FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Nymphomaniac (2013)

MORE THAN A SIZZLING STORY.

I’m a Wayne Stellini and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is Nymphomaniac

Les Films du Losange

On a cold evening, bookish bachelor Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård) finds self-proclaimed nymphomaniac Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) lying beaten and bloody in the alleyway behind his apartment.

He takes her back to his home and listens to Joe recount stories about her assorted sexual experiences. Seligman uses his academic knowledge to contribute and delve into discussion, relating Joe’s exploits to everything from mathematics and mythology, to religion and fly fishing…

When Lars von Trier’s exploration of sexuality and interpersonal relationships was first edited, his opus ran at a staggering five-and-a-half-hours. Rather than cut it down, he decided to divide the piece into two separate films—Nymphomaniac Vol. I (145 minutes) and Nymphomaniac Vol. II (180 minutes). With his blessing, though without his direct involvement, the two volumes were censored and edited even more so for international audiences, leaving some ninety minutes on the cutting room floor. (It is these versions—at 117 minutes and 124 minutes respectively—that form the basis of this review.) The films were always intended to serve as one seamless story, and it is in this spirit that they should to be seen: an epic delivered in two acts.

The narrative is told by Charlotte Gainsbourg, whose portrayal of the unapologetic, hypersexual Joe, is beautifully complex and compelling. As a female protagonist, she is a refreshing presence, embracing the limitless possibilities of self-exploration, and is vulnerable, selfish, and honest. As the best heroes are, Joe is incredibly flawed but is never at a distance.

As with everyday recollections, not everything is told in a linear manner, however, Joe’s dialogue is so eloquently written that it is easy to be taken on this ride that, like everyday life, is exciting, dull, tender, and confronting. Undermining the narrative tool, though, is most—not all—exchanges between herself and Seligman. Stellan Skarsgård is intriguing as the sheltered loner, but his academic analogies, which is his only method of relating to Joe’s exploits, come too frequently and soften the story’s pace. They also, at times, feel as though von Trier has the compulsion to spoon-feed his audience so they understand the deeper layers of what he is trying to achieve with Nymphomaniac.

This aside, there are many positives to draw from the film, mainly the supporting performances that make up the eclectic folks impacted by Joe’s desire-driven existence. Shia LaBeouf is engrossing and his character Jerôme deserves a film unto himself. Jamie Bell is also unsurprisingly perfect, in a role that benefits from the actor’s intensity and restraint (no pun intended). Christian Slater is solid as Joe’s father, with Stacey Martin completely captivating as the younger Joe in the flashback scenes, as is Sophie Kennedy Clark as her adolescent friend B; and Mia Goth possesses a dangerous edge as Joe’s apprentice P.

The film is beautifully framed, sharply edited, and features a gorgeous colour pallet. Such aesthetics are enhanced by some touches of humour within the screenplay. Sample dialogue: “Would it be all right if I show the children the whoring bed?” Uma Thurman’s jilted wife, Mrs. H, asks Joe at one stage!

Overall, Nymphomaniac is a skilled example of substance and style. It may not always get the balance right, though the second-half feels more polished, it is a worthwhile, thought-provoking cinematic experience that will leave some seeking out the original, uncut 325-minute rendition. 4 / 5

Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stacy Martin, Stellan Skarsgård, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen, Michaël Pas, Jean-Marc Barr, Udo Kier.

Director: Lars von Trier | Producers: Marie Cecilie Gade, Louise Vesth | Writer: Lars von Trier | Cinematographer: Manuel Alberto Claro | Editors: Molly Marlene Stensgaard, Morten Højbjerg

Nymphomaniac Vol. I and Vol. II Available: DVD and stan.

 

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.

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A Podcast Called FRED #18

Broadcast live across FRED the ALIEN’s Facebook and YouTube platforms, 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.

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

 

RELATED VIDEO: Eurovision Song Contest—LIVE Reactions ⬇︎

FRED Watch Episode 5: I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)

FALLING IN LOVE WITH PHILLIP MORRIS…

LD Entertainment / Roadside Attractions

On this International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, Phillip introduces Wayne to the comedy I Love You Phillip Morris. More than a simple review, the boys also discuss queer representation in cinema and television.

It’s a thoughtful, entertaining chat that raises questions… and attempts to answer them too!

Listen to their review here:

Check out the trailer:

Starring: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Antoni Corone, Brennan Brown, Michael Showers, Marc Macaulay, Annie Golden, Michael Mandel, Phillip Morris [uncredited cameo]

Directors: John Requa, Glenn Ficarra | Producers: Andrew Lazar, Far Shariat | Writers: John Requa, Glenn Ficarra (based on I Love You Phillip Morris: A True Story of Life, Love, and Prison Breaks by Steve McVicker) | Music: Nick Urata | Cinematographer: Xavier Pérez Grobet | Editors: Thomas J. Nordber

Available: DVD

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

 

You’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

A Podcast Called FRED #17

Broadcast live across FRED the ALIEN’s Facebook and YouTube platforms, 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.

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

Or, if you prefer, listen to the complete episode here:

 

RELATED VIDEO: Non-Scripted Ramblings #23: Avengers: Infinity War SPOILER Recap and Review ⬇︎

FRED Watch Quickie TV Review: The Orville—Season 1 (2017)

MacFARLANE TREKS THROUGH SPACE!

I’m an Ashley Hall and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s TV series is The Orville

20th Television

Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane), an officer in the Planetary Union’s line of exploratory space vessels, is given a ship called The Orville as his first command, only to discover that his ex-wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), has been assigned to be his First Officer…

The Orville is a great show. I’ll start off by saying that sure, Star Trek lookalikes are a dime a dozen, but not by Seth MacFarlane.

In his typical fashion, MacFarlane delivers something fresh, hilarious, and very on-point. I have been glued to the screen throughout the first season. There are a few social commentaries as well as uncomfortable situations and plot points; all of these panned out wonderfully and concluded beyond satisfactorily with a lot of intelligence. Much thought has been put into the writing, directing, and acting.

The delivery of MacFarlane and the writers’ material is perfect in The Orville. The casting is exactly as it should be and nobody you feel as though no other group of actors should play these characters. They look, feel, sound, and even smell the part.

All in all MacFarlane has created a truly wonderful and gripping show that I would recommend to anyone of almost any age.

Happy viewing, people, and most of all… have fun! 3½ / 5

 

Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J. Lee, Mark Jackson, Victor Garber, Chad Coleman, Norm Macdonald.

Creator: Seth MacFarlane | Executive Producers: Seth MacFarlane, Brannon Braga, David A. Goodman, Jason Clark, Jon Favreau (pilot), Liz Heldens, Lili Fuller | Theme Music: Bruce Broughton

Screens on Fox in the United States. A second season has been commissioned.

 

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

I’ve been an Ashley Hall and you’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

A Podcast Called FRED #16

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.

 

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

FRED Watch Quickie Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

MARVEL UNITED!

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 much-anticipated blockbuster, Avengers: Infinity War

Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The credits have finished rolling; the stinger scene fresh in my mind like everything else I have just witnessed. Then the lights in the theatre slowly wash over us all, telling us it’s over, we can go home. I sit in stunned silence, holding my friend’s hand, as we comfort each other, my tear-stained face proof of the sobs that caused it…

We had just experienced, not watched, experienced Avengers: Infinity War. You may laugh or judge but I assure you, this is no overreaction. The gamut of emotions we all felt through the film’s two-and-a-half-hour runtime was beyond anything I’ve ever felt from a movie before. This is proof of the power of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the perfection of the writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the mastery of directors the Russo brothers, and the unyielding dedication of producer Mr. Kevin Feige.

I think it is fair to say that no other film studio or movie franchise has ever accomplished a feat of this magnitude. This year marks ten years of the MCU, which started with 2008’s Iron Man; who would have thought that road would have lead us to this? I knew going into the cinema that this film would be a game changer, but I just had no idea how much.

Without getting too spoilery, here are some of my thoughts on what I loved and kinda disliked (?) about Avengers: Infinity War. My absolute favourite thing, and I’m sure most of you would agree, was the meet-ups of all our favourite characters—The Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers colliding for the first time. We knew it would be great and, by gosh, it did not disappoint. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.)  and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) butting heads was a joyful explosion of egos; Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) feeling threatened by Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and trying to make himself sound like him was beyond wonderful; and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) bowing to T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) after Rhodey (Don Cheadle) made him do it as a joke was absolutely hysterical. The character moments of this film really make it worth your time, and that really comes down to each individual actor completely bringing it in their performances. (This review is my petition to give Chris Pratt and Tom Holland Oscar nominations FYI.)

Speaking of characters, there was one in particular that I feel didn’t get enough time to shine, and surprisingly, that was Captain America. However, this really is the nittiest of nitpicks, and it is understandable given that they had a gazillion characters to juggle here, which ultimately they really did pull off. But I felt Steve Rogers deserved a little more time than what was given to him. (Maybe we should have figured that out, considering he wasn’t featured too heavily in the trailers.) Still, Chris Evans gives a great performance as he always does, and Cap does get to do a hell of a lot of impressive fighting.

As for Thanos… well… let’s just say he may have dethroned Loki as the MCU’s best villain. Josh Brolin has crafted a career-defining performance as the Mad Titan, and the CGI is just off the charts extraordinary. Thanos turned out to be so much more than we thought. He is a complex character driven by somewhat understandable motivations and filled with a depth that only Loki could come close out of the whole MCU. This film really is his story and it is carried out in such a mind blowing way that you will be in shock. Thor, however, has to be my favourite character here. Aside from Thanos, he has the best arc and Chris Hemsworth has yet again knocked it out of the park with his portrayal; a combination of the humour of Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and the pathos of his earlier outings Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013).

Avengers: Infinity War works best when taken in by the experienced Marvel viewer, but as an overall film, the casual fan will definitely get enjoyment out of it and connect with it on an emotional level. It simply is just a really good movie and probably the best comic book movie ever made. You will laugh, you will certainly cry, and you will feel every moment along with our heroes on the big screen as they make a last stand against their greatest foe yet. Thanos is a being of the likes we have never seen before, wreaking havoc everywhere he goes. Brace yourselves for that opening scene though, it’s a doosy. And the wait for Avengers 4 begins. Only 52 weeks to go…

6 Infinity Stones out of 6

 

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt.

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 POST: Countdown to Avengers: Infinity War with Kendall Richardson ⬇︎

The Monthly @ WiniFRED’s #10

Get ready for another episode of The Monthly @ WiniFRED’s!

With Fulya jet-setting across Europe this month, Kendall and guest co-host Wayne chat about their favourite episodes and moments from The Simpsons. Of course, there’s also room for a bit of Marvel and DC talk too…

Let us know your favourite lines, moments, or episodes from The Simpsons in the comments!

 

RELATED VIDEO: Non-Scripted Ramblings #22: Avengers: Infinity War Reaction (Spoiler Free) ⬇︎

A Podcast Called FRED #15

Broadcast live across FRED the ALIEN’s Facebook and YouTube platforms, join Kendall, Ashley, 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.

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

After some technical difficulties, the team returned to conclude the episode:

Or, if you prefer, listen to the complete episode here:

 

RELATED VIDEO: Non-Scripted Ramblings #22: Avengers: Infinity War Reaction (Spoiler Free) ⬇︎

Collectible Chaos: Top Ten Paramore Songs

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

Here, Kendall counts down her favourite Paramore songs! Let us know your number one choice in the comments!

Check out Collectible Chaos – Top Ten Paramore Songs ⬇

 

Kendall also co-hosts The Monthly @ WiniFRED’s. Listen to the entire playlist here: