FRED Watch Episode 17: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

DEAD WINNER!

StudioCanal / Working Title Films / Big Talk Productions / Film4 Productions / Universal Pictures / Rogue Pictures

For this month’s FRED Watch podcast, Phillip, Wayne, and special guest Bethany revisit the horror comedy, Shaun of the Dead (2004).

But does Edgar Wright’s cult classic still have bite?

Listen to their review here:

 

Check out the theatrical trailer:

Starring: Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Nick Frost, Dylan Moran, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton.

Director: Edgar Wright | Writers: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg | Producer: Nira Park | Music: Pete Woodhead, Daniel Mudford | Cinematographer: David M. Dunlap | Editor: Chris Dickens

Available: DVD.

 

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

 

You’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

 

RELATED PODCAST: Friday Nights @ FRED’s #24—’The Cornetto Trilogy: Which hivemind to be a part of?’ (To jump straight to the Popcorn Culture segment, play from 57:33) ⬇️

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#17: Wailing Heights

Beta TestJesus H Christ you have no idea the trouble I’ve gone through to bring you this game. I actually filmed half a play through, twice, before I realised the frame rate I filmed my screen in was lagging to hell. This was AFTER I had edited most of the audio, and started on the main screen grabs. From there, I had to waste a solid 7 hours of film, and destroy my hopes at being a YouTube “personality”

I’m not bitter, I’m just wrecked.

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Hello my Disgruntled Vampires, I’m Bethany Griffiths, and this is Beta Test. A game review platform where I, a very confused Minotaur, 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 (un)biased review.

Guess who’s back on the bandwagon, and by bandwagon I mean mental health care plan? ME! Yeah, turns out that working a day job, where everyone is constantly yelling at you isn’t great for your mental health. Who knew. The stress is also not great for your body, as it turns out, because I was in ED a few weeks ago. Who knew. So now I turn to the only outside of professional help therapy I know. Video Games. Let’s get mentally responsible with it!

(Also, I’m just going to come right out and say it, this is one of those games I absolutely got wrecked on. More throughout the review about the how and why, but suffice to say, this was not one of the better ways to spend my month.)

Wailing heights, Developed and published by Outsider Games, is a narrative driven goal based game, that is set to the pace of a ‘play it yourself’ comic book. It has three inclusive chapters where you roam the streets, and various venues to drive the plot and solve clues about this mysterious village. Through your insights you come across familiar faces, and unlock more of the comic backstory, to create a whole picture of the in game universe.
From the beginning, we open with a backstory that gives us an overview of the general plot, with catchy background music that sounds like a take on 60’s pop rock i.e The Monkees, The Beatles, The Who. It is fresh and new, and it gets you excited for a good game. From there it get weird though, as we’re taken through the opening sequence and given our first objectives.

There’s no clear objective list to follow, so you have to take to wandering around until you get the right combo of events to get further in the game. I won’t lie, I had to use outside resources, and forums to get me through the whole game, because the hints given, like getting sugar for Aida-Z, or using the printing press to get a good review for Fangs, are ambiguous and way too subtle to pick up.

From there, Where I think this game really could have used work is that there are a lot of plot points that felt….clunky?. It felt like there were some contributors to the game that weren’t on the same page as everyone else, and that really brought down what could have been a well rounded game. Especially the ending. Not to spoil it, but I was pretty confused, as a new character comes in at the end, as a boss battle and we as a character make some very questionable (and…inaccurate?) decisions to win against them.

The script borderlines on cringy. There were moments I actually recoiled from second hand teenage cringe. That’s not inherently a bad thing, the game has a specific demographic, and 15 year old Bethany would have loved it. Looking from an adults point of view though, I couldn’t help but feel like the script was trying too hard. (Especially with the use of the word “Yummers”. Not sure what it is about indie developers, but apparently nothing says ‘I’m hip and with the kids’ like trying to use a variant on their lingo in a way that doesn’t work with the dialect of any of the characters. Maybe it’s a regional thing?)

The game is also much more suited to Xbox style controls over PC, so when the commands come up it takes you awhile to figure out the keys. (even figuring out how to get back to the main menu was a struggle for me)

Now, I will say the art style is beautiful, as is the score. There was a lot of time and dedication placed in the making of the environment, and I have major props to the entire art department for bringing such cinema to a game. Where it lacked though was the animation, especially syncing the footsteps with the movements of characters. I don’t know if this is just a personal qualm, but I found it highly grating to see the character move at one pace and hear the feet go to a completely differently time. Either way, it definitely could have been tightened.

Because of the overall pleasantness of the graphics, but the lack of user friendliness, I give this game:

4/5 Scottish Ghosts for style
1/5 Scottish Ghosts for plot
0/5 Scottish Ghosts for easiness
1/5 Scottish Ghosts for Stumbling around not knowing what you need to do to complete the objectives!

So, my dudes! I’ve been Bethany Griffiths, and this has been a long month of a 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. If you have a game that you want me to give my two cents on, Please let me know!

Until next time,

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A Podcast Called FRED #66

Ross (David Schwimmer) leans into Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), who has her arm around him.

Kendall, Fulya, and Wyane deliver the latest in nerdy news and geeky goodness in the pop culture podcast that refuses to behave—it’s A Podcast Called FRED!

 

Nerdy News includes:

  • Mod Squad‘s Peggy Lipton dies at 72;
  • Richard Madden cast as Ikaris in The Eternals;
  • Batwoman officially ordered to series on the CW starring Ruby Rose;
  • Disney announces Avatar sequels and new Star Wars trilogy release dates;
  • and more!

Trailer Park discussions:

Quickie Reviews:

  • Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile (2019)
  • Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

Popcorn Culture:

  • This week, the team discuss their favourite on-screen couples that took forever to get together—featuring responses from you!

 

Check out A Podcast Called FRED #66 ⬇️

Remember to let us know your response to the Popcorn Culture question so you can be featured in the next episode of A Podcast Called FRED!

 

PREVIOUS EPISODE: A Podcast Called FRED #65 ⬇️


FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Brave (2012)

ONLY THE BRAVE!

I’m a Fulya Kantarmaci and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s Mother’s Day film is Disney Pixar’s Brave

Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar Animation Studios

A princess disregards an old custom and wreaks havoc in the kingdom. Her mother, the Queen, will not have this and pressures her to do as she is told. Her father, the King, is just stuck in the middle of it all…

Brave tells the story of Merida (Kelly Macdonald), the courageous daughter of Scottish King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Merida is a talented archer and a very messy princess, much to her mother’s disapproval. One day, Elinor tells Merida that the first-born sons of the allied clans will be arriving to compete in the Highland Games for Merida’s hand in marriage. But it may harm their clan Dunbroch if she fails to consent to the betrothal. Elinor reminds Merida of the legend of the prince that would not follow his father’s wishes; pride ends up destroying his kingdom.

Being the first-born child in her own clan, Merida decides to participate in the archery tournament and beats her suitors with ease. After a very heated argument with her mother (not to mention ruining the family tapestry), Merida runs away into the forest. She is then greeted by will-o’-the-wisps, which lead her deeper into the forest to a witch’s hut. She makes a deal with the witch to create a spell that will change her fate. The witch gives her an enchanted cake. Once she leaves the hut, the witch is left standing on her own trying the think of the one important thing she forgot to tell Merida about the spell. Of course, there’s a consequence. Who didn’t see that coming?

Merida arrives back at the castle, prepares a “peace offering” with the cake for her mother. But when Elinor eats it, she starts to feel ill and, to Merida’s shock, turns into a bear. This is NOT what she asked for at all! Merida takes her bear-mum back to the witch’s hut but the witch is no longer there. She did, however, leave Merida a message in the form of a bubbling cauldron that acts like a medieval automated message:

‘Fate be changed, look inside. Mend the bond torn by pride.’

This story is definitely one for the mothers out there. The relationship between a mother and her daughter is sacred. I am one of those daughters who loves her mum very much and when the sad scenes played through, I could feel an ache in my heart. Emma Thompson is wonderful as Merida’s mother. Her voice has the elegance of a queen and even though she is voicing a Scottish character, I still love it! Kelly Macdonald is amazing as Merida. You can hear the strength and teenage angst that makes her the perfect voice actor for this role. And did I mention how awesome Billy Connolly is? His comedic timing makes King Fergus a hilarious character, but when it comes down to the hunt of a bear lurking in the castle, he is all business and you can definitely hear that in Connolly’s performance.

The fact that this film takes place in the Scottish Highlands makes me feel so good because I travelled to Scotland in April 2018; I fell in love with the country and its people. Rewatching this movie after my holiday allowed me to pick out all the wonderful things that make Brave so authentic. The scenery is almost life-like, the animals (mainly the highland cows or ‘coos’, as the Scottish call them), the music, and the story itself all brought me back Scotland. (On a side note, if you haven’t been, I highly recommend visiting Edinburgh and a trip up to the highlands. So much history that doesn’t disappoint!)

Brave has a beautiful aesthetic and the cinematography is just fantastic! There are a few scary moments but nothing that kids can’t handle. This is definitely worth watching with the family, especially on Mother’s Day. And remember, ‘never conjure where you carve.’ 5 / 5

 

Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Steve Purcell, Patrick Doyle, John Ratzenberger, Sally Kinghorn, Callum O’Neill, Peigi Barker, Steven Cree.

Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman | Writers: Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi | Producers: Katherine Sarafian | Music: Patrick Doyle | Cinematotgraphers: Cinematography: Robert Anderson (camera), Danielle Feinberg (lighting) | Editor: Nicholas C. Smith

 

Available: DVD.

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

 

I’ve been a Fulya Kantarmaci and you’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

Non-Scripted Ramblings #38

Pop culture queen Kendall Richardson reacts to and rambles about the teaser trailer for IT: Chapter Two. Check it out ⬇️

 

Haven’t seen the trailer yet? Check it out here ⬇️

 

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

 

RELATED VIDEO: Collectible Chaos: Top Ten Films of 2017 ⬇️


FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Home (2015)

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME…

I’m a Fulya Kantarmaci and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is Home

DreamWorks Animation / 20th Century Fox

A young girl reluctantly becomes friends with a fugitive Boov alien. They go on an adventure to find her mother who has been relocated by the Boov during their “invasion.” What could possibly go wrong?

This comedic sci-fi adventure film is loosely based on Adam Rex’s book The True Meaning of Smekday. Produced by DreamWorks Animation, Home is about an alien race called the Boov, who are running away from other aliens, the terrifying Gorg. While on the run, the leader of the Boov, Captain Smek (Steve Martin), discovers Earth as a suitable planet to call their new home after the Gorg had found and destroyed their previous home planet. Let the Boov moving day commence!

One particular Boov, affectionately named Oh (Jim Parsons), is very excited about moving day. In fact, he is so excited that he plans to throw a “warming of house” party and sends an invitation to his fellow Boov friends via email. Unfortunately, he accidentally presses the send-to-all button which means every alien race in the universe receives an invite. Because of this mistake, Oh is chased down by the Boov for revealing their location to the Gorg. He then runs into a convenience store to hide; little did he know that there was a “humans person” (as the Boov call them) who also walked into the same convenience store to grab supplies for her trip to find her mother. Tip Tucci (Rihanna) discovers Oh and is quick to shove him inside a fridge and trap him there. They both argue, at the expense of Tip’s hatred for the Boov who abducted her mum. Oh tries to entice Tip to let him out of the fridge so he can repair her car. Tip reluctantly decides to let him out on the condition that Oh helps her find her mum. And thus the adventure begins…

The film takes you on a journey about family and friendship and it is such a heart-warming story. From their cute, almost octopus-like appearance to their nonsensical way of speaking English, the Boov will make you smile right to the end of the film. I’d have to say that the Boov is one of my favourite alien races in the animated world. Yes, it’s because of the way they speak! Jim Parsons does an outstanding job in voicing Oh and in a way, you can kind of see Jim in Oh. He also has this innocent and excited quality in his voice which made him the perfect person to voice the lead character. Steve Martin brings a hilariousness to Smek that I absolutely love and he shows off his talented comedy skills through his voice. Rihanna is a surprising addition to the cast, however, she also does an amazing job with voicing Tip. Her voice is unique enough that you can’t tell it is voiced by an adult.

The soundtrack is great too! My favourite tracks are ‘Towards the Sun’ by Rihanna and ‘Feel the Light’ by Jennifer Lopez. Both powerful ballads really hit you in the feels. Speaking of feels, the one scene from this movie that never ceases to make me well up in tears is towards the end and THAT is when the song ‘Towards the Sun’ starts to play. It is such a heartbreaking moment that you can’t help but feel sad. Very moving.

Overall, Home is a lot of fun to watch and it really does have a great meaning behind it. I definitely recommend it for your next family movie night.

And remember, the Boov are the “best species ever at running away.” 4 / 5

 

Starring: Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Jones.

Director: Tim Johnson | Writers: Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember (based on The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex) | Producers: Mireille Soria, Chris Jenkins, Suzanne Buirgy | Music: Lorne Balfe | Editor: Nick Fletcher

 

Available: DVD.

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

 

I’ve been a Fulya Kantarmaci and you’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

Non-Scripted Ramblings #37

Tom Holland as Peter Parker, whose eyes are bloodshot after crying.

Columbia Pictures / Marvel Studios / Pascal Pictures / Sony Pictures Releasing

🚨 THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: ENDGAME 🚨

Pop culture queen Kendall Richardson reacts to and rambles about the second Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer. Check it out ⬇️

 

 

Haven’t seen the trailer yet? Check it out here ⬇️

 

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

 

RELATED EPISODE: Non-Scripted Ramblings #31: Spider-Man: Far From Home Trailer Reaction ⬇️


A Podcast Called FRED #65

Kendall, Fulya, and Phillip deliver the latest in nerdy news and geeky goodness in the pop culture podcast that refuses to behave—it’s A Podcast Called FRED!

 

Nerdy News includes:

  • Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew and Boyz n the Hood director John Singleton die;
  • Sonic the Hedgehog character will be fixed in titular film after fan outrage;
  • Warm Bodies to be turned into a television series;
  • and more!

Trailer Park discussions:

Quickie Review:

  • Hotel Mumbai (2018)

Popcorn Culture:

  • This week, the team discuss how they keep themselves entertained while travelling—featuring responses from you!

 

Check out A Podcast Called FRED #65 ⬇️

Remember to let us know your response to the Popcorn Culture question so you can be featured in the next episode of A Podcast Called FRED!

 

PREVIOUS EPISODE: A Podcast Called FRED #64 ⬇️


Collectible Chaos: Top Ten Favourite Disaster Movies

Join FRED the ALIEN Productions‘s pop culture queen Kendall Richardson for Collectible Chaos!

In this episode, Kendall looks back at cinema’s greatest disaster epics.

Check out Collectible Chaos – Top Ten Favourite Disaster Movies ⬇️

Let us know your favourite disaster movie in the comments!

 

PREVIOUS EPISODE: Collectible Chaos: Top Ten Things About Captain Marvel ⬇️

 

FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

GAME ON!

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 box office record-smashing blockbuster, Avengers: Endgame

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye in 'Avengers: Endgame'.

Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Part of the journey is the end. It is almost hard to believe but we have reached the completion of Marvel Studios’ Infinity Saga. Avengers: Endgame closes the curtain on what has been an incredible feat of eleven years of storytelling, all leading to this film. Fans waited in agony for twelve long months to find out if the shocking ending to Avengers: Infinity War (2018) would or could be fixed. Thankfully, and unsurprisingly, Endgame proves that the past year of suffering has been worth it. This movie is a monumental achievement, and one we won’t see the likes of again anytime soon. It sticks the landing perfectly and with ease. The combination of Marvel mastermind Kevin Feige, directors Joe and Anthony Russo, screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and the Oscar worthy cast and crew have completely outdone themselves in pulling off this epic superhero extravaganza.

Without spoiling the contents of the film itself, here is a basic outline of the plot: Endgame picks up barely a month down the track since Thanos (Josh Brolin) snapped half the universe out of existence. The remaining Avengers, joined by Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper and Sean Gunn), Nebula (Karen Gillan), War Machine (Don Cheadle), and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) come up with a plan to defeat Thanos once and for all, and bring back everyone who was lost in The Decimation. And there is literally nothing else I can say without ruining the film, because there is so much happening that is so magical, so beautiful, and so tragic, I would hate to destroy someone’s first viewing. Needless to say, you’re in for the ride of your life!

It has been well publicised that Chris Evans is done playing Captain America, and where he ends up by the time Endgame is over is really the best thing we could have hoped for. This is Evans’ seventh time as Steve Rogers (not counting his excellent cameos in 2013’s Thor: The Dark World and 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming), and he has made his portrayal as easy as breathing, as most of the seasoned cast have by now. The only good thing about the smaller cast in this film is that each of the original six Avengers gets heaps of time to really shine. Evans has fun with his performance in Endgame, taking Steve Rogers to places he doesn’t normally get to go (both literally and metaphorically). The biggest surprise for me was Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. What Johansson does with Natasha Romanoff in this film just blew me away. There is such a tragic and heroic complexity to her portrayal of the female Avenger. We’ve never really seen her like this before and it was a breath of fresh air.

Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth also shone as Bruce Banner/Hulk and Thor respectively, and you can clearly see how much they were enjoying their part of this grand story; Hemsworth in particular, as this is Thor like we’ve never seen him. Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye finally gets some time in the spotlight and is a welcome presence following his absence in Infinity War. Renner also gets to go to some new places with Hawkeye alias Clint Barton, reminding everyone of his exceptional acting abilities. He is definitely one of Hollywood’s most talented yet underrated performers. And finally, where to begin with the incomparable Robert Downey Jr? Along with director/star Jon Favreau, Downey is the reason we are all here in the first place. The Marvel Cinematic Universe began with him and what he does with Tony Stark in Endgame is absolute perfection.

One of my favourite things about Avengers: Endgame is the way it rewards its long-time fans for their steadfast dedication to the MCU. There are so many references, callbacks, and Easter eggs to practically every single film so far, it is just astounding. These are the moments that elicited the most joy for me and in some parts made the heartbreaking scenes harder to bear. The team behind this incredible film has so much respect and trust in their audience. They are also fans too, and you can really see that in the love they pour into their work.

Once again, the CGI was outstanding, and Josh Brolin gives another great performance as the Mad Titan Thanos, really cementing his portrayal as one of the greatest villains in cinema history. Other standout performances from our heroes, besides the original six Avengers, include Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, and Karen Gillan as Nebula. Rudd is hands-down one of the best additions to the MCU and he holds his own so wonderfully with the rest of the cast, providing the best comedic moments of the film. Gillan has mostly been undervalued during her time with the Guardians of the Galaxy, but her portrayal of Nebula in Endgame is her best yet,and I hope we get to see more of her down the track.

The movie’s third act is simply perfect. And whilst concluding this epic saga, it simultaneously does a great job of showing just how far this story has come; it reminds us of the absolute wealth of people and places we have visited during the course of these now twenty-two films. I guarantee you there won’t be a single dry eye in the theatre during each and every screening of Endgame. All of us can connect to these characters and these events on some level, whether you’ve been a fan since 2008’s Iron Man, or jumped on the bandwagon last year after Avengers: Infinity War. That is just how magnificent this movie is. We are so lucky and privileged to be a part of it. Avengers: Endgame is the movie of the year. I love it 3000.

6 Infinity Stones out of 6

 

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Jon Favreau, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Brolin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Letitia Wright, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Cobie Smulders, Linda Cardellini, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Vin Diesel, Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael James Shaw, Terry Notary, Monique Ganderton, Tessa Thompson, Rene Russo, John Slattery, Tilda Swinton, Hayley Atwell, Marisa Tomei, Taika Waititi, Maximiliano Hernández, Callan Mulvey, Frank Grillo, Jacob Batalon, Robert Redford, Ty Simpkins, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, William Hurt, Ross Marquand, Kerry Condon, Natalie Portman, Stan Lee.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Producer: Kevin Feige | Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (based on The Avengers by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) | Music: Alan Silvestri | Cinematographer: Trent Opaloch | Editors: Jeffrey Ford, Matthew Schmidt

 

Showing in cinemas nation-wide.

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 VIDEO: Non-Scripted Ramblings #36: Avengers: Endgame Non-Spoiler Reaction ⬇️