FRED Watch Episode 9: What If the ‘Star Wars’ Prequels Were Good? (2012-2015)

CUE EPIC STAR WARS NERD RANT…

Belated Media

Phillip and Wayne are joined by special guest Ashley to discuss and debate Belated Media’s review and hypothetical videos relating to the Star Wars prequels: The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005). Here, the boys look at the series collectively as What If the Star Wars Prequels Were Good? and give their own nerdy rants in the process!

Check out the Belated Media videos first:

 

Then listen to our FRED Watch review here:

Belated Media’s What If… available: YouTube

Let us know what you thought of this video essay series in the comments!

 

You’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

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Non-Scripted Ramblings #26

Watch Kendall Richardson’s immediate reaction to the first Captain Marvel trailer ⬇️

What did you think of the trailer? Let us know in the comments!

 

PREVIOUS RAMBLING: Non-Scripted Ramblings #25: Ant-Man and the Wasp—Spoiler Review ⬇️

Beta Test #9: Pinstripe

Beta Test

Pinstripe

 

Another day another dollar, another month, another week older. Right? Sometimes the year slides by without us noticing it. The whispering, shaking of our bodies as they tremble with change, and the collision of foot fall on the ground as the end draws ever near…Except this time, no, I’m not going through seasonal depression, It’s my birth month! YAY! Thanks for coming! Congratulations, drinks and hugs all around! I don’t have champagne, but I DO have a goon sack and a hills hoist clothesline older than time itself. Let’s do shots and play truth or dare. The kids still play that right?

I’m 24, and live in constant debt. Let’s get fucked up amirite?

Good god make time stop.

Hello fellow kids! I’m a Bethany Griffiths, and this is Beta Test. A game review platform where I – a [good god] *mid* 20’s 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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First off the bat let’s just say that I realised the other day that I’m the embodiment of that one Shrek vine with the two guys singing smash mouth, because the years start coming and they don’t stop coming, and they don’t stop coming, and they don’t stop coming, and they don-you get the picture. So I decided that god damn it I want to have fun before I die… the only problem is how in fresh heck do I do that without disrupting the very fine tuned life I planned for myself, what with the meek and mild job, the casual hours, the trying really hard to get along with everyone, the constant fear of failure. How in good gravy do I turn my life around? Well I don’t know, but I’m taking small steps in the path of what I hope is the good, and going from there. Today, Circus training, tomorrow [ or realistically, in the next 5-7 years] the world.

Imma still play video games tho. Speaking of which…

YouTube, is there anything you can’t find on there. If you watch enough, the voices of your favourite personalities will become pretty iconic, especially if they’re in, say, a random video game you chose out of the steam pile to play this month. Yeah, when I first started playing Pinstripe, I was completely unaware of just who was in it, but once the character of ‘Jack’ came on the screen, the wormhole opened up and swallowed me whole. My whole life was a lie, there are worlds within worlds, and Seán McLoughlin has an iconic voice.

Developed by Thomas Brush, and Published by Armor Games Studios, Pinstripe is a game that follows the loss of a daughter at the hands of a kidnapper, and the father’s harrowing journey to save her and himself. Using the talented voices of Mia Ciscon, Felix Kjellberg, Nathan Sharp, and Seán McLoughlin [to name a few], Pinstripe allows the player to be put in the head space of horror as one of it’s lighter, more playful incarnations.

The game’s design is majestic. The undertone the designers chose really works in the game’s favour to convey the personalities of the characters – and the audio is stunning. The actors really held tone over the game, and subtle things like echoing laughter on a train, and slurping in the tunnels show just how well everyone working here knew how to convey engrossing style and tone. I thoroughly enjoyed all the mild glitch scares, and reveal gags especially right towards the end, where I was the most engrossed.

Most of the story pertains to the daughter, Bo’s, imagination, and we get the feeling of childlike fear, like when a kid tells you a horror story, from the very start. What’s more, the in game law is graphic, with the insinuation of death, love, loss, a drinking problem, and a pastor lost from god, it’s easy to see how this could be set in the realms of limbo and hell. I love it when I can call a game titillating, but this one really did tickle my jimmies, and rustle my fancies.

For the most part I found the levels challenging enough that if I really took my time I’d be able to figure out the ins and outs of the puzzles, but speed runners beware, this game has some tricky little turns that can set you back, or out of pocket for in game mechanics. At one point there is a no turn back zone that really threw me for a loop, [because, guess who didn’t want to read all the dialogue? It was me] and set me back for my achievements.

I ran the game in a total of two and a half hours non stop, so while this is not an epic saga in the sense of time, it is brilliant as a small stand alone indie game. The creative team didn’t bite off more than they could chew, and what was presented was captured to the best it could be. What’s more, playing the game once isn’t enough. To unlock everything, including the steam achievements, [because let’s face it, I’m a slut for overachieving] you will need at least three attempts, which for this game is exactly warranted. Playing over and over, you see more and more of the personalities, notice different little pick ups, and get to theorise a lot more about the body of work.

I was impressed with this game from start to finish. Even right at the end when I thought there was nothing more to give, Pinstripe kept on giving. It’s the game I truly needed this month. A good little pick me up that I will gladly come back to over and over again.

Because of the well prepared, and beautifully stunning nature of this game, I give Pinstripe:

5/5 Goo sacks for style
4/5 Goo sacks for plotline
3/5 Goo sacks for easiness
7/5 Goo sacks for Sheer scenery majesty

So in the end all that can be said is that you need to at least give this game a go. Take it for the titillating indie title that it is and you will have a fun time. Promise.

In any case, I’ve been a Bethany Griffiths, and this has been 24 year old 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 #35

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:

  • Captain Marvel trailer debuts this week;
  • Elizabeth Tulloch cast as Lois Lane in Arrowverse;
  • Aaron Paul joins the cast of Westworld Season 3;
  • and more!

Trailer Park discussions:

This week, the team discuss what category should be added to the Academy Awards and who should win that Oscar, including responses from you!

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 #34 ⬇️

FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: A Simple Favor (2018)

NOT SO SIMPLE…

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

Lionsgate / Feigco Entertainment / Bron Studios

Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily’s (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. Joined by Emily’s husband Sean (Henry Golding), Stephanie’s investigation uncovers a series of betrayals, secrets, and more…

A Simple Favor is anything but simple. And that’s what makes it a very entertaining film. Based on the best seller by Darcey Bell, and after the film’s French style opening, we meet passionate Mum and vlogger Stephanie Smothers, played exceptionally well by Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick. She takes us through the current situation plaguing her life—the abrupt and mysterious disappearance of her best friend Emily Nelson, the role Blake Lively embodies that is just as stylish as it is absolute bonkers. In fact, pretty much all of the characters in this film are out of their gourds. Whether that’s something you can tell straight away or something you learn as the movie progresses, the one thing you know for sure is just how crazy everyone is by the time the credits are rolling. And, you know, that’s totally okay. So often in these movies with gorgeous leads, the characters are one note, lacking depth and anything else interesting about them. It is quite refreshing to meet these people who are flawed and are so much deeper than the beautiful exteriors they present to the world.

The first part of the movie is spent flashing back to the day Stephanie and Emily met, and their interesting relationship that followed up until Emily’s disappearance. The two women connect over their sons’ burgeoning friendship and constant play dates that see the boys upstairs doing who knows what, and the mothers downstairs making exquisite martinis at Emily’s insistence. However, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that they love their sons, even though you see more of this from Stephanie than Emily respectively as the movie continues. Despite their characters being almost nothing alike, Kendrick and Lively share a very natural and rich onscreen chemistry. All of the dialogue during their scenes together feels completely natural and is a testament to their wonderful talent as actors.

Once Emily disappears, the film’s tone changes and heads down a darker path, taking it into weird black comedy territory. Stephanie makes some questionable decisions, such as shacking up with Emily’s husband, writer and college Professor Sean Townsend, played by Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding. But regardless of that fact, she nevertheless persists in learning all she can about Emily, why she disappeared, and whether or not she really is dead. Her vlog pops up throughout the film, with each entry becoming weirder than the last; her cheery disposition crumbling on camera. Blake Lively does great work with Emily, but the real star of this film is hands-down Anna Kendrick. She is so skilled at toeing the line between serious and silly, and it always makes her a joy to watch, and the main reason I had such a good time watching this story unfold.

Director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters) also proves to the audience he can hack it at the helm of a film that isn’t a run of the mill comedy. The film is extremely well shot and edited, and even with the change of tone, it doesn’t go too far with its dark subject matter that you end up with a different film than what you started with. He stays the course and handles it like a pro. So like I said, A Simple Favor is anything but simple, which I feel definitely makes it worth your time, and a fun time at that. 3½ / 5

 

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Ian Ho, Joshua Satine, Andrew Rannells, Glenda Braganza, Kelly McCormack, Aparna Nancherla, Dustin Milligan, Danielle Bourgon, Gia Sandhu, Rupert Friend, Eric Johnson, Linda Cardellini, Paul Jurewicz, Sarah Baker, Jean Smart, Bashir Salahuddin.

Director: Paul Feig | Producers: Paul Feig, Jessie Henderson | Writer: Jessica Sharzer (based on A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell) | Music: Theodore Shapiro | Cinematographer: John Schwartzman | Editor: Brent White

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.

Incompetent Gamers: Rocket League—Live Stream 2

Join incompetent gamers DarthPudden, Sharpy, and Bethles as they rip up the field in an all-out Rocket League!

Streamed live on YouTube, with all the complications associated with such a task, 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 1 ⬇️

FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Howard the Duck (1986)

HOWARD, WHAT THE F…?

I’m a Wayne Stellini and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is the notorious box office bomb and cult classic, Howard the Duck

Lucasfilm Ltd. / Universal Pictures

Howard, an inhabitant of Duckworld, is propelled from his loungeroom to Earth, where he rescues musician Beverly Switzler (Lea Thompson) from a group of thugs and forms a close friendship with her. An attempt to help Howard return to his home plant, however, unleashes an evil force on Earth…

Movies based on Marvel Comics publications are all too common now and are generally held in high esteem by comic book geeks and film nerds alike. However, Marvel’s chief rival Detective Comics (DC) were leading the game in 1986, having dominated film and television adaptations for the previous two decades. Howard the Duck, Marvel’s first big screen feature, proves that even the most popular cinematic universes have the most humble of beginnings.

Howard the Duck (1979, Issue #1) as he appeared in the earlier comics. (Credit: Marvel Comics)

Originally intended as an animated venture, contractual obligations saw executive producer George Lucas pushing for a live action adaptation of Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik‘s anthropomorphic duck. The film, however, still feels like a cartoon; it is an offering of over-the-top, noisy nonsense that has numerous fun moments. The costumes and set pieces are a glorious product of the era, and even the score and theme song add to the vibe.

Unfortunately, Howard the Duck doesn’t know who its audience is. Its adult themes and dark tones aren’t appropriate for children who would get the most out of the stunt work and sight gags, and probably wouldn’t care too much about the paper-thin plot that focuses on Howard managing a rock band and saving the planet form an evil alien invasion.

Howard’s look was criticised at the time (his aesthetics in the comics resemble Donald Duck), but in the grand scheme of the unfolding shenanigans, this is really only a minor quip. Ed Gale is the man predominantly in the duck suit while Chip Zien’s voice was added in post production. The pair do a fine enough job and, in fact, Howard is perhaps the most subdued character in the film. Willard Huyck’s direction dictates that the usually reliable Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, and newcommer (and future Oscar-winner) Tim Robbins chew the scenery with striking confidence. But what lets the film down is the writing. Huyck and Gloria Katz have scaffolded their screenplay around cliches and countless, unnecessary one-liners.

Viewed in the right spirit—and why would anyone take a story about poultry zapped out of his arm chair and to another planet too seriously?—Howard the Duck is fun. The problem is, the mayhem doesn’t know when to quit, resulting in a messy third act. This is the sort of beer and pizza film that is best enjoyed with a group of mates. Howard would approve. 2½ / 5

 

Starring: Chip Zien (voice), Lea Thompson, Tim Robbins, Jeffrey Jones, David Paymer, Paul Guilfoyle, Liz Sagal, Dominique Davalos, Holly Robinson, Tommy Swerdlow, Richard Edson, Miles Chapin, Paul Comi, Richard McGonagle.

Director: Willard Huyck | Producer: Gloria Katz | Writer: Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz (based on Howard the Duck by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik) | Music: John Barry | Songs: Thomas Dolby | Cinematographer: Richard H. Kline | Editor: Michael Chandler, Sidney Wolinsky

Available: DVD

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

 

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

A Podcast Called FRED #34

Join Kendall and special guest 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:

  • Burt Reynolds, Mac Miller, and Bill Daily die;
  • First look at Captain Marvel;
  • Doctor Who release date announced;
  • and more!

Trailer Park discussions:

This week, the ladies discuss which games they hate, including responses from you!

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 #33 ⬇

 

Incompetent Gamers: Rocket League

Join incompetent gamers DarthPudden, Sharpy, and Bethles as they buckle up for Rocket League!

Streamed live on YouTube, with all the complications associated with such a task, check it out ⬇️

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

FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

NO LOVE LOST.

I’m a Wayne Stellini and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is Netflix’s teen romance, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Overbrook Entertainment / Awesomeness Films / Netflix

Awkward sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song Covey’s life becomes complicated when her secret love letters get posted to her five crushes, including her sister’s ex-boyfriend…

Based on Jenny Han’s 2014 young adult novel, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before leaves one wondering if the weak link in the chain sits with the perils of adaptation or the source material itself. Another in a string of Netflix-distributed teen flicks, this particular offering looks quite promising on the surface. Finally, we have a romantic comedy whose protagonist doesn’t fit the typical WASP mould. Even better, she is from an incredibly underrepresented ethnicity.

It isn’t long until the film settles into all-too familiar territory, which isn’t always a bad thing. The cast tick all the boxes of particular archetypes, so there should be at least one person for its target audience to relate to. Lana Condor is particularly charming as Lara Jean. Though offering nothing new to the sweet, nerdy, neurotic character type, she is quite likeable, and it was a relief not see any Hello Kitty paraphernalia lurking about (take note, 13 Reasons Why).

However, where To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before falls flat—and does so quickly, mind you—is that as accessible as the characters are, most are two-dimensional and none are remotely interesting. Furthermore, the narrative becomes more painfully predictable as it goes along. There’s some flashes of effective humour here, but the overall film lacks any wow factor.

What is the point of having an Asian-American protagonist if the perspective isn’t any different? Why can’t any of Lara Jean’s crushes be from a similar ethnicity to hers—Asian blokes are just as desirable as Anglo-Saxon ones (thank you, 13 Reasons Why). Also, is there any valid justification why a significant part of Lara Jean’s heritage is reduced to a Korean yoghurt product found in a specialty grocery store? And where is the diversity in the supporting and background characters? (Drinking game: Even if you have a shot for every non-Caucasian person you see, you’ll still be sober by the end of the film.)

Alas, despite some redeeming features, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is nothing special. The differentiation factor it does offer is merely window dressing for what is a tried, tested, and pretty dull affair. 1½ / 5

 

Starring: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart, Andrew Bachelor, Trezzo Mahoro, Madeleine Arthur, Emilija Baranac, Israel Broussard, John Corbett.

Director: Susan Johnson | Writer: Sofia Alvarez (based on the novel by Jenny Han) | Producers: Brian Robbins, James Lassiter, Will Smith, Matthew Kaplan | Music: Joe Wong | Cinematographer: Michael Fimognari | Editor: Phillip J. Bartell, Joe Klotz

 

Available: Netflix

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.