part of the Disney resort.
But when life gets too much for our young heroine, all she can do is stand a cry in a scene which will just destroy you. The ending too is one of the bravest ever committed to film – just a superb few moments of unforgettable and mesmerising cinema.

"You're only young once"

I can’t recommend The Florida Project enough – it’s brutal and bleak but also engaging and wonderful in equal measure. Can’t wait to see not just what this director does next but all of the talent involved here.

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

ööööö

(5 - Save the Hailey, Save the world...)

Awesomeness ööööö – Joyful and poignant from start to end

Laughs ööö – Lots of fun but not a comedy

Horror ööö – Real life can break you

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Where is God when you need Him?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Paddington 2


Paddington 2 (PG)

Dir. Paul King

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Aunt Lucy says to look for the goodness in everyone you meet…”

Michael Bond's furry fun loving, marmalade endorsing, orphaned little bear is back. Since his first excellent big-screen adventure, Paddington (once again voiced by Ben Whishaw) has happily settled in with the Brown family and become a popular and useful member of the local community.

"multi-purpose brushes" 

Now his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday approaches and he must find a perfect gift for her, as luck would have it, a unique pop up book of London has been found in Mr. Gruber's antique shop. The only drawback is that it costs a grand and so Paddington enters the world of work in order to save up and buy it. But when the book is stolen, it's up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief and see justice done.

The good news is that this sequel is simply superb on all levels, packed with genuine wit and winning performances from the human contingent, and blessed with a fun lite-weight plot which bounds along without ever being tiresome…

"showman and show-bear"

Baddie of the piece is the villainous Phoenix Buchanan (a wonderfully OTT performance from Hugh Grant sending himself up) - a bitter faded actor looking to launch is own one-man show on the West End. The detective subplot leads to a hair-raising finale that sees a steam-powered chase, hand-to-hand combat and an anxious life-or-death moment that had the children in the screening I caught this at squealing in delight.

Due to some miscarriage of justice, Paddington finds himself behind bars but being a cheerful young bear he has in no time befriended the dangerous criminals he’s locked up with who include Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson), T-Bone (Tom Davis) and Jimmy the Snitch (Robert Stevenson).

"High ho!"

The CGI animation is exceptional, Paddington himself is a walking, talking, wonder and other nice touches abound such as a moving scene of 2D paper cut-outs which mimic the classic ‘70s TV show).

Everything works so well, director Paul King has served up a winning treat, refreshingly free of cynical cash grab merchandising (unless you count the numerous plugs for marmalade) – effectively capturing a joyful innocence. This is a must-see for anyone who with children or those who are just young at heart.

"The Browns"

Paddington 2 really is the Empire Strikes Back of furry animated comedies – it’s un’bear’ably good family friendly fun…

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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - Very tasty marmalade sandwiches all round)

Awesomeness ööö – Joyfully furry fun

Laughs öööö – Lots of good laughs to be had

Horror ö – A little tense but nothing very grim

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Looking for the good is good way to live...

Monday, November 06, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Murder on the Orient Express


Murder on the Orient Express (12a)

Dir. Kenneth Branagh

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review at: The Observer

“I see evil on this train...”

Foul deeds are afoot on the most famous train in the world (other than perhaps The Hogworts Express). Here we have an all star update of Agatha Christie’s famous whodunit which sees the ridiculously moustachioed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) pondering the killing of a Mr Edward Ratchett (Johnny Depp) which happens en route to Paris from Istanbul.

"sorry for the delay, Branagh on the tracks"

Murder on the Orient Express is blessed with an impressive cast which should in theory make this an incredible watch. The 12 suspects include young Mary Debenham (Daisy Ridley), flirty American Mrs. Hubbard (Michelle Pfeiffer), outspoken Pilar Estravados (Penelope Cruz) and haughty Princess Dragomiroff (Judi Dench) as well as Hilgarde Schmidt (Olivia Colman) and Countess Elena Andrenyi (Lucy Boynton) as the potential killer women. Also aboard are the potentially murderous male suspects such as Gerhard Hardman (Willem Dafoe), Hector MacQueen (Josh Gad), Edwards Masterman (Derek Jacobi) and more.

"who's the killer?"

Alas, even with so many A-grade talents vying for screen time, the end result is a thrill-free snooze fest (I clocked several people gently snoring their way through this in the screening I was in). It’s a shame because it all looks lovely and has occasional bursts of stunning cinematography but nothing here rivals the classic and much more sinister 1974 version in terms of anything other than production values.

It seems to take forever to get going, and lacks a consistent style which means that rather than an edge-of–your-seat mystery, Branagh delivers a ponderous mystery culminating in a weirdly underwhelming finale which sees Poirot and his crazy 'tache explaining the killer’s motivation whilst the suspects are gathered at long table framed to look like the last supper.

"the queue for the toilet wasn't too bad"

Director Branagh is also guilty of giving himself the lion's share of screen time which feels a little self indulgent when there is so much other acting talent on hand. Oh and if his prosthetic moustache isn’t up for a ‘best supporting actor’ award it will also be a crime.

There is surprisingly little nastiness, violence, cussing or gore – so you can take your granny with you without fear. But a horrendous murder in a claustrophobic setting like a train should really be more unnerving and involving.

In the end, this is a murderous cinematic train-ride that manages to not be a complete train-wreck but never feels like it hits full steam.

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

öö1/2

(2.5 - Chuff chuff Zzzzzz)

Awesomeness ööö – Occasionally delivers quality.

Laughs öö – Limited unless you can't stop sniggering about that tache.

Horror öö – Very little for a murder tale.

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Revenge n stuff.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Thor Ragnarok


Thor: Ragnarok (12a)

Dir. Taika Waititi

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Last time we saw you, you were trying to kill everyone. What are you up to these days?”

It can be tough being a super hero, God of Thunder. One day you’re saving earth from all kinds of threats, the next you’re imprisoned by a crazy dictator and forced to fight one your strongest team mates in a lethal gladiatorial contest… All the while letting your evil older sister who happens to be the goddess of death lay waste to your home world in the prophesied ‘Ragnarok’ Armageddon…

"she's Hela cool"

Yes, Thor the ‘Point Break Avenger’ (Chris Hemsworth) is back and things are looking grim for the blonde demi god. He’s lost his hammer, been dumped by his girl and finds himself trapped on planet Sakaar, which is a hive of scum and villainy governed by Grandmaster (the superb over acting Jeff Goldblum). If you’ve seen any of the posters or trailers it won’t be surprise to know that he finds Hulk ‘The Strongest Avenger’ (Mark Ruffalo) is there too, but so also is Thor’s untrustworthy brother Loki (Tom Hiddlston).

"get ready to rumble"

What follows is a kind superhero buddy movie and it’s a grin inducing riot of quality laugh out loud humour, crunching super smack downs and brilliant sci-fi, feel good heroics.

Directed by Taika ‘The Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ Waititi, takes the Marvel Cinematic Universe and gives it a endorphin boost. Not since Deadpool has a super hero film been such fun and Thor: Ragnarok manages to pack in jaw dropping action, laugh out loud gags (both visual and dialogue) and even keeps it all almost family friendly with a 12a certificate.

"He's a friend from work"

Baddie of the piece is the seemingly unstoppable and very nasty Hela (Cate Blanchett on imperious form). Also on hand is the kick-ass one-time Asgardian Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), faithful gatekeeper Heimdall (Idris Elba), Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and perhaps most fun of all - rock creature Korg (Taika Waititi – who gives himself many of the best lines). There’s another Avenger who shows up too for a class fun meeting with Thor.

I grinned so much watching Thor: Ragnarok that it made my face hurt but man it was worth it. Almost every scene will make any comic book loving soul burst with pleasure as the plot rattles through an upbeat and memorable romp, this is a million miles away from the somber reflective gloom of many superhero tales.

"Sworn to protect"

This is essential viewing, building up next year’s Avengers: Infinity War in fine style.


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

ööööö

(5 - BEST. THOR. EVER.)

Awesomeness ööööö – Incredible, this is just super...

Laughs öööö – Excellent well judged comedy humour

Horror öö – Comic book violence throughout

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - The gods aren't all friendly...

Darkmatters Review: Happy Death Day


Happy Death Day (15)

Dir. Christopher Beau Landon

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“I know this isn’t going to make any sense. I feel like I’m losing my mind. I’ve already lived through this day…”

Here for Halloween comes a fun new time-looping slasher thriller directed and co-written by Christopher B. ‘Paranormal Activity’ Landon. This is the tale of queen bitch college student, Theresa ‘Tree’ Gelbman (Jessica ‘La La Land’ Rothe), who has to somehow relive the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer’s identity and why someone wants her dead.

"chemistry?"

It begins like a normal day for Tree, who wakes up on her birthday in the dorm room of classmate Carter Davis (Israel Broussard) after a drunken romp the previous evening. She spends her day in a self-centred, condescending whirlwind, mean to her classmates, evil to her previous hook-ups, and rudely ignoring her father's invite to take her out for her Birthday. Tree is also having an affair with her professor and generally acts like nobody else matters.

But someone is watching with murderous intent and after a freaky underpass Birthday surprise Tree is brutally killed, only to immediately wakes up again in exactly the same situation as she started the day. Before you can say ‘Groundhog Day’ Tree is living the same events over again – but even though this time she avoids the tunnel of death, the same masked killer manages to murder her again.

"when mascots attack"

The time-loop dynamic is used effectively here both for fun e.g. one day Tree decides to walk through the campus naked just for kicks, but also for some effectively nasty surprises. The violence isn’t extreme but there are many scream out loud moments (if the crowd I saw this with were any indication).

Part of the fun is in guessing how Tree will die each time – but the bad news for her is that each death is starting to weaken her and soon she is hospitalized by her unnatural injuries. Afraid and unable to work out who is killing her, Tree manages to convince Carter of her predicament by showing that she holds knowledge of the day's events.

"When you know someone's out to get you"

Can Tree crack the case of her own murder? Will she learn that she should be a nicer person in the experience? Sure the plot is pretty predictable but Happy Death Day delivers a fun if disposable mildly horrific thrill ride.

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

ööö1/2

(3.5 - Lots to enjoy, and re-enjoy, and re-enjoy)

Awesomeness öööö – Classier slasher moments than many out there

Laughs ööö – Very funny in places

Horror ööö – Gets nasty too

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Karma eh?




Monday, October 16, 2017

Darkmatters Review: The Ritual


The Ritual (15)

Dir. David Bruckner

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Observer

“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?


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