Friday, October 31, 2008


The Towering Inferno (1974)
Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, William Holden & many others.
Written by Stirling Silliphant.
Directed by John Guillermin & Irwin Allen.

It’s tough to dislike a movie that features both Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, and this film is often considered the best of director Allen’s disaster epics of the 70’s. Viewed today however, in the light of CGI, Inferno is a lacklustre experience. Newman is the engineer who knows the shoddy workmanship of the skyscraper will lead to disaster; McQueen is the fire chief who has to clean up the mess; and a cast of many provide the fodder for the flames.

Sorcerer (1977)
Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal & Ramon Bieri.
Written by Walon Green.
Directed by William Friedkin.

Four scumbags in a Latin American town try to buy their freedom by driving trucks full of nitroglycerine over some seriously rugged terrain and one particularly unstable bridge, all set to a weird electronic score by Tangerine Dream. Sleazy, gritty remake of The Wages Of Fear was derided by purists, and whilst it’s production problems are sometimes evident, Sorcerer still remains one of Friedkin’s most interesting (and ambitious) films.

Paper Moon (1973)
Ryan O’Neal, Tatum O’Neal, Madeline Kahn & John Hillerman.
Written by Alvin Sargent.
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich.

The real joy of Paper Moon, Bogdanovich’s best film, is watching real-life father and daughter acting together. Tatum won an Oscar for her role as orphan Addie, and Ryan shows just what a fine actor he could be as the conman who begrudgingly takes her under his wing. Rich atmosphere and beautiful black and white photography combine in this tragi-comic tale set during the Great Depression. An American classic.


(Wadrick Jones is a freelance writer for GritFX and will post weekly thirty second film reviews on this blog.)

Friday, October 24, 2008


Wanted (2008)
James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Thomas Kretschmann & Morgan Freeman.
Written by Michael Brandt, Derek Haas & Chad Morgan.
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov.

Visionary Russian director Bekmambetov (Nightwatch) scores big time with his first Hollywood film, a whacked-out tale of a nebbish young man who becomes a member of a cabal of assassins. Based on the comic by Mark Millar, this slick, imaginative action film is brought to life by a great cast, and despite it’s lapses in credibility, managed to engage this viewer right from the slow-burn beginning through to the momentous final reel.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Ray Winstone, Karen Allen & Shia LaBeouf.
Written by David Koepp.
Directed by Steven Spielberg.

Not being a fan of the Indiana sequels, I entered the viewing of Crystal Skull with a healthy dose of scepticism. But I’m glad to say that I enjoyed this overblown nonsense wholeheartedly. And whilst it’s certainly no Raiders of the Lost Ark, it stands proud as perhaps the best of the Indiana sequels, throwing homage to the original film at every possible moment. Spielberg is top form and an excellent cast seem to be having a ball - especially Blanchett, hamming it up as a Russian femme fatale.

John Rambo (2008)
Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Matthew Marsden & Maung Maung Khin.
Written by Art Monterastelli & Sylvester Stallone.
Directed by Sylvester Stallone.

Stallone has not aged well, but his appearance serves the character of John Rambo very well. Big John is now living in Thailand, catching cobras and ferrying missionaries upriver into Burma. When one such group goes missing, Rambo leads a ragtag bunch of mercenaries on a rescue mission. This has to be one of the most violent films I have ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of violent films. Well directed, but it’s entertainment value will depend on your tolerance for a film whose single driving motive is grisly death.


(Wadrick Jones is a freelance writer for GritFX and will post weekly thirty second film reviews on this blog.)

Friday, October 10, 2008


Hellboy 2 (2008)
Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Luke Goss and Jeffrey Tambor.
Written by Guillermo del Toro & Mike Mignola. Directed by Guillermo del Toro

The red ape is back, wisecracking his way through another adventure and saving mankind from the evil elements of the netherworld in the process. Big, brash, colourful and highly entertaining with visuals that put the original and Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth to shame. Yet, this Grand Guignol of fantasy is missing some of the mystery and mythology that made the original Hellboy so great, not to mention some seriously questionable plot developments.

There Will Be Blood (2007)
Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano and Ciaran Hinds.
Written & Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Daniel Day Lewis is a phenomenal actor. The man could dress himself in a bunny suit and play Brear Rabbit and still win an Oscar. Adding another gritty epic to his outstanding resume, director Anderson weaves an incredible tale of nihilism, eliciting the kind of raw emotional impact that few filmmakers can achieve. A truly great American film that stands as a mountain against the majority of crap that descends from Hollywood.

Leatherheads (2008)
George Clooney, Renee Zellweger, John Krasinski and Jonathon Pryce.
Written by Duncan Brantley & Rick Reilly. Directed by George Clooney

In his third film as director, Clooney travels back to the 1920’s and the birth of professional football in this fitfully funny homage to the screwball comedies of Hollywood’s yesteryear. A great performer, Clooney is still no Cary Grant and Zellweger is definitely no Kate Hepburn, making this film a strange hybrid of modern and retro sensibilities. And despite it’s wonderful period detail, it becomes increasingly tiresome at it’s almost two hour length.


(Wadrick Jones is a freelance writer for GritFX and will post weekly thirty second film reviews on this blog.)

The Nazca Lines

High on an arid plateau in Peru, some 300 figures and geometric shapes are etched into the sand. The Nazca desert, south of Lima, is home to one of the most enduring mysteries of South America. Commonly called the Nazca Lines, these impressive ancient artworks were first discovered when commercial airplanes began to fly over the region. They cover an area that stretches over 400 square miles and their creation has been the subject of many weird and wonderful theories.

Perhaps the most famous of the Nazca Lines is the so-called “Astronaut” (see below). First discovered in 1982, it has led to the notion that these designs were created by an extraterrestrial intelligence. Other figures include animals and birds, a weird figure with two hands (one with five fingers and the other with four), symbols, and various objects. The creations are attributed to the Nazca people who dwelt in the region some 2,000 years ago and mysteriously disappeared 500 years later. Yet it has been impossible to accurately estimate the actual age of the Lines.

For the Nazca desert retains conditions that have preserved the massive artworks over what could amount to many thousands of years. Annual rainfall is nominal, and the surface of the plateau is stony and flat – preventing disturbance to the Lines by wind. It is only now, after much exploration by modern man and the tourist attraction the region has become, are the Nazca Lines of Peru beginning to deteriorate.

by Max Drake
(Max is a freelance writer and artist for GritFX.)

For more on the Nazca Lines of Peru, visit:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What Our 'David Cook Competition' Winner chose...

The Cookie Photo Competition winner (DIANA - WORD NERD #1420) now has her prize... what did she choose, what did she say? Read on!

DIANA - WORD NERD #1420 (pictured with her son)

Diana could choose any T-Shirt from the entire GritFX range, and was not limited to David Cook designs. But what is a self professed "Cookifed" fan to do? Choose some more David Cook products - and GritFX was more than happy to oblige.

She ended up choosing the following items and upon delivery we received this message, "got it all today. Thank you so much! LOVE IT!!!" Diana went with the "Cook Gave Music Back To The People" design for a tote bag because to quote Diana, "This one is my favorite. (Surprise!) I like it because somebody worthy finally won Idol and because DC brought music back into my life."

No problem Diana - thank YOU for joining the photo gallery to begin with.

1. A Tote Bag with "Cook Gave Music Back To The People". Penned by Cathy Wood. Note: $1 of each tote bag sale using this design will be donated to Adam.
2. 4 mini-buttons... Note: GritFX has set up these buttons specifically to raise money for Adam Cook. 100% of the GritFX mark-up price on these items will be donated.

GritFX will be running a new competition soon and will post the details to this blogspot.

Blog entry by Manz.