FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

GALAXY IS A TOTAL GUNN!

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

Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

When adventurer Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) becomes the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by the ambitious Ronan (Lee Pace), he is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits: Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista)…

James Gunn gives the Marvel Cinematic Universe a breath of fresh air with this fun and quirky comic book caper, introducing lesser known superheroes into a well-established franchise. And while there may not be anything too original about Guardians of the Galaxy, co-writer/director Gunn knows how to deliver the perfect balance of heart, humour, and heroics to tell a well-rounded story. It doesn’t hurt that it has an amazing soundtrack too!

The film is not only incredibly good-looking (the set design, costumes, and makeup are all superb), but it is tautly edited and always engaging. It is also one of those rare blockbusters in which so many performances overshadow the whiz-bang visuals. Our motley crew are perfectly cast.

Chris Pratt is insatiably charming and goofy as protagonist Peter Quill, while Zoe Saldana absolutely owns the role of Gamora, and her exchanges with Dave Bautista’s Drax the Destroyer are always entertaining. Bradley Cooper steals the show as bounty hunter Rocket, complemented quite nicely by simpleton tree Groot; a role that suits Vin Diesel’s “acting range,” for a lack of a better phrase, quite nicely.

Guardians of the Galaxy works so well because the dynamics between its characters is so finely tuned that we never stop caring about them. It is a particularly entertaining example of when popcorn entertainment is at its best. 4½ / 5

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin [uncredited], Sean Gunn, Alexis Denisof, Ophelia Lovibond, Peter Serafinowicz, Gregg Henry, Laura Haddock, Melia Kreiling, Christopher Fairbank, Mikaela Hoover, Marama Corlett, Emmett J. Scanlan, Alexis Rodney, Tom Proctor, Spencer Wilding, Fred, Stephen Blackehart, James Gunn [cameo], Stan Lee [cameo], Lloyd Kaufman [cameo], Nathan Fillion [voice] Rob Zombie [voice], Tyler Bates [voice], Seth Green [voice].

Director: James Gunn | Producer: Kevin Feige | Writers: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman (based on Guardians of the Galaxy by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning) | Music: Tyler Bates | Cinematographer: Ben Davis | Editors: Fred Raskin, Craig Wood, Hughes Winborne

 

Available: Blu-ray 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.

 

RELATED VIDEO: Non-Scripted Ramblings #13: Countdown to Infinity War—Guardians of the Galaxy ⬇️


FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Joker (2019)

PHOENIX AND PHILLIPS HAVE THE LAST LAUGH…

Welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film made such an impact on us, that we reviewed it twice! It’s Todd Phillips’s Joker

DC Films / Village Roadshow Pictures / Bron Creative / Joint Effort / Warner Bros. Pictures

In 1981, clown and aspiring comedian Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), who lives with a neurological condition that causes him to laugh in times of intense stress, turns to crime and chaos as Gotham City begins to protest and rebel against the establishment.

Kendall Richardson reviewing:

People like to complain about ‘superhero fatigue’, that there are too many comic book movies and television shows on our screens. But if this so-called ‘fatigue’ helps to give birth to a film such as Joker, then I really don’t see what is worth complaining about. Joker isn’t really a comic book movie, and if you removed the DC Comics skin, very little would actually change. Like Logan (2017), and to a similar extent Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Joker uses the guise of a comic book film to really step into and explore genres and themes that set it aside from any other ‘superhero genre’ film. It is quite ironic the way things have turned out, considering many thought that upon this film’s announcement it was completely unnecessary. Just like when people scoffed at Heath Ledger’s casting of the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s brilliant The Dark Knight (2008). Oh, how wrong and misunderstood we were.

Joker tells the story of troubled clown and wannabe comedian Arthur Fleck (a breathtaking Joaquin Phoenix), navigating the turbulent landscape of a depraved and crime rampant Gotham City. We learn that he suffers from an undiagnosed mental illness that he is seeking treatment for, and an uncontrollable Tourette’s Syndrome-like laugh. Despite these flaws, Arthur tries so hard to fit into society, and bring happiness and joy to those he entertains. The film does a wonderful job of focusing on his mental state without mocking it or making it the butt of any jokes. You understand quite quickly this is who Arthur Fleck is, and despite it making the audience sympathetic towards him, there is a clear division between this sympathy and a complete lack of it once he starts taking out his problems violently on others. That isn’t to say you don’t understand were he’s coming from on his journey to becoming Joker, in fact you might find yourself rooting for him. But there is no question that he revels in causing pain by the time the film ends and you stop feeling sorry for him.

Joaquin Phoenix gives probably the best performance of his entire career. Everything about Arthur/Joker that Phoenix brings to life is chaotic yet controlled, and elegant yet horrific. Phoenix is in virtually every scene of the film, and you never tire of seeing his disturbed image flashed across the screen. You crave more of him. Even though you know where the movie is headed thanks to its famous comic book inspiration, you desperately want the good parts of him to rise up, instead of getting snuffed out by the madness of his mind. From kindhearted to malevolent, Arthur Fleck is always unsettling, and that laugh of his that covers the movie, is so nuanced and striking. I have no doubt in my mind that we will be seeing Joaquin Phoenix everywhere this coming awards season and very deservedly so.

Director and co-writer Todd Phillips, mostly known for his comedic films such as The Hangover (2009) and Old School (2003), transitions seamlessly into this dark and decrepit world of crime. He crafts a Gotham we are definitely not strangers to, but one he certainly makes his own. The script is watertight and comes to life brilliantly with the aide of some exceptional cinematography and well-rounded performances from not just Phoenix, but the entire cast. This is definitely Phoenix’s film, but all the players that surround him support him well, adding method to the madness. Robert De Niro is particularly fascinating as late night talk show host Murray Franklin, a character idolised by Arthur throughout the whole film. If only there had been more scenes of Murray and Arthur together, but what we do get is completely thrilling. Joker remains with certainty, an incredible piece of cinema, and an unnerving yet compelling unraveling of a film’s protagonist like we have surely rarely seen. It is hands down one of the best films of the year. 5 / 5

Wayne Stellini reviewing:

In an era of extensive superhero blockbusters, Hollywood knows how to churn out (more often than not) entertaining, cartoonish spectacles. And because most follow the same formula, there is a comfort in sitting in a cinema with similar genre-loving folks as you munch on your popcorn in anticipation of the inevitable computer-generated action to unfold. But Todd Phillips’s Joker is the sort of film that makes you hold said moviegoing snack millimetres from your mouth in fear of choking on it.

As soon as the old Warner Bros. logo appears on screen, we know that this will not be your average contemporary comic book movie. Phillips’s stylistic choices not only take us back to the early 1980s but, more significantly, inform us that this is a world we are familiar with, if not actually live in ourselves. (It takes longer than you’d expect for the word ‘Gotham’ to be spoken.)

The colour pallet, captured and framed beautifully by Lawrence Sher, as well as Hildur Guðnadóttir’s evocative score and Jeff Groth’s perfect editing, make Joker a technically flawless film. This impeccable attention to detail continually enforces the cold and individualistic social attitudes that contribute to and shapes the creation of the titular character.

So, what of our anti-hero? Batman’s chief villain the Joker is arguably the most beloved baddie from the comics and their associated media adaptations. (Heath Ledger’s iconic portrayal of the Clown Price of Crime in 2008’s The Dark Knight remains the only performance of a comic book character to have been awarded an Oscar to date.) And what makes him such an intriguing figure is not necessarily the wealth of published stories to draw from but rather that the criminal mastermind’s origin and backstory have never been set in stone since his debut in 1940. This is where Phillips and co-writer Scott Silver utilise their freedom to make Joker—both film and character, for that matter—whatever they want.

The story is straightforward and coherent, and, at its core, demonstrates how society maketh the monster. But as a character study, Joker is far more complex than that. This is where the outstanding Joaquin Phoenix truly shines. The actor has literally grown up before our eyes (his big screen debut was in 1986’s infamous box office bomb SpaceCamp) but didn’t truly make a mark until Gladiator (2000), in which he delivers the film’s stand-out scene (‘Busy little bee’), before solidifying himself as one of contemporary American cinema’s more interesting and diverse performers when he played Johnny Cash in Walk the Line (2005). So what does Phoenix do with a character whose previous film and television incarnations have been both embraced and contentious?

Most importantly, Phoenix makes the role his own. Here, the lonesome Arthur Fleck goes from being tragic to grotesque; the manner in which Phoenix contorts his body and laughs (involuntarily or otherwise) depicts a confronting depletion of Arthur’s mental health. Ultimately, when his transformation into Joker is complete, Phoenix does not disappoint, even overcoming some unnecessarily clunky dialogue when Joker confesses to crimes and calls out society’s flaws on a late night talk show, whose host is played by the unsurprisingly excellent Robert De Niro. It cannot be emphasised enough that Phoenix is so good that he makes an uncharismatic, unnerving character always accessible. And when Joker appears dancing down stone stairs, we are happy to be in his clutches.

Moments likes these (and there are plenty of them) make Joker a unique gem in a cluttered genre. And while Phillips owes much to the master filmmakers that came before him—most notably Martin Scorsese, whose anti-establishment titles such as Taxi Driver (1976) and The King of Comedy (1983) remain important works of American cinema—he is his own storyteller, and there is no mistaking the depth he gives this particular narrative. A highlight for me was when Arthur meets a young Bruce Wayne (Dante Pereira-Olson) for the first time. The scene is intense in its own right, but there are so many wonderful layers to their interaction: the two speak with bars between them, Arthur uses lighthearted magic tricks whilst Bruce remains stolid, and most significantly, the pair are dressed in a similar manner. This is gorgeous foreshadowing of the sort of relationship that these two will have, but what is wonderful about Joker is that it works without any pre-knowledge of the expansive creative universe these characters are a part of. And scenes such as Arthur being approached by a Wall Street worker on a train who is singing ‘Send in the Clowns’ are as eerie as they are an example of beautiful filmmaking.

I found myself captivated from the get-go when watching Joker, engrossed in the world and interested in the characters. I was challenged by the portrayal of Thomas Wayne (a solid Brett Cullen), who has always been depicted in a saintly manner, and was sometimes uncomfortable when Arthur’s condition resulted in uncontrollable laughter. Although it was by no means a full house, I cannot recall a moment when I have been in a cinema of people so attentive and silent, and nor can I remember the last time I caught myself breathless, or with my mouth slightly open at the unfolding drama on numerous occasions throughout a film’s gestation.

Joker may not be completely flawless, and I am not sure if it will be the sort of film that gets better with repeated viewings, but do not be mistaken in thinking you are merely watching a movie here. You are experiencing a cohesive team bringing together a masterful work of art. 5 / 5

 

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Douglas Hodge, Dante Pereira-Olson, Glenn Fleshler, Bill Camp, Shea Whigham, Marc Maron, Leigh Gill, Josh Pais, Brian Tyree Henry, Bryan Callen, Hannah Gross, Carl Lundstedt, Michael Benz, Ben Warheit, Mandela Bellamy, Demetrius Dotson II, Justin Theroux [cameo].

Director: Todd Phillips | Producers: Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper, Emma Tillinger Koskoff | Writers: by Todd Phillips, Scott Silver (based on characters by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson appearing in DC Comics) | Music: Hildur Guðnadóttir | Cinematographer: Lawrence Sher | Editor: Jeff Groth

 

In cinemas now.

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

 

You’ve just experienced FRED Watch.


FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

EVANS AND JOHANSSON SAVE THE DAY!

I’m a Wayne Stellini and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is Captain America: The Winter Solider

Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) join forces to uncover a conspiracy within S.H.I.E.L.D. while facing a mysterious assassin known as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).

Chris Evans suits up once more as the Captain America in the ninth Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster. The wholesome superhero is second nature to Evans by now but the actor does not take his character for granted. Neither do scriptwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who not only appear to have put more thought and effort into their work compared to 2013’s Thor: The Dark World but also allow the First Avenger space for depth and complexity. It is a trademark that has made Captain America one of the more interesting figures in this extensive film franchise, and directors Anthony and Joe Russo treat the source and adapted material respectfully.

Even though Captain America: The Winter Soldier runs for a questionable two hours and sixteen minutes, it is paced relatively well and you don’t really feel the time. This is primarily due to the inclusion of the underrated Scarlett Johansson’s performance as Black Widow. Both actor and character are a marvel here and, despite the absence of her usual sidekick (Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye), the former Soviet spy not only holds her own but often steals the show. So, it is of little surprise that her moments with the equally excellent Evans are the strongest here. However, it must be said that the remarkably aged Hayley Atwell delivers a lovely performance in a touching scene with Evans. Emily VanCamp and screen veteran Robert Redford also deliver notable performances.

There are also a number of interesting characters littered throughout the film, including the introduction of Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and the fun comes from not really knowing who is trustworthy. Of course, the action does not disappoint and, unlike some other sequences in the franchise, never feels over-the-top; Captain America taking on a group of armed men in an elevator is both exciting and exceptionally choreographed.

Aesthetically appealing and quite entertaining without being exceptional, Captain America: The Winter Soldier may not be as good as The First Avenger (2011), but will win favour amongst the franchise’s fans. 4 / 5

 

Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson, Toby Jones, Maximiliano Hernández, Garry Shandling, Georges St-Pierre, Callan Mulvey, Chin Han, Jenny Agutter, Alan Dale, Bernard White, Danny Pudi, DC Pierson, Gary Sinise [voice], Stan Lee [cameo], Ed Brubaker [cameo], Joe Russo [cameo], Christopher Markus [cameo], Stephen McFeely [cameo], Thomas Kretschmann, Henry Goodman, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Producer: Kevin Feige | Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (based on Captain America by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby) | Music: Henry Jackman | Cinematographer: Trent Opaloch | Editors: Jeffrey Ford, Matthew Schmidt

 

Available: Blu-ray 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.

 

RELATED VIDEO: Non-Scripted Ramblings #12: Countdown to Infinity War—Captain America: The Winter Soldier ⬇️


A Podcast Called FRED #86: Unwanted Remakes

Kendall, Fulya, and Wayne 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:

  • Sid Haig, J. Michael Mendel, and Rob Garrison have died;
  • Spider-Man will return to the MCU for third film;
  • Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum to appear in Jurassic World 3;
  • and so much more!

Trailer Park discussions:

  • Frozen 2
  • El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
  • Uncut Gems

Popcorn Culture:

  • This week, the team discuss which films should never be remade—featuring responses from you!

 

Check out A Podcast Called FRED #86 ⬇️

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 #85 ⬇️


FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Big Hero 6 (2014)

DISNEY’S HEROIC CAPER!

I’m a Fulya Kantarmaci and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film features the most lovable robot anyone has ever seen—Disney’s Big Hero 6

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

This is the story of a teenager named Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), a high school graduate and robotics genius. During his free time, Hiro competes in illegal robot battles. His big brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) doesn’t approve and has always been coming to Hiro’s rescue because of these robot fights. One particular night after yet again saving him from trouble, Tadashi decides to take Hiro to his research lab at the Sanfransokyo Institute of Technology, where he meets Tadashi’s friends Go Go (Jamie Chung), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), and Fred (T.J. Miller), not to mention meeting the head of the university’s robotics program Professor Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell). Tadashi also shows his little brother what he’s been working on and this is where we all meet Baymax (Scott Adsit), the Personal Healthcare Companion. With that, Hiro decides to enrol at the university but in order for him to be considered, he must present a project at the school’s science fair.

After presenting his project on microbots, Alistair Krei of Krei Tech (Alan Tudyk) offers to buy his microbots but Hiro kindly refuses. Professor Callaghan was very impressed as well with his project and hands Hiro an acceptance letter to the robotics program. Cut to later that evening after the science fair has ended and a fire breaks out; the professor is the only person left inside so Tadashi runs in to save him. Moments after he enters, there’s an explosion which kills both of them. We then cut to Tadashi’s and Professor Callaghan’s wake at the Hamada residence where we see Tadashi’s friends together in mourning and Hiro sitting alone at the top of the stairs. Hiro no longer has the passion and interest in going to university, and so he goes back to looking at illegal bot fights around the area when he stubs his toe. The moment he says “ow”, Baymax is activated. Let the adorable humour commence!

From the moment the first scene opens with a spectacular establishing shot of Sanfransokyo (a hybrid name of San Francisco and Tokyo), you immediately discover that the film will have something to do with future technologies. The style of the animation also suggests that this is NOT going to be your average Disney movie. I love this film in its entirety because it talks about relationships, mental health, and of course, futuristic gadgets!

The story is loosely based on a superhero team called Big Hero 6 by Marvel Comics and the film is directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams. From start to finish, Big Hero 6 manages to take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions where we meet a young boy who loves his big brother so much that when he realises he won’t be seeing him again, he is devastated to the point of depression. This moment always seems to make me cry as it is quite an emotional scene. I can only imagine how it would feel to lose a family member you are so close to. For a children’s film that talks about human loss, it is done beautifully.

The movie also contains a lot of fun moments, especially the scenes with Baymax! Once you get to know him, you will definitely be wanting your own personal healthcare companion. Baymax is such an amazing character and although robotic, I love how his voice sounds so caring. You may not see the emotions expressed physically or tonally but you understand how much Baymax just wants to help Hiro feel better. Scott Adsit was the perfect choice as the voice of this adorable non-threatening robot.

Did I mention there’s tons of superhero action? Well, there is! During the film, Hiro figures out who set the university on fire that killed Tadashi and Professor Callghan so he is on a mission of justice. There’s a montage scene of Hiro talking to his new-found friends as he creates upgrades for them and Baymax so they can find the arsonist who is out in the city using his microbots. This scene also has a hell of a song that makes you feel really excited for the team! The song is Immortals by Fall Out Boy and it is so appropriate for the scene!

If you are a fan of Disney movies and love a bit of action as well as heart, Big Hero 6 is for you. This is one of my top favourite Disney animated films. And remember, “Those that suffer a loss require support from friends and loved ones.” 5 / 5

 

Starring: Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney, T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, James Cromwell, Maya Rudolph, Alan Tudyk.

Directors: Don Hall, Chris Williams | Producer: Roy Conli | Writers: Jordan Roberts, Robert L. Baird, Dan Gerson (based on Big Hero 6 by Man of Action) | Music: Henry Jackman | Cinematographers: Rob Dressel (layout), Adolph Lusinsky (lighting) | Editor: Tim Mertens

 

Available: DVD and stan.

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.

The Monthly @ WiniFRED’s #27

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

Join Fulya and Kendall as they discuss which TV show cancellation or natural ending made them a little sad—featuring responses thoughts from you!

Have a listen and let us know who your top choice is! Also, get ready to respond to the next Monthly question, revealed at the end of the episode ⬇️

 

PREVIOUS EPISODE: The Monthly @ WiniFRED’s #26: Favourite Harry Potter characters ⬇️


Collectible Chaos: Top Ten Favourite Robin Williams Movies

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

In this episode, Kendall counts down her favourite movies from one of Hollywood’s most beloved comedians.

Check out Collectible Chaos – Top Ten Favourite Robin Williams Movies ⬇️

Let us know your favourite disaster movie in the comments!

 

RELATED EPISODE: Collectible Chaos: Top Ten Favourite Childhood Movies ⬇️

A Podcast Called FRED #85: More Musician Biopics

Kendall and Fulya 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:

  • Tom Welling and Erica Durance to reprise their roles from Smallville in Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover;
  • Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson to return Ghostbusters in 2020;
  • The Princess Bride remake nobody wants could be happening;
  • and so much more!

Trailer Park discussions:

  • Dark Waters
  • Knives Out
  • Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears

Quickie Review:

  • Downton Abbey (2019)

Popcorn Culture:

  • This week, the team discuss which musician should get their own biopic—featuring responses from you!

 

Check out A Podcast Called FRED #85 ⬇️

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 #84 ⬇️


FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Thor: The Dark World (2013)

THOR LEAVES US IN THE DARK…

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

Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) teams up with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to save the Nine Realms from the Dark Elves, led by the vengeful Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) who intends to plunge the universe into darkness.

Despite having much going for it, it becomes evident, at least by the halfway point, that Thor: The Dark World, the eighth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a missed opportunity. With the momentum of its predecessors, particularly the original Thor adventure, and a cast that is both confident and capable behind it, Alan Taylor‘s film falls flat in a number of places.

This is primarily because the combined efforts of writers Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely (who have some experience in bringing comic book stories to the screen) fail to weave a clear, engaging, and fun story. The plot comes across far more convoluted than necessary and the exposition doesn’t feel as smooth this time around. What’s more, there is nothing about Malekith, the central threat within the narrative, that is appealing. He is both dull and two-dimensional; a result of overzealous editing, as a quick web search has led me to believe.

There are, however, a number of things in Thor: The Dark World to truely enjoy. The visuals are pretty good (even though the colour pallet is a little glum) and most of the performances are top-rate. Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, and Jonathan Howard do not disappoint, and you can’t help but wish that they were given more screen time together, since the scenes on Earth tend to work better than those elsewhere. Needless to say, Tom Hiddleston steals the show as Loki (THIS is how you write and perform a villain), oozing a cheeky charm that keeps the audience on side even though we should know better by now.

More enjoyable in parts than as a whole experience, Thor: The Dark World is not a complete write-off and is a passable experience for fans of the franchise. But despite a gallant effort from most of the team, the film doesn’t really achieve what it sets out to do. 2½ / 5

 

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo, Alice Krige, Chris O’Dowd, Benicio del Toro, Ophelia Lovibond, Jonathan Howard, Tony Curran, Clive Russell, Richard Brake, Chris Evans [uncredited cameo], Stan Lee [cameo].

Director: Alan Taylor | Producer: Kevin Feige | Writers: Christopher Yost, Stephen McFeely, Christopher Markus; Story: Don Payne, Robert Rodat (based on Thor by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby) | Music: Brian Tyler | Cinematographer: Kramer Morgenthau | Editors: Dan Lebental, Wyatt Smith

 

Available: Blu-ray 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.

 

RELATED VIDEO: Non-Scripted Ramblings #11: Countdown to Infinity War—Thor: The Dark World ⬇️


FRED Watch Episode 21: The Death of Stalin (2017)

SATIRISING STALIN!

Gaumont / Main Journey / Quad Productions / France 3 Cinema / La Cie Cinématographique / Panache Productions / AFPI / eOne Films / Gaumont

Phillip introduces Wayne to the black comedy The Death of Stalin (2017) for this month’s FRED Watch.

The boys both have history degrees under their belts and love a good comedy, but do the two genres meld well enough to successfully satirise Stalin?

 

Listen to their review here:

 

Check out the trailer:

Starring: Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Palin, Andrea Riseborough, Paul Chahidi, Dermot Crowley, Adrian McLoughlin, Paul Whitehouse, Jeffrey Tambor.

Director: Armando Iannucci | Producers: Yann Zenou, Laurent Zeitoun, Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Kevin Loader | Writers: Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin (based on La Mort de Staline by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin) | Music: Chris Willis | Cinematographer: Zac Nicholson | Editor: Peter Lambert

 

Available: DVD and stan.

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

 

You’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

 

RELATED PODCAST: FRED Watch ANZAC DAY 2018 Special: All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) ⬇️

 

RELATED PODCAST: FRED Watch ANZAC DAY 2019 Special: Horrible Histories: Frightful First World War (2014) ⬇️