DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Monday, June 26, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Baby Driver


Baby Driver (15)

Dir. Edgar Wright

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“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:

öööö1/2

(4.5 - 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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Gifted


Gifted (12a)

Dir.  Marc Webb

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

 “He's a good person. He wanted me before I was smart.”

Mary (Mckenna Grace) is a special young girl, she might actually be a genius but her life isn’t easy. Adopted by her good hearted uncle Frank (Chris Evans) after her mother took her own life. Mary and Frank survive in run down accommodation along with their one eyed cat ‘Frank’ and friendly neighbor / landlady Roberta (Octavia Spencer). Life is good and they are happy together, until that is Mary starts school and is immediately identified as ‘gifted’.

Things get complicated when the school’s Headmistress alerts Frank's formidable British mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) who plans to send Mary away to a special school where her gifts can be explored fully. Also on the scene is Mary's teacher, Bonnie (Jenny Slate), who becomes romantically involved with Frank in the midst of his court battle to try and keep Mary.

"Caution - this film might make you want a daughter"

Gifted could have been a mushily sentimental parent-em-up but in the capable hands of Director Marc ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Webb the film fizzes with wit and fun as well as anguish and tension. The central relationship between Frank and Mary has winning real chemistry, Evans’ nonchalant wounded but sexy single surrogate dad is made more believable by Grace’s superb performance that balances precociousness with cutting insight and real heart. These are characters you can’t help but care about.

The payoff is in the custody battle where Evelyn does all she can to discredit Frank and force Mary into being the child prodigy that her own troubled daughter was. It’s moving stuff and is liable to keep you on the edge of your seat as Mary’s future hangs in the balance. The difficult issues of suicide, child welfare and single parenting are all noted but not dwelled upon – keeping the core of the film on Mary’s situation.

"tough times"

Along the way there are great moments as Frank and Mary ponder things like ‘is there a God’ whilst playing on a beach or take a speed boat out for a ‘test ride’ on Mary’s insistence – taking Frank the cat along for the trip. The gentle pace never sags and the ending packs a satisfying punch.

Gifted is a joyful film to watch, nicely shot and acted, and a welcome change of pace for viewers as the summer action blockbusters line up in the coming weeks.
Treat yourself to some gifted viewing!

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

öööö

(4 - Excellent feels for family )

Awesomeness ööö – Individual scenes shine but it all works

Laughs ööö – Some nice funnies

Horror ö – Emotionally traumatic in places

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Family isn't negotiable

Monday, June 12, 2017

Darkmatters Review: The Mummy


The Mummy (15)

Dir Alex Kurtzman

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters.”

All hail the new Dark Universe which launches with The Mummy – Universal Studio’s ambitious reboot of their classic monsters who will end up rubbing shoulders in one big shared cinematic crossover. Sounds exciting huh?

"Feel my sandy wrath"

Erm, alas you might want to lower your expectations based on The Mummy which sees recognisance expert soldier Nick Morton (Tom 'Edge of Tomorrow' Cruise), a guy who is partial to hunting for some illicit treasure whilst running and gunning around Iraq. Nick finds himself caught up in the plans of the ‘ultimate evil’ after he inadvertently reawakens nasty Egyptian princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) thanks to calling in a drone strike that reveals her tomb / prison.

The action kicks off with some nice set pieces but because you have Cruise in the lead role it does all feel a bit ‘sub-Mission Impossible’ and even ‘haven’t we seen this stuff before?’

"Cor blimey guv - I'm a scallywag"

It gets worse however once the writers start shoehorning in characters such as Dr. Jekyll / Mr Hyde (Russell Crowe) who couldn’t be less scary if he tried. The transformation between Jekyll and Hyde comes across more like a straight-laced scientist morphing into cockney-tastic Danny Dyer… There was laughter in the screening I was at and it wasn’t because of any of the limp jokes made but due to the sheer preposterousness of the plot.

Sofia Boutella however does all she can as the main baddie – and she looks the part thanks to the big budget effects - but even in her world destroying Mummy guise she never feels like a threat that can’t be beaten because it’s Tom Cruise up against her.

"The shuffling remains of the Dark Universe"

It’s tragic that a film with so much talent and budget can only deliver such average entertainment at best. The fact is that this feels poorly written and poorly thought through - or designed by a squabbling committee of execs - means that the end product lurches about from one unfeasible plot point to the next without making sense.

Also along the dispiriting ride are Jake Johnson who plays Nick’s soldier buddy Chris and Annabelle Wallis as Egyptologist Jenny Halsey who serves as an ex-love interest for Nick.

"You'll believe man (and woman) can fly"

To enjoy this new Mummy you’ll need to either be brave enough to overcome disappointment or just very easily pleased. They just don’t make em like they used to…

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

öö

(2 - I want my Mummy: to be better than this)

Awesomeness ööö – Occasional bursts of competence

Laughs öö –  Funny for the wrong reasons

Horror öö – Slightly nasty but not very scary

Spiritual Enlightenment 0 - Nothing to see here...

Friday, June 02, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Wonder Woman


Wonder Woman (12a)

Dir.  Patty Jenkins

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

 “I will fight, for those who cannot fight for themselves...”

Since a boy watching Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman on TV back in the ‘70s I’ve had a bit of a thing for Diana Prince – Princess of Themyscira. As a character Wonder Woman is both a potent symbol of female empowerment and a total babe… This big screen origins tale keeps both these elements in dynamic tension and in doing so manages to deliver a rip-roaring comic book adventure that kicks serious amounts of ass – proving that Diana is going to be a seriously valuable member of Justice League later this year.

"she's a wonder"

Hailing from an all-female Amazonian island, daughter of god Zeus, Diana (Gal Gadot) is the chosen one whose idyllic is disrupted when Allied spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash lands in the ocean before her very eyes. Upon discovering her first ever man, and reeling from his tales of the Great War against Germany, she steps up to try and save the world from the nefarious General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his evil scientist Isabel Maru – known as ‘Doctor Poison’ (Elena Anaya) who plan to win World War I with their new gas weaponry.

Gadol is superb in the lead role, her battle ready statuesque looks mixed with real heart and winning chemistry with Pine makes for compelling viewing. Diana is given a lot of chance to play havoc with the restrictions of being a woman in a ‘man’s world’, emasculating men who try and box her in and showing them what true valor looks like.

Director Patty Jenkins does a great job and brings some of the best superhero action scenes ever to the screen. The movie-stealing, iconic shot of Diana boldly advancing on the enemy lines through no man’s land under a hail of gunfire is a scene that deserves instant cult classic status.

"taking no prisoners"

The supporting cast includes David Thewlis as Ares, the baddie half-brother of Diana, Robin Wright as battle hardened Antiope - Diana's aunt and Lucy Davis as Etta Candy, Steve's secretary who gets most of the laughs.

The plot does include really emotional moments of the brutality of war which may disturb younger viewers but Wonder Woman is a positive film that will inspire females of all ages to stand up for themselves.

Wonder Woman fully lives up to her name – and delivers a must see for big screen adventure with wide appeal. Highly recommended!

"Kick butt and looks good doing it"


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

öööö1/2

(4.5 - Justice is back on track thanks to WW)

Awesomeness öööö – Awesome action and plenty of joy

Laughs ööö –  Good fun throughout

Horror öö – Comic book violence but some war horror

Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - Daughter of a god is here to save us!

"my original '70s WW"

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