FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: When Time Ran Out… (1980)

TIME’S UP FOR DISASTER DECADE…

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

Warner Bros.

A volcano causes havoc on an idyllic South Pacific island which has become a holiday paradise for the rich and powerful. Encouraged by island owner Bob Spangler (James Franciscus), most of the guests ignore the danger, but one group, lead by oil rigger Hank Anderson (Paul Newman), embarks on a risky escape attempt.

In a 1998 interview, Larry King asked Paul Newman if he had regretted making any films. The actor replied, ‘that volcano movie.’

A critical and commercial flop, When Time Ran Out… marked the end of the disaster movie era, kickstarted by Airport (1970) and perfected by the master of disaster himself, Irwin Allen, with The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974). Though Allen would never reach the astonishing narrative, technical, and commercial success of his two biggest pictures, the formula worked well when used correctly. (For example, Allen’s instance on directing 1978’s The Swarm was one of many poor production choices.)

Fans of the genre, however, will find that When Time Ran Out… isn’t as bad as its reputation may lead you to believe. All of the pieces are in place here, with a stellar ensemble cast brought together to face a natural threat. We are introduced to a handful of characters and their respective, sometimes intertwining, storylines; each faces a personal or professional dilemma which is the source of the surrounding melodrama as the island’s dormant volcano prepares to erupt.

As The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, and (to a lesser extent) Earthquake (1974) exemplified, taking the time to get to know and care about the film’s characters are just as important as the build-up to the Main Event, if not more so. Originally running for 121 minutes, the film’s poor domestic performance resulted in the runtime being cut down to 104 minutes, only to have a 144-minute extended cut released on VHS in the mid-‘80s and ‘90s.

For better or worse, the shortest rendition of When Time Ran Out… leaves the audience at a distance from the characters, which is unfortunate, because they are performed really well under James Goldstone’s direction. However, the film also comes across more like a made-for-television movie than a big screen blockbuster. The special effects are a mixed bag, which is a shame considering the twenty million-dollar budget (four times the amount afforded to the superior Poseidon Adventure); some haven’t aged well and don’t even look like they were at the forefront of technology at the time.

So, what works about When Time Ran Out…?

Well, there’s no denying that it is a lot of fun and its hokey quality adds to the viewing experience. Fans of the disaster genre will enjoy the clashing personalities of the characters here, some of the over-the-top action sequences, and the performances overall.

Contractually obligated to appear in an Allen production, Newman is in fine form as our scrupulous hero, and any lack of enthusiasm for the project does not come across on screen. His Towering Inferno co-star William Holden is quite commanding as the resort’s owner, while Jacqueline Bisset is engaging in an underwritten leading lady role. Handsome James Franciscus is captivating as our villain, holding his own against the likes of Newman and Holden, and his scenes with the lovely Veronica Hamel are a particular highlight—if only there were more them. Additionally, The Poseidon Adventure‘s Red Buttons, Ernest Borgnine, and Shelia Allen are rather good here, as are Edward Albert, Burgess Meredith, and Pat Morita, who all do a lot with very little. Collectively, their roles are undemanding for their talent.

When Time Ran Out… might not be as thrilling on screen as it reads on paper (the bridge cross goes on for too long and the resort’s destruction is too brief), but it is an entertaining spectacle of race-against-time melodrama that sustains energy for most of its duration. It had all the makings of being able to turn the declining tide of disaster movies, but after a decade of genre saturation, audiences were lapping up a new wave of musicals, summer blockbusters, and a little space opera you may have heard of.

But it is what it is. So, grab some popcorn, open a can of cold soft drink, and kick your feet up on a lazy Sunday afternoon to farewell an era of fun disaster epics with Allen Irwin’s production of When Time Ran Out… 3 / 5

 

Starring: Paul Newman, Jacqueline Bisset, William Holden, Edward Albert, Red Buttons, Barbara Carrera, Valentina Cortese, Veronica Hamel, Alex Karras, Burgess Meredith, Ernest Borgnine, James Franciscus, John Considine, Sheila Allen, Pat Morita, Lonny Chapman, Sandy Kenyon, Ava Readdy, Glynn Rubin.

Director: James Goldstone | Producer: Irwin Allen | Writers: Carl Foreman, Stirling Silliphant (based on The Day the World Ended by Gordon Thomas) | Music: Lalo Schifrin | Cinematographer: Fred J. Koenekamp | Editors: Edward Biery, Freeman A. Davies

Available: DVD

 

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.

FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Just a Breath Away (2018)

DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH…

I’m a Wayne Stellini and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is Just a Breath Away (Dans la brume)…

Gravitas Ventures

Separated parents Mathieu and Anna (Romain Duris and Olga Kurylenko) try to protect their daughter (Fantine Harduin), whose medical condition keeps her confined to a tank, from a rising toxic gas cloud that envelops Paris.

Daniel Roby‘s race-against-time thriller has all the makings of a genre masterpiece but never reaches its full potential. This is despite some utterly captivating action sequences; Parisians running from the toxic cloud, for example, is incredibly well done and the film overall benefits from Pierre-Yves Bastard‘s cinematography.

Romain Duris, by far one of French cinema’s most interesting actors for the past two decades, and the prolific Olga Kurylenko are unsurprisingly excellent as loving, selfless parents Mathieu and Anna, who go through hell and high water for their child. So, while there’s never really a dull moment, Guillaume Lemans‘s screenplay fails to delve deeply into our protagonists—neither as individuals nor as a couple. In contrast, we have more investment in the elderly couple played by Michel Robin and Anna Gaylor, who offer Mathieu and Anna refuge, but the film isn’t about them. So while the stakes are high, there is an unshakable disappointment that our central duo were not fleshed out more during the writing stage. An emotional connection is vital to disaster movies such as these so that when selected characters inevitably begin to drop like flies, we not only care about who lives but how they manage to do it.

In spite of this significant flaw, Just a Breath Away works on a superficial level and is still well-worth a look, if only for its stunning visuals and a reason (not that you need one) to see the two leads do so much with only a cloud. 3 / 5

 

Starting: Romain Duris, Olga Kurylenko, Fantine Harduin, Michel Robin, Anna Gaylor, Réphaël Ghrenassia, Erja Malatier, Alexis Manenti, Maurice Antoni, Robin Barde, Geoffroy De La Taille [uncredited], Margot Maricot [uncredited], Christopher Ramoné [uncredited].

Director: Daniel Roby | Producers: Guillaume Colboc, Nicolas Duval Adassovsky | Writer: Guillaume Lemans | Music: Michel Corriveau | Cinematographer: Pierre-Yves Bastard | Editors: Stan Collet, Yvann Thibaudeau

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.

FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: The Wind Rises (2013)

Wind Rises to the Occasion!

I’m a Fulya Kantarmaci and welcome to FRED Watch where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. To celebrate the thirty-fifth anniversary of its establishment this year, I will be reviewing the animated movies created by Studio Ghibli. Today’s film is The Wind Rises (風立ちぬ).

Studio Ghibli / Toho

Nearsighted from a young age and unable to be a pilot, Jiro Horikoshi (Kaichi Kaburagi) joins a major engineering company in 1927 and becomes one of the world’s most innovative and accomplished airplane designers.

“The wind is rising! We must try to live.” -Paul Valéry

A young boy dreams of becoming a pilot but because of his eyesight, he would never be able to make that dream a reality. One day, Jiro Horikoshi (Kaichi Kaburagi) reads about a famous Italian aircraft designer named Giovanni Battista Caproni (Nomura Mansai), who he later dreams about that night. Mr. Caproni tells Jiro that building planes is much better than flying them. Some years later, a now older Jiro (Hideaki Anno) travels to Tokyo by train to study aeronautical engineering. During his travels, he meets a young girl named Naoko Satomi (Mayo Iino) and her maid. This is the year the Great Kanto Earthquake hits Japan. Naoko’s maid breaks her leg because of this earthquake so Jiro helps her back to Naoko’s family and leaves without even mentioning his name.

After graduating from Tokyo Imperial University, Jiro and his friend Kiro Hanjo (Hidetoshi Nishijima) are both employed at the aircraft manufacturer Mitsubishi, and are assigned to design a fighter plane called the Falcon for their first project. After a failed test of the Falcon, where the plane breaks apart in mid-air and is thereby rejected by the Imperial Army, the pair are sent to Germany to research and obtain a production license for a Junkers G.38 aircraft.

The Spring of 1932 comes by and Jiro has been promoted to chief designer for a competition sponsored by the Imperial Navy. This aircraft also fails during testing and is likewise rejected. Following that disappointment, Jiro decides to head out to a summer resort for some well-needed rest and relaxation. He meets Naoko (Miori Takimoto) again and they fall in love. Jiro and Naoko decide to get engaged even though they both know how bad Naoko’s illness is; she has an incurable case of tuberculosis.

What a beautiful film! I felt very emotional when I first watched The Wind Rises a few years ago, and my feelings haven’t changed the second time around. This love story between Jiro’s passion for planes and his fiancée Naoko is absolutely wonderful. This was director Hayao Miyazaki’s final movie before his retirement in September 2013. His love for bringing stories to life through hand-drawn animations makes me feel lucky that we have such a talented man in our lives.

This particular film takes you back to World War II, a time where Japan was behind in its technology by up to ten years. Watching the different designs of fighter planes being brought to life reminds me of another engineer, one who is in my life: my younger sister. She is very talented with drawings and it is no surprise that she also decided to study the beauty of aircrafts.

The English dub cast consists of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Martin Short, Werner Herzog, William H. Macy, Mae Whitman, Stanley Tucci, Elijah Wood, and so many other great voice actors. I have to admit, watching the film in English is a lot easier for me and I get to marvel over the gorgeous work put into it.

If you get the chance to watch this piece of art, you won’t be disappointed. In fact, you will be in awe because of the aesthetics, the story, the characters, the airplanes, and everything else! 4½ / 5

 


Starring: Hideaki Anno, Miori Takimoto, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Masahiko Nishimura, Stephen Alpert, Morio Kazama, Keiko Takeshita, Mirai Shida, Jun Kunimura, Shinobu Otake, Nomura Mansai, Kaichi Kaburagi, Maki Shinta, Mayu Iino.

Director/Writer: Hayao Miyazaki (based on The Wind Has Risen by Tatsuo Hori) | Producer: Toru Hara | Music: Joe Hisaishi | Cinematographer: Atsushi Okui | Editor: Takeshi Seyama

 

Available: DVD and Blu-Ray.

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.

FRED Watch Episode 26: Puberty Blues (1981)

SURF’S UP!

Wayne introduces Phillip and special guest Fulya to the iconic Australian film about surfing and sexism, Puberty Blues (1981)…

Roadshow.

Listen to their review here:

 

Check out the trailer:

Starring: Nell Schofield, Jad Capelja, Geoff Rhoe, Tony Hughes, Kirrily Nolan, Alan Cassell, Rowena Wallace, Charles Tingwell, Tina Robinson.

Director: Bruce Beresford | Producers: Joan Long, Margaret Kelly | Writer: Margaret Kelly (based on the novel by Gabrielle Carey and Kathy Lette) | Music: Les Gock | Editor: William M. Anderson

 

Available: DVD, GooglePlay, and YouTube.

 

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

 

You’ve just experienced FRED Watch.


Beta Test #26: Minecraft

Beta Test

Good morning gamers. You may have been following me for a while now, so you know that I normally start here with a witty intro that may or may not be fantasticalised by my overzealous brain. You may also think I’m pulling a bit here, but the truth guys is that I have to get something off my chest, and I hope you have the time to sit and read.

***

To whomever may be reading this. I don’t know if you’re there, if you’ve been reading since the beginning in 2018, or if you just tuned in, but no matter where our journey began, I want to say thank you. Over the years I’ve been battling major depression and anxiety, ignited through the loss of a loved one, and propelled by fear and uncertainty. In fact, for a long time, the only certain thing I could count on was taking the time out of my month to write for you. 

The imaginary you. 

In this time of my creation ‘Beta Test’, I’ve lost a lot of close friends, I’ve become stuck in a job that is nothing but soul destroying, I’ve lost my acting mojo, and I’ve lost faith in the people I work with on most platforms of my creation. That is a cold fact that I’m not proud of, and it is not lost on me that I have to constantly fight to stay afloat. It’s tricky.  But I have never lost hope in you. If there are 40 people this reaches, or 4, (or one), I really honestly want to express my gratitude for the strength you’ve given me. The fact of the matter is I need you, and you have been there, reading along, and you have saved me. 

Joining FRED the ALIEN started as an acting gig for a character on UNI-bums, a character I wish I was sometimes. Strong, and smart, and fierce. When I decided to create a blog it was because I picked up a controller for the first time in my adult life to play Cuphead, (a game that would ultimately best me over in glorious fashion, until I rage quit) and as time has gone on, this blog has truly become my baby. I thank FRED for giving me the platform to stage my creation, and hope it brings joy to the people that give it the time of day. I have grown, and this has grown with me, and much like Jenny, I have learnt to experience new and sometimes daunting adventures with assured certainty that win or lose, I can always be Beta.

If you’ve read this far, don’t worry, there’s a review at the end of this rant, but really – from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all the support you’ve given me. It’s been a life saver.

***

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So this is Bethany Griffiths, of Melbourne Victoria, and this is Beta Test, a game review platform where I 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. 

MINECRAFT! The game of the decade! The pit of wasted time that’s been guzzling up my hours since the early 10’s, the ‘I can never quite quit you’ game that always gets you coming back for more. Binge worthy, creative, and open plan, It’s been drawing people in like a horse to quicksand (slight Never Ending Story reference there. Anyone? Artax? ARTAX!). 

Developed by Mojang, Markus Persson, 4J Studios, Other Ocean Interactive, and Xbox Game Studios, Minecraft is a unique first person world builder that concentrates around a solitary character and their interactions with the pixelated world around them. Honestly, I would call this a farming simulator, but it’s beyond that. It’s VR without the VR, Valley without the Stardew, the Bob Ross of simulators. 

Game play is simple. You start in a world that is either set to general game play, or creative mode (where you can focus on building structures without the resource gathering component). If you find yourself in a game play scenario, you have till nightfall to create a shelter before the monsters come out to hunt you. These monsters include Zombies, Spiders, Skeletons, Creepers (think Mario’s Bob Omb’s but longer…and greener), and Endermen which…Look, I think they’re inter-dimensional shadow beings created from the energy that the player leaves behind, but I’ve been told they’re another species entirely. Once a shelter is built, resources can be obtained by either fashioning tools, and crafting tables, or by punching the shit out of a whole lot of pixel blocks. Choice is yours.

The end game, because there is an end game, is to eventually build a portal to ‘The End’. An alternate reality, where time stands non-linear. Not to be confused with ‘The Nether’, another dimension that has its own scary nature to it (seriously, somebody took ‘the floor is made of lava’ way out of context). The End is filled with Endermen and a boss you have to beat with whatever you brought along with you (so I hoped you packed a sword…and my bow…and my a-anyway you get the picture)

Even with the concept of completion in sight though, you don’t ever HAVE to reach The End. What I love about Minecraft is the hours upon hours you can spend going through the infinitely spawning world around you. Diving into sea caverns, exploring caves, geoscaping, finding tunnels to convert into homes, the choices are really endless. In fact, I have a game that HAS to be roughly 6 years old by now. Have I outdone myself? Probably. Will I stop? Dear god no. This game has gotten me through holes bigger than Shia LeBeouf wishes he could dig, and that’s saying something for the man who ‘isn’t famous anymore’. 

Bear-ing in mind, get it, *Your leg AAH, it’s caught in a bear trap* lol so funny that song sticks like gum to a footpath, anyway…Bearing in mind the fact that this is a classic learning game that absolutely anyone can play, and the spirit of adventure that it brings; I give Minecraft:

4/5 ENDERMEN for style
0/5 ENDERMEN for plotline
4/5 ENDERMEN for easiness
5/5 ENDERMEN for Blocky Blocky goodness!

OK Seriously though, I said Shia Lebeouf earlier and now it’s just my brain going *SHIA SURPRISE*. Oh well C’est La Vie. What now? Well I’m going to listen to Rob Cantor sing one specific song for 3 hours while I binge Minecraft again, but if you’ve got a game you want me to die in, or have a good tip for a previously existing game let me know! Till then, I’ve been Bethany Griffiths, and this has been 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 (un)biased review.

Thank you infinitely for your company, and your support, 

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FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR!

I’m a Fulya Kantarmaci and welcome to FRED Watch where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. To celebrate the thirty-fifth anniversary of its establishment this year, I will be reviewing the animated movies created by Studio Ghibli. Today’s film is My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ).

Studio Ghibli / Toho

Two young girls (Noriko Hidaka and Chika Sakamoto), who have moved to the country with their father (Shigesato Itoi) to be closer to their ill mother (Sumi Shimamoto), have adventures with spirits who live in a nearby forest.

Satsuki and Mei are the daughters of Tatsuo Kusukabe, a university professor. They have moved to the country because the girls’ mother, Yasuko, is in a hospital there recovering from a long-term illness. The house the family has moved into looks very run down but that doesn’t dishearten Satsuki and Mei as they are too excited to worry. While they are cleaning and preparing the house, Mei discovers that the house is occupied by something she’s never seen before: soot spirits. She captures one but only has soot-covered palms to show Satsuki by the time she finally finds her older sister.

One day, Mei makes another discovery, only this time it isn’t a soot spirit. She sees two small spirits heading towards the forest and decides to follow them into the hollow of a large camphor tree. At the centre, she falls on top of a very large monster-looking spirit. After asking him what his name was, the response of load roars sounds like “Totoro” to Mei, so this is what she calls him before falling asleep on his belly. To Mei’s surprise, she doesn’t awake on top of Totoro. Instead, she finds herself on the ground at the entry point of the hollow. Mei tells her sister and father to follow her through the hollow so she can show Totoro to them; however, he is nowhere to be found. Mei’s father comforts her by telling her that Totoro will show himself when he wants to.

Studio Ghibli / Toho

This piece of art is written and directed by the anime legend that is Hayao Miyazaki. My Neighbor Totoro takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, not to mention making you awe at the beautiful animation work put together by the talented team at Studio Ghibli. The story is absolutely gorgeous and it brings supernatural themes into a reality that seems possible – at least for children. I’m sure there are kids out there who have imaginary friends, so seeing a giant furry spirit is very adorable.

The movie engages you from start to finish, and with characters like Totoro and Catbus, it’s not hard to be engrossed by it. I love the colour palette in this film (and in most other anime movies I’ve seen in my time). There’s something about this anime that always makes me smile and I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of watching it. My Neighbor Totoro is a must-watch, I couldn’t recommend it more! 5 / 5

 

Starring: Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesato Itoi, Sumi Shimamoto, Hitoshi Takagi, Toshiyuki Amagasa, Tanie Kitabayashi, Naoki Tatsuta, Chie Kojiro, Hiroko Maruyama, Masashi Hirose, Machiko Washio, Reiko Suzuki, Daiki Nakamura, Yuko Mizutani, Tomomichi Nishimura, Shigeru Chiba.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Producer: Toru Hara | Writer: Hayao Miyazaki | Music: Joe Hisaishi | Cinematographers: Hisao Shirai | Editor: Takeshi Seyama

 

Available: DVD and Blu-Ray.

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.

Beta Test #25: Logical Journey Of The Zoombinis

Beta Test

What to do! What to do! The year is 2004. Your ten year old and six year old desperately want a video game. You’ve tried Maths invaders! They get bored. Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego is too hard. Duke Nukem is right out. With all the pressure of raising children right in this new age of technology you are terrified of putting them behind the rest of their class. What will their teachers say? What will your Mother say? What will your increasingly snobby mother’s group (who are all raising geniuses) say? No! You need something fun and educational … Something sneaky, Something that will break down barriers without letting your children know they’re doing maths, and problem solving. 

You pick up the Scholastic brochures, already in a spin over so many of the options, your eyes scan the page. Your hands tremble. What if you pick the wrong product? What if your children hate it? What if it’s uncool? Slowly you trail through the options when all of a sudden your children barge in, screaming at the top of their lungs “MUM CAN WE GET ZOOMBINIS PLEASE PLEASE CAN WE! CAN WE GET ZOOMBINIS AT SCHOOL!”

It’s on page three of the Lucky booklet.

image_cover

Bonjour my little blue explorers! I’m Bethany Griffiths, and this is Beta Test! A game review platform where I – Great overlord and saviour – 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. 

A small point on that intro before we kick off. My mother has been buying edutainment games for my brother and I since we got a computer (which is to say: before my brother was born). She’s very hip and groovy, and would not like people to think she was behind the times. Good on ya mum. Love you. 

No but seriously, Zoombinis was one in a long line of early learning development games we were privy to as children (Freddie Fish, and Put Put also feature). The early 2000’s was rife with the stuff, what with the millennium bug having failed, and kid’s were given video games as an aid to the 6 hours of T.V time we spent watching Play School and Sesame Street. Yes, life was good for a borderline millennial like me, and this game goes down in history as one of the classics.

Developed by TERC, and published by Viva Media, Logical Journey Of The Zoombinis is the first instalment in a trilogy of games set to inspire young players by displaying problem solving conundrums of the maths based variety. Children aim to get the little blue critters from one side of the map to the other by defeating ‘enemies’ and surviving natural disasters. The aim of the game is to find a new homeland for the Zoombinis, after their own city was taken over by what I can only explain to you as white people. (No, seriously, they’re called the Bloats, and they trick the Zoombinis into becoming slaves in their own land. Sounds like every history book I’ve ever read)

I binged this game when I got it to relive maximum nostalgia and if there’s something I truly wasn’t prepared for it’s that this game is hard! This game has had me stumped to the core, trying to figure out what mirrors I needed to set, what order I could pull of in the bloody tiger room, and don’t get me started on the goddamn bubbles from hell!. I remember feeling absolute terror when I got my Zoombinis sucked down a void the first time in Bubble Wonder Abyss, but the defeat of realising you’re an adult ans *still* don’t know what to do to get the little guys to the promised land is disgusting. Full disclosure, I had to get my mum to finish the rest of the game after I failed it the first time because I was so distraught.

This game is for 8 year old’s and my 25 year old brain still can’t understand the first obstacle of the entire saga (on Very Very Hard mode). This game’s first ranking is ‘not so easy’. This game’s difficulty ranking is like the Australian fire rating chart. I am both elated and horrified. 

What I love more than anything with Zoombinis is the reliable fact that it delivers. It promises a learning experience, and boy howdy does it deliver. This along with the great revamp on the art style (because yes, it’s so old it got a re-release, Spyro Who?), I give this game:

3/5 ZOOMBINIS for style
2/5 ZOOMBINIS for plotline
3/5 ZOOMBINIS for easiness
5/5 ZOOMBINIS for *dang DANG dang DANG dang-A-dang dang-A-dang dang-A-dang DANG-DANG-DANG-A-dang dang DANG dang*

So dang son, what’s next? I’m going to play this till my eyes bleed, but how about you? Got a game you want me to roast the shit out of? Got an old hit you want to put to the test of time? Want to give me a game I love so much I’ll actually physically die for it? Let me know! Till then, I’ve been Bethany Griffiths, and this has been 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 (un)biased review.

Until next time,

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FRED Watch Episode 25: Down Among the Z Men (1952)

DOWN AND OUT.

VCI Entertainment.

Goon fanatic Phillip introduces Wayne to a movie that is quite confusing and incredibly disappointing. It’s Down Among the Z Men (1952)…

 

Listen to their review here:

 

Watch a scene:

Starring: Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan, Michael Bentine, Carole Carr, Graham Stark.

Director: Maclean Rogers | Producer: E. J. Fancey | Writers: Francis Charles, Jimmy Grafton | Music: Jack Jordan | Cinematographer: Geoffrey Faithfull | Editor: Peter Mayhew

 

Available: DVD (rare).

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

 

You’ve just experienced FRED Watch.


FRED Watch Christmas Day 2019 Special: The Simpsons, Season 1, Episode 1 – Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire (1989)

HO, HO, D’OH!

Fox

Wayne and Phillip celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the debut of The Simpsons, revisiting the unintentional pilot episode to the pop culture phenomenon, Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire (1989), in a special Christmas Day FRED Watch presentation!

Listen to their review here:

 

Check out how the series began here:

Starring: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Pamela Hayden, Jo Ann Harris, Christopher Collins.

Director: David Silverman | Producer: Richard Sakai | Writer: Mimi Pond (created by Matt Groening; developed by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon)| Music: Richard Gibbs | Editors: Ric Eisman, Brian K. Roberts

Available: DVD.

 

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

 

You’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from the FRED Watch team.

FRED Watch Quickie Television Review: Shrek the Halls (2007)

SHREK’S MEANINGFUL CHRISTMAS.

I’m a Fulya Kantarmaci and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today it is the television special Shrek the Halls

DreamWorks Animation

All Shrek wants for Christmas is to spend quality time with his family. But first, he needs to discover what Christmas is all about…

Ah, yes! It’s that time of year again where everything is merry and bright. Everybody loves Christmas! Well, maybe everybody would if they knew the true meaning of Christmas which is Shrek’s dilemma in the 2007 television special Shrek the Halls.

Shrek (Mike Myers) is enjoying his quiet swamp life with his family. As Christmas approaches, Donkey (Eddie Murphy) keeps popping up out of nowhere to try and persuade Shrek into preparing for the festive season. It’s two days before Christmas and it’s snowing to Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz)’s delight. And although Shrek has been persistent in telling Donkey that he doesn’t care about Christmas, he now has no choice but to “surprise” Fiona and his ogre babies. Insert “O Fortuna” for dramatic effect. Shrek runs to Far, Far Away in order to create a memorable Christmas for his family. But there’s one problem: he doesn’t know where to begin and how to even make a Christmas. The shopkeeper (Marissa Jaret Winokur) hands Shrek a book titled Christmas for Village Idiots to guide him through the process. 

On Christmas Eve, Shrek follows the steps in the guide book by decorating the house and getting what he thinks is a Christmas tree. This is a surprise to Fiona but she loves the effort that Shrek puts in. Donkey, on the other hand, arrives at the Ogre residence and voices his dislike for the shambles that Shrek calls decorations. Shrek is annoyed at Donkey’s presence and tells him to go away. Before he leaves, Fiona explains that Shrek just wants to have a family Christmas. Donkey seems to understand what Fiona meant so he leaves looking like he has a great idea. That night, sitting in front of the fireplace, Shrek begins to tell his family a Christmas story when Donkey bursts in with some very familiar faces including Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) who are all carrying in food, presents, decor, and of course, a Christmas tree. Shrek is not pleased and does his best to kick them all out but to no avail. The chaos of Christmas begins and apart from Shrek, everyone else seems to be having fun. Donkey and Puss decide to tell their own versions of The Night Before Christmas and even Gingy (Conrad Vernon) has a story he wants to share but it’s not quite a happy one according to him.

This half-hour Christmas special is really enjoyable and because it’s a short animated film, you will be left wanting a little more. The story depicts the reality of most Christmases where even though there is a lot of fuss and family chaos, being together during the festive season is most important and also very memorable. My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas because of our culture but that doesn’t stop me from attending my best friend’s family Christmas lunch every year.

Shrek the Halls doesn’t disappoint you in any way. You get the puns and side gags that the regular animated feature films include and one in particular is, how should I put this, so obvious that the joke is explained by the characters! All typical to a Shrek movie and I love it! The only gripe I have about the film is that, for me, it is a tad too short. It could have been better with a little more fleshing out but only by about ten minutes at the most. To me, the movie felt rushed. However, in saying that, it’s still a great piece of entertainment and the kids will most likely watch it from start to finish without any complaints. 3 / 5

 

Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Conrad Vernon, Cody Cameron, Aron Warner, Christopher Knights, Marissa Jaret Winokur.

Director: Gary Trousdale | Producers: Gina Shay, Teresa Cheng, Aron Warner | Writers: Gary Trousdale, Sean Bishop, Theresa Pettengill, Bill Riling (based on Shrek! by William Steig) | Theme Music: Harry Gregson-Williams

 

Available: Netflix.

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