FRED Watch Episode 7: Holy Flying Circus (2011)

CIRCUS SIMPLY DOESN’T FLY.

BBC Four

Phillip introduces Wayne to the made-for-television comedy Holy Flying Circus. The film is about a fascinating debate relating to censorship arising with the release of the classic Life of Brian (1979). But, as Monty Python fans, the boys aren’t sure the filmmakers hit the mark.

Listen to their review here:

Check out the trailer:

Starring: Darren Boyd, Charles Edwards, Steve Punt, Rufus Jones, Tom Fisher, Phil Nichol, Michael Cochrane, Roy Marsden, Tom Price, Stephen Fry, Ben Crispin, Simon Greenall, Paul Chadidi, Jason Thorpe, Mark Heap.

Director: Owen Harris | Producers: Polly Leys, Kate Norrish | Writer: Tony Roche | Music: Jack C. Arnold (Theme) | Cinematographer: Richard Mott | Editor: Billy Sneddon

Available: DVD and BlyRay (See: amazon.com)

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

 

You’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

 

RELATED VIDEO: Collectible Chaos: Top Ten Monty Python and the Holy Grail Moments ⬇︎

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Beta Test #7: Little Inferno

Beta Test

Little Inferno

 

Ah, fire. The true nomadic milestone. The vibrating atoms, the fun red colour, the scolding heat of having burned your hand on a flaming marshmallow back in 2011 at an underage house party, and giving yourself a permanent scar on your middle finger. Fire—pretty great, and in this weather, I’m more likely to throw myself into an open inferno than restrain myself from the searing pain, because my body runs at the pace of a sloth with arthritis. Do you wanna build a snowman on my cold frozen corpse? Not if I jump into Dante’s open arms first!

As the popular twitter handle @dril says, ‘I will face god and walk backwards into hell.’ And in this cold? I’ll be laughing all the way.

 

It’s been a month.

Hello, my little pyromaniacs! I’m a Bethany Griffiths and this is Beta Test. A game review platform where I—a C O L D , 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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Behold! Winter is here, and not only has it got the metaphorical keys to its dad’s comero to drive me personally to the land of frozen toes and hypothermia, but it also comes with the most impressive thing known to man since the wooden club. Fire! Yes, the cold is well and truly here and with it, I find myself struggling to get back into the world of the living (why is waking up at 6am so damn depressing?) which is why I’m playing Little Inferno this month.

Developed and Published by Tomorrow Corporation, Little Inferno is a peaceful puzzle game, with no timers or, surprisingly, bad consequences. Set in a time where an eternal winter has taken over your town, you are given the pyromaniacs version of an easy bake oven to calm your otherwise terrified tenancies and burn all your worldly possessions. But all is not quite right in your home and soon you bare witness to the realisation that the fireplace is your only pastime. When you start receiving mysterious messages from your next door neighbour, your world is turned upside down and you start to uncover the truth.

I found it really easy to figure out the mechanics, and if you didn’t want to delve into the deeper plot lines, I could see this being a therapeutic game, say, for hard days in the office where you really want to staple the refund policy to a person that just bought back an eight-month-old set of walkie talkies. Get home, put on some slippers, grab a glass of red, set things alight. I think the relief of being rid of ‘things’ and ‘stuff’ could be a catalyst for relaxation, and it was really satisfying.

If you did want to delve into the law though, Little Inferno is a titillatingly intelligent critique on the level of cyber intake the world is engaging in, as well as climate change, corporate solitude, and escapism. The take on every computer generated medium known to the world isn’t lost here and was pretty much my gateway to getting the point of it all. The creators threw in flappy bird references and plants vs zombies cliches, for those of us that are too distracted by pretty fire to figure out the metaphor by ourselves (me), but the message was clear.

What I really loved about this game was that nothing actually insidious was going on behind the scenes. It reminded me of an early Studio Ghibli movie, where you’re waiting the entire time to meet the big bad guy—the thing that you can put all your negativity and hatred towards in a shameless cycle of self righteousness—but in the end, it’s just a show about you, the kid, trying to make their way in the world, stumbling on adult truths and meeting friends along the way. The ending was also really valuable to me, because it conveyed this sense of getting out and letting go that I’ve really needed to be more aware of in the past few months.

I found the way the game is set to critique the playing of itself to be on the nose, but in a good way. I enjoyed the way the player is set up to delve deeper and deeper into the string theory, to try and find something more sinister or visceral. The Steam forums, which I spent near days scrolling through, were abundant in alternate ending theories, best play routes, and conspiracies about the main characters. While I will always applaud the gamers keen enough to explore every nook of the game, I think Little Inferno is softly laughing at you. There is no hidden hate, no dead kids, no apocalypse now. Just the real world, in all its natural state, staring back at you sitting in front of your mass produced plastic box, staring into the abyss, burning the midnight oil as well as your life away. And I think that is the point. Or at least, that was the point for me.

Because of the intrigue of the game play, and the way it made me think, I give this game:

4/5 Fire starters for style
3/5 Fire starters for plot line
5/5 Fire starters for easiness
4/5 Fire starters for the impending sense of dread that never actually comes to fruition

So, after that explosive awakening, what remains? The distrust in the universe? You can’t go back, only forward. What’s burned is burned, and once everything around you is ash, what do you do? Well, like the late great Robin Williams once said, ‘Carpe Diem, seize the day, boys.’ Today, and this month, I leave you with a much more sombre message than what I thought I would—Find the happy in the world. Don’t just fill the void with flame and hope that it’ll keep burning exponentially. It won’t.

In any case, I’ve been a Bethany Griffiths, and this has been an somewhat more sobering 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 #26

Join Kendall and Phillip as they deliver this week’s round-up of nerdy news and geeky goodness in the pop culture podcast that refuses to behave—A Podcast Called FRED.

 

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!

 

Missed an episode? You’ll find the entire back catalogue of Friday Nights @ FRED’s / A Podcast Called FRED here ⬇︎

Incompetent Gamers: Civilisation V—Exploration Begins

Join incompetent gamers DarthPudden and Sharpy as they stumble their way through exploring uncharted territory and begin land domination in Civilisation V!

Streamed live on YouTube, the boys also enjoy a chat with audience members Fulya and Wayne ⬇

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

 

RELATED VIDEO: Incompetent Gamers: Civilisation VThe Journey Begins ⬇︎

FRED Watch Quickie Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

ANT AND WASP BITE BACK!

I’m a Kendall Richardson and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man and the Wasp

Probably the only saving grace from the devastation of Avengers: Infinity War was the fact we had two Marvel movies on the horizon. March 2019 will see the long-awaited release of Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson in the title role, which will be Marvel Studios’s first female-led superhero movie. In the words of Hope van Dyne, it’s about damn time. Speaking of Hope and her iconic final words in a post credit scene of 2015’s Ant-Man, the time has finally come to see Evangeline Lilly’s character suit up as the titular Wasp, alongside Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang as Ant-Man. And I am so pleased to say the wait was worth it!

The movie begins with Lang almost at the completion of his two-year house arrest. This came following his involvement in the events of Captain America: Civil War, in which he, as the FBI Agent Woo (Randall Park) explains to Lang’s daughter Cassie, ‘went to Germany and drew on the walls with Captain America.’ Of course, though, with Lang approaching his freedom in two days, things had to go pear shaped, and pear shaped they do. Enter strange dreams about the quantum realm and the lost Janet van Dyne, which sees Lang getting dragged back into the fold by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym, played wonderfully by Michael Douglas, who need Scott’s help in rescuing his wife, the original Wasp.

This is where the movie starts to take a non-traditional approach in relation to its ANT-agonists (yes, I made an ant pun, deal with it). Or, at least, it starts off as traditional, but the more we learn about our villains, in particular Hannah John-Kamen’s Ghost, things definitely become more interesting and less straight forward. John-Kamen does an exceptional job of portraying Ghost’s anger, betrayal, and nothing left to lose-like determination, which makes her a great threat for our heroes. And of course there’s the fact that she is almost unstoppable, given her incredible phase-shifting fighting abilities. Standing alongside Ghost is Lawrence Fishburne’s Dr. Bill Foster, whose presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is easily and very cleverly explained, as are his motivations for siding with Ghost.

The super talented Walton Goggins’s Sonny Burch is also counted amongst the bad guys, but he is more of your one note ‘in it for the money’ type criminals; however he plays the part wonderfully and is a nice foil for Hope and for Scott’s ex con buddies Luis (Michael Peña), Dave (Tip ‘T.I’ Harris), and Kurt (David Dastmalchian). Once again, Peña’s Luis steals the show and might be funnier in this outing than in the first film. There is a particular gag involving ‘truth serum’ that might be the funniest sequence in the whole film.

That’s probably the thing that makes Ant-Man and the Wasp so great, is its easy-going and fun sense of humour. It is exactly the refreshing ray of light that we needed after the bleak universe-ending ride that was Avengers: Infinity War. The action scenes are staged perfectly, and the use of the different sizes our heroes can become is clever and inventive, which keeps the audience engaged the whole time. And because it’s a Marvel movie, the visual effects are on point, particularly when it comes to Ghost and the Quantum Realm.

I only wish Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) could have been in the movie longer, but I imagine she will definitely be returning in any future installments in Phase 4 of the MCU. It was great to see her on screen finally, nonetheless. Before I go, I need to point out one thing: the ending of the movie is in the first post credit scene, so make sure you stick around! Trust me, you won’t want to miss it. Just like you won’t want to miss Ant-Man and the Wasp, an excellent addition to the MCU and a sequel that may even surpass its predecessor! 4 / 5

 

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas.

Director: Peyton Reed | Producers: Kevin Feige, Stephen Broussard | Writers: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari (based on Ant-Man by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby; Wasp by Stan Lee, Ernie Hart, and Jack Kirby) | Music: Christophe Beck | Cinematographer: Dante Spinotti | Editors: Dan Lebental, Craig Wood

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.

 

RELATED POST: Non-Scripted Ramblings #24: Ant-Man and the Wasp Non-Spoiler Review ⬇︎

A Podcast Called FRED #25

Join Kendall and Ashley as they deliver this week’s round-up of nerdy news and geeky goodness in the pop culture podcast that refuses to behave—A Podcast Called FRED.

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!

Missed an episode? You’ll find the entire back catalogue of Friday Nights @ FRED’s / A Podcast Called FRED here ⬇︎

Non-Scripted Ramblings #24

Kendall Richardson shares her thoughts on the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe—Ant-Man and the Wasp, starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas.

Worth seeing? Kendall will tell you—without script or spoilers! Check it out ⬇︎

What did you think Ant-Man and the Wasp? Let us know in the comments!

 

RELATED VIDEO: Non-Scripted Ramblings #15: Countdown to Infinity War—Ant-Man ⬇︎

FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Original vs. Remake – IT (1990 and 2017)

YOU BETTER WISE UP!

I’m a Wayne Stellini and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today, we look at the television and big screen adaptations of Stephen King’s novel, It

Warner Bros. Pictures

A group of seven outcast children discover and vow to destroy a predatory shapeshifter, mostly appearing in the form of a clown called Pennywise, who transforms itself into its victim’s worst fears…

The 1990 made-for-television adaptation of Stephen King‘s spooky best-seller has all the conventions of the author’s tales. As a two-part miniseries, there’s a lot to get through and is at its best when the action involves the Loser Club (including Jonathan Brandis and Seth Green) hanging out, fending off bullies, and battling killer clown Pennywise (Tim Curry) in the flashback scenes.

The momentum slows down, however, in the second-half of the piece where the kids are reunited as adults three decades later to try and topple their shared boogeyman once and for all. The action isn’t all that gripping, and the manner in which this particular evil force can be defeated or made dormant doesn’t carry much credibility when adults are involved, feeling like an easy cop-out.

An intriguing concept that fails to reach its full potential and, decades on, has not aged well, It is still worth watching if only for some fine performances from the youngsters, a scary turn from Curry, an engaging and sarcastic Harry Anderson, and because it is always lovely to see Annette O’Toole on screen.

Overall, this is a competent but ultimately unexceptional production. 3 / 5

 

Starring: Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher, Richard Masur, Annette O’Toole, Tim Reid, John Ritter, Richard Thomas, Tim Curry, Jonathan Brandis, Brandon Crane, Adam Faraizl, Seth Green, Ben Heller, Emily Perkins, Marlon Taylor, Olivia Hussey, Sheila Moore, Jarred Blancard, Chris Eastman, Gabe Khouth, Michael Ryan, Venus Terzo, Frank C. Turner.

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace | Producers: Mark Basino, Allen S. Epstein, Jim Green | Writers: Lawrence D. Cohen, Tommy Lee Wallace (based on It by Stephen King) | Theme Music Composer: Richard Bellis | Cinematographer: Richard Leiterman | Editors: David Blangsted, Robert F. Shugrue

Available: DVD, Blu-ray, and Stan.

 

The second adaptation of Stephen King‘s novel was heavily promoted in 2017. The marketing campaign received a mixed reaction from those who grew up terrified of the 1990 miniseries and those who would be exposed to the sadistic, child-devouring Pennywise for the first time. IT had well and truly arrived.

Whether you are a fan of the novel or original adaptation, there is no denying that Andy Muschietti‘s vision has resulted in what has to be one of the most skillfully constructed, aesthetically stunning horror films produced in the twenty-first century. Chung-hoon Chung‘s exquisite cinematography gives the viewer a sense of place, from the darkened interiors to the bright small town landscapes; hillsides and rivers are a stark contrast to sewerage tunnels and dilapidated houses.

Furthermore, our Loser protagonists are perfectly cast. Some have extensive screen time and are fleshed out more so than others, but the young cast work well together with strong, natural rapport. Sophia Lillis possesses a gutsy spark as Bev, contrasted quite nicely by Jaeden Lieberher‘s subtle hero and love interest Bill. Jeremy Ray Taylor does a fine job as new kid Ben while Jack Dylan Grazer steals the show as hypochondriac Eddie. Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, and Chosen Jacobs round out the Losers competently, each with their own backstories and quirks. Nicholas Hamilton is ruthlessly on-point as lead town bully Henry, whose sociopathic intensity would have pushed believability in any other director’s hands. Muschietti handles his cast well; most of the adults here are incredibly grotesque, heightening the pressure on the youngsters, who really only have one another. But every character archetype is essentially represented, so there is someone to relate to, cheer on, or boo.

The success of the IT, however, rests on the shoulders of the villain. As the malevolent force at the centre of the story, the perfectly cast Bill Skarsgård is flawlessly creepy. His portrayal of the barbarous Pennywise is literally the subject of nightmares, not allowing make-up, costuming, or special effects to do the work, Skarsgård cements himself as one of the greatest movie monsters of all time.

IT focuses on the first half of the narrative and this is the film’s strength. The element of danger always feels higher when the heroes are innocents, so it remains to be seen if the second chapter in this creepy caper can be as involving. But in the meantime, immerse yourself in IT… and don’t float too far away. 4½ / 5

 

Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Jackson Robert Scott, Owen Teague.

Director: Andy Muschietti | Producers: Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katzenberg, Barbara Muschietti | Writers: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman (based on It by Stephen King) | Music: Benjamin Wallfisch | Cinematographer: Chung-hoon Chung | Editor: Jason Ballantin.

Available: DVD and Blu-ray.

Let us know what you thought of these films in the comments!

 

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

 

RELATED VIDEO: See where IT sits on Kendall Richardson’s list in Collectible Chaos: Top Ten Favourite Horror Films ⬇︎

A Podcast Called FRED #24

Join Kendall and Ashley as they deliver this week’s round-up of nerdy news and geeky goodness in the pop culture podcast that refuses to behave—A Podcast Called FRED.

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!

 

Missed an episode? You’ll find the entire back catalogue of Friday Nights @ FRED’s / A Podcast Called FRED here ⬇︎

Collectible Chaos: The Michael Jackson Collection

Having marked the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death as well as the recent passing of his father Joe, Kendall Richardson’s collection of Michael Jackson-themed episodes of Collectible Chaos are the ultimate tribute to a remarkable music legacy.

Let us know your favourite Jackson family moments and milestones in the comments!

 

Top Ten Best Michael Jackson Songs:

 

Top Ten Best Songs by the Jacksons and the Jackson 5:

 

Top Ten Best Michael Jackson Short Films:

 

RELATED PODCAST: In The Monthly @ WiniFRED’S #10, Kendall spoke about her all-time favourite episode of The Simpsons. Unsurprisingly, it guest starred Michael Jackson. (To jump straight to that part of the discussion, play from 1:07:21) ⬇︎