A Podcast Called FRED #23

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.

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

 

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

Advertisements

FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Alex Strangelove (2018)

MY TRUELOVE GAVE TO ME…

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 coming out comedy, Alex Strangelove

Mighty Engine / Red Hour Films / STXfilms / Netflix

Pressuring himself and feeling anxious about losing his virginity, high school senior Alex Truelove (Daniel Doheny) and girlfriend Claire (Madeline Weinstein) are looking forward to having sex.

But things become complicated when Alex meets the openly gay Elliot (Antonio Marziale), who triggers within him a suppressed attraction to men…

Released only three months after the much-publicised Love, Simon (2018), and among the same momentum of mainstream queer teen flicks, Alex Strangelove sits comfortably with its contemporaries without adding anything we haven’t seen before. This is not to say, though, that this considerably cute coming out story isn’t worthy of attention.

Craig Johnson’s film touches upon a number of issues in relation to the broad queer community without ever delving too deeply. There are even a few plot elements that feel unnecessary, such as Claire’s mother’s cancer diagnosis. However, themes that are explored, are done so with attention and care. Alex’s self-discovery unfolds with confusion, questioning, exploration, and a lot of emotion. It is here where the incredibly goofy and charming Daniel Doheny shines and overcomes some of his character’s unrealistic moments (most notably, his school camp flashback).

Additionally, his onscreen chemistry with Madeline Weinstein, Antonio Marziale, Daniel Zolghadri, and others is a reflection of strong casting choices. In their senior year of high school, you really believe that these kids have known each other throughout the perils of puberty. It is in this vein that we see a potential for further stories relating to the characters because the film feels a little incomplete, as though it has more to say; at the very least, Johnson clearly does.

One particular quip I had with Alex Strangelove was the manner in which Claire is used for narrative progression in the final act. Weinstein is an appealing and likeable performer—qualities she gives her character—but Claire ultimately represents a trope which dictates that heterosexual women always know more or know what is better for gay men than gay men do themselves. Her argument to Alex that coming out is not a difficult thing to do because her twelve year-old cousin did it is not only problematic, but perhaps speaks to a suggestion of an underlying disconnection between queer and straight communities that is not being acknowledged.

Overall, there is plenty to like about Alex Strangelove. Even though it doesn’t quite hit the bullseye, it is harmless and heartfelt fun. 3 / 5

 

Starring: Daniel Doheny, Madeline Weinstein, Antonio Marziale, Daniel Zolghadri, Nik Dodani, Fred Hechinger, Annie Q., Ayden Mayeri, Kathryn Erbe, Joanna P. Adler, William Ragsdale, Isabella Amara, Sophie Faulkenberry, Dante Costabile.

Director/Writer: Craig Johnson | Producers: Jared Goldman, Ben Stiller, Nicholas Weinstock | Music: Nathan Larson | Cinematographer: Hilary Spera | Editor: Jennifer Lee

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.

 

RELATED REVIEW: Love, Simon (click on image below) ⬇︎

The Monthly @ WiniFRED’s #12

This month, Fulya and Kendall discuss their favourite holiday destinations—including thoughts and experiences from you!

Have a listen and let us know what your most memorable travel experience have been and listen out for the next Monthly question at the end of the episode ⬇

 

Missed an episode? Catch up with The Monthly @ WiniFRED’s here ⬇︎

Collectible Chaos: Top Ten Michael Jackson Short Films

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

To mark the anniversary of the King of Pop’s death, Kendall counts down her favourite Michael Jackson short films! Let us know your number one choice in the comments!

Check out Collectible Chaos – Top Ten Michael Jackson Short Films

 

RELATED VIDEO: Collectible Chaos – Top Ten Best Michael Jackson Songs ⬇

A Podcast Called FRED #22

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.

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

 

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

FRED Watch Episode 6: Romper Stomper (1992)

STOMPED!

Village Roadshow

Wayne introduces Phillip to the controversial drama Romper Stomper. Listen carefully, and you’ll hear the two friends increasingly grow frustrated with each other’s point of view. So, since the boys disagree on almost every point of discussion relating to the film, what will their respective scores be?

Listen to their review here:

Check out the trailer:

Starring: Russell Crowe, Daniel Pollock, Jacqueline McKenzie, Tony Lee, Alex Scott, Leigh Russell, Dan Wyllie, James McKenna, Eric Mueck, Frank Magree, Christopher McLean, John Brumpton.

Director / Writer: Geoffrey Wright | Producers: Ian Pringle, Daniel Scharf | Music: John Clifford White | Cinematographer: Ron Hagen | Editor: Bill Murphy

Available: DVD and BluRay (Soundtrack also available.)

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

 

You’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

Beta Test #6: Nihilumbra

Nihilumbra

 

Australia, land of the Bunnings sausage sizzle, the call of the kookaburra, and the sound of several Contiki backpackers Instagramming nude photos from the Swiss Alps. If you think I’m lying, you have never been on an Aussie holiday, which you need to get onto ASAP because I’M BACK, BABY! Seven kilos heavier from all the amazing food I consumed. Especially the desserts. God, I love European Desserts. Where was I? Oh yeah, games—as the white rapper Eminem once famously quoted from his popular hit, Lose Yourself, ‘Snap back to reality, oop there goes gravity.’ Which is what I’m pretty much feeling right now because of my hatred of flying, but also my cold hard drop to the world of retail down in the fiery depths below.

Take me back! I beg of you.

G’day, g’day! I’m a Bethany Griffiths, and this is Beta Test. A game review platform where I—a reality struck, 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.

Nihilumbra header image

In this time of my metaphorical soul dying, what could be better to soothe my working gal woe than to go inside myself and look at my voidal parts to discover ways of healing myself from the inside out? To fill myself with proverbial colour and to cast out the nothingness that I’m feeling? To, in essence, find the gaps and stuff them with something more meaningful than various treats from old Eastern European countries (Poland, I’m looking at you and your delicious Pierogis)? To help me on my soul finding (weight-gaining) trip, I’ve found a fun little thing, Nihilumbra.

Developed and published by BeautiFun Games, Nihilumbra is a game for all levels that gives off classic platforming vibes while retaining its place as an all round indie game. Set in a world where you come from, and are trying to escape ‘The Void’, it deals with the ideas of loss and acceptance, and trying to find your place in the world. I found myself finishing the first play through in a solid day’s worth of gaming, only to find there was a part two built in, which I really appreciate from the developers.

I’ll start by giving this game the credit it deserves. It is well made, the script is fantastic, and the overall calmness I felt while exploring ancient places was soothing, especially since every level ends in a chase montage. I was perfectly happy with the fact that you could use checkpoints to save yourself from death, that this game was on the shorter side, and didn’t drag on to overwork the concept. It was short and straight to the point. For that I give the makers props.

However, I can’t say that I was enthralled by the game. I found myself getting bored by the third world and, by the end (though I really liked the sentimentality of the ending), I didn’t come away having had a mind-altering experience. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that not every game needs to have the big epiphany to work—Solitaire is good, Chess is a classic—but I got the feeling that Nihilumbra was trying to be more than it was. Or rather, going too deep for a game that reminded me heavily of an interactive ASMR video.

It’s not that I had a bad experience, it’s that ironically, I ended up feeling next to nothing for pretty much anything in the game world. Going through the frozen wastelands, the Forests, Volcanoes, Deserts, and City should have been more harrowing to me than they were, and I think that’s where the problem is. We don’t form a bond to our character, they are always a separate identity, which is one of the games most core components. You are the void, You are trying to find yourself, You You You, and yet, for all intents and purposes it wasn’t me. It was a little black blob on the screen that I could control, that I could move with my WASD keys, and that I could make do neat tricks. I wasn’t pulled into the game, and that’s an issue.

Stylistically, I found Nihilumbra more convincing, as it can be broken down to old school +10 years in that weird phase of not quite smooth, but definitely not 8-bit any more. I liked the settings and the way the natural world moved around the screen. I enjoyed the way the enemies were designed, even though there was little law behind the naming of them. In fact, I had horrifying flashbacks to myself ten years ago trying to create ‘alternative’ names for my neopets. But I don’t hold that against them. It was a fun little game that was in a fun little platform, no hard (or any) feelings.

Because of the casual nature, and the old school style, I give this game:

3/5 Growing Voids for style
2/5 Growing Voids for plot line
4/5 Growing Voids for easiness
2/5 Growing Voids for the growing feeling of nothingness

So, after all that, what’s left? Well all I can say is that I can appreciate credit where credit’s due. A tryer is better than a giver upper, and if you want to make up your own mind, I’m certainly not going to be mad at you for giving it a go. Just remember, don’t become the void.

In any case, I’ve been a Bethany Griffiths, and this has been an introspective 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…

Goodbye footer

FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Joe Cinque’s Consolation (2016)

WHO CONSOLES THE AUDIENCE?

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

Night Kitchen Productions

The volatile mental health of Canberra law student Anu Singh (Maggie Naouri) leaves her feeling that she is without an option other than to suicide. Unbeknown to her picture-perfect boyfriend Joe Cinque (Jerome Meyer), a dinner party she organises serves as a last supper. But things do not go to plan.

As Anu’s mental health continues to dissolve, she decides that Joe’s life must also end. Another dinner party is arranged with guests aware that their hosts will die, but no one tells Joe…

Sotiris Dounoukos’s adaptation of Helen Garner’s award-winning book offers an intriguing true-life tale that fails to completely captivate. As a character study, the story does not delve deep enough and as a psychological thriller, the film lacks any genuine suspense until the final act.

The complex narrative is painted in such broad strokes that the audience is kept at a distance. Anu is too fitful to approach and Joe is perfection personified; where one has no redeeming features, the other is immaculate. This is, of course, not to say that a distinction between the unscrupulous and the virtuous should not be made, but Anu is given so little room to move that it is impossible to try and empathise with her depleting mental state.

As for our central couple, Naori and Meyer are excellent. At the time of production, neither had extensive screen experience, and yet they command plenty of attention; the film is the most captivating when the pair share a frame. The assortment of supporting cast also handle their two-dimensional roles as best they can, particularly Gia Carides and Tony Nikolakopoulos as Joe’s doting parents. However, Sacha Joseph, as Anu’s misused friend Madhavi Rao, delivers one of the most frustratingly vapid performances seen in Australian cinema for a long time.

Produced with technical competency and demonstrating an exceptionally crafted final act, this is, nonetheless, a story that deserved more depth and leaves a number of questions unanswered. The flippancy with which Anu and Joe’s wider circle of friends treat ensuing events is incomprehensible, and the ultimate ramifications for those responsible, leaves the audience with a stronger sense of loss and grief than anyone in the film.

A respectful portrayal of Joe Cinque that needed to delve deeper. 3 / 5

Starring: Maggie Naouri, Jerome Meyer, Sacha Joseph, Josh McConville, Gia Carides, Tony Nikolakopoulos, Jacob Collins-Levy, Laura Gordon, Jackson Tozer, Eva Lazzaro.

Director: Sotiris Dounoukos | Producers: Sotiris Dounoukos, Matt Reeder | Writers: Sotiris Dounoukos, Matt Rubinstein (Based on Joe Cinque’s Consolation: A True Story of Death, Grief and the Law by Helen Garner) | Music: Antonio Gambale | Cinematographer: Simon Chapman | Editors: Angelos Angelidis, Martin Connor

Available: SBS On Demand

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.

Amusing Musings #2

Ashley Hall asks deep questions from the shallow end of the pool in Amusing Musings! Have a little chuckle and see if you can answer these comedic contemplations…

Ashley Hall co-hosts FRED the ALIEN Productions‘s premier podcast A Podcast Called FRED as well as selected episodes of FRED Watch.

A Podcast Called FRED #21

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

 

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

 

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

 

RELATED VIDEOS: Incompetent Gamers (click on image) ⬇︎