FRED Watch Episode 10: The Black Balloon (2008)

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BALLOON.

NeoClassics Films

Wayne introduces Phillip to another one of his favourite Australian films, the coming-of-age tale, The Black Balloon.

For Wayne, it is a beautiful domestic drama that champions the strength of family and challenges the notions of normality. For Phillip, the story’s themes hit close to home…

Listen to their review here:

Check out the trailer:

Starring: Rhys Wakefield, Luke Ford, Toni Collette, Erik Thomson, Gemma Ward, Lloyd Allison-Young, Nathin Butler, Lisa Kowalski, Firass Dirani, Sarah Woods, Kieran Smith, Ryan Clark.

Director: Elissa Down | Producer: Tristram Miall | Writer: Elissa Down, Jimmy Jack | Music: Michael Yezerski | Cinematographer: Denson Baker | Editor: Veronika Jenet

Available: DVD

Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!

 

You’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

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Beta Test #10: Rusty Lake Hotel

Beta Test

Rusty Lake Hotel


Halloween! The most commercialised October tradition since Canadian Thanksgiving, and the Spring Racing Carnival. The season of spooky scary skeletons played at half speed with a jazz synth mix ‘we are number one’ overlay. The sound of joyous cheer as a guy with a slutty Jesus costume pulls a blunt out of the cracks of a timber deck, using nothing but a pair of skewers, at an ill conceived house party. What’s not to love about the spookening streets, the dark movies played on T.V, the neighbours yelling at you to get off their porch because this is Australia and we don’t ‘do that’ here.

..oh yeah, jump scares…

Happy Octoberween Everyone! I’m a Bethany Griffiths, and This is Beta Test. A game review platform where I – a Spooky Scary self confessed Noob – choose one game a month to go ham on until either I get better or get wrecked. All in the hopes that I can provide you with a completely unbiased review.

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Now, let’s just say that I had every intention of playing ‘Five Nights At Freddy’s’ this month to really kick off the October festivities with a bang, but I’ll keep it real… I got three seconds in and chickened out HARD, restarted my computer, and bought a completely different game instead. BUT FEAR NOT! Rusty Lake Hotel is still a spooky game, filled with gore, and Gothic features. Just…a little less like i’m gonna die at the hands of a big yellow chicken with an ‘Eat Me’ bib.

Rusty Lake Hotel is the first instalment of five games, and a movie,  about the slow murder of the residents of a hotel in the middle of a lake. The characters are portrayed by animal figures, that you slice and dice night to night to feed to the other guests, but it hints at real world scenarios that quite plainly gave me the Wiggins.

Developed and Published by Rusty Lake, The game sets out to explore horror not as a commotion of blood splatter and chaos, but rather the quiet stillness of failed trust, and the cold clean underworld of premeditated crime. I loved the Artistry of this game. The actual design was so appealing. I want to say it reminded me of a Lemony Snicket book, or an early Tim Burton concept; the characters jumped off the screen (not literally thank god) and really got me in the mood for some good old fashioned gore. But the dark scenes, grim as they were, were light enough, and cartoonish enough that I wasn’t left reeling with horror afterwards. In short, the game gives me the same sick satisfaction as  a good medical or ER show, where you watch the screen and go ‘oh my god, that’s a butt with a harpoon through it/toe with gangrene/hernia the size of mid-west France, Gross’ but you watch it every week on catch up T.V regardless.

HOWEVER, While I enjoyed many elements to Rusty Lake Hotel, and I deeply enjoyed many, many parts – I do have some thoughts on it’s skill levels because here’s the thing; I’m a firm believer that if you need a whole ass YouTube tutorial, made by the company, to explain how to get through your game, you made a wrong move there, Sunny Jim. While I’m not a savant of video games, sitting up in my royal towel of unlocked steam achievements, I’ve gone through a damn ton of click and pointers. (Trust me, I used to buy those $10 Big fish mystery solver games on CD back in the day. I played PopCap games for years on end. ‘Spy Fox: Operation Ozone’ was my JAM. I have cred on this one).

It was just so dang hard! I spent hours trying to find out why I wasn’t frying the grease out of a pigeon in a bathtub, stabbing a rabbit with a mystery sword through the kidneys, and getting a Pheasant in a photo booth to Abraham Lincoln herself with a costume and a gun. I was stumped at where the higgidy heck I needed to point and click to get the extra ingredients, or why there was Tabasco sauce coming out of a ram skull (or why the deer wasn’t WRITHING IN AGONY about his horns being sliced in half). In this not so easy mouse cruiser, I relied of the tutorial for EVERYTHING.

That being said, I did enjoy the mechanics of the game. Rusty Lake Hotel pulled out some good spooks, and I give the developers some very serious cred for getting it right with the level of violence and the eloquence of the plot. Given it’s the first in a series, I’d be keen to see where all of it goes, and how this fragment of story fits in together.

Because of the intrigue, and drama ( not to mention, the ever lasting images of murder I’m left with) I give this game:

5/5 Murders for style
3/5 Murders for plot line
2/5 Murders for easiness
0/5 Murders for Eating your own poop because you’re a boar and apparently that’s A-OK. Don’t ask. Just play. You’ll see.

This game was, again, very gratifying. I enjoyed the ideas and concepts Rusty Lake are bringing to the table, and I’m optimistic for the future. I just hope I can play through the next one without using a tutorial.

So, I’ve been a Bethany Griffiths, and this has been a Murderous Beta Test. A game review platform where I either got better or got wrecked. All in the hopes that I can provide you with a completely unbiased review.

Until next time.

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A Podcast Called FRED #39

Join Kendall and Fulya for the latest in pop culture and entertainment news in the podcast that refuses to behave—it’s A Podcast Called FRED!

Nerdy News includes:

  • Netflix cancels Iron Fist;
  • James Gunn to write and direct Suicide Squad sequel;
  • First look at Ruby Rose as Batwoman;
  • and more!

Trailer Park discussions:

Quickie Reviews:

  • Doctor Who;
  • Night School;
  • The House With a Clock In Its Walls

Popcorn Culture:

  • This week, the team discuss which three people, living or dead, they would have dinner with, including responses from you!

 

Check out A Podcast Called FRED #39 ⬇️

Remember to let us know your response to the Popcorn Culture question to be featured in next week’s episode of A Podcast Called FRED!

 

PREVIOUS EPISODE: A Podcast Called FRED #38 ⬇️

 

Incompetent Gamers: Rocket League—Live Stream 4

Hot stuff coming through! Join incompetent gamers DarthPudden, Sharpy, and special guest Fuji as they get behind the wheel for Rocket League!

Streamed live on YouTube, the gamers only manage to get one microphone working—Well, they’re not called incompetent for nothing! Check it out ⬇️

Subscribe to YouTube.com/FTAchannel to be notified of and involved with the next live stream of Incompetent Gamers.

 

PREVIOUS EPISODE: Incompetent Gamers: Rocket League—Live Stream 3 ⬇️

FRED Watch Quickie Review: Venom (2018)

MORE NIBBLE THAN BITE.

I’m a Kendall Richardson and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is Venom

Columbia Pictures / Marvel Entertainment / Tencent Pictures / Arad Productions / Matt Tolmach Productions / Pascal Pictures / Sony Pictures Releasing

When investigative journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) accidentally becomes the host of an alien symbiote that gives him a violent super alter-ego called Venom, he must rely on his newfound powers to protect the world from a shadowy organisation looking for a symbiote of their own…

I’m not usually someone who would start off a review by telling people not to read the reviews, but here we are. When the early reactions and reviews started pouring in for Venom, I let out an audible “Oh” and words like “bummer” and “disappointing” were used. I’d had such high hopes for this film and I was really looking forward to it. And as a reviewer, I like to trust the words of my peers, because nine times out of ten, they’re usually right. I am therefore so relieved and thankful to say that this is that one time out of ten where they missed the mark. But to clarify, Venom is not an amazing film.

It doesn’t really hold a candle to anything the MCU or Deadpool has to offer. It is, however, not a bad film by any means. In fact, I found it quite enjoyable and it was surprisingly hilarious. It is basically your standard comic book movie fare, with some wicked action scenes and a couple of cheesy and unfortunate moments (I’m looking at you post credit scene with your over-the-top sequel set-up).

What makes Venom special, though, and worth your time is Tom Hardy’s performance as Eddie Brock. The Topher Grace portrayal of eleven years ago is worlds away from Hardy’s interpretation, as is director Ruben Fleischer’s (Zombieland, Gangster Squad) take on the titular anti-hero himself. This modern day Eddie Brock is in his element as a journalist, and whilst Hardy still doesn’t entirely look the part, he imbues Brock with unwavering determination and great morals.

But the film really gets going when Venom bonds with Eddie. The banter between them makes for the most entertaining moments. Watching the expressions change on Eddie’s face as he has a conversation with ‘himself’ is great fun. Hardy hits all of the comedic beats nicely. He also handles the action scenes like the pro he is, and with the amount of CGI involved, nothing looks faked or forced. Fleischer directs superbly in these moments, catching all the essential elements and leaving no loose ends. It’s a thrilling spectacle to take in. Speaking of the CGI, the design of the symbiotes is simply gorgeous. The liquid way in which they move and the gooey way in which they latch onto things all look super realistic. There’s not a moment of sloppy effects work that takes you out of the film.

Let’s talk about the supporting cast. Michelle Williams doesn’t get a whole lot to do as Hardy’s love interest Anne Weying, but she does well with what she’s given. She’s always a joy to see on screen and she has some nice chemistry with Hardy. Riz Ahmed’s portrayal of antagonist Carlton Drake is great, but it’s essentially your clichéd mad scientist with a God complex villain. Ahmed comes across naturally as such a nice guy, but when the time comes for him to show his mean face, he brings it quite convincingly, making up for his unoriginal bad guy. However, I wanted to see more of Jenny Slate’s character Dr. Dora Skirth. For an actress who is known primarily for her comedic talent and voice work, it’s wonderful to see her stretch her dramatic legs.

The film’s plot isn’t overly complicated and some parts worked better than others. If anything bothered me, it’s that certain things were easily predictable. But I suppose it can be hard in this day and age with the amount of comic book movies being made to always come away with something unexpected. Overall, Venom is a good, fun popcorn blockbuster that works well as they all do, as a form of escapism. Plus, it’s always nice for me to see my favourite city, San Francisco, looking beautiful as usual.

Make sure you stick around to the end of the credits, of course—this may not be the MCU, but it is still a Marvel movie. 3½ / 5

 

Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, Reid Scott.

Director: Ruben Fleischer | Producers: Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, Amy Pascal | Writers: Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, Kelly Marcel (story by Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg; based on Venom by David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane) | Music: Ludwig Göransson | Cinematographer: Matthew Libatique | Editors: Maryann Brandon, Alan Baumgarten

 

In cinemas now.

Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!

 

I’ve been a Kendall Richardson and you’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

A Podcast Called FRED #38

Join Kendall and Phillip for the latest in pop culture and entertainment news in the podcast that refuses to behave—it’s A Podcast Called FRED!

Nerdy News includes:

  • Quentin Kenihan dies at the age of 43;
  • Rosie Perez cast as Renee Montoya in Birds of Prey;
  • Live action Lilo and Stitch in the works and Netflix developing a Chronicles of Narnia series;
  • Chris Evans says goodbye to Captain America as Chelsea Peretti leaves Brooklyn Nine-Nine;
  • and more!

Trailer Park discussions:

Quickie Review:

  • Venom

Popcorn Culture:

  • This week, the team discuss which fictional character they would pick as their bodyguard, including responses from you!

 

Check out A Podcast Called FRED #38 ⬇️

Remember to let us know your response to the Popcorn Culture question to be featured in next week’s episode of A Podcast Called FRED!

 

PREVIOUS EPISODE: A Podcast Called FRED #37 ⬇️

 

Incompetent Gamers: Rocket League—Live Stream 3

Join incompetent gamers DarthPudden, Sharpy, and special guest Fuji as they rock their way through Rocket League!

Streamed live on YouTube, check it out ⬇️

Subscribe to YouTube.com/FTAchannel to be notified of and involved with the next live stream of Incompetent Gamers.

 

PREVIOUS EPISODE: Incompetent Gamers: Rocket League—Live Stream 2 ⬇️

FRED Watch Flashback: Doctor Who: The Ribos Operation (1978)

REVISITING RIBOS…

BBC

Phillip and Mikey discuss the first serial of the sixteenth season of Doctor Who, The Ribos Operation.

The exiled Emperor of Levithia, Graff Vynda-K (Paul Seed), seeks a piece of the rare element jethrik on the primitive and superstitious planet Ribos. Meanwhile, the Doctor (Tom Baker) and travelling companion Romana (Mary Tamm) look for the first segment of the powerful Key to Time which is disguised as the same jethrik piece.

Warning: Contains spoilers. Check out their review here:

Starring: Tom Baker, Mary Tamm, John Leeson, Cyril Luckham, Iain Cuthbertson, Nigel Plaskitt, Paul Seed, Robert Keegan, Timothy Bateson, Anne Tirard, Prentis Hancock, Oliver Maguire, John Hamill.

Director: George Spenton-Foster | Producer: Graham Williams | Writer: Robert Holmes | Script Editor: Anthony Read | Incidental Music Composer: Dudley Simpson

Available: DVD

Let us know what you thought of this serial in the comments!

 

You’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

 

RELATED VIDEO: FRED Watch: Doctor Who: Meglos (1980) ⬇️

A Podcast Called FRED #37

Join Kendall and special guests/substitute co-hosts Fulya and Wayne for the latest in pop culture and entertainment news in the podcast that refuses to behave—it’s A Podcast Called FRED!

Nerdy News includes:

  • Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz and Australian independent actor/writer Damian Hill die;
  • Birds of Prey casting announcements made;
  • Sister Act reboot in the works;
  • and more!

Trailer Park discussions:

Quickie Review:

  • There’s No Place Like Home

Popcorn Culture:

  • This week, the team discuss which Marvel character should get their own TV series, including responses from you!

 

Check out A Podcast Called FRED #37 ⬇️

Remember to let us know your response to the Popcorn Culture question to be featured in next week’s episode of A Podcast Called FRED!

 

RELATED POST: FRED Watch Quickie Review: Howard the Duck (1986)—click on image ⬇️

FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)

AN INTERVIEW WITH BITE.

I’m a Wayne Stellini and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles

Geffen Pictures / Warner Bros. Pictures

In present-day San Francisco, reporter Daniel Molloy (Christian Slater) interviews Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt), who recounts the circumstances of his transformation into a vampire after he is bitten by Lestat de Lioncourt (Tom Cruise) in 1791 Louisiana, as well as their adoption of a little girl (Kirsten Dunst) and her impact on their relationship…

Interview With the Vampire was met with anticipation, discussion, and controversy leading up to its release. But the true merit of any film is how well it holds up when the dust has settled and it is simply one of many in its genre.

Adapting her own 1976 novel, Anne Rice’s screenplay is a mixture of musings and madness that enhance the mythology of vampires. Bringing her central characters to life are Tom Cruise (a casting choice Rice was vocally disapproving of until she saw the final product) and Brad Pitt, whose rapport with him is essential to their bantering dynamics. At first, Cruise feels miscast as Lestat, though once you accept that Neil Jordan’s vision of Rice’s homoerotic literature requires the subtlety of a daytime soap opera, it is easy to have fun with the unfolding story. And while the set design, costuming, and cinematography make this production quite handsome, Pitt is in stunning form as Louis and is undeniably one of the most beautiful vampires to ever grace the screen.

Kirsten Dunst, who delivers the film’s signature line and received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance of Claudia, fits right into the domestic dynamics of Cruise and Pitt. She is absolutely captivating, going from a ten- to a thirty-year-old mentality as time moves on and yet remaining the same physically. Strong supporting turns also from Christian Slater, Antonio Banderas, and Stephen Rea round out a hard-working cast.

Interview With the Vampire holds up relatively well, on the condition that you allow yourself to get lost in the world presented here, and doesn’t feature as much blood or gore as you would expect. The personal struggles of the characters—particularly Louis—give them depth and the action is handled with confidence. It is not a film that takes itself too seriously, so there’s plenty of fun to sustain the two-hour duration. 4 / 5

 

Starring: Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, Stephen Rea, Domiziana Giordano, Thandie Newton, George Kelly, Marcel Iureş, Sara Stockbridge.

Director: Neil Jordan | Producers: David Geffen, Stephen Woolley | Writer: Anne Rice (based on Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice) | Music: Elliot Goldenthal | Cinematographer: Philippe Rousselot | Editor: Mick Audsley

Available: DVD

Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!

I’ve been a Wayne Stellini and you’ve just experienced FRED Watch.